First Mennonite Church
October 18, 2020
A Message of Repentance
Text: Acts 2: 29-42
Our passage this morning is the conclusion of Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost. As we saw last week, on the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples as they were gathered, about 120 of them. The loud noise as of a violent wind coming down from above and the sudden boisterous and disorderly sound of human voices caused a commotion. When the Spirit came, the disciples started to speak in foreign languages. At the sound of both the wind and that of human voices, a very diverse crowd of people gathered, wanting to know what was happening. Upon coming closer, the people realized that the disciples were speaking about God’s great deeds in a variety of languages known to them.
While some from the outside group were amazed and perplexed, others were saying that the strange behavior and ability of those backwoods disciples were because they were drunk. But once again, Peter took over his role as spokesperson for the group, only this time he was a transformed man. His words of explanation to the crowd actually became the first sermon he ever preached after Jesus’ departure. After clarifying that his companions were not drunk, as some speculated, Peter brought forth the words of Joel to prove his case. The behavior and special abilities the disciples were displaying were the result of God’s Spirit poured out on them, according to the prophecy in Joel. Peter then charged his audience with the words of our passage this morning.
It is so amazing to see the radical transformation in Peter. His preaching reflected the wondrous effect the Holy Spirit made in his life. Peter had always been vocal and impetuous. He had always been be the first to speak or to do so on behalf of the twelve. However, often times Peter spoke with either his heart or mind disconnected from to his mouth. He was once earned Jesus’ harshest rebuked, “Get behind me Satan.” However on this day, Peter, with his heart burning with holy fire, spoke with power and eloquence that I would guess his friends could not believe their ears it was Peter speaking. Peter not only quoted Scriptures so lucidly, but he interpreted the person of Jesus in light of prophesy. He not only defended the behavior of the disciples, but he also laid responsibility on the authorities for the death of Jesus. Peter not only explained the earthly life of Jesus, but affirmed the glorified position of Jesus after his ascension. “He is exalted and sitting at the right hand of God,” Peter affirmed.
Peter addressed his audience, from the highest official to the common man and woman. He urged his audience to turn to God. “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation,” Peter charged.
We are told that the audience was moved by Peter’s sermon to the point that they were anxiously asking, “Brothers, what should we do?” The people were made aware of their participation and actions concerning the death of Jesus. They were made known that what was happening was God’s continued presence among them, as Jesus promised them.
Peter had a straightforward answer for those inquiring on what to do: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
So once again, we are reminded that at the heart of the gospel message is the call to repentance. John the Baptist called for repentance. Jesus began his ministry by calling people to repent. In Mark chapter one, verse 15, Jesus proclaimed: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
It was the same message Peter gave his audience: “repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven.” We need to remember that Peter shared the Hebrew concept of repentance. Repentance involves five key elements.
- Recognition of wrongdoing
- A feeling of remorse or regret
- A desire to desist doing it
- Confession of sins
Peter’s sermon brought awareness to his audience about their misstep regarding Jesus. They unknowingly participated in the death of Jesus. Therefore, Peter called his audience to recognize there wrongdoing.
Upon hearing Peter, verse 37 tells us that the audience “was cut to the heart.” They felt remorse for what they had done.
Then Peter’s audience were desperately asking, “What should we do?” They wanted to desist going against Christ. They wanted to be reconciled with God.
And lastly, we are told that those who accepted the message were baptized, which according to the practice in the early church, confession of sins preceded baptism. The people confessed to God their sins and were baptized.
My dear friends, if there is any one among us who has not accepted the message of God’s love through his Son, that means you have been either oblivious of the ways God has been reaching out to you, or you have been resisting his voice. Today, I want you to know that there is salvation in Christ Jesus. You need to repent so that you may be forgiven of your sins. The apostle Peter says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2Peter 3:9).
For those of us who have accepted the Lord, it is important that we take time to ponder about our life and your actions before God. It is important that from time to time we ask God to search our heart and allow him to raise awareness in us about the path we walk and the idols of the heart. Maybe God wants to show us thing for which we need to repent.
Let us be reminded that God will never be appalled over the way we might be living. God will never be surprised, no matter what he might find in us. However, that does not mean that God’s Spirit is not grieved. Sin grieves the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, if we open our heart to God, he certainly will rejoice with us. There is a promise to everyone who opens the heart to the Lord. There is a promise to everyone who repents before God. Peter said, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” God gives new life to everyone who repents. God recreates life through repentance. Let us open our heart to the Lord. Amen!
Let us pray:
Our dear Lord, you know everything about our lives. However, we ask you to search our heart and to show us the things we need to change, to confess, and to turn away from. May your Holy Spirit reveal to us your holiness. Amen!