Acts 009 – The Beginning of the Church Age (pt. 3)

Acts 009 – The Beginning of the Church Age (pt. 3)
Acts 2:14-23 • Dr. Andy Woods • February 1, 2023 • Acts


Acts 009

The Beginning of The Church Age (PT. 3)

Acts 2:14-23

February 1, 2023

Dr. Andy Woods

Well, let’s open our Bibles to Acts chapter 2. Acts 2:14. And we’re continuing Wednesday night our verse-by-verse teaching through the Book of Acts. Having, in our first couple of lessons, kind of, laid the overview of the Book of Acts. Acts, of course, written by Luke to Theophilus, trying to explain to him the birth and the growth of the church. And we’ve worked our way through Acts chapter 1, where Jesus gave His final instructions to the disciples. He ascended back to the Father’s right hand. Before He did that, He specifically told them not to leave Jerusalem until they are clothed with power from on high via the Holy Spirit. And just one little housekeeping matter. We only have eleven disciples and we need twelve because of the deceased Judas. And so they selected Matthias as Judas’s replacement. And then from there we moved into Acts chapter 2, where the Holy Spirit fell upon the disciples, verses 1 through 4. And in our last lesson together, we took a look at verses 5 through 13 where we saw the impact that that had. There were many, many people who were there on the day of Pentecost visiting Jerusalem. Pentecost is one of the three feast days that are mandatory in terms of Jews living outside of the land had to show up to celebrate these various feasts. So they came from all over the known world speaking their own language and- languages, I should say.

And yet the disciples, having never learned those languages were- they could understand what the disciples were saying. So that’s what we call the gift of languages. It’s sometimes translated as tongues, but it’s better understood as languages. And it was basically the ability to speak in a language- it’s a known language as we’ve studied- that you’ve never learned before. And yet you’re completely understandable by someone who speaks that language. If I only spoke English and you only spoke Spanish and suddenly I broke out in perfect Spanish that you could hear and understand, you would say that’s miraculous. Certainly my junior high school Spanish teacher would say it’s miraculous because I struggled a little bit with Spanish. So that was the sign that God gave to authenticate His new age that He is now starting called the age of the church. So the Holy Spirit has fallen and you see the Holy Spirit’s impact, verses 5 through 13. And now we get to verses 14 through 36 where you have one of the greatest sermons in the whole Bible. Um, probably one of the greatest sermons in church history where Peter stands up and speaks, and that’s in verses 14 through 36. It is a complete- completely masterful presentation that he does here. And so it’s amazing how a guy who denied the Lord three times- I call him the apostle with the foot-shaped mouth- he would talk and Jesus would say, Get behind me, Satan.

It’s amazing what God did with this guy, now that he’s filled with the Holy Spirit. This sermon that he gives, which we’re going to start studying tonight and it’s going to have quite an impact because it’s going to result in 3000 conversions. So the church is going to jump from 12 to 120- because there was 120 in the upper room- to 3000. So here’s how you can kind of divide up the sermon: there’s an introduction, verse 14. A conclusion, verse 36, but sandwiched in between is the body of the sermon verses 15 through 35, where he is refuting unbelief because the- not all, but some who had shown up there on the day of Pentecost, was attributing this gift of languages to drunkenness. Which is a silly thing to say when you think about it, because when somebody gets drunk, they become less understandable. Here, the apostles were becoming more understandable. It’s the- it’s the exact opposite of drunkenness. But unbelief, if you’ve already made a decision to reject the things of God, you have to come up with some kind of natural explanation. So the charge has already been made, verse 13, that these disciples are filled with sweet wine, which is wine that accelerates- I guess we could put it that way- the intoxication process. So notice Peter’s introduction. It’s right there in verse 14 of Acts 2. It says, “But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.'”

Now you notice that it says there Peter taking his stand with the eleven. So eleven plus Peter is twelve, right? According to my old math. And I bring that up because a lot of people say that when the church replaced Matthias with the vacated position of Judas, that they made an error. And had the church just waited, they could have had Paul, who’s going to be converted in Acts 9. So there’s a mindset out there that the church goofed up and they shouldn’t have put Matthias into the fold. When we were in that chapter, Acts chapter 1, I tried to give you the pros and cons of that argument, but I’m of the persuasion that there was no mistake made. The foundation of the church is perfect, starting on the foundation of the twelve. The apostles are the foundations of the church, Ephesians 2:20. And you’ll notice there it says Peter plus the eleven. It doesn’t say Peter plus the ten and Matthias was a mistake. It always holds up the twelve with reverence. So we kind of talked through that when we were in Acts chapter 1. And you’ll notice who’s speaking here, this guy named Peter. And as I mentioned before, Peter messed up a lot of things, not the least of which is denying the Lord three times in the Gospels.

