Something I think the western churches are missing (not completely, but by and large) is a dependency on the Holy Spirit. We depend on our wealth (whether we're wealthy or not, we like to see full coffers), we depend on our energy (programs fill the void where apprenticeship/discipleship were the methods used by the apostles and are talked about in the Bible), and we seek to (whether or not we admit it) let our works, rather than our faith, speak for us. There is nothing wrong with showing faith by works, but when the works overshadow faith, it's about what we can do, and little or nothing to do with what Christ can do. As we explore the rest of Acts Chapter 2, let's consider this. Empowered by the Holy Spirit (As we found out yesterday), the believers in the upper room began to preach the Gospel, speaking in foreign languages that each person in the vicinity heard in his or her own native tongue. Some supposed they were drunk, but others were astounded. Empowered by the Holy Spirit (See a pattern here) Peter gets up to speak: "But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. " Some people don't think humor should be used in sermons, but Peter opened up the first sermon on the first day of church with a joke, a habit he learned from Jesus (there's a lot of humor in Jesus' stories and sermons, if you look with open eyes and ears!). (Acts 2:16) "But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, 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 male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’" (Acts 2:14-21) How does Peter explain the marvel of the tongues? He goes to Scripture. And what Scriptures does he use? Well, none of the New Testament had been written yet. He preached on the Old Testament. It was Peter's familiarity with the Old Testament Scriptures with courage, interpretation, and wisdom from the Holy Spirit that allowed him to preach on what was happening! Loved ones, we don't rely enough on Scripture through the Holy Spirit. And, I hope I can't stress this enough, though we are the New Testament Church, the Old Testament still speaks toward Christ from Genesis to Revelation, and our understanding of Scripture is only complete with the full council of God! We can show that, According to the Scriptures, Christ lived, was killed as the Lamb of God to remove the penalty of sin and death for those who believe, was buried and rose again according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15 is marvelous to study on this!). All of Scripture, indeed all of History points to this! Peter demonstrates this further by diving in to more scripture to point back to Jesus:
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, 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— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him,
“‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’" Acts 2:22-27 While there is more I can say on this, I know that too much knowledge can be overwhelming, so I'll conclude by saying this (We'll continue exploring Acts 2 tomorrow!): Jesus came according to the Scriptures, lived according to the Scriptures, was fully obedient according to the Scriptures, was killed by lawless men but died to pay the penalty for Sin according to the Scriptures, was buried, rose again, conquering the penalty of sin, death, according to the Scriptures, and is seated at the right hand of the Father (you guessed it), according to the Scriptures. And, according to the Scriptures (See the pattern here?), He's returning some day. What does this mean for us? We too must live according to the Scriptures; we can't stand on the promises of God if we don't know what they are! We also must proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures so that others may hear and know the good news of Jesus and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, come to know the hope we have in Him!