Peter’s Second Sermon Part 1
A Sermon Manuscript on Acts 2:14–21 by Brian Mann
The following sermon manuscript was used to deliver today’s sermon at Catherine Lake Baptist Church, morning service. The sermon may be found here in audio and video.
Peter is preaching a sermon. Sermons are God-centered fights conquering man-centered falsehood with apostolic authority. Sermons are theocentric (God-centered & God-ordained) fights, conquering anthropocentric (selfish & demonically manufactured) falsehood, with apostolic authority.
Peter stands to preach a sermon against the mockers of v.13 and declares the miracle of tongues was not a result of intoxication but of inspiration and fulfillment of prophecy (J.A. Alexander). The object of this mocking was not merely the miracle itself, but the response to the miracle by faithful pilgrims gathered in Jerusalem to worship. It was there witness being attacked, and in particular their surrender to the Lord. This is confirmed in the explanation that Peter gives using Joel when he speaks of those who call on the Lord are saved. These were calling on the Lord. They were responding as believers, while the mockers were responding as unbelievers (cf. 1 Cor 14:20–25). Salvation is not caused by drunkenness (cf. Exodus 32:6; 1 Cor 10:7).
Exodus 32:6; 1 Corinthians 10:7 ESV “And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.””
The pilgrim’s response to the miracle of tongues was not from the degeneration of a godly society (like the idolatrous past) but from the development of God’s kingdom (under the New Covenant).
I. The Pilgrim’s Response Was Not From the Degeneration of a Godly Society
Peter preached in the concert with all the apostles of Jesus refuting the jealous supposition (cf. 13:45) that the positive response of these pilgrims was from a degenerate source. This is the negative aspect of the defense came with authority, ascendency, articulation, appeal, and apologetics.
He refutes this jealous supposition with Christ-like authority. “But peter, standing” (v.14) indicates he was standing to preach as an authoritative witness unto Jesus. The word “standing” here means to step forth, stand up and rise as a preliminary act of speaking. It is a favorite idiom of Luke used in Luke 24:36 where Jesus “stood among” the disciples and said “Peace to you!” In Acts we have already seen this word used to indicate Peter’s first sermon in 1:15. Going forward, this word “stand” is used in 5:20 in the commission for the arrested apostles freed by the Lord and told, “God and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” Among it’s numerous uses in Acts (10:30; 11:13; 16:9; 17:22; 21:40; 24:21; 26:6, 16; 27:21), the most profound is that of Jesus Himself as the “Son of Man” viewed from earth below by Stephen the martyr in 7:55–56 “standing at the right hand of God!” Standing is a position of authoritative witness here, particular in proclaiming a powerful sermon from Christ above. He was speaking from Christ.
Also, he refutes this jealous supposition with apostolic authority—He was speaking with the apostles. The fourteenth verse continues “with the eleven” showing essential unity in concert with the other designated apostles. Peter is not speaking in his own name, but in one that represents the whole body of apostles. He was speaking with apostolic authority, not above these apostles, but with them.
Peter “lifted up his voice” (v.14) in this negative defense. Those words” lifted up his voice” can be found in some places negative in the Scriptures, but the sense here is one of ascending strength like Isaiah says in…
Isaiah 40:9; 58:1 ESV “Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” “Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.”
Peter’s sermon began with his voice ascending upward to heaven demonstrating his witness was not only to men, but to the Lord. It was therefore a voice that was to rise above all the rest for the glory of God. It was not that Peter ascended, but the sermon that Peter proclaimed with the eleven from the Lord.
Peter is said to then have “addressed them” (v.14). This word “addressed” is translated “utterance” in v.4. It means to speak remarkably, pithy, or well. The word is used in 1 Chronicles 25:1 of the sons of Asaph, Heman, and Juduthun prophesying “with lyres, with harps, and with cymbals.” Peter’s sermon was not a casual talk or conversation but a well-articulated God-given message.
Peter goes on in v.14 “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, give ear to my words.” All are addressed with prominence given to correcting the mockers of v.13. The words “give ear” are significant as a later Greek verb unknown before this time except in the Hebrew where it is predominately used in the Psalms (5:1; 17:1; 39:12; 49:1; 54:2, etc.) and in Job as follows:
Job 32:11; 33:1, 31; 34:2, 16; 37:14 ESV ““Behold, I waited for your words, I listened for your wise sayings, while you searched out what to say. “But now, hear my speech, O Job, and listen to all my words. Pay attention, O Job, listen to me; be silent, and I will speak. “Hear my words, you wise men, and give ear to me, you who know; “If you have understanding, hear this; listen to what I say. “Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God.”
