Sunday, March 15, 2020

Acts Study, Session 6

Today, we pick up our study in Acts 2:11 and complete the chapter.

Teaching Notes
VERSES 6-11: Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. Of course, news of what was happening began to spread throughout the community and abroad. Remember that the multitude is still referring to the Jews back in verse 5. The crowd was amazed and marveled because all of those filled with the Holy Ghost and speaking in other tongues were Galilaeans but each of the men was hearing in their native tongue. No doubt, a miracle was taking place, in that while the apostles spoke in their own tongue, others understood it in theirs.

Again, it can't be overstated, notice that this event involved Jews, either natural-born or proselytes (v. 10). No gentiles. Why is this important? - Because this event was exclusively for the House of Israel. This was the fulfillment, the culmination, of Old Testament prophecy in regards to the Messiah and the offering of the Kingdom. When we lose sight of that, as I did for years, you start making this a Gentile event and calling it the birth of the church. Just think how many dominations have been started simply around this one event that had nothing to do with the Gentiles or the soon to come Body of Christ!

VERSES 12-13: And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. Notice that there are two responses to this event: doubt and mocking. Those are the two common responses that I see in regards to God today. The word doubt more so implies that they were perplexed more than that of being skeptical. However, the mockers have rejected the event as being a work of God at all.

VERSE 14: But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: Now Peter stands up to address the audience. Notice who he addresses, "Ye men of Judaea, and all that dwell in Jerusalem." He is still addressing only Jews. How do we know this? - Because his orders had not changed from Matthew 10:5-6 when the Lord specifically told them, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Mat 15:24; Act 2:36; Act 7:42; Heb 8:8; Heb 8:10). It took me too long to realize that, Peter wasn't all of a sudden turning to the Gentiles. His ministry never was to the Gentiles.

VERSES 15-16: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; Now Peter address first the mockers to assure them that what they had just witnessed was a true move of God and a fulfillment of Scripture. I believe that this verse is truly a pivot point for so many errors in the church today because they tend to doubt that Peter didn't know what he was talking about. Peter is not saying, this is "something sort of like" what Joel said. Instead, he is saying, this is that. The language is emphatic. For us to arrogantly assume two-thousand years removed that Peter was out of line here is absurd.

VERSE 17-18: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: Peter is now going to quote verbatim the prophecy of Joel 2:28-32. Many fail to see exactly what is happening in this chapter because we have always been taught that the Jews rejected their Messiah in Gospels by crucifying him, and now the Holy Spirit is being poured out and the church, i.e, Body of Christ is being born. Nope. Instead, what Peter is doing is for the first time offering the Kingdom to the nation of Israel.  It could not have been offered before the crucifixion (cf. Heb 9:15-17). No, it could not have been offered in the Gospels, let alone rejected. This is a great misunderstanding in my opinion in the modern church.

Of course, we know that it ultimately will be rejected, Israel will blaspheme the Holy Spirit (Mat 12:32, and the Kingdom will be postponed. Crucifying Jesus was not blaspheming the Holy Ghost. Matthew 12 clearly says that they would be forgiven for that, and he did so from the cross in Luke 23:34. Instead, what they were about to do, reject the Holy Spirit, and therefore, the Holy Ghost, that was the blasphemy spoken of in Matthew 12. And as we will see, instead of giving them the judgment they deserved, He turned to the Gentiles and shut them up in disobedience as an act of grace.

VERSES 19-20: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: While most in the church today will say that Peter was right to quote vv.28-29 of Joel, he should have stopped there and not proceeded to vv.30-31of the prophecy because that was still yet future. No, Peter knew full well that once Israel had accepted their Messiah, Daniel's 70th Week would commence, and that is exactly what he expected. Peter is saying, these things have to happen before that great and notable day of the Lord come. He is referring to the Second Coming.

VERSE 21: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Bear in mind that Joel 2:28-32 is chronological, i.e., first, the pouring out of the Spirit, signs, and wonders, Daniel's 70th Week, the Second Coming, and those in the Millenium who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Yes, that last part if speaking of what will happen during the Millenium. It could not have been referring to Peter's day because they were still under the Law.

VERSE 22: Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Peter is still addressing Jews: Ye men of Israel. His point is that Jesus was approved by God because of the miracles that he had done in their midst (cf. 1Cor 1:22). There is no doubt that what Peter is doing is placing the blame squarely upon them and forcing them to a decision in regards to what they had done in regards to Jesus.

VERSE 23: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: This again is where many get lost in the weeds: God had already determined Christ's crucifixion. It was not optional for the narrative. It had to happen. God, in His foreknowledge, knew that it would happen. After all, they had to in order for a legitimate offer of the Kingdom could be made (cf. Heb 9:15-17).

VERSE 24: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. In other words, you can't blame Pilate or Rome, you killed him! The Body of Christ is never accused of killing Jesus.

