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Pentecost: What Does This Mean? Acts 2:14-36



Acts 2:14-36                    click here for audio

There are three main parts in chapter 2 -  The Giving of the Holy Spirit;   The Explaining of What this meant;   The Receiving of the Gift of the Promised Spirit.  We have the giving, (vv.1-11)  the explaining, (vv.12-36)   and the receiving, or response (vv.37-47)


All the people were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another,  “What does this mean?” (v.12)    How do you explain this?   Some give the wrong explanation by mocking and saying “they are filled with new wine.”   They are drunk with fresh wine.  They said that because they did not really have an explanation.  It’s all they could come up with.

Peter Stands Up

“But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them:”    This begins what is really the first sermon of the newly established church.   It’s an outstanding sermon which serves as a model for preaching today.   We live in a time when preaching has been seen as outdated, and out-of-touch with our world.  Some say it needs to be replaced with other forms of communication such as dialogue, open discussions, videos, skits and drama.  God has chosen to declare His Gospel through the preached Word. God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 1Cor. 1:21

This is a different Peter.   A bold Peter, not cowardly denying His Lord, but Spirit-filled, Holy Ghost anointed preacher ready to stand and proclaim the whole counsel of God’s Word.

His Subject Matter is Jesus of Nazareth.   Repeatedly he declares  “this Jesus”.   “This Jesus” whom you crucified, God raised Him from the dead.    He exalts Jesus Christ in his sermon.  That’s is the subject of every true sermon. 

His preaching was Christ-centered.

His preaching was Biblical.   His preaching was expositional.     Expositional -Which means he explains the biblical text.    Peter didn’t come up with some good ideas and find Bible verses to prop up his ideas.  No, he went to the scriptures.  He goes to Joel 2 and Psalms 16 and  Psalms 110 for his sermon.

 Why the scriptures?   How else will you know the will of God?   the purposes of God?   How else will you know the truth about life?  About sin?   About judgment?  About heaven and hell? About salvation?    How else do you know God?

R.C. Sproul once said,    “I cannot read God’s mind, however I can read God’s Word.”    He also said this,

“I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it—His Word. He alone has the power to change lives for eternity, and that power is focused on the Scriptures.”


WE BEGIN – v.12   “……what does this mean?”

A powerful event took place on the day of Pentecost.  A supernatural event that grabbed the attention of people everywhere.  Verse 6 says at this sound the multitude came together.    The supernatural sound of a mighty rushing wind and the supernatural sight of tongues of fire resting on each of the 120 believers caused onlookers to ask -  WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

WRONG ANSWER -  v.13   mockers --  you won’t get the right answer from people who mock the things of God.

Peter stands with the eleven (v.14)  He says  “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.”

·         These are not drunk, as you suppose---   it’s only the 3rd hour ….the Jewish day started at  6am…first hour would be 7am…third hour would be 9am…   I’ve heard people say…the people filled with the Holy Spirit, or baptized in the Holy Spirit walk around,  staggering around like they are drunk..  that’s not true.   One of the gifts of the Spirit is “self-control.”   The Holy Spirit does not cause people to wonder around like they are drunk.  Lots of crazy things going on in religious groups that are blamed on the Holy Spirit.  

·         PETER -  no,  they are not drunk….  Let me explain what this all means…

This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel -   Joel 2:28-32   a Messianic Prophecy…   speaks of the coming Messiah….

How did Peter know this?   

Luke 24:27;  44-45

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,


1.  We are in the last days --- read vv.17-18


With the coming of the Lord Jesus and the sending back of the Holy Spirit  began  the LAST DAYS…

 For over 2000 years   we’ve been in the LAST DAYS   1Peter 1:20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you

  some say…it’s been a long period of time to be called the last days  for over 2000 years …. Remember   2Peter 3:8  “one day=1000yr”

1Cor. 10:11  Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.   Heb 1:1-2 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.


