We have had several people visit our church, who had been members of very good Baptist churches in other parts of the country.
In several cases those people agreed with our doctrine 95 to 100 percent,
In fact they aren’t attending any church.
But more often than these, it is that our preacher is different from the great preacher under whom they were saved and baptized.
I used to collect books on preaching and pastoring, hoping to find some sort of special magic formula.
Philip Brooks, the man who wrote “O Little Town of Bethlehem” has a series of lectures on preaching, which is now considered a classic.
In the introduction to those lectures, he asked,
Preaching is the communication of truth by a man to men. It has in it two essential elements, truth and personality. Neither of those can it spare and still be preaching.”
If for some reason you don’t like the preacher, then you won’t like his preaching.
And if you find two sermons or two preachers exactly alike, you’ve found an anomaly or a plagiarist.
As you know, the Lord has revealed Himself to men through a number of different means.
The second is like unto it: the written Word, the Bible.
And until the day that the Lord Jesus returns, our faith and practice must be founded on the Bible.
Then there is the meager revelation that we have through the study of creation.
And there are miracles and perhaps other evidences of the Lord as well.
Someone might say that this is just the opinion of an over-inflated preacher,
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness” – I Corinthians 1:17-23.
Not Roman Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism, Satanism, nor any of the rest are known for their preaching.
The people of Israel had some preaching through their prophets, but there are no prophets today, and the Jews aren’t known for their preaching.
It was the first real Christian sermon.
And in that regard let’s think about three things: the SITUATION, the SPEAKER and the SERMON.
At first, when the visitors began to hear the gospel in their native tongues they were more caught up in the language than the message, but quickly that began to change.
The disciples were witnessing, the hearers were wondering, some people were arguing, and others were shouting that the disciples must be drunk.
It was a cacophony of languages and sounds; it was pandemonium, a wild uproar of noise and clamor.
And unlike our little congregation here, the crowd was not very sympathetic to the message.
Many of these people were the same ones which had cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him.”
The visitors which had arrived since the Passover, specifically for Pentecost, were confused by the witness of the 120.
People’s ears were hearing things that their hearts were not particularly enjoying.
Many of the people in the throng that morning were priests and scribes of the Sadducean sect.
And then there were lots of Pharisees as well, who were just as guilty of the crucifixion as were their more liberal cousins.
But then on the other hand there were probably some who were looking for the consolation of Israel.
These many visitors were among the most religious in the world, so many of them were good people.
But when he was done there were just three kinds of people left:
There were those who had been broken by the Spirit through the preaching of the Word.
But the city was not won to Christ, as we see from the persecution that was raised against the church.
They were not antagonistic to the truth, but they were not convinced that it was the truth either.
“And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them. Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed.”
The sermonic situation on the Day of Pentecost was somewhat unique.
It appears that he was, but that is only an assumption.
We remember that he had the habit of taking the bull by the horns, and opening his mouth before anyone had a chance to speak.
I don’t doubt that the Holy Spirit controlled this situation and this sermon,
So I have no doubt that Peter was the right man to speak that day whether the church voted on it or not.
But let’s think about a couple of things:
Based upon what little that the Lord has revealed to us, it appears that Peter sank about as Spiritually low as any of the disciples with the possible exception of Thomas.
But, Peter was forgiven and restored by the Lord while up there on one of the beaches in Galilee.
“Lovest thou me, Peter? Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep.”
Perhaps they were better physically equipped to preach to a crowd of many thousands of people.
I have no proof of that, but it is a possibly.
The speech of a Bostonian is considerably different from someone from Alabama or Mississippi.
And it might be the pot calling the kettle “black,” but the one usually thinks that the other talks funny.
Most of the people who heard Peter preach that day would have said that he talked like a hilly-billy.
But his vocabulary, his diction and his enunciation were not the important part of the sermon.
I try very hard to follow proper rules of grammar, but I probably break at least one rule every message.
But if another man should stand on this pulpit, with nothing but a 6thgrade education, he should be respectfully heard if he’s preaching the Word of God.
There could very well have been members of the church who were better public speakers than Peter,
But it doesn’t appear to have been God’s will that they be the preacher on the Day of Pentecost.
Sometimes God chooses the foolish things and the things that are naught to bring to confound those who think that they are wise.
And in that regard there is something else to consider about Peter and to remember today:
Peter had still a lot of things to learn.
He was not THEOLOGICALLY complete, HOMILETICALLY prefect or even POLITICALLY correct.
And then even after that, he held gentile Christians at arm’s length, until he was rebuked by Paul.
And similarly, when you find the perfect preacher you better lock him up, because you’re going to eventually loose him, and you’ll never find another one.
Christ Jesus has been the only perfect pastor or preacher.
But Peter was the man of that hour, and the Lord blessed Him and used Him.
I have been preaching the word of God for over 30 years, and I have yet to preach a message which I considered a great sermon.
When I was in my second year of Bible school, we had a homiletics class.
Even the best of the class were critiqued and worthy of extensive criticism.
But those outlines were copied and distributed to the class,
And over the years I have reworked and re-preached some of those outlines.
Any weak and thin left over soup can be turned into something delightful with a little work and some more ingredients.
So how did Peter’s sermon go?
Well, he began where the people were.
These are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.”
It was similar to the Lord Jesus’ use of parables to make an application.
“Behold the lily of the field; the fig tree; and the red sky in the morning.”
Secondly, Peter quoted scripture and explained it.
His was a Biblical sermon, not a philosophical discourse and not a pontifical diatribe.
He took a scripture and applied it to the people who were in his audience, and finally he exhorted them.
In this way, the first Christian sermon of the post-ascension period was a prototype of every good Christian sermon.
Thirdly, Peter was preaching with fire in his belly, which was a part of his personality.
There are times when I know that I’m more worked up and animated than other times.
The reason was the way that message related to me personally.
And the Lord blessed it with great conviction and souls born again.
Ah, how I wish that was true of more of my messages.