************ Sermon on Acts 2:36 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on August 19, 2018
"The Spirit Comes on Pentecost (4)"
Profession of Faith
On Pentecost there was a sound like the blowing of a violent wind, but there was no wind. There was what seemed to be tongues of fire, but there was no fire. Jews from different parts of the Roman Empire gathered together and heard the disciples declare the wonderful works of God in the languages of the nations.
Do you know what all this was? It was the Spirit's introduction to Peter's sermon. It is like when you go to a concert and a little known singer or group warms up the crowd for the main act. That's what the Spirit was doing that day. It was warming up the crowd for the sermon.
So, what was Peter's message to the crowd? What is Peter's message to those who profess their faith this morning? Using the words of our text: Jesus is "Lord and Christ."
"Lord" is another word for King, Ruler, Master. Jesus is the King eternal. His the scepter, His the throne. The meaning of "Lord" for you and me is reflected in the words we are singing after the message this morning:
All my tomorrows, all my past --My thoughts, my longings, my dreams, my possessions, my life -- I submit them all to King Jesus.
Jesus is Lord of all.
I've quit my struggles, contentment at last!
Jesus is Lord of all.
King of kings, Lord of lords,
Jesus is Lord of all;
All my possessions and all my life,
Jesus is Lord of all.
"Christ" is the Greek word for "Messiah." Jesus is the promised Messiah. The Seed of Abraham through Whom all the nations of earth will be blessed. The One Who establishes the Kingdom of God in which all wrongs are made right, all injustice is gone, the curse of the Fall is removed, the lion lays down with the lamb, and the desert blooms like a garden.
Jesus is Lord and Christ. Which means you need to turn from your sin and to Jesus. Which means you need to get saved. Which means you need to profess faith in Jesus -- as was done this morning. By the way, if anyone here wants to become a full member of the church as a confessing member, please feel free to talk to me. Hardly anything gets me more excited than people taking Pastor's Class and joining the church.
Jesus is Lord and Christ. How do we know? How does Peter prove this? Peter points to four things: first, His life; second, His death; third, His resurrection; fourth, His exaltation to the right hand of God.
I The Life of Jesus - vs 22
A Jesus is Lord and Christ. How do we know? Look at His life, His ministry:
(Acts 2:22) "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.
There are three things to note here. First, Peter identifies Jesus as "Jesus of Nazareth." The Jews called Him "Jesus of Nazareth" as a way to mock Him. Remember how they said nothing good comes out of Nazareth?! Nazareth was a nothing town. No prophet and certainly no Messiah comes out of Nazareth. So Peter says this Jesus you mocked and poked fun of and refused to accept is Lord and Christ.
Second, Jesus was accredited by God. Accredited. Proven. Demonstrated. This word is used in 1 Corinthians 4:9 for putting something on display. So the idea is that God has put Jesus on display. In Acts 25:7 the word is used for evidence to prove a point. So Jesus is a man proved by God. In 2 Thessalonians 2:4 the word is used to claim a high office. So God proclaims that Jesus is Lord and Christ, King and Messiah. The point is God did it. In the life of Jesus, it is God Who shows Jesus is Lord and Christ. This is another way for God to announce, "This is my Son. With Him I am well-pleased." To reject Jesus is to reject Him Who is accredited by God -- even as earlier in their history they rejected Elijah and Jeremiah and other servants of God.
Third, the Jews were witnesses to this. They saw the miracles, wonders, and signs. These were done before Israel and in Israel and for Israel. Though their hearts were hard. Though their hearts were full of unbelief. Though they refused to believe what was staring them in the face. This was grace at work. Grace to unbelieving sinners. So they would repent and believe in Jesus as Lord and Christ.
B God did it. God proved Him to be Lord and Christ by "miracles, wonders and signs." What kinds of miracles, wonders, and signs? A man with leprosy was made clean (Mk 1:40ff). A paralytic was let down through the roof and Jesus not only forgave his sins but also commanded him to get up, take his mat, and walk (Mk 2:1ff). Jesus raised a dead girl to life and healed a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years (Mk 5:21ff). Jesus fed the five thousand and the four thousand (Mk 6:30ff; 8:1ff). Jesus walked on water (Mk 6:45ff). Jesus healed a deaf and mute man (Mk 7:31ff). You get the picture. We see Jesus' power. We see His mighty deeds. We see His supernatural deeds. Deeds that aren't normal. Deeds that a mere man cannot do. Deeds that can't be explained by science or medicine. Deeds that can only come from God.
Nicodemus came to Jesus one night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him" (Jn 3:2). Nicodemus was right. God was with Him. Jesus was accredited by God. He was approved by God.
And yet, and yet, many in Israel refused to believe. Because they were blind to the truth. Because they were filled with hate and darkness. Because their religion was all outward show and not a matter of the heart. Thus they committed the greatest sin ever: they rejected Jesus. In spite of the testimony of His life.
The same thing happens today. Unbelievers and atheists continue to hate Him. They hate His miracles, wonders, and signs.. Back in the 18th century the liberals went through the Bible and ripped all the miracles out. No miracles, no signs, no wonders means Jesus is NOT approved by God. This means there is nothing special about Him. This means they can ignore Him and His claims.
