Hearing the Message of Jesus in Acts
Twelve men changed the world. Eleven of them ate, slept, sailed, and walked with Jesus. The 12th man was a latecomer, so he got three years alone in the desert with Jesus. Who were these men? The Apostles, the sent ones, those entrusted with the Gospel of God's Grace. Peter and the eleven and then, Paul the 12th and Final Apostle. Together they appear on a divine videotape on Evangelism. Together they demonstrate in public what they had been trained, taught, and commanded by Jesus.
Jesus saved them to share the Gospel, the Good News of Salvation. There are few things more exciting than to actually learn from Him our Master, His message and the way He called men and women, boys and girls to Salvation. That is what those Fishers of Divine Souls were taught.
Acts 9:1-6 introduces us to Saul, who becomes Paul, the latecomer, as one born out of due time as Paul later describes himself. This is one of the more amazing portions of Scripture. What dazzles us is the inspired record of Paul being converted by none other than Jesus Christ. The setting is the road to Damascus. The place is the dusty road; Paul is lying on his face, and then is looking up at a light brighter than the noonday Sun. His eyes are being seared, but his soul is even more enflamed. He is talking to God, or is it Jesus, or is it the Lord against whom he had fought? Then Jesus speaks and explains the plan of salvation. Jesus calls it "The Way" and gives seven elements of genuine faith. Note what Jesus calls those who are saved in Acts 9:2 "who were of the Way". This description of Christianity, derived from Jesus' description of Himself (John 14:6), appears six times in Acts (19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22). This is an appropriate title because Christianity is the way of God (18:26), the way into the Holy Place (Heb. 10:19, 20), and the way of truth (John 14:6; 2 Pet. 2:2).
Message one: The time has come. After being called to be a fisherman for eternal souls. After being given on site, hands on training for three plus years. After being tutored privately, commissioned publicly, and filled with the very Holy Spirit of God, Peter steps up to the microphone to deliver his first sermon. I'm sure his pulse was throbbing in anticipation, his heart pounding with excitement to at last say what he had been taught, shown, and commanded him, to say.
So here it is, here is Gospel Presentation number one in Acts chapter 2. Peter preaches the first sermon after Christ's death, burial, resurrection, and sending the Holy Spirit down to indwell the Church. What does he say? Many things, all-important in Acts 2:37-39:
"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?"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."
So, what was the summary of the first message? One word, REPENT.
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