Friday, 14 August 2015

Bible Reading: Acts 2v14-41

In v37-41 Luke records for us the reaction of the crowd to Peter's gospel message.

They are convicted of their sin in rejecting Jesus, God’s forever king and recognise that they deserve God’s judgement. And notice that these are good religious Jews, they aren’t just nominal followers of religion, they are committed followers of God. They’ve journeyed from all over to Jerusalem for the festival, to celebrate God’s faithfulness. But now they’re convicted of their need of rescue. Their religion isn’t enough, sincere worship of God apart from Jesus isn’t enough. If you leave Jesus out you have no faith, no hope, no rescue. What does Peter say they should do?

v38-39 Repent – confess their lived rebellion against God. That rebellion can look like two very different things; it can be rejecting him totally living life however you want without thought for God. Or it can be trying to be very very good – going to church, tweaking our lifestyle, doing good things - to earn forgiveness another way than humbly coming to Jesus. Repentance means that we stop turning away from God and turn towards him, stop living life running from God and his way of rescue by grace through faith in Jesus and instead run to him.

But notice Peter doesn’t stop there; he links repentance with baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. Baptism is a sign of repentance and trust in Jesus to forgive your sins. It’s the outward display of an inner change. It involves going under the water as a sign of your death to self and rising again as a sign of your new life in Jesus. Repent and be baptised. Publically show your faith.

And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. That’s the norm for believers. God the Holy Spirit fills those who’ve repented of their sin, trusted Jesus and are following him. He makes knowing Jesus our day-to-day reality, he fills, equips and empowers us to live for God following Jesus. And v39 there’s no barrier to who can trust Jesus, its for anyone, of any nationality, of any age, throughout time. 3000 that day believe and are baptised.

That offer is still open today. We live between the times. Jesus is Saviour and Lord, what will do we with him?

Do we recognise our rebellion against God in the way we have lived? Do we recognise that we have rejected God’s loving fatherly care? That we have rejected Jesus either by ignoring him or trying to earn favour with God without him? Repent and come and find forgiveness in Jesus. Don’t wait do it now.

Maybe you’ve trusted Jesus, you’ve repented you own him as your Saviour but you’ve never been baptised. The two here and elsewhere in the Bible are linked. Repent and be baptised. The question to ask isn’t why should I be, but why shouldn’t I be? It’s an outward public sign of an inner change. A necessary and natural application of this passage this morning is that if you’ve repented and trusted Jesus you need to be baptised. If Jesus is your Lord follow him and be baptised. If that is you don’t wait speak  to someone about being baptised.

Perhaps as we read we are aware that though we have repented and been baptised there are some areas of life where we haven’t yet made Jesus Lord. It may be in a refusal to forgive someone who has wronged you. You know and the Spirit has reminded you again and again that Jesus calls you to but you haven’t. Or maybe it’s a lifestyle choice in an area where you know as a follower of Jesus you should live differently, fighting and fleeing sin, but you struggle to want to. It may be simply in a refusal to sacrifice your comfort for following Jesus. Following Jesus isn’t a one off repentance and enthroning of Jesus as Lord, it is a daily repentance and re-coronation of Jesus as Lord. This morning why not pray repent and hand Lordship of those areas back to Jesus again, asking him by the Spirit to help you do so, that is why the Jesus sent us the Spirit so that we are empowered to live as his people enjoying his rule longing for his return.

Here’s something we all have to see from this passage. We have to witness to who Jesus is because we recognise when we live, that Jesus will come back. We know that the gospel proclaimed is the only way to be right with God, that Jesus brings salvation because He is the same Saviour and Lord and the same Spirit is at work today.

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