February 11, 2013

Pushers or Pastors

We do a great disservice to the Church whenever we refer to the pastorate as the “ministry”. Even I am guilty of this often. I have gone to school and I am entering the ministry as if it is this elitist group that only a privileged few can enter after enormous amount of education and gads of training. It’s just not true. When we say, “the ministry” we make it sound as if it is the only ministry there is and if you miss the boat…too bad.

The Greek word diakonia/ διακονία  for ministry is generic and better understood as ministration or specifically “service”. If you’re a Christian…you’re in the ministry…somehow. Where you are at in the ministry is the question to a lesser of greater degree. It is really up to you and the work of God to determine where. It usually (but not always) lies where some of your natural talents lie…or God will gift you.

As for the word diakonia, it lacks specificity until a descriptive adjective is added, whether 'pastoral' , 'social', 'political', 'medical' or another. All Christians without exception, being followers of him who came 'not to be served but to serve', are themselves called to ministry, indeed to give their lives in ministry. But the expression 'full-time Christian ministry' is not to be restricted to a church. This is a misunderstanding. It can also be in government, as a professional tradesman, industry and even the home. Actually, especially the home. We need to properly see this vision of diversity of ministries to which God calls his people. Many body parts, one body, one Spirit.

It is to the ministry of the word and the Gospel to which pastors are called to dedicate their life. It is not just that many are too busy for ministry, it is also that many are preoccupied with the wrong ministry too. Many pastors, instead of concentrating on the ministry of the word (which is what they're primarily called to do) end up counseling individuals and training and they become overwhelmed and burned out with the nuanced penny ante details that could probably be delegated to others better qualified. Many times what I have seen is it is the pastor's own fault because he is a micro-manager and distrusting. If we’re all led by the same Spirit, we should be at least able to trust He will guide the next guy as well.

Regardless, the consequences are disastrous. The standards of preaching and teaching most often are in steep decline as pastors do not spend the proper time reading and understanding the text, praying and being in God’s presence. The other half of this is a lazy congregation. They do not exercise their God-given right to read and teach themselves, expecting instead to be spoon-fed long after they should have been eating the meat of the word with their own fork and knife. For both of these reasons congregations are stunted in their maturity in Christ. They never grow. There is little spirituality and although they have headcount, their churches end up looking more like a battle’s body count in terms of salvation, sanctification or growth.

What is needed is the basic, biblical recognition that God calls different men and women to different ministries and utilize them all to the edification of the entire body. If you are expecting the leaders in your church to do all the work for the Kingdom, perhaps you are not really going to get there with them?

We need to do some of the work in the Body of Christ folks, otherwise we end up forcing our pastor to moonlight and do jobs he has not been called to do. Some of which can be doing damage to his true calling. We make him something he's not and often...he allows it. The Apostles knew better in Acts 6:1-7, so should we. We have the Bible and hindsight to teach us. If we do not all do our job in ministry, its as if we pimp our pastors and leaders out to the devil. How you say? Because we allow them to be doing things they were not called to do. We let them do what we often times are called to do and this is one of the subtle deceptions of Satan. Distracting us from our ministry or service. The old adage is true here, you can please some of the people some of the time but you cannot please all of the people all of the time. You are better off pleasing God and leaving it at that.

It is a shame, we're pimping out our pastors or making them our dealer because we're too lazy to do what we've already been commanded (or called) to do which is read and learn the Bible. Instead we literally show up at church once a week to get our fix in small bite-sized parcels like cruising for dime bags. Once we're done Sunday afternoon, we feel better after we've had our fix and we move on for the rest of the week forgetting all about God and the Body. We can't be weekend warriors for Christ and ignore our responsibility to be Christian the rest of the week. 

A part time Christian is no Christian at all and a derailed and distracted pastor is the Devil's own since he has been taken from his God-given task. Trying to get a quick fix of God from our pastors is abuse of the pastor. If the pastor continues to allow it instead of teaching people to teach themselves, he becomes an enabler or worse...a pusher of bad behavior.

