This sermon is an old one. It is not original with me. I have taken it from a master sermon builder. His name is Peter and the sermon is found in Acts, chapter 2. It should be carefully repeated to every generation and brethren who know it should be refreshed with it occasionally. This chapter logically divides itself into five parts—the day, audience, speaker, sermon, and the results. In the study of this chapter we find the beginning of the execution of the great commission. The new birth is fully explained. Verse 38 is the greatest commentary ever written on John 3:5.
The day upon which these events occurred was the first day of the week. Pentecost always came on that day. (Lev. 23:14-15) In this passage we are told that Pentecost was to be the morrow after the Sabbath. The morrow after the Sabbath could only be the first day of the week. Most all days that are observed by men are so kept by virtue of what occurred upon them. Many days are held sacred because they represent some great event. The Sabbath day was kept by Israel because they had been delivered from Egyptian servitude (Deut. 5:15). Some of the things that cause us to revere the first day of the week are as follows:
1. After the death of Christ, He repeatedly met with his disciples, on the first clay of the week (John 20:1, 19, 26).
2. The Holy Spirit was given on this day (Acts 2:1-4).
3. The first converts under the New Covenant were made on this day (Acts 2:37-47).
4. Christ arose from the dead on the first day of the week (Mk. 16:1-9; Luke 24: 1-6).
There is, I am told, an international effort being put forth by Sabbatarians to prove that Jesus Christ did not arise from the dead on the first day of the week. They say he arose on the Sabbath. We are reminded that Luke says, “They came into the tomb…and they entered in and found not the body of Jesus” Therefore they conclude that Christ arose on Saturday. However, in this chapter (Luke 24) this heresy is completely annihilated. Note these facts as they appear in order in this chapter:
“But upon the first day of the Week” v. 1.
“Two of them were going that very day.” v. 13.
“It is now the third day” v. 21.
“Christ should suffer and rise again the third day” v. 46.
It cannot be denied that the “third day” of verse 46 is the “third day” of verse 21 and the “day” of verse 21 is the same “day”of verse 13 and the “day”of verse 13 is the “day” of verse 1, the first day of the week—the day Christ arose.
The audience was composed of “Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.” There are many devout men who need converting. If some brethren, whom I know, had been present on Pentecost and heard Peter as he said to these devout souls, “Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, …Ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay” (vv. 22-23), they no doubt would have said, “Now Peter, you are too hard. These men are such devout souls. You should not call them lawless—that is not the spirit of Christ.” However, they were lawless even though they were devout.
The speaker was none other than the apostle Peter. And such little tact did he use. Perhaps he had never studied the proper manner of approach! He told his audience that they were lawless, and had crucified the Son of God. Surely, he should have waited until he had preached six or eight days before mentioning baptism. I heard recently of one of our modern preachers preaching 20 years without mentioning it. But Peter did not know any better. He should have had this brother as his instructor. We need more men who will follow the example of this inspired preacher, instead of studying later methods of approach. Some are always talking about the proper manner of approach but never approach. A straightforward and earnest statement of gospel facts is what the world needs today.
The sermon hinged around the following points:
1. The fulfillment of prophecy.
2. Jesus of Nazareth approved of God.
3. The Crucifixion of Christ.
4. The resurrection of Christ.
5. The exaltation of Christ.
The masterful discourse which was built around these points cut these people to the heart. “Now when they heard this they were pricked in the heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren what shall we do? And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37-38).
Three thousand were baptized. It is no trouble to tell exactly how many people will be baptized in a meeting. “They that received his word were baptized.” Every person who receives the word of God will be baptized. “And all the people when they heard, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected for themselves the counsel of God, being not baptized of him” (Luke 7:29-30). When people will not be baptized they are rejecting the word of God. “And the Lord added to the church daily those that were saved” (Acts 2:47).