We are currently reading through the New Testament at the West Main church where I am presently preaching. Today’s reading is from Acts 2. It is a pivotal chapter in the Bible. If you haven’t read it lately, do so now.
In Acts 2 is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies from Isaiah 2 and a similar one in Micah 4.
Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
Acts 2 fulfills Jesus’ promise to the Apostles that they would be “baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:8) As Jews were assembled from “every nation under heaven” the Spirit came “as the sound of mighty rushing wind” there appeared to them “divided tongues as of fire.” As a result, the apostles began to speak in languages foreign to their learning, but the assembled crowd from their own country understood.
And what did they say? Peter with the other 11 apostles stood up and boldly preached Jesus of Nazareth. Peter’s sermon could be properly titled: “Jesus of Nazareth.” His sermon had six points:
(1) He applied Joel’s prophesy about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as its fulfillment ( Ax 2:17-21; Joel 2:28-32).
(2) He argued for the Deity of Jesus based on His miracles, including His resurrection from the dead (22-24).
(3) He affirmed that Jesus was the fulfillment of the patriarch David’s Messianic prophecy from the Psalms (Ax 2:25-31; Ps. 16:8-11).
(4) He asserted that the apostles were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ mission, ministry, and miracles (Ax 2:32). From their careful observation and personal perspective, Jesus was who He claimed to be–The Son of God.
(5) He appealed to their senses, to the events of Pentecost they had just witnessed as evidence that Jesus was the resurrected Lord who ascended to the Father (Ax 2:33-35).
(6) Finally, he arrived at this conclusion. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Ax. 2:36)
The impact was immediate, convincing and convicting. The hearers were “cut to the heart.” And they cried, “Men and Brethren, what shall we do?”
The inspired response was clear and concise. “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Ax 2:38).
Peter further exhorted them “to be saved from this perverse generation” As a result the Bible says, “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Ax 2:41).
Following their conversion to Christ verses 42-47 speak of their growth in discipleship, engagement in fellowship, participation in worship, involvement in ministry and their focus on evangelism. Through their efforts, “the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
Acts 2 is pivotal because it records the birth of Christianity. The beginning of the church. And the fulfillment of the Messianic promise in Jesus of Nazareth.
“What shall we do?” is needed question today. Yes, times have changed. The culture is different. And many advancements have been made in education, science and technology in the past 2,000 years. Yet, the need of humankind is unchanged.
Sin continues to be our problem. And Jesus Christ is the answer. The only answer.
What shall I do?
“Repent.” Change. Turn from sin. And turn toward the Lord.
“Be baptized.” Obey Jesus’ command, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved (Mk 16:16). There you will be cleansed from your sins by the blood of Jesus (Ax 22:16; Rev. 1:5).
Then continue, as did the first-century Christians, to “grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18).
God’s Word is active. Alive. And powerful. It can cleanse your conscience. Create in you a new person. And change your life.
“What shall I do?’
How will you answer?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman