Conversion- Acts 2:37-41

Main Point: You must be born again.

We are a church praying for conversions but what is that? What does it mean to be a convert or to convert a person? I have some idea of conversion rates on the dollar so that I can go to the bank and convert one American dollar into .89 euros, 1.31 Canadian dollars, or 19 pesos. I can convert a dollar but what about a person? How do I convert a person? Can I convert a person? What happens to a person that converts and what do they convert into? Does it hurt? Does it stick?

Today, in Acts 2:37-41 we get the story of 3,000 Jewish converts. As we look back at what happened at Pentecost, we need to understand what went down and we need to determine if we should expect the same things in our lives. This happened to them. Should the same happen to me?

The big picture is we are going to set up four marks of conversion from Acts 2:37-41. The evidence of conversion in these people is conviction, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Read Acts 2:29-41

We start with conviction

I. Conviction is a part of conversion

I want to be clear that sorrow over sin or conviction is not explicitly commanded. Peter doesn’t say, “Be sad about your sin, repent and be baptized.” You see it there in front of you, Peter goes straight to repent and be baptized. But here we take note of the connection between verses 37 and 38

  • The people were cut to the heart (2:37)

The people were pierced; they experienced distress over their situation. And what was their situation? Through the preaching of God’s word, they realized Jesus is the Messiah Son of God and they crucified him. The word of God pierced their hearts, opened them up, and showed them the dark reality of what was going on inside (Heb 4:12). They saw who Jesus really is, they saw who they are, and they saw how they had turned away from God. Seeing these truths cut them to the heart.

And there is fear in this conviction. Look again at verse 37. When they heard the word of God, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Conviction is the emotional distress and fear experienced because of guilt. Instead of worshipping the Son of God, these people shamed and humiliated him. Instead of serving the Son of God, these people killed him. Instead of loving the Son of God, these people hated him. Instead of listening to the Son of God, these people rejected him. The reality of their sin, coupled with the promise of judgment (Acts 2:19-20), caused great fear. These people in Acts 2 experienced conviction. Maybe their stomachs were in knots, maybe they felt gross or dirty, we don’t know the individual expression. We just know they feared because of their sin. Should we experience the same? Here’s where we bring this historical account into the 21st century.

  • Can a person be a Christian without conviction of sin?

Now I will ask you for patience as you listen because I am about to beg the question. I must assume that repentance is a necessary part of conversion in order to claim conviction is a necessary part of conversion. I will show you in our next point that repentance is necessary and seeing that, it will prove that conviction is necessary. Repentance and conviction are inseparable.

In order to become a Christian a person must repent; a person must turn in thought and deed away from godlessness and to Jesus. A person must turn in thought and deed away from self-dependence to dependence on Christ. This turning, this repentance, necessarily involves the experience of sadness over one’s godlessness and selfishness.

We are a people who regret the ways we live without God. We are a people who experience sorrow over the ways we think that are opposite of God’s good ways. We are a people who are pierced to the heart because we have tried to live life on our own without the Holy Spirit. A person cannot be a Christian without repentance and therefore a person cannot be a Christian without experiencing conviction because of sin. It is sorrow that leads to turning.

You who claim to be a Christian, do you experience sadness over your sin? When you look at the way you treat  God and treat your neighbor, do you experience regret? Does the word of God pierce your heart showing you where you have gone your own way? If so, if the Holy Spirit is convicting you of sin, repent because

II. Repentance is a part of conversion

  • Peter told them to repent

The people ask Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” We killed our Messiah. We rejected and humiliated and hated the King of all creation. There is sorrow and fear because of sin. Peter tells them in verse 38 to repent.

To repent is to turn. They realized they were living fighting against Jesus and Peter tells them they must turn and follow Jesus. They realized in their thinking they were arguing with God and Peter tells them they must humble themselves and agree with God. The things they were doing were self-serving and contrary to love of God and love of neighbor. They must turn. They must repent.

The theme of repentance shows up 10 times in the book of Acts. I will give you one summary statement from Acts 20. There in Acts 20 Paul is describing his ministry to the Ephesian elders and he recounts how he “[testified] to both Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Repentance was central to Paul’s preaching. And repentance was central to Jesus’ preaching. Mark recounts in his gospel that Jesus began his ministry saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

So, repentance was commanded by Peter, Paul, and Jesus. What about us?

  • Can a person be a Christian without repentance?

Acts 17:30 answers this question soundly. There Paul is preaching to Greeks and says, “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31). God commands everyone to repent.

Children, who disobey your parents, you are headed toward judgment because you reject the authority of God in your life. Do you feel the pain of your sin and do you want to turn to God? You who sneak to your phone and look at pornography, does the word of God pierce your heart and show you your godlessness? You who envy the married and quietly despise God for the path of singleness God has given you do you see your sin? The Father has raised the Son proving to us that Jesus is the judge and the standard. We will each be judged. Follow the Spirit as he uses the word to expose your sin, convict you of your sin, and call you to turn to Christ. Our message is still this ancient message. We proclaim repentance to God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Look back at Acts 2:38, “Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”

III. Baptism is a part of conversion

  • Peter told them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins

Throughout the New Testament, baptism is the conscious act of repentant people who are turning to Jesus Christ. Notice that Peter does not simply command an act. His words are not simply, “be baptized”. He tells the people to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Baptism is an act of trust. The one being baptized is deliberately doing so as an act of faith. I am being baptized in Jesus’ name because he forgives me of my sin. The one being baptized is deliberately doing so as an act of allegiance. I am being baptized in Jesus’ name because I no longer want to rule myself; I want to be cared for and ruled by King Jesus. Baptism is the public demonstration of the inward truth that God has transferred this one from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of his beloved Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Col 1:13-14).

