Monday, November 28, 2011

From Acts to Revelation - Part 5: The Name of Jesus

From Acts to Revelation
Part 5 – The Name of Jesus
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Last week we looked at the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit, being poured out on the Disciples and Apostles who obeyed Jesus' command to return to Jerusalem and wait.

After waiting, the Holy Spirit came, and the Disciples and Apostles began to speak to the crowds of God-fearing Jews who had gathered in Jerusalem for the feast of first fruits in many different known languages.

The crowds listening had mixed reaction to this, some asking each other what it means, while others mocked, saying those speaking were drunk.

Peter will now address the crowds, and explain what is taking place, by the power of the Holy Spirit, preaching a message to the God fearing Jews of the entire world.

Today, we will look specifically at Acts 2:14-36, and see the church being born.

Three things we will see today, the coming of the Holy Spirit, the introduction of signs and wonders, and the reaction of those who witnessed the church being born.

Some things to keep in mind as we look at the Word of God today.

Acts is the history of how Christianity was founded and organized and solved its problems. The community of believers began by faith in the risen Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, who enabled them to witness, to love, and to serve.

The church did not start to grow on its own power or enthusiasm. The disciples were empowered by God's Holy Spirit. He was the promised Counselor and Guide sent when Jesus went to heaven.

So we will be looking at the coming of the Holy Spirit, signs and wonders, and the reaction of those who witnessed the birth of the church.

Acts 2:14-23
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

 17 “‘In the last days, God says,
   I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
   your young men will see visions,
   your old men will dream dreams. 

18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
   I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
   and they will prophesy. 

19 I will show wonders in the heaven above
   and signs on the earth below,
   blood and fire and billows of smoke. 

20 The sun will be turned to darkness
   and the moon to blood
   before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 

21 And everyone who calls
   on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

 22 “Men of Israel, listen to this: 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. 23 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.

1.      Remember, last week in Acts 2:13, after speaking in tongues, the crowd mocked them saying they were drunk.
1.      Peter spoke to the crowds, standing with the eleven other Apostles, and assured the crowds that the Disciples and Apostles were not drunk.
2.      Peter then says to the crowd, “But this is that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel”
1.      These were God fearing Jews, who knew the scriptures, and knew the Prophets and what they said well.

1.       v17...And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God...
1.      Are we living in the last days?
2.      According to scripture here, the events which took place in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost was to happen in the end times, so the answer is YES!

2.      ...I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh...
1.      This speaks of all people everywhere.
2.      God's Spirit is available to all people, regardless of geographical location, and is not restricted by race, color, or creed.

3.      ...and your sons and your daughters will prophecy...
1.      Notice here, both men and women.
2.      Women had been made by culture a second class if not third class citizen.
3.      God set men as the Spiritual head, but that does not make women makes men responsible for the Spiritual growth and leadership in the home.
4.      Like most things, man takes something that is perfect, given by God, and over time, abuses it to fit their own needs and desires.

4.      ...And your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams...
1.      All those given the Holy Spirit, shall hear from the Holy Spirit.
2.      The original Hebrew insinuates that both young and old men will have visions and dreams.
3.      Applying to both genders, and all ages, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

5.      ...and on my servants and on my hand-maidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit...
1.      This was said to address two classes of people

2.      Slaves and women, who had been given a low status because of the culture
1.      Slaves were originally people who did not belong to a prospering family, who would work for another family to be counted among them, and taken care of by them...and again, this was abused over time, and eventually lead to types of slavery that are both appalling and not intended by God's word.
2.      Women too had become second class citizens. Man was made the head of the house in spiritual leadership, with the responsibility of the spiritual direction and growth of the house, having to answer to God for his own leadership.

3.      But, the scriptures tell us that men and women are equal. There is no difference, and that they are to submit to one another.

4.      Somewhere along the line, Spiritual leadership turned into dictatorship, and women became second class citizens in their culture.

6.      ...and they shall prophecy...
1.      God is erasing the classes here that MAN introduced.
2.      God sets the stage and standards for servants of Christ, that all are created equal, and given the same Holy Spirit.

7.      And I will show wonders in Heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.
1.      In the Old Testament, blood protected God fearing Jews during passover
1.      That was a foreshadowing of the protection and sealing we receive from the Blood of Jesus.

2.      In the Old Testament, the children of Israel were led by God with a pillar of fire at night, and a pillar of smoke in the day.
1.      Now God's Holy Spirit which was poured out in these last days upon all men and women, still leads the children of God. Speaking to their hearts and minds with visions, dreams, and prophecies which are fulfilled.

8.      ...The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood before that Great and notable Day of the Lord shall come...
1.      This is not literal darkness and blood, but rather, what the sun and moon will look like because of the sky having been polluted with debris.

2.      The debris will come from the meteor, which will hit the earth we see in Revelation.

3.      That is before the Second Coming, or Great and notable Day of the Lord

9.      ...And it shall come to pass, that whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
1.      Listen...this prophecy, written nearly 800 years before Jesus' birth, concerns salvation for whoever calls on the name of Christ!
2.      This knowledge of calling on the name of the Lord to be saved has been given to both Jew and gentile!

1.      Now that Peter has established through scripture that what everyone witnessed is the Holy Spirit being poured out in the last days, he then showed that Joel also stated that there would be one name to call on for salvation, and that name is Jesus.
1.      v22  Jesus is the theme of Peter's message, and shown to be approved by God.

2.      Proof of His approval by God was the miracles, wonders, and signs that He had done by God in the midst of these God-fearing men.

3.      Peter knew firsthand, and many others witnessed these.

2.      In v23, Peter tells the people that Jesus was delivered at a determined time by a determined circumstance through the foreknowledge of God.          
1.      Foreknowledge does not remove free-will

2.      God's knowledge of future events simple allows Him to work around the choices and decisions that He knows each of us will make, so that His will is done.

3.      Peter states that God raised Jesus up, speaking of the resurrection from the dead.

      Peter established that the church was indeed beginning and that just as God promised, and Jesus said, the promise of the Father (the Holy Spirit) would come when Jesus ascended and sat at the right hand of God, and the children of God would receive the pouring out of God’s Holy Spirit.

His children would have dreams, visions, and prophecy in His name.

And anyone, regardless of color, race or creed, who called on the name of the Lord would be saved!

And the Lord’s name is Jesus Christ.