The Lord of the Great and Notable Day – Acts 2:22-24

As most of you are well aware, I am calling this series “A THEOLOGICAL Study of the Book of Acts.” We’ve looked at the resurrection and then the ascension of Christ; Two things which are at the very heart of our faith. We’ve had messages on the Kingdom of God, the Baptism of the Spirit and then on things as practical as drunkenness and alcohol. We’ve had messages entitled “The Theology of Waiting“ and “The Theology of the Sermon.” When we finish this study, in another 3 or 4 years, I hope that we’ll all, not only be thoroughly familiar with the Book of Acts, But that we will also be well-grounded in Biblical Theology. I expect that by that time we will have touched on just about every area of theology available to any student in any seminary in the country. Some of those upcoming lessons will be elementary, and others will be as deep as the Marianas Trench. Some of those doctrines will be so well-known to you that you’ll border on being bored, And others will be so unknown to you that you might think that I’ve lost my mind or my faith. But hang in there, and search the scriptures to see whether those things are really Biblically so. This evening we have a kind of blending of all four of those elements that I’ve just mentioned. As Peter began his notable Pentecostal sermon, he defended his friends by saying that they weren’t drunk. He said that they were living in the fulfilment of the prophesy of Joel. Upon them had been poured the power...

Type, Antitype and Eternal Truth – Acts 2:25-28

There are quite a few proprietary words that we use in Bible-believing Baptist churches. By “proprietary” I mean that they are words that are basically the property of those churches. They are words that are used in very few places other than Bible-believing churches. And even though it has been nearly 40 years, I remember how I had to struggle to figure out what my first pastor was saying when he used some of those words. I’ve put a couple of proprietary words in the title to this message this evening: “type” and “antitype.” Peter began his Pentecostal sermon quoting Joel 2. You might call that his text for the morning message, But actually it was more like an eye-catching illustration to get everyone’s attention. It helped to explain what the audience had experienced in the witness of the disciples. The real text for the sermon was Psalm 16. The message wasn’t about the disciples, it was about the Lord Jesus. And even though the quote from Joel led towards Christ, Peter’s primary thought was about how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament scriptures. Turn to Psalm 16. When we begin to read, it will be hard to hear the voice of the Lord Jesus. This sounds like King David, whom we have learned to love and appreciate. But whereas you might argue with your pastor if he told you that this was Christ Jesus, when under the leadership and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter says that it is Christ, then it is Christ. Notice that this is called a “Michtam” of David. The scholars argue about what that...

David and Jesus in Hell – Acts 2:22-36

Before we move on, we need to agree on a common definition of a very important Bible term. Twice in Peter’s sermon he referred to “hell.” Fundamental Baptists have been often called “hell and brimstone” preachers. You are a member of a “hell and damnation” preaching church. But are you sure that you know what “hell” is? Let’s take a little test? Is hell always a place of judgment? Is hell eternal? Did Abraham go to hell when he died? Was David expecting to go to hell when he died? Did Jesus go to hell when he died? Is “hell” a synonym for the “Lake of Fire?” And the answers are? Is hell always a place of judgment? No. Is hell eternal? Not necessarily. Did Abraham go to hell when he died? Yes. Was David expecting to go to hell when he died? Yes. Did Jesus go to hell when he died? Yes and no. Is “hell” a synonym for the “Lake of Fire?” Not exactly. This message tonight will not be a true sermon, but more of a Bible lesson. The original words which are translated “hell.” The Bible was written in three languages: Hebrew, Chaldee and Greek. Out of those languages, there are four words in our KJV Bibles which are translated “hell.” Only one of those words is found in the Old Testament. That word is “sheol.” And that is the word which Peter quoted from Psalm 16 at which we looked last week. But “sheol” is not always translated “hell,” sometimes it is translated “pit” and “the grave.” Let’s think about “hell” in the Old...