And yet who does the Lord select to preach this opening sermon on the day of Pentecost? None other than the Apostle Peter, which shows you the depth and the breadth of the grace of God. Because a lot of people, if they’ve made a mistake in their life, or mistakes, even mistakes they’ve made before they were saved or mistakes they’ve made after they were saved. Boy, I blew this or I messed this up. I’ve got this in my background. God can never use me. We disqualify ourselves. Well, what do you do with Peter? I mean, Peter messed everything up. And yet he’s the- he’s the main man in Acts 1 through 10. Peter is the guy that stood up in Acts 1 to make the decision to replace- find a replacement for Judas. It’s Peter leading the way. Here’s Peter giving the opening sermon on the Day of Pentecost, which is an absolute literary masterpiece, And you’re going to see Peter functioning this way through the first ten chapters. If you don’t have God’s hand on Peter, you don’t have the progress of the church at all in the Book of Acts. And yet this is the guy that messed everything up so badly in the Gospels. So all of that to say if you’ve made some kind of error in your life or mistakes, don’t think- don’t let the devil whisper in your ear that you’re unusable. There’s a verse that’s rapidly becoming one of my favorites in the Bible.

It’s in Jonah3:1. It says, “`Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying.” Why did it come to him the second time? Because he messed everything up the first time. Chapters 1 and 2  is the fleeing prophet. Chapter 1, God said, go to Nineveh in the East. He went the opposite direction, he went west into Spain. Chapter 2 is the disciplined prophet, where he was swallowed up in the belly of the fish. Chapter 3 is the preaching prophet where he preached God’s message to Nineveh after God got his attention. And then chapter 4 is the pouting prophet because he was very successful in his ministry; the Ninevites repented and he didn’t want to see that. He wanted to see him destroyed. So it’s kind of interesting that Jonah is that guy who is- the word of the Lord came to him a second time. That’s kind of what’s happening here to Peter. So God can restore people. God can actually use restored people. And I actually am of the persuasion that God delights in using such people. Because they’re the ones that are broken and understand their need for God. The person that’s never made any real errors in his life or her life has a tendency to trust in their own abilities rather than God. Peter had to be brought to a point where he had to learn he couldn’t trust in his own abilities.

He was so confident that he would never deny the Lord. And on the third denial, the Bible says he went out and he wept bitterly. And I think he’s weeping because he’s sort of in anguish over himself and he’s broken at that point. And now God can actually pick him up and use him. So that’s what’s happening here with Peter. And you remember what Jesus said to Peter in Matthew 16:19? He said, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” So a key is something that you use to open- you open a door with a key. So Peter is actually going to open the door to people to enter the kingdom. He’s going to lead the first Jews to Christ in the church age, Acts chapter 2. He is going to lead the first Gentiles to Christ in the church age, Acts chapter 10. And so very, very clearly he was using the keys of the kingdom that God gave him. And when we talk about the keys of the kingdom, we believe that the kingdom is yet future. The kingdom will manifest on the earth after the Second Advent at the end of the seven-year tribulation period and will last for a thousand years. And what Peter is doing by preaching the gospel is he’s opening the door for people to become citizens of the kingdom that is yet to manifest itself on the earth.

So that’s what we are. We are, Matthew 13:38, sons of the Kingdom. Paul, in the book of Galatians 4:7, says, “…if a son, then an heir.” So a son is an heir of something yet to come. And so when Jesus says you’re going to be given the keys of the kingdom, it’s talking about how He’s going to open up entrance into the kingdom for people to become citizens of the kingdom. And they will actually enter the kingdom once it’s established upon the earth, yet future. You see here who [Peter is] addressing. It’s sort of interesting. He says, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.” Now, there are people from all over the known world visiting Jerusalem on this particular feast day. I think Peter is addressing them, but his primary audience are the people in Israel and Judea. Because he’s going to make reference to Jesus Christ, who was a man attested to them by signs and wonders, whom the nation turned over to Rome for execution, who rose from the dead. And so he’s primarily talking to people that were there to see the Ministry of Jesus and the betrayal of Jesus by the Jewish nation. The people that are coming from out of town really didn’t know anything about Jesus.

