Acts 2:39
This promise belongs to you and to your children and to all who are far off, to all whom the Lord our God will call to Himself."
Sermons
Christianity a Religion of PromiseJ. Hambleton, M. A.Acts 2:39
Effectual CallingA. Burgess.Acts 2:39
God's Promise of the SpiritR.A. Redford Acts 2:39
The Children May be ConvertedT. De Witt Talmage.Acts 2:39
The Promise of the Holy GhostS. D. Waddy, D. D.Acts 2:39
The Three CovenantsM. C. Hazard.Acts 2:39
Why Christianity has FailedH. S. Lunn.Acts 2:39
The Day of Pentecost, and its Immediate GiftsP.C. Barker Acts 2:1-41
A New Style of Religious MinistryD. Thomas, D. D.Acts 2:14-40
A Sermon to Prick the ConscienceJ. C. Jones.Acts 2:14-40
A Varied Ministry Blessed by the Holy SpiritC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 2:14-40
Different Styles of PreachingW. Arthur, M. A.Acts 2:14-40
Elements of Power in Peter's SermonHomiletic MonthlyActs 2:14-40
Peter's Impulsiveness Useful Because Wisely DirectedW. H. Blake.Acts 2:14-40
Plain PreachingActs 2:14-40
Preaching on the Day of PentecostJ. Thompson, A. M.Acts 2:14-40
St. Peter to the MultitudeD. Fraser, D. D.Acts 2:14-40
St. Peter's First SermonG. T. Stokes, D. D.Acts 2:14-40
The First Apostolic Appeal to the MultitudeW. Hudson.Acts 2:14-40
The First SermonDean Vaughan.Acts 2:14-40
The Power of the Human VoiceJ. Parker.Acts 2:14-40
The SceneW. Arthur, M. A.Acts 2:14-40
The Gospel Demands from MenR. Tuck Acts 2:37-39
The Gospel According to PeterW. Clarkson Acts 2:37-40
A Famous ConversionBp. Brownrigg.Acts 2:37-42
A Sermon Without an ApplicationBishop Home.Acts 2:37-42
A True Saving Conviction of SinE. Cooper.Acts 2:37-42
Awakened SinnersW. Hudson.Acts 2:37-42
Being Pricked to the HeartActs 2:37-42
ConversionHomilistActs 2:37-42
Evangelical PreachingTheological Sketch-bookActs 2:37-42
Heart-Work God's WorkR. Baxter.Acts 2:37-42
Honest PreachingActs 2:37-42
Life-WoundsActs 2:37-42
On Being Pricked to the HeartActs 2:37-42
Only God Can Heal the Wounds He MakesHandbook of IllustrationActs 2:37-42
Powerful PreachingE. Paxton Hood.Acts 2:37-42
Reaching the HeartScottish Christian HeraldActs 2:37-42
Revival PreachersJ. Jenkyn.Acts 2:37-42
Rightly Dividing the Word of TruthW. Arnot, D. D.Acts 2:37-42
The Day of Spiritual WondersR.A. Redford Acts 2:37-42
The Effects of Gospel PreachingJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 2:37-42
The Effusion of the Holy SpiritJ. Saurin.Acts 2:37-42
The Gospel to be Preached to the HeartActs 2:37-42
The Great Question and the Inspired AnswerJ. M. Allis.Acts 2:37-42
The Operations of TruthProfessor Caird.Acts 2:37-42
The Results of Revivals not All KnownActs 2:37-42
The Truth the Sword of the SpiritJ. A. Wallace.Acts 2:37-42
We Must Preach to the Consciences of MenL. A. Banks.Acts 2:37-42
Effects of the Divine Power Upon the HeartE. Johnson Acts 2:37-47
The First Practice of Baptism as a Christian RiteP.C. Barker Acts 2:38, 41
For to you is the promise, etc.

I. Consider it as the NEED of man, and the fulfillment of that whole dispensation of mercy under which man was placed when he fell.

1. Trace it through the bestowments of the Old Testament, and show that while God was ever bestowing his Spirit, both in special manifestations as in the inspiration of his messengers, and in individual life, yet the requirement of man was that in connection with a larger communication of truth and redeeming love there should be the lifting up of humanity itself, of the spirits of men by Divine gifts.

2. Show that such is God's method always. With gifts from without he sends gifts within. The gifts of science and discovery accompany an elevation of the mind and life of the world. Moreover, it is a Divine gift to be able to speak for Christ.

