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;
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.”
But that we will also be well-grounded in Biblical Theology.
Some of those upcoming lessons will be elementary, and others will be as deep as the Marianas Trench.
And others will be so unknown to you that you might think that I’ve lost my mind or my faith.
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 of the Holy Spirit of God.
And to prove his point, Peter quoted Joel 2:28-32 which, almost as an afterthought closes with the words:
Before that great and notable day of the Lord come.”
Verses 22-24 give us a quick lesson in Christology – the study of Christ.
Let’s consider Christ through five questions:
Christ was approved by Whom, and delivered by whom,
He was slain by whom, raised by Whom, and received by whom?
This is a pretty simple point, but it’s a VERY POINTED point.
This is a point to which probably everyone in this room agrees, but, did you feel the jab?
The word “approved” is interesting.
James Strong defines the word two ways:
And to declare, to show, to prove what kind of person anyone is, to prove by arguments, demonstrate.”
And He did this by, among other things, giving the Saviour authority to work miracles, wonders & signs.
Notice that Peter uses the same words that Joel used in verse 19 – miracles, wonders and signs.
Peter clearly tied Jesus of Nazareth to the Lord who will show wonders in heaven above and in earth beneath during the days of the Tribulation.
Do you remember what Nicodemus said to Jesus when they met in John 3?
“The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: FOR NO MAN CAN DO THESE MIRACLES that thou doest, except God be with him.”
This is the testimony of friend and foe throughout Jesus’ life.
John 9:16 – “Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.”
The man born blind said, “Herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.
Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.”
So it might be argued that Jesus was nothing more than another miracle worker like Elisha.
But if that were the case, and Jesus was lying about himself when he said “I and the Father are one,”
Then without a doubt the Lord would have withdrawn His miraculous power.
Then there is proof that what Jesus said was true.
But the point of the point was honed to a surgical sharpness when he said,
“As ye yourselves also know.”
Ouch, Peter, that must have really hurt some of that great crowd of people.
My second thought in this message is really the fourth:
As we have already said: the resurrection of Christ was perhaps the greatest miracle ever performed.
If “the wages of sin is eternal death” . . .
Then, logically speaking, Christ should have never arisen from death.
He arose victorious over the grave, because He had already been victorious over our sin.
In a sense, when the Father SAW the sacrifice that Christ had made,
When the Father RECEIVED the sacrifice that Christ had made.
When the Father ACCEPTED and APPROVED the sacrifice that Christ had made.
He raised His Son from death and set Him upon their throne on high.
As Romans 1 says, Jesus of Nazareth was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”
He was approved of God among them by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in their midst, as the residents of Jerusalem were well aware.
This verse takes us into the deep and mysterious things of God.
It takes us into things denied by billions of people, and even by those who claim to be friends of God.
And for us, who believe the Word, it still poses things that must be accepted in humility and by faith.
By whom was Jesus delivered to die?
Obviously He was betrayed by one of His own disciples: Jesus’ personal Ahithophel.
Maybe he did it for the money; maybe there were other reasons about which we know nothing.
But “the Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.”
He gave himself a sacrifice for sin.
The Bible clearly shows that the Son of God was decreed to be the perfect sacrifice for sin, even before creation was commenced.
He was and is “the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world” – Revelation 13:8.
And “forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
Who verily WAS FOREORDAINED BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, but was manifest in these last times for you,
Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”
That redemption would require the death of the Son of God as a fully vicarious sacrifice on behalf of those undeserving sinners
Jesus was delivered by the DETERMINATE COUNSEL of God, the Father.
The meaning of those words “DETERMINATE COUNSEL” is quite clear:
God pre-determined and foreordained to deliver up His Son to die.
This sacrifice was pre-figured in the predetermined plan of Abraham to sacrifice his son on Mt. Moriah.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Now, think about one of the most maligned and misunderstood of all Bible words: “foreknowledge.”
The Greek word is “prognosis” and it means to plan ahead or to pre-plan.
And that is exactly the way that the word is used when transliterated into modern English.
And then the doctor steps forward and makes his “PROGNOSIS”:
He says that he will do surgery to remove the infected tissue.
She will then be given antibiotics to make sure that her infection does not spread.
She will be in the hospital for a day or two, and then she will be released,
But she will have to stay at home for several more days.
Then after a week or so she should be perfectly healthy once again.
And it is precisely the same thing for God – a pre-determined plan of action.
In this case it was a foreordained plan of action to save a few wretched sinners.
Notice the little conjunction “and” in verse 23:
“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel AND foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”
We can leave out one or the other and the sentence still makes perfect sense.
“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”
Or we might just as easily say, “Him, being delivered BY THE FOREKNOWLEDGE of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”
There is no difference between what Peter says in this verse and what he says in I Peter 1:20:
God had a pre-determined plan to deliver up His Son for our salvation.
In 1 Peter 1:2 this same preacher spoke of Christians who are all,
Unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.”
God had a pre-determined plan to deliver His Son for the salvation of those specific people Whom He had elected and predetermined to save.
But because of God’s decree He also foreknows and predetermines everything.
God really is God.
And by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”
The nails which held Christ Jesus to the cross were driven through His hands and feet by Roman soldiers.
They were ordered to do so by the Roman governor, Pilate,
By the combined two peoples who make up all the people of the earth: Gentile and Hebrews.
And the Jews who refuse to take the blame for the crucifixion are blind and foolish.
It was the foreordained and thoroughly arranged decree of God that Jesus be crucified.
And yet it was the will and the responsibility of the sinners who did it.
We cannot, and must not, lay the charge of sin upon the Lord.
But there was something else:
Christ was crucified for the sins of specific sinners.
And thus there is a sense in which he was crucified by the elect; those people who were eventually saved.
The wicked atheist, Roman Catholic or merely religious Baptisst have no hope in the death of the Lord.
He went to the cross for ME.
In that way, therefore, I am the one by whom the Saviour was slain – me and all the rest of those who are actually and finally saved.
So Christ was approved by God through a multitude of miracles.
And He was raised by God as well.
He was delivered by God, the Father.
He was slain by wicked sinners like me.
As many as receive Him, to them is His blood applied.
As many as receive Him, to them are given new hearts in regeneration.
As many as receive Him, to them is given justification.
Are YOU among those who have received Christ Jesus?
That was ultimately where the message of Peter was going that day 2000 years ago.
“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”