They were devout men. And we saw that there, I think. In verse five says, “devout men.” They were people that were what we would call Old-Testament type saints. They understood from Hebrew Bible that a messiah was coming. But because they- this is pre-internet, if you can imagine that. I was with my daughter in one of the Houston airports here, and there was a payphone. And I noticed this a few years back, but she was just staring at this payphone and I’m thinking, ‘what is she staring at?’ And finally it occurred to me she’d never seen a payphone. So I said, ‘you know what that is?’ And she said, ‘No.’ I go, ‘Well, that’s how we used to talk. We used to put money in the little slot there and we can talk to people.’ And then she says to me, ‘Well, why would you do that?’ Is what she said. So believe it or not, there was a time period before the Internet, This is 2000 years ago. The people that are coming on the day of Pentecost had no knowledge of what had happened for three and a half years concerning Jesus. And so that’s why Peter addresses a more narrow group here. He’s addressing the people that know about the Ministry of Jesus. Because he’s going to make a point that the Jewish nation got it wrong in rejecting Jesus. And you people need to repent. You need to change your mind about who Jesus is.

You should not go along with the mindset of the Jewish nation. You should follow this new teaching that’s later going to be called the way. Later this group is going to be called Christians. Of people that have accepted by faith the Messiah that the Jewish nation rejected. So that’s why he makes this reference here to “Men of Judea” and speaks to those in Jerusalem. So what he does now is, verses 15 through 35, is he refutes the charge of drunkenness. And notice, if you will, verse 15. And this sermon has nine points to it. If you think my sermons are long. Well, you should have sat under Peter. He’s got nine points. Well, I actually have a few more points than him, I guess, sometimes. But this- this- and it’s such a masterpiece, I can’t just rush through it. This is- this is amazing what he says here. The way he weaves together these Old Testament passages. The result that happens with the 3000, about 3000 conversions. And it’s not bad for a guy that they called later on in the Book of Acts an ignorant and unlearned fisherman. And that’s what kind of stumbled the religious leaders, the Sadducees. How do you know all this stuff, having never studied at our formal institutions? And the answer is it’s the Holy Spirit. This is what the Holy Spirit can do for somebody. You know, I’m pro-education. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to receive education in my life.

But education, at the end of the day, what it is, is it’s a few loaves and a few fish. And you have to take those things and you have to deposit them into the hands of Jesus and let Him multiply them. And so, you know, education, the pursuit of it can be a wonderful thing. But really the dominant degree a person needs is the H.S. degree. The Holy Spirit degree. Education beyond that is just sort of icing on the cake. And so this ignorant, unlearned fisherman puts together this literary masterpiece. And the first thing he says here of nine points, starting with point number one is, you know what? This can’t- these people can’t be drunk because it’s 9:00 in the morning. So look at what he says there in verse 15. He says, “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;” which most believe would be 9 a.m. So 9 a.m. was the time of the regular sacrifice when people would be their most sober, particularly since this was Pentecost. You have all these religious-oriented people in town. They’re going to observe the sacrifice. It’s the hour of prayer. So you can’t just say these people, speaking in languages, these disciples, you can’t attribute it to drunkenness. And even in the natural world beyond that, if you’ve had an experience with alcoholics, you know, very sadly, in my extended family, I had an alcoholic uncle.

And, of course, he’s passed away now, but I remember. You know, when he would start drinking heavily, you know, his whole personality would change. He would change into something that he really wasn’t before. And he did this, you know, day after day after day. He literally drank himself right into the grave. And so I remember that kind of thing happening when I was- when we would go visit them on the East Coast when I was 16 years old. I have memories of that. And, you know, you go through experiences like that and it sort of forms your mind pretty quick about alcohol and its destructive nature. But, we’re not here to have a sermon on that. But my point is, he really didn’t even start his drinking, from what I can remember, until 11. I never remember him drinking in the morning. He would start drinking about 11:00, and then by 2 to 3:00, he was a completely different person. So Peter’s point is it’s just too early in the morning for drunkenness. So you can’t just say these languages these disciples are speaking in- you can’t just attribute that to drunkenness. The second part of his sermon there, and it’s in verses 16 through 21 is his use of Joel 2:28-32. So let’s read that.

