May 15, 2005

Acts 2:14-21 Sermon Notes

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Acts 2:14-21
(May 15, 2005 Sermon Notes)

In some ways, what happened on Pentecost was unexpected. But in other ways, it was expected. It was promised by Jesus (Acts 1:4-5, 8 ), so the disciples should have anticipated it. But it was also promised by God through the prophets, and Israel should have anticipated it. That’s what Peter makes clear in his Pentecost sermon.

ALL FLESH (2:14-18)

When the church proclaimed God’s works in different tongues, some people accused them of being drunk. Peter rejects that interpretation: it’s the third hour (9 AM), too early to be drunk.

Since the number three often has to do with preliminary judgments in the Bible, it’s possible that there’s a hint of that here: The Spirit has passed by these people and that means that it’s time for them to repent and get on the right track before it’s too late.

Peter offers a different explanation of what happened: it is the fulfillment of what God said through Joel (2:28-32). These are the “last days” of the Old Covenant, the time when the Old Covenant reached its goal. Now, because Jesus has been glorified, God has at last poured out Hi Spirit on “all flesh,” that is, on the whole of Israel — parents and children, young and old — and even on Israel’s servants. In fact, we’ll see later in Acts that He is including Gentiles as well as Jews.

In Numbers 11, the Spirit came on the seventy elders of Israel. But Moses wished that all God’s people would be prophets. At Pentecost, God granted that wish. The whole church prophesied, proclaiming God’s works.

We don’t prophesy the same way today (i.e., speaking words inspired by God) and even these early Christians didn’t all keep doing so (see 1 Cor. 12), but we are all still prophets in other ways. We do all know God (Jer. 31:34). We’re members of His council who speak to Him and for Him. God’s Spirit empowers us to bear witness to Jesus.


The outpouring of the Spirit on the church, not on the rest of Israel, is itself a judgment and it’s the prelude to judgment. The “day of the Lord” is coming, the day when God would vindicate His people and destroy His enemies.

That day will involve signs and wonders. There will be signs of war on earth (blood, fire, smoke); rulers — described symbolically as heavenly bodies (see Gen. 1:14; Isa. 13:10; Ezek. 32:7-8) — will be destroyed. Peter is warning his hearers that Israel’s lights are about to go out.

That judgment, which happened in AD 70, is a foretaste of the final judgment which will involve all nations. But those who call on the name of the Lord (Jesus) and are baptized into His name will be saved and will receive His Spirit (Acts 2:38, 40) because Jesus bore the judgment for us.

Posted by John Barach @ 9:47 am | Discuss (0)

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