II. Consider the EXTENT AND APPLICATION of the promise.

1. Apart from all restrictions of human merit. To the crucifiers of Jesus - for God is merciful; to the Jew, notwithstanding his abuse of special privileges; to the Gentile, notwithstanding ignorance and degradation.

2. Apart from all restrictions of age. To the children as well as to the adults; to the families as well as the heads of households: for though the word "children" does not necessarily denote infants, it does not exclude them, and in such ways as by the analogy of Scripture we can interpret the "promise to the children," the word applies to the youngest. The Jew might well understand it as a covenant, which, like that of circumcision, was applied in its signs to the infant.

3. Wider than the utmost limits of human knowledge and belief. It is not for us, as it was not for the Apostle Peter, to say "whom the Lord our God should call." He has no respect of persons. He calls those whom we should not call. Peter himself was soon taught that God's purposes cannot be judged by man. The universality of the Spirit is the basis of all missionary efforts - the bond of the true Church. - R.







For the promise is unto you, and to your children.
1. One of the earliest and most vital errors into which the Church fell was the conception that the Church's power is proportionate to her wealth.

2. The second great error of the Church was made when it began to depend upon political power as a means of effecting spiritual ends.

3. The third great error which has delayed the realisation of the blessings of Pentecost by the Universal Church has been the conception that education and culture could do the work of the Holy Spirit. Let us consider briefly what were the different features foreshadowed in this promise.

I. First and foremost, undoubtedly, was what we may term evangelistic power, the power of leading men to Christ, of so influencing them that they should abandon their sins and put their trust in a crucified Redeemer.

2. Closely allied with this element in the promise, and yet distinct from it, is the power of conquest which it involves. It is a remarkable fact — in many respects an incomprehensible fact — that Judaism, with all its great revelations of the truth, with all its wonderful striving after righteousness and its profound reverence for the unity of the Godhead, nevertheless, was by no means an aggressive religious force, and its converts at no time in its history were an important factor in its life. Mohammedanism spread by the power of the sword, and owed its victory to material, rather than to spiritual causes. Christianity, on the other hand, has ever spread, and will continue to spread, in virtue of a special power bestowed upon its apostles in answer to behoving prayer.

3. The next element in the promise is the element of boldness.

4. It only remains, in concluding our consideration of this subject, to point out with all emphasis that this promise was not limited to the apostles and their proximate or remote successors.

(H. S. Lunn.)

I. The NATIONAL covenant, "to you."

II. The FAMILY covenant, "to your children."

III. The UNIVERSAL covenant, "to as many," etc. How wide was the outlook of the gospel upon the day of Pentecost.

(M. C. Hazard.)

Every dispensation has its present duties and privileges: it has also its peculiar promise; and according as men have apprehended the promise and the privileges, has been the ardour of their devotion.

1. In the patriarchal dispensation men had the privilege of presenting to God an accepted service, and living under His guidance and protection. But their promise was that the seed of Jacob should inherit the land of Canaan.

2. After the chosen people had been brought into their possession they were blessed with the privileges of the Mosaic code, and God gave them the promise of the Messiah. It was the privilege of the Israelite to take part in the worship of God with the feeling of holy anticipation that He would come whom their rites symbolised.

3. When Christ came He said that the privileges of His disciples were greater than those of the greatest man of the former dispensation, and gave them the promise of the Holy Ghost. This is the last promise characteristic of the last times; beyond this dispensation there will be no other, and its promise will be succeeded by no other. Notice —

I. ITS NATURE. It implies that the Holy Ghost should be given.

1. For the official qualification of the preacher. The words suggest the exclusive power and right of Divine selection. "I will pour out... of My Spirit." The selection includes teachers of different grades in society and of both sexes. And for their qualification the Spirit is absolutely necessary. It is universally recognised that whatever else a man may possess, talent, power, wealth, or learning, he must possess the Spirit. This was taught by Christ when He said, "Tarry ye at Jerusalem," etc.(1) The Spirit was to give them correct views of truth, "He will guide you into all truth." These right views are necessary to preserve men from heresy. All revivals in the history of the Church have been connected with the revival of spiritual truth. Witness Pentecost, Luther, the Puritans, Wesley, etc. The Word of God comes out with clearness and power, and error recedes before it.(2) Something more, however, is needed than to be saved from heresy. The teacher must have spiritual views in relation to the Word of God such as those suggested by the expressions, "lively word," "the lively oracles," "the unction of the Holy One." A man must not speak merely in a way free from inaccuracy; but his words must be clothed with energy breathed by the Holy Ghost, so that wherever they come they may communicate that power.(3) The affections must be touched. There must be a yearning for souls which will not let the preacher rest unless they are brought to God.(4) The Holy Ghost is necessary for the resistance of unworthy motives such as would lead men to court popularity and indulge spiritual pride.(5) He only again is an effectual preservative against bigotry.

