Summary: Peter’s sermon ’on the fly’ shows how those of us who are spiritually crippled can be refreshed like the crippled man was healed.
“Surprised by the Time of Refreshing”
Westmoreland Church of Christ
June 6th, 2004
1. It takes me a very long time to write a sermon.
a. The actual writing can take a number of hours...
b. But the time from beginning to end can be a number of days...
i. I have to decide what scripture to preach on...
ii. Then I have to procrastinate for a long time, while I think about what God would have me tell you from his word
(1) Susan used to make fun of me, because I would tell her that I was going into my study to work on my sermon and a little while later she would hear the sounds of gunfire or music coming from a video game: but, I insist that all of that procrastination is just the time that God uses to allow his word to percolate in my mind.
iii. When it actually comes time to write the sermon, usually Sat. night around midnight, I’ve had plenty of time to think about what the word is saying, but precious little time to actually get the sermon done.
iv. There have literally been times when I’ve gotten my sermon done as the sun was coming up on a Sunday morning.
2. Therefore, I have to say that I am very impressed with Peter, he appears to be one of those preachers who is able to be used by the Spirit to preach at a moments notice. This is what all of us are called to do: 2 Timothy 4:2 says, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage– with great patience and careful instruction.”
a. And, unlike a lot of preachers who claim to preach without preparation by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Peter actually was used by the Spirit to say something, not all “on the fly” preachers can say that.
i. I remember being at a church camp one year, at the final banquet...it was about 6:30 PM and we were finishing up the meal. I was sitting across from the evangelist and he said, “I wonder what I’ll preach on tonight.” Mind you, the service was at 7 PM...I was stunned that he hadn’t prepared anything. But, he claimed, he preached from the Spirit and didn’t need to prepare. The only problem: he preached basically the same sermon all week, and his lack of preparation was very obvious.
3. But not Peter, he is able to be opened up to the movement of the Holy Spirit at a moment’s notice to preach the Word.
a. If you remember, his first sermon was very unplanned.
i. It was on the Day of Pentecost, and Peter had no idea what God was going to do.
ii. The disciples had met to worship like any other day, when the Spirit was unexpectedly poured out on them.
iii. The Spirit fell on them, sounding like a roaring wind, looking like fire, and making itself known by causing the disciples to speak in various languages.
iv. All this commotion caused a large crowd to gather, amazed at what God was doing: some praised God, while others thought that the disciples must be drunk.
b. So, just like that, Peter jumped up and seized the opportunity to preach the Gospel.
i. He told them that they were not drunk on spirits, but filled with the Spirit.
ii. And from there, he went on to tell them the whole Gospel story, telling the crowd that if they wanted to get right with God they needed to repent and be baptized.
iii. And sure enough, just like that, 3,000 people were baptized and saved.
4. Now, once again, God calls upon Peter at a moment’s notice to proclaim the Gospel.
a. (When I was a minister in KY I was a volunteer firefighter: we had to carry with us radios: when they went off, we had to drop whatever we were doing, put on our turn out gear, and get to the fire...usually in time to save the chimney of the house on fire. It was nerve-wracking: when you heard that tone, your heart leapt. You raced around trying to get into your gear and find the fire. You didn’t know if you were going to a little dumpster fire, or a house with children trapped inside. When you heard the tone, the adrenalin rushed and you did what you had to do.)
b. This is what Peter is like: whenever the Holy Spirit rang the bell in his heart, he knew that he had to jump up and respond.
i. He had denied God once before, he would not do it again, because he knew how bad it felt to walk away knowing that God could have used him but was unable to because of his fear.