Acts 013 – The Beginning of the Church Age (pt. 7)Acts 2:35c-36 • Dr. Andy Woods • March 1, 2023 • Acts
The Beginning of The Church Age (PT. 7)
March 1, 2023
Dr. Andy Woods
If we could take our Bibles and open them to the Book of Acts chapter 2 and verses 34 through 35. If you show up to Wednesday night Bible study next week, you’ll think you missed the Rapture because we’re not having Wednesday night Bible study next week because of the Chafer conference. Which you can attend live at West Houston Bible Church about fifteen minutes from here. And they’re pretty good, West Houston Bible Church, at all the live streaming stuff. So if you go to Dean Bible Ministries or West Houston Bible Church you should be able to access the live stream if you’re interested in that. But as for tonight, we’re continuing our verse by verse teaching through the Book of Acts. Acts chapter one, as you know, is the ascension of Jesus. And prior to His ascension, He was very clear that the disciples were to tarry in Jerusalem until they were clothed with power from on high. And that empowerment came in Acts 2 with the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, verses 1 through 4. And you see the Holy Spirit’s impact as the Apostles had the ability to speak in known languages that they had never studied. Verses 5 through 13. And as the crowd that had assembled there on the day of Pentecost saw this phenomenon, there were some in the crowd that attributed it to drunkenness, Acts 2:13.
“Others were mocking and saying ‘They are full of sweet wine.'” Acts 2:15, Peter at that point stands up and gives a defense as to what was happening. And how it was not attributable to drunkenness. So Peter preaches in an amazing sermon. And this sermon, unfortunately, is so abused by people. I have to go through it very slow because so much of the confusion that takes place within the body of Christ is people linking their false ideas to the sermon, as we’ve been trying to explain. So the big picture is Peter gives an introduction, verse 14, and the heart of the sermon is there in verses 15 through 35, where he refutes the charge of drunkenness. He’s explaining that these languages did not come through drunkenness. So there’s about nine points in the sermon. It’s beautifully done. And this is the guy that denied the Lord three times and walked out on the water and sunk and opened his mouth and Jesus said, Get behind me, Satan. This is the same guy now controlled by the Spirit. And this is what the Spirit is able to reproduce through a person that is yielded to Him. So Peter says, number one, it’s too early for drinking because it’s 9:00 in the morning, verse 15. Number two, you should be able to recognize the work of the Spirit, verses 16 through 21, because the Holy Spirit is going to do something similar in the Tribulation period and the millennium.
And that’s where he quotes Joel 2. Number three, the source of these languages is the miracle working Christ. Verse 22, you saw Him here, Peter says, for over three years, performing miracles. Yet the nation did not receive Him but crucified Him, verse 23. But the grave could not hold Him and He resurrected from the dead, verse 24. And when He resurrected from the dead, He fulfilled Psalm 16, which was written a thousand years in advance, predicting the bodily resurrection of Jesus, verses 25 through 29. And by the way, the one whom you killed is in fact the one who will reign one day from David’s throne. So you you rejected the the Davidic descendant, the one that is the inheritor of the Davidic Covenant. He deals with that in verses 30 through 32. And that’s where he quotes Psalm 132. And then you get to verse 33, and now he’s getting into the explanation of where these miracles are coming from. He talks there about how Jesus has ascended. He took His seat at the Father’s right hand. He entered into his present session. And He began to function as high priest after the Order of Melchizedek. And once He entered that role, His first order of business was to give to the church the Spirit, the Holy Spirit. And that’s where these languages are coming from. It has nothing to do with drunkenness. So verse 22, Jesus performed miracles on the earth, verse 33.
He’s continuing to perform miracles from the Father’s right hand. And then finally, the last part of the body of the sermon there, number nine, verses 34 and 35, he quotes Psalm 110:1 to demonstrate where Jesus is now. He’s at the father’s right hand, fulfilling His high priestly role. So verses 34 and 35 say, as Peter is quoting Psalm 110, “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Until I make your enemies your footstool.”‘” And as we were working through that, I brought to your attention that the key word there is “until”. Jesus is going to remain at the Father’s right hand until His enemies are made His footstool. So Jesus is still there at the Father’s right hand because His enemies have not been made His footstool. Because who’s running this world system? The New Testament is very clear that Satan is running this world system. So we’re living sort of in between a time period, in between Satan’s conviction and punishment. Satan is a convicted foe. But the punishment hasn’t been imposed yet. And it’s not until the events of the tribulation, halfway through where he loses access to God’s throne permanently. It’s not until the millennial kingdom where he’s going to be bound a thousand years.
