The First Christian Sermon — Part One
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The First Christian Sermon — Part One

Acts 2:14–23  (ID: 2441)

When Peter delivered the first Christian sermon on the day of Pentecost, he established a framework for how we can share the Gospel with others. Peter focused on Christ by explaining His historical redemptive work. Alistair Begg reminds us of the necessity to tell others the actual Gospel, not merely the benefits or warnings of the Gospel.

Series Containing This Sermon

When the Church Was Young

Selected Scriptures Series ID: 26401

Sermon Transcript: Print

I invite you to turn to the Acts of the Apostles. And we pick up our study from last time.

Father, as we turn to the Bible together, we pray that the Spirit of God will be our teacher. We ask for wisdom and insight, for grace, for all the help that we so desperately need in order that we would rightly divide the Word of Truth.[1] And for this we humbly pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Well, here in Acts chapter 2, beginning at the fourteenth verse, what we’re turning to is essentially the first Christian sermon. If somebody said, “What is the first Christian sermon that we have at least recorded for us?” then you will know to say, “Well, that is in Acts chapter 2. That was preached by Peter. It was preached on the day of Pentecost.” And if you’re able to say that, then, of course, you will be absolutely correct.

As a result of the events in Jerusalem on that particular day, the people were marked, you could say, by uncertainty and by curiosity. And they were uncertain about what was taking place, and they were curious, many of them, as to how all of this had unfolded. Of course, there were some witty people who suggested that it all had to do with the imbibing of wine,[2] but Peter is going to address that for them.

And what I’d like to do in working our way through this sermon is to do so under three simple headings: first of all setting the focus, which is what Peter does, and then stating the facts, which is again what Peter does, and then in responding to the appeal, which is what Peter does—not making an appeal but responding to the appeal. You’ll notice that in a moment or two.

Setting the Focus

Now, Peter, on the day of Pentecost, in this dramatic outpouring of God’s Spirit, stands up, as we said last time, and gives a Bible exposition. In fact, the very phrase that is used there in verse 14 of Peter standing up doesn’t simply mean that he had been sitting down, and then he stood up, but the terminology was for standing up to the situation, if you like. The people were curious, they were uncertain, and Peter—not on his own but along with the Eleven, we’re told—he “stood up with the Eleven,” and he “raised his voice,” and he “addressed the crowd.”

All of those things are important, aren’t they? If you’re going to speak, make sure that people can hear you. If you’re going to speak, try as best you can to identify with your hearers. You will notice he begins, “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem…” And if you’re going to speak, make sure that you’re not going to simply stand up and share your brightest ideas, but make sure that what you’re doing is giving the Bible and allowing the Bible to explain the Bible to the listeners.

And if you’re going to do that, then you will be able to say with Peter, as he said, “Listen carefully to what I say.” It’s very right for me to say to you this morning, “I want you to listen carefully to what I say”—not because it’s me that’s saying it, and certainly not because I have some peculiar personal insights. But it’s important that you listen carefully to what I’m saying, because what I’m saying is what the Bible is saying. And indeed, you need to listen carefully in case I say some things that the Bible isn’t saying. And that’s why you should have your Bible open: to look down and see whether what is being said is actually in the Bible.

Peter immediately begins by addressing the question of drunkenness. Verse 15: “These men are not drunk, as [some of] you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning!” If the charge of drunkenness was made in jest, which it probably was, then I think there is a sense in which Peter responds to this with good humor, doesn’t he? “I know some of you were suggesting that the only explanation for this was drunkenness.” He says, “You know, even people who get drunk don’t usually get drunk at nine o’clock in the morning. If it were three in the afternoon, it might be a different story. But if you just think about it, it’s highly unlikely.”

So he sets that aside. It was really probably just a jest. And then he moves to explain, “Since that is not what had taken place, let me tell you what has taken place.” Verse 16: “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel.” If you have an Authorized Version, you will notice that the English says—I think, from memory; I don’t have it in front of me—“This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” “This is that which was spoken.” And it’s a very helpful little phrase: “This is that.” It helps me, at least, to center my thinking, inasmuch as what he is doing here is he’s making sure that the listeners get things clearly in focus. Because if their focus is wrong in thinking about it, then when they respond to it, when they seek to tell others about it, then everything will be out of focus.

