Evaluating The Sermon
Good sermons, like good stories, capture attention in the introduction, then create tension in the body of the sermon, building towards the climax and then the resolution. Whether or not there’s a good resolution depends on how the audience responds.
Go back and read again the Apostle Peter's Pentecost Sermon in Acts 2:14-41 that we've been studying in our devos. Check out how he uses all the ingredients of a good sermon, only Peter didn't have to try and wake up a Sunday morning church crowd. God, Himself, captured the attention of Peter's audience by sending the Spirit like a mighty wind upon 120 Galileans gathered in the Upper Room.
When they spilled out on to the crowded streets of Jerusalem praising God in all the dialects of the Jewish Diaspora, a crowd spontaneously gathered, and when the mockers started saying that the believers were all drunk, Peter seized the absurdity to begin to preach. "It's only nine o'clock in the morning."
Peter didn't need a microphone as he raised his voice and demanded attention. He began with the Jewish Scriptures, a quote from Joel's prophecy, where God promised to pour out His Spirit, not upon great men like a Moses or a David, but upon common folk (Joel 2:28-29). Joel's prophecy promised this gift of the Spirit, but it also warned against God's judgment--a judgment that would shake the heavens and the earth (Joel 2:30-31). If you wanted to end up on the right side at the climax of history, you needed to call on the name of the Lord (Joel 2:32).
After quoting this prophecy and declaring God was now pouring out the gift of His Spirit, Peter launched into the body of his message where he answered the question, "Who is the Lord we need to call upon?" Incredibly, his argument proves that Jesus of Nazareth, the man Peter's audience crucified, is the very Lord we need to call upon to be saved. Talk about creating tension in an audience!
Peter proved his point reminding them of the facts about Jesus they already knew. They had witnessed the miracles that proved Jesus was from God (Acts 2:22). They had responded by lawlessly handing Him over to be crucified, but this didn't end His life. God vindicated His Son by raising Him from the dead. If you don't believe the witness of those who saw Him alive, then consider what David predicted in Psalm 16:8-11.
David claimed that one of his son's would die but that his body would not decay in the grave. He would rise and enter into the presence of God (Psalm 16:8-11). Obviously, David was not this Messiah because Peter's audience could go and visit his grave where his body decomposed.
Peter's point was that Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 16:8-11. Peter's eye witness testimony to Jesus' resurrection proved this. He saw Jesus alive for forty days before the ascension (Acts 1:3). Peter closed his sermon with one final quote from the Psalms. God told the Messiah to sit at His right hand until He made his enemies a footstool for his feet (Psalm 110:1).
Peter has placed his audience in dire straits. They have crucified the One who is now sitting at God's right hand. Now they have to decide whether or not they will remain Jesus' enemies (Acts 2:36). The crowd cries out, "What shall we do?"
Incredibly, Peter tells them that they can change their mind about Jesus, admit their guilt, and cry out to Him. Their baptism will dramatically declare that their guilt has been cleansed away by Jesus' death, and that they have now risen to live a new life controlled by the Spirit, who will take up residence in their life if they only call on Jesus, the Messiah, their Lord.
That day three thousand individuals resolved the issue with Jesus of Nazareth by believing the Apostle Peter's message. Joel's prophecy closed with the statement that God would move all kinds of people to call out to Him.
Today, place yourself in Peter's audience. Have you called out to the Lord, Jesus of Nazareth, to deliver you from sin and death? Will you listen as God calls out to you to believe in His Son?
For the next several weeks you won’t be able to go to the mall without hearing:
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn king"
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!
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