Verse 16, “but this is what was spoken of through the Prophet Joel: ‘It shall be that in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams; Even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My spirit And they shall prophesy. I will grant wonders in the sky above And signs on the earth below, Blood, and fire, and vapor [of] smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness, the moon into blood, Before the great and glorious day of the Lord-” excuse me. “Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come. And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'” All right. Controversy alert right here. And this is the reason I’m going through Acts 2 pretty slowly and methodically because Acts 2 contains countless landmines, countless landmines. Almost every false belief- not every- but a lot of false beliefs, whether it’s people who think you have to be baptized to go to heaven, whether it’s the so-called modern Signs and Wonders movement, whether it’s the folks that believe that we are currently in the kingdom now, whether it’s folks who reject the idea that the church is starting here and instead going to start with Paul; all of those false beliefs, they all run to Acts Chapter 2 for support. So we really have to understand Acts chapter 2 carefully. And the major belief concerning the use of Joel 2 in Acts 2 is that somehow Joel 2 was fulfilled in Acts 2.

Or if it wasn’t completely fulfilled, it was partially fulfilled. And most people when they study this, that’s the only views I’ve ever heard. Joel 2 was fulfilled in total or in part in Acts chapter 2. I’m going to present a completely different view to it. None of Joel 2 was fulfilled in Acts 2. None of it. I’ll explain why in just a second. Well, if none of Acts- if none of Joel 2 was fulfilled in Acts 2, then why is Peter quoting Joel 2? Peter is quoting Joel 2, not to say that the kingdom has started or any such thing. What he’s saying is, you cannot attribute what’s happening with these apostles to drunkenness because the Holy Spirit in the tribulation period and the millennium, yet future, is going to do something not identical, but similar. In other words, you should know from your own Scripture how the Holy Spirit works. The Holy Spirit in the Tribulation period is going to do something. And in the following 1000 year kingdom, He’s going to do something. You know that from Joel 2. And the Holy Spirit is doing something not identically right now, but very, very similarly. So he’s reasoning by way of analogy rather than fulfillment. So that’s the view. And at this point, I’m not really asking for agreement. I’m just asking for understanding.

So why would I think that? And I have- what do we have here?- six reasons. Number one, the spirit was not poured out on all flesh in Acts 2. Joel 2 says the Spirit is going to be poured out on all flesh. That’s not what happened in Acts 2. Acts 2:17, “I will pour [forth of] My Spirit on all-” flesh or some of your Bible translations say “all mankind.” That did not happen in Acts 2. In fact, the Holy Spirit wasn’t even poured out on the whole nation. In fact, the nation of Israel, forty years down the road is going to go into discipline for unbelief. So Israel wasn’t converted in Acts 2. Certainly all of flesh was not converted in Acts 2. How many people were actually converted in Acts 2? Well, verse 41 says 3000 people. That’s a lot of people. Praise God for that. But Josephus says there could have been as high as a million people, in Jerusalem at this time, if I have my Josephus quote, a Jewish historian who wrote around the time of Christ. So this is people groups visiting the nation of Israel from different parts of the world. There’s a lot of people. But of all of those people that were visiting, and they had to be there on the day of Pentecost, you only have 3000 that were saved. Or it doesn’t even say 3000, does it? It says about 3000. So maybe a little less than 3000, maybe a little more.

But that is not all flesh. The Joel 2 passage is very clear that when Joel 2 was fulfilled, the Spirit is going to be poured out on all flesh. Number two, there are a lot of Joel 2 predictions. And you may have noticed this as we were reading through it, there are a lot of Joel 2 predictions that never happened in Acts 2. For example, Joel says when his prophecy is fulfilled, there’s going to be blood and fire and vapor of smoke. Did you read about any blood fire and vapor of smoke in Acts 2? No. Joel says that when his prophecy is fulfilled, the sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood. Did that happen in Acts 2 when you read through it? No, it did not. Acts 2 says, “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” Now, this- when I was a teacher at the local Bible college, it was always a little awkward because you had a lot of people in the Bible college, females that were there to be preachers. And I was of the persuasion that the Bible does not assign the office of what we would call senior pastor to a female. First Timothy 2:11-14. Now, as you can tell, I made a lot of friends over at that school, right? And so the verse they would always go to is right here in Acts 2, where it says “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.”

