Summary: The first sermon of the church was about the passion of Christ.
• When the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact America, leader after leader—from the local mayor to the governor to the president of the United States—made daily public speeches about the virus and its effects on their respective communities.
• And oftentimes, the leader would issue a proclamation.
• For example, nonessential employees were sent home, restaurants and bars were closed, schools were shut down, and parks were closed.
• Each of these proclamations affected the people to whom they were directed, both in their daily lives and their relationship with the world.
• While each of these proclamations might have been different, depending on geography and the leader’s judgment, they were all related to the central idea of protecting the community from coronavirus.
• Today we’re going to start a series called “Proclaim,” looking at some of the many public proclamations made by the early church found in the book of Acts.
• Though different, these proclamations all had a central point in common: the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
• If applied to the life of the hearer, all of them could have a profound effect on their daily life and their relationship with the world. (Ministry Pass- Message 1 on Proclaim Series).
• Big Idea of the Message: The first sermon of the church was about the passion of Christ.
• The message today builds on the thoughts from last week concerning whole-hearted belief in the resurrection.
• The first proclamation we’re looking at today is right at the start of Acts.
• It is Peter’s famous first sermon of the church, found in Acts 2Delivered on Pentecost. “Described in Leviticus 23, The Feast of Weeks is the second of the three ‘solemn feasts’ that all Jewish males were required to travel to Jerusalem to attend (Exodus 23:14–17; 34:22–23; Deuteronomy 16:16).
• This important feast gets its name because it starts seven full weeks, or exactly 50 days, after the Feast of Firstfruits.
• Since it takes place exactly 50 days after the previous feast, this feast is also known as ‘Pentecost’ (Acts 2:1), which means ‘fifty’” (“What Is the Feast of Weeks?,” Got Questions? https://www.gotquestions.org/Feast-of-Weeks.html).
• Because this was a pilgrimage festival, when Peter spoke, he was addressing people from all over the Roman Empire (Acts 2:5).
• We will see three direct appeals Peter makes that were relevant for his audience and are still relevant for us and those around us today.
• As we are trying to appeal to people to give their lives to and follow Jesus, we must not neglect the appeals Peter offers to the crowd in this first gospel message recorded in the book of Acts!
• Let’s turn to Acts 2:22 together.
Acts 2:22 CSB
22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to these words: This Jesus of Nazareth was a man attested to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through him, just as you yourselves know.
Our Message should include:
I. An appeal to the power of Jesus.
• The first appeal Peter makes is to the hearers’ experience of the power of Jesus. Jesus, Peter says, was a man who did mighty works and power.
• Peter says that Jesus performed miracles, wonders, and signs.
• These are not three separate events but rather three results of the same act.
• Miracles are powerful deeds that demonstrate the mighty power of God.
• Wonders excite the wonder in those who witnessed the event.
• Signs are designed to present evidence to convince the people concerning the person and message of Jesus.
• Peter goes on to point out that the audience is well aware of the fact that Jesus performed the miraculous acts (Acts 2:22).
• Jesus did these miracles in their midst.
• Peter doesn’t have to prove the power of Jesus: his contemporaries were witnesses to it.
• We do not have that luxury when we proclaim the good news of Jesus.
• We have something just as powerful!
• What we do have, however, is a knowledge of our own transformation: the person we were to the person we have become.
• We are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
• What Peter is doing is a form of personal testimony: he uses firsthand experience to point to the power of Jesus in our lives.
• This type of proclamation requires honesty: “I once was … but now I am…”
• It isn’t a matter of trying to impress people with our sins' depth; this isn’t a tell-all biography.
• The point isn’t to dwell on our sins, but on the deliverer: the man who is mighty and wonderful, Jesus. (Ministry Pass- Message 1 on Proclaim Series).