Paul’s Appeal to Jesus’ Resurrection in Acts
Good afternoon, everyone really appreciate the opportunity to get to be here with you. I’ve always enjoyed my time here at the, at the lectures. I will say that it’s, it’s easy to enjoy something like this when you’ve got great guys who were speaking, who were solid when you’ve got a great school, that’s hosting it and a great director like Brian Kenyon.
I mean, I tell everyone if you want the coolest cat of any director anywhere, Brian’s your man. I mean, I didn’t expect to get it amen so soon, but Hey, I’ll take that, but no, but, but really, I mean, it’s, it’s just always been a pleasure of everything and anything I’ve ever had to do that has been connected to the Florida school of preaching has always been a delight.
And I appreciate it. I appreciate everyone for being here and, and participating in this this week, this is a, just a great week. Well, Brian said I do have a blog. I do a variety of things online. I have the privilege of being able to do that, and I do have a blog it’s just informally titled looking at all things biblically.
So I do a variety of different things. I do, I think get myself in trouble there a little once in a while, talking about issues that go against the grain of our current culture, if you can imagine that. So, so, so I do get in trouble every once in a while. Hopefully not with God’s people only with those who have a problem with biblical things.
So anyway, we’re going to be looking at these in Tri-City of the resurrection in Peter’s speeches, acts chapters one through 12. Now the resurrection, I think is one of the non-negotiable aspects of the greatest story ever told it’s the cornerstone of the Christian faith. And we can see this in the life and writing and preaching of the apostles and other biblical writers.
And we can see this in how often they mentioned it. They mentioned it all the time and we’ll see this in Peter’s speeches. It’s it’s just, non-stop he always finds a way to mention something about the, the risen Christ. Now with Peter speeches, they do follow a particular pattern. And so it starts off with an introduction to the audience, the,
the first three speeches it’s explicit. The other two it’s implied. You’ve got a statement about the death of Christ or a reminder. You’ve got a declaration that Christ has been raised from the dead, and then a statement that Christ is the means through which salvation can be had. And very often there’s a, some kind of a appeal to repent and submit to baptism,
of course, another non-negotiable aspect of the gospel message. Well, we’re going to look at Peter’s speeches here. And first of all, on the first speech and his sermon on Pentecost acts chapter two, there is obviously one of the most famous sections of scripture in churches of Christ. If anybody can quote anything out of the Bible, there’s a pretty good chance that if all else fails,
you can quote something out of acts chapter two. It’s just that important. And you know, we sometimes talk about it as the first recorded gospel sermon. And when we look at that speech, it sets a pattern for Peter’s speeches throughout the book of acts. Now like other new Testament writers and preachers, Peter does not spare his audience’s feelings. He does not give sugarcoated messages.
He gives them the unvarnished truth and you can see the effect of it when he, when he delivers that. Because the people, when they hear it, when they, when he’s finished and you can, when they respond, you can see the desperation, right? Brothers, what shall we do? You know, this is not, Hmm, brothers,
you know, what, what are we going to do about this? I think there is a sense of anxiety. I think there’s a sense of desperation. There. He is just told them they’re responsible for killing the Messiah. There is some anxiety, no doubts in that audience. And so you, you see this, but I don’t know that Peter’s sermon would have been as welcome in some churches today,
right? Because he doesn’t give these feel-good messages to please or empower or console. He does not comfort. He convicts. That’s what Peter is. After now, yesterday, Aaron talked about lines of evidence when it came to new Testament, historicity, and the, and especially with the hallucination theory of the resurrection. And there’s no doubt evidence is an important thing.
I don’t think God ever intended us to just accept this pie in the sky, in the sweet, by and by, and just believe that and have faith in it, this kind of mindless trust and go with that. And everything’s going to be okay when we look at God’s word, as it is delivered throughout biblical history. I think what you find is that there are regularly signs and wonders that go with these,
these messages to confirm that this is in fact God’s word. And that those who are speaking are in fact, his messengers and Peter does something, I think a little bit similar here. He gives two lines of evidence dealing with scripture and history. When he’s talking, when he’s giving his, his, his sermon there on next chapter two, First of all,
he says Christ resurrection was foretold through prophecy. So this, I think means more to may have meant more immediately to his audience than it would to a 21st century audience. Because when you talk about prophecy today, what people have in mind is usually something very different than what you find in the Bible. All right, turn on the TBN, right? Go on a YouTube,
random YouTube channel and look up prophecy. And you’ll see what I’m talking about. The, some of this stuff is so far off base. It doesn’t even resemble what you find in the Bible. I was looking at a sort of prosthetic year in review from 2019 earlier last or later last year. And there was one, a series of prophets who were put together into one video.