And they thought that was a justification for female preachers in the church today. You know, and I noticed this also that a lot of churches are kind of moving to this co-pastor thing where it’s the man and his wife and they’re kind of called co-pastors. And the man will sort of back up and his wife will come up and preach. And supposedly that’s okay because she’s under the covering of her husband and all of these kinds of things. I don’t think the word of God teaches any such concept. And it’s always disappointing to my students when I would talk this way because I’m getting my theology for the church from the pastoral letters written to pastors. So it should take some kind of priority. And Paul in first Timothy 2:11-14 is, I think, crystal clear on the subject. Now, when you talk like this, you have to give counterbalancing statements, because when people hear this, they think, well, God doesn’t want to use women. And that’s just silly. God uses women all the way through the Bible. In fact, if you don’t believe me, go to constable’s online notes, He’s got an appendix at the end of his First Timothy notes. And he lists there from Genesis to Revelation very time in the Bible, God uses a woman for something. And you read through the list and it’s overwhelming.

I mean, God uses women all of the time. The discussion isn’t Can God use a woman? The issue is the office of preaching over a church. Is that a place for a woman? Paul says it is not. Now, when I would talk like this, my students would always go here to Acts 2 where it says, Your sons and your daughters females shall prophesy. And they were very disappointed when I began to teach the analogical view. See they all thought that Joel 2 is fulfilled in Acts 2. That was their basis for female preachers. And I would say Joel 2 is not fulfilled in Acts 2. Joel 2 is analogous- you see the difference?- to what’s going on in Acts 2. So in Acts 2 you don’t have sons and daughters prophesying. Now in the future Millennial age, you will have that. But that’s not happening here in Acts chapter 2.” It says Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions,” There’s no vision in Acts 2. “Your old men shall dream dreams.” There’s no dream in Acts 2. “Even on my bond [slaves] both men and women. I will in those days pour forth My Spirit and they shall prophesy…” No such thing happened in Acts 2. And by the way, when you get to the end of the Joel 2 passage, I don’t think it’s quoted here in Acts 2. But when you keep reading, this is what it says:

“It shall come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord Will be delivered.” Now, that is quoted there. But it goes on and it says, “For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.” What this is talking about is the deliverance of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel, at the end of the tribulation period, from the hands of the Antichrist who’s trying to destroy them and Jesus comes back and protects them. That’s what this is speaking of. So they’re supposed to be some kind of deliverance when Joel 2 was fulfilled of Jerusalem and Israel. And I’m here to tell you that there is no such deliverance here because the nation of Israel, in spite of a minority 3000 people who got saved, the nation of Israel will continue in unbelief. And they’re about to be- this would be about 40 years later, under the hands of the Romans- evicted from their land in the events of A.D. 70. Where I think close to a million Jews lost their lives forty years later. In the events of A.D. 70, when Titus of Rome invaded the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem. So obviously there’s no deliverance- there’s no deliverer that came from Zion. So my point is almost everything Joel 2 predicts never happened in Acts 2.

Beyond that, a lot of the things happening in Acts 2 were never predicted in Joel 2. One of the things that’s happening here is the manifestation of languages, as we’ve talked about. Translated tongues. Glossa, where we get the word glossary. A known language. That’s the Greek word translated tongues or languages in verse 4. Dialekto, where we get the word dialect. Translated as languages or tongues in verse 6. The ability to talk in a known language, having never studied it, and yet understandable to those who know that language. That’s the whole miracle that’s happening here. And yet tongues or languages is not predicted in the Joel 2 passage. And yet that’s the prominent miracle that’s happening here. See, I’m just giving you reasons why there is no fulfillment. Peter is not arguing by basis of fulfillment or partial fulfillment. He’s arguing by basis of analogy is what he’s doing. Beyond that, there is different wording in Acts to. That you do not find in Joel two. Peter changes Joel’s text. Now, maybe Peter is quoting from the Septuagint. That’s why he’s doing this. The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Old Testament created a couple hundred years after the time of Christ. But whatever Peter is doing here, it’s sort of obvious that the language that he’s using is different in some cases than what Joel 2 says. So for example, Peter quoting Joel 2 says, “It will be in the last days.”

