FOUR GREAT REASONS FOR OUR
Heb. 11:6; Rom. 10;17.
1. In Acts 2:41 we read, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."
2. What a response to the preaching of the gospel!
3. Jesus had been crucified about seven weeks before.
4. Undoubtedly the events of the final week of His life, before the cross, were still the main topic of conversation among those living at Jerusalem.
5. Some, even His apostles, had thought, even until the last, that He would deliver Israel from Roman rule and set up an earthly kingdom of His own.
6. Still others thought Him a blasphemer and a false prophet.
7. But, I am sure that very few of them were neutral.
8. Within a twelve hour period, Jesus had been betrayed by Judas, deserted by His apostles, arrested and tried by the Jewish council, then scourged and crucified by the Romans.
9. For the next seven weeks, the apostles are silent, so far as public preaching goes.
10. Then, there came the day of Pentecost. A feast day of the Jews, bringing them to Jerusalem from many different parts of the world.
11. The apostles were waiting for the "power" that Jesus had promised them in Acts 1:8.
12. Then, the activities of Acts 2 begin to fall into place.
13. But why did 3,000 souls become obedient to the gospel on that Pentecost day?
14. The events leading up to this day had prepared them, and the apostles' preaching on this day gave four great reasons for faith.
I. THE MIRACLES PERFORMED BY JESUS OF NAZARETH.
A. Very early in his sermon to the Jews on the day of Pentecost, Peter speaks of Jesus:
1. He says: "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know" Acts 2:22.
B. What Jesus had done throughout His ministry upon the earth, was not a secret.
1. Paul, the apostle, stated later on: "This thing was not done in a corner", Acts 26: 26.
a. This is the very point that Peter made here on Pentecost, he said, "As ye your- selves know."
C. When disciples of John came asking whether Jesus was the Christ, He replied:
1. "Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up", Matt. 11:4,5.
2. Peter could have made reference to the healing of his own mother-in-law by Jesus Mk. 1:29-31.
a. And during that very same day multitudes came bringing their sick to Jesus to be healed by Him. Mk. 1:32-34.
3. The apostles were with Him when He stiled the storm on the Sea of Galilee, Matt. 8:23-27, when He raised the dead, Lk. 7:11-15; 8:49-56.
4. Many knew of His raising of Lazarus, which took place just outside of Jerusalem, Jno. 11.
a. Peter could have asked: "Does anyone here know Lazarus? Were you present on that day?" He could have also asked: "Is Lazarus in the audience?"
D. Why did Jesus do miracles, anyway?
1. Part of the answer is found in Jno. 3:2, when one of the rulers of the Jews came to Him and said:
a. "We know that thou are a teacher come form God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him."
1) The Jews on Pentecost must have felt the force of this logic, for they could not deny the power Jesus manifested.
2) On one occasion they watched Him to see if He would heal a man on the Sabbath, so that they could accuse Him of violating the law, Mk. 3:1-5.
a) But, even then, they did not doubt His power to do such miracle.
b) So, for this reason, He told them: "Though ye believe not me, believe the works ...Believe me for the very works sake", Jno. 10:38; 14:11.
E. John gives us the reason for recording so many of the miracles of Jesus:
1. He says: "Many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God." Jno. 20;30,31.
a. So, this is the point that Peter is making in Acts 2;22. And is one reason so many put their faith and trust in Jesus.
II. ANOTHER REASON FOR OUR FAITH IS THE FULFILLMENT OF THE MANY PROPHECIES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.
A. The Jews had long looked for the Messiah, or Christ.
1. So, Peter, in his sermon on Pentecost, uses these prophecies to show that Jesus is the Christ.
a. He begins with Joel's prophecy about the day when salvation would begin to be preached, as is found in, Joel 2:28-32.
1) Peter says that: "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel..." Acts 2:16
a) He goes on later, in Acts 2:25-28, to a prophecy in Psa. 16:8-10 to demonstrate that Jesus is the fulfillment of that prophecy.
b) So, if He fulfilled the prophecies, and He did, then He must be the One foretold in them.
