Wednesday, June 14, 2023

            As Peter prepared to wrap up his sermon on Pentecost, the crowd wondered what to do and how to respond to all that Peter had said about Jesus and His death and resurrection.  They seemed to be waiting for an invitation—much like we are invited to respond to the gospel today.  The people asked, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37b).  The use of the expression “brothers” would seem to indicate that those asking recognized a big difference between themselves and Peter and the other apostles.  Those who were doing the asking were outside of God’s family and wondering how to get into this family.  In his own words, Peter gave the crowd the right answer.  He replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38a).  A breath later, he said to the crowd, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation” (Acts 2:40b).  These two statements reveal some powerful truths to us today.
            First, repentance is essential.  It is not an optional box to check.  The basic meaning behind repentance is making a change in direction or turning around.  If we are driving the wrong way, we turn around so we can go in the correct direction.  In life, we have to repent to experience salvation and forgiveness.  We cannot persist in sin and willfully remain in sin and hope to enjoy the gift of salvation.  To repent means to change one’s life and one’s direction.  Rather than turning from the Lord, we turn to Him. Rather than roaming away from the Lord, we run to Him.  Peter issued a mass call to that crowd to turn around and leave the old ways of life behind.  And “about three thousand” souls did just that (Acts 2:41).  They heeded the apostle’s call and their lives forever changed through that act of trust and humility.  There is no shame in repentance—it is the pathway or portal to a new life in Christ.
            Second, Peter issued a call to baptism.  Now to be clear, baptism does not save us or convert us.  It is an outward and public sign of what God has done inwardly and privately in the life and heart of a person who has responded to the gospel message.  We must always remember that we are saved by grace through faith and not by works so we have no reason to brag or boast about what we have been given (for example see Ephesians 2:8-9).  To be baptized meant that an individual had surrendered completely to the Lord and professed an open and unashamed faith for all to see.  When we are baptized, we intentionally and openly declare that we belong to the Lord who died for us.  We cannot hide while we are being baptized.  We are acting in the full view of others and testifying to what we believe.
            Third, Peter grounded salvation in the “name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38).  There is no other name under heaven by which men or women can be saved (Acts 4:12).  We are not to think that the name of Jesus is some magical sentiment or mantra.  Rather, Jesus can save because He alone is worthy.  He lived the life we could not live and died the death we should most certainly have died.  He has saved us from what we deserve and won for us the life and victory that we could never come close to gaining for ourselves.  He is indeed worthy.  In Revelation, near the end of time, the consistent refrain is the worthiness of Christ as the Lamb of God.  There is no salvation or forgiveness apart from Jesus Christ.
            Fourth, Peter modeled how believers are to live today.  We are to be unabashed and unashamed voices for the gospel.  We are to sound the clarion call of salvation found in and through Christ alone.  Some trust in wealth.  Others hold fast and tight to their possessions.  Some look to science for the answers.  And others believe there is no hope left for anyone.  But we trust Christ and make Him known.  We exalt Him and the victory that He won for us.  We want to grow the family of God as deeply and as broadly as possible.
            It is amazing to reflect on how far Peter came in a relatively short period of time.  He had denied Jesus three times.  He had promised to stand for and to follow Jesus anywhere only to fall away when the heat was elevated.  And in Acts 2, we find Peter preaching a passionate message of hope and salvation on the biggest day after the resurrection of Jesus.  He may have had in mind the very words that he would later write in I Peter 5:6, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.”  God had indeed lifted Peter up to deliver this powerful sermon at Pentecost.  And this elevation of Peter came only after Peter realized that he had to trust Christ alone for the strength, focus and direction that he needed to be an apostle and to do the work of the gospel.
            Peter knew the real power was not in the eloquence of his words or the depth of his physical strength.  The real power came from Christ living in Him and working through Him.  The same remains true today.  We are not spiritually strong and courageous in ourselves and our strength.  But we already possess the strength we need to be courageous disciples and that strength comes from Him. Have a great Wednesday!  Remember to worship and share our worship with others at

No Comments





Acts Bible Communion Cross God's will God\'s will God Gospels Holy Spirit Holy Week Jesus Joseph Lent Peter Reformation Satan accountability action advent all saints allegory anger anxiety apologetics atonement awareness awe backsliding baptism beginning beloved betrayal bitterness blessing born again burden burnout calling care change character chistmas choices christian living christmas church history church circumcision comfort commitment community compassion complacency confession confidence consequences contentment control conversation cost courage creation death debt deception decisions deliverance denial dependence depth desire despair determination devotion direction discernment discipleship discouragement dishonesty disobedience distractions doctrine doubt dreams eagerness emotion encouragement end times endurance equality eternal life eternity evangelism evil example facing battles faithful living faithfulness faith family fatigue fear fellowship focus follow foreshadowing forgiveness foundation freedom friends fruit of the Spirit future generosity gifts giving glory goodness gospel grace grateful gratitude greed grit growth guidance guilt halloween happiness healing heart heaven help history holiday holiness home honesty hope humble humility identity impossible incarnation inspiration instruction integrity intentional jealousy journey joy judgment justice justification kindness kingdom knowing God lament law leadership lead lies life listening love martin luther maturity measure memorial memories mentoring mercy messiah minor prophets miracles missions mission mistakes motives mountaintops mourning music nation nativity nature new year new next generation obedience obstacles offering omniscience opportunity opposition overcoming parenting passion path patience peace pentecost persecution perseverence perspective plan poetry power praise prayer preparation presence pressure pride priorities process prodigal progress promise prophecy protection provision psalm purpose rebellion reconcile redemption refuge rejoice relationship remember remembrance renewal renown repentance resentment resolution restoration rest resurrection return revenge revival righteousness risk sacrifice sadness salt salvation sanctification scripture second coming seeking God self-control serenity sermon service shame sharing silence sincerity sin solitude sorrow sovereignty spiritual disciplines standard star stewardship storms strength struggle stubbornness stuck submission success suffering surrender talents talking temple temptation ten commandments testimony testing thankfulness thankful thanksgiving theology time tithes tough times traditions transfiguration trials trinity troubles trust truth veterans victory vision waiting warning weakness wisdom wise men witness wonder work worship