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What Must We Do?

In the second chapter of Acts, Luke records the first message the apostles gave to the crowd at the temple. Here’s what they said: “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Right before the apostles spoke, the Holy Spirit had just baptized, or anointed these men and they spoke new languages—-but every person from every nation could understand them. It’s called Polyglossia-it’s the miraculous gift of many languages being spoken, at the same time, from one person— and it was startling to behold. Something amazing had grabbed a hold of these young men—no one could deny it. So these men explained to the crowd about Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and about Him being the Messiah, God’s anointed and chosen one.

These apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit—-they did incredible things. People could SEE the power of God in their lives! The ground shook, people were miraculously healed, things happened when these men spoke, prayed and taught. WHAT ABOUT US!!!!!????? Has something undeniable happened to you? Do people notice? Has somethings grabbed you and turned you into a new creature? Do you know speak, respond and reason different than you used to? Are you filled with His Holy Spirit?

No one could deny that these ordinary men did something impossible and never seen before. That’s how it’s supposed to be in the life of any Christian! Our lives should be redirected and our speech, goals, assumptions and lives changed and transformed in such a way that no one can deny it. They might not believe in Jesus, but if you’re living a transformed life, they have to admit that something has happened.

These people did not know anything about Jesus, but the had eyes and ears and could not deny what was obvious. This is called “pre-evangelism”——it’s setting the stage to share the gospel. Are you a pre-evangelist? Does your life reflect that something from out-of-this-world has happened to you?

So here are these rather unassuming and very common young men doing something absolutely unheard of…divine…inspired. But then, that’s how God works. He takes someone unqualified, unworthy, undeserving and unnoticed, and uses him or her for astounding tasks. These men could not brag about their education, travel, studies, pedigree, and so on——it was all about God! God got the glory precisely because He was obviously the one filling them up and equipping them to for the task at hand.

Friends, let me make the point right now. We need some more workers at this church. The youth and children’s program is growing, our church has more visitors, and we’re restarting Sunday school. We need workers. Is your excuse that you are “unqualified, unworthy, etc?” Perfect! You’re the precise kind of person God uses to the mightiest tasks! Are you wanting to join this church but you’re waiting till you’re worthy enough or are valuable enough to the work being done, or perhaps until you are clean and holy enough? Then you will never join and we’re all be the poorer because of it. Come as you are——and surrender to God the parts of you that are not yet perfect or qualified. Your task is to come——He’s task is bring you one day to total union with His Son.

“ Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” Acts 2, selected, NIV.

So thinking about all that Peter said. if our lives are compelling, and the Spirit speaks works through us, we should be preaching the good news. And that good news is not some saccharine laden message of how nice God is, but rather to open the eyes of the people: they need God! Sometimes the only way He can convincingly communicate that to us is with hammer or plowshare to break open and penetrate our hard and self-sufficient hearts. We need God—-and so do those outside the walls of this church. But the teaching of the apostles still applies today: Men and women, girls and boys, need to repent from all known sin and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. Have you? Have you repented from dishonesty, pride, arrogance? Are you prepared to admit that you serve yourself, that you use others and that you hide your faults behind excuses or by pointing out the bigger sins of others? We must repent……and then be baptized.

And what is baptism? It is a testimony, or seal of sincerity! It means that you were prepared to be identified as one of God’s own——forgiven and redeemed to be a fellow servant of Jesus Christ. It was an act whereby you told those watching, “I am dying to self and being re-made to serve Jesus Christ and my fellow man”. More than a mere rite of passage, or some sort of initiation, baptism was a once-and-done event that symbolized a brand new creature being born by the Holy Spirit Himself.

So the demands were made to those folks. The Bible says that pleaded with them to be saved, i.e. to repent and be baptized. But at no time was the gospel cheapened, or an appeal made for folks to become Christians so that they would be blessed, but rather, “get saved to avoid the eternal destruction of your soul.” The folks at this time realized all too well their own mortality—they knew that they would one day die. And none of them felt very confident of their own merits compared to a holy God—-or a god of any sorts. The ancient world was, perhaps, a bit wiser and more circumspect than modern man. Some of us live as if death is an illusion that we can someway escape or avoid. You can’t. It’s appointed a time and place for everyone of us to die.

These folks listened to Peter and the others apostles, they heard the persuasiveness and power of the pleading to be born again, they felt the ground tremble……and 3000 were added to their number in a single morning. 3000 people became converted! Why?

-The Spirit was moving

-The apostles were authentic

-The formula for salvation was clear

-The apostles were persuasive in their evangelism

Is the Spirit moving in our church? Are our pastors and priests genuine? Are we crystal clear about what is required to be born again? And are we convincing people of the need for salvation in begging them, as it were, to escape eternal death and obtain eternal life!

Why did Peter “plead with them”? He knew the truth! Both the truth about the reality of hell and eternal separation from God, as well as what all that human soul yearns for. Peter also knew the truth about Jesus being the genuine, one-of-a-kind, only and redeeming Son of God! Peter lived with Jesus and received a commission from Jesus to share the good news and make disciples. Yes, he was the obedient leader of the disciples now that Jesus had ascended into heaven, but he was burdened for the lost and he did not doubt for second that they would be lost for eternity if they did believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, turn from their sins and be baptized.

These men knew Jesus and could not help but talk about Him. And those that heard him, and the other apostles, were brought to repentance, confession and baptist. The church continued to grow like this, at such an alarming rate to the Roman Empire, that Christians were rounded up and fed to lions, covered with pitch and made into street lamps, and by every means possible tortured, killed or imprisoned. But the more the church was persecuted, the more and stronger it grew.

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