B. Peter could have used many, many prophecies in his sermon with regard to Jesus as the Christ.
1. Christ was to be born in the city of Bethlehem, Micah 5:2, of the seed of David, Psa. 89:2,3; Lk. 2:4.
2. He was to be a King, Psa. 89:3; Jno. 18:37, and Savior, Jer. 23:5,6; Matt. 1:21.
3. His manner of life and death was well foretold in Isa. 53.
4. His betrayal by Judas, and even the price given, was foretold, Zech. 11:12,13; 13:6.
5. Peter could have also used Psa. 22, where we read:
a. "My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?...All they that see me laugh me to scorn...I may tell all my bones...They pierced my hands and my feet...They part my garments among them, and cast lots for my vesture."
C. The Jews looked for the Christ to come, and they anticipated a kingdom in which they would not only have freedom from Roman rule, but in which they would rule the world.
1. They looked to such scriptures as: Dan. 2:44, "The God of heaven shall set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed...And it shall stand forever."
a. Daniel shows that this kingdom was to come during the time of the Roman kings, Dan. 6,7.
1) But they failed to get the true meaning of what Daniel said, in 7:13,14.
2) Isaiah also wrote of this time: Isa. 2:1-3.
a) But now Peter is preaching the fulfillment of these prophecies!
b) These are the "last days" Acts 2:17, and Jesus has been raised up to be king on David's throne, Acts 2:29-34, where He now sits at the right hand of God.
D. Yes, fulfilled prophecy is definitely a great reason for our faith.
III. YET ANOTHER REASON FOR OUR FAITH IS THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS.
A. The Psalmist had written prophetically, "I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved...For thou wilt not leave my soul in hades, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." Psa. 16: 8-10.
1. Peter used this prophecy, then said: "David is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he, seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hades, neither his flesh did see corruption." Acts 2:29-31.
B. Even the Jews knew that Jesus foretold His resurrection, and asked Pilate to place a special guard over the tomb, Matt. 27:62,63.
1. Pilate told the watch or guard, "Ye have a watch; go your way, make it as sure as ye can." And they did! Matt. 27;64-66.
C. So, Peter stood before that great crowd on the day of Pentecost and with boldness said:
1. "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses", Acts 2:32.
2. there were also many other witnesses other than the apostles.
a. Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 15:4-6, "He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: ofter that he was seen of above five thousand brethren at once."
D. So, Peter could have asked some very pointed questions at this time: He could have said:
1. "You put a guard on the tomb; where is the body?"
2. "If Jesus was not raised from the dead, where is the body?"
3. Or he could have asked: "Hundreds saw Jesus after He came forth from the tomb. Will some of you speak up and tell this crowd you saw Him?"
E. That Jesus rose from the dead is basic to the gospel.
1. But with this kind of evidence, why didn't even more than 3,000 believe?
IV. ANOTHER REASON FOR OUR FAITH IS THE MESSAGE OF THE PROMISE.
A. When man sinned in Eden, a promise was made of a Savior.
1. Speaking to Satan, God said: "I will put enemity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Gen. 3:15.
a. God later elaborated on this promise when He said to Abraham:
1) "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed", Gen. 12:3:22:18.
2. So, the Jews had long looked for the fulfillment of what they called simply, "the promise".
a. But that promise had not yet been fulfilled.
1) Now, Peter preaches that it is fulfilled!
a) So, when they believed Peter's preaching, they asked, "What shall we do?" We find Peter's answer in Acts 2:38,39.
B. Paul writes of the Abrahamic promise in Gal. 3:8,16.
1. He says that God "preached the gospel before unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all natiosn be blessed...Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ."
2. When Paul preached to the Jews in Antioch, this same theme was used:
a. He said, "He raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will. Of this man's seed hath God, according to his promise, raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus." Acts 13:22,23.
1) So, "the promise" was a continual subject of the Jews study and meditation. And now, on this Pentecost day, it all comes together for them.
1. Peter gives these strong reasons for our faith, then he declares:
A. "Let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified". Acts 2:;36.
2. After asking what they must do, and then being told, the record says:
A. "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls". Acts 2:41.
3. The story did not end there, for we are told in vs. 47:
A. "The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."
4. Neither dies it end with vs. 47. For, when people today hear that same story, thrill to the same promises and become convinced by the same reasons of faith, they respond in exactly the same way.
5. When the response is made, it becomes my pleasure to hear that good confession:
A. "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
B. And it thrills all of us to observe another soul being baptized into Christ, just as those three thousand souls did back there in Jerusalem nearly 2000 years ago.
6. You that are subject to the gospel call today, won't you thrill our hearts by obeying the gospel of Christ?
By Jim Sasser
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