Summary: Peter's Pentecost sermon explains the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God in Christ's Life, Death, and resurrection
“Jesus: Approved by God” Acts 2:22-24
We have been looking at the day of Pentecost, the day that THE CHURCH was baptized with the Holy Spirit and placed into union with one another and with Christ. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and became a powerful force for the spreading of the Gospel: evangelism. They began to speak the wonderful works of God in languages they didn’t know, but they were languages that the people there spoke. There was a supernatural hurricane-like sound, like a hurricane, which drew the crowd together where the believers were. The people were hearing their own language, and the content was the wonderful works of God in the Lord Jesus Christ, the TESTIMONY OF THE WORD AND Holy SPIRIT.
LIFE OF JESUS
Go to Acts 2: 22, "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know”-- His first line of evidence that Jesus is the Messiah sent FROM God is that God has attested to that FACT through miracles, wonders, and signs performed by Jesus. The Life of Jesus demonstrates the approval of Almighty God. The miracles of Jesus were mighty works of God: These supernatural wonders and signs pointed to none other than DIVINE power. They were startling, shocking, stunning, and unexplainable. Christ’s Life approved JESUS and His claims as being validated BY God Himself. The voice from HEAVEN ITSELF at Jesus’ baptism and on the Mount of Transfiguration: "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!"
Could there be any doubt about this, Peter says: “As you yourselves also know.” Peter says: All these miracles were done right before your eyes. It is the WORST kind of sin, to have all the evidence of God in front of you, and then reject it….The life of Christ, His ministry life, his miracles provide the clearest evidence that HE is God’s Messiah, and He is Deity. It is evidence. HIS LIFE IS THE proclamation. Those who killed Him and also reject Him sin against the light which God provides, they reject the Word, the revelation from God, and so they reject the truth.
DEATH OF JESUS
Secondly, look at verse 23: “Him, (This very Jesus) being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death.” The very person whom God, the Father, delighted to honor, whom God accredited or exhibited, you have dishonored and killed. Jesus from the town of Nazareth (people said, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”) was delivered over into the hands of executioners by the predetermined purpose and foreknowledge of God.”
Jesus Christ was delivered to death “by the predetermined PLAN and foreknowledge of God.” Plan is the word “counsel,” meaning design, purpose, will. It’s a predetermined plan: God set the boundaries and design beforetime: Christ was delivered to death because God planned it and ordained it. This gets repeated in Acts 4:26-28 by Peter: “The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.' (from ps. 2) "For truly against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.”
The delivery of Jesus to execution was planned by God, not only by HIS predetermined plan, but also by HIS foreknowledge. Did God make this decree because He looked down history and KNEW this was going to happen so He predicted it? Not at all! It says He was delivered BY MEANS OF the foreknowledge of God: the foreknowledge of God is something God uses as an instrument to accomplish His predetermined plan! Certainly, God knows everything before it happens, but that’s not what this is saying. God performs an act by His foreknowledge, by the ALMIGHTY WILL OF God, in order to give Jesus over to His enemies. Foreknowledge is God’s act of foreordination. Christ was delivered over by the predetermined plan and ordination of God. That is, by a decision that God had made in eternity past.
Look how Peter uses this word in 1 Peter 1:1-2: Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.” If it only means PRE-knowledge, then believers are not really ELECT or CHOSEN. FOREKNOWLEDGE is the means by which God chooses who will be saved. He makes a choice because He’s predetermined an end. So, the predetermined end is that Christ died. And so, He chooses to deliver Him over to that predetermined end.