THE MIRACULOUS BIRTH OF THE CHURCH
38 Then Peter said to them, “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. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
It was the day of Pentecost, about fifty days after Jesus was crucified and resurrected at Passover. People were in Jerusalem from all over the world for this festival day. A small group of believers in Christ were together on that day when there came the sound of a rushing, mighty wind. Tongues of fire appeared and sat upon each of these believers. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the spirit gave utterance. A multitude was attracted. Some were amazed that they heard the wonderful word of God, each in their own language, but other scoffed. Peter then stood up and preached a short but powerful message culminating in the verses above. Three thousand received his word and were baptized. And the church was born!
1. In verse 38, Peter preached for them to “repent.” This literally means to “turn around,” leaving sin and self to follow God. Why is repentance necessary to truly be part of the Church?
2. Also, in verse 38, Peter preached for them to “be baptized.” Why should Church members be baptized? What does it symbolize? What are you saying to the world when you are baptized?
3. Finally, in verse 38, Peter preached about receiving the “gift of the Holy Spirit.” Who is the Holy Spirit? Why is he a “gift” to believers. Why do you think receiving the Holy Spirit is necessary?
1. Trust in Jesus. For he is the only way you can truly repent. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)
2. Trust in Jesus. And then by faith be baptized, proclaiming to the world that you believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and you are trusting in him to cleanse you from all sin.
3. Trust in Jesus. And receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is the spirit of God who indwells you and leads you every step of the way!
Dear Lord, thank you for gathering your people the Church together from every nation, race, and language. Thank you for not abandoning us to our mistakes, but instead providing repentance for us to turn around. Help me now to be convicted by the Holy Spirit whenever I sin, and then help me to accept your mercy without shame. Thank you for the love you have poured out for me and all of your children. And help me live out that love today and every day of my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.