February 9, 2013

The Gospel: The Power of God, Part II- A Study of Acts 2

[Continued from Part I: In continuation of the last post I will reference the Scripture again...but only the piece I need to make my point for the Word Study below.]

36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “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 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

Greek Word Study:

(v.36) Word: ἀσφαλῶς / asphalos “assured, certainty, beyond a doubt”. I chose this because Peter ends his sermon with this word in the last clause. Furthermore it is the very first word in the clause is ἀσφαλῶς / asphalos, therefore Luke is bringing emphasis to it locating it in the beginning of the clause since it didn’t need to be there (Rienecker et al 267). Assured or certain of what? Peter/Luke tells us right in the passage: “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” There is no doubt about this fact. There is little need for faith here. They all bore witness to Christ’s death and crucifixion, it is indeed a fact for them and Peter/Luke are drawing intense focus to this fact. The truth of sin they are subsequently convicted by causes them to repent. This is in harmony with Luke’s overall modus operandi to show the certainty (ἀσφάλειαν / asphaleian [same cognate as Acts 2:36] ) of the things Theophilus had been taught (Luke 1:4), since what Theophilus had been taught is exactly what Peter preached in Acts 2 at Pentecost. Peter’s sermon therefore ties together in parallel the promise from Jesus of the Holy Spirit/and command to baptize (Acts 1:4-5) which itself is a jump back to the Great Commission of Matthew 28 which was to carry on all the things Jesus had taught the Disciples (Matthew 28:20). Peter also shows the manifestation of what Luke wrote in Luke 24:47-49 that “(v.47) and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” they were to wait for what was promised which was…, “ (v.49) power from on high [the Spirit]”.

(v.37) Phrase: κατενύγησαν τὴν καρδίαν / katenugesan ten kardian / “cut to the heart” or more literally “their hearts were down-punctured”, kata meaning "down" and nýssō meaning "pierce" to pierce all the way down, deeply (thoroughly) pained; "emotionally pierced through"; psychologically pricked, these people were thoroughly emotionally stunned (Rienecker et al 267).

The fact in verse 36, that “the One that they were guilty of crucifying was the Messiah”…was excruciating to them and they sought the only relief from the convicting guilt of their sin. When they ask, “Brothers, what shall we do?” It is clear their hearts are already turning towards repentance.

They are appropriately convicted to the core of their being (heart) and it literally physically paining them which seems evident from the word κατενύγησαν / katenugesan. What in reality is paining them psychologically/physically is their own sin and guilt…and the answer from Peter to remedy this was to repent (turn from or change their minds from sin) and be baptized…which many did (at least 3000 that day).

Peter’s response and subsequent actions are reminiscent of speak Jesus’ Great Commission and also of John the Baptist’s words in Luke 3, “I baptize you with water. But One more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

Summary of Meaning

The people (both Christians and non) are gathered together at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit comes on them and they begin speaking in tongues. Many are perplexed and want to know what’s going on. Some speaking in tongues are even accused of drinking. Peter responds to the question first with an apologetic (v. 14-22) to defend the speaking in tongues. He does so from Joel of the Old Testament (v.16). Second he quite literally gives the Kerygma or preaches the Gospel after defending the believer’s behavior. This /Kerygma/Gospel Peter preaches contains the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures (Old Testament). Unlike David mentioned herein, Jesus’ body did not decay (v.31). The proof of what Peter says about Jesus was evidenced by the miracles he worked and the fact that God resurrected Him from the grave, all of these facts were known by the  people Peter preaches to. The remainder of this passage shows the sum / end result of Peter’s preaching: People convicted of their transgression (sin, putting Jesus to death) subsequently repent and are baptized which is the proper  response or outward manifestation (repentance) to the Gospel for one that is repentant and seeks forgiveness.

Implications of the Text: What it Always Means

The same implications to the Jews that Peter speaks to (1st century) apply to us today also. The universal application from this passage can be stated with cross-referenced Scripture alone as I will do in just a moment. If you want a formal stated implication of text…here it is. The general underlying principle of Peter’s apologetic and preaching still apply today.  The culture may change but the means of God’s mercy, grace and salvation remain the same as it was planned and foreknown since time immemorial (Acts 2:24) and will be so until the return of Jesus.  Peter’s pattern, is the basic pattern for calling people to repentance and forgiveness through conviction caused by the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The result of those that are to be saved will be conviction of sin and a turn towards the Cross of Jesus Christ!