In baptism there is a personal shift of allegiance away from rule of self to being ruled by Christ, and in baptism there is the explicit desire to be forgiven. The Holy Spirit leads a person to understand the gospel, be convicted because of personal rebellion, turn from that rebellion, and seek forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ.

Listen to Peter’s explanation of baptism in 1 Peter 3:21, “Baptism, which corresponds [to Noah’s ark], now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” It is not the act of baptism that saves you. It is not being baptized that saves you. It is the appeal to God for forgiveness in Jesus’ name which is explicit in baptism that saves you. Salvation is by grace through faith and faith is put on display in baptism.

Baptism without personal repentance and faith in Jesus Christ is ineffective. Peter commanded men, women, and children to repent and be baptized in Jesus’ name for the forgiveness of sin. But what about us?

  • Can a person be a Christian without baptism?

The short answer is, “Not for long.” In Matthew 28:18 King Jesus declares, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

These are the rules for Jesus’ kingdom. Go and make disciples. Preach the good news of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and return. Baptize those people who are followers of Jesus. Teach them to follow all that Jesus commands. The three primary commands that mark entrance into Jesus’ kingdom are repentance, faith, and baptism. To put it plainly, the person who resists baptism is the person who rejects Jesus’ command. To reject baptism is sin.

Mark Dever is correct in saying the refusal to be baptized would soon be grounds for church discipline. So, the person who claims to be a Christian but has not been baptized needs to be taught to obey Jesus’ command. If that person still refuses to obey the clear commands of Jesus, then that person would be subject to church discipline.

Can a person be a Christian without baptism? Not for long. So Christian, what is keeping you from seeking baptism? Follow Jesus, obey his commands, when we sing together in a moment, come forward and ask for baptism.

There is conviction, there is repentance, there is baptism, and there is the gift of the Spirit.

IV. Receiving the Holy Spirit is part of conversion

Peter says in Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized every 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. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

  • Peter promised them the Holy Spirit

Remember, the Holy Spirit is on center stage in Acts 2. It is the flame like fire, sound like wind, and miraculous gift of tongues that has drawn this group together. Peter has explained the gift of the Holy Spirit as the promised result of the crucifixion, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus Christ.

I hope you see the thinking that is going on in these commands. The one being baptized is thinking specifically about forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ. The one who is repenting, believing, and being baptized is thinking about receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. These are not mindless deeds done by or to unknowing people. This is hungry faith exercised in desperate people. Jesus, give me forgiveness. Jesus, give me the Holy Spirit.

I need to make two additional points here. First, we must not be slaves to the order. Here in Acts 2 the order is preaching, repentance, baptism, and then the Holy Spirit. In Acts 10:43-48 the order is preaching, repentance, Holy Spirit, then baptism. We have no right to demand a certain order like we can control the Holy Spirit. Second, throughout the book of Acts and particularly here in Acts 2 the people receive the Holy Spirit but do not speak in tongues. The demand that a person must speak in tongues as evidence of having received the Holy Spirit is an unbiblical demand.

Back to the text in Acts 2. Through repentance, faith, and baptism, the individual is deliberately longing for the gift of the Holy Spirit. When a person is being baptized there should be two thoughts in the front of her mind. First, I need the forgiveness of sins through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Second, I need the Holy Spirit in order to live the Christian life. Peter taught this back then. What about today?

  • Can a person be a Christian without the Holy Spirit?

The short answer is, “no, a person cannot be a Christian without receiving the Holy Spirit.” Romans 8:14 says, “All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” It is by the Spirit that we understand the gospel and repent.

Turn again to Peter’s words in Acts 2:39, “For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

The promise is the promise of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is for those Jews, the coming generations, and for all who are far off. All who are far off appears to be the Jews dispersed throughout the earth and as the book of Acts unfolds, we understand that all who are far off includes Gentiles as well. That’s you and me. The promise of the Holy Spirit is for Jews and Gentiles in the book of Acts and throughout this age.

But notice who is in control. The apostles do not control the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands or through baptism. Peter says the promise is for everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself. The effectual call of God is the sovereign act by which the Father draws a person to Jesus and gives the called the Holy Spirit. It was in John 6 that Peter heard Jesus unpack this promise of the effectual calling of God’s elect. Bring your questions about election and calling to John 6; let’s get together and talk them out. For now, listen to Jesus in John 6:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.”

The Father is working to draw people to believe in Jesus. All those who are taught by the Father come to Jesus; not one is lost or left in the process. It is in fact impossible to come to Jesus apart from being taught by the Father! And it is such sweet news to hear that all who are taught and drawn will be brought safely home to glory. Jesus will raise them up on the last day.

Can a person be a Christian without receiving the Holy Spirit? No, a person must be taught by God the Spirit. It is this teaching that God uses to draw the person to repentance and faith