And it’s not until the end of the millennial kingdom when he’s thrown finally into the lake of fire that his punishment will be imposed. So until those last three points take place that I have underlined there, Jesus will remain in His high priestly role at the Father’s right hand. And that is the best I can do, the meaning of what Peter is getting at. Now the abuse happens when people start to argue that Jesus really is not just functioning as high priest at the Father’s right hand, but He’s actually reigning on David’s throne in heaven. And He’s orchestrating the kingdom in a spiritual sense. And people that believe in Kingdom Now theology teach this. Replacement theologians say that we are you know, we’re now in the Davidic kingdom in a spiritual sense. Progressive dispensationalists teach this by arguing that what is happening now is actually phase one of the Davidic kingdom, the Already form of the kingdom. But all of these beliefs have one thing in common. They’re all desperately trying to find some kind of biblical justification for placing Jesus on David’s throne now. And there is no such verse. There is absolutely no verse that puts Jesus on David’s throne. Now, in fact, as we’ve studied this passage carefully, we’ve learned that the only presentation of David’s throne is never in heaven, but where? On the earth. And so to put Jesus on David’s throne now means you have to completely change the concept of the Davidic throne. You have to literally transport it from the earth into heaven.
And to do that, you have to have some kind of hermeneutical or interpretive justification for it. George Ladd, who taught the Already Not Yet view of the kingdom, basically taught that the New Testament reinterprets the Old Testament. It changes its meaning. Well, if the New Testament reinterprets the Old Testament, then everything that’s spoken of in the Old Testament was not true to the original audience it was spoken to. Darrell Bock, in his progressive dispensationalism, as we’ve talked about. In order to get this to work, he has come up with his own hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is interpretation. He calls it complementary hermeneutics, that the New Testament introduces change and additions and enhancement to the Old Testament. And we’ve gone through some of these ideas and showed that they’re really not scriptural at the end of the day. Beyond that, if Peter’s point is that Jesus is now in heaven ruling from David’s throne and we’re in the kingdom, that’s a little strange because the word kingdom doesn’t even show up in Acts 2 even though Luke is really good at using the word kingdom when it’s in play in Luke’s gospel. So those are sort of the attacks, I guess I could call them from the left that I think are misusing Acts chapter 2. And it was sort of interesting that once I got a lot of that figured out, I was completely blindsided by the right. There’s an entirely different school of thought that we’re going to get into here, where people are buying into a viewpoint called Hyper-dispensationalism.
I don’t know if you ever listened to on TV, Les Feldick. You ever listen to him? He’s got a teaching ministry. I think he’s passed away now, but he’s on television and almost every chance he gets, he pushes or promotes this idea called Ultra Dispensationalism. Hyper-dispensationalism. Hyper-dispensationalism is the idea that the church did not start in Acts 2. We at Sugar Land Bible Church, based on our doctrinal statement, believe in what’s called normative dispensationalism, meaning that Acts 2 is the beginning of a new age, the age of the church. So we think that’s what’s happening in Acts 2. It’s not the beginning of the Davidic kingdom. It’s the beginning of the age of the church. As Jesus is now not reigning from David’s throne but functioning as high priest at the Father’s right hand after the order of Melchizedek. So Kingdom Now theologians try to argue that He’s reigning from David’s throne. Now we’ve dealt with that. And then once you get that figured out, here’s this completely different view called Hyper-dispensationalism. Ultra dispensationalism. It sometimes goes by the nomenclature, mid-Acts dispensationalism where people think the church did not really start in Acts 2. The church started with the Apostle Paul. And so it’s kind of interesting to listen to the hyper-dispensationalists talk amongst themselves because you ask them, Well, where in Paul did it start? There’s actually three schools of thought.
Some think it started in Acts 9 when Paul was converted. Some believe that it started in Acts 13, when Paul launched out on his first missionary journey outside the borders of Israel into southern Galatia. And then you have a more radical school of thought. If you ever read some of the writings of E.W. Bullinger from a previous generation, he basically taught that the church really didn’t start until Acts 28. So he would be like a hyper hyper hyper dispensationalist. Too much Mountain Dew or whatever. I mean, like really hyper. And the reason he thought that is he said, well, Paul explains the mystery of the church in the book of Ephesians, and he didn’t write that until he was in prison in Acts 28. And so the church really didn’t start until Acts 28. Not understanding that Paul never started a dispensation. God starts the dispensation. Paul was just explaining in the book of Ephesians in prison what God started. Explaining something and starting something or two different things. And the hyper dispensationalists get very confused on this. And this actually- you might be thinking of this and saying, Well, why do I need to know this? Who cares? It actually becomes a major point of dissension within the body of Christ because a hyper-dispensationalist will tell you that we should not practice baptism today because Paul did not emphasize baptism. Even though I could show you passages in Scripture where Paul baptized, they say Paul played it down.