Because of this I will combine the next two sections of the exegetical process: Implications of the Text and Summarizing of the passage into a thesis/synopsis. It is wordy but I am dealing with a periscope of 27 verses and it is hard to encapsulate in on a limited scale. We are dealing with the truth of God’s word and eternal life here folks.

Thesis or Main Idea of Acts 2:14-41

By preaching the Gospel as Peter did, he/we obey God and fulfill the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20. It’s in Acts 2:14-41 that they/we see why Jesus commanded teaching what He taught and baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is by hearing the message of Christ that faith comes (Romans 10:17). Those that accept the Gospel will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (1st Century Jews or 21st Century Americans). The Gospel being: His Life, Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus in agreement with Scripture/Prophecy (ex: 1 Cor 15:3-4) as Peter did here. All this being God’s plan and foreknown by Him (Acts 2:23) which is evidenced through Old Testament prophecy from God in advance (Acts 2:17-21, 25-28, 34-35). Prophecies that told people that if they repented and believed…they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit promised (Acts 2:4, 33, 38).

Stated another way…

We are to love Jesus, obey His commands and Jesus Himself will ask the Father, and he will give us another Counselor to be with us forever -the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-17). The Holy Spirit, who is in reality a down-payment of salvation for believers that He indwells (Ephesians 1:14). The signs of this down-payment are the Fruits produced by the Spirit in a believer (Galatians 5:22-23). But as we see with the incredulous Jews that are gathered (Acts 2:13), the message of the cross is sometimes foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is the power [δύναμις] of God! (1 Corinthians 1:18). It is the dunamis/power that can and did resurrect Jesus from the dead…therefore it can resurrect believers too since we are in Him (and He in us) (1 Cor 1:30). Christ was the first fruits of the Resurrection so when He returns, those who belong to him will be resurrected also (1 Cor 15:23). This is because the same exact power that raised Jesus resides within believers in the form of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11).

Scope of Truth

Although Peter addresses Jews in this passage the implication of needing to repent and seek forgiveness from God is universal for all. One must be saved to have eternal life. That salvation is exclusivist. It is only possible through believing and trusting in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This applies to me or anyone else that would desire to seek entry into Heaven or into the eternal kingdom of God. That is the plan Peter refers to here: That Christ would be crucified by sinners for sinners to save sinners from there fate of eternal judgment in Hell because of their sin.

The Proper Response to This Indictment

The proper response for me or anyone else in light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is what Peter preached here in Acts 2:14-41 is to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. Period. There is no other away to eternal life.

This response or repentance appears to be a work of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that does the convicting that leads to repentance (John 16:8, 1 Corinthians 3:6)

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Significance of the Text: What It Means to Audience 

The significance to the audience both Peter’s, Luke’s and mine would be the same as stated above. We are to defend our faith, preach it and the response should be conviction of sin and a turning of heart (repentance) towards God seeking forgiveness. The stipulation for salvation is universal and holds sway until “The Great Day of the Lord” or until the judgment in the Eschaton (End Times).

What is the Call to Arms or The Takeaway?

So where do we go from here? Well…that’s part of my sermon…you’ll need to read my sermon for that. :P

[Completed in Part III: The Sermon]

February 7, 2013

The Gospel: The Power of God, Part I- A Study of Acts 2:14-41

It's been a while since I've been able to post. I've decided to post an exegetical review of Acts 2:14-21. Since time is scarce and the message needs to get out, I went for the juggler on this one. It's the Gospel, pure and unadulterated. Furthermore, this is what a sermon looks like long before it becomes a sermon. On paper , this is about 12 sheets of 8 x 11 notes and nearly all of this is study that filters through me first before being written or turned into a form recognizable as a sermon. It will be about 5 pages of notes and 30 minutes long. I will post the sermon word for word after this. This is how one becomes attuned to the Spirit. Through is mercy, grace, patience...and intensive study of His word.

