Summary: Terrorists, Economy, AIDS, Global Warming, War...what do you do in times like these...


Bible-Teaching Ministry of


Thomasville, NC

a fellowship of faith, family and friendships

Dr. Russell Brownworth, pastor

August 22, 2004

37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Acts 2:37 (KJV)

Profound events drive us to sometimes larger-than-life actions. On a bright September Tuesday morning in 2001 my wife’s cousin, John, was at his desk in a downtown New York office. There was a buzz of excitement as someone announced that one of “the towers” had smoke coming from it. John turned to look out the window to the Trade Center towers just down the street. In that one profound moment a jet airliner thundered just above the office building.

Amid the deafening noise, John, horrified, saw what couldn’t be true; the plane rammed right into the second tower, in what we have all seemingly relived a thousand times – a nightmare in the middle of morning. More than three thousand people lost their lives. For John, life has not been the same.

Today, nearly three years later, we are faced with related possibilities and realities:

We have a new emphasis on “Homeland Security”, complete with airport strip searches.

We are engaged in ongoing hostilities in Iraq.

Osama bin Laden is (or isn’t) alive and planning more attacks.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and many other places in the Middle East are a bigger part of our vocabulary than ever.

In the midst of it all we have a Presidential election in which everything from the economy, healthcare, our security and much more point up the fragile nature of life.

What do you do in times like these?

There was another profound event that immediately affected a similarly-sized group of about three thousand. However, instead of innocent victims dying, this was a group of guilty folks given a second chance…life was restored.

It began in a second story banquet hall. About 120 followers of their executed leader were waiting. They probably knew very little about what they were waiting for; they’d been told to wait, and so they waited.

Suddenly the question about what they were awaiting was no longer a problem. These followers of Jesus, Like Elizabeth’s cousin on 9-11, (also in an upper room) heard a mighty rushing wind. In a few moments the experience changed their lives forever.

The Bible says the Spirit of God appeared like “tongues of fire” setting on them. The phenomenon known as “tongues” was an event that spread into the outer courtyards of the temple, where thousands were gathered. They began to speak to anyone who would listen. The opportunity to spread the good news of the resurrection of Jesus had arrived. This is that for which they had waited.

That which followed confused the listeners. It seemed this was a multi-cultural crowd; there were many languages represented in the gathered audience. Yet, as these disciples of Jesus spoke in one language, all understood in his own tongue. It was as much a phenomenon of “ears” as tongues!

Of course there were the cynics (aren’t there always?) – some thought it was simply a matter of early morning hangover…that the disciples were still drunk. Peter was the head disciple at that moment. He stood up and preached the first Christian sermon. It only lasted a few minutes.

Peter told the crowd the men weren’t drunk; he told them they were seeing with their own eyes the fulfillment of Scripture. Joel had promised this hundreds of years prior. Prophecy was unfolding before them!

Peter also told them that the event only a few weeks before was the start of it all – the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus had died for their sins, but the grave couldn’t hold him. He was alive; the one they’d cried for to be executed loved them enough to die a horrible suffering and execution so they could be forgiven. Notice the punch-line to Peter’s sermon:

36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus,

whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Acts 2: 36

You could not have gripped that crowd more dramatically. Their lostness, sense of terror and panic was similar to what most of us felt during the September 11th attacks; it was ground zero!

Today is just as uncertain. We want to know today:


The answer to our question is much the same as it would have been in that day. In fact, those listening to Peter asked that question:

37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

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