So we’re not to practice baptism today. But they will say, let’s partake of the Lord’s table. So at Sugar Land Bible Church and our doctrinal statement, we have two ordinances that we follow. We have the Lord’s Table. We’re going to practice it this coming Sunday. And then we have the ordinance of water baptism, believer’s baptism for the person that’s trusted in Christ. And a hyper-dispensationalist will accept the Lord’s table, but they will reject water baptism. The hyper-dispensationalists will basically go through the Bible and cut it up to the point where in the case of Bullinger, he’ll throw out everything for the church until you get to the book of Ephesians. So First Thessalonians is not for the church because that was pre Acts 28. Galatians is not for the church because that was pre Acts 28 And so you can see how people coming into a church with that kind of mindset create a lot of division within the church. And hyper-dispensationalists unfortunately have a reputation. Their reputation is they come into a church. They’re very godly. They’re there every time the doors are open sort of thing. And I’ve talked to many, many pastors about this because I was confused about hyper-dispensationalism when I first got hit with it. One of their big areas of influence is in Grand Rapids, Michigan. That’s like the Mecca of hyper-dispensationalism.
They have their own schools and this is where I’m talking about being blindsided by the right. They have their own systematic theologies. They have their own popular teachers like Les Feldick. And what a lot of pastors have told me is they come into churches and they try to sort of convince other people of this new way of thinking. And I’ve talked to pastor after pastor after pastor after pastor, where it’s created nothing but division in the church. Suddenly the church doesn’t want to do baptism anymore. You get people that lean that way. But we want to do the Lord’s table know suddenly the book of Galatians is not for the church, but Second, Timothy is et cetera. Harry Ironside wrote a book called, I think it’s called Wrongly Dividing the [Word of Truth]. And he testifies in that book about how countless missionary movements have literally been ruined through the influence of this sort of hyper-dispensationalism. So when you really get into this issue, I recommend the book by Charles Ryrie called Dispensationalism if you have that. He’ll have a chapter dealing with progressive dispensationalism, which we’ve already discussed. He also has a very, very significant chapter in that book on hyper-dispensationalism. So what a hyper-dispensationalist basically teaches is that everything that’s going on from Acts 2 until the conversion of Paul is what they call the Jewish church. And then everything that happened subsequent to the conversion of Paul, they’ll call Paul’s church.
So you’ve got two churches. Even though Jesus in John 10 said, I will make you one flock. So then it’s a matter of going through the Bible and saying, okay, what books of the Bible are to the Jewish church? What books of the Bible are to Paul’s church? And they start to divide up the New Testament. This one’s for us. This one’s not for us. So they would look at certain things in the New Testament almost the same way I would look at the book of Leviticus. I mean, I’m not going to put the church under the book of Leviticus. Did you guys bring your animal sacrifice with you? We study the book of Leviticus. We love the book of Leviticus. We can learn a lot about generic general concepts about God from the book of Leviticus. All Scripture is for us, although not all Scripture is about us. So the decision I’m making with the book of Leviticus, they would make with the Book of Hebrews. Oh, that’s not for us. Book of Galatians. Oh, that’s not for us. Book of Matthew. That’s not for us. So they’re drawing a dispensational line, which I’m in favor of drawing dispensational lines. But it’s like they’ve taken a good concept and they’ve gotten carried away with it. So what they believe is happening prior to Paul’s conversion is a Jewish church. Not Paul’s church, a Jewish church. And essentially what they believe is that the kingdom is continuing to be offered here in Acts 2.
