The life and ministry of Peter. Acts 2:14-21
Peter was encouraged to express his love for Christ, to exercise care for God’s people and to emulate his Master, even unto death. The same man who had denied the Lord was now dedicated to the work of the gospel.
Jesus had promised ‘power’ to his disciples and on this day of Pentecost they were all ‘filled’ and ‘enabled’ by the Holy Spirit. Verse 11 says: ‘We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues.’ It was unrehearsed, a spontaneous gathering because of what they had
experienced. It was understandable as a miraculous interpretation was given to all of the people. It was uninhibited. The disciples took a courageous step into the market-place and Peter was leading the way. The first evidence that the Holy Spirit was upon them was that they
witnessed boldly. His power was heard in their preaching. How should you and I speak out for Jesus?
Peter spoke in a public place
A crowd had gathered outside that house in Jerusalem and Peter spoke to
them where they were. He was not on his own. He was with the eleven
other apostles and he was filled with the Holy Spirit.
The right place to speak about Jesus is any place. The right time to
speak about Jesus is any time. The Holy Spirit gives you the liberty. In
Acts 16:6 Paul and his friends were not allowed to preach in the province
of Asia. It was right to speak God’s word. It was right that the Asians
should hear it, but at that particular time and situation it was not right in
the plan of God.
Jesus called Peter to be a fisher of men. There is no point in setting up
rod and tackle in a bath expecting to catch fish! A fisherman goes where
the fish are. If you watch seagulls they will tell you where the fish are.
Let God show you who you should reach. Maybe tomorrow over coffee
with a colleague or when a phone call comes from a friend. Maybe while
you wait in a queue at the bank or the post office, or perhaps when your
child asks you a question. Will you speak out then for Jesus Christ?
Peter spoke from the Scripture and from the circumstances (vv.15-17)
He began with what people could see and hear. He began with something
they could identify with. Therefore his witness was immediately relevant.
From where they were he took them straight to Scripture. Conversion is
always preceded by conviction of sin which is the Holy Spirit’s job and not
ours. He cuts through pretence and bravado. We discover what He has
been doing as we speak out boldly for Jesus.
Peter spoke about Jesus Christ
Immediately he had the attention of the crowd he took them to Jesus
Christ. He spoke of the Jesus they had heard about, then went on to
speak of God’s view of Jesus.
If someone needed to get to a hospital and asked you for directions, you
would not suggest that they spend a few days in the grounds before
entering in case they are shocked by the pain inside! Delay could be
dangerous and so you would deliberately direct folk the right way.
Talk about Jesus as soon as you can. He is the one Mediator between
your friend and God. He is the One Who bore their sin on the cross.
Peter spoke persuasively (vv.37-40)
A fisherman uses a hook or a net. There is no point in dangling worms and
flies on nylon lines with no hooks – unless you want fat fish! Jesus Christ
wants you to bring in the net, to encourage, to invite, to persuade people
to follow Him. While you do that He works with you by His Holy Spirit.
Andrew brought his brother to Jesus. Lois brought her grandson,
Timothy, to the faith. Philip led a stranger from another land to the
Lord. Paul said: ‘Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try
to persuade men’ (2 Corinthians 5:11). Do you? Why not?
Peter spoke in the power of the Holy Spirit (vv.37-39)
The fact that men were cut to the heart was no evidence that Peter was
a preacher. It was evidence that the God the Holy Spirit was at work. The
personal witness, like the preacher, must trust God for His Holy Spirit’s
work. He will speak as you stumble and stammer words of witness. People
will not refuse Him because of you. Will you speak out?
Discussion guide for ‘Speaking out for Jesus’
Bible reading Acts 2:14-41
1. We know Jesus called Peter to follow at least four times,
Matthew 4:19; Luke 9:23; John 21:19, 22. Briefly describe how he was
following Jesus in Acts 1:1-2:13.
2. What made Peter a spiritually persuasive preacher in Acts 2:14-41?
Would the same things be true for us in our Christian witness?
3. What was the main focus of Peter’s message to the crowd? Was it
the coming of the Holy Spirit? Or was it Jesus, His life, death and
resurrection? Why do you think this was the focus?
4. Can you find at least six things God did with His son Jesus, in
Peter’s sermon? Share what they are.
5. Make some time to listen to God by yourself. What do you believe
God is calling you to be and to do?