“Keeping the Promises” – Summary of Sermon on May 19, 2019

This is a summary of the sermon preached on May 19, 2019.

  • Date: Sunday May 19, 2019
  • Venue: A Sunday service at Tokyo Multicultural Church
  • Title: "Keeping the Promises"
  • Scriptures: Acts 2:14-37

    14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
    17 “‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
    Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
    18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.
    19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
    20 The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
    21 And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
    22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him:
    “‘I saw the Lord always before me.
    Because he is at my right hand,
    I will not be shaken.
    26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest in hope,
    27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    you will not let your holy one see decay.
    28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence.’
    29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarchDavid died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnessesof it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
    “‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
    35 until I make your enemies
    a footstool for your feet.”’
    36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
    37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

    THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.1



Life is not easy. It seems we have so many problems to solve in our lives that we would never be free from problems as long as we live. Sometimes the problem we face seems to be too big to handle.

If this is the case for you, you are not alone. Because the disciples of Jesus have felt the same way. The fact that Jesus had died on the cross was too big a problem for them to handle. They were simply lost without Jesus.

Yet, that was not the end of the story as we know.

Jesus was raised from the dead, and appeared to the disciples.

Jesus promised when He was about to leave the earth that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came on them (Acts 1:8).

Ten days later, the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost as He had promised. And they started to praise God in other languages than their own native languages (2:7-11).

People there were simply “amazed and perplexed” (2:12) about what was going on. So one of the disciples, Peter, started to explain why had happened. That’ the passage we’ve just read.

As we’re going to read through the passage today, I’d like us to be reminded of

how faithful and how sovereign God is, so that we may trust in God even when we go through some problems or difficulties in life.

God is faithful

About God’s faithfulness, God had fulfilled three prophecies in today’s text. The first one is found in vv. 17-21.

In vv. 17-18, God promised that in the last days He would pour out His spirit on all people, and they would prophesy. Peter is saying here that this promise came true as God had poured out His Spirit on the disciples, who started to prophesy in declaring the wonders of God in many different languages.

In vv. 19-20, God also promised that He would show wonders and signs, which would happen in the last days but before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. Regarding these wonders and signs, Peter claims in v. 22 that God had accredited Jesus by miracles, wonders and signs. In other words God has fulfilled this prophecy in Jesus, His life, death, resurrection, and ascension.

The second prophecy which God has fulfilled is written in vv. 25-28, which are taken from Psalm 16:8-11. This prophecy is about the resurrection of Jesus. And God raised Jesus from the dead as He had promised.

The third and the last prophecy to be fulfilled in today’s passage came true when Jesus was exalted to the right hand of God after the resurrection as written in vv. 34-35 (cf. Psalm 110:1).

Jesus' being seated at the right hand of God means that Jesus is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, and He reigns with the authority of God the Father. Therefore, Jesus the Son is entitled to pour out God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, on His people (v. 33; see also Acts 1:8; Luke 24:49).

God is sovereign

As we see how God keeps all these promises, we also appreciate how sovereign God is.

First of all, we should notice that these promises are not the kind of promises that we make/keep in our lives. They are all miraculous or supernatural in nature. Yet, God has kept them all. This tells us how powerful and how sovereign God is.

Second, in v. 23 Peter says that it was God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge that Jesus was handed over to be crucified. In a way, it is God who crucified Jesus.

Yet, of course, those Jewish leaders did not think that they’re fulfilling God’s plan for Jesus to be crucified. Rather they crucified Jesus simply because that was what they wanted to do or what they chose to do. And for that they were all responsible.

That is why Peter also says in v. 36 that it is they who crucified Jesus, and in v. 38 that they needed to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins.

Here we see a kind of conflict or mystery between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility.

Humans take responsibility for their choices. Yet God can use human choices, good or bad, to keep His promises.

We will never fully comprehend how it works. But that’s what the Bible says about God and His sovereignty.

Paul says

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” [Romans 8:28]

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

When Jesus died on the cross, the situation didn’t seem to get any worse than that. Yet,

God used the worst—the death of the Son of God—to bring out the best—salvation for all.

In all things, good and bad, God works for the good of those who love him.


God is faithful to His promises.

In today’s text only, we saw that God has kept four of His promises:

  1. God/Jesus has poured out God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, onto people (vv. 17-18);
  2. God has shown wonders and signs in the last days in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus (vv. 19-20);
  3. God has raised Jesus from the dead (v. 27);
  4. After the resurrection Jesus is seated at the right hand of God to reign as the King of kings (vv. 34-35) and to pour out the Holy Spirit onto His people (v. 33; see also Acts 1:8; Luke 24:49).

These are all miraculous and supernatural in nature. And God even used the evil intention of the Jewish leaders to crucify Jesus to carry out His plan of salvation.

God is so sovereign that He can use everything, both good and bad, to keep His promises.

Life is not easy, and you may be going through some difficult time in life. You feel like the problem you face right now is just too big and too difficult to handle. If so, remember that

our God is bigger than the problem and so sovereign that in all things, both good and bad, God works for the good of those who love Him.

This is one of the promises He made to us. And He keeps His promises. So

trust God and call on His name no matter how big the problem may seem to be.

Some of you may be having few problems in life right now. If so, good for you!

Praise God and share with others His goodness, faithfulness, and sovereignty

just like Peter did. Take every opportunity to proclaim how good, how wonderful, how loving God is. But remember that

you are not to do it on your own.

Jesus promises

“you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” [Axts 1:8]

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


trust God, who is sovereign and faithful, and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to be a witness to Jesus our Lord and Savior.

Bibliography and Notes

  • Peterson, David. The Acts of the Apostles. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Nottingham, UK; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Apollos; Eerdmans, 2009.
  • Witherington, Ben. The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Grand Rapids; Cambridge: Eerdmans, 1998.
  1. Unless otherwise noted, all the Scriptures will be quoted from NIV.