Acts Chapter 02 Part 2
Today: [Acts 02: Part 2] What Does this Mean and what Must We Do? In Part two of our study of Acts 2, we consider Peter’s great Pentecostal sermon. The resurrection figured prominently in this declaration, and Peter emphasized the speaking in other tongues as the singular evidence of the resurrected Christ. In response to the power of this message and this experience the people present cry out “what does this mean?” and “what must we do?” The result was 3000 souls kickstarting the fledgling early church.
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[Act 2:22-47 KJV] 22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. 29 Men [and] brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all [men], as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
In Acts 2 Part 1 we see the Holy Spirit poured out upon 120 of Jesus’ followers who heeded His instructions to go to the Upper Room and wait for the promise of the Father. This is the same upper room where the Last Supper was held. It is the same upper room where the disciples cowered in fear when Jesus appeared suddenly among them, breathing upon them saying “receive the Holy Ghost.” They received the Holy Spirit when Jesus breathed on them; they were baptized in that same Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
Sometimes people want to split hairs over the terms “Holy Spirit” and “Holy Ghost.” There is no difference. The Holy Spirit is the Holy Ghost, and the Holy Ghost is the Holy Spirit. Just as the term Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are synonymous and interchangeable, likewise these two references to the third person of the Trinity are likewise interchangeable.
After the initial outpouring, the attention of the crowds in the street came upon the 120 and the miraculous speaking and hearing that took place as thousands of Jews from all over the civilized world heard these men speaking in their native tongue as we discussed in the previous lesson (Part 1). Now that Peter has their attention, He stands up to address them. The result of Peter’s message will result in 3000 converts to the fledgling, unnamed movement.
In verse 22 Peter begins by speaking of Jesus as a man approved by God among them by signs, miracles, and wonders. That is an interesting thought. Do signs and wonders constitute the approval of heaven? Most ministers who notably do NOT have miracles and wonders of their own to demonstrate will loudly emphasize that just because someone gets a miracle doesn’t mean that God approves of them in any way. How does that line up with what Peter is saying about Jesus Himself? Were it not for signs, miracles, and wonders we would in all likelihood not know who Jesus is today. Miracles and wonders do say something about a person who is testifying to the God we serve. We need to stop marginalizing what we don’t experience just because it makes us look powerless. Unless we are seeing signs, wonders, and miracles in our lives, we have nothing to boast about. One religious ideology is as good as another. Remember that Jesus didn’t send the disciples out without power. He wanted them to wait. If you have no power and no signs and wonders maybe you need to go and wait on the promise of the Father instead of giving a powerless testimony that means nothing to those languishing in darkness. We need to rethink things when it comes to these matters.
Jesus, the miracle worker Peter goes on, was delivered by God’s predetermined plan to the hands of evil men. This was only to show not only that Jesus had power in life but also to demonstrate His ultimate supremacy over death itself not only for His own sake but for all those that believe. This is the one great fact that we tend to de-emphasize. These people saw and handled the resurrected Christ. Everything that Jesus said to them for 40 days before the resurrection was inclusive in nature. They had every expectation that the resurrection power they saw in Jesus demonstrated without question – also had implications for them, which is why for instance they thought that John the Beloved would not die a natural death but go on living forever. These people were RADICAL in their faith as so should we because we have the promise of a generation who will not sleep but shall all be changed, circumventing the grave and walking into their immortality. Verse 24 says it was not possible for the grave to hold Jesus, therefore because of Jesus it is not possible for the grave to hold us. If we go by way of the grave, glory be to God. If we walk into our immortality, then we have put on our glorified body. Either way – all praise to God for what He has wrought for us in Christ.
Peter then makes reference to David as Jesus Himself did. David by the spirit of prophecy called Jesus Lord and looked by faith for his own resurrection. Peter mentions David’s sepulcher because David’s sepulcher is located and has been located from antiquity BELOW the upper room. It was in sight and no doubt what Peter was pointing at when he made these statements! Unless you have been to the Holy Land, you won’t get this reference but we’ve been in the upper room and walked down the steps and under that location immediately adjacent to it is the tomb of David.
This Jesus, Peter declares is not only not in the grave but is in fact at the right hand of God exalted. That was more messianic insight than those listening to Peter had ever considered. They saw the Messiah as a political and military deliverer. Peter is saying that they were not thinking big enough. Jesus wasn’t Messiah to overthrow the Romans only. He was Messiah, to conquer death, cleanse from sin and open the way to the Father not by a religious system called Judaism but by identifying Himself as the way into the HOliest by His broken, crucified and now resurrected body.
Because Jesus conquered death, He sent down the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as evidence of His supremacy. In other words, how shall we prove the resurrection? Moses proved His authority by throwing down a rod and seeing it turn into a serpent. Jesus gives us no such thing. Our proof and the only immediate proof Jesus gave to His disciples to manifest as evidence of the resurrection was the outpouring of the Holy Ghost with evidence of speaking in other tongues. Do you know what that means? The resurrection is IN your mouth!
This is the Jesus they have crucified and being pricked in their hearts by the VALIDITY of what they have experienced in watching and hearing the miracle of Pentecost they ask a compelling two-part question:
What does this mean (initially) and what must we do (once they listened to the message). If you are going to be a witness, there must be something manifest in your life that causes people to ask the question “what doest his mean?” to which your answer provokes the follow up “what must we do…” Notice it isn’t what must we believe (mental assent). These people understood that whatever their response to Pentecost it involved DOING something not just adopting a corpus of theological understanding and religious nomenclature.
What does Peter say? Repent and be baptized and you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (and speak in tongues). The only way these people would have known they received the gift is if they did what they saw these people doing and that was speaking in tongues. Without speaking in tongues, you might have the Holy Spirit IN YOU, but you are not baptized in the Holy Spirit in any fashion – if you are going to measure your understanding of the experience by what the Bible actually says and not flawed anemic religious understanding.
What does it mean to repent? The word here used is “metanoia” which literally means “after mind.” That is why it is the goodness of God that leads men to repent. To repent means to adopt the mentality and consequent lifestyle changes that would spontaneously be your choice once you see the goodness of God manifest in your life in radical measure. Don’t wait for it to happen, adopt that mentality NOW and then you will experience your breakthrough, your transformation, and miracle. This is the metanoia miracle awaiting all who hear and heed the true salvation message that Peter is typifying for us in our chapter. Many indeed did hear and repent and get baptized and consequently were filled with the Holy Spirit, a total of over 3000 souls in one day, in one altar call!
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