And you can read Joel chapter 2 and you’ll not find that expression, “last days.” Peter also uses this language, “and they shall prophesy.” That language also is different than the Joel 2 passage when you compare them both side by side. Beyond that, Peter, in this sermon, particularly as he’s quoting Joel 2, never uses the word fulfilled. Now, that’s the Greek word pléroó, a word that Peter knows how to use. How do I know Peter knows how to use it? Because he used it in the prior chapter when he talked about the suicide of Judas. He talked about how Judas’s suicide fulfilled scripture. And he quoted a couple of Psalms in Acts 1:16. Remember what Peter said? “Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled,” there in parenthesis I’ve got the Greek word pléroó, “which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.” So Peter is really good at saying fulfilled when he thinks there’s a prophetic fulfillment of some sort. He never even uses the word fulfilled here in Acts 2, although he obviously knows how to use the word via what he’s already said in Acts chapter one. So when you just put all together- all this evidence, the Spirit was never poured out on all flesh. There’s a ton of Joel 2 predictions not found in Acts 2. There’s Acts 2 realities not found in Joel 2. The fact that Peter actually alters Joel’s text, and Peter never uses the word fulfilled. What I’m here to say is none of Acts 2 was fulfilled in Joel 2. Peter is not saying hey, okay, Acts 2 is- Joel 2 is now coming into existence.

What he’s saying is, the Holy Spirit is going to do something similar, but not identical in the tribulation period and the millennium. So you ought to be able to recognize the work of the Holy Spirit now, Who’s doing something, not identically, but analogously. And he’s using this as evidence that this is not drunkenness, this is the Spirit’s work, which you ought to be able to figure out what the- when the spirit is working and when He’s not, because you’ve got a lot of data in your Bible, Old Testament, showing you how the Holy Spirit works. That’s his point. Now to the view that I’m giving, which is a minority view. In fact, most people probably have never heard the view I’m giving. Can I take a show of hands on that? Has anybody never heard what I’m saying? Okay. That’s what I figured. The majority of the hands are up. The rest of you think I’m speaking in tongues up here anyway. But the counter-argument that’s used is the expression “this is that.” So when you go back to verse 16, Peter says, “this-” tongues- “is that [or what] was spoken of through Joel.” And so people see this expression, “this is that”, and they think Peter is saying Joel 2 is fulfilled in Acts 2. The Greek expression, “this is that” is touto estin to.

And people think that means fulfillment. However, and this is maybe important to review because we’ve got Communion Sunday coming up this Sunday. Where when we take communion as a church, we typically read these verses that Paul wrote, referring to what Jesus said in the upper room. “and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body.'” “This is that.” Todo estin to, the identical Greek expression that you find in Acts 2:16. “This is that,” todo estin to. Now, when we take communion together, we all understand that when it says “this is that,” that the elements that e’re taking are not the identical body and blood of Jesus. Which means our view is very different than what you find in Roman Catholicism concerning the Lord’s Table, where they practice something called transubstantiation, where they basically believe that when you partake of the cup, the bread, and the cup, you’re actually physically partaking of Christ’s literal body and blood. Which we reject as a doctrine because, A, that would be cannibalism- right?- and B, that would mean that every time we took communion together, Jesus would have to be re-crucified. The book of Hebrews says he’s crucified- how many times?- one time. The word is hapax, once. So I was talking to one friend of mine who’s sort of an apologist against the doctrines of Roman Catholicism, being an ex-Catholic, and he was talking about how one time the priest in the Roman Catholic Church dropped something- dropped the elements. And started to really panic because, I mean, that’s- that’s Jesus rolling around there on the floor.

So when it says todo estin to we don’t believe “this is that” in the sense that the elements are Christ’s body and blood because Paul says, “do this in remembrance,” quoting Christ, “of Me.” In other words, the elements cause us to remember what Jesus did by way of analogy. When we look at the elements and take the elements and we understand the bread represents His body, which was sacrificed for us. The cup represents His blood, which was spilled in our behalf. As Protestant Christians, we don’t take “this is that” to mean this equals Jesus’ body and blood. So it’s obvious todo estin to can mean an analogy. I mean, if we’re not going to accept that, then we’re into Roman Catholicism and their understanding of the Eucharist and communion. What I’m saying is this identical expression, todo estin to is exactly what Peter uses in Acts 2:16. Yeah, he says “this is that.” But it’s very well understood that “this is that” can be used analogously. So that’s the answer to the argument that this has to be a fulfillment of Joel 2 because it says “this is that.” Well, that doesn’t make any sense because “this is that” is used in the communion passage, which is obviously analogous. And if it’s not analogous, then we should convert to Roman Catholicism.