2. To dispose the heart of the hearer to derive full advantage from spiritual teaching. He

(1)convinces of sin.

(2)Inspires living faith.

(3)Regenerates.

(4)Bears witness to the believer's adoption into God's family.

(5)Preserves from sinning.

(6)Sanctifies.

(7)Consoles.

(8)Guides.

II. ITS EXTENT.

1. "To you." All piety is out of place if it be not first of all practised at home. Your own salvation is of more importance to you than that of any one else. To save others and after all be lost yourself would greatly aggravate your misery.

2. "To your children." These, next to yourself, should claim your most earnest attention. The man who devotes himself to others and n neglects his own family inverts the order of things. It is a monstrous evil to be engaged from early Sunday morning to late at night in a constant succession of services, and to have not a single half-hour to spare for one's own children.

3. "To them that are afar off."

(1)Morally.

(2)Geographically.

(3)Chronologically.

(S. D. Waddy, D. D.)

I. THE PROMISE SPOKEN OF.

1. The promise of Christ which includes —

(1)The remission of sins through His atonement and merit.

(2)Full justification.

(3)Peace with God and our own conscience, "Christ is our peace."

(4)Adoption into the family of God.

(5)Eternal life.Think of these and other like blessings, and their connected hopes and consolations, and behold them all centred in Christ, Himself the great promise of the Old Testament, and then rejoice to receive Him for yourselves, and to recommend Him to others as the promise of revelation, the desire of all nations, and the consolation of Israel.

2. As Christ was preeminently the promise of the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit is pre-eminently the promise of the New. We are not to look for that miraculous agency which was given in apostolic days. This was not even then intended to supersede that ordinary gracious influence, which the Scripture declares to be essential to every one for the state of salvation. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His" — "Except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit," etc. Our Lord speaks of sending the Spirit as the promise of the Father. No promise can be more plainly expressed than this, "Ask, and ye shall have"; and it is in reference to the Holy Spirit that this promise is given. Christianity is the very dispensation of the Spirit; its whole life, energy, and beauty depend on the communication of spiritual influence. The promise of the Spirit, like that of the Saviour, includes many other promises.

(1)Repentance.

(2)Faith.

(3)A new heart and a right spirit.

(4)Strength in every season of weakness.

(5)Comfort in every trial.

(6)Joy amidst sorrow.

(7)Patience under tribulation.

(8)Perseverance amidst difficulty.Christianity is throughout a religion of promise. It began with the first promise to fallen man; its promises expanded, like the stream of holy waters in the vision of Ezekiel, till, when the fulness of time was come, they formed that river of life which is rolling its salubrious tide throughout a thirsty world.

II. FOR WHOM IS THE PROMISE MEANT?

1. The Jews; for St. Peter's auditory consisted entirely of Jews. Our Lord confined His personal ministry to the Jews. "I am not sent," He said, "but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Sending forth His apostles at first, He said, "Go not in the way of the Gentiles," etc. After His resurrection, when He enlarged their commission, so that its extent was to be the world, yet they were still to begin at Jerusalem; and in every city were first to address Jews, and then to turn to the Gentiles. And is there not encourage-anent for us, from the circumstance, that the Jews were to have the first offers of the promises of the gospel? There is this; the history of the Jews is a history of a most perverse, ungrateful, and rebellious people, who at length consummated their guilt by crucifying the Lord of life; yet to them first was the promise sent. Now surely that fact speaks volumes as to the freeness of the promise, as to the mercy of our God, as to the efficacy of the Redeemer's merits.