In Acts 2:15, the Spirit writes, “For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.” This is a reasoned argument or apologetic. Peter refutes the jealous supposition (cf. v.15 “suppose”) that the response to the miracle of tongues was from a degeneration of the world with the fact that it was “the third hour of the day” (v.15). It was unthinkable at this time for people to be drinking alcohol at this time which was nine in the morning. The time adapted by the Jews at this time was broken into three prayer times. The third hour being 9am here. There was also the sixth hour being 12pm in Acts 10:9. And there was also the ninth hour being 3pm in Acts 3:1. The charge of drunkenness was refuted on at least two grounds: First, it was refuted plainly that this was morning time, and it was common for people to get drunk at night not during the day then (1 Thess 5:7). Second, it was refuted in that the Jews were obligated to prayer times, and this being the first. They were not drinking, they were praying and worshiping.
Thus, Peter stands to preach with authority, ascendency, articulation, appeal, and apologetics in a negative defense against the jealous supposition that the miracle of tongues was a result from the world’s degeneration. It was clearly not the case with such authority from God and with the other apostles; with the way he raised his voice; with the manner in which he spoke; with the appeal he made; and the clear truth against such a jealous supposition by the mockers. Preaching if anything first fights against falsehood. But preaching like this also fights positively for correction.
II. The Pilgrim’s Response to the Miracle of Tongues Was From the Development of God’s Kingdom
Retaining the authority of Peter’s stand with the eleven; the ascendency of his voice; his genuine articulate appeal; and convincing apologetic, Peter goes on to positively assert what the miracle of tongues was defending the pilgrim’s response with clarity. As Peter rose up with the eleven in such a way he was visibly demonstrating the fact that the Kingdom was developing, not degenerating. Salvation was not being caused by the drunkenness of the crowds of men, but by the development of the Kingdom of God.
Peter is now describing in whole what this sign signifies—ultimately it signifies that the pilgrim’s representatives forecast people from every nation are now being saved (cf. especially v.21) From the beginning of the quote from Joel 2 to the end, there is a clear indication that God is developing his kingdom. And as an adequate testimony (Matthew 24:14) will do so throughout history. So, history is not a cycle, but a progression to a definite saving end of the world. The Joel quote is significant as it picks back up in v.39 where Joel is quoted again from the verse that follows the one quoted in Acts 2:21 (Joel 2:33). The context is a group of survivors whom God calls, these will call on the Lord and be saved. When the temple veil was torn, it was God tearing his way to his people, not his people tearing their way to him. God calls and thus people call unto him. This is in Peter’s mind in quoting Joel. The “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” contextually involves the survivors of Israel representative of all nations in the world being saved. This is kingdom development, not degeneration of a godly society.
It is not unusual to see drunkenness with wine placed in opposition to being filled with the Spirit. Paul says to not be drunk with wine wherein is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit. Now, the Spirit of God is portrayed as fulfilling the inauguration of the Kingdom of God in the New Covenant. The prophecy may be divided into parts: First, the revelation of God’s Spirit in all God’s people (vv.17–18); Second, the revolutionary signs (vv.19–20a); Third, the rescue of God’s people from the day of the Lord (v.20b–21).
