Stop for a moment and ask yourself, “How many messages have I received today asking me to consider making changes in my life?
Many television commercials from pharmaceutical companies pitch this line to viewers, “Take charge of your life by asking your doctor about” a certain drug that will help you with whatever symptoms you might have. As you read a sports-themed magazine, the athletic shoe ads give the impression that you will run faster, jump higher and be in better physical shape by making the choice to purchase their product. Are all these claims true?
The receivers of the messages must make a choice to accept or reject the claims of the advertisements. The same process occurs when the message of Jesus Christ is presented. A personal decision must be made to accept or reject Jesus Christ. The rejection of the truth that Jesus is Savior has a much more severe consequence than that of rejecting and advertised product.
Conflicting opinions (Acts 2:22-24)
How many opinions are in the world today about who Jesus is? When “Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd” (Acts 2:14) after Pentecost he rebuked the wrong opinions the Jews had about the resurrected Jesus. Conflicting opinions about Jesus must be answered with God’s opinion concerning Jesus.
Many years ago, I remember watching a news story about Billy Graham on one of the network morning shows. As the story reviewed many clips from old crusades, one line spoken by Graham seemed to come to the forefront. The line was, “The Bible says.” Graham was not speaking on his own authority but by the authority of the Holy Scriptures.
Some of those present at Pentecost made fun of how the believers were acting after being filled with the Holy Spirit. The accusation was the believers were drunk. Peter tells the accusers they are not drunk (v. 15). After Peter rebukes, he begins to share from the Old Testament (Joel 2:28-32) the prophecies about the Messiah and what occurred at Pentecost. He confirms the person of Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of these prophesies.
Peter reminds his audience that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah and “was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know” (v. 22). Not only was Jesus’ messiahship affirmed by performing mighty acts but also by God raising him from the dead. All they witnessed firsthand was “God’s set purpose and foreknowledge” (v. 23).
Have you noticed how Peter dealt with different opinions of who Christ was? He called upon personal experience authenticated by truths from the Bible.
Stirring testimony (Acts 2:32-36)
Peter’s testimony (v. 25) about Jesus is substantiated by David in Psalm 16:8-11. Peter explained that David was writing as a prophet. He wrote about Jesus who would be crucified and then resurrected.
“Because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay” (v. 27). The audience who read this verse originally in Psalm 16:10 would understand the word decay to mean the grave. Peter is using the Holy Scriptures to explain that the body of Jesus was not left in the grave to decay but was resurrected and glorified.
Peter tells them that “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses to the fact” (v. 32). David was not spared decay by resurrection and had not ascended to heaven. However, Scriptures confirm that David’s Lord would be spared decay and would sit at God’s right hand (v. 34). Peter declares this “Lord” David is referring to is Jesus Christ. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was just more proof of who Jesus was “both Lord and Christ” (v. 36).
A good method for us to follow when telling others about Jesus, is to share our own personal, life changing experience of when Christ became our Savior, making sure our words are backed by the truths of the Bible.
Standing at the crossroad (Acts 2:37-41)
When a believer gives a strong, passionate presentation of the gospel, what happens? The Holy Spirit creates in the heart of the listener spiritual conviction.
Peter gave a Spirit-filled message that convicted listeners to ask this question, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (v. 37). Peter simply explained, “Repent and be baptized, everyone 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” (v. 38). In order to be a follower of Christ, one must turn from sin and make a change to no longer live a selfish life but one of faith, depending on Jesus for forgiveness, guidance and purpose. We cannot save ourselves from hell—only God can save us. He has provided a way through the life, death, burial and resurrection of his one and only son, Jesus Christ.
As a result of Peter presenting the gospel, over 3,000 believed. They were baptized proclaiming to others the inward change that occurred in their lives. Their sins had been forgiven and the gift of the Holy Spirit filled them, thus empowering them to live righteously.
The message of Christ is to be proclaimed the same way Peter presented it after Pentecost. How did he present the gospel? He simply told the truth giving the listener the opportunity to accept or reject the truth about Jesus.
Dr. Bob Utley, president of Bible Lessons International, said something I will never forget at the conclusion of a revival service. “It is a dangerous thing to hear the truth about Jesus and not act upon it.”