Why have we been saved? What is our purpose as Christians while on earth? In this message on Luke 24, David Platt reminds us that we have been saved in order to glorify God and share the gospel with others. God has redeemed us in order to be a blessing to others.
- We receive the grace of Christ.
- We behold the glory of Christ.
- We proclaim the gospel of Christ.
If you have His Word, and I hope you do, I invite you to open back up with me to Luke 23 and 24. So, here’s the question. What does it mean to be redeemed, and why have we been redeemed?
As The Church Around The World…
We come here to the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ and the ascension of Christ at the end of Luke 24, and yet, there is still more of this book to go. We’ve reached the apex, the mountain peak of Scripture, so why is there more? Apparently, there is a reason behind redemption. There is another chapter to come in this story, and so what I want us to do is to think, as the church around the world throughout history, what does it mean for us to be in the company of the redeemed? What does that mean for who we are, and for what we do? Why have we been redeemed?
I want us to hit with broad strokes the crucifixion, resurrection, ascension of Christ and the inauguration of the church and see the answers to those questions. What does it mean to be redeemed? It means we received the grace of Christ. What happened here in Luke 23 is the grace of Christ on display. It is deeper than just a man dying a cruel, tortuous death. This is grace that brings salvation. We receive the grace of Christ. Redemption is not something you do. It’s something you receive; it’s not something you earn or merit or attain. It’s received. It’s given to you.
We are in the company of the redeemed, not based on what we have done, but based on what He has done, and what I put in your notes there just as a summary is a few different theological words to remind us the gravity of what happens in Luke 23:46, when the Bible says, “[Jesus] breathed his last.” This is the Son of God. He is God incarnate, the sinless Son of God.
Pilate said it really well in Luke 23:22. He says, “I have found in him no guilt deserving death.” Preach it, Pilate. Yes, exactly. That’s the thing that sets Jesus apart from anybody else. We have all sinned. The payment for sin is death. We all deserve death. He has no guilt in Him; He has no sin. Therefore, He does not deserve death, and yet, He dies in Luke 23:46. If He is not paying the payment for His sin, then whose sin is He paying?
Luke 24 Shows Us that Jesus is Our Passover Lamb
So, the first word is sacrifice: He is dying our death. The death we deserve, He is taking upon Himself. It is what we have seen over and over again as we’ve been reading through the Bible this year. The blood of sacrifice is a necessary covering for people’s sin, whether it’s Exodus 12, the Passover sacrifice, or Exodus 24 with the blood of the covenant; whether it’s Leviticus 16 with blood sprinkled over the atonement cover. What we have here in Luke 23 is the sinless sacrifice, Jesus Himself. He is our Passover Lamb. His is the blood that seals the covenant, and it’s His blood that provides an atonement, a covering, for our sins.
Hebrews 9:26 says, “He has done away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.” He has died the death we deserve to die. Second is the word “propitiation.” Propitiation: He has endured our condemnation. Propitiation or propitiatory sacrifice is one who turns aside wrath, turns away wrath. That’s what propitiation is. Sin arouses the holy fury, the holy justice, and the holy wrath of God. As sinners, we deserve to bear God’s wrath against sin.
Jesus says, “We stand condemned in our sin,” in John 3:17, but then Romans 5 says, “God, while we were still sinners, sent His Son, Christ, to die for us,” to take God’s wrath. Romans 5:12 says, “upon himself so that we would be delivered from God’s wrath.” Romans 5:1, “So we would have peace with God.” Romans 8:1, “So that there is now no condemnation for anyone who is in Christ Jesus.” Condemnation is gone. It’s been poured out on Christ. Isaiah 53, which we saw it a couple months ago, says, “It was the Lord’s will to crush Him, to pour out condemnation of sin upon Him instead of you and me.” That makes propitiation a really good word.
Sacrifice, propitiation, and reconciliation: He has suffered our separation. One gospel account shows Jesus on the cross, saying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The reality is, because of our sin, we are infinitely and eternally separated from God in our sin. It’s the picture in Genesis 3 in the beginning of the Bible. We are cast out of the presence of God, separated from God, and Jesus endures the separation we are due, so that, instead of being cast out, we might be invited in. Think about it. We are sinners to the core, and we are welcomed into the presence of an infinitely holy God because Jesus has suffered our separation. We once were afraid of God. Now, we are friends of God; we were once cast out, now invited in.
