Acts 2:22-41 God’s Ongoing Ministry of the Exalted Christ: His Spirit (Rev. Erik Veerman)

Oct 11, 2020    Erik Veerman

Sermon Manuscript

Introduction: A Life Transformed by the Word and Spirit

In the cool of the night air, the guards quickly kindled a fire. The blaze cast flickering light and shadows across the courtyard. On one side, a man bound in captivity. Soldiers on guard. Close by, another group argued in hushed tones what to do with him next. Their eyes casting occasional daggers in his direction. Around the fire, clusters of people had gathered, sitting in groups. Whispering with intensity. The conversations all focused on the one man. And as the night wore on, more gathered. The murmur was like a simmering pot about to boil.

In the pre-dawn hours, a girl, a servant of the estate recognized someone. “You… you were with him. That man over there – the one they call Jesus” He turned away, “I don’t know him.” A little later someone else, “No, you are one of them, his followers.” A second rejection… And about an hour later, just before dawn, a third inquisition. “Certainly, you were with him” In the middle of his third denial, a rooster crowed.

And across the courtyard, the man in chains glanced over to the one who denied him. Their eyes met. Jesus and Peter. In a rush of emotions, Peter ran out of the courtyard weeping… he recalled Jesus words only hours earlier. “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times” Peter had even said to his master, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and death” But in such a short amount of time, He proved Jesus words “The spirit is willing but the flesh is week.”

A few hours later Jesus would hang on the cross.

What in the world happened to Peter?

I’m not talking about Peter’s epic failure in the courtyard. I’m talking about Peter here at Pentecost. Do you realize… this was only 50 days later. And it’s the most powerful sermon in all of Acts. Clear and penetrating. Peter had gone from denying his Lord to declaring his Lord with passion and boldness.

His life was transformed. In those 50 days, God’s Word and His Spirit had done an amazing transformation. For many of those days, Peter was with the resurrected Jesus… as Jesus explained everything that had happened and how the Scriptures were fulfilled in Him.

If you have a bulletin, turn to page 1. The Colossians 3 text we read earlier. Look down at verse 16. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” That verse is parallel to Ephesians 5:18-19. But it starts out a little different… instead of “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” it says… “be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.”

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” it says… “be filled with the Spirit,” while these two parallel verses begin different… they are also the same. As you are filling yourself with the Word you are being filled with the Spirit.

The word of God has been washing over Peter as he’s poured through the Scriptures. And we’ll see in this Pentecost sermon the Holy Spirit using that Word inside of him… as he declared the works of the Father in Christ, through His Spirit.

Besides the message itself, which we’re about to get to, it’s quite an amazing testimony of a man filled with the Word and Spirit.

For the kids here... when you are memorizing God’s Word, you know, hiding it in your heart… you are filling yourself up with God’s Word. Have you ever filled a water balloon up? And sometime, it gets so full, that it explodes everywhere. You get wet, your friends get wet. That’s what you want in your life. To be so full of the Bible, that you can’t help but explode with God’s Word and Spirit in your life… as you minister to your friends or go through hard times yourself. That’s kind of like what’s happening to the apostle Peter here. He’s a very full water balloon… and God took a pin, and… kablooey!

We’re not even given Peter’s full sermon. This is the summarized version. Look down at Acts 2:40. It says “and with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort.” …And all of his quotes from the Old Testament… he recited those from memory, it was so engrained in him. And God’s Spirit brought it all to mind.

So fill yourselves with God’s Word and be filled with His Spirit… and experience what God will do in you and through you.

Let’s turn our attention to the content here. Last week, we considered the event of Pentecost. That unique event when the Holy Spirit was poured out to the nations in Jerusalem. We also looked at the first part of Peter’s sermon. He quoted the prophet Joel… which was directly fulfilled at Pentecost.

And today, the heart of Peter’s sermon. I tried to summarize it in 4 points. You’ll see those there in the outline.