So this is not a presentation of the gospel to the lost. This is an offer of the kingdom to national Israel. And I want to explain to you why Acts chapter 2 is not teaching that the offer of the kingdom is off the table. What Peter is doing in Acts 2 is he’s preaching the personal gospel of salvation. So in order for that discussion to make sense, you have to understand the distinction between the offer of the kingdom to Israel and the personal gospel of salvation. Those are two different things. And if you don’t make that distinction, the Bible will be very confusing to you. I just think that the offer of the kingdom to Israel was taken off the table in Acts- excuse me, Matthew. 12. What they will say is no. The offer of the kingdom is continuing right here in the Book of Acts Chapter 2. That’s what Peter is doing right up to the conversion of the Apostle Paul. And those that are accepting the offer of the kingdom are part of the Jewish church. And we have a different church coming with Paul. So just to show you that this idea that there is a personal gospel and an offer of the kingdom gospel, just to show you that those are two legitimate concepts, I want to quote Lewis Sperry Chafer and Charles Ryrie.
Lewis Sperry Chafer wrote, “Such insistence is often based on Scripture which is addressed to the covenant people, Israel. They…being covenant people, are privileged to return to God on the grounds of their covenant by repentance. There is much scripture, both in the Old Testament and in the New [Testament] that calls this one nation to its long-predicted repentance…The preaching of John the Baptist, of Jesus and the early message of the of the disciples was ‘repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’; but it was addressed only to Israel.” That’s the Kingdom gospel. Chafer says, “This good news to that nation was the ‘gospel of the kingdom,’ and should in no wise be confused with the gospel of saving grace.” So Chafer, where we get a lot of our understanding of dispensationalism drew a distinction between the kingdom gospel and the personal gospel, two different ideas. And you can’t really understand how ultra-dispensationalists abuse this concept until you understand this distinction. So I’m laying this foundation so that my critique of ultra-dispensationalism will make some kind of sense to you. Charles Ryrie in his book So Great A Salvation, says, “Even the New Testament uses the [word] “gospel” to mean various types of good news.” Gospel means good news. That’s all it means. Well, what good news? Depends on the context.
“So one has to describe what good news is in view. In the Gospel of Matthew, all but one time the word “gospel” is used concerning the good news of the gospel of the Kingdom. This is the message of John the Baptist, of our Lord, and of the twelve disciples when they were first sent out by the Lord. What was the good news about the kingdom? The correct answer lies in the concept and hope of the kingdom that the Jewish people had at that time of the first coming of Christ. In fact, their hope was for the establishment of the promised rule of the Messiah in His kingdom on earth and in the Kingdom that would exalt the Jewish people and free them from the rule of Rome under which they lived. But the rule of heaven did not arrive during Jesus lifetime because the people refused to repent and meet the spiritual conditions for the kingdom. Most only wanted a political deliverance without having to meet any personal requirements for a life change. So the kingdom did not arrive because the people would not prepare properly for it.”
What was offered to the nation of Israel up through Matthew chapter 12 was an opportunity to enthrone the King, Jesus, on the king’s terms. And if they had done that, the millennial kingdom would have arrived right then and there. Now, I know you have a lot of questions about, well, if that happened, how could He have paid the sin debt of the world? God had it worked out.
Trust me. But the offer of the kingdom to Israel up until Matthew 12 was a legitimate, authentic offer. The nation of Israel could have had the king and the kingdom right then and there. Rome would have been overthrown. The knowledge of the Word of God would have filled the earth as all of the millennial passages indicate. Wolf and Lamb would lie down together. They’ll beat their swords into plowshares. And the millennium, what we call later the thousand years, would have started. So I’m quoting here Chafer and I’m quoting here Ryrie- two very traditional thinkers- because I want you to understand that when I go into this distinction between kingdom gospel and personal gospel, I’m not making anything up. This is a well trodden road in dispensational circles. It’s just because people have had so little teaching on this when they hear it, they think it’s some weird doctrine. Because I’m talking here about two different gospels. National and personal. So to help us understand the distinction between the personal gospel and the kingdom gospel, I put together this chart. That’s part one of the chart and there’s part two. Do we have any biblical examples of the Kingdom gospel? Yes, we do. Matthew 3:2. Matthew 4:17. Matthew 10:5-7, where it says, Repent for the kingdom of heaven is- what?- it’s at hand. It’s near. All you got to do is enthrone Jesus and you’ll have the Kingdom of Heaven.
