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by Dr. Robert Hymers

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, November 27, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words" (Acts 2:14).

You have come here this morning from many religious backgrounds. Some of you come from Roman Catholic homes. Some of you come from a Buddhist background. Others have occasionally attended an evangelical church. And some of you have no religious background whatever. Several of you are here in a Baptist church for the first time in your life this morning. And a number of others have been coming for only a few weeks.

I want to explain to you exactly what I am going to do for the next forty minutes or so. I am going to preach an old-fashioned evangelistic sermon to you. Let me explain each of those words. I am going to preach. I am not going to teach. There are two different words in the Greek New Testament for preaching and teaching. Preaching is from kërussö. It means "to herald forth the message" - to proclaim it with authority. Teaching is from didaskö. Its main idea is to present knowledge to the hearer, to teach him. But that is not evangelistic preaching at all. Teaching has its place, but it is not evangelistic preaching in any sense of the term.

There is a great deal of teaching going on in the churches today - but evangelistic preaching has been squeezed out and hardly exists any more.

You have come to hear preaching, not teaching. And you have come to hear old-fashioned preaching. It shouldn't be old-fashioned, because it is the very kind of preaching young people of your generation need to hear. But even though it should not be old-fashioned, it is. It has become that, because it is so infrequently that one hears it any more. So, you should think of what you are going to hear as a treat - like old-fashioned handmade ice cream. Old-fashioned ice cream was so different from some of the slop that is served up in its place today, that it makes a man of my age long for the real thing when I go into an ice cream store. But, sadly, the real thing disappeared long ago, and was replaced by a watery bowl of slush. It passes for ice cream, but it doesn't quite satisfy those of us who remember the real thing. That's the way a man my age often feels about the so-called preaching that is served up to him now as well. 

And, then, I am going to preach an old-fashioned evangelistic sermon to you. By that word "evangelistic" I mean a sermon that centers on the death and resurrection of Christ, and demands that you give up your false ideas and come to Him as your Saviour and Lord. That's what I mean when I say, I am going to preach an old-fashioned evangelistic sermon to you this morning.

To do that, I am lifting out several verses from one of the greatest old-time evangelistic sermons ever given, the Apostle Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost. I will not give a verse-by-verse exposition of the passage in Acts 2. If I did that it would merely be a modern exposition, and would not be a real evangelistic sermon at all.

No, I am going to give you the real thing - a no-holds-barred, fire and brimstone, gospel-centered, old-time evangelistic sermon, just as Peter did when he preached on the day of Pentecost. Most of the real elements of evangelistic preaching are in Peter's sermon, and I am going to lift them out of the passage and present them to you, as clearly and plainly as I can, as a perfect example of what an evangelistic sermon should be.

I. First, an evangelistic sermon is loud.

I make no apology for using the word "loud," for all real evangelistic sermons are loud, loud enough to disturb the most sleepy and self-satisfied person in the church, loud enough to at least annoy those who sit in church in an unconverted sate, for all true evangelistic preaching ought to at least annoy the unconverted. Notice the words of our opening text in Acts 2:14.

"But Peter, standing up…lifted up his voice, and said unto them…hearken [listen] to my words" (Acts 2:14).

That's the first thing which is true of evangelistic preaching - it's loud. Peter "lifted up his voice." Peter raised his voice and said, "hearken to my words," listen carefully to my preaching. Dr. Gill said that he lifted up his voice,

That he might be heard by the whole multitude, that was gathered together, as well as to shew his zeal and fervour of spirit, and fortitude [strength] of mind (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the New Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume II, pp. 153-154).

The evangelistic prophet, Isaiah said,

"Lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid"
     (Isaiah 40:9).

Again, he said,

"Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet…"
     (Isaiah 58:1).

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones gave this critical comment of a sermon he once heard,

One thing that was absent was fire. There was no zeal, no enthusiasm, no apparent concern for us as members of the congregation. His whole attitude seemed to be detached and academic and formal…Where is the passion in preaching that has always characterized great preaching in the past? Why are not modern preachers moved and carried away as great preachers of the past so often were?...There is no place for calm, cool, scientific detachment in these matters…Can a man see himself as a damned sinner without emotion? Can a man look into hell without emotion? Can a man hear the thunderings of the law and feel nothing?....Can a man really contemplate the love of God in Christ Jesus and feel no emotion? The whole position is utterly ridiculous…this element of pathos and emotion, this element of being moved, should always be very prominent in preaching (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Preaching and Preachers, Zondervan Publishing House, 1981 reprint, pp. 88, 90, 91, 95).