Now, those of you who do photography know that that’s very important. Many, many of us, now, have taken focusing out of the whole configuration, in that our cameras have lenses which have automatic focuses. But we can remember other days and times when they didn’t and when all of our expectations came to absolutely nothing at all when the results came back from the pharmacy, and we saw that while we thought that we had taken some of these award-winning photographs, suitable for National Geographic, our wife said, “Oh, goodness, gracious! You didn’t even have the thing in focus.” And we felt badly about it.

My sister this week was telling me how she picked up a new pair of glasses from a shop in the Midlands of England. They didn’t seem to be very, very good at all. She was walking down the road wearing them, and she turned around, went back to the shop, and said, “These don’t seem to work at all.” And the man, who had seen her on a number of occasions—she takes things back quite routinely—was ready to dismiss her as a crank and a nuisance. But tolerating her for one more time, he took them in the back of the shop, came back about five minutes later, and shamefacedly said, “Oh, I do apologize, Mrs. Verney, but somebody put the lenses in upside down.” Now, when you listen to some people teaching the Bible, it’s as though somebody put their spiritual lenses on upside down, and you get the impression that the thing is just distinctly out of focus.

So, what we have here in this first Christian sermon is Peter taking the Old Testament—the Bible as he had it—and explaining how the present events of Pentecost related to what had been written down in the past. He doesn’t begin by saying, “Well, I know that many of you are curious and uncertain. Let me share with you a number of things that have happened, and let me bring up a number of people who were part of the 120 so that they can tell you how they felt on the day of Pentecost. No,” he says, “this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.”

Now, Peter, when he writes his letter—and Jeff read for us, didn’t he, from 1 Peter chapter 1?—when he writes that letter, he says that in the past, the prophets were writing, and they were, as it were, standing on their tiptoes, looking over the ramparts of the unfolding story of history, trying to imagine who it was and what it was that would fulfill what they were writing.[3] In fact, in 1 Peter 1:12, Peter goes as far as to say that “even [the] angels” desire to “look into these things.” The prophets are wondering what the fulfillment will be. The angels, as it were, are looking down from the ramparts of heaven, trying to unscramble it all—the nature of the story of salvation. And at this point, says Peter, there is no longer any need for the search and for the inquiry to continue, because the person is Jesus, and the time is now.

That’s what he’s saying. The prophet Joel, along with others, had predicted a great outpouring of God’s Spirit. “In the last days, God says”—quoting Joel—“I will pour out my Spirit on all people.” And so Peter says, “This is actually now in fulfillment of what the prophet had said.” And what he emphasizes in these verses is two things: the finality of what has taken place and the universality of what has taken place.

And it has taken place, you will notice, in the context of “the last days.” “The last days.” I think we’re well enough taught now to understand that these days were ushered in by the coming of Jesus, and they will be brought to fulfillment and completion when Jesus Christ reappears. And it is in this time frame, God says, that “I will pour out my Spirit on all people.” “And,” says Peter, “that is exactly what God has done. That is the explanation for what has taken place here today in Jerusalem.” And it is, as Luke records it for us now, surely in his mind, even in a way that may not have been in the mind of Peter: the whole notion of the Spirit of God being poured out as men and women come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the whole world. All of that is anticipated in the giving of the Spirit on this day.

“I will pour out my Spirit on all people.” Well, what does that mean, “on all people”? Does it mean on everyone, irrespective of their inward readiness to receive the gift of the Spirit? No, it doesn’t. We know that both from reading our Bibles, and we know it also from just moving amongst our communities. No, it surely doesn’t mean “all people,” everyone irrespective of their inward readiness, but rather “all people,” everybody irrespective of their outward status. “I’m going to pour out my Spirit on all people—not on all people, everyone, but on all people, all kinds of people: Jewish people, gentile people, males, females, old people, young people, servants and masters.” That’s the significance of what is taking place here. And this is a dramatic shift from everything that has gone before. Hence, the prophet Joel was clearly wondering to himself, “I wonder what this will be like. I wonder what it will be when it takes place.”

