Some of the most important scriptures have the word “faith” at their core.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
Our ministry can be characterized as “testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Heb. 11 defines faith this way: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
So faith is the tunnel through which we come to the heart of Christianity.
But quite obviously, this has to be the right kind of faith and it must be placed in the right Persons & things.
But that faith is corrupt and will eventually be a part of that person’s eternal condemnation.
And this puts the Bible on an extremely important pedestal.
The Bible is the revelation of the One Whom, and in Whom, we are to believe.
And the Bible is filled with promise after promise from that One Who cannot lie.
A person could very reasonably characterize the Bible as a Book of Promises.
There are those promises that are clearly declared and others which are beautifully implied.
And we find them all the way from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22.
If there were no promises, there would be far less reason for faith and far less likelihood of faith.
In the Book of Luke the Lord Jesus told the Apostles:
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you.”
Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
And when a huge crowd of excited Jews began to gather there in one of the courtyards of the Temple,
Peter arose to explain what was going on.
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.”
There are a few very slight differences between what we read in Joel and what Peter quoted.
One of those differences is found in the introduction:
Peter said, “And it shall come to pass IN THE LAST DAYS, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh.”
We live in the United States of America; a country which has been in existence for 227 years.
Joel was a prophet of God who preached to Israel about 800 B.C.
If the Exodus took place in 1491 B.C., Israel was then about 3 times as old as the United States is now.
But Peter preached his Pentecostal sermon about 800 years after that, or just about 1500 years after Israel became the nation of God.
It’s not unreasonable to say that if Exodus spoke about the “first days,” then Acts could very easily be talking about the “last days.”
And then we factor in the message of the Prophet Daniel.
Turn to Daniel 9:24-26:
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
69 of those weeks of years were going to be spent prior to the cutting off of the Messiah.
There would then be left only one more special week of time for Israel.
The 70th week of Daniel will be spent in tribulation when the house of Israel is made ready for its King.
And we praise the Lord for that gap, because it was time pre-determined by God so that gentiles like us might be grafted into the program of God.
Peter was quite right in saying, “These are the beginning of the last days, Israel.
It’s time to get ready for the Messiah to return in triumphant glory.
It’s time to call upon the Name of the Lord for salvation.”
In one sense, the last days commenced at the crucifixion of the Saviour.
And the 70th week of Daniel could very easily begin within the next few seconds.
Amen! Even come Lord Jesus.
We might turn to Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Isaiah or some of the minor prophets for more information.
And of course, we could spend the rest of the day studying the Book of Revelation for more.
But it’s not our purpose right now.
What are the characteristics to which Peter and Joel refer?
They boil down to two things: spectacular signs, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
The disciples were being slandered by some people in the crowd as being drunk.
Peter denied the charge by saying that they were all filled with the Spirit of God, just as Joel had said.
The statement was that God would “pour out His Spirit upon all flesh.”
Did that mean that all the people of the world, or even all the people of Israel, would be indwelt and/or filled with the Spirit of God?
Nor has it ever happened since.
Furthermore there are no other scriptures telling us that it ever will happen.
It is a promise that, not only will these 120 be filled, but so will be people who speak each of the tongues who heard the disciples witnessing in this chapter, and other tongues as well.
When the Lord Jesus reiterated Joel’s promise back in chapter 1, He said,
“Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
In the 2000 years since Acts 2 the gospel has been spread throughout the world.
There have been ambassadors for Christ, relentlessly pushing the gospel into the deepest jungles of Africa, South America and the South Pacific.
The gospel is being broadcast into the most remote and forbidden places by way of short wave radio and other means.
And when a sinner is born again by the grace of God, he is immediately indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
Upon him is poured the Spirit of the Lord.
When John laid down the pen which recorded the Book of Revelation, sometime around 96 or 98 AD.,
Where the people of the Lord saw dreams and visions, and people were given special prophecies.
The Book of Revelation is a perfect example.
Today’s prophet is simply a spokesman for God;
A preacher of the revelation that has already been given.
As Peter was a prophet of God on the Day of Pentecost.
And Lanny Wood has been lead of the Spirit to preach to a couple of churches in Brazil.
And P.V. Zugg has declared the Word of the Lord somewhere in Egypt today.
And Young Ho Lee has been laboring in the Word on the island of Okinawa.
But what about the signs in the Heavens above and in the earth beneath?
There are some over-zealous preachers who have tried to convince us that these things actually took place either on the day that the Lord Jesus was crucified or else when he arose from the grave.
And I have serious doubts.
I am forced by these things to believe that these are yet to come.
John tells us that during the Tribulation, there will be cosmic disturbances which will help to decimate the wicked of the world.
The dying sun and earthly smoke will make the green cheese of the moon look more like nacho cheese.
We are still in what Peter refers to here as “the last Days.”
It began at the time of the Lord’s crucifixion, but it will end perhaps no more than a decade from now.
There have been some great and notable days since the Lord commensed His creation.
In fact that first day of creation has to be one of the greatest: “And God said, Let there be light and there was light.”
The day when the Lord revealed His heart and will to Israel in the giving of the law was a great day.
The day in which our Saviour died, has to be considered one of the most important days in human history.
Certainly the Day of Pentecost was a great day, although it was not as important as some seem to think.
But there is yet another great day coming.
It will be a greater day than Pentecost.
In many ways it will be greater than any of the days of creation, or the day of the law.
In fact, in some ways it will supercede even the Day of our Atonement.
Because it will mean the completion of certain aspects of our salvation.
On that great and notable day of the Lord,
The Saviour will come “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” – II Thessalonians 1:8.
On the great and notable day of the Lord “the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” – Psalm 9:17.
On the great and notable day of the Lord –
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
That will be a great and notable day, because my Lord and Saviour will be shown to be great & notable.
Satan will be judged.
And the wicked will be cast into Hell.
And those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb will be honored along side the Saviour.
Paul uses the same language in Romans 10:
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”
And Paul unmistakably relates it to the preaching of the gospel of Christ.
The problem is in the misinterpretation which modern evangelicals so often apply to these words.
Somewhere along the line, people have decided that calling on the Name of the Lord simply means prayer.
Without saying that it does not refer to prayer, it definitely means much more than prayer.
When the Bible uses the words “Name of the Lord” it is referring to the omnipotent Person behind the title.
To call upon the name of the Lord is to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord.
It means that the man who calls upon Him is ready to face the great and notable day of the Lord.
To call upon the Name of the Lord, is to come before Him with proper humility, faith and repentance.
To call upon the name of the Lord isn’t to pray using the name of Jesus, it is to bow in total surrender, before Him to Whom the Father has given all power and authority.
Joel 2:28-32 is one of the many great evangelical passages in the Old Testament.
The great and notable day of the Lord will be EXPERIENCED by all creation, from Adam to the very last baby born.
But the great and notable day of the Lord will be CELEBRATED only by those who have bowed before Christ at the cross where He gave His life as a sacrifice for sin.
Are YOU ready for that day?
Or will you celebrate that day?
Are you ready to stand before the One Who will say to many,