Sacrifice, propitiation, reconciliation, and redemption: He has paid our debt. The debt of our sin too deep for us to pay. “But God,” Galatians 4 says, “sent his Son, born of woman, born under law, to redeem those under the law, so that through his death, we might receive adoption as sons.” We once were slaves to sin. Now, we are sons and daughters of God. All of that is what is happening when Luke 23:46 says, “He breathed his last.”
The hymn writer said it best:
Man of sorrows, what a name
For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim
Hallelujah, what a Savior.
Bearing shame and scoffing rude
In my place condemned He stood
Sealed my pardon with His blood
Hallelujah, what a Savior.
Guilty, vile, and helpless we
Spotless lamb of God was He
Full atonement, can it be?
Hallelujah, what a Savior.
Lifted up was He to die
“It is finished,” was His cry
Now in heaven exalted high
Hallelujah, what a Savior.
And when He comes, our glorious king
All His ransomed home to bring
Then anew this song we’ll sing
Hallelujah, what a Savior.
Luke 24 Reminds Us that Christ Died the Death that We Deserve
That’s good news. This is great news. It is the best news in all of history and all the world. Jesus has died the death you deserved to die, and He has endured the condemnation that is intended for you from a holy God. He has suffered our separation, and He has paid our debt, so that anyone anywhere and anytime in all history who trusts in Him, who turns from sin and trusts in Him as Savior, will be reconciled to God, will have their sins covered, and will be welcomed into eternal life with God. That’s what it means to be redeemed.
So, why? Why would God give such grace to redeem us? This leads to the second picture: We are redeemed to behold the glory of Christ. So, you get to Luke 24, and twelve short verses after Jesus has been buried, they cannot find His body. It’s gone.
Peter doesn’t believe it. He goes and runs and has a look for himself, and then you get over to Luke 24:36. Just imagine this scene. Put yourself in these disciples’ shoes. Verse 36,
As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
Luke 24 Validates that Jesus’ Ressurection is Real
They’re shocked. A man has come back from the dead, and all He wants is a simple meal. So, “They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it before them.” You can just picture their jaws are still on the ground, their eyes still wide open, like, “Is this a hallucination?” Well, hallucinations don’t eat. “Is this a spirit?” Well, spirits don’t chow down. He’s real.
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and the third day rise from the dead, and the repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.
That’s where Luke 24 ends.
Now, hold your place here and turn over to Acts 1, because Luke writes a sequel, part two, and part two is called The Acts of the Apostles, the book of Acts, also written by Luke. What I want to show you is that Luke picks up by recounting the same scene and elaborating on it. Listen to Acts 1:1. We’re going to kind of go back and forth a little bit between Acts 1 and Luke 24.
Acts 1 says:
In the first book, O Theophilus, [book of Luke] I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who has taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
This is where it starts, right here. The whole next chapter, the story of redemption, starts with this picture. Don’t miss this. People who have received the grace of Christ are beholding the glory of Christ. He is the risen Savior. He was dead, and by dead we mean dead. He was tortured and killed on a cross; His blood was flowing, and He was not breathing. He was wrapped in a tomb with a stone put in front. He was dead. Then, He was alive. Not a lot of people have done that.
Jesus is the Risen Savior. He Conquered Death.
He is the risen Savior. He conquered death. He is the exalted Lord. As if that were not enough, He ascends into heaven. Four times in Acts 1, He talks about how He was taken up. Those places are in verse 2, verse 9, twice in verse 11, and then in verse 22 later on. The Lord was taken up. Jesus was taken up to the right hand of the Father.
Risen Savior, exalted Lord, and, third, He is the coming King. Put yourself in these disciples’ shoes. Think about the range of thoughts and emotions they were experiencing. One day you see Jesus crucified cruelly on a cross. A couple of days later, He is alive, hanging out with you, chatting and having a meal, and so they’re asking, “Are you going to restore the kingdom of Israel to Israel?” All right, this is a movement here. We’ve got things on a roll. We’ve got dead, alive, and then, not long after, He rises into heaven.
I love Acts 1:11, when this angel comes and says, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?” “Well, why do you think we’re standing looking into heaven? We were having a conversation with a man, and all of the sudden, He’s skyrocketed into the air, and so, angel, that’s why we’re looking up, because Jesus just disappeared.” So, this must be a rhetorical question of some sorts, an introduction.