So when you put all this data together and then you look at their key objection, you start to see that none of Joel 2 was fulfilled in Acts 2. Disappointing, I know, to those where it says your sons and daughters will prophesy as it license that we should have women preachers. That’s why there’s this push to get this to be a fulfillment, but there is no fulfillment. It’s an analogy. So with all of that being said, he completes the quotation of Joel 2, and then he moves to part three of the sermon where he talks about the miracles of Jesus. Notice what he says in verse 22. “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know-” So he makes reference here to Christ’s miracles, wonders and signs. Miracles deal with power, wonders Deal with power, and signs- the Greek word there is sémeion- deal with authentication. Jesus authenticated who He was through signs and wonders. In fact, that’s the whole premise of John’s gospel. John, at the end of his gospel, says, “Therefore many other signs-” same Greek word sémeion-” Jesus also performed in the presence of [the] disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you [may] believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

John says, I’m going to give you a book of signs that Jesus performed when He was on the earth. John highlights seven signs. The first one is the water to wine at Cana of Galilee. The seventh one is the raising of Lazarus from the dead. When Jesus Himself resurrects from the dead, I guess that would be sign number eight. And then at the very end of John’s gospel, the disciples are out there fishing all night, not having caught anything. And Jesus in His resurrected body appears to them and says, Just throw your net on the other side of the boat. You can imagine how insulting that was to hear that. Lord, we’re the professionals. We’ve been out here all night. We know what we’re doing. No, just throw your net on the other side of the boat. They did what- they humbled themselves- right?- which is what you have to do to be used by God. You’ve got to decide that your way is not working. I guess being out there all night and having caught nothing would be a clue. And they just do the simple thing. They throw their net on the other side of the boat and you know the rest of the story. There are so many fish that they’re having a difficult time pulling, you know, the fish and the boat in having to drag it in as the boat was sinking. So that would be sign number nine. Sémeion.

So when it says here, “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and signs and wonders which God performed…in your midst, just as you yourselves know.” Peter here is making reference to the fact that they knew exactly who Jesus was because of His miracles. There’s lots and lots and lots in the Bible about the miracles of Christ. This is why Nicodemus consulted Jesus at night. I call it the Nick at Night Discourse. It says, “this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him-” Why did he come by night? I mean, kind of under the radar. He didn’t want the other leaders to know that he was even investigating the things of Jesus. “this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.'” So He was attracted to Jesus because of His signs. Sémeion. John the Baptist was attracted to Jesus because of His signs. It says in Matthew 112-6, “Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ,” That’s His miracles, “he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, ‘Are You the Expected One, or should we look for someone else?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear and the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. [And] blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.'” So John is in prison saying, are you the guy or not? Because we know about all these miracles. So where’s the kingdom? Bring it on. I mean, if you’re the Messiah, why am I in prison? So are you really the guy? Jesus says I’m the guy. Because look at all the miracles I’m doing. But blessed is he who does not take offense at Me. John, the kingdom is not going to come right now. It’s postponed. But this whole interaction takes place because of the signs that Jesus was doing. Josephus, a first century Jewish historian who wrote a little after the time of christ- so now we’re outside the Bible- makes reference to the miracles of Jesus. So the miracles of Jesus are attested to not just in the Bible, but outside of the Bible in secular history.

Josephus says in his antiquities, “About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if one indeed ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such [people] as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Christ. And when, upon accusation of the principal [men] among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of [the] Christians, so called…has still not to this day disappeared.”

So we’re not reading the Bible here. We’re reading a historian a little after the time of Christ talking about Jesus, Pilate, Christians, the Resurrection. And one of the things he brings up here is His miracles. So Peter here, as he is preaching this sermon, having already dealt with Joel chapter 2, is now appealing to the miracles of Jesus. “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs.” Why is Peter bringing this up? Because what his point is the miracles that you’re seeing right now, with tongues, is happening because of Jesus. It’s just He’s not doing His miracles on the earth. He’s doing them- where?- from the Father’s right hand. So that’s another argument that Peter uses to explain that this is not drunkenness. This is not drunkenness, number one, because it’s 9:00 in the morning. This is not drunkenness, number two, because the Holy Spirit is going to do something analogous in the future. Number three, this is not drunkenness because you all saw His signs and wonders and Jesus is just continuing to do them right now.