And this one guy said for 2020, I see, I see churches filled to the brim. I see stadiums full of people. We’re all worshiping on worshiping God. And my first thought was, he didn’t notice that like we were on recording team for awhile, right. He didn’t notice that like, everything’s shut down for a big part of 2020. That’s kind of a big thing to miss if you’re a prophet of God,
all right. And then he goes on a little bit later and says, oh, but I see, I see children around the world, healing people. And there’s many miracles that are going to be done. I’m like, I’m like, man, there’s we still got COVID with us. Where is this prosthetic army of doctor children, but we’ve got work for them to do,
when are they going to come on? You know, show up. And so you have this kind of thing and it’s absurd. It’s ridiculous. But it is absolutely a vital piece of evidence for Peter, because this is stuff that had already been established and had been, had been sitting there in scripture rated and waiting for Christ to fulfill it. And he does in his life,
death and resurrection, well, PA biblical prophecy is one of these witnesses that Peter calls to the stand and in it, in this speech, he quotes Psalm 16 where David gives this sort of prophet at pronouncements of the future resurrection of Christ. But Peter, wasn’t the first one to appeal to scripture on this matter. Jesus does it. He says you search the scriptures because you think that in them,
you have eternal life. And it is they that bear witness about me, John chapter five, verse 39. So you’ve got his details of his life, his birth, his life. You’ve got his death, Isaiah 52 and 53. You’ve got his resurrection, Psalm 16, all of the scriptures point to Christ as the Messiah. But then you’ve got Peter also citing eye witnesses for the,
for the resurrection as a historical event. And there are other places of the new Testament where this is where this is. So second Peter one 16 first John one, one. In fact, they not only say we saw him, they say we touched him, right? Because there’s something about that experience, a tactile experience that somehow this, for some reason,
it makes it more real. I had a cousin who dated a fellow when I was just a little boy growing up in the eighties. And he talks about going to a WWF wrestling match one time. And his favorite wrestler was the junkyard dog. I sympathize with that. Cause my favorite wrestler was the junkyard dog. And some, as he was talking about this experience,
he said, and he was kind of a quiet spoken guy. He said, he said, yeah, you know, I, I touched him. You know, apparently, you know, he was, he was running down the ramp and he was one of those guys that reached out and maybe he got a high five or something, but for him it was,
it was that much better of an experience. It was something, it was just extra. He got to touch him. Well, sometimes the biblical writers talk about that. John said, we touched him. It wasn’t that he was some ghost or apparition. We actually physically put our hands on him. That’s how real it was. And so he’s talking about,
Peter’s talking about eye witnesses to this historical event of Jesus’s resurrection. Now, in addition to a historical and biblical evidence, we’ve got another line of evidence that comes out. And the very next chapter acts chapter three here, we’ve got Peter speech and Solomon’s Portico. And this is a Christ centered sermon where he talks about the death and resurrection of Christ. And it’s,
it’s a, it’s an integral components of his message. Now what happens here is you’ve got this lame man. Who’s begging for arms. He begs for Peter and John to give him something. And I’ve always, I’ve always loved how the king James blitz, this is a silver and gold have I, none but such as I have. I give to the,
and he, he, he, he restores the man’s health. He, he enables him to walk again. And now when this happens, of course, this creates a commotion, right? Everybody wants to know, okay, well, this guy has been lying here for years begging and who knows how he got there. It could have been an accident suffered as a child or something that happened as an adult.
Unfortunately, in some parts of the world, even today, you have parents who will intentionally cripple a child to have that as an extra stream of income coming in with, with arms giving and all that. I don’t know what this man’s backstory is, but what everyone wants to know is how he got healed, right? Was he just, maybe it was he just pretending,
you know, it was, he just pretending to be crippled. And then all of a sudden, now we’ve been fleeced of our money. Cause I give this guy almost every other Thursday or something, but, but you see this, and this is another type of evidence that Peter uses. And that is the evidence of the miraculous, because what happens in the old Testament with the profits,
with Jesus, himself, with the apostles, they will say something and then they will do something, right. They will speak the word of God and then they will do something miraculous to let everyone know that they’re just not making this up. This is not something they just pulled out of the air. They are God’s messengers and the ability to work and an indisputable miracle demonstrates that fact.
