Summary: Following the Disciples in the Book of Acts, this message looks at the first sermon ever preached, by a forgiven and transformed Peter.
Sermon for CATM - May 10, 2015 - “Empowered by the Spirit”
We are still in the afterglow of Easter, and we’ve decided to keep following the earliest disciples of Jesus, also called the Apostles - as they move forward, after they see Jesus, who they knew had been murdered...as they see Him alive again.
As they hear of His appearing to many hundreds of people, as they respond to His commission to go into all the world and make disciples.
They were told to go into Jerusalem and wait for the promised Holy Spirit. That they did, and as Pastor Lee talked about last week, the Holy Spirit showed up, and there were signs and there were wonders.
The chiefest sign was that people who spoke very different languages heard the praises of God coming out of the mouths of people who did not speak their language.
It was an obvious, in-your-face miracle, a human impossibility. But it was happening right in front of the people's’ eyes and ears. Everyone has heard the Galilean disciples speaking in their own diverse tongues.
Some witnessing this clear miracle, can’t accept that it’s taking place and so they make fun of them and say they’ve had too much wine.
And then we hear from Peter. This is the same Peter that we know from the gospels, but this is not the same Peter. The Peter we know from the gospels was a fellow who put his foot in his mouth regularly.
He was the same one who boldly asserted to Jesus that even if everyone else abandoned Jesus, he - Peter - would not. Shortly thereafter, as Jesus predicted, Peter denied Jesus. His courage failed.
When being associated with Jesus reflected badly on him, might have cost him dearly, he ran out of bluster. He denied Jesus, swore up and down that He never knew Him.
And then, realizing what he had done, he was deeply, profoundly ashamed to have denied his Lord by His actions. [Pause]
Does that ever happen to us? Can we relate to Peter? We know we love Jesus. We know we believe in Him with all our hearts...but by our actions at times, no one would know it.
By our actions we deny the One who has saved us. Strange, perhaps, but we’re in the company of Peter.
Perhaps you know the story of Jesus restoring Peter. Peter denied Him 3 times, so Jesus asked him 3 times - do you love Me?
It’s a poignant story. Again, an expression of the grace of God that most of us here at church today have likely experienced.
So, like I said, this is the Peter we know, but it’s also not the Peter we know. Here, Peter speaks as a changed man.
A man who has grasped just how much he has been forgiven by Jesus. He has learned to love much. He has lost his foolhardy tendency to blurt out his poorly considered words.
He has been humbled - by his own actions of which he was ashamed, as I’ve mentioned.
He is a man has who discovered the truth that in and of himself, he had little actual courage. But something has changed. Peter has discovered a profound courage.
And so he stands up, with the other 11 disciples, and he speaks with authority, he speaks with passion and he speaks with love.