Just so you know, this is what your pastor goes through once a week preparing a sermon. At least he should be. If he is not, you are getting robbed of the thoroughness and deepness that proper study draws out of the Scripture. Come to think of it, the pastor is robbing himself too if he does not take the time to let the Scripture filter through to this depth. Yes, I personally go through this every time I study to deliver a sermon with few exceptions. I owe it to the servants of Christ.

The other reason I felt like posting this is because its all I have to post right now. I am on page 45 of my graduating thesis which will be posted here by May.

The Power of God

Peter's Sermon At Pentecost
Acts 2:14-21, 22-36, 37-41

Peter’s Apologetic…

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

The Kerygma (Preaching of the Gospel)

22 “Fellow Israelites, 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. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 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. 25 David said about him: “‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ 29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 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. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’ 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

A Call to Repentance & Blessing

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “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 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Meaning of Text: What it Meant

The "Sitz im leben" (Setting In Life) of Text

Author: Luke

Luke is the author of Acts (as he was of the Gospel of Luke). Both Acts and the Gospel of Luke are written to a Theophilus in the same Greek style (Stott 21). As Longenecker states it, the structure and stylistic tendencies of and the Gospel of Luke and Acts are virtually the same and can be demonstrated through a linguistic study (Longenecker 34). Per Colossians 4:14, Paul states that Luke is a physician.


Luke is primary writing to Theophilus just as he did in his former book (Acts 1:1) (Luke). This comes directly from internal evidence in the text. Outside of informing Theophilus, this book also has a “kerygmatic purpose” of preaching (of the Gospel) also. As such it should be noted that Theophilus may not have been the sole intended audience in writing Acts under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The “kerygmatic purpose” may be the more profound and overriding purpose than that of the face-value purpose internal to the text which was writing to Theophilus. (Longenecker 13). In other words, Luke may have had intended one thing when writing but the Holy Spirit may have been working through that intent for a much more profound and far-reaching purpose (i.e.: sensus plenior).


Acts was most probably written or started in 62 A.D. which coincided with the approximate time of Paul’s release from imprisonment. This the last time of reference in Acts, or the two years mentioned in Acts 28:30 (Kistemaker-Introduction 21-22). Longenecker suggests that Acts is written approximately 64 A.D. (Longenecker 35). Between these two sources I produce a terminus a quo (start date) of 62 and a terminus ad quem (finish date) of 64 A.D. Nero’s persecutions would’ve begun in 65 A.D. and the outbreak of hostilities of the Jewish Zealots and Roman Tenth Legion commences approximately 66 A.D. Neither are mentioned in the text but historical markers in the text lead one to believe this.


The purpose/occasion of Acts should be answered at least in a four-fold manner.

The purpose in writing according to Longenecker is scripturally based. He quotes Luke 1:4 (being the first part of Acts), “so that you [Theophilus] may know the certainty of things you have been taught”. It is clear from the way Luke writes that Theophilus may not have understood the full implications of “these things”, so Luke elaborates on them at length in Luke-Acts.

The next occasion according to John Stott is that he wrote as a historian. He approaches the events of Christ as a historian because he wishes to document the things that transpired with Christ and that they were in accordance with Scripture or to fulfill Old Testament prophecy.  God literally entered history as a historical event. He shows contemporary eyewitnesses. He did so to draw up an account.

He wrote as a diplomat because he is interested in developing a political apologetic since he seems concerned about Romans authority’s attitude towards Christianity in general. This was important because the perception that Christianity was a “sect of the Jews/Judaism” was starting to fall out of favor and as such the religio illicita that had afforded some level of protection from persecution was beginning to dissolve (Bruce 19-20, Kistemaker 5, Longenecker 15).

