After the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, those that observed what was happening began to question what was going on. Some even mocked those who were filled with Spirit and made fun of them and claimed that they must be drunk with wine. In response to the mocking and questions, Peter stands up and begins to preach. In looking at Peter’s sermon, there are several things that we learn about preaching.
The Power of Preaching (v. 14). Notice how Peter stood up with the other apostles and lifted up his voice. There are three key words to make note of here: Stood, With, and Lifted. The preacher stands up, indicating boldness and confidence. Every preacher should preach with boldness and confidence. He should be confident in the message that he is preaching. He should be confident in the Word of God and in the ability that the Holy Spirit gives Him to preach. Peter also stood with the other apostles. These men had Peter’s back. Peter had an amen corner! He had a group of supporters that he can count on. Every preacher needs an amen corner. Every preacher needs a cheering section. He needs those that he can count on to pray for him and encourage him and cheer him on as he preaches the Word. He also lifted up his voice. This is an indication of the power in his preaching. He spoke out loud with confidence so that everyone can hear. So, where does this power come from? It comes from the Holy Spirit. Remember, Peter was the guy who denied Christ. He was one of the guys that hid himself in fear after the crucifixion. Now, he is a bold preacher. What happened to Peter? What changed him? Why is he so different? He was filled with the Holy Spirit. Some of the greatest preachers of all time were men who were quiet and shy. Yet, when they preached, their voices filled the church and they spoke with power. My friend, we need power in the pulpit today. Far too long there have been wimpy preachers standing in our pulpits. We need real men of God to preach the Word of God. We don’t need a story teller, we need a preacher. We don’t need a comedian, we need a preacher. We don’t need an entertainer, we need a preacher. We don’t need an author promoting his books, we need a preacher. We don’t need a professor touting his intellect, we need a preacher. We need a man that will preach ‘thus says the Lord.’ We need a preacher filled with the Holy Spirit who is not afraid to warn people of the flames of hell. We need a preacher filled with the Holy Spirit who is not afraid to preach against sin. We need a preacher filled with the Holy Spirit who is not afraid to preach the truth even when it hurts. We need a preacher who will reprove, rebuke, and exhort. My friend, we need a preacher that is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit!
The Authority of Preaching (v. 14). As Peter stood up, filled with the Holy Spirit, he made this statement: ‘hearken to my words.’ Peter spoke with authority. In the life of a church, there is often debate over the authority of the preacher. I say this carefully, because I am a pastor. But, it must be understood that a pastor has authority. He is to be the overseer of the church. I do not believe a pastor is to be a dictator. He is not to rule over the people. However, he is to oversee the work. He is to be a strong leader. He is to be a man that people respect. He is to be a man that people listen to. He is to be a man that people follow. He is to be a man that speaks with authority. When he gets into the pulpit and he preaches, it must be understood that he is speaking with authority. His preaching should demand a response. His preaching should demand obedience. When the preacher gets up to preach, we should be sitting on the edge of our seats in anticipation of what we are about to hear. This authority that the preacher has is given to him by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is in the name of Jesus that the preacher carries out his work. It is in the name of Jesus that the preacher preaches. Over the years I have had people come to me and ask who approved of a certain decision in the church. Now, I know there are checks and balances and proper procedures. But, I am often tempted when I am asked who approved of such and such, to say, Jesus did! The authority that the preacher has is not given to him by a committee, it is given to him by the Lord Jesus. The authority that the preacher has is not given to him by a church vote, it is given to him by the Lord Jesus. When the man of God walks into the room and stands in the pulpit, there should be no doubt as to where the authority lies. The authority is none other than Jesus Christ who is the head of the church, working through the man of God, the preacher!
The Content of Preaching (v. 15-21). As Peter preaches, he gives the people evidence for what they were witnessing. He takes them to the scriptures. He refers to a prophecy recorded in the book of Joel. He explains that what they are seeing is the birth of a new age, the birth of the church. The prophecy in Joel is a reference to the last days, just before the second coming of Christ. Peter is explaining that the last days has now begun with the coming of the Holy Spirit. A new dispensation has begun, and it is the last dispensation before God begins to fulfil His final work in this world. It is during this time period that whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Peter is telling the people that they should have recognized what was going on because it was the beginning of the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. The point here is that Peter preached the scriptures. He did not preach his opinion. He just preached the Word of God. My friend, the content of preaching is the Word of God. The only text book from which the preacher should preach is the Bible. I am a firm believer that expository and systematically preaching through the Bible is the only way that a pastor should preach. God’s Word never returns void. You cannot argue with the Bible. The preacher must simply preach the Bible.
The Focus of Preaching (v. 22-36). As Peter continues to preach he narrows his focus on Jesus. The focus of preaching is Jesus. The entire Word of God points to one thing and that is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrection. My friend, if a preacher preaches and does not present his message in such a way that it points you to Jesus, then he is not worth listening to. Every sermon should have as its focus, Jesus Christ. Every sermon should conclude with a focus on the Gospel of Jesus and an invitation to come and accept Christ as Savior. Every sermon should encourage the believer to become more like Jesus and should convict the sinner to believe on Jesus.
The preaching of Pentecost gives a wonderful example of what real preaching is all about. May I encourage you with the importance of preaching? It is imperative that you and your family attend a church where the Word of God is preached with power and authority and where the focal point of every sermon is Jesus.