Sermon Summary: At the end of the Gospels, before Christ was crucified, Peter found himself in the state of sin. His focus on self caused him to close his ears to the wisdom of Christ. Peter fell away from Christ and refused to claim Him. As a result, he brought scandal on himself and the church. When we disclaim Christ — whether in public or in private — we scandalize ourselves and our God. Thankfully Christ is aware of our sinful nature and loves us in spite of our sin. When he arose, he spoke directly to Peter and restored him from his sinful state. When we repent and claim Him, he restores us as well. The bible tells us that he cleanses us of all unrighteousness and makes us holy. Peter claimed Christ and Christ restored him. But, there is more. Christ charged Peter to “feed his sheep.”
Clearly, we cannot disclaim Christ as Peter did after the Last Supper and we know we must claim Him as our Lord and Savior. But, there is more. We are charged to “feed his sheep.” We must proclaim to the world who Christ is. We proclaim who He is in our lives and that He is Lord and Savior. Peter has an opportunity to powerfully proclaim Jesus in Acts chapter two. He speaks the truth of the word of God and he provides his personal testimony about who God was/is in his life and bears powerful fruit (3,000 baptized) for the kingdom of God. We must do the same. We must proclaim. We must proclaim the word of God to people and we must proclaim how Christ has risen in our personal lives.
Scandal and Restoration. To boldly proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we must experience His restoration power. Peter experienced it in a profound way when Christ restored him in John 21:15-17 by saying “if you love me feed my sheep.” Christ restored Peter.
- How do we think Peter felt when he was addressed and then restored by Christ after “disclaiming” him?
- How does it feel for us in those moments when we go from feeling alone or “scandalized” to being restored and reminded that Jesus loves us?
- How do we know that he placed trust in Peter? Do we know that he’s placed a trust in us?
Peter and the Crowd. Peter would get an immediate opportunity to go from scandal to restoration to proclamation on the day of Pentecost. Acts chapter 2 is understood in Christian history as the founding of the church. Christ ascended into heaven and charged the disciples with spreading the gospel. The Holy Spirit fell and a large crowd of over 3,000 assembled. A God moment was before the disciples who had just been charged to spread God’s word.
- Read Acts 2:5-13. Identify (from verse 9-11) some of the different groups of people who were in the crowd? Were all the people receptive to hearing from Peter and the disciples (see Acts 2:13)?
- How do we think we (or Peter) might have felt before a large crowd? What about a large crowd that includes mockers/haters?
- How did Peter respond the last time he was confronted about Christ? (Hint look at Matthew 26:69-75)
Proclaiming the Word. Beginning in verse 14, Peter begins to boldly proclaim. He proclaims the word and his experience with Christ. We must be prepared to do the same.
- Look at verses 14-15. Is Peter timid in his response? What changed in Peter?
- Peter begins weaving the Word into his response (see verses 16-21 and verses 25-28) and testimony about the life of Jesus and the people (see verses 22-24). Why is important to know the word and to be able to share and proclaim the word? Why is it helpful to know how the people have received Christ?
Proclaiming Your Witness. In verse 32-36, Peter makes his very specific proclamation about his very specific witness of Jesus. This is critical. Jesus has risen from the dead and Peter (and the disciples) were witnesses. We must be prepared to say who Christ is to us and what Christ has done in us. Our testimony of Christ has power and not everyone’s testimony will be the same.
- What do we think emboldened Peter to speak with such power?
- Do we have experience sharing with others what we have witnessed God has do in our lives?
- Are ever challenged (fearful, nervous, uncertain, etc) to share our witness and testimony?
Boldly proclaim Christ. God is responsible for the outcome of our efforts. The word tells us that some plant the seed, some water the seed, but only God can provides the increase.
Here, Peter’s bold proclamation of the word and his personal testimony bear profound fruit for the kingdom of God. 3,000 accept Christ and are baptized on this day. The church is born.