A.    Bright Side -   pour out my Spirit on all flesh


Pour out….all flesh …. V.17,v.18, v.33  “I will pour out…”      What does this mean?      Out pouring of the Holy Spirit on all Believers….  Not limited to only the apostles, or prophets,  or preachers, or elders, and church leaders….  All people who believe in Christ…

NOT just “sons”  but also  your  “daughters”

NOT restricted to AGE -   it’s for young men and old men

NOT restricted to where you are in the Social Ladder….  You may be first class, second class, third class, or no class

    It’s for male servants and female servants…   It’s for Christian CEO’s of companies and  for Christians who sweep floors and    clean toilets…

1Cor 12:13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

What is this about young men shall see visions  and  old men shall dream dreams…

John Piper:


When Joel and Peter say that the young men will see visions and the old men will dream dreams, this is what they have in mind—dreams and visions about the spread of the kingdom of God until "all flesh" is reached. One strong evidence for this is that in the rest of the book of Acts all the dreams and visions are given for missionary strategy and missionary motivation. Ananias (Acts 9) has a vision to go commission Paul for his great missionary work. Peter (Acts 10) has a vision to carry the gospel and the Spirit to the Gentiles at Cornelius' house. Paul (Acts 16) has a vision of Europeans saying, "Come over into Macedonia and help us." (See also 18:9; 26:19.)

Acts 18:9

And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”

Acts 26:19

19 “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.



What does this mean?

                   Refers to Joel’s prophesy -   the 120 assembled were no doubt a combination of old and young,  sons and daughters, servants, …on all were poured out the Holy Spirit.    Notice – this is God’s doing.    Peter did not cause the “out pouring” to occur.  It was God’s soverign act.


B.    Dark Side

vv.19-21  -   wonders and Signs

      increasing wonders in the heavens above;     and  Signs on the earth below   (always something going on….up in the heavens…the atmosphere….in our galaxy….outside our galaxy….   Read other day….saying  asteroid  come very close to earth…

signs earth below…. (I believe it has reference to what’s given in Revelaiton,  Jesus spoke of it  Matthew 24….)

       Especially….as mankind approaches   THE DAY OF THE LORD;..  the great and magnificient day…

       The Day of the LORD -  is the Second Coming of Christ…when He will come to judge the world…. It will be a time of great separation…..separating the sheep and the goats…

The book of Revelation speaks of the horrible events to occur  before the Lord’s Second coming.

Zephaniah.  Espe chapter 1  speaks of it..  so does Daniel,


The DAY of the LORD is coming --   are you ready?    


 Right now….  There is a window of opportunity  to prepare   BEFORE THAT AWESOME DAY..THAT GREAT AND MAGNIFICIENT DAY OF THE LORD…

2.   It is the Day of God’s GRACE    v.21

Here is what Peter preached -   see v.21    everyone who calls upon the name ---     This is what we are to do.

·         The Out pouring of the Holy Spirit….   Acts 1:8    purpose   to be witnesses…    get this message to all people  (read v.21)

·         Calls on the NAME of the LORD….. 

But  who is the Lord? 


3.   It is time to Preach Christ  vv. 22-36


v.22   Let’s get very specific as to who He is.   Do we have the right ONE?   Is Jesus the TRUE MESSIAH?     Many Jews today believe in Christ,   but many do NOT.             Jesus of Nazareth --   let’s be clear as to who the MESSIAH  is.

JESUS OF NAZARETH --   this is the name he went by….   Pilate had this inscription put over the cross

John 19:19

Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”

Peter gives evidence that  Jesus of Nazareth  is  the Messiah….

 v.22   Men of Israel, hear these words:    (heart of his sermon)      It’s about Jesus Christ the Lord!


How do you know this Jesus is the RIGHT ONE?

v.22    a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know


#1 -  His life     v.22      a divine life;  a human life that was pure and sinless;     a life of miracles and signs;   mighty works;    no one could deny the miracles Jesus performed;    the raising of Lazarus from the dead…  Lazarus..didn’t just pass out…. He had been dead for 4 days…  buried in a tomb…Jesus raised him from the dead;  multiply enough food to feed over 5000 people;    heal sick, cripple, cast out devils,  CLEANSED lepers;   filled fishing nets with fish;   literally  banishing sickness in Palestine…

NOTICE -  God was behind this..      attested to you BY GOD……. this was a GOD THING….   Think about it….   how else can you explain it?


#2   HIS Substitutionary DEATH     v.23

Peter says  “you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men”    the Romans carried it out… but you did it…  you killed him…

You think….  If Jesus was the Messiah…why did he let himself get arrested,  and killed?    Why didn’t he overpower the Romans and show himself as the MESSIAH?

Because -  He came to die..  It was the plan of God.      definite plan and foreknowledge of God….   It didn’t’ take God by surprise.  God wasn’t wringing His hands and saying to the angels in heaven…  “Oh, no, look what they are doing to My Son!”

Delivered up according to the definite plan… the predetermined plan…FOREKNOWLEDGE….  This was the eternal decree of God….  Jesus is the LAMB slain from the foundation of the world.   

