Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favouritism. In every nation He accepts those who fear Him and do what is right. This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel—that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee, after John began preaching his message of baptism. And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we apostles are witnesses of all He did throughout Judea and in Jerusalem. They put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross, but God raised Him to life on the third day. Then God allowed Him to appear, not to the general public, but to us whom God had chosen in advance to be His witnesses. We were those who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the One appointed by God to be the Judge of all—the living and the dead. He is the One all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in Him will have their sins forgiven through His name.”Acts 10:34-43
Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this. These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that. No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out My Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out My Spirit even on My servants—men and women alike—and they will prophesy. And I will cause wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below—blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and glorious day of the LORD arrives. But everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.’
“People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through Him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and His prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed Him to a cross and killed Him. But God released Him from the horrors of death and raised Him back to life, for death could not keep Him in its grip. King David said this about Him: ‘I see that the LORD is always with Me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside Me. No wonder My heart is glad, and My tongue shouts His praises! My body rests in hope. For You will not leave My soul among the dead or allow Your Holy One to rot in the grave. You have shown Me the way of life, and You will fill Me with the joy of Your presence.’
“Dear brothers, think about this! You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn’t referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and His tomb is still here among us. But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on His throne. David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave Him among the dead or allow His body to rot in the grave. “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now He is exalted to the place of highest honour in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as He had promised, gave Him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honour at My right hand until I humble Your enemies, making them a footstool under Your feet.”‘ So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles — all who have been called by the Lord our God.”Acts 2:14-39
Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to His servant Jesus by doing this. This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release Him. You rejected this holy, righteous One and instead demanded the release of a murderer. You killed the Author of life, but God raised Him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact! Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes. Friends, I realize that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was done in ignorance. But God was fulfilling what all the prophets had foretold about the Messiah—that He must suffer these things. Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and He will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. For He must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through His holy prophets. Moses said, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people. Listen carefully to everything He tells you. ‘Then Moses said, ‘Anyone who will not listen to that Prophet will be completely cut off from God’s people. Starting with Samuel, every prophet spoke about what is happening today. You are the children of those prophets, and you are included in the covenant God promised to your ancestors. For God said to Abraham, ‘Through your descendants all the families on earth will be blessed.’ When God raised up His servant, Jesus, He sent Him first to you people of Israel, to bless you by turning each of you back from your sinful ways.”Acts 3:12-26
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”Acts 4:8-12
But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed Him by hanging Him on a cross. Then God put Him in the place of honour at his right hand as Prince and Saviour. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven. We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey Him.”Acts 5:29-32
I have told you already that the two spokesmen for Christianity in the book of Acts are Peter and Paul. I have gathered Peter’s sermons for you in the passages above. I have not gathered all of Paul’s teaching together concerning the essence of the message simply because it would take too long and too much space. Allow me however to share with you Paul’s summary statement.
So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.1 Cor 1:23-34
When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the One who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.1 Cor 2:1-4
Take time to read through again Peter’s explanation and his defence of this new Way. Note the consistency, the core of the message that is repeated each time. We are coming close now to a turning point in the Book of Acts. Up until now Peter has been the number one mouth piece for God. Soon we will come to the point where Saul takes over from Peter and his name changes to Paul. For now I have gathered Peter’s summary statements in his defence of The Way. Read them a number of times to let the core of the message soak into you. Changes are ahead. Let’s strengthen our foundations in order to chart new waters. Take care of the roots before the appearance of the fruit.
God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars.Martin Luther
The Gospel is something good happening to bad people. Tell someone!Andy Stanley
Don’t let the Gospel you preach, out-preach the Gospel you live.Ben Reed
Missionary interest is the discharge of a debt. We owe everyone the Gospel.Anon