Luke writes with a theological-evangelistic purpose. There is a Kerygmatic purpose in this text. It shows the continued confrontation of men and women with the Word of God. In so doing we see in Acts how the Gospel is related to the course of redemptive history, how it interacts with the secular world/history, how it is unique and separate from Jewish law and especially how, behind the proclamation of the Gospel we see the power of the and activity of the Holy Spirit. (Longenecker 13).Of course Luke approaches it as a theologian as he was concerned that the message about Jesus and the early church should be based upon reliable history…so he used history to bolster his theology which was to show; Salvation was prepared by God, it is bestowed by God and it is offered to all people (Stott 22, 25, 29-31).


There is very little consensus of where Acts was written. Two places of possible writing are Achaia or Rome with little to support either claim (Kistemaker 24). It is briefly mentioned by Longenecker (as an aside) that Acts may have been written from an earlier “travel document” or “dairy” and used in conjunction with the Gospel of Luke (Longenecker 19).

Limits of the Passage

Because I will need to build the context for Peter’s sermon/speech at Pentecost it is necessary to break the Passage of Acts 2:14-41 into (3) three portions to frame it and understand it properly. The portion I do my manuscript on is most often understood or referred to as Peter’s Sermon at Pentecost.

Portion #1 (Acts 2:14-21) Peter’s Apologetic. The day of Pentecost has come and there is bewilderment due to the speaking in tongues (v.4) and utter amazement of the things transpiring from the Jews in attendance. The text literally says they were, "amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” Peter literally addresses that question in the second portion.

Portion #2 (Acts 2:22-36) Peter’s Kerygma or Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is interesting to note that Peter (a Jew) gives this sermon to mostly Jews, on a Jewish holiday (the fiftieth week, Feast of Weeks) about the Resurrection of the Jewish Messiah who Himself was raised as a Jew (Wiersbe 409). Peter also proves that Jesus is very much alive, not dead.

Portion #3 (Acts 2:37-41) The Crowd’s Reaction. Convicted of their sin, they are told to repent and be baptized. This is the proper reaction to hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It should convict people of their sin obliging them to repent and seek God. This is exactly what we see in the text. Subsequently, 3000 are saved that day and added to the ranks of Christianity (Longenecker 70-78).

This passage is placed with the miracle of Pentecost which is the arrival of the Holy Spirit in Christ’s absence after His ascension (Longenecker 64). The Spirit is the Helper or Paraklete promise by Christ in the larger context of Scripture in John 14:15-31 and in Acts itself in Acts 1:4-5. It is the post-Jesus launch of the Great Commission. On the other side of this passage we see a brief statement about the fellowship or koinonia of the believers which is and exemplification of proper behavior within the Church.

It is here we see the fruit or product of obedience to God, communion with God/brethren. We begin to see the outcroppings of the Kingdom of God begin to encroach on our current reality. The “now but not yet” of the Kingdom is well displayed here. We see the Kingdom in Jesus’ physical absence in His believers / disciple / apostles that are now indwelt by the Holy Spirit. It is here we begin to see that God’s Kingdom starts within believers in this new dispensation of grace. Furthermore, the Kingdom becomes larger/greater within 3000 additional through the hearing of the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Having heard, they repent, convert and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (v.38-39) (Longenecker 81). We see amazing proof of the arrival of the Kingdom of God in force…through miracles / powers (dunamis). In the context of the entire Bible at-large we see the power of the Gospel that is noted in 1 Corinthians 1:18 by Paul: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

We see God in word and deed through the preaching of Peter and through the conviction and actions of the Holy Spirit working within people. We also see the embryonic Church and its inception. The immediate fruit of the Spirit that we see after these people are indwelt by the Spirit is displayed in Acts 2:41-47, the portion that immediately follows the periscope of Acts 2:14-41. They are in fellowship devoted to the apostle’s teaching (v.42) which was teaching of Christ (Great Commission, Matthew 28:19-20), sacraments (1 Cor 11). They are blessed with miracles and are in reverential awe of God. They are in koinonia and are divesting themselves of earthly goods to help the poor as they are in need (v.45). They are blessed and filled with contentment and joy (v.46-47). People continue to be saved (v.48).