"Peter….lifted up his voice, and said unto them….hearken to my words" (Acts 2:14).

That is imperative in evangelistic preaching. I must lift up my voice and tell you to hearken to my words! If I have not done that, I have not preached evangelistically, as Peter did.

II. Second, an evangelistic sermon is declamatory.

I have chosen this word "declamatory" carefully. Declamation is looked down on in this modern age. It is called "haranguing," "ranting," or "spouting." But the rejection of all declamatory speech is one of the reasons for the virtual death of real evangelistic preaching today.

Peter did not learn to preach in a modern theological school. He learned to preach by hearing John the Baptist, and I can assure you that John the Baptist constantly used declamation in his sermons! Peter also learned to preach by hearing Christ, and I can assure you that Christ did not speak in the feeble, powerless way that Hollywood movies portray Him as preaching. Christ preached so forcefully that

"They [took] up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple" (John 8:59).

On another occasion, Christ spoke so forcefully that

"The Jews took up stones again to stone him" (John 10:31).

We are given a clear picture of Christ's method of evangelistic preaching in John 7:28 and 7:37.

"Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying…I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not" (John 7:28).

Again, it is said of Christ's preaching,

"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink" (John 7:37).

The word "cried" in both verses, in the original Greek, is krazö, which means "scream, call aloud, shriek, cry out" (Strong #2896). So, Jesus screamed in the temple (John 7:28). Jesus "stood and screamed" (John 7:37). That's what you have on the clear page of Scripture. There can be no question that there was this element of screaming and crying out, and even shrieking, in the preaching of Jesus.  There was an element of unrestrained, loud declamation in His preaching. That may be very unsettling and disturbing - but it is also very Biblical (John 7:28, 37).

Is there ever any screaming, any shrieking or crying out, in the sermon? Is there ever any loud declamation in it? If there never is, then it is not evangelistic preaching. And it is not preaching in the manner of Christ! 

I recently read someone who said that Spurgeon never declaimed.  That's difficult to prove, however, since there are no recordings of him preaching. He preached before recordings were available. I know of no photographs of him in the real act of preaching. The photos in those far off days were posed, not done in the act of preaching. However, someone did draw a sketch of him preaching. That drawing is reproduced as illustration number 31, which is between pages 306 and 307, in C. H. Spurgeon Autobiography, Volume 2 (Banner of Truth Trust, 1976 reprint). Now, if you take a look at that drawing, you will instantly be aware that it is a series of pictures of a man spouting, even ranting - but certainly declaiming. Spurgeon's hand is raised high in the air in one picture. In another he appears to be shouting. There is a great deal of motion and mobility from one place to the other behind the pulpit in these pictures. In the last drawing, Spurgeon is seated at the end of the sermon, wiping the sweat from his forehead with a handkerchief. Anyone who thinks Spurgeon never declaimed should study that drawing carefully!    

And certainly the Apostle Peter is declaiming here in Acts two. He "lifted up his voice" in verse 14. He spoke in a loud and commanding way. He said, "Hear these words" (Acts 2:22). It was loud, blunt preaching. It was evangelistic preaching. It must be loud and blunt if it's going to do you any good.

Dr. Lloyd-Jones pointed out that a real sermon is not delivered just to give you information. He said, "Preaching is designed to do something to people" (ibid., p. 85). And that's exactly what happened when the great preachers spoke in Bible times. People did something when they heard them preach. Sometimes they got angry and threw stones at them. But others believed and were converted. This is evangelistic preaching. This is what Peter did on the day of Pentecost. This is what we need in our pulpits today. And this is what you need to hear - preaching that names you as a sinner, in rebellion against God, preaching that tells you, "God is going to judge you. You are going to Hell. You cannot escape the judgment of God if you go on the way you are!" That's the kind of sermon Peter gave in Acts two, and it's the kind of preaching we need again in this hour!

"Ye have taken, and by wicked hands…" (Acts 2:23).

"Ye have crucified…" (Acts 2:36).