Answering the Rationalist – Acts 2:22-36

We live in a very intellectually-confused world. I’m not talking about the THINGS about which we think, but rather the WAY in which we think. But I say that not as someone who professes to be superior. I fear that I follow the crowd almost as much as everybody else. And in addition to that I fear that you do as well. But one of the things which, I hope, sets us apart from the sheep that surround us, is that we are at least somewhat aware of the problem. As I say, we live in a very intellectually-confused world. For example, western society is semi-literate, BUT we don’t read. And when we do read, it’s either mindless novels and magazines, Or we read things which are above our minds and vocabularies, and we can’t grasp their meaning. We claim to be a nation of thinkers, BUT we don’t think. We let others do our thinking for us. We say that we are Republicans or Democrats, and we let the leadership of the party dictate how we are to vote or what we are to think politically. We are members of one church or another, and we let our priests or our preachers tell us what we are to believe and why we are to believe those things. Then we watch or listen to various network news sources which scan, edit, manipulate and regurgitate the news like a mother bird feeding her fledglings, not leaving us the privilege of thinking for ourselves about world events. We claim to be a society of rationalists, BUT we are not. It seems...

Cause and Effect – Acts 2:37-40

The title to tonight’s message is: “Cause and Effect.” The effect, as we see here, was that many people were pricked in their hearts at the preaching of Peter. You might think that the cause was Peter’s preaching. Many egotistical pastors think that Christianity is all about their preaching. They think that if the Lord’s church grows under their ministry, then they should be praised. They think that if souls are saved, it’s because of their study, skill, eloquence and persuasiveness. While it’s true that churches can flourish through the oratory and elocution of the preacher, it might not really be a church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many organizations and things have prospered through dynamic preaching. Communism flourished under some eloquent speakers, but it was obviously not of God. There are thousands of civic organization that flourish, but they are not churches of God. Human Eloquence and persuasiveness are not the cause of God’s blessings. Thus far we have looked at the background behind this sermon – the miracle of glossolalia, or “tongues.” We also had a message on the theology of sermons in general. And then this morning we look at the general theme of this particular sermon. I’m not saying that this sermon wasn’t important, or that it wasn’t a great message, but the message was not the source of the pricked hearts of those Jews. Let’s think about THAT CAUSE. Of course, without the sermon this would have been like any other Pentecost in the history of Israel. Because of some things that I said a couple of weeks ago, I hope that no one...

The Promise and the Perimeters – Acts 2:37-40

I need you to remember the general theme of this series of messages: Most people read the Book of Acts as merely the history of the second phase of the Lord’s first church. Jerusalem was the site of the Lord’s first church. And the first era of the history of that church was when the Lord Jesus was it’s first pastor. In Acts 2 the church was between pastors, but with a new relationship to the Holy Spirit. Most people read this book as if it was a history book, and without question it is, But what I am trying to do, while using that history like the exterior wall of a beautiful cathedral, I want to look through the beautiful stained-glass windows into the practical theology that lies inside. So we have had a message about the nature of sermons and the evils of alcohol, Because those subjects are introduced to us by Luke’s history. And we’ve had a message on the Kingdom of God and speaking in tongues. Tonight I want you to notice, once again, the promise, and the perimeters of that promise. You may think that there is a lot of redundancy in these messages. You may accuse me of repeating myself, and to some degree I confess that I am, But it’s because every Bible doctrine always links to several other Bible doctrines. And the things of God are learned “line upon line and precept upon precept” – (Isaiah 28). First this evening, there is the PROMISE. Have you noticed the many references to this promise that we’ve had thus far? “Being assembled together...

Scoliosis – Acts 2:27-40

There are a number of debilitating diseases and maladies which are known to deform the human spine. If you look at a healthy back bone from the back, it should appear to be straight up and down. And if you look at it from the side it should have a slight “s” curve to it. But there are millions of people with whom these things aren’t true. “Scoliosis” is a general term used to describe spinal curvatures which are not normal. Sometimes rather than an “s” the spine might be straight or with highly accentuated curves. Sometimes when looking at the spine from the back it may be permanently twisted from one side to the other, rather than straight up and down. According to the medical dictionary, “scoliosis” is a relatively common problem affecting almost 1 in 50 people to some degree. But some of its more radical forms and causes carry names that are terrifying – especially to perspective parents: Names like: cerebral palsy; congenital scoliosis, muscular dystrophy and spina bifida. Abnormal curvature of the spine can be a terrible and sometimes fatal problem. My wife has worked with quite a few children suffering from various types of scoliosis. Some of those kids have had to have stainless steel rods inserted down their backs to try to keep their spines from twisting. She was telling me of one of her children who needed that procedure a couple of years ago, but who, at the time, was too sick to survive the surgery, so it wasn’t done. Today he is horribly twisted and still getting worse. What has that...