“Why do you stand looking into heaven?” Then, the angel gives a promise. He says, “This Jesus who was taken from you into heaven will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” That promise drives the rest of this book. That promise that Jesus is coming back drives ten of these eleven men to be martyred due to them proclaiming His greatness and looking forward to His coming. The only one who was not martyred is exiled to an island, where he writes the last chapter in the Bible, and in that chapter, he says, “Come, Lord Jesus. Come quickly.” They’re longing for the coming King.
What I want you to see is that it’s this vision of the glory of Christ, risen Savior, exalted Lord, and coming King that drives the church from this point on, from age to age, and generation to generation. It’s this vision that drives. Passion for the kingdom is fueled by passion for the King.
What does it mean to be a part of the company of the redeemed? We love the King, and we honor the King, and we glorify the King, and we give our lives for the King and for the advancement of His kingdom. Brothers and sisters, we are not just playing games here. We don’t just come and sit in a chair once a week and give token adherence or songs to Christ. We do not just give token time to Christ. No, He’s worthy of our plans and dreams and ambitions and hopes, our possessions and homes, everything we have and everything we are.
We want this King to be exalted. We want His Kingdom to be advanced. This consumes us. This drives us more than making the next dollar or getting the next promotion or having a nice job or comfortable life. Leave it all if necessary. We will do whatever it takes to honor our King. That’s what it means to be a part of the company of the redeemed. The constant prayer on our lips is, “Let your kingdom come. In my life and in my death, let your kingdom come.”
Luke 24 Says that Believers are Redeemed
So, that begs the question, “How will His kingdom come?” I am glad you asked. The third reason for redemption here: We receive the grace of Christ, we behold the glory of Christ, and we proclaim the gospel of Christ. We are redeemed to proclaim the gospel of Christ. Let me show this to you. Look at the end of Luke 24. We’re going to come back to Acts 1 in just a moment. I want you to look with me at Luke 24:46. We read it just a moment ago when Jesus said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,” now, pay attention close. Verse 47, “…and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed [or preached] in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” So, circle the word “proclaim” there. Underline it. Put a box around it, or a star around “proclaimed.”
Then, verse 48 says, “You are witnesses of these things.” You are proclaimers of these things. You testify to these things. Circle “witnesses” or underline or box it or pink highlight it or something. Then, you get over to Acts 1:8, and it’s the same picture. Jesus says, “[But] you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses.” Circle it. Underline it. Mark it there. You’ll be witnesses.
This is the reason for redemption. Receive the grace of Christ, behold the glory of Christ, and the Spirit of God will come upon you. Jesus says, “And you will proclaim. You will testify. You will witness to these things.” This is the reason for redemption. We are washed of sins, so that we might witness to the reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection. We are delivered to declare. We are saved to speak. That’s why we’ve been redeemed, so that we might speak.
Now, we miss this if we’re not careful. We miss this word “witness.” We say things today like, “I witness with my life.” Well, it sounds good, and certainly we need to live lives that are good with good deeds, Matthew 5:16, that glorify God in heaven. One saint of old said, “Preach the gospel at all times, and, if necessary, use words.” It sounds sweet and cozy until we realize in order to preach the gospel, one must preach. In order to witness, one must speak.
Luke 24 Calls Us to be Witnesses of Christ and Proclaim the Gospel to Others
Jesus did not say, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and you will live nice lives and be good, decent people.” It’s not what He said. Now, hopefully that’s implied. If Christ is living in you, that’s a reality, but you will be a witness. A witness goes to a stand, not to sit mute, but to say something. You will proclaim the gospel. These men who heard these words on that day did not lose their lives and John was not exiled to Patmos because they went around smiling and doing kind things. You don’t get killed for doing kind things. You get killed in the first century for preaching, for telling people about Christ, and the same thing is true in the 21st century.
I got an email this week from one of our contacts in Central Asia, and he told me about a brother named in a Middle-Eastern country who, a few months ago, was arrested by this country’s secret police. The only crime that he had been charged with was conversion to Christianity. The contact said that the odds are that he will be sentenced to death. This man is 45. He has a wife and six children, the oldest of whom is disabled. This brother himself is an amputee with a prosthetic leg, and over these last months, he has been repeatedly tortured and abused in the prison for following Christ.