VERSES 25-28: For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Peter now begins to show them from the Old Testament that their actions were actually fulfilled prophecy. He quotes from Psa 16:8-11 to show that Christ had to die and be resurrected. A fact that even the Apostles had overlooked (Luke 18:31-34).

The word hell is also a subject of debate because it is a transliteration from Psa 16:10 where it means grave or the world of the dead. That is a study for another day.

VERSES 29-31: Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. He continues to prove that David was not writing about himself in the previous verses. His point is that David saw Messiah being raised up to sit upon his throne. To be raised up, he must first have had to die.

VERSE 32: This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. And you guys are all witnesses to this very thing.

VERSE 33: Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. Jesus was no longer in the grave, but sitting at the right hand of the Father which is why what had just happened happened: the promise of the Father, the outpouring of the Holy Ghost that many of them had blamed on drunkenness.

VERSES 34-35: For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Peter refers to another Psalm, Psa 110:1 to show that the prophecies were not about David, but Christ.

VERSE 36: Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Peter's summation is that the one they had killed was both Lord and Christ (Master and Messiah). Again, notice the accusation is against the house of Israel and not the church.

VERSE 37: Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? They are now convicted by the accusation and asked what they needed to do now.

VERSE 38: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Anyone who can read can clearly tell that Peter's response is clearly not one of grace. He did not say you must believe in the death, burial, and resurrection. Instead, he said you, every one of you, need to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. Remember the offer of the Kingdom required national acceptance and not just individual. Therefore, anything less than every one of you was not enough.

On the contrary, that is very different than what Paul preached in  16:25-31 where it recounts the story in which Paul and Silas prayed and sang in the prison. Note Paul's answer was nowhere near Peter's. Instead, it was, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. It must be understood that while under the Gospel of the Kingdom which Peter preached, national repentance was required. However, under the Gospel of Grace which Paul preached, it was simply an individual's belief that was required. Unbelievable how this has confused so many today in the Body of Christ. WE ARE UNDER THE GOSPEL OF GRACE!

Peter and Cornelius
As I have pointed out, the book is one of transition and we will get into this more later, but here the receiving of the Holy Spirit was contingent upon them repenting and being baptized. Later, we will see with Cornelius that he did neither and received the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44). A transition was taking place. God was apparently preparing Peter for Paul's ministry.

VERSE 39: For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. At this point, many will immediately assume that this verse is referring to Gentiles. Not so fast, we are still in chapter 2. Peter had not been introduced to Cornelius yet. Nor has Paul been raised up. Those who are afar off could only have been understood by Peter and the others to be the Jews who were still scattered to the nations as a result of the "diaspora" which refers to Jews are were living outside of Jerusalem.

VERSE 40: And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. The untoward generation is referring to those Jews who still did not believe.

VERSE 41: Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. As a result of Peter's message, only three thousand received it and were added to the assembly that was continuing to grow there in Jerusalem. This is not to be confused with the Body of Christ that would later develop under the teaching of Paul. Bear in mind, this was an offer of national salvation to Israel, not individual, and it was being rejected. Three thousand was not enough! That number alone shows that many still did not believe. Later on in Acts 4:4, we are told that their number had risen to five thousand (or possibly eight).

VERSE 42: And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Now we see that those Jews who had responded to the Kingdom message and were baptized, are now aligning themselves with the apostle's doctrine. As we have stated, many will contend that this church is the same church that you are I are a part of today. However, that can not be drawn from the text. I have heard and taught many sermons on this verse being the basis for a healthy church, but never noticed that I had conveniently ignored the following verses in regards to selling everything and having all things in common (vv.43-45). I mean, if we really believed that this is the Body of Christ, why aren't we doing the same thing? Not very convenient for sure. This is the Kingdom Church, not the Body of Christ.

VERSE 43: And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. Interestingly, nowhere in the book of Acts will we see the miraculous being performed by anyone other than the Apostles or those closest to them.

VERSES 44-45 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. Notice that everyone who believed, sold everything to ensure that no one went without. Why? - Because they did not believe that they were going to need it much longer since the kingdom couldn't be more than seven years away assuming they knew the prophecy of Daniel, which I have no reason to doubt. Also, Jesus had already warned them about material goods in Mat 19:23-24, and Mat 19:29.

VERSE 46: And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Notice that they did not abandon the temple and all that came with it, e.g., sacrifices! Why? - Because they were never told to. While a new assembly had been born (Kingdom Church), a new dispensation had not. They were still under the Old Testament law.

VERSE 47: Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Obviously, a period of time had passed since Pentecost, and they were now in favor with the people, and the Kingdom Church was growing. The phrase such as should be saved on its surface sounds very Calvinistic, but it speaks to the fact that all of Israel was to be saved assuming they accepted that Christ was their Messiah and the offer of his Kingdom. Also, Albert Barnes points out that it would be more accurately those who were being saved; however, I do not have a problem with it either way. Saved from what? - This untoward generation that was spoken of in verse 40.

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