The Defining Doctrine – Acts 2:41

The title to the message tonight is:“The Defining Doctrine.” Initially, I debated whether I ought to use a definite, or indefinite, article in that title. Is this THE defining doctrine or just one of several of our distinctives as a church? If you were listening, you should have noticed that I chose the definite article. There are a great many doctrines which we share with the rest of Christianity. For example, Roman Catholicism is a tenacious defender of the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are a lot of Protestants, and even baptists, who aren’t convinced of this important doctrine. I commend the Catholics for their diligence in this area. Roman Catholicism adamantly teaches the deity of Christ, the Trinity and other important doctrines. It’s a shame that they have mixed so much heresy into the truth. There are a lot of denominations which claim to believe in the inspiration of the Word of God, And some of them even still use the King James, which was translated from the original text. We commend these people. There are other churches which teach salvation through sovereign grace. And there are some which believe in the eternal security of the child of God. In fact there are things in just about every denomination within Christendom, which with we agree. But we believe that fundamental, landmark Baptists are the only people who still cling to the whole counsel of God. We believe that ours is the only kind of church which was established by the Lord Jesus Christ and which still believes and practices all those things which He has...

Steadfast Continuance – Acts 2:42

Sometimes the pastor’s job is to simply reiterate the obvious. And that is what we have this evening. No razzle dazzle, no thrills, and no new ground. One of the reasons that I’m preaching this scripture is because the more mature we get as Christians, The more quickly we slide right over the obvious and common place. Sometimes in our search for the new and novel we look right past the faithful and familiar. But this is like refusing to eat bread in order to eat cake. Eventually it will kill us. So, in the light of this, I need your help tonight; Force yourselves to stay alert and attentive, because the message itself won’t do it. Let’s apply the five standard journalistic questions to this straight forward verse: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Who, what, where, when and why. First, WHO? There is a single pronoun found once in verse 41 and it comes up again in verse 42. This provides evidence that the people of verse 42 are the same as those of the previous verse. “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Those who were continuing steadfastly with the Lord’s church were the newly saved, newly baptized people of the Day of Pentecost. (And you didn’t believe me that this was going to be a simple message.) Let’s move on...

Fear and Favor – Acts 2:42-47

Let us say that there was a war between the United States of America and the Dominion of Canada. And let us imagine that you were in charge of a force of one hundred men stationed on the Canadian border at Eastport, Idaho. Let us say that you divided your men into three divisions: One directly on the highway, with the rest on hills on either side, looking down at the border crossing. Let us say that you had plenty of time to dig in, to find the best lines of sight, and to plan contingencies. And now, I brought one hundred Canadian troops with the intention of crossing the border and attacking the strategic city of Bonner’s Ferry. Of course, I was forced to travel down the Moyie valley right into the sights of your guns. You can see me coming from ten miles away. There is no doubt that despite our equal numbers, you have a decided advantage over me. Even if I had twice the numbers that you had, you’d still have the advantage. So how much fear would you have of me and my mighty Canadian army? Now think back to the Book of Joshua (2:8-11). Do you remember the conversation that Joshua’s spies had with Canaanite Rahab? “And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD...

Christian Communism??? – Acts 2:47-47

The title to tonight’s message is “Christian Communism.” If I wanted to, I could preach the entire sermon with just three words: “There AIN’T none.” Those who read these verses and try to say that they teach communism know nothing about either Christianity or Communism. I know a little about Bible Christianity and I know a little less about Communism, But what I do know about both tells me that they are basically incompatible. This evening we have our 26th message thus far in this series, and I expect to finish chapter 2 right here. If you are worrying about it, You might like to know that we’ll probably move a little more quickly from now on, But not too much more quickly. Tonight we tie up some of the loose ends and close the chapter. Let’s think about selling, giving and receiving. First there is the SELLING. “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods.” The believers were TOGETHER. It is kind of strange what unthinking and half-thinking people sometimes say. For example one commentary told me that the three thousand members of the Jerusalem church were now living together as some sort of Christian community. The first thing that I pictured reading that was a 70’s style commune filled with Jesus’ Freaks. I pictured the men wearing long hair, the ladies wearing long dresses & the kids wearing nothing at all. Nope! Then I pictured a kind of Christian fraternity. Nope! Then there was another half suggestion that the brethren were living together like monks in a monastery....

