|Messages By Ovid Need|
Here in John's account of the resurrection, we see that John was the first disciple to arrive at the tomb, closely followed by Simon Peter. John held back while Peter went into the empty tomb, then John came in after him. According to John's account, John believed at this point. He does not say anything about Peter.
There were several events which now take place, which, because of time, we will not go into. Rather, we will skip ahead 50 days to the day of Pentecost, Acts 2. The book of Acts records for us not only the start of the new church, but also the basic doctrine upon which the new church was built.
This morning I would like to look at the first message which was preached after the resurrection of Christ. Because of its contents, we could call it the first Easter message. It was preached by Peter, who had been the first one into the empty tomb after Christ rose from the dead.
Because there is such a tremendous amount of material covered in Peter's short resurrection message here, we will only hit a couple of high points. Maybe some day we can come back and cover it more in detail.
This message runs from Acts 2:14 to 2:36, and was preached to a great multitude of Jews who were in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost. They were devout men, out of every nation under heaven. There are 15 nations listed as homelands for this multitude.
The 12 Apostles were assembled in a house. The Spirit of God descended from heaven upon them, and they began to speak with other tongues.
Evidently, when this happened, they left the house and went into a public place. They were preaching Christ, and their activity got the attention of the Jews in the city. The Jews assembled to the place where the Apostles where speaking to see what was going on. Peter was not going to miss the opportunity, so he gets up and starts preaching.
A point before we go on. We hear much about some kind of ecstatic experience today which people try to pass off as being filled with the Spirit of God. I think that it is very important that we see that the filling here is for service and boldness to preach the unpopular message of Christ before the mockers, v. 13.
Peter gets up and preaches, Vs. 14-36.
Vs. 17-21. He introduces his message by quoting Joel 2:28-32.
Last days.. This term, last days, was used in the OT to refer to any time which was future from the time of the speaker. Gen 49:1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you [that] which shall befall you in the last days.
In the NT, the use of this term, last days, indicates the time of the Messiah. The NT term, last days, has no reference to the soon conclusion of all things. According to the NT usage, the last days started with Christ and will close at the end of all things.
In other words, the Apostles saw the last days starting with the incarnation of Christ and covering the entire period of time until the end of the world. During this period, they expected the Kingdom of God to expand to cover the whole earth.
V. 17, I will pour out.., as you would water. The reference is to the Spirit being poured out as water would be poured out on dry, thirsty and parched ground.
Speaks of the signs and miracles which accompanied the preaching of the gospel in order to confirm it.
The day of the Lord.. speaks generally of the Lord's judgment against sin. The judgment spoken of here is primarily His judgment against Jerusalem, 70 AD. But this term, day of the Lord, also extends to any day of God's judgment against evil, concluding with the last judgment.
God promises that Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Paul also quotes this same passage from Joel in Rom 13:9-13.
This is a two-fold promise:
1) The promise of safety in the final day of the Lord, the day of His final judgment against sin.
2) Also included is safety in the day of the judgment of the Lord against evil in this world. Josephus tells us that over 3 million Jews perished in 70 AD inside the walls of the small town of Jerusalem. In this mass destruction, not one Christian perished. The Christians knew of the Lord's warning of Mat. 24 and fled when they saw these things start to come to pass. Therefore, they were saved from that day of the Lord's judgement.
Peter continues his argument. His call here is to the decedents of Jacob whom Christ walked among. He points out that even though they saw the actions of Christ they killed Him anyway. Furthermore, what they did in killing Jesus of Nazareth was done because God decreed that it should be done. They were tools in the hand of a Sovereign God.
They had to understand that Christ was not an "innocent victim" of a crazed crowd but that He was slain according to God's plan. The Father gave Christ over to them, and Christ yielded to the Father's perfect will for Himself. There is a distinct difference. He did NOT yield to the crowd or even to the civil authority; rather, He yielded to the Father's will for His life, Jn. 3:16.
Peter is making it clear that Christ came to redeem mankind. It was in God's perfect eternal plan; therefore, these men who killed Him only worked praise to God. Sinful man may think he is in control of the situation as he rebels against God, but he is only carrying out God's plan. The wrath of man will praise Him, yet sinful men will be held accountable for their actions.
If we think preachers today are strong, look at what Peter does here in his message. He clearly lays the charge of murdering the Son of God at his hearer's door. He names sin very pointedly and, even though they were acting according to God's plan, they are accountable for their sin of murdering the promised Messiah.
This verse tells us that it was not possible for the grave to hold Christ. It would have been contrary to the word of God for the grave to hold Him.
Let me give 7 reasons why was it impossible for Christ to remain in the grave.
1) Christ was the Prince of Life.
Ac 3:15, And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
2) Christ had life in Himself. (In fact, He is life.)
Jn 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
3) Christ had power both to lay down His life and take it up again.
Jn 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
4) Christ came so that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death. Heb 2:14, Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
5) Christ came that He might destroy the fear of death, and thus the power of the devil from over God's people.
Heb 2:15, And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
6) Christ came to destroy the works of the devil, whose main work is death.
I John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
7) Christ had to die and be raised from the dead in order to be exalted to the throne of His father David over the people of God, as well as over all creation.
Eph 1:20, 21 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places], Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
It was impossible for Christ to remain in the grave because it would have violated Scripture. Even in death, it was impossible for Christ to violate the word of God; therefore, how much more is it impossible for us to violate Scripture.
Here are 7 impossibilities for us based upon the impossibility of the grave to hold Christ.
1) It is impossible for His people to remain dead in trespasses and sin.
Eph 2:5, 6 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:
2) It is impossible to be separated from God's love.
Rom. 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord..
3) It is impossible to be separated from the promises of God. When we meet their conditions it is impossible to separate us from the result.
If we obey God's Word then there is no way we can avoid reaping the blessed results. If the word of God was strong enough to make it impossible for death to violate the word of God; if the word of God was strong enough that it prohibited Christ from remaining in the grave, then think of the Scripture's strength to bring His Word to pass for our good.
Be not weary in well doing for we shall reap if we faint not. This promise has the same power behind it as what Christ had behind Him which raised Him from the dead. Gal. 6:9; Phil. 1:6; II Thess. 3:13 &c.
This should be a tremendous exhortation for us to keep on keeping on. There are hundreds of promises in this book for us. Those promises have the same power and assurance behind them as what Christ had to raise Him from the dead. God's Word is real; God's word is powerful; God's word is so sure that it was impossible that Christ should be held by death and the grave.
4) It is impossible to separate us from His mercy, grace and forgiveness if we will return to Him.
Prov. 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh [them] shall have mercy.
5) It is impossible for the grave to hold those who have trusted Christ as their Subsituet, Lord and Saviour.
Eph. 1:12, 13 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
1 Cor 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept.
On the negative side,
6) It is impossible to separate us from the result of sin. Gal. 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
7) It is impossible to avoid death and the final judgment of God.
Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Every man, woman and child will answer to the resurrected Saviour for their every deed done in the flesh. Of course, the redeemed will go on to eternal life with the Lord, the lost will go on to eternal torment with the devil and his angles.
Acts 2:24, just as it was impossible for Christ to stay in the grave because of the laws of God's Word which were involved, it is impossible to separate us from the results of the same laws. This should greatly encourage us as we look around at the confusion and turmoil everywhere.
By the resurrection of Christ, God has proved that He is in control of all events which take place in time and space. By the resurrection of Christ, God has proved that it is impossible for the laws established in His word not to work for us if we will only do what they require.
Are you saved this morning?
Are you claiming the promises of God?
Does it seem that you have been separated from the Lord of God in Christ Jesus?