The New Thing in Sermons

May 15, 2016     |     text: Acts 2:1-38

Our society is all about the latest thing. Retailers, whether fast food, entertainment or fashion, try to predict what the next trend is going to be. I would advise caution if listening to a preacher that always has “a new word from the Lord.” While I will not deny there is sometimes special revelation, or that people are called to the ministry or to the mission field, any leader that gets up every Sunday week after week and claims to have divine revelation that is between him and God… Always make sure the claims of your Bible teacher are founded in the Word that God has given to all of us.

On the day of Pentecost, however, everything did change. The Apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and Peter did indeed bring a new word from the Lord. If not a new word at least one they had never heard proclaimed before. He preached the very first Christian sermon, one that proclaimed faith in the resurrected savior. He was the first to preach salvation in the name of Jesus! 

The Holy Spirit came as promised. Before his arrest and trial, Jesus had explained that he must go in order for the Comforter (another Helper) to come. During the final hours they had together, Jesus told the disciples much of the coming days and the end of time. They were anxious about the time at hand and had many questions. They would not fully understand everything he had to say until after receiving the Holy Spirit. The Spirit brought the teachings of Jesus during his ministry to their remembrance and then all of it made more sense. After his resurrection, Jesus again gave them instructions to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the promise. The day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of the promises Jesus made both before and after his death and resurrection. But that’s not all.

God’s Spirit had been promised in the Old Testament. Look at Peter’s quote from the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-32). Jesus did not promise anything new that was not already in God’s plan. When God gave Moses the Law and instructions for building the tabernacle, He knew that those things were images and symbols of things to come – even though Moses did not. There is a process of revelation that begins in Genesis and continues throughout the scripture. Adam was given a little bit in Genesis 3. Abraham was shown a little more, Moses more than that and so on. Joel prophesied that God’s spirit would be poured out on mankind and that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved! The trinity is not revealed as such in the Old Testament but the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were active and working. After we read about the earthly ministry of Jesus in the Gospels, and the Holy Spirit and beginning of the Christian church in the Book of Acts, we can look back into the Old Testament with a new understanding of what is going on.

Salvation comes in the name of Jesus Christ. The sacrificial system of old covenant Judaism teaches us that blood must be shed for the remission of sin. Man is separated from God by sin for we have broken God’s Law. The prophecies of Messiah are all over the Old Testament and made manifest in the person of Jesus. He provided on the cross an all-sufficient sacrifice. The Holy Spirit came in Acts 2:4 and Peter preaches the first Christian sermon. What must we do to be saved? Call on the name of the Lord. Believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Believe and be baptised, and you will be filled with the Holy Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit is to convict hears of sin and draw people to Jesus. That’s what does in the world; he draws people to Jesus who is the only way to come to God the Father. The Father sent his Son and then his Spirit into the world so that through him we might be saved. There is no other name given by which we can be.

The message has not changed even though there are many who have yet to hear it. The Gospel preached by Jesus and the disciples was good news and is still so today. The Spirit convicts hearts of sin and we must share the Gospel so people can hear and believe. The message Peter preached in Acts 2 must be the one we continue to share no matter what trends come and go what changes in the world. The Word of God endures forever.

 

About Clark Bunch

Clark Bunch is the pastor of Unity Baptist Church and author of God is Near. He and his wife Teresa have one child. In his spare time he enjoys blogging, playing guitar and riding his motorcycle. And coffee, he'd be nowhere without coffee.
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