• Hear God’s Amazing Plans and Works: The Sovereign Father

• Behold David’s Greater Son: The Risen and Exalted Christ

• Receive the Gift to and from Jesus: The Promised Holy Spirit

• Respond in Faith and Repentance: The People of God

And let me remind you, Peter is responding to the questions about Pentecost. He’s explaining what was happening. What led up to this time. It may seem like he’s avoiding the question. But in reality, he’s getting to the very heart of what was happening.

Hear God’s Amazing Plans and Works: The Sovereign Father

So, first, Hear God’s Amazing Plans and Works…

Everything that has been happening. Everything… happened according God the Father’s sovereign plan.

Look at verse 22. First, the Apostle Peter calls for them to hear. To listen and understand what is going on. And then immediately, he goes into God’s sovereign work:

• God did the mighty wonders and signs through Christ.

• Verse 23. Jesus was delivered up according to God’s plan.

• Verse 24 and 32. The Father raised Jesus up

• Verse 33. He also exalted Jesus

• Verse 34. The Father gave His son Jesus the Holy Spirit

• Verse 36 says “know for certain that God made Jesus Lord and Christ.”

What a tremendous testimony of God’s plan - Peter declaring that it all happened according to God’s amazing providence and work.

Now, put yourselves in the shoes of the hearers. They were devout Jews. Some of them from Jerusalem, but most from all over the world. They were already amped up. And right after Peter says that Jesus was delivered up according to God’s plan… he says this: “you crucified and killed.”

That’s like a dagger to your heart. You’ll either fall on your knees as you realize your sin, your role in this. Or in your sin you’ll become angry at the accusation. There’s no middle ground.

Do you hear what Peter’s saying? God sovereignly ordained everything that happened to Jesus… including his death at their hands. And through it all, God accomplished salvation. It doesn’t mean they weren’t held responsible. Oh no. But Jesus’ forgiveness of sins on the cross… would include the sin of killing him… for those who sought his forgiveness in faith.

Everything that has happened to you, that is happening, and that will happen… is under God the Father’s sovereign will. Everything happens to give God the glory. That means that your life is fully in his hands. And just as the cross was accomplished through evil and sin. …so, too, the painful things in your life happen for a purpose and reason. For God’s glory and your good.

And let me say, now is the time to realize that. To take that to heart. Because when you are going through the crucible – cancer, pain, grief… you need that internal foundation already in place, knowing that God works through sickness, heartache, and sin.

Peter called them, calls us to hear. To know of the Father’s amazing sovereign plan. Through it we have promise and hope.

Behold David’s Greater Son: The Risen and Exalted Christ (Acts 2:25-36)

That brings us to the next point… because we do have hope. And it comes through what the Father accomplished in raising and exalting His Son. Point # 2 - Behold David’s Greater Son: The Risen and Exalted Christ

Peter… remember… is filled with the Spirit and Word…. quotes these two Psalms. Psalm 16 and then Psalm 110. Both Psalms written by King David.

What Peter is telling them… is that this Jesus, who they killed, is the promised King. He’s the one of whom the Scriptures prophesied. Peter equates Jesus to David’s promised descendant who would be greater than David. He would be the eternal and exalted King. Verses 25-36 focuses on Jesus resurrection and exaltation. He is the exalted King. Right now, reigning in heaven next to the father. The resurrection and ascension is a huge emphasis here in Peter’s sermon. And by focusing on this, Peter validates Jesus as the messiah, and establishes that he is living now.

When we started our series in Acts. I used the acronym ACTS. Do you remember what the acronym stood for? A for the ascended Christ, C for church, T for Tucker, and S for Spirit. The first few verses of Acts set the stage for the rest of the book. And in these verses, we see some of that worked out. Over and over in Acts, the apostles focus their ministry on the resurrected and ascended Christ.

And that begins here, in this very first sermon in Acts. Which some have called the greatest sermon in the whole Acts.

Peter is saying… Remember that Psalm, the one where David says that his soul will not be abandoned to hades and his flesh will not see corruption. Well that Psalm… is not speaking of David. No, it’s speaking about Jesus. Why? Because David’s body did see corruption. We have his tomb with us today. His flesh rotten and gone. David’s tomb is full of dry bones.

