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Peter’s Sermon at Pentecost
Know your audience
One of the fundamental truths of effective preaching, is to know your audience.
Who am I preaching to?
If I am preaching at a youth conference, it probably won’t be effective connect point for my opening illustration to talk about retirement.
Likewise, if am preaching to a senior citizens group at the nursing home, my opening illustration probable won’t be talking about posting selfies on Instagram.
Likewise, if I know that my audience is comprised of a group that are not yet saved, probably a sermon on the office of a bishop may not be the best direction to go.
Knowing the audience that you are preaching to enables for effective direction and effective delivery!
The scripture details for us the audience of Simon Peters message on the Day of Pentecost:
Vs. 5 Their culture - Jews that lived in Jerusalem.
Had come from diverse nations
Vs. 11 their condition - They were all amazed and were in doubt…To say that they were in doubt does not mean they doubted what was happening was real, or that it sincere.
Rather they were perplexed…they didn’t know what it was all about.
While vs. 13 tells us that some that were their mocked.
Author Andrew Smith stated “we fear what we don’t understand”.
All were amazed…and all were perplexed and some of those mocked...
and this is the audience that Simon Peter is about to preach to.
The question that he is preaching to is “What meaneth this?”
Knowing what question we are preaching to address allows us to be effective in preaching.
Usually, if we don’t know what question we are working to address, we leave with more questions than when we started.
The fact that they were amazed meant that he had a captive audience.
The fact that they were all Jews from Jerusalem, mean that this message was going to be convicting.
(These guys were part of the crowd that had demanded the crucifixion of Jesus)
the fact that they were all perplexed mean that his sermon had to be convincing.
Just as every Sunday, when I, or another minister stands to preach, we begin with a scriptural text as the foundation as to what message will be preached…Simon Peter begins with the same approach.
Before Peter preaches the heart of his message, he takes them to the scripture.
Again…the question that Peter is preaching to address is “what meaneth this?”
What is the meaning of all of these Galileans speaking in other tongues?
First he takes them to the book of Joel:
Peter would have said “Turn to Joel chapter 2 vs. 28 through 32
Point # 1.
This is That
What you are witnessing is the pouring out of God’s spirit upon all flesh.
This was not the complete fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy…but was a partial fulfilment.
As is stated in the Apostolic Study Bible:
While the entire content of Joel’s prophecy was not fulfilled that day (e.g., “the blood and fire and vapor of smoke,” v. 19), Peter acknowledged that those present were observing the outpouring of the Spirit on all flesh.
He specifically included men and women, sons and daughters, and male and female servants.
The inclusion of all flesh (other nations) was soon realized as Samaritans (Acts 8) and Gentiles (Acts 10) received the Holy Spirit.
The universal promise of the Holy Spirit was declared as a fulfillment of prophecy here and continued to be realized throughout the Book of Acts.
Peter Emphatically proved that THIS was evidence that Jesus was alive.
He used five convincing arguments to prove that Jesus was alive:
The testimony of who Jesus was demanded that He be raised from the dead.
- A man that had raised others from the dead, could not remain dead himself!
2. Psalms 16:8-11 predicted the resurrection
He goes on in vs. 29 through 31 to explain exactly what David was talking about
3. The Apostles themselves were witnesses and had seen the risen Christ
4. The coming of the Holy Ghost is proof that Jesus is alive:
5. Psalms 110:1 promised his resurrection
Keep in mind that Peter was not preaching the Gospel of the cross as we preach it today.
He was accusing Israel of a great crime (vv.
23) and warning them that they had rejected and crucified their own Messiah (v.
Peter was giving Israel one more opportunity to receive Christ.
They had slain John the Baptist and Jesus, but God was now giving them another chance.
The resurrection of Christ was the promised “sign of Jonah” that proved He was the Messiah (Matt.
(1) At the beginning, Peter knew his audience.
He knew that the men that he was preaching to were the ones that were responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus.
And so he had to preach conviction.
(2) He knew that these men had rejected Jesus as their messiah once before, but now, as Jesus was resurrected, they had another opportunity to receive Him as messiah...
And so his message had to be convincing
Vs. 37 tells us that Peters message delivered the payload and met its intended purpose
To which Peter replied the response of every sinner that is convicted of their sin (for it was not just the crowd that cried crucify at calvary....but it was our sins that he was crucified to cover.
Our response today is the same that it was for those devout Jews on the Day of Pentecost:
Baptism in Jesus Name
Infilling of the Holy Ghost!
We see this application of Peter’s sermon demonstrated time and time throughout the book of Acts!
Peter’s effective preaching that had convinced them that what they had witnessed was the outpouring of God’s spirit, and that it was evidence that Jesus was risen.
After he effectively used the Word to convict and convince them, the result was that they were pricked in their hearts!
Other translations say that “they were cut to the heart”.
It causes us to come face to face with our sins.
It doesn’t feel good.
This is why the altar is so important.
It grants us an opportunity to respond!!
After Peter shared with them the plan of Salvation, the bible says they GLADLY RECEIVED THE WORD!!
do you see that transformation that is brought about by submitting to God’s plan and applying his word in our lives?
From cut to the heart to Gladly...
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