He is not in prison because he is a nice person, though I’m sure that is the case in our brother’s life. He is in prison because he has verbally confessed to following Christ. He has done what men and women, brothers and sisters have done throughout history in the face of death. They have proclaimed the gospel, so let us not be so foolish as to claim in a free country that we witness with our lives when our brothers and sisters around the world are dying to witness with their mouths.
Witness necessarily involves proclamation, and this is why the Spirit comes to us, so that we would be proclaimers. Another phrase we often use is we say, “Well, I witness when the Holy Spirit leads me.” Again, there’s a grain of truth to that. Well, yes, of course, we all want to be led by the Holy Spirit, but here is the reality. The Spirit will come upon us for one purpose: So that we’ll be witnesses.
Luke 24 Reminds Us that Christ Lives Within Us
So, I want to free us up. For every follower of Christ with the Spirit of Christ in you, you can now consider yourselves led. Like, this frees us up. We don’t have to wait for some tingly feeling to go down our spine and some weird circumstance to come about and think, “I guess this means the Spirit is leading me to share the gospel.” No, like, if you are breathing, you are led by the Spirit of God to proclaim the gospel of Christ. That’s what He’s in us for, and that’s what happens.
You get over to Acts 2. So, follow this, Acts 2:1. “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as a fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.” Verse 4, “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to smile.” No, “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they began to speak Spirit-speak.” That’s why the Spirit comes, so that they’ll speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. They start preaching.
In verse 14, Peter stands up, and he doesn’t just smile. He speaks. This is what the Spirit will come to do, to enable us to proclaim the gospel of Christ in the power of Jesus’ presence. This is exactly what Jesus had promised in Luke 24 when He told these guys, “Whatever you do, don’t leave Jerusalem. Stay in the city until you’ve been clothed with power from on high.”
Translated, it, basically, means the last thing Jesus wants is these disciples let loose in the world on their own. Like, they will botch this thing up. They need to wait. We don’t need Peter just going out on his own. We need him with the Holy Spirit and all these other guys, and that’s what happens. They wait, and the Spirit comes down. They start speaking in all these other languages, and everybody around them thinks they’re drunk, and Peter stands up.
He’s like, “It’s only 9:00 in the morning. We’re not drunk,” and then Peter starts preaching. Think about it. It’s Peter who’s preaching. This is the guy who days before was afraid to say he even knew Christ. He denied knowledge of Christ, friendship with Christ, so this is the guy that either says the wrong thing or says nothing, and now he’s standing up preaching the first Christian sermon.
What’s the difference between timid Peter and bold Peter? The difference is the Spirit of God. It’s the only difference. It’s the only thing that’s changed from that point to this point. The Spirit of God is on Peter, and this is what Jesus had promised. He is with us. He said, “Make disciples of all nations. I am with you always, to the very end of the age. You do not go out on your own proclaiming the gospel. This is not a solo deal. I am with you.”
Christ is not only with us, but He also dwells in us.
Not only is He with us, but He dwells in us. In John 14, Jesus is talking about how the Spirit’s going to come upon His disciples, and He says, “You’re going to do even greater things than I’ve done.” What an astounding statement. How is that possible that we are going to do greater things than Jesus? Jesus did a lot of great things including miracles. People who were blind were seeing, who those who were dead were coming to life. He says, “You’ll do even greater things than these.” How is that possible? Well, what Jesus is saying in John 14 is that, “It’s not just going to be the fullness of the Spirit on one man but on all of my people,” and this is the beauty of what happens here in Acts 2.
You get down to verse 16 in Peter’s sermon, and the Bible says Peter says, “This is what was uttered through the prophet Joel,” and then he begins to quote from the book of Joel in verses 17 to 21. You probably have a little note at the very beginning of verse 17 or at the end of verse 21 in your Bible, that says where he’s quoting from, so kind of look for that note and see. Peter is quoting from Joel 2:28-32.
So, let’s do a little sermon evaluation of Peter, and let’s see how he did on his Old Testament quotation. So, hold your place here in Acts 2. We’ve got to compare here. Hold your place in Acts 2 and, turning over to Joel 2, let’s compare Joel 2:28-32 and Acts 2:17-21, and let’s see how Peter did in his first attempt at preaching the gospel.
