Acts 2:14-21 - God Sets the Stage!

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On the Day of Pentecost, the disciples were filled with the Spirit and spoke in other tongues. The other tongues were languages unknown to them but known to their hearers. The reaction of the crowd was mixed. Some simply wondered, "What does this mean?" Others openly mocked, saying that the disciples were filled with sweet wine, meaning that they were tipsy or drunk.

When Peter arose to speak (Acts 2:14-21), he told how God sets the stage for people to be saved. He explained the meaning of the event that had just taken place. In addition he would refute those who mocked. The result was what is commonly called his first sermon. As his text, he chose a passage from the prophet Joel. I will make several observations from this text.

1. God will pour forth of His Spirit on all mankind. All who believe in Christ are eligible to be empowered by the Spirit.

Peter stresses that the outpouring of the Spirit is for everyone. All categories of people will be included. He declares that both "your sons and your daughters" will prophesy. There will be no distinction between male and female. In addition the Spirit will be outpoured on young men and old men. Going further, Peter says there will be no distinction in classes of people. God says that the Spirit will be poured out on "My bondslaves," both male and female. Joel did not include the word "my." The addition of "My" transforms slaves into servants of God.

As we learn from other Scriptures, when people believe in Christ, they receive the Spirit. Here, Peter is referring to especially to the empowering Spirit. All who believe in Christ are eligible to be filled with the Spirit's power to be witnesses. We might call this the "democratization" of God's power. God gives us all the great gift of His power to serve Him and to tell of God's love.

2. The outpouring of the Spirit had dramatic results. When the Spirit is outpoured today, the results are similar.

The first result of the Spirit's outpouring will be prophetic utterance. Peter said, "your sons and daughters will prophesy." Although Joel does not say so, Peter adds (verse 18) that even God's bondslaves will prophesy. This addition shows the importance of prophecy in Peter's mind. Peter clearly saw speaking in other tongues as a form of prophecy. The disciples spoke in known languages. They "were speaking of the mighty deeds of God."

Another result of the Spirit's outpouring is that "your young men will see visions and your old men will dream "with" dreams. Joel says the young men will dream dreams and the old men will see visions. The Bible often uses these terms interchangeably and there is no real distinction between them. We need not limit the meaning of dreams and visions. Some of our dreams and visions have to do with the progress of the gospel and its blessedness.

3. God will grant wonders and signs. We can expect God to do wonderful things now and in the future.

According to Peter, God will grant "wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below." The wonders and signs of verses 19-20 point mainly to the future. The Old Testament prophets did not distinguish between the first and second comings of Christ nor see the interval between. These wonders and signs will occur before the great and glorious Day of the Lord.

Although largely fulfilled in the future, but the events of the past and present must not be excluded. For example, the sun darkened (Luke 23:44) when Christ was crucified. The darkening of the sky was an immediate token "of God's salvation to all who invoked his name." In addition (Acts 2:22) Peter refers to the miracles, wonders, and signs that Jesus performed. These are precursors to the cosmic signs that will come.

4. All who call on Jesus will be saved. All who believe in Christ, both now and in the future, will be saved.

Now, Peter declares, "and it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'" NASU Throughout the "last days," people who call upon the name of the Lord will be redeemed. This passage applies to all who hear the gospel now. It will apply in the future as well.

Peter's sermon brought great results. About three thousand people were saved! The truths in his message have been presented to millions of people worldwide. Uncounted numbers of people have come to Christ in faith. This message is still very effective today, and it always will be!


God sets the stage for people to accept Christ. He desires to empower all of His servants to witness worldwide. Because of this, He pours out His Spirit upon us. Moreover, He controls the events of time and the nations of the world. His great works, including wonders and signs, set the stage for people to come to Him. They are a part of God's strategy to bring men to call upon Him. When people call upon Him, they shall be saved.

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