In other words, God’s rule in heaven, which is unchallenged, will come to planet Earth just like that. Do we have any biblical examples of the personal gospel? Yes, we do. What is Paul saying to the Philippian jailer who said, What must I do to be saved? Paul said, Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, right? No, he didn’t say that. He said, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Paul is preaching there the personal gospel. The target audience of the kingdom Gospel is only national Israel. This was only preached to first century Israel. The target audience for the personal gospel is all nations. What kind of salvation was offered in the Kingdom Gospel? It was national. Israel, you’re no longer going to be under the boot of Rome. You’re going to be the head and not the tail. It was political. What kind of salvation is offered in the personal gospel? It’s salvation from hell. It’s personal and it’s individual. How is Jesus portrayed when the gospel of the kingdom is going forth? He is presented as the national savior and king. How is Jesus portrayed when the personal gospel is proclaimed? He is your personal savior. With the Kingdom Gospel, was there a kingdom expectation? Yes. The kingdom was imminent, meaning it could appear at any moment if the nation’s leadership had enthroned the king on the king’s terms.
Is there any kingdom expectation when we preach the personal gospel? No, there isn’t. The whole city of Sugar Land could trust Christ as personal savior and that has nothing to do with the kingdom. What it deals with is a bunch of people won’t go to hell. It’s got nothing to do with whether the kingdom is going to come. What contribution to God’s program does the Kingdom gospel represent? It contributes the appearance of the kingdom. What contribution is made when the personal gospel is preached? It’s the building of the body of Christ. Every person that trusts in the personal gospel, the body of Christ, gets larger. The building of the church. What’s the scriptural foundation of the Kingdom Gospel? It relates to the Mosaic covenant. Going back to Sinai, which was only given to Israel. Where God told Israel, I will make you a kingdom of priests if you do what I say. So the kingdom gospel, the foundation of it, comes from the Mosaic covenant going to Mount Sinai- back to Mount Sinai. What is the scriptural foundation for the personal gospel? That goes all the way back to Genesis 3:15. That there’s coming one from the seed of the woman who will crush the serpent’s head. And as people throughout the Old Testament believed that promise, they were personally saved. When is the kingdom gospel preached? Only two times.
It’s preached in early Matthew up until chapter 12 when it’s taken off the table because it’s clear the Jewish leadership is not going to receive it. And it will be preached again in the tribulation period after the church has been raptured to heaven. That’s what Matthew 24:14 says, a tribulation text which says, “The gospel of the Kingdom will be preached to the whole earth..and then the end will come.” So we don’t preach the kingdom gospel today. The Kingdom Gospel is only preached in early Matthew up until Matthew 12 and it’s preached in the tribulation period. What we do preach today, throughout the church age, is the personal gospel. Is the kingdom gospel preached today? No. Is the personal gospel preached today? I hope you get the answer to that one, right. Yes. Is the Kingdom gospel always available? No, it’s not. The Kingdom gospel was available when Christ was on the earth. It was available and it will be available to the nation of Israel in the tribulation period. Is the personal gospel always available? Yes, it is. It’s available from Genesis 3 right until just before the Eternal State. Well, gee, Pastor, if I wanted to study the Kingdom Gospel, which gospels- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John- should I read? You would read the Synoptics. You recognize the word optic as in sight? Synoptics. S-Y-N in Greek means similar. Synoptics means “similar look.” There are three gospels that follow the same four or five part plot structure. They’re called the Synoptics.
They are Matthew, Mark and Luke. If you want to understand the Kingdom gospel, those are the gospels that you read. If you want to understand the personal gospel you would read the Gospel of John, which does not follow the same plot structure of the Synoptics. It has a completely different plot structure. And that’s the gospel that develops the personal gospel. What information is contained in the Kingdom Gospel? How about the cross, atonement, resurrection, the ascension of Christ, the Holy Spirit, forgiveness of sins. Do you find that in any presentation of the Kingdom gospel? Not really. In fact, as you’re going through early Matthew, as the kingdom gospel is being preached, you don’t even know that Jesus is going to die on a cross yet. But when you preach the personal gospel, should we mention the cross, the atonement, the resurrection, the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins? Yes. The Kingdom gospel; what area of systematic theology does it contribute to? It contributes to eschatology because it’s describing under what conditions and how the kingdom of God is going to come to the earth. It’s all riding on the response of a nation to their King. But when you’re dealing with the personal gospel, you’re not really so much dealing with eschatology, the arrival of the kingdom, you’re dealing with soteriology, the doctrine of salvation.