We’ll start with Joel and just kind of go phrase by phrase and compare that with what Peter said. This is the prophecy of Joel. Joel 2:28 says, “[And] it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh…” Okay, let’s pause. What does Peter say? Acts 2:17, “‘[And] in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh…’” It’s pretty close. Maybe Peter was a little nervous and missed a couple of words at the beginning, but it’s pretty much the same.
Okay, come back to Joel 2:28. “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” Peter: “Your sons and daughters shall prophesy…” It’s the same. “Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” So, he swaps those around, but basically, the same thing. He’s doing all right until you get to Joel 2:29. “Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.” Peter says, in verse 18, “Even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.”
Wait a minute. Do you see those four words back in Joel 2? No. Joel starts going on to the next verse, “I will show wonders…” just as we see next in Acts 2:19. Peter adds four words. What should we conclude, then? Did Peter just blow it? It’s the first Christian sermon, and he misquotes the Old Testament, and it is recorded for us for centuries to see his blunder. I don’t think so. I think this is very important here. It says, “They shall prophesy,” not in the Old Testament account in Joel, but in the New Testament account in Acts 2.
What’s the difference between Joel 2 and Acts 2? Think about it with me. In Joel 2, were a lot of people prophets or only a few people prophets? In the Old Testament, a lot of people or few people? Just a few people were prophets. Joel, Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and other select people that God called out to speak on His behalf, to bring His Word to people. You get to Acts 2, and Peter says, “God declares, I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and…” Then, you get down to verse 18, and he adds, “…and they shall prophesy.”
In Acts 2, do a lot of people prophesy or just a few people? A lot of people prophesy. In fact, all of them who have trusted in Christ and have the Spirit of Christ on them, they’re all speaking, and so here is a huge difference between Old Testament and New Testament. Old Testament: Only select individuals with the Spirit of God coming upon them to speak words for God. New Testament: Every single follower of Christ has the Spirit of God poured out on them to speak for God.
Luke 24 Encourages Us to Live like Prophets and Speak About God
Do you realize what this means to every follower of Christ? You are a prophet. Now, what does that mean? Does it mean I put on some sackcloth and ashes, get a big orange neon cross and go out in the streets and just let them have it? No. What did a prophet do? A prophet did one thing: A prophet had the privilege and responsibility to speak for God, and the beauty is what was reserved for only a few people in the Old Testament is granted to every single follower of Christ, that you can go out into the place that you work this week, the place where you live this week, the neighborhood and the people you meet, and you have the Spirit of God in you and the authority to speak for God. You can go and tell people that He has sent His Son to die on the cross for their sins. He has risen from the grave and ascended into heaven, and He deserves their worship, and He desires their salvation. You can speak that to anybody this week, and you have the authority of God to do so and the Spirit of God on you to do so. You have the power of Jesus’ presence in you to do that. Oh, God help us not to miss this.
We have this way of thinking, even in the church, where we think only a few people do the preaching and speaking, so we need to bring people to hear them and set up a communicator, a charismatic speaker, whatever it is. We need to show him on video or hologram. We just make sure it’s a good communicator in front of people, so they can do the work. No, the beauty is every single follower of Christ has the Spirit of God in them, and He has enabled every single one of them to go out into the city this week and to the ends of the earth, speaking on His behalf. So, let’s not relegate this to one person or think we’re going to be dependent on a few people over here to do that. No, we all are playing in this game; nobody is on the sidelines here. He is with us. He dwells in us.
He enables our obedience. We don’t have time to turn there but look at Ezekiel 36. In Ezekiel 37, it says, “It has been prophesied: I’ll put my Spirit in you.” He will move you to obey Him and give your life, and He empowers our proclamation. As we announce, God awakens. You announce good news, and God awakens hearts.
You get to the end of Peter’s sermon here in Acts 2, and they don’t respond and say, “What wonderful rhetorical skill! What an orator in Peter!” No, it says they were cut to the heart. Something happened on the inside of them when the gospel was proclaimed, and it’s what happens when we preach, when we proclaim the gospel.
