Acts 2:14-41 An Evangelistic Blueprint

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood,
    before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him,

“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
    for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
    my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
    or let your Holy One see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
    you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit at my right hand,
35     until I make your enemies your footstool.’

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

A Evangelistic Blueprint

The occasion for Peter’s world-changing sermon is that he is responding to accusations that he is drunk.  The disciples are speaking in languages they have never learned and there is a cacophony of noise.  Those surrounding the disciples respond both positively and negatively but Peter’s sermon is a response to those who respond negatively.

The Christian needs to be ready to respond with confidence to the life of society as a whole.  If negative remarks about the faith are an opportunity to speak in its defence, the world is full of opportunities.  If we are living out what we believe, we will have a chance to speak about it.

The speech is rooted in the authority of scripture and the life of Christ. Peter refers to biblical passages with which his listeners were quite familiar.  Whether the listeners accept Peter’s point, he is justifying himself by the authority of God’s word.  Peter also knows the life of Christ.  None of the gospels had been written, so Peter is speaking as an eye-witness.

Peter speaks of what he has experienced.  Individual experience alone makes for a weak argument, but the combination of experience with other sources, including shared experience, makes for a strong argument over all.

Peter accuses the crowds of wrong-doing.  He shows them that by their actions they can know that their hearts are wrong.  Today, we often shy away from talking about sin.  However, if we keep reinforcing what is right in life without addressing what is wrong there will be no conversion.  The Bible teaches that there is essentially something wrong at the core of human experience that comes from a basic orientation of life in the wrong direction.  We receive in our lives (both this and the next) the outworking of our focus.

‘Evangelists’ according to popular musician Matt Corby, seem like people with ‘devout beliefs that ruin their lives.’  I am wondering if Matt Corby sees this opinion as a devout belief.  He speaks some truth, though.  There are too many preachers driven by guilt or marked by fear and anger.  Peter and the disciples are marked by joy and excitement.  Peter is being set free from a restraining legalism that leaves people in a worse condition than when he finds them.  He is bold enough to speak truth and then gracious enough to share the cure.  He has a lot to learn, but he has learned a lot.

Prayer

Father, help us to live the truth.  Help us to embrace the opportunities that will come if we live out our private beliefs in public.

Questions

  1. What gives rise to Peter’s speech?
  2. What are his main points?
  3. Why do people respond as they do?
  4. What opportunities do people today have to talk about their faith?
  5. How can you increase your ability to talk about your faith at every opportunity?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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