Even in HIS DEATH…  God was in sovereign control….  God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…

Isaiah 53  he was smitten by God…  He is the Lamb of God (as John the Baptist declared) that takes away the sin of the world.  He took our place…dying in our place…taking the penalty we deserve.    His substitutionary death..


#3   His Resurrection   v.24      God raise him up

     Loosing the pangs of death…..

Prophesied by David -  Psalm 16:8-11


Read vv.24-32        David is not speaking about himself.    “I saw the Lord”    he is referring to the Messiah…   The Lord saw the Lord always before him.    

For he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken..  God was always with Jesus the Son….in the ancient world…body guards would always stand at the right side of those they were guarding so their right hand would be free to use a sword when necessary.   There was a relationship of joy between the Father and the Son… my heart was glad…my tongue rejoiced…

SEE  v.26b   -   My flesh also will dwell in hope ----  (my body shall pitch its tent on the ground called hope) 

who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Hebrews 12:2)

v.27  you will not abandon………….Hades ………place of the dead…  or let your HOLY ONE  (Messiah) 

The demons of hell knew Jesus’ identity ---  Mark 1:24  What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”

The Disciples came to now Him   “….and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”  John 6:69


Not let the HOLY ONE….the Messiah….  Undergo decay     WHY?

v.28   ……paths of life     (the price for our redemption was his death…not his decaying body….He could not decay…his body could not stay in the tomb    because according to John 1:4 “…. In him was life,…”

v.28……goes through death to the other side…..RESURRECTION………….FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE


Peter explains -   vv.29-31  --  this is not David….    His tomb is with us…     (connect v.31 with v.27)

v.32  This Jesus GOD RAISED UP        V.24  God raised him up         (God was behind HIS LIFE;    HIS DEATH;   HIS RESURRECTION)

v.32  by the way….   Of that we all are witnesses.      We saw HIM in His RISEN Body…  we spent 40 days speaking with him… Paul spoke of witnesses  in 1Cor. 15   500 eye witnesses.


v.33   Peter—we are ALSO eyewitnesses of His ASCENSION     

We know he made it  all the way….exalted at the right hand of God……  we know he made it there….  He didn’t go up like  a hot air balloon and  then fizzle out…and fall back and land on some mountaintop….  HE MADE IT…because having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.

   You may not have seen – all the miracles that we saw….

   You may not have seen    his resurrection 

    You may not have seen  his ascension

But  you are witnessing something….. you are seeing something;   and hearing something… he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.


This is the promise of the Father  that Jesus of Nazareth  has sent back to us… to his apostles…to his church…


David again spoke of the LORD’s or Messiah’s  ascension -   v.34 

The Lord said to my Lord---  this is not David…

He is speaking of the Messiah --  God the Father who is Lord;  said to God the Son who is Lord…sit at my right hand…

Jesus ascended and is at the right hand of God…

He is interceding for us….  He sent back the Holy Spirit….

The Lord continues to send all that we need….  To be His witnesses


We PREACH Christ --- and He is the TRUE Messiah

·         Attested to us by God with mighty works and wonders and signs.--- His  Miraculous LIFE

·         His Substitutionary DEATH

·         His Bodily RESURRECTION

·         HIS Glorious ASCENSION

Let’s add one more…   look at 34    “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,…..

…….. until I make your enemies your foot stool.”      --   His return


#5   His RETURN

The Jews were looking for a Messiah that would immediately set up the kingdom and over power the Romans……what they failed to see that the Messiah would come first to suffer,  die…  be the Sacrificial Lamb for sin….

They did not know about the church…that would be empowered by the Holy Spirit to take the Gospel to the world…. That would take place first….then at the LORD’S RETURN…. All the enemies of the Cross….Enemies of Christ and God…would be subdued …defeated..and judged


This is WHAT  Peter  preached !      Peter did NOT come Up with it…       already in the OT….   The other Apostles Preached this..

The Apostle Paul preached Christ…  His glorious Life…sinless life…  miraculous life……His death,  His resurrection,  His ascension,  and His future  RETURN…




v.36     know for certain….      No doubt about this…(insurmountable evidence..)     this Jesus whom you crucified….



NEXT time -  the response


We can know for certain…. The LORD is coming…  we are in the LAST DAYS…  a day of GRACE…. But that will soon END…


Romans 13:11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

I pray you are ready for the Return of Christ..



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