Text: Acts 2:37-41
Jews gathered in Jerusalem “out of every nation under heaven” on the Day of Pentecost. The Apostle Peter preached the Gospel and every Jew form every nation heard the Gospel in their native tongue after which they were reproved by the Holy Spirit. They asked in verse 37, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter replies by making several statements:
Repent simply means “to change” meaning one’s mind or one’s direction. Peter’s response to their question implied changing your mind about your sin, about Jesus Christ, and about your eternal destiny. In other words turn from dead religion, dead works, or unbelief to Jesus Christ. Jesus said in Mark 1:14-15 what John the Baptist had been saying in the wilderness, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” They learned from Peter’s message that sin has consequence, they learned that Christ shed His blood for sinners, they learned that Christ raised Himself from the dead to purchase their redemption, and they learned that Christ is their long-awaited Messiah; their only hope of eternal life. What shall we do? Repent meaning to turn from depending on your Hebrew ancestors or from the works of the law.
Illustration: Matthew 3:1-12
Man will not enter into heaven on the merit of his own righteousness; the righteousness of his ancestral line; or by his good works but by the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Jesus said in Mt. 5:20, “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Ga 2:16, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
What keeps people from repenting or turning from unbelief to faith in Christ?
- Ignorance: Ro. 10:3-4, For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
- Never heard: Ro. 10:14, How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
- Deception: Mt. 7:15, Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Mt. 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
- Blindness: 2Co. 4:3-4, But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
- Affluence: Mt. 19:22, But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
- Unbelief: Unfortunately Nazareth was characterized by unbelief. Mt. 13:58, And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief. Jn. 6:35-36, And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.
- Self-indulgence, worldliness, or sin: 2Th. 2:12, That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. Ro. 1:32, Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
BE BAPTIZED (38)
“…be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” In other words be baptized because of the remission of sins. Baptism has no power to forgive sins save Jesus Christ. He died to save us from our sins, namely its penalty, eternal death. Ro. 6:23, For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Salvation means deliverance. Jesus delivers us from the penalty of sin. He sends our sin away and he puts on a believing sinner His righteousness. 2Co. 5:21, For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Baptism is an outward picture of what took place inwardly. It is a testimony of salvation. It is a statement of identification with Christ’s death and His resurrection. It is a testimony of New Life in Christ. It’s declaring to be dead to sin and alive unto God to walk in newness of life. (Ro. 6)
The bottom line is every believer should be baptized. Note the text. “Be baptized every one of you…” Christ, his disciples, and many converts in the Bible for example the Ethiopian in Acts 8 exemplified biblical baptism.
- It is commanded.
- It is essential to spiritual growth.
- It is important to your testimony.
YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST (38-40)
“…be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ (because of the remission of sins) and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Salvation involves the Word of God (1Pe. 1:23) as well as the Holy Spirit of God (Jn. 3:1-8; Titus 3:5-7). The Holy Spirit regenerates, quickens, or gives new life which means that the body of a believer becomes the temple of the Holy Ghost (1Co. 6:19) meaning that the Holy Spirit dwells in him (1Co. 3:16).
- The Holy Spirit regenerates or gives life to a believing sinner (Titus 3:5-7, Jn. 3:5-8, Eph. 2:1f).
- The indwelling Holy Spirit bears witness with God’s spirit, that we are the children of God (Ro. 8:16).
- The Holy Spirit indwells a believer to grow us in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2Pe. 2:2; 2Pe. 3:18)
- The Holy Spirit empowers a believer for Christian service (Acts 1:8).
AND THE SAME DAY THERE WERE ADDED UNTO THEM (41)
You can’t add something to nothing. 3,000 Jewish converts were added to the existing church. The Greek word translated church refers to an assembly. However, when it relates to believers it refers specifically to a called out assembly of born-again baptized believers in Jesus Christ.
Note the order: 3,ooo Jews are converted to Christ, they are baptized because they received Christ as their Saviour, and they are added to the company of believers.