Acts is primarily narrative (Longenecker 21). Kistemaker goes as far as to indirectly allude to the fact that it is historical narrative. He also says that at certain points the parallels between Luke and Acts are so similar they show inherent interrelation. So much so that Acts therefore is a continuation of the Gospel (of Luke) (Kistemaker-Introduction 29). If Kistemaker is correct that would put Acts in the Gospel genre which is its own unique genre that is neither strictly historical nor chronological. This narrative at times is disjointed but is usually chronological and is interspersed with speeches/sermons by Apostles of Christ. It is the second part of a two volume work. The Gospel of Luke being the first half and Acts of the Apostles being the second half. The primary purpose of this narrative is to propagate the Gospel or for kerygmatic purposes (Kistemaker 29; Longenecker 21, 29).

Grammar / Structure

As noted above in Limits of Passage, Peter starts with an apologetic (Acts 2:14-21) intended to defend against demeaning accusations and misunderstanding of what has occurred at Pentecost. The first thing that should be noted in the apologetic section is that he addresses the “men of Judea/Israel” or Jews and uses this moment to present the message of Christ.  This is significant because Pentecost (Feast of Weeks) is a Jewish feast and there are no Gentiles involved (including Luke as this appears to be a second-hand eyewitness account) (Wiersbe 409).

Peter notes then in Acts 2:17-21 that the Spirit that has caused these people to speak in tongues is the same Spirit spoken of in Joel 2:28-32 and quotes said passage. There is a 1:1 correlation: Acts 2:17-21  =  Joel 2:28-32. It is also extremely important to note that Peter never says that this is an actual fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy.

This is because the true full fulfillment Joel’s prophecy is not to occur until the Great Day of The Lord or when Christ returns, it is only partially fulfilled here (Wiersbe 409). Again, we see the “Now But Not Yet” of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom has come in part and the indwelling of the Spirit and the way it has manifested itself this day are the sign of that. God is here among us! He is in us! The fullness of the coming of the Kingdom though will need to wait until Christ returns in the Second Advent and with Him will come the Kingdom in full force and power. The Spirit coming to indwell all who will believe is a tremendous revelation to the Jews, even though they were told this would happen in the Old Testament (Joel 2). They are a people who have been only familiar with the Spirit coming on people at specific times, but even Moses told Joshua that things would eventually be otherwise in Numbers 11:28-29.

Peter then goes on after his apologetic based in the Old Testament to preach the Gospel (2:22-36). The thing to note here is…

Peter’s cross reference of Old Testament Scripture continues here. There is a correlation of Psalm (David) and Acts: Psalm 16:8-11 = Acts 2:25-31. He shows that Christ being resurrected from the dead proves that Jesus is indeed the Messiah promised in the OT (v.22-24). Instead of saying the prophecy of Joel is fulfilled here, Peter instead uses the coming of the Spirit as proof Jesus is alive and is now seated at the right hand of the Father (v.33). Why? Because a dead Jesus could not have possibly sent the Spirit He promised in John 14:26, 15:26, Acts 1:4 (Wiersbe 410).

The implied result of Peter having preached the Gospel/Kerygma is repentance of 3000 present (2:27-41). 
The things to note here are…

Other Grammatical Items of Note:

In Portion #2: Peter’s Sermon (v.23’s) “…this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of wicked/godless men and put Him to death.” The “you/ye” here in the declension/conjugation for “put to death” is plural aorist (past tense) and shows the people’s guilt in Christ’s Crucifixion (ours also by default). This is the point of conviction for all sinners. We (through our sin) are all guilty of putting Jesus on the Cross, but even in our wickedness God works through it to fulfill His sovereign and foreknown plans (a la Genesis 50:20).

Theologically, a plan suggests a clear purpose…set by God Himself, it points to God’s Omnipotence. The word foreknowledge points to God’s Omniscience. Men’s responsibility in this points to men’s freewill and therefore their guilt.

It is God Himself who hands Jesus over to the Jews, but it is men’s wickedness that perpetrates the deed of Crucifixion. There is a tension here (Kistemaker 94).

[More on my study in a day or two. Next up in Part II: Greek word study, summary of what the passage means and what the text means to Peter's audience and us today! Part III: The Sermon]
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...