A Church Is Planted

Acts 2:22-47

A.  Address of Peter  vv. 22-36

1.  the man  vv. 22-24

a.  accredited (demonstrated) as sent from God

  • miracles – δύναμις dunamis; power, especially miraculous power
  • wonders – τέρας teras; vindication of divine power and authority; always used with σημεῖον when referring to God’s miraculous deeds
  • signs – σημεῖον semeion; indicator of divine person and authority
  • Jesus’ testimony of Himself: Isa_61:1-2 Luk_4:16-21 Mat_11:2-5

    Luke 4:16-21 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captivesAnd recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

    Matthew 11:2-5 And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

b.  “surrounded” by Providence

“Every circumstance attending Jesus’ death on the cross forms a part of the strictly ordained counsel of God, and helps to fill the measured cup of his dying sufferings.”  Rudolf Stier, Words of the Apostles

God in his infinite wisdom and purpose had set the horizon ( ὁρίζω ), the boundary, within which events must take place, including all things concerning the treatment of his Son.  This was not a chance happening, a case of mistaken identity or an unfortunate setup.  It was the means by which God in his Providence  would effect redemption for his people.

c.  unjustly put to death

Those described as lawless could fit into two different categories: those destitute of the Mosaic law (Gentiles) or those who violated established law.  In Jesus’ case, it was both.

“The Sanhedrin also followed some important laws. Any false witness would pay the same penalty as the one he witnessed against. They could not prosecute the accused; they could only try him. No court could convene at night or in any other place except the Judgment Hall. No hearing could convene in the late afternoon, lest justice be hurried to a hasty and wrongful conclusion. No convicted criminal could be executed the same day he was tried. A one-day interval was required. No execution could be held on a feast day, or the day before. All the votes were carefully counted. And no one could incriminate himself by giving testimony against himself.

The Jewish leaders violated every single one of those safeguards. They never gave Jesus a public trial; they held it privately. They didn’t allow Him to make a defense–no witnesses spoke on His behalf. They couldn’t find two or more witnesses to convict Him of anything. They actually bribed some false witnesses, which was contrary to their efforts of discouraging false witnesses through severe punishment. They were not allowed to prosecute an individual, yet they did that. There was no prior prosecution because there was no crime. They met in the middle of the night. They sentenced and executed Him the same day. The trial took place on a feast day. They met outside the Hall of Judgment. And they never bothered to count the votes.”  John MacArthur, Jesus on Trial


d.  unconquered by death

The God who delivered him to death raised him from death; that same God broke the clutches of death that tried to hold him.  Not only was it not possible for death to restrain Christ, it simply and absolutely lacked the power ( δυνατός ) to do so.  Death can have no more power over the one who is the life ( Joh_14:6 ) than darkness can smother light.

2.  the prophecies  vv. 25-28, 34-35

a.  David – Psa_16:8-11

b.  Exposition – vv. 29-33

Since David said that God had promised that his Holy One would not experience the corruption of death, and since David’s bones were in his tomb, David could not have been talking about himself.  Additionally, God had promised a descendant of David who would sit on an eternal throne ( Psa_89:35-36 ); there must be one in the line of David who would not remain captive to death, who would be raised from the dead.

Peter declared that they all were witnesses that God had kept his promise, he had in fact raised Jesus from the grave.  But wait, there’s more!  God has exalted him, raised him from the lowest depths to the highest heights to the right hand (place of honor and authority) of God.  Not only that, he followed through on the promise of the Holy Spirit which they were seeing the evidence of at that moment.

c.  David – Psa_110:1

see also Mat_22:42-45  Jesus’ question of the Pharisees regarding Psalm 110:1

d.  Conclusion – v. 36

Since all these things are true, here’s “the bottom line” – this Jesus you crucified God has so completely glorified as to make him King Messiah.  He is not a pretender to the throne, he is the one anointed for it.  He is the King-Savior; any savior who is less than the King of kings and Lord of lords is a mere caricature of the true Lord Jesus.

B.  Answer  of the People  vv. 37-40

1.  sorrow and mourning (foretold Zec_12:10 )

“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.

a.  for treatment of Messiah

Given eyes to see by the Holy Spirit they recognized not only the heinousness of their treatment of Jesus; they also saw and acknowledged the enormity of their sin.  As they looked on the crucified Christ, the one pierced for them, they were pierced in their hearts also.

b.  for the bleakness of their future

From their perspective there was no hope, no reason to expect they could ever be free of guilt and escape God’s just wrath.  Their good opinion of themselves had completely evaporated as they recognized their total lack of favorable standing before God.

2.  Now what?

By addressing themselves to the Twelve, the questioners in the crowd showed they had taken ownership of their great sinfulness – they didn’t seek to justify themselves, they didn’t appeal to the scribes and Pharisees, they identified themselves with the Apostles.

Those men, therefore, are profitably pricked alone who are willingly sorrowful, and do also seek some remedy at God’s hands.  John Calvin, in loco.

True conversion is always accompanied by a response, never by apathy.  The convicted sinner senses his guilt, recognizes his danger, and seeks after a remedy.

3.  Peter responds

a.  Repent

change your mind about your sin (it is not an accpetable choice), think of it as something abhorrent and distasteful (cosmic treason), turn away from it (sin) and to God (your hope).

“False repentance dreads the consequences of sin; true repentance dreads sin itself. These persons whom Peter addressed had been merely alarmed; they were afraid of wrath, and especially of the wrath of the Messiah. They had no true sense of sin as an evil, but were simply afraid of punishment. This alarm Peter did not regard as by any means genuine repentance. Such conviction for sin would soon wear off, unless their repentance became thorough and complete. Hence, he told them to repent, to turn from sin, to exercise sorrow for it as an evil and bitter thing, and to express their sorrow in the proper manner.”  Albert Barnes, in loco.

b.  be baptized …in the name of Jesus Christ

literally, upon the name, not in or into as other passages have; upon the foundation of Jesus, upon a confession of faith in him; demonstrate by deed as well as word a radical break with past life; public declaration of identification with Christ.  Peter’s goal was not: how easy can it be to be accept and submit to the claims of Christ.  His goal was to preach a true Gospel – the price for confession of Christ is high, it costs us ourselves.

c.  witnessing and calling near (testify and exhort)  v.40

Even for these who had participated in the greatest injustice of all time, Peter doesn’t abandon them but continues to reason with them.  He exhorts them to change their mind about their sinfulness – acknowledging that they have sinned against God and that He and not their own goodness represents their only hope.

Their only hope and comfort would be to throw themselves wholly on God’s mercy, trusting in his promises.  God had promised forgiveness to all who would call on him, even this crowd of people and their descendants.  Peter also throws in a “brain bender” here, testifying that God’s promise extends to the Gentiles (remember the ‘lawless hands’) as well.  Those who had carried out the actual execution would not be ignored by God if they sincerely turned to him.

C.  Actions of the Proselytes  vv. 41-47

1.  welcomed the message – understood and received favorably

2.  were baptized

true, sincere and genuine repentance (evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work, not a mere emotional response) is logically and immediately followed by action

3.  were added to the church (see v. 47)

4.  devoted themselves to life of the church

They held nothing back but gave their all to the cause of Christ

  • doctrine
  • fellowship
  • breaking of bread
  • prayers
  • were together
  • provided for one another’s needs

The Holy Spirit works in his mysterious way, the soul looks upon Christ crucified, mourning for Him and for sin follows, that is, true repentance.

Pray for

  • a working of the Spirit,
  • faithful proclamation and presentation of Christ crucified,
  • souls to be converted and repent of their sin,
  • them to follow Christ in baptism and addition to a local church.

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