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July 13, 2008 AM



ACTS 2:22-24

INTRO: As the book of Acts begins, we discover that Jesus was among the apostles for forty days prior to His ascension. He spoke to them of "things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3). He told them they would be "witnesses unto me" to the "uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). So, when we come to the second chapter of Acts, we are not surprised by the events recorded there. There were the coming of the Holy Spirit (as Jesus had foretold), the speaking in languages not learned and a reference to a well known prophecy from the book of Joel. But there was also the "first" sermon preached in keeping with the marching orders of the Lord. It was the first occasion of the preaching of the cross by someone other than the Lord Himself.

    1. This was the first day of the week - Acts 2:1
      1. seven sabbaths (weeks) plus one day ... thus, Sunday
      2. one of three great feast days ... the feast of weeks (Ex 34:22,23)
      3. the first Pentecost after Jesus' resurrection - Jerusalem  was crowded
    2. The coming of the Holy Spirit - Acts 2:2-4
      1. two texts to note: Acts 1:5 & Acts 1:8
      2. see Jno 16:7-13 - this is what Jesus had promised before crucifixion
      3. from Lk 24:49 - this was truly a significant day in God's plan!
    3. The speaking in tongues - Acts 2:5-11
      1. "tongues" were known languages which speakers had not learned
      2. notice that they apostles spoke of "the wonderful works of God"
      3. so, before the sermon there was apparently teaching
    4. This is that - Acts 2:16,17
      1. Peter identified this prophecy to be of the coming of the Holy Spirit
      2. but notice the emphasis on "whosoever shall call on the name..."
      3. he transitions with that statement to preach of Jesus - crucified, raised
    1. "Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God" - Acts 2:22
      1. how? by miracles, wonders, signs - Jno 20:30,31
      2. Jno 3:1,2 - the logical observation of Nicodemus
      3. "...in the midst of you..." - clearly, many of them had seen these things
    2. "...ye...have crucified" - Acts 2:23
      1. Peter first plainly tells them that Jesus' death was God's doing - His death had everything to do with our calling of His name for salvation (1 Pet 1:19,20)
      2. but they are described as of "wicked hands" - they were guilty
      3. although the Romans actually crucified Him, they were responsible!
      4. I assume, based on Acts 2:40, that there was much more to this sermon ... perhaps, much more having to do with the cross and its meaning
      5. crossless preaching would be, is, powerless preaching - 1 Cor 1:23,24
    3. "Whom God hath raised up..." - Acts 2:24
      1. preaching the cross does not end with the cross!
      2. it continues with this great fact: "Whom God hath raised up"
      3. remember 1 Cor 15:14 - the resurrection if "the rest of the story"
    4. So, Peter takes pains to confirm the resurrection fact
      1. by prophecy (Ps 16:8-11) - thus, Acts 2:29-31
      2. by eyewitness testimony - Acts 2:32
      3. by David's testimony - Acts 2:33-35
    1. "...Jesus, whom ye have crucified..." is Lord and Christ - Acts 2:36
      1. notice that he refers again to the cross
      2. they had caused the death of King and Messiah - "crucify Him"
      3. but we must never forget that it for our sins, too, that Jesus died - we share in the guilt
    2. "...they were pricked in their heart..." - Acts 2:37
      1. they were pierced thoroughly - cut to the quick
      2. has the knowledge of our sin, our culpability ever caused us this pain?
      3. and some things cannot be undone - so, "what shall we do?"
    3. Because of the cross, here was the answer - Acts 2:38
      1. there must be repentance (more than just acknowledging guilt)
      2. there must be baptism ... into the death of Jesus (Rom 6:3)
      3. this is what it means to call on the name of the Lord!

CLOSE: Because He died on that cross, I can live again. Because He lives, I have a real tomorrow. What about you? Have you received the remission of your sins through penitence and baptism? After preaching of the cross, scripture tells us, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized..." (Acts 2:41).

Cecil A. Hutson

13 July 2008

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)