“A Word for this Week” Pastor Bill Mugnolo: HARP Pastoral Advisor
Week of June 5-11, 2017: “In About Three Minutes” (Part 1) … Acts 2:1-21.
The sermon messages that I preach each week range in length, as they do for most Lutheran Pastors, from about twelve to twenty minutes. I’ve heard, in other Church bodies, sermons that run for over an hour while others last for about five minutes.
But the first sermon ever given in the Holy Christian Church, as I read the “transcript” of it in Acts, Chapter Two, clocks out at only about three minutes! But in about three minutes, the Apostle Peter proclaimed a word that not only impacted the lives of thousands—it served to change the world.
In a worship service, the early portion of it serves as a “prelude” that draws us towards the message that is to come. The thousands in Jerusalem were drawn towards Peter and the other apostles when they heard them speak of God’s mighty deeds in their own tongues—in languages that the apostles had not learned (Acts 2:4-12). In our own lives, the Lord often uses His own special “signs” to draw us to where we too can hear His Word. For you, it might be through a Christian broadcast that you “randomly” come across. Or you are riding in a car and you see a sign or billboard that has a Christ-centered message. Or you might be drawn to attend a worship service or a Christian concert because of an invitation by a friend.
The tongues drew the crowds in Jerusalem to an unlikely messenger. Just over seven weeks beforehand, Peter had denied knowing Christ three times. But in just fifty-two days, Peter—like the walls of Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s day—was rebuilt and restored so as to be able to proclaim God’s Word with boldness. So too can the Lord lift you up out of the ruins of even your most miserable failures so that you can serve Him once again.
But before Peter spoke, there were those in the crowd who were mocking the tongues that the apostles were speaking as being a sign of drunkenness (Acts 2:13). Here, Satan was looking to put a “roadblock” in the way of the crowds so that they would turn away from Peter before he spoke. Doesn’t the devil try to do the same with you too—putting up roadblocks, distractions, and even petty prejudices so that you would not be drawn to those who would bring God’s Word to you?
But Peter dispelled this charge and, in the first minute of his sermon, spoke of how the tongues that they were hearing had been long foretold of by the Prophet Joel (Acts 2:16-18). He also quoted Joel as to the nature of the events of the last days leading up to the end. (Acts 2:19-20). But most of all, Peter spoke of how all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved (Acts 2:21).
Next week, as we look at the last two minutes of Peter’s sermon, we will see the crucified and risen Lord whom we are to call upon so that He would save us. It is towards this Lord, I hope and pray, that in my sermons and devotional writings—no matter how long or short that they might be—I might direct you too to call upon Him.