Well, when Peter is, is delivering his messages about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, he uses all three of these things for his audience. Now, for people today, I think you’ve got modern readers today and we have a problem with a great number of people saying the Bible just simply as religious fiction, or this is no different than the Quran or anything stories about Mohamad or any stories about anything in the,
in the Hindu scriptures or anything like that. And we have a kind of what CS Lewis called a chronological snobbery, right? We see people from a thousand years ago and we think how primitive, you know, CB went from 2000 years ago, almost barbaric. I mean, was human civilization even invented. Then, you know, we have this view that we’re so much more enlightened than those who went before us.
But the thing is Peter understood just as people do today, his audience needed evidence. This was a stupendous claim. There needed to be some grounds, some basis for this message that he was giving. They needed that just as much as anybody today would be expecting evidence for some kind of claim and acts chapter four, we’ve got yet another address, John and Peter before the council.
And this of course gets the attention of the authorities, right? This guy who gets up is lame, known to the community. Now he’s able to walk again. He, it creates a commotion. Well, now the authorities get involved. And so Peter, once again, once again reminds the Jewish council here of the death and resurrection of Christ. This is three times in three chapters that he’s mentioned this.
It seems that this is pretty important in every speech, everyone Peter is mentioning the resurrection. He wants to continue to remind them almost as if you want to know, this guy really was the Messiah. Try coming back from the dead. Sometime, maybe that adds to his Prudential’s as the Messiah. Well, we have a situation where Peter could have very easily muted his message.
He could have stripped out some of these things that really would have set him at odds with the powers that be, or the Jewish religious authorities. He could have done something to sort of temper their anger, maybe kind of grease the wheels a little bit, getting him out of trouble, but he refuses to back down. He refuses to adjust his message.
He doesn’t alter anything for the sake of those, even if they’re upset with him and have power to beat him. I mean, he does this while under the threat of duress and under the threat of torture. Now I think there is a natural transition to today. People don’t like to hear about unpleasant things. People don’t like to hear things that we disagree with us.
And so you’ll find at times some who will tweak messages so that they don’t ruffle feathers. This happens in, in w with some preachers, they will alter the content of the message or mute it or take out its distinctiveness or strip out certain elements so that they don’t ruffle feathers. Maybe they don’t want to get in trouble with authority, figures or upset,
big donors. They don’t want to get in trouble themselves. They don’t want to be ridiculed for taking a hard stand for the truthfulness of scripture. And you know, who actually did that? Who got in trouble for speaking the truth profits, apostles song, God, everybody’s stood up for the truth, got in trouble with somebody. Well, we understand wanting to avoid unpleasant things,
right? Nobody really likes unpleasant things, but if somebody makes fun of us or opposes us or slanders or lies about us because they can’t stand the truth, then we all need to understand and never forget that we couldn’t be in better company than the cloud of witnesses who go, who have gone on before us who preached the truth with conviction. Some people want to hear anything,
but the truth God’s people should not stand for anything else. Other than the truth. Peters gets in trouble a lot in the book of acts. Of course, I guess that goes with the territory. But in acts chapter five, we see that the parcels are in trouble. Again, they are repeat hermeneutical offenders. They just can’t seem to stop preaching about Jesus.
And what else will they refuse to stop talking about the resurrection? Now in this chapter, we seem to have an instance where, and Paul does this. If you, if you read Corinthians pretty closely, you notice there are little moments where Paul sort of needles, the Corinthians here are people who were in a cultural Mecca. They had a little bit of a higher view of themselves,
long philosophical history. Second only maybe to Athens. Well, Paul talks about them and says, well, you’re you guys are so immature. You’re not really ready for me yet. You’re still ready for milk, right? You’re you’re not quite along where you need to be. And here are people who may have struggled with, with pride because of their,
because of their environment. Well, I think Peter does a little something of the same thing here, because he talks about the fact that Jesus is crucified. Here’s somebody who’s hanging on a tree that according to the law, Deuteronomy 21, this person is cursed. And yet he’s been raised from the dead and therefore vindicated by God. Okay. It will be died on a tree.
