We read an important passage yesterday, and today we’ll focus on just the ending. Here it is again:
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “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. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
(Acts 2:32-41 ESV)
The audience were “cut to the heart”. Peter’s words transformed them, not into a state of sadness, but into action. They asked, “What shall we do? How do we make this right?”
Peter has three steps: Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
Repent means to turn. This is the first step of change and transformation. If you’ve been heading the wrong way in life, away from God, then the moment of regret and decision to turn around and head back to God is the moment of repentence.
Being baptized is a sign that God is washing away someone’s sins. By washing that person on the outside, we show the invisible washing on the inside that only God can do. It’s a public act of having sin washed away from your heart, and having accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Receiving the Holy Spirit speaks of continued transformation, well beyond the moment of repentence and baptism, and into the future. The Holy Spirit enables Christians to keep going that new direction, even when it’s hard. What did the Holy Spirit do for disciples? We saw last week that he enabled them to speak of Jesus in every language. These brand new disciples, too, will be sent by Holy Spirit to proclaim good news to everyone in the world. Their numbers are growing, and this good news is meant for everyone of all ages and around the world.
3000 people took on this challenge in one day. They became pioneer people – some of the first members of the church, the global phenomenon of people following Jesus and being transformed by him.
Next week, we’ll see what they did, their practices when they gathered, and how their actions changed.
Question: What do you think changed for those 3000 people? Internally, spiritually, but also relationally?
Meeting with a Group? Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide[permalink append=”#comments”]Discuss the Challenge[/permalink]