No, it’s not himself that David was prophesying. It was Christ. verse 31 “he [David], foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up” And a couple verses later, Peter quotes the second Psalm, Psalm 110. He emphasizes Jesus as the fulfilment of these promises. That Jesus has been resurrected… and is exalted now, and at the right hand of the Father.

Jesus is King David’s greater Son. Not bound by a grave and a tomb, but Resurrected, Exalted, Reigning and ruling… right now. over your life.

Adore him, bow down before him. Worship him. He is Lord and Savior… as it says in verse 36 “Lord and Christ.” He’s the promised prophet, priest, and king. Worthy alone of our worship. As we sang this morning…. “At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow. Every tongue confess him, King of glory now….

Beloved, behold the one who has been raised and is now exalted and reigning. Overseeing and accomplishing his ministry in and through you. Amen?

Receive the Gift to and from Jesus: The Promised Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33-38)

But wait, wait, wait! Peter, I don’t understand. I thought you were preaching about Pentecost. About what just happened. The pouring out of your Spirit. Why, Peter, do you keep talking about Jesus? Instead, can you explain more about the Holy Spirit?

If Peter were asked that question… he would respond “I just did explain!” You see, Jesus ministry in heaven… is being accomplished through His Spirit.

Look at verse 33. “Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God,” …Peter’s speaking about Jesus, there… “and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.”

What Peter is saying is this. Jesus received the gift of the Holy Spirit from the Father… and now Jesus is the one pouring His Spirit out to us. Jesus ongoing ministry on earth is through the Holy Spirit. He’s up there (well, not really “up,” but he’s in heaven), and His Spirit is down here accomplishing his work.

You’ve probably figured this out, but we’re into the third point now. “Receive the gift to and from Jesus. The promised Holy Spirit.” You see, the gift of the Spirit was first given to Jesus, and now he’s pouring him out to us.

On September 7th, 2001 something happened in the world that had never happened before. At a hospital in Strasburg, France a 68 year old patient was undergoing surgery. It was quite the routine surgery, having been performed millions of times before around the world. The difference was, the surgeon was 4000 miles away in New York City. The entire procedure was done remotely using advanced remote-controlled robotics. It was the first of thousands of remote surgeries.

Because Jesus is now in heaven ministering through the Holy Spirit… he’s not limited to a specific place or person or time. No, Jesus’ ministry is being accomplished in you, though you, in me, through me, and in all of his church throughout the world, then, and now. Jesus is orchestrating and accomplishing his ministry from heaven, from the right hand of God the Father through the Holy Spirit that he has poured out.

In the book of John chapter 16, Jesus said “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper [and he’s talking about the Holy Spirit] will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”

Multiple times Jesus spoke about sending the Spirit. And a couple times in the Bible, the Holy Spirit is referred to as the Spirit of Jesus. That’s because the Holy Spirit is working the ongoing ministry of Christ, given to us from the Father through Jesus.

Dr Richard Gaffin, Jr, professor at Westminster Theological Seminary. He wrote short book titled Perspectives on Pentecost and I highly recommend it. He writes this, which I think is helpful:

“The work of the Spirit is not an addendum to the work of Christ. It is not some more or less independent sphere of activity that goes beyond or supplements what Christ has done. The Spirit’s work is not a ‘bonus’ added to the basic salvation secured by Christ. Rather, the coming of the Spirit brings to light not only that Christ has lived and has done certain things, but that he as the source of eschatological life [present and future life], now lives and is at work in the church.”

Jesus ministry through the Holy Spirit is the ministry of Christ, He brings and applies Jesus ministry of Salvation. And because of that, he is the source of life and unity for the church.

Do you see, everything about Jesus in Peter’s sermon relates to the Holy Spirit. That’s because the Holy Spirit’s ministry is the ongoing ministry of Jesus.