He didn’t- He never stopped doing miracles. He’s just doing them from the Father’s right hand. And His first order of business was to start the church age, which is happening here. “attested to you by signs and wonders.” Which is the capacity to speak in a language that you’ve never learned before. And you see how Peter is appealing to them as eyewitnesses. See how he says, “Men of Israel”? He’s not addressing everybody that’s come in from out of town. Because what would they know about it? Pre-internet, right? Pre-streaming, pre-cell phones. What would they know about Jesus? They knew nothing about it. But he’s saying you men of Israel, living in Judea, you know about this because you either saw some of it or you know people that saw it. That’s why he says, “which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know-” So the Jesus of Miracles is still doing miracles. He’s just doing them from the Father’s right hand. Number four, he talks about the fact that the nation of Israel took Jesus in spite of His miracles and had Him crucified. Acts 2:23, “this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you,” Israel first century, “nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.” So who killed Jesus? Was it first-century Israel or was it the predetermined plan of God who killed Jesus? Was it the free will of man, or was it the predetermined will of God? The answer is yes.

The predetermined part is there in verse 23, “this Man delivered over by the predetermined [plan] and foreknowledge of God.” This rejection of Jesus leading, Him to the cross was part of a divine plan to pay the sin debt of the world. How do I know that? Because there’s a lot of Old Testament passages that say He’d be pierced; Psalm 22:16, “They pierced my hands and my feet.” A thousand years in advance. Isaiah 53:5, “He was pierced for our offenses,” 700 years in advance. Daniel 9:26, “the Messiah will be cut off.” Six centuries in advance. Zechariah 12:10, “so they will look on Me whom they have pierced.” 500 years in advance. So when Jesus was rejected and escorted to Rome for execution, it was a fulfillment of a predetermined plan of God, yet God used the free will of the Christ rejectors. Because the rest of the verse (Acts 2:23) says, you nailed Him to a cross. You made a decision nationally. So it is an interesting thing that God can take the free will choices of His enemies and use them to fulfill His word. That’s an amazing truth in the Bible- would you not agree? And by the way, one fast thing, and we’ll stop here with verse 23.

But one fast thing I want to bring up is when it says “you”, referring to Israel, “nailed Him to a cross,” people say, and in an anti-Semitic way in Christianity for the last 2000 years that the Jews are the Christ-killers. And so that has been used within Christendom to have a kind of animosity towards the Jewish people. Oh, you’re the Christ killers. Well, certainly first-century Israel rejected Him. But there’s a lot of other people that rejected Him as well, not the least of which is the Romans. Because Jesus in Luke 18:32 of His death says He will be handed over to the Gentiles. So if you’re going to call the Jews the Christ-killers, you’ve got to call the Gentiles the Christ-killers. And by the way, Jesus died for the whole world. For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son. Why did he die? Because of my sin and your sins. So we’re Christ-killers too, right? And by the way, nobody took Christ’s life against His will. John 10:18, “No one has taken it from me, I lay it down…I have authority to lay it down…I have authority to take it [back].” So, you know, let’s when you read this statement like this- you nailed him to a cross- and just look at that statement in isolation of all other biblical data- and develop a doctrine that the Jews are the Christ-killers, that’s out of balance. Certainly they played a role, but they did not play the only role. There’s a lot of other culprits involved as well, including ourselves.

Because He died for the sins of the world. So this is not drunkenness because it’s too early in the morning. This is not drunkenness because the Holy Spirit, albeit Joel 2, is going to do something analogously in the future. This is not drunkenness because Jesus is a man of signs and wonders. He’s just doing more right now at the Father’s right hand. That’s what you attribute the tongues and languages to. But what happened to Him is he was crucified- and then Peter will go on and explain, as we’ll see next week- resurrected, ascended to the Father’s right hand. He’s entered His high priestly ministry after the Order of Melchizedek, book of Hebrews. And once He entered into that ministry, the first thing He did is he formed the church and authenticated it through languages. So that’s the source of these tongues. It has nothing to do with drunkenness. So we’re only halfway through, not even halfway through. Nearly half-way through the sermon, because this is you’re going to see it’s going to get better and better and better. And so praise the Lord. Let’s pray. Father, we’re grateful for Your truth. Grateful for Your word. Grateful for the record that You preserved for us. Help us to handle Your word correctly in these last days. We’ll be careful to give You all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name and God’s people said, Amen. If you’ve got to take off and collect your young ones, this would be a good time to do that.