Keep Your Eye on the Ball

The following blog entry is a sermon transcript from Easter Sunday, 2024 at Red Door Church. The Scripture passage was Acts 2:1-36.

We are coming into Spring and not only does that mean warmer weather, it means baseball. Any baseball fans out there?

I love baseball and I played it for many years. Now I’m trying my hand at coaching. One thing about coaching is that you are constantly repeating yourself. Baseball has a lot of mantras, things that you say over and over again.

Things like:

“Be patient!” “Wait for your pitch!” “Look alive out there!”

But probably the thing you hear the most when the kids are really young is:

“Keep your eye on the ball!”

Because if you are not looking at the ball, you are not going to hit or catch it.

Like this guy here.

I would be pretty upset if Fleer picked that picture for my baseball card. Swing and a miss. That’s what happens if you are not looking at the ball. of course, this principle applies to other things too, not just baseball.

If you are not keeping your eye on the road, you are probably going to crash. If you are not keeping focused on your goals, you will inevitably veer from them. Many organizations drift over time from their goals and from their purpose because they are not focused on what they are doing. In marriage, if you are not spending quality time with your spouse, if you are never taking time to be focused on one another, then over time you will drift apart.

This principle is true across all areas of life. And we find it to be critical when we come to the bible also.

The bible has a focus, it has a main point and if we don’t keep our eye on the ball, on the main point, then we will inevitably swing and miss.

What is the main point of the bible?

The main point of the bible is a little four letter word?

It is the word, “with.”

The Big Point of the Whole Bible

How can God, a perfect, righteous, beautiful, majestic, awesome, just, and loving being, be with people like you and me?

This story of the entire bible is explaining to us what happened that separated us from God and how God is going about fixing it.

God created us to share his goodness with us and to be with us. And we rejected him. The entire story of Scripture is about how God was making a way for us to be with him.

The bible is not primarily a book of wisdom or a book of knowledge or self-help or even a book about love. Of course, it contains all of that and more. But the Bible is mainly a book telling us about how God is making a way for people like us to be with him forever.

And that is what the death and resurrection of Jesus are all about.

They are about making a way for you and me to be with God.

Today’s passages we’ve chosen from Luke and Acts give us a neat cross section of this. They show us how all of the Bible is really about this one thing.

Let me show you.

First, let’s look at one section from Luke 24 which was read earlier in the service. Let me give you the backstory really quick.

Two men are walking down the road discussing things on a Sunday morning when suddenly Jesus draws near to them.

As the painting pictures, the two men are having deep conversation but seem sorrowful. They are sad because of what happened to Jesus.

They could not believe that he was killed, but then Jesus says these words to them in verses 25 through 27:

And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

-Luke 24:25-27

Now look at verse 44:

Then [Jesus] 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.”

-Luke 24:44

Here Jesus is telling these men walking along the road that all of the books of the bible—which for them at that time would have been the Old Testament—were about him. And all the stuff we read in there was about him. The temple and the law and the sacrifices, and the exodus and everything was somehow, in one way or another, pointing to Jesus.

Don’t be surprised, he says to these men, this is what the story is about. It’s all about me.


Because Jesus was the one who was going to be the solution to our big problem.

What big problem?


Why is sin our big problem?

Because sin is what keeps us from God. Sin separates us from God. From the very beginning this has been the problem. And you and I love to sin. We love our sins and seek life in our sins. The problem is that sin is a liar. Sin promises things that it cannot give us and it keeps us from the One who truly can give us life. The Bible says that sin is like a leaky reservoir. It cannot hold water. It will hold it for a little while but eventually it all runs out the bottom leaving us thirsty and dry. Sin keeps us from God.

Peter’s Sermon from Acts 2

And this is what Peter is sharing with these people in our story today in Acts chapter 2.

What we are going to see is three parts to this story. But before we get into the details let me give you the backstory:

At this point in the Bible, Jesus has already died. He has come and taught and loved and lived for God and He was betrayed, accused of crimes he didn’t commit and then put to death. All of his disciples fled and ran away when Jesus was arrested. And they had been in hiding, cowering in fear. And yet somehow, here in Acts 2, these same men who were cowering in fear just a few days before are here boldly speaking in front of a large audience of several thousand people, about Jesus, to the very people who just had him murdered a few days earlier.