You’ll Paul will have to deal with this in Galatians chapter three, but who cares? He’s been vindicated by God because he was raised from the dead. And not only that he’s been exalted, not just vindicated, but exalted. Now that puts him in a different category than any other Messiah. And in this chapter, we see that mammalian who is there,
he mentions two other guys who were these sort of messianic figures, a foodist and Judas. The Galilean both of whom were killed. And both of whose movements were dispersed after their deaths. Now there were other messianic figures, other than these guys, right? There were additional figures who came along. Simon bar Kokhba was, was a big one, right in the,
in the early one thirties, this guy was very successful. His original name was I think, Simon bar Kosta, but then was renamed to Simon bar Kokhba, which means son of the star kind of going along with the prophecy and numbers in the book of numbers. And then he was very successful. I mean, they actually got to a point where they minted their own coins,
but as always happened, the Romans finally steamrolled everybody, right? Because that’s what the Romans did. And Simon Barco quote was then renamed again to Simon Barco, Seba son of the lie. He was a messianic figure. That was a gigantic this appointment. And that now that’s that’s about the best, most successful one. There was. But even he pales in comparison to Christ because the resurrection is what makes Jesus different from all of those messianic pretenders.
Now, when we look at Peter’s preaching today, I think Peter presents the resurrection as a non-negotiable elements that I think is clear. It is absolutely indisputable and he mentions it in every address. Now there’s two things I think we can detect here. Number one, Peter never fails to remind his audience of their need for salvation. This is something that I think is still an integral part of gospel preaching.
And we cannot let an opportunity to go by, to remind people where their salvation is and how desperately they need that. How desperately they need him. I remember I attended my first master’s degree. I attended a Presbyterian seminary. And when I went to go back the following year, after my graduation to see some friends graduate, there was a, a fellow who got up and gave the address to the graduates.
And he told a story about, and this, they were all Presbyterians. I was the only, only member of the Lord’s church in the entire school. There was another guy who had been, but had converted to Presbyterianism. So I was a, a man on an island out there, but this one fellow gets up and he talks about his experience as his first,
his first as a pastor. And he said he got up one Sunday and he, and he preach to his congregation. And they said, you know, we, we really want you to preach a baptismal sermon. We really want you to give a, a baptismal invitation. And we haven’t had one in a long time, as he found out, it had been two years since the last invitation had been given.
And so he says, okay, well, I can do that. So the next Sunday he preaches an invitation sermon and like 20 people respond. It is a problem. I think when you have something like that, when you have people thinking that, oh, there’s only a certain time of the year or only certain days of the year when I can respond to when I can be baptized.
I don’t think you see that model in the book of acts. I think what you find is here’s the gospel that is preached. Do you believe it? Are you willing to repent or are you willing to put your faith and trust in Christ? Are you willing to be baptized? Let’s do it right now. Well, when you look at acts chapter two,
I think you see some of that. I think you see some panic almost, and the audience there when they want to know what to do, because here were some of the same people who were screaming out for Jesus’s death, just a short time before and now they realize they’re guilty of blood. They want to know what they can do to be forgiven.
You see that in acts chapter four, Peter, again, constantly, he’s always on this as a drum, be a steady drum beat in his messages. He is telling people of their true source of salvation, even though he’s under threats of reprisal, even though he’s under duress, he stands firm. The second thing here that we have to remember is Peter reminds his hearers of the importance of sin.
Now, this is one of those difficult areas. I think for a lot of people in our culture, we like to avoid things like sin and judgment and hell these topics, anything that’s potentially negative is anathema for some preachers in some congregations. And they feel like talking about these issues or is just going to be unsavory. You know, that’s what, leave a bad taste in people’s mouths.
We would just really rather focus on God’s love and grace and mercy. Oh, of course, that’s wonderful. You want to focus on wonderful things, but you can’t neglect the other side of the gospel. You can’t talk about mercy without talking about what you’ve been given mercy from you. Can’t talk about forgiveness. If you don’t understand the basis of condemnation,
you can’t understand one without the other. It’s like two sides of it. You can’t have a one-sided coin. Well feeling like talking about these things will be negative and off pudding means that some people boil the gospel message down to the lowest common denominator for maximum appeal and minimum offense. But once you strip away everything that is distinctive from the gospel message, you are left with a message that is no longer Christian,
a stripped down gospel will make a lot of really good religious people. That’s what it creates, right? But you aren’t saved because you’re a good religious person. You are saved because you were a child of God. Well, when we become a faithful follower of Christ, that is what makes us a child of God. And based on Jesus’s conversation in John chapter eight,
you are either a child of God or you’re a child of the other guy, the resurrection occupied a central place of importance and the apostles preaching and these repeated references, Peter can’t get away from it. But so these repeated references should help us remember that the future is just as important as the present. The empty tomb was more than just a historical event.
The empty tomb was a preview of what lies in store for all of God’s children when Christ returns. Thanks guys.