And just to show you how critical it is to make this distinction, if you look, for example, at Mark 1:15. I know a man whose ministry involves the gospel. And if you look at his gospel track in other words, what you’re supposed to believe to go to heaven, this is the verse he quotes. He quotes Mark 1:15 which says, “and saying. ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.'” That’s what he quotes, not understanding that that verse is not the personal gospel. That verse is the kingdom gospel. In other words, when I am developing my presentation of the personal gospel, I’m not going to use that verse because that’s not dealing with the personal gospel. That’s dealing with the Kingdom gospel. How do I know that? Because it says, “the kingdom of God is at hand.” I mean, is that what Paul said in Acts 16 to the Philippian jailer? The Kingdom of God is at hand? No, he didn’t say that at all. I mean, do we do that at Sugar Land Bible Church when we give the gospel at the end of the service- end of the sermon? Hey, you guys better believe this, because the kingdom of God is at hand. That’s intermingling two things that don’t go together. And I know there’s all these people out there running around that literally worship the ground that John MacArthur walks on. John MacArthur has caused more confusion on this issue than I’m talking about here because in his writings he will not make this distinction.
He will take kingdom gospel and personal gospel and ram it all together. And I could show you the quotations in his book, the exact sermon transcript, where he says it. I didn’t bring all my quotes in today. And it’s no wonder that John MacArthur, when he preaches the gospel, you’re wondering, what is he talking about? He just added a bunch of things that don’t belong. Why does he do that? It has to do with the fact that he doesn’t make a basic dispensational distinction between kingdom gospel and personal gospel. Not that I disagree with John MacArthur on every point of theology. I agree with him on a lot of things, but I don’t agree with him on this. I mean, and this is a big thing to disagree with him on because you’re dealing with how the gospel is presented to the lost. And you cannot accurately present the gospel to the lost if you don’t know how to distinguish biblically between the personal gospel and the kingdom gospel. And going back to this quote from Lewis Sperry Chafer. That’s why Chafer at this point in his writings is bringing this up because in his day, 1947 and earlier, the same confusion was going on within Christendom that would not make a basic dispensational distinction. So when the hyper-dispensationalists say, there’s a distinction between the personal gospel and the kingdom gospel. I say Amen. I’m with you.
But then they turn around and they say and that’s what’s being preached in Acts 2. In Acts 2 what’s being preached is not the beginning of the church here because we don’t have Paul yet. He’s not converted until Acts 9. So this is a Jewish church composed of a remnant of people that have the kingdom gospel preached to them. And although hyper-dispensationalists are really good at making a distinction between personal and kingdom gospel, what they’re doing is they’re dragging Kingdom Gospel into an area of scripture that it doesn’t belong. And they’re causing confusion. So let me explain why the kingdom is not being offered in Acts 2. I have several reasons, and this is just my first of two slides. Number one, the king was absent. Where is Jesus at this point? He’s not on the earth anymore. So the Kingdom gospel is only in play when the king is here. He’s not here anymore. Number two, when you get to Matthew 12, you have language that’s irreversible. Because it’s in Matthew 12, excuse me, that the nation rejects the kingdom gospel. And once they reject the kingdom gospel, the Lord starts to use language about the nation, how it’s moving off into discipline. And how that discipline can’t be reversed. You rejected the kingdom. The nation is going to be disciplined. You can’t reverse it. So how could all of that irreversible language suddenly be ignored and all of a sudden the offer of the kingdom is back on the table? You’d have to ignore all the irreversible language that the Lord has given.
I have lots of verses there in parenthesis that you can look up on your own, but I’ll just show you one. It’s in Matthew 21:42. “Jesus said…’Did you never read the Scriptures, ‘The stone, which the builders rejected, This became the chief cornerstone; This came [about] from the Lord, And it is marvelous in [our] eyes’? Therefore, I say to you-‘” Matthew 21:43- “‘the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you,'” first century Israel, ‘”and given to a people bearing the fruit thereof.'” He doesn’t say, Hey, this is true unless the nation gets its act together in Acts 2. It’s language that can’t be reversed. And that’s where you start finding language there about the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which can’t be reversed, which I understand is national and not personal. Number three, Jesus has already announced a new age of time since the nation rejected the Kingdom gospel in the first century. He’s laid out the age that we’re in right now in the form of eight parables. He’s already announced in Luke 19:11-27 that he’s going away for a long time and he’s trusted us with different minors in his absence. Because they suppose that the kingdom was going to appear immediately. A new age of time is already in the works. It’s in the works the moment the nation rejected the offer permanently in Matthew 2.