What happened?

Three things happened, and all of these have to do with the big problem we’ve been discussing and how God intends to solve it.

The first thing is that Jesus died. Look at verses 22 and 23:

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

-Acts 2:22 and 23

Jesus died at the hands of people.

Peter says though that his death was actually something that God had planned. It was not a surprise to him. It was something that God had actually orchestrated himself. Why? Because his death was a payment. It was a payment for sin. You and I owe God a very big debt, one that we cannot pay. In fact, the death is so very great that only God Himself can pay it.

And that is precisely what the cross was. The cross was a payment. This is why Jesus’ last words on the cross “it is finished” actually means “paid in full.”

Jesus came to pay a debt that you and I could not pay ourselves. And that is the first thing that Peter wants us to see.

The second thing is that Jesus didn’t stay dead. Look at verse 24:

God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

People don’t just rise from the dead! … Exactly!

This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.

Peter says, I saw him raised, as did many others. Now some might say, well, he just made that up, but you have to explain how Peter and all the other disciples (except one) went to their deaths claiming that Jesus rose from the dead. They were all willing to give their lives because they would not deny what they had seen.

Jesus was raised from the dead. And this was God’s stamp of approval on all that Jesus had done. This was God’s seal, God’s way of declaring to all the world that Jesus was not only His Son, but that all that He had done was right and good.

Christ is risen! This is what we celebrate today.

And the third thing that Peter wants us to see is that He gives us His Spirit.

These men were cowering in a room just a few days prior to this event and here they are bold as lions, speaking of Jesus to the very people who killed him a few days ago.

What accounts for the change?

The Holy Spirit.

Look at verses 32 to 33:

32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.

-Acts 2:32-33

Unexplainable miracles were happening right before their eyes. They were speaking but the people around them were hearing them in their native tongues. People were there from all around the world and they were hearing the followers of Jesus in their own native languages.

At first, the people think that they are drunk but Peter wants to explain to them that actually what is happening is from God.

What in the world does this have to do with being with God?

Keeping Your Eye on the Ball

I told you that the message of the Bible is about how people like you and me can be with God, from start to finish, and that is exactly what Peter is sharing with the people here.

First, the death of Jesus was a payment for our sins. It erased the debt that you and I owed to God. Without this you and I would never be able to enter the presence of God.

Second, the resurrection of Jesus dealt with death. What good is it if our debt is paid but we still die? If we are dead we don’t get to be with God. When Jesus rose from the dead it secured for us eternal life with God. Because He rose, God has promised that we too will rise after death, so we can be with God forever. Not even death will separate us from the love of God.

Third, the gift of the Holy Spirit gives us new hearts so that we will not continue to love the sins which keep us from God. As I said before, we love sin. It comes naturally to us. We are born sinners. And it’s not something that can be trained out of us. It’s not just about our behavior, it’s about our hearts, our wants our desires. So God must give us a new heart if we are to truly live for him. This is why Peter and other followers of Jesus, who were once cowering in fear, suddenly were bold as lions. They were able to overcome their sinful fear because God filled them with the Holy Spirit.

All three of things were necessary if we are to be with God.

Jesus had to die.
Jesus had to rise again.
Jesus had to send the Holy Spirit.

In the end this is the message of the entire bible. Jesus is the One who brings us to God, who makes it possible for us to be with God.


Put Your Faith and Trust in Jesus

You must put your faith and trust in Him. This is a conditional promise.

And the condition is faith. You must believe. You must confess with your mouth, Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, or you will not be with God forever.

You will be separated from Him forever and ever. Only those who believe and trust in Jesus will receive the gift.

This is good news, in fact this is the best news people like you and me could ever receive, because all you have to do is open your hand.

But the question remains, have you believed it? Have you received this incredible offer?

The Good News about Jesus is for you and for me but we must receive it by faith.

If that’s something you would like to talk more about, I will be up here following the service and would be happy to speak with you or pray with you.

Let’s pray.

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