Have you come to grips with the fact that you ARE going to die? Not only that but with your death comes your judgment by God. Hebrews 9:27 declares that it is destined for people to die once, and then the judgment.
The Bible says that there is a Holy God who one day is going to judge our lives, and we will spend eternity in either heaven or hell. Such a judgment is as certain as the very Word of God.
What are you trusting in to survive such a judgment? Some trust in their own goodness. “I'm not perfect, but I do the best that I can. I live by the Golden rule.” That is misplaced faith. Romans 3:10 says there is no one righteous among us, not even one.
Some trust in the faith of a godly parent or grandparent to escape God's judgment. They think that being born in a Christian home is enough. That is misplaced faith. Jesus said in John 3:3 that unless we are born again we will not enter into the kingdom of God.
Some are trusting in their baptism or church membership to escape God's judgment. That is misplaced faith. Titus 3:5 says that it is not through the washing of water but the regeneration of the spirit that we are saved.
Some are trusting in a God who wouldn't dare send someone to hell and thus, in the end, will overlook their sin. That is misplaced faith. Exodus 34:7 says that God is a holy God who will not allow the guilty to go unpunished.
What are you trusting in to escape God's inevitable judgment of your life?
Acts 2 argues that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ make Him the only hope we have to survive our death and God’s judgment.
The first sermon in the church era as preached by Peter in Acts 2:22-24 was about Jesus Christ. But notice, it was not about Jesus as the Great Moral Teacher, but Jesus as the Savior of the world.
Peter was speaking to unbelievers, people who were spiritually dead. To tell unbelievers that they need to model their lives after Jesus and remember Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount would be telling them to do something they could not do. That is why the first sermon ever preached in the church era was not about what Jesus said, but about what Jesus did.
Peter is saying to these Israelites as well as to us today that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ demand a decision—a choice—from us. We must decide who this man Jesus is. Was he a great moral teacher, was he a self-deluded lunatic, or was he the savior of the world?
First, Peter says that Christ is the Son of God as demonstrated by:
- Christ’s Miraculous Life (Acts 2:22)
Everyone who heard Peter that morning knew who Jesus the Nazarene was. They had either personally witnessed, or knew someone who had seen one or more of Jesus’ miracles. Peter said that the miracles that God performed through Jesus proved that He indeed was the Son of God.
Today, some don't believe the biblical account of these miracles—they believe that Jesus existed, but perhaps He was just a good man and some overzealous followers added these stories decades or even centuries after the fact.
But the fact is that the books of the New Testament were the most frequently copied of any books of antiquity. We don’t have just a hand full of copies, but thousands of them. There is more literary support for the Jesus Christ found in the gospels than for any other historical figure in the ancient world including Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great.
You can trust the miraculous events recorded in the gospel narratives. The miracles of Jesus prove that He was the Son of God who alone is worthy of your complete faith.
You can’t ignore His miraculous life. Nor, Peter says, can you afford to ignore His atoning death.
- Christ’s Atoning Death (Acts 2:23)
Jesus’ death was no accident. His death was according to the plan and foreknowledge of God. God didn’t just know about Christ’s death ahead of time—He planned it.
Look, Peter said, at the events surrounding the death of Christ and how He fulfilled the prophecy of Scripture hundreds of years earlier.
- Zechariah 11:12 – Betrayed for thirty pieces of silver.
- Psalm 22:16 – His hands and feet pierced. Written 1,000 years before crucifixion invented.
- Isaiah 53:12 – He would be crucified between thieves. The same verse that He would pray for those who crucified them.
- Psalm 22:18 – They would divide and cast lots for His clothes.
- Psalm 69:21 – They would give Him gall and vinegar to drink.
- Psalm 34:20 – His bones would not be broken.
- Amos 8:9 – There would be darkness over the land at His death.
- Isaiah 53:9 – He would be buried in a rich man's tomb.
None of these things happened by accident, Peter says. They were part of God's redemptive plan for mankind in general and for you in particular.
You can't ignore the prophetic death of Christ. His atoning death, as well as His miraculous life, demonstrate that He alone is worthy of your faith. (But that is not the end of the story).
- Christ’s Supernatural Resurrection (Acts 2:24)
1 Corinthians talks about the irrefutable evidence for the resurrection: over 500 eyewitness accounts; the overnight transformation of the apostles from spineless cowards to courageous warriors of the faith who were willing to risk their lives for the gospel; the seismic shift in Judaism as thousands of Jews suddenly renounced 1,500 years of practices and embraced Christianity; and, of course, the lack of explanation for the empty tomb.
The disciples lacked the courage and power to steal the body. The Romans and Jews lacked the motive—they were trying to discredit the gospel, not authenticate it. But notice in these verses Peter doesn't talk about the evidence for the resurrection—everyone was already aware of it. Instead, he talked about the implication of the resurrection—WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
It means that Jesus really was the Christ.
But the resurrection also means that Christ’s death was an acceptable payment for our sins. Had it not been, He would have remained a prisoner of death. The resurrection of Christ means that those who trust in Him have been forever freed from the terror of death and judgment.
The greatest question in the universe is the one uttered by Job: If a man dies will he live again?
And that is the question for you this morning. It is not enough to hear the truth, to be in church, to be surrounded by religious people. The miraculous life, the atoning death, the supernatural resurrection of Christ demands a choice from you today.