That is called the "you principle."  Evangelistic preaching says "you" over and over.  "You are a sinner."  "You deserve judgment."  "Christ died for you."  The evangelistic sermon gives a denunciation of your sin. It says you are a sinner! It declares that you are sinful in God's sight. You have "wicked hands." You have done wicked things. You have a wicked heart. You cannot escape from your own natural wickedness, which is so entwined with your nature that you cannot escape from your own wicked heart of unbelief. You are filled with unbelief because your heart is in rebellion against God. And such a rebellious heart as yours deserves nothing but eternal punishment. That is the kind of declamation that people need to hear as much today as they did on the day of Pentecost. You need to hear it because it is absolutely true. You have a wicked heart and you are guilty of many sins - and you cannot save yourself from judgment. 

But there is one more element in evangelistic preaching, illustrated so perfectly here in the second chapter of Acts.

III. Third, an evangelistic sermon focuses on the gospel.

The focal point of an evangelistic sermon is the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Man is ruined by sin. Man cannot save himself from this ruin. His sin must be paid for by someone else. The only person who could pay the price for sin was Jesus Christ - because He alone was the sinless, only begotten Son of God. That's what Peter said to these people in the second chapter of Acts.

"Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" (Acts 2:23).

That is simple enough. God sent Jesus Christ to die for your sins. But you crucified Him. God sent Him to die for your sins, but you killed Him. He was sent by God to die, but you did the act of killing. When has it ever changed? God sent Him. You killed Him - by your sin.

"Christ died for our sins" (I Corinthians 15:3).

But Peter goes on to say,

"Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it"
     (Acts 2:24).

God sent Jesus to die for your sins. God then raised Him from the dead. That is the main point of an evangelistic sermon.

"Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (I Corinthians 15:3-4).

The death of Christ pays for your sin. That is the great evangelistic doctrine of substitutionary atonement. One person, Christ, dies in the place of another - you, the sinner. The sinless Son of God dies in your place, as your substitute. The wrath and judgment of God fall on Him instead of you! And then God raised Him physically from the dead. Therefore, let everyone know, through evangelistic preaching,

"That God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).

"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart." They realized they were sinners. They were convinced of their sin. They said,

"What shall we do?" (Acts 2:37).

And Peter told them exactly what to do.

"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 2:38).

Repent is from metanoia. It means a change of mind. Peter says, "Repent. Change your mind. Come to Christ. Trust Him instead of yourself. Change your thinking!" Dr. John R. Rice said,

The Greek word for repentance is metanoia, meaning literally a change of mind…But the change is from unbelief to faith… Saving faith means to turn to Christ…There are not two steps nor several steps in the plan of salvation. This step, turning from love of sin to dependence on Christ…is one, simple, instantaneous step (John R. Rice, D.D., Filled with the Spirit: A Verse-by-verse Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, Sword of the Lord, 1980, pp. 93-94).

"What shall we do?" (Acts 2:37). That is the question which evangelistic preaching produces in the hearts of those who listen and receive the message. "What shall we do?" Is that your question this morning? Then my answer to you is the same as Peter's was - repent! As Dr. Gill put it,

Change your minds, entertain other thoughts, and a different opinion of Jesus of Nazareth, than you have done; consider him, and believe in him (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the New Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume II, p. 160).

Change your mind. Think new thoughts about Christ. And believe in Him. Come to Him. That is what you must do to be saved. And the purpose of an evangelistic sermon is to move you to do just that - believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Come to Him. Trust Him. He will save you the moment you do.

I believe that Finney ruined evangelistic preaching by making the act of "coming forward" or "raising one's hand" the main goal of preaching. That is not the goal of a true evangelistic sermon. The real goal is to confront you with Jesus Christ! What will you do with Christ? Will you come to Him - or will you continue to reject Him? That is the great question facing you this morning.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Acts 2:14, 22-24, 32-37.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
"He Bought My Soul" (by Stuart Hamblen, 1908-1989).



by Dr. Robert Hymers

"But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words" (Acts 2:14).

I.   An evangelistic sermon is loud, Isaiah 40:9; 58:1.

II.  An evangelistic sermon is declamatory, John 8:59; 10:31;
John 7:28, 37; Acts 2:22, 23, 36.

III. An evangelistic sermon focuses on the gospel, Acts 2:23-24;
I Corinthians 15:3-4; Acts 2:36-38.