2. "The promise is unto you." If these brought joy home to the hearts of the Jews who heard the apostle, then surely His next words, "And to your children," must have touched another like chord, or rather, the same chord over again; for hard must be that parent's heart that does not rejoice quite as much in benefit to his children as in benefit to himself. Christianity most fully recognises that principle of natural affection, which the God of nature implanted in breasts of parents. The God of nature and the God of grace is one and the same. No sooner do parents discover the promise sent to themselves, than it says to them, I am sent unto you and to your children, introduce me to them, and them to me. I come to tell them that their father's God is willing to be their God also. It is remarkable how the Scriptures throughout encourage the promotion of the training up of children in the knowledge and belief of the promises of God. For this Abraham was so commended, "For I know him, that he will command his children," etc. This was the determination of Joshua. "Let others choose as they may, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord." This was the lamentation of David. "Although this mine house be not so with God." This was the pious study of the ancient Lois, and the maternal anxiety of Eunice, to train young Timothy in the knowledge of the Scriptures, which were able to make him wise unto salvation. This again was the care of Lydia, whose heart the Lord opened to attend to the things spoken by Paul, immediately after to have them addressed to her household also. The same was the effect on the jailer. Thus these examples from the Old and New Testament show that God encourages efforts to make known His promises to the young. What, then, can we think of parents who are anxious enough that their children should be well off for this world, should be accomplished, or learned, or rich — should form good connections, shine and sparkle in society, be admired and venerated in this world, but who have no care for their safety and happiness in the next?

3. "To all that are afar off," this means the Gentiles. St. Paul, writing to Ephesians, gives the very best comment on these words of St. Peter, "Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh," etc. Thus the Gentries afar off from God, from peace, from hope, and from salvation: but Christ hath broken down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile. The same God over all, is rich unto all that call upon Him. The same promise which sounded in the ears of the three thousand Jews on the day of Pentecost is now gone forth to the ends of the world. It is the voice of the good Shepherd seeking after His lost sheep; and is the promise of Himself and His Spirit to give us a full salvation. This promise is to be addressed to all; it has a message to every human being; and yet, though the outward call is thus general and universal, our text adds,

4. "Even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Hence it is necessary well to understand, that beside the general call to be addressed to all, there must be the gracious and effectual calling of God. What the minister speaks to the ear, God speaks to the heart. The general call is so large, so rich, and so free, as to leave all without excuse who rest in the mere hearing of it with the ear, and do not seek to enter into it with their souls. The general call should stir us up to pray much for the gracious call.

(J. Hambleton, M. A.)

There was in my ancestral line an incident so strangely impressive that it seems more like romance than reality. It has sometimes been so inaccurately put forth that I now give you the true incident. My grandfather and grandmother, living at Somerville, New Jersey, went to Baskingridge to witness a revival, under the ministry of the Rev. Dr. Finney. They came home so impressed with what they had seen that they resolved on the salvation of their children. The young people of the house were to go off for an evening party, and my grandmother said, "Now, when you are all ready for the party come to my room, for I have something very important to tell you." All ready for departure, they came to her room, and she said to them, "Now, I want you to remember, while you are away this evening, that I am all the time in this room praying for your salvation, and I shall not cease praying until you get back." The young people went to the party, but amid the loudest hilarities of the night they could not forget that their mother was praying for them. The evening passed, and the night passed. The next day my grandparents heard an outcry in an adjoining room, and they went in and found their daughter imploring the salvation of the gospel. The daughter told them that her brothers were at the barn and at the waggon-house under powerful conviction for sin. They went to the barn. They found my uncle Jehiah, who afterwards became a minister of the gospel, crying to God for mercy. They went to the waggon-house. They found their son David, who afterwards became my father, imploring God's pardon and mercy. Before a great while the whole family were saved; and David went and told the story to a young woman to whom he was affianced, who, as a result of the story, became a Christian, and from her own lips — my mother — I have received the incidents. The story of that converted household ran through all the neighbourhood, from family to family, until tim whole region was whelmed with religious awakening, and at the next communion in the village church at Somerville over two hundred souls stood up to profess the faith of the gospel.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

As many as the Lord our God shall call
From whence observe —

I. THAT ALL MEN TILL CALLED BY GOD ARE AFAR OFF FROM HIM.

1. In regard of the knowledge of God in a true and saving way. They are as little children, no more apprehensive in a right manner of God than the children in the dark are perceiving of the things of reason. Even Christians by birth are also far off from God till they have this spiritual eye-salve; and therefore in two respects men may be said to be far off from God.(1) First, both in respect of inward grace and the outward means of salvation; and thus all the heathenish part of the world is afar off God.(2) Or secondly, in respect of the inward grace only. When men do enjoy the outward means of salvation, and in this sense of their duties are said to draw nigh to God, but in respect of any saving work of grace are as far off as heathens and pagans; and this is the condition, as is to be feared, of many thousands. They are nigh God in respect of the Christian faith they profess in respect of the duties and ordinancies they exercise themselves in, but in respect of their affections and heart, so they are at as great distance from God and His holy ways as heathen and publicans. This distinction must be attended unto, that we do not vainly deceive ourselves as the Jews did with "The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord."