You can’t reverse that language. Number four, kingdom- I mean, if the kingdom is being offered here in Acts 2, what word do you not find in Acts 2? Kingdom. Isn’t that a little strange? Number five, the expression “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” is not in Acts 2. And it’s not anywhere in the Book of Acts. See this expression “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” was used by John the Baptist, Matthew 3:2. Jesus, Matthew 4:17. The disciples, Matthew 10:5-7. The seventy, Luke 10. That language is used when there was a bona fide offer for the nation to accept the king and consequently have the kingdom. John the Baptist used the language for the first time. He didn’t come on the scene and say, Hey, Jesus died for your sins, and here’s some personal forgiveness. He said, Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. It’s not here. It’s near. In other words, the rule of heaven is going to come to the earth like lightning if the nation’s leadership accepts the kingdom offer. Jesus used the same language. “From that time on,” Matthew 4:17, “Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'” Then He sent out the twelve.
This is Matthew 10. “These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: ‘Do not go in the way of the Gentiles,” Did you see that? Are you going to use this verse at your missions conference? Christ for the nations. Yeah. Let’s use Matthew 10 here. Do not go in the way of the Gentiles. Not very good advice for missionaries. These twelve, Why did he. Why- Why- Why did he say Don’t go to the Gentiles? Because it was a unique offer only for the nation, you follow? “These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans, but rather go to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'” Now, by the time you get to Matthew 28, He’s talking a different tune. He says go into all the nations and make disciples of all nations. Well, obviously something happened between Matthew 10 and Matthew 28. You know what happened? Matthew 12 happened. This is pre Matthew 12. Matthew 28, our great commission instructions is post Matthew 12. This is what the seventy did. :Now, after this, the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where he himself was going to come…and heal those who are sick, and [say] to them, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near you.'” So what do you not find in the Book of Acts? You find absolutely nothing that looks like Luke 10:9.
You find absolutely nothing that looks like Matthew 10:5-7. You find absolutely nothing that looks like Matthew 4:17. You find absolutely nothing that looks like Matthew 3:1-2. Another reason I think this takes us to number six why the kingdom is not being offered in Acts is what is happening is people are dragging kingdom truth into church truth. It’s legitimate to study Kingdom truth where it shows up early in Matthew’s gospel. But when you take that truth and yank it into the Book of Acts, essentially what you’re doing is you’re dragging Kingdom Truth into a place where it doesn’t belong. We’re not dealing with the kingdom anymore. The kingdom offer’s off the table. What we’re dealing with in the Book of Acts is the building of the church. Number seven, the timing of the kingdom has already been fixed by the Father’s authority. That’s what was said in Acts 1:6-7. “So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’ He said, ‘It is not for you to know the times or the epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority.'” The timing of the kingdom is already set. There’s a set time that God knows of when Israel will repent in the tribulation period and the kingdom will come.
Now it would be a little weird to ignore that set time and say Surprise! It’s being offered again! Right? Number eight, what is Peter doing in Acts 2? He’s not preaching the kingdom gospel. He’s preaching the personal gospel. How do I know that? Look at verse 23. “this man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and the foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.” He just preached there the crucifixion. If you look at verse 24, he’s preaching the resurrection. If you drop down to verse 38, he says, “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of the [Lord] Jesus Christ-‘” so that the kingdom can come. He doesn’t say that- “‘for the forgiveness of your sins.; and then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'” Wow. That sounds like how we preach the Gospel here at Sugar Land Bible Church. And you’re right, because Peter here is not preaching kingdom gospel, he’s preaching personal gospel. Number nine, they love Acts 3:19-21. They think that’s an offer of the kingdom as well, the hyper-dispensationalists. And when we get to Acts 3:19-21, I’ll show you that the Kingdom Gospel isn’t being preached there either. The only thing that’s being done there is the condition is being laid out that has to be met for the kingdom to come one day.
It’s not some sort of offer to Israel again. It’s saying when the kingdom comes, Israel will do this first. Just tuck that into your memory banks because we’ll be talking about it when we get to Acts 3:19-21. Yeah, but Pastor, what about the miracles? The miracles in the Book of Acts are not there because the kingdom is being offered. Now, the miracles in Matthew 1 through 11 are there because the kingdom is being offered. The miracles in the Book of Acts, rather, are there because God is starting something new that has nothing to do with the kingdom. It’s related to the church. I’ve given you this chart before; Miracles in Scripture have a way of clustering around times when God is doing something new, starting a new dispensation. They cluster around the time of Moses because there’s a new dispensation in play, the Dispensation of Law. They cluster around the time period of Joshua because there’s something very significant that is happening. The conquest of the land of Canaan. They cluster around the Elijah and Elisha stories because God is doing something new there. He’s raising up the office of Prophet, which had never existed before to call the wayward Kings back to the Covenant. They cluster around the Ministry of Jesus because in the Ministry of Jesus up until Matthew 12, the kingdom is being offered. Israel had an opportunity to receive something- That generation had an opportunity to receive, something that no generation in history has ever had the opportunity to receive- the kingdom. And to authenticate that the miracles cluster around that time period.