Now, can I remind you of what we said last time? That the outpouring of God’s Spirit on the day of Pentecost is part of Christ’s saving work. That in the Lord Jesus Christ, when we look at it in terms of the central events, we have the incarnation; we have his crucifixion; we have the resurrection, the ascension, and the pouring out of God’s Spirit. All of these things are constituent parts of what God has done in Christ. And it is for that reason that we say that Pentecost is no more repeatable in its essence than is, for example, the ascension or the crucifixion. And if we don’t understand Pentecost in those terms, if we don’t get our focus clear in relationship to that, then we will be susceptible to all kinds of theories and notions that are prevalent, it would seem, in just about every generation.

Peter is making clear that that which was predicted has now been fulfilled, and as a result of the fulfillment of it, sons and daughters will have an access to God, an understanding of what God is doing. If you go back into the Old Testament, you had certain individuals who were entrusted with special visions and were given special dreams, and it’s as though Peter is saying, “All of that stuff that was unique to certain individuals in the Old Testament, whereby they had access to a knowledge of God, that is no longer going to be the peculiar experience of individuals, but rather, the awareness of God in Christ will be universal.”

Actually, the only way to really understand this is in light of the promise of God in the new covenant. And we could turn to Jeremiah 31, but let me turn you to Hebrews 8, because the writer to the Hebrews quotes Jeremiah 31 in Hebrews 8, and it’s easier and quicker for you to get to it, and it’s helpful.

In Hebrews chapter 8, the writer is pointing out that since the people of God broke the covenant, God was establishing a new covenant. Do you remember in the words of institution in the Communion service, Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood”?[4] That was in fulfillment of this prophecy here from Jeremiah chapter 31. You see it there in verse 8:

The time is coming, declares the Lord,
 when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel
 and with the house of Judah.
It [won’t] be like the covenant
 I made with their forefathers
when I took them …
 … out of Egypt [and so on],
because they did[n’t] remain faithful to my covenant,
 and I turned away from them,
 declares the Lord.

Verse 10:

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
 after that time ….
I will put my laws in their minds
 and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
 … they will be my people.
No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
 or a man his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,”
because they will all know me,
 from the least of them to the greatest.[5]

In other words, “I’m going to grant to my people a universal knowledge of me.” He’s not setting aside here the place of teachers, but what he’s saying is that in the outpouring of his Spirit, the Spirit of God will bring the Word of God home to the people of God so that they might have a knowledge of him. And that, of course, is something that we understand: the knowledge of God through Jesus, which the Holy Spirit kindles, if you like, through the word of the gospel.

And when you think here of prophecy, I think you ought to think in terms of God making himself known through his Word in the Lord Jesus Christ. So the universal knowledge of God through Christ and by the Spirit is that which is provided on the day of Pentecost and is that which is to be the experience of those of us who come to trust in Jesus too. And so the platform upon which we go in terms of Acts 1:8—“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, … to the ends of the earth”—Peter says, “The promise of God of his Spirit has come today, and the responsibility to which he charges us is also being responded to today, and you will know that because that is exactly what I’m doing. God has poured out his Spirit upon me and on the others who were with me, and in fulfillment of his promise, I am now telling you people what the Bible says in order that you, too, might come to know the living God.”

Jesus saves those who call on him. That’s the message that we proclaim.

Now, when you read a section like this—and it’s not the easiest of sections, and there are all kinds of By-Path Meadows in which we might find ourselves—remember to stand far enough back from it that you can get the big picture. Verse 19 and verse 20, concerning the signs and the blood and the fire and the sun and the moon and so on, so easily become the preoccupation of a home Bible study group, when in point of fact, that is clearly not the main point. We could spend a long time talking about whether this is metaphorical, speaking in apocalyptic language concerning the convulsions that will come in history. We could debate whether, in point of fact, those who were listening could actually say, “Oh, we understand that because we saw that happening.” About seven weeks before, on the day that Jesus was crucified, the sun was turned to darkness. Remember, in the middle of the day, it went completely dark. The sun was turned to darkness. Some commentators even suggest that they would also have experienced this idea of the moon turning to blood—that the moon, when it had arisen on that day, may have arisen blood red in the sky in consequence of the preternatural gloom that had been present in the middle of the day.

