What Now?

If you have been following along with my current teaching series on the Book of Acts, I previously talked taught on Peter’s explanation of Pentecost to the Jews. Today I would like to teach on Acts 2:37-47 which continues mainly on the Jews response to Peter.  Peter just got done telling the Jews that Jesus, who they crucified is the Lord and Christ. Acts 2:37 (NKJV) tells us how the Jews reacted, which says “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?””. I would like to dissect this scripture a little bit. If you read Peter’s teaching to the Jews, you will see why his teaching cut to their hearts. Peter along with the other disciples received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Only by the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit was he able to deliver a great message to the Jews that cut through their hearts. This is a perfect example where an audience of people in the Bible were sitting in the conviction seat. When someone is truly convicted it will lead to salvation. The Holy Spirit is what convicts us; therefore, we need the Holy Spirit in our churches today. Jesus not only promised the Holy Spirit, But He also promised that the Holy Spirit would bring conviction. Jesus said in John 16:7-8 (NKJV), “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.  And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”. This promise was not only fulfilled in Acts 2 when the Jews said to Peter ‘what shall we do?’, this promised is fulfilled when every true believer becomes saved because of true conviction. I am not talking about someone who says the sinner’s prayer to give them an excuse to go out and sin all they want; I am talking about the true believer who got on their knees and cried out and accepted Jesus as Lord of their life. Romans 10:13 (NKJV) tells us, “For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.””.

So, the Jews who were truly convicted by what Peter told them, what do they do? Acts 2:38 (NKJV) tells us, “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.” When we are truly convicted, we are to repent of our sins, so that we can be forgiven. We are forgiven because of the blood of Jesus Christ. We must remember that our spirit and flesh are two separate things. John 3:6 (NKJV) tells us, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”. When we become born again, we are born of a new spirit by the power of the Holy Spirit. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) confirms, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”.  When we become born again, we need to constantly be walking in the Spirit, because following the desires of the flesh will work against our newborn spirit. Galatians 5:16-17 (NKJV) instructs us, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”. Additionally, Romans 8:6 (NKJV) tells us, “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”. Another word for carnally is fleshly, on the other hand, an antonym for the word carnal is spiritual. In today’s age, there is too much of the world invading the church, many churches have begun using carnal means to attract carnal people (unbelievers). If churches draw in carnal people with carnal means, then how do you keep these people attending church? Most likely you will have to use carnal means to maintain their attendance. This poses a real danger, if a church is using carnal means to attract people, then it is encouraging the works of the flesh and going against the works of the Spirit. Therefore, so many people today have become self-deceived rather than truly saved. So, after Peter told the Jews that they need to repent and receive Jesus as their savior, what happened? Acts 2:41 (NKJV) tells us, “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”. Great 3,000 people were saved because of Peter? No, they were saved because the Holy Spirit brought conviction through Peter’s teaching. I would like to encourage you when you witness to an unbeliever, ask God to give you the words to speak.

If we continue reading to the end of Acts chapter two, we will see some of the early church practices. Acts 2:42 (NKJV) says, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”. This scripture sets an example of how churches today should function. We need the Word of God to teach us, discipline us, and train us. 2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV) tells us, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,”. Also Acts 2:42 tells us about prayer and fellowship in the church. We not only need to be praying for each other during church service but during our own prayer time. Pray for your fellow brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. Just because someone looks like they have their life together when you see them on Sundays, does not mean everything is truly okay. They might need healing in their body, a financial breakthrough, comfort, or strength. Also, we should always be encouraging one another as Christians, this will help keep the Body of Christ strong. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NKJV) instructs us, “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”.

As the Body of Christ, we also need to believe together. If someone is getting prayed for, the whole church needs to pray in agreement for that person. There should not be any doubt if we all believe together, if there is doubt it can hinder the work of God. Acts 2:44 (NKJV) tells us, “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,”. This is also another example of how the Body of Christ needs to encourage one another, by believing together. Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”. Lastly, as the Body of Christ, we need to praise the Lord for what we have, and God will add people to the Body of Christ. Acts 2:47 (NKJV) tells us, “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”. This verse is very important because too often many churches can forget to give thanks for the members it does have because churches can get too distracted trying to grow. This is also the same with us individually, we need to take time to thank God for what He has given us. To any church that is trying to grow, first, give thanks to God for what you have, and seek Him for guidance on how to grow.

Originally when I studied Acts 2, I was hoping to only have one teaching on this chapter. However, with as many notes as I got out of it, I ended up having to divide it up into three teachings. I would encourage you to read over Acts 2 and dig deep into it. There is so much more in this chapter that God can reveal to you. I would like to encourage you to take some time and reflect on Acts 2, and what you can take from it and apply over your life. In my next teaching, I will begin Acts 3, I cannot say how many teachings I will get out of that chapter. I will leave that up to God.