Summary: At Pentecost, God engaged in a pyrotechnic display that shook the audience, and set up a wild sermon by Peter that offered a wild and unheard of invitation. What made this sermon so powerful, and why does it's message still shake the world?
Open http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JceziOFRwQ (First 59 seconds… fade out sound)
What you’ve just seen is a pyrotechnic display at a Paul McCartney concert. It’s become almost common place for big name performers to have displays like this in their shows.
Can you imagine what it would have been like to be in that crowd when McCartney 1st did that? It would pretty wild, wouldn’t it?
But why would McCartney (and other big name stars) do things like this? Isn’t their music enough for their fans?
Well, yeah… but these performers are looking for something more. Something that will catch the attention of their audience… something they'll remember.
Now here in the book of Acts 2, we find God doing a little “something more”.
He puts on a little pyrotechnic display all His own.
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Acts 2:1-4
Can you image what it would have been like to be in THAT church service?
Can you imagine the surprise you’d have felt as you heard the sound of a violent wind, and then there’s this tongue of fire that entered the room and it the fire splits into sections and one of those sections sits on YOUR head. And you begin to praise God in a language you’ve never learned.
Next couple verses tell us that “Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.”
So, not only have you heard the wind, seen the flames, spoken in a language you’ve never learned BUT now you’re being understood by thousands of people on the street. They hear you declaring the wonders of God - and praising Him - in THEIR language.
That would be pretty wild, wouldn’t it?
I mean that would be cool!!!
(PAUSE) But WHY would God want to do that that way?
Because… He wanted something that would catch the attention of the crowd. He wanted something they'd remember for a really long time. In fact, God was so intent on this particular event that He even prophesied it 800 years before by the prophet Joel.
Peter declared: “…this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel” Acts 2:16
Now, there are some folks that get all tied up with the pyrotechnics of this event. They get all excited about the attention getters and fail to understand that that was pretty much what it was.
The wind, and the flames, and the tongues were all just window dressing for the real message that God wanted to get across that day.
Because once God’s got the crowd’s attention Peter gets up and begins to preach.
And there’s no wind/ no flame, no speaking in tongues.
It’s just a wild and powerful sermon that does more than those spectacles could ever have accomplished on their own.
And Peter preached a powerful message.
His message was comprised of 4 major components
1st - God sent Jesus to mankind
“Jesus of Nazareth was a man ACCREDITED BY GOD TO YOU by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.” Acts 2:22
2nd – not only had God sent Jesus to them, but many in this crowd had had Jesus put to death.
“This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; AND YOU, with the help of wicked men, PUT HIM TO DEATH by nailing him to the cross.” Acts 2:23
3rd – not only had Jesus been sent to them, and they had crucified Him… but He didn’t stay dead – He rose from the grave.
“God RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” Acts 2:24
And 4th - now Jesus is seated at the right hand of God to rule and reign
(He’s been) “Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.” Acts 2:33
Throughout his sermon, Peter quoted prophecies from the Old Testament to prove his points.And had he wanted, Peter could have been up there all day… because there are over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament – and that’s not even mentioning all the imagery and object lessons God planted throughout the Law and the Prophets that told who Jesus was, and what He had come to do.