Now, I wouldn’t want to argue for that, but it is an interesting notion. And we could sit around, and we could discuss and debate and miss the fact of verse 21. Because Peter is getting to verse 21: “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” So Peter stands up, and he says, “Listen, between the coming of the Spirit, which has happened now, and the reappearing of Jesus, which will happen on that great and glorious day of the Lord, there is a long corridor, if you like, of opportunity—an opportunity that has been given to us to fulfill the command of God to go into all the world and preach the gospel. God’s Spirit has been given in order that we might be able to do that, and in order that we might do it in the confidence that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Now, keep in mind that people were thinking in Jewish terms. Remember, they’re thinking about the Jews. They’re thinking about Jerusalem. They’re still only a moment or two away from asking, “Are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”[6] So it is a mind-stretching notion that what has happened is going to mean that people who are non-Jews are actually going to come to trust in Christ, that God’s way of salvation has been opened up to the whole world, and that he makes the promise here “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord”—speaking to the fact of an individual: “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” He makes the promise to individuals that if they will respond individually, they will be saved.

Now, let me just pause for a moment and ask you a question: Have you ever called on the name of the Lord and asked him to save you? “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Have you ever called on the name of the Lord? If calling on the name of the Lord is the precursor to the experience of salvation and you and I have never called on the name of the Lord, then ipso facto, you and I are not saved—no matter what anyone has done to us or for us, no matter what religious professional has laid hands on us, baptized us, done anything to us at all. The amazing promise here is universal in its appeal, and it is individual in its application. I remember when my father explained to me, “Son, you need to call upon the name of the Lord.” Jesus saves those who call on him. That’s the message that we proclaim.

Stating the Facts

Now, it’s almost as though once he has made this statement, quoting again from the Old Testament, it urges him on to proceed to speak concerning this salvation. He sets the focus by pointing them to the fact that this is that. And then, having mentioned salvation, he goes on in essentially his second point to explain the nature of what Jesus has done to make this salvation possible.

You will notice that there’s almost a repetition of the way in which he began. In verse 14: “Fellow Jews … listen carefully.” Here he is in verse 22. It’s almost he said, “Okay, let me take it up a notch”: “Men of Israel, listen to this.” He doesn’t begin, nor does he actually end his talk by telling his listeners about their need of the gospel. Listen to me carefully: he doesn’t tell them about their need of the gospel. He doesn’t start and say, “You know, you need to do this, and you need to do that.” He has explained that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Inevitably, somebody will say, “Well, how does that work? I mean, how is calling on the name of the Lord—how does this salvation thing work? Do I save myself by calling? Or what basis would I have for having any notion that I am actually amongst those whom God has saved?”

Well, of course that’s very important, isn’t it? Sometimes I make the mistake of thinking that if I tell people that they have to do certain things, that they have to believe—“It’s important for you to believe the gospel; it’s important for you to trust in Jesus and so on”—I may think that because I use that terminology, I have actually told them the gospel, when in point of fact, I haven’t told them the gospel. I can explain to somebody the benefits of the gospel and the perils of ignoring the gospel only after I’ve told them the gospel. And sometimes, I think, I have to examine myself in the way I teach. I think it is very, very possible for me to present things in such a way that I’m looking for people to respond to a gospel that they’ve never even heard, because you’ve got the assumption that people understand all of this, and all you really need to do now is just ask them: Would they like to respond? And people are saying, “Respond to what?”

And sometimes, when we try and tell others about the gospel, we don’t tell them the gospel either. We tell them about our experience of knowing Jesus. We tell people in the coffee shop or whatever else it is, “You know, I wanted to tell you that I have Jesus in my heart.” And someone responds—and I’ve said this to you a hundred times, but it happens all the time—someone responds and says, “Well, that’s very interesting. I’m glad for you. I have Buddha in my heart.” “I want to tell you that I’ve embraced Christianity.” “Oh,” says someone in the shop, “I want to tell you that I’ve embraced Scientology.” So where do we go?