Does this describe you? Are you one of those who has closed their heart to the truth about Jesus of Nazareth? Or, do you acknowledge -- as was done this morning -- that Jesus is both Lord and Christ?
II The Death of Jesus - vs 23
A This brings us to our second point. How do we know Jesus is Lord and Christ? His death shows us Who He is. Listen to verse 23:
(Acts 2:23) This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.Let's look at the different words and phrases.
"God's set purpose and foreknowledge." The Sanhedrin thought it was their idea to get rid of Jesus. That Jesus was their victim. That they were the ones in charge. If that is the case, then Jesus can't be the Messiah and ruler, then Jesus has no power and no control. No, No, No, says Peter. Nothing doing. His death was predetermined. Yes, you did it. You crucified Him. But you did so at the time God determined, in the way God determined, at the place God determined. It was all according to the Plan -- the plan of God from eternity. God mapped it all out. He planned exactly what was going to happen. His purposes run the world.
B Jesus was "handed over." Here is a word commonly used of those who are surrendered over to their enemies. Think of Samson handed over to the Philistines by the men of Judah (Judges 15). Jesus was "handed over" by God. Jesus was handed over to the Jews to be put to death. So Jesus was no victim. He was a willing participant.
C Peter says to his audience, "you crucified ..." But I can also say the same thing to every person here: "you crucified ..." The Jews were the instigators. The Romans were the executioners. But you and I are equally responsible.
You see, according to the plan of God someone had to die for sin. Someone had to pay for sin. The sins of the Jews. Your sins. My sins. The sins of those who professed their faith this morning. That someone is Jesus of Nazareth. So we also crucified Him. But, again, this was part of the plan. The death of Jesus is the only thing that makes us right with God. The death of Jesus is the only thing that gives us peace with God. No other death give us peace with God. No other death makes payment for our sins.
His death shows us, tells us, proves to us He is both Lord and Christ.
III The Resurrection of Jesus - vs 24-32
A This brings us to our third point. How do we know Jesus is Lord and Christ? His resurrection shows us Who He is. Listen to verse 24:
(Acts 2:24) But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
The resurrection is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. It is mentioned over one hundred times in the New Testament. Without it the Christian faith dies. The crucifixion loses its meaning without the resurrection. Without the resurrection, Jesus' death is heroic or noble or pathetic or miserable; it certainly does not bring salvation and forgiveness. Without the resurrection, Jesus is not and never will be both Lord and Christ. The resurrection is so central that the disciple chosen to take the place of Judas needed to be a witness of the resurrection (Acts 1:22).
Jesus came out of the grave alive. He Who was dead, Who was killed, Who was crucified, came out of the grave alive. This was the key point, the main point, the longest point, of Peter's sermon. Peter dedicates one verse to the life of Jesus. Peter spends one verse on the death of Jesus. Peter devotes three verses to the exaltation of Jesus. But Peter uses nine whole verses on the resurrection.
How do we know Jesus is Lord and Christ? Don't look primarily at His teaching. Don't look primarily at His miracles. Don't look primarily at His death. Don't look primarily at His exaltation to the right hand of God. The resurrection is the key to Who Jesus is. The resurrection -- more than anything else -- shows Jesus to be both Lord and Christ.
B "But God raised him." He Whom you killed, God raised. The Jews are at one end of the spectrum -- they are doing the killing. God is at the other end of the spectrum -- He is doing the raising. You have killed Him, God has raised Him.
"But God raised him." The resurrection, says Peter, is an act of God. How do we describe God? What do we say He is? Listen to how Paul describes Him in Romans 4: "him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead" (Rom 4:24). Who is God? "Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead." What an awesome description of Who God is. "Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead."
"Freeing him from the agony of death." Or, we can say "pangs of death." The Greek word refers to birth pangs. It has to do with the contractions and labor and pain and agony a woman has prior to giving birth to a child. Now, all of this agony is temporary because afterward is something glorious. For Jesus, the pangs of death were temporary; what followed was something glorious and wonderful -- the resurrection! Death was a temporary birth pang which gave birth to the resurrected life.
Now, what was true for Jesus is also true for us who believe in Jesus. Death is temporary -- like child birth; what is forever is the new life, the resurrected life, that follows.
"Because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him." There was no way death could hold on to Jesus. Impossible. Because -- hear this -- because He is Lord and Christ. Because His is power and majesty and glory and honor and position and honor and praise. "I am the resurrection and the life," He said. Not, "I am death and hell and hades." "I am the resurrection and the life."
IV The Exaltation of Jesus - vs 33-35
A This brings us to our fourth point. How do we know Jesus is Lord and Christ? His exaltation shows us Who He is. Listen to verse 33:
(Acts 2:33) Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
"Exalted." Someone did the exalting. God, of course. The God Who accredited Him. The God Whose plan handed Him over. The God Who raised Him. This God also exalted Him.
B What happened to Jesus of Nazareth when everything was said and done? He was exalted. How? He ascended to heaven. He was seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. God gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. The Father rules all things through Him.
And, as the ascended Lord and Christ, He poured out the Spirit upon the church. That is, Jesus rules all things for the church, for the elect, for the Gospel.
Jesus was accredited by miracles. He was handed over to die. He was raised from the dead. He was exalted.
What does this tell you? "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
Is this what you confess? Is this what you believe?
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