Expositor’s Conference 2013
Session 4 – The Message of Pentecost Preaching – The Exaltation of the Son (Sinclair Ferguson)
Text: Acts 2:1–43 (NASB95)
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.
6 And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.
7 They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
8 “And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?
9 “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”
12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”
13 But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”
14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.
15 “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;
16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:
17 ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams;
18 Even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit And they shall prophesy.
19 ‘And I will grant wonders in the sky above And signs on the earth below, Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.
20 ‘The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood, Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.
21 ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—
23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
24 “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.
25 “For David says of Him, ‘I saw the Lord always in my presence; For He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken.
26 ‘Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; Moreover my flesh also will live in hope;
27 Because You will not abandon my soul to Hades, Nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
28 ‘You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.’
29 “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
30 “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne,
31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay.
32 “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.
33 “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.
34 “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand,
35 Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” ’
36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”
37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”
38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39 “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”
40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!”
41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.
42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.
What Jesus does in the upper room with the disciples are parables of what would happen in reality from that point on. For instance, the washing of the disciples’ feet was parabolic to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. When Jesus breathes on the disciples in John 20, this is parabolic of the events of Acts chapter 2.
The focus on the day of Pentecost has been on the gifts that were bestowed on the Apostles and then on a personal application of those gifts. However, we must see that the events of the day of Pentecost were unique in history. There is no personal Gethsemane, no personal Calvary, and certainly no personal Pentecost. Gethsemane and Calvary were unique to Jesus Christ. Pentecost is unique to the Apostles. It never happened before and will never happen again. Pentecost is fundamentally an event concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and not the Holy Spirit. Witness the primary subject of Peter’s sermon.
Jesus spoke of this event on the last day of the Feast of Booths. Jesus uses the picture of the water being poured out to summon those who are thirsty to come and drink. Living water flows from Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself says that the Spirit was not yet given because Jesus had not yet been glorified. This discourse is the exegetical key for understanding the events of the day of Pentecost.
In Acts 2:14, Peter begins to answer the question “What does this mean?” Notice what Peter points out in verse 33:
1) Jesus has been exalted to the right hand of God;
2) Jesus has received the promise of the Holy Spirit which he has then shed forth.
Five points concerning the day of Pentecost – “What does this mean?”
A. The scriptures concerning Christ are being fulfilled.
1. Just as the events of the creation are recorded in Genesis 1, we have the work of the Spirit in the new creation recorded in Acts 2.
2. Just as Genesis provides a catalog of nations on the earth, Acts 2 provides a catalog of nations who would make the church. This is a reversal of what happened at the tower of Babel.
3. God promised Abraham by way of an oath that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through him. The covenant flows forth from the work of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
4. God promised that David would never lack a person to sit on the throne of Israel. On the day of Pentecost we see Jesus ascended to the throne of God and given the nations for an inheritance.
i. The giving of the Holy Spirit to the nations is the fulfillment of the inheritance.
5. We see the fulfillment of Joel 2. The last days have come. Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
B. The new age inaugurated by Jesus Christ has dawned.
1. The pouring out of the Spirit on all flesh is the proclamation that the last days have begun.
2. The new age has dawned because Jesus Christ has ascended and is seated on the throne.
3. We are living in the last days. Maybe not the final days of the last days, but in the last days nonetheless.
4. We are living between the final two great events of Jesus Christ – his exaltation and his return.
4. Joel wrote of the marks that would indicate the beginning of the last days.
i. The pouring out of the Spirit on all flesh, not just Jews
ii. All would prophesy, not just Jews
1. Most Old Testament scriptures which we call prophecy is not predicting the future but interpreting the present based on the mind of God.
2. The old Mosaic distinctions between the prophet and the people has come to the end – see Numbers 11:29.
iii. The distinction between male and female is broken down. The Spirit is poured out without distinction to sex.
iv. We can now understand what Jeremiah means when he writes that no one will need teachers, for they shall all teach one another.
C. The coronation of Jesus Christ has taken place
1. The Lord has been seated at the right hand of God.
2. Jesus has been crowned with glory.
3. The giving of the Spirit to those on earth is evidence that Jesus has been crowned in heaven.
i. Everyone received a gift because the king had been crowned. See Ephesians 4:8.
D. Worldwide conversion to Jesus Christ has begun.
1. The conviction of the world of sin by the Holy Spirit is directly related to the revelation of the exaltation of Jesus Christ.
2. The initial connection of the people of God to God himself through the Holy Spirit occurs with the giving of the Holy Spirit.
i. This same connection is made to all who would believe from thereafter. We are filled with the same Spirit that was initially poured out on the day of Pentecost.
E. The church of Jesus Christ begins to be built
1. The church is the kingdom of Christ.
2. Jesus Christ is building a church that was impervious to persecution.