The Kingdom of God Develops Here By the Revelation of God’s Spirit in All God’s People
It is clear in apostles’ minds that the miracle of tongues was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel (v.16) which is recorded in our Bibles and the Septuagint in Joel 2:28–32 (3:1–5 in the Hebrew Bible). The “last days” are clearly stated as the days we are now reading about. Calvin takes the “last days” as being the whole Kingdom period gradually over time. In these days God said that he would pour out his Spirit on all flesh (v.17), which is defined throughout vv.17–18 as “your sons and your daughters…your young men…your old men…even on [God’s] male servants and female servants.” This is what all flesh means. We should understand by sons and daughters and young that they have ability to prophesy, and therefore are not infants, but children young and older. They would be able to put their trust in the Lord unlike infants who cannot express faith so as to confirm this prophesy. This is the first development of the Kingdom for this time; or better the beginning of the development of God’s kingdom in the last days inaugurated by Christ’s ascension. Prophesy is to speak by inspiration or under divine influence. Visions are awake dreams. And dreams here are sleeping dreams. These were things that the Spirit performed at this time. It was performed regardless of age, gender, and position in life—male servants and female servants. The subject of their prophecy was here described in v.11 “the mighty works of God.” (J.A. Alexander)
The Kingdom of God Develops In These Last Days Through Revolutionary Signs
In vv.19–20 Joel’s quotation there were not only mighty or wonderful works of God spoken of, but mighty or wondrous signs of God. The language used here did not demand physical sights of these things, though Josephus and Tacitus are said to record wonders in the sky on the Lord’s Day of Judgment in A.D. 70. J.A. Alexander says these are prophecies of great revolutionary changes clothed in familiar figures drawn from the prophetic dialect or language of Scripture. For example in Isaiah we read the following:
Isaiah 13:10 ESV “For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light.”
Isaiah 34:4 ESV “All the host of heaven shall rot away, and the skies roll up like a scroll. All their host shall fall, as leaves fall from the vine, like leaves falling from the fig tree.”
It was a revolution that foreshadowed that Israel was to pass through where the outpouring of the Spirit was notice of (Alexander). “Wonders” are the notices of this thing to come. The “signs” are proofs of the teaching. The word “show” means to give, stressing that these are gifts from the Lord. The change is described as the sun being turned to darkness and the moon to blood (v.20). There is no demand for eclipses and blood moons as we know it here. This was first century, and the focus was not that but on prophetic proof that Peter is saying has been fulfilled in the pouring out of God’s Spirit at that time. They were not enamored by eclipses here or blood moons (nothing of that is in the text)! The description is to stress the change is to be world changing as the change of sun and moon. The sun often depict real fears by day, and the moon imaginary fears by night, from which God promises to protect his people (Psalm 121). This revolutionary change was not one that was condemning the witnesses from all nations at Pentecost but one that was saving them from the appointed Day.
The Kingdom of God Develops In These Last Days Through the Rescue of God’s People From the Day of the Lord
In v.20b we read of the “day of the Lord” which comes, “the great and magnificent day.” This day is one that God appropriated by himself to the execution of his purpose and vindication of his honor (Alexander). Isaiah 2:12 says,
Isaiah 2:12 ESV “For the LORD of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low;”
So, this “the day meant that great day of judicial visitation which may be said to have begun with the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, and is to end in what we call the Day of Judgment” (Alexander). Remember Matthew 24:14 here,
Matthew 24:14 ESV “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
Nonetheless, Peter is saying the kingdom is developing not that the world is being destroyed here. Survivors are in his mind as v.21, 39 indicate. he says, “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (v.21) This is the last verse he quotes here from Joel, but v.39 finishes the statement. But in stating this he is indicating that there is a cheerful assurance of salvation to everyone who looks to and confides in the true Savior Jesus Christ (Alexander and Calvin). So,we know here most importantly that it is the response of the Pilgrim’s that is being defended here against the accusation of intoxication by the mockers of v.13. “This is what was uttered through the prophet Joel…” (v.16). What is “this” in v.16? It is the positive and saving response of these pilgrims who believe the miracle is from the Lord! This is an announcement of something good happening over and against those saying something destructive is happening. There is an announcement here of good cheer, that God is saving his people before this day. And if he did save a people before the Day of the Lord that came in the first century upon Jerusalem, then there is cheer for us today that serves as an invocation of worship that God will save us and any who come who believe this testimony of God’s wondrous/mighty deeds performed at Pentecost. It will be considered as calling on “the name of the Lord.” The name here in the Septuagint version of Joel and the Hebrew is of the incommunicable covenant name of God, Jehovah or Yahweh, equivalent in the Septuagint and our translation as Kurios or Lord.
If you respond to the miracle of tongues like the pilgrims representing all nations here, the promise is one of salvation; because they responded believing in the portentous signs were indeed magnifying the mighty work of God even the mighty work of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself . Believe the testimony here: On the Day of Pentecost, salvation was not being caused by drunkenness of the crowds of men, but by development of the Kingdom of God. The pilgrim’s response to the miracle of tongues was not from the degeneration of a godly society but from the development of God’s kingdom.