For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.
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.
Parallel VersesKJV: For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.