2. In respect of God's special and gracious love to justify their persons to pardon their sins. Do not thou please thyself with the thought that thou hast free access to the presence and into the favour of great ones on earth; for if thou art far off from God, if He regard thee not, if His displeasure be towards thee, thou art in the state of gall and wormwood.

3. We are by nature afar off from Christ the Mediator between God and man. And this indeed is the foundation of all calamity; for as in Christ we are blessed with all heavenly blessings, so without Him we are cursed with all spiritual and temporal curses.

4. Such as are afar off have no hope. They are a hopeless people; which way soever they look everything curseth and condemneth them; and no marvel, for, if without the promise, they have not the ground of hope, and if without Christ, the object of hope.

5. Such are afar off in respect of God and an universal constant obedience to His holy will. As God loveth not them, so neither do they love God. As God is not gracious in His promises to them, so neither are they obedient to His precepts.

II. THAT NOT ALL OF MANKIND, BUT SOME ONLY, DOTH GOD CALL WITH A LOVING CALL. The apostle plainly makes a difference of these that are afar off, and this only to come from God; some are so afar off that they never hear the voice of God in the Word calling them to repent and believe in Christ. Others again have salvation brought unto their house; and if thou ask why God calls such and not others, do not curiously pry in this mystery; God's ways are just, even when they are hidden to us. Too much gazing on this Sun may quickly blind us.

1. That there is a general and common invitation even of all in the world by God; and there is a special gracious one. The former invitation is by the creatures, by the works of God.(1) This invitation and call by the creatures doth not nor cannot reveal anything of Christ, the only cause of salvation.(2) The call by the creatures is not saving, because it discovers not the way of salvation no more than the cause — viz., faith.(3) This call could not be saving, for the farthest and utmost effect it had upon men was only outwardly to reform their lives. But you may say, To what purpose is this call of God by the creatures and the work of His providence, if it be not to salvation? Yes, it is much every way.(a) Hereby even all men are made inexcusable.(b) God's purpose in these calls is to restrain sin and to draw men on further than they do. There is no man that hath no more than this remote and confused call that doth what be may do and can do. He doth not improve, no, not that natural strength that is in him. I do not say to spiritual good things; for so he hath no natural strength, but to such objects as by nature he might. He wilfully runneth himself in the commit-ing of sins against his conscience and knowledge. Now God calleth by these natural ways to restrain him to put a bound to these waves. For if there were not these general convictions, no societies, no commonwealth could consist.

2. Take notice of a twofold saving calling. The one is only external and saving in respect of the ability and sufficiency; the other is saving effectually and in respect of the event.

3. That God doth not call all men with this saving, gracious call will evidently de facto appear if you consider the ways of God ever since there was a Church till now.

4. It is no injustice in God, though He does not give this universal call of grace to all men.(1) If we could not satisfy the reason and disputes of men in this Divine dispensation, yet if the Scripture be clear in this point we must all stop our mouths and not gainsay. Doth not the apostle (Romans 9.) expressly bring these carnal reasonings? "Who hath resisted His will? and why then doth He find fault?" But see how he rebukes this unruliness in man, "Who art thou, O man, that disputest against God?" If then Scripture and experience saith thus much, we must conclude God's ways are just, though hidden to us.(2) Even reason enforced out of Scripture may satisfy us in many things; for it is no injustice in God if He had not called any man in the world with a gracious call; for seeing man by his fall had broken the covenant with God, all things became forfeited into His hand; He was not bound to set up man with a new stock after his first breaking.(3) There can be no injustice where all that is done is done wholly out of grace and mere favour. The devil he thinks God is gracious too much and calls too many; he is tormented with malice because so many escape out of his jaws.(4) Although God doth not call every man with this immediate call of grace, yet no man is damned merely because he wants this. The apostle saith, "That those that are without the law [viz., written and revealed to them], shall be judged without the law." And thus those that are without the gospel, that have not the means of grace they shall not be judged because they did not believe in Christ, because they did not submit to Him, but because they did not walk in the practice of those things they did know.(5) God is not unjust, no, not to those that are afar off, because none among them have done what they might do in a natural and moral way; for although no man hath power in a gracious manner to any spiritual good thing, yet they may restrain from the outward actings of many gross sins.(6) Though God do not call all men, and thereby they are wholly impotent and unable to any good; yet they do not sin so much because they want power as because they have a willing delight in it; and this indeed doth mainly remove all objections; for it is not a man's impotency so much as his wilful consent to sin that damneth him.

(A. Burgess.)

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