Look down at verse 38, and this will be a transition to the last point. Peter said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Do you see the connection there? You *will* receive the gift of the Holy Spirit if you come to Jesus in faith and repentance.

Respond in Faith and Repentance: The People of God

Point #4… Respond in Faith and Repentance.

The section of Jerusalem they were likely in… the Jewish quarter… had these large homes and courtyards. So this considerable crowd would have gathered in the street and the courtyard of the house that the disciples came out of… and possibly neighboring courtyards…

And remember, they had already heard the mighty rushing wind of the Holy Spirit being poured out. That’s what drew them there. And they had already heard the mighty works of God in their own languages… as the Holy Spirit gave words to Jesus disciples and followers. So Peter’s sermon is the third thing. As he lifted up his voice and explained to them the ministry of Christ and the Holy Spirit… they were profoundly affected.

Notice Peter ends his sermon with the same words he said earlier. “This Jesus, whom you crucified.” And as the Spirit moved in them, as this overwhelming conviction grew, it says, “they were cut to the heart.”

This is the only time that phase is used in the Bible. Another translations say, “pierced to the heart.” It means they were overwhelmed by the truth and convicted of their sin.

The Word-filled Spirit-led words of Peter had gone forth with Word-filled Spirit-led power. The very saving power of Christ. And their eyes were opened… God turned their heart of stone to a heart of flesh… they heard the call. And they asked, “what shall we do?”

“Repent and be baptized.” Then they Repented… that means they recognized their sin, they confessed it, asked God to forgive them in Christ, and they turned from it. They would soon be baptized. Which means they testified to their faith in the saving work of Christ and received the outward sign of baptism. Water. As we talked about last week, that outward sign pointing to the inward reality of the Holy Spirit.

An amazing response.

And I want to ask you. Have you repented and believed? Has the Spirit moved in your heart where you’ve recognized your sin… and turned to Christ?

Some of you have been in the church for decades… if you grew up somewhere in the southeast 30, 40, 50, 60, years ago… it’s likely you went to church. Back then Christianity was more of a cultural thing… not as much today. And there was tremendous pressure to say you believed…. But were you “cut to the heart?” Grieved by your sin? Have you ever responded to Christ from your heart with repentance and faith as these did 2000 years ago? If not, come to Christ in faith forsaking your sin.

And for the children here. Children and teenagers. Many of you were baptized as an infant. That’s part of the verse 39 promise. It says, “for you and your children.” But being baptized doesn’t mean you are a Christian. No, it identifies you as part of the covenant community of faith. You have the blessings of being in the church. But to receive Christ is to feel “cut to the heart.” It’s to feel that burden of your sin. And to turn to God in faith seeking his forgiveness. I know many of you have done that, have believed that. But if you haven’t turned to Christ in faith and repentance. May today be the day. Talk to your parents after the service. Come find me after the service. And let’s rejoice together.

Now, some of you are thinking… wait, are you sure this is a Presbyterian church and not a Baptist church? That sure sounded like an alter call. Well, yes, because that’s what this passage calls for. That’s what unites someone to Christ through the Holy Spirit. To repent and believe. Not just believe… no it calls for a turning from sin and turning to God.

And on that day… back when Peter preached that Word-filled Spirit-led sermon, 3000 believed. A testimony of God’s work in Christ through his Spirit.


• Hear God’s Amazing Plans and Works: The Sovereign Father

• Behold David’s Greater Son: The Risen and Exalted Christ

• Receive the Gift to and from Jesus: The Promised Holy Spirit

• Respond in Faith and Repentance: The People of God

Briefly and in closing… One of the many things about Peter’s sermon… is that it’s filled with God’s work - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit… all working together, all accomplish Salvation. The Father sovereignly planning all things, raising Christ from the grave, and giving Jesus the Spirit. The Son, accomplishing redemption on the cross, now exalted next to the Father, and pouring out His Spirit to us. And the Holy Spirit, given by the Father and the Son, working in us the Father’s plan of salvation… the ministry of Christ’s redemption.

May we hear and behold, receive and respond to God’s mighty work and word, through His Spirit.