I was speaking with a fellow from Australia this week. I went to a pub in Wales to watch a football match—that’s the soccer match—’cause it was the only place I could find a TV. And when I got in there, it was a bunch of people all speaking Welsh, and then there was an Australian who was speaking English. And so he and I struck up a conversation. And in the course of conversation, I mentioned to him a little about Jesus and stuff, and he said, “Ah, that’s great, mate. That’s great.” You know? “Now, that’s a knife. That’s great! You know, whatever’s your bag.” I said, “What?” He said, “Whatever’s in your bag.” In other words, I had a bag of tricks, and in my bag was Jesus and the Bible. It wasn’t in his bag. He wasn’t remotely interested in getting it in his bag, but he was perfectly happy for me to have it in my bag provided that was the end of the conversation. So where do you go from there? Where do you go? You see, what we have to do…

Incidentally and in passing, the reason that we tell other people the gospel in this way is, I think, because of the way we explain the gospel to ourselves. If we had time, I’d give you a sheet of paper, and you would write down on it a question: “How do I know that God will accept me?” You write down on the top of the paper, “How do I know that God will accept me?” And then I want you to write your answer underneath. What are you going to write? I would think that many of us would start in the first person, wouldn’t we? The first word that we would write is “I.” “How do I know that God will accept me?” “I have Jesus in my heart,” or “I have the Holy Spirit living in me.” Fair enough. But the right answer doesn’t start in the first person; it starts in the third person. The right answer doesn’t start with I, me, and mine, but the right answer starts with he, him, and his.

We got the right answer; we just sang it in our hymn. How do I know that God will accept me? Answer:

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea:
A great High Priest whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.[7]

In other words, my assurance of salvation and my confidence of acceptance with God is based on the fact that God gave his only Son on the cross to die for me. How do I know that God will accept me? Jesus died and rose and is in heaven for me.

The gospel is actually outside of us. It’s not primarily about what is going on inside of us.

So when we have the opportunity to explain the gospel, while we do have the privilege of sharing our own testimony, our own encounter with Jesus, which is a constituent part of that, we need to tell people that the gospel is actually outside of us. It’s not primarily about what is going on inside of us. See, my confidence today that God will accept me if I drop down dead now is not based upon my experience of the Spirit’s unfinished work within my life but is based upon the completed work of Christ upon the cross. That’s Spurgeon in Morning and Evening again, isn’t it? Remember: Don’t look at yourself. Look at Christ. Don’t look at your prayers. Don’t look at your good deeds. Don’t look at any of that, ’cause they’ll only cause you confusion and heartache. Look away to Christ.

Well, that’s exactly what he does: states the facts. First of all, the fact of the life of Jesus: “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man.” If any of you heard that program on Good Friday, you’ll know that one of the people who phoned in with a question said, basically, “I don’t know why you’re even there, Begg, because I don’t even believe in Jesus of Nazareth. I don’t even believe he was a real person. And since we know that Moses wasn’t a real person,” he went on to say, “why would Jesus ever quote Moses?” I wanted to say, “Well, if Jesus wasn’t a real person, he presumably wasn’t quoting Moses.” But I couldn’t do that in the time that I had, and I just said, “Oh well,” and we went on from there. But sometimes, you see, if that’s where we have to start with somebody, that’s where we have to start. We start with the identity of Jesus. Start with the coins in our pocket. Start with the whole idea of AD, BC. Start with the fact that Christ has bisected history as we know it. Jesus Christ was a man—the humanity of Christ. And be able to say to people, “Consider his humanity. Consider what a lovely man he was. Consider what a gracious man he was. Consider what a powerful man he was.”

Because, as Peter goes on to say, he “was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.” In other words, he doesn’t have to enumerate all the signs and wonders of Jesus. They knew that Lazarus had popped out from nowhere.[8] They knew that the man who had been let down through the roof by his four friends had arrived on a bed through the roof, and the next time they saw him, he was running up the street towards his house.[9] They knew that the blind saw. They knew that the lame walked. In fact, when Nicodemus, as a religious individual, comes to Jesus in the night in John chapter 3, remember his opening gambit: “We know that you are a teacher sent from God, because nobody could do the miracles that you do if God were not with him.”[10] That’s all Peter’s saying.