When I was in Southeast Asia a couple of weeks ago, I was on the largest unevangelized island on the earth. We had gathered together with a small group one night, and there were some people that had been brought there that did not know Christ, had not trusted in Christ. We began to share, and, to be honest, it just wasn’t going well. I didn’t think I was being clear in my presentation, and it felt like I wasn’t connecting, and I wasn’t sure if anything was being driven home.
I shared the gospel, and in that gathering, there were three people who turned and trusted in Christ as their Savior, and I was reminded: This thing is not dependent on my expertise, my ability to connect, or your ability to connect and to say the right things in the right way. You speak this gospel, and there is supernatural power at work in people’s hearts, and they are awakened, and it’s designed in a way so that it’s our weakness on display and His glory that’s made known.
This is really good news. Most all of us, I think, if we’re honest, would say when it comes to proclaiming the gospel of Christ, we are timid and hesitant and stutter thinking through how, but the reality is it’s not dependent on our skill or rhetoric or oratory or convincing. It is dependent on this gospel and it is good. For 2,000 years, it has been proclaimed, and people have had their hearts awakened. You and I have had our hearts awakened, not because of rhetorical skill, but because of God’s sovereign grace and the operation of His Spirit, and it happens when we speak. So, let’s speak, and He’ll empower our proclamation.
The Purpose of the Holy Spirit is to Make Us Worshipers
This is the purpose of the Holy Spirit, to make us worshippers. Our lives are being conformed in the worship of God. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, “As we behold the glory of Christ, the Spirit transforms us into the image of Christ.” Our lives are flowing in worship to God, and as we are worshippers, we are witnesses, and worship leads to witness. Worship fuels witness.
We see His glory, and we tell people of His glory. When you behold greatness, you declare greatness. We proclaim the gospel in light of Jesus’ purpose and in obedience to Jesus’ plan from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. This is what we’ve seen from the very beginning of Scripture. God’s blessing was promised for all nations.
Do you remember Genesis 11 and the Tower of Babel? You see all these languages, all these peoples scattering, and God takes Abraham, an idolater from Ur of the Chaldeans, and He says, “I’m going to bless you. I’m going to pour out my grace upon you, and the result is going to be you’re going to be a blessing to all peoples, and you’re going to show my grace to all these peoples.” He promised it. God’s blessing is promised for all nations in Genesis 12:1-3.
Now, in the New Testament, God’s gospel is preached to all nations. These nations gathered together here in Acts 2 are all hearing the gospel in their own language, and Jesus is saying, “This gospel we preached is a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Now, Acts 1:8 sometimes is used almost as kind of an evangelistic strategy, so to speak, for church. Like, people say, “Okay, Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria to the ends of the earth, that means we need to reach our city and our region and our country, and then the ends of the earth.” However, that’s actually not what the text is saying, because the text is talking about a specific time and place.
The gospel starts in Jerusalem, and it goes from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria in Acts 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. Then, it goes from Samaria to the ends of the earth in Acts 28. Paul is in Rome preaching the gospel from the center of the ends of the earth. So, this is the picture of the gospel spreading, and you know where our city is? It’s in the ends of the earth.
Praise God! By His grace, people have not stopped proclaiming the gospel all the way to our city, and every single one of us has heard it, because people have not stopped proclaiming it to more and more people, and the reality is, the ends of the earth are still on the horizon, and there are 6,000-plus people groups who still haven’t heard. That’s where we’ve got to get the gospel to. From our city, yes, but we are still going after the ends of the earth in obedience to Jesus’ plan. That’s why we’ve been redeemed.
Why are you still here? Why am I still here on this earth? Am I here to fill a seat on Sunday? No. Am I here to coast through life as normal with business as usual? No. We are here and redeemed for a reason: To proclaim the gospel of Christ to the ends of the earth. That is what our lives are intended to count for. Paul said in Acts 20:24, “My life is of no value except for one thing…” There is one thing that my life has value for. He said, “It is to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” That’s what our lives count for, and yet, we are all tempted to neglect that one thing, to do all kinds of other things, even good things, and miss the one thing: Testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
This is the design of the Holy Spirit for your life. No Christian is intended to coast or to sit on the sidelines in this mission; no Christian is intended to be on the sidelines. Every follower of Christ, your life is created to multiply the gospel, and it looks different in all of our lives, the different contexts where we live and the settings where we are, but what happens when we’re all multiplying the gospel? The gates of hell cannot stop the advancement of this kingdom to the ends of the earth.