Acts 2:16-21 (ESV)
But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
Peter continues to run with the theme of, “We’re not drunk.” This isn’t something silly; this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel. It’s the fulfillment of one of the most exciting prophesies in scripture.
It’s spectacular – I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below. It’s messianic – the day of the Lord comes. And it doesn’t let you stay on the couch – everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Granted, Peter has some pretty awesome material to work with here – the crowd is witnessing a certifiable miracle – but he still uses it brilliantly. Peter takes a, “Now that I have your attention,” situation and turns it into a teachable moment.
It’s really just preaching 101 done perfectly. The crowd doesn’t understand what’s going on and so Peter illuminates it with scripture. “Joel told us this would happen. Remember?”
It’s the perfect warm-up. The crowd is tingling with excitement. You could hear a pin drop – which is good since Peter doesn’t have a sound system. They’re hanging on his every word. “Is this really it?”
Time to hit ’em with the gospel.
Modern Christians tend to miss the importance of warming up the crowd. It’s one of the reasons we do charity – sometimes even without mentioning Christ. The gospel message is knockout powerful, if you’re paying attention. But how do we get people to pay attention?
By showing them that we’re legit. Expect people to doubt your sincerity; we live in an insincere world. People will pay attention to the gospel when they pay attention to you. That’s not automatic.
Today, let’s lift up mercy ministries. Specifically, please pray specifically about the hearts of the people you’re trying to help. May they learn to trust us.
Charity is the face of the gospel.
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