Miracles are taking place in the Book of Acts because God is doing something new and it has nothing to do with the kingdom. It has to do with the birthday of the church. The body of Christ. And then miracles will cluster around the tribulation period and the millennial kingdom because there God is finally establishing His kingdom on the earth. So in between these epochs or eras, I’m not saying miracles don’t happen. What I’m saying is they are the exception rather than the rule. Because between those eras, there’s not a new dispensation in play. So the miracles in the Book of Acts have nothing to do with the offer of the kingdom. That’s a done deal. That opportunity is gone. It has to do with what God is raising up here called the church. So Peter gets to the very end of this sermon and he explains this is why what you are seeing has nothing to do with drunkenness. This is the work of Jesus at the Father’s right hand in His high priestly ministry. He’s not reigning on David’s throne contra what progressive dispensationalists say. He’s not offering the kingdom again to a Jewish church because Paul’s going to start the Gentile church later as hyper-dispensationalists say. What He’s doing is He’s explaining that the church has started.
And the first order of business that Jesus undertook when He ascended to the Father’s right hand is He gave to the church the Holy Spirit. That’s why these apostles have the ability to be understood in languages they’ve never studied. It’s a miracle to authenticate this new move of God. Oh, they’re drunk. No, it’s too early in the morning for that, verse 15. You ought to recognize this as the work of the Holy Spirit, because the Book of Joel says the Holy Spirit is going to do something analogously in the tribulation and the millennium. This comes from the miraculous hand of Jesus that you actually saw when He was on the earth performing miracles. But you crucified Him and He rose from the dead in fulfillment of Psalm 16. And by the way, you crucified the one that’s going to reign on David’s throne one day. He’s a Davidic descendant, but He ascended to the Father’s right hand. He’s now functioning as high priest. In fact, He’s going to be at the Father’s right hand for a while until His enemies are made a footstool for His feet. And the first thing He did when He got up into that position is He kept doing miracles. He did miracles when He was on the earth. Now He’s in heaven doing miracles. And the first thing He did is He gave the church the spirit. And this is what is allowed these apostles to speak in languages they’ve never learned.
So you see what Peter has done. We have an introduction, verse 14. We have the refutation of the charge of drunkenness, verses 15 through 35. Now, now he gets to the conclusion of his message. The conclusion is right there in verse 36, “Therefore,” So when you see the word therefore in the Bible, you say, What is the word “Therefore” there for? In this case this is Peter’s point. “Therefore let all of the House of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ- this Jesus whom you crucified.” Who is Jesus? He is Lord and Messiah and you killed Him. First-century Israel killed him. Now, don’t worry. I’m not getting anti-Semitic on you because as we keep going through the Book of Acts, you’re going to learn real fast that we all killed Christ- right?- because He died for all of our sins. But here Peter is talking to the Jews that had assembled on the day of Pentecost, and he’s saying you killed Him. This- This nation killed Him. So where did He go? Grave couldn’t hold Him. He resurrected from the dead. He ascended to the Father’s right hand. And this is the source of these tongues or languages that you’re now hearing. It has nothing to do with drunkenness. And that’s the end of his sermon. And it’s always nice when your sermon has an impact, right? And boy, you’re going to see an impact next week.
Not next week or the week after, because we won’t be here next week. Because when you get to verse 37, when they hear this, they are pierced in their hearts, they are torn open. They are torn open through conviction as to what Peter just said, to the point where they say, what do we do? And that’s when Peter continues on with the personal gospel. So we’ll see the salvations that occur, verses 37 through 41. Not a bad altar call. I know we don’t like using the term altar call, but he’s got 3000 conversions. That’s not bad. I mean, I don’t know of any church growth model where the church jumps from 120 to 3000. And then what do you do with 3000 people that just changed their minds about Jesus and are no longer aligning with the message of Israel that Jesus is just a false prophet that deserved to die? And they’re now aligning with Peter’s message and then they’re publicly aligning with it through baptism, which is an outward confession of an inward reality. What do you do with 3000 people that just repented like that and changed their minds? Well, you have church. And so what you see developing there in verses 42 through 47 is the first church meeting. And so this is good stuff. Amen? So I’m looking forward to continuing on there with verse 37 next time.