Starts with his life, moves to his death—and with this we must finish, ’cause our time is up. We can pick it up later on. Peter explains, then, that the death of the Lord Jesus Christ involved God’s foreknowledge and man’s wickedness. Now, this can keep you up late into the night figuring all this out. But what Peter is saying is this: that the cross—the death of Jesus—was not an emergency measure supplied by God to correct a system that had gone wrong, but that the cross… In fact, he puts it so well, doesn’t he, in—I’ll just quote it for you in verse 20 of his letter. Speaking of Jesus, he says, “We were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down from your forefathers. You weren’t redeemed with silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”[11] Listen: “He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God.”[12] And then he goes on to the next point, which, of course, is the resurrection.

The cross, he is saying, is the pulpit of God’s love.[13] And the fact of God’s foreordination doesn’t lessen the guilt of those responsible. They’re still culpable. “This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you,” he says, “with the help of wicked men…” He’s speaking to a Jewish audience, isn’t he? Primarily. “Fellow Jews.” Verse 22: “Men of Israel.” Peter doesn’t pull any punches. He’s a Jew. He speaks to his friends. He says, “God did this, but you, with the help of wicked men—the Romans were involved in this as well; the soldiers were involved in it as well—you put him to death by nailing him to the cross.”

Now, let us just finish with this point: although Peter does not work out a full-blown teaching on what was happening on the cross at this point, nevertheless, right in the heart of his stating of the facts is the fact of the cross. The cross, the story of the cross, is foolishness to men and women; it is the power of God to those who believe.[14] And here’s the strange thing: that we are to go with this message, which men and women think is absolutely foolish, believing that God, who has poured out his Spirit, will take the message that we proclaim, foolish as it is, to the minds of men and women and bring it home to their hearts in such a way as to convince them of its effectiveness, to convict them of their sin, and to bring about their conversion.

But again, when I talk to people, I’m tempted to skip this part. “Oh,” you say, “well, don’t say that. You’re the pastor. We can skip it. You can’t skip it.” No, no, I’m honest. I’m being honest with you. It’s much easier, isn’t it, to tell people, “Well, you know, there’s a great thing about the gospel. There’s a wonderful purpose and peace in your life and significance and so on, and aren’t you attracted by all these things?” Well, we haven’t got to the gospel. We’re not even close to the gospel.

No, it’s the offensive part that actually draws them. It is the part that Peter doesn’t leave out. If you’re listening to me right now and you’re not a believer, here’s the thing: the answer to your alienation is in the cross. The sense of psychological and spatial, geographical, physical, mental, material alienation is simply the fruit of our great alienation from God. We are alienated from God. And this God who knows that has come in the person of his Son and has sent him to the cross so that he might punish sin, which he has to to be true to himself, and so that he might save sinful people by his Son bearing in himself our sins. And “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” He speaks to individuals and calls individuals to respond individually.

Of course, evangelicalism has made a circus out of the way in which that takes place. You’re supposed to sign a card, put up your hand, run twice around the building, or whatever it might be. And still, after twenty-two years, people tell me, “You know, no one can get converted, because you never give them the opportunity to get converted. The only way they can possibly get converted is if they come up the front and kneel down,” or “if they put up their hand,” or whatever else it is. Hey, wait a minute. Who’s doing the converting here? Are they converting themselves? Or does God convert them? God converts. So just where you’re seated, you may cry out in your heart, “Save me,” and he will.

Father, thank you for the Bible. We pray that you will help us as we teach it to do it correctly. We pray that as we learn from Peter’s example, we may share our faith sensibly. We pray for some who do not believe, that they may call upon you and be saved.

And may the grace of the Lord Jesus and the love of God, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, rest upon and remain with each one, today and forevermore. Amen.

[1] See 2 Timothy 2:15.

[2] See Acts 2:13.

[3] See 1 Peter 1:10–11.

[4] Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25 (NIV 1984).

[5] Hebrews 8:8–11 (NIV 1984).

[6] Acts 1:6 (NIV 1984).

[7] Charitie Lees Bancroft, “Before the Throne of God Above” (1863).

[8] See John 11:38–45.

[9] See Mark 2:1–12; Luke 5:17–26.

[10] John 3:2 (paraphrased).

[11] 1 Peter 1:18–19 (paraphrased).

[12] 1 Peter 1:20–21 (NIV 1984).

[13] Attributed to Augustine in Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity (1692; repr. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1958), 175.

[14] See 1 Corinthians 1:18.

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.