History of a Miracle – Acts 3:1-10

Despite the purpose and theme of this study in the Book of Acts, There’s not a lot of detailed, technical theology in this particular message. Tonight had like us to consider the simple history surrounding this miracle. But, as we’ve said before, there is a fine line between history in and the theology of the Word of God. And the theology in this particular case involves the nature of miracles themselves. What is the purpose of a miracle? “A miracle is a display of the power and authority of God with the purpose of bringing attention to Himself or His message.” As we have said before, the miracle is nothing in, and of, itself, Even though there might have been an immediate positive result. Incidentally, we need to remember that sometimes, miracles do not end up in something positive. The man upon whom this miracle was performed may or may not be in heaven today. The miracle was performed upon his body and not upon his soul or spirit. And although we see the expression of great joy, we don’t see the expression of sorrow or repentance. This is not to say that the man was not repentant and didn’t believe on Christ as his Lord and Saviour, But there’s no clear evidence of that here in this Scripture. So what is the purpose of the miracle? A miracle is an act of God to bring attention to himself or to his message. I believe that I said that sort of thing once or twice when we were studying chapter 2. And now I would like you to notice...

Impotence versus Omnipotence – Acts 3:1-11

I have decided to come back to this scripture this morning, because it epitomizes the very best and worst in our world today. We have in these eleven verses an ILLUSTRATION of greatest problem that faces humanity. And I am not referring the problems of disease, poverty or physical suffering. What makes this scripture so important is that, in addition to the problem, we also have the cure – Not an ILLUSTRATION of the cure, like that of the problem, but a display of the actual cure. Those of you who were here last Wednesday, heard the introduction to this morning’s message. Wednesday we looked at the historical aspects of this notable miracle. And I think that it is very important to remember that it was only Luke’s intention to give us that history. He was not at this point, as a preacher, trying to craft a sermon, as I am this morning. He was not trying to devise an illustration of the world’s greatest problem and it’s solution. Rather, he was describing one man’s malady and the divine omnipotence that overcame it. If you would like to hear more about the details of the Beautiful Gate or the hour of the day, I invite you to borrow the tape from last Wednesday or to read the message on our web-site. But this morning, I’d like to use the historical event to illustrate something much more important. The title of our message is “Impotence versus Omnipotence,” And I’d like us to think about three things: The man’s incurable condition, the Lord’s inauspicious servants and Jehovah’s incomparable miracle. Let’s make...

Habits of Greatness – Acts 3:1-11

Do you have any habits? I wonder how many of your own habits you could put on a piece of paper if you really tried. I also wonder how many more habits that your family, or your friends, could identify. It might be that some of your habits are easily recognized by other people, but not by you. I would guess that to have habits is human. I say that because we are all so prone to have them so many of them. And obviously there are good habits and bad habits. There are habits that are completely innocuous and harmless, like pulling on one’s ear while thinking. And then there are habits that are beneficial, like the habit of church attendance. But then there are the opposite kinds of habits that hurt us body, soul and spirit. I suppose that there are also other ways to classify and describe our various habits. For example, there are habits which control us. There are habits which dictate our behavior whether we like the idea or not. And then there are those habits over which we control. I suppose that ideally, we should have the control of all our habits. In other words, habits ought to be our servants and not vise versa. King David had a great many servants, and most of them were helpful to his reign. But even some of the most helpful were often beyond David’s control. One example was his Army-chief-of-Staff, Joab. He was a loose canon, doing whatever he decided was right for the kingdom. The habits of our lives ought to be useful servants,...

Thanksgiving at the Beautiful Gate – Acts 3:1-11

If I asked you, “What is the chief purpose of man?” how would you answer? The chief purpose of man is to glorify God. I Corinthians 10:31 – “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” That all we do should be done for the glory of God is a relatively simple concept. “Ye have been bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body & in your spirit which are God’s.” The practice of this principle may be difficult, but the idea is simple. Here is a corollary to that thought, but one that is a hundred times more difficult: It is difficult even to perceive, let alone put into practice: Whatsoever is done UNTO you should be RECEIVED for the glory of God. Does I Thessalonians. 5:18 place any restrictions on the areas for our praise? “In EVERYTHING give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Does this verse leave any room for non-sinful things for which we shouldn’t or can’t praise God? The only things for which we cannot and should not praise the Lord are sinful things. So does this mean we should praise God for only for the good things that happen to us? “In EVERYTHING give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Through my computer, I have become acquainted with an interesting gentleman living down in Georgia. Bro. Jack Gregory is in his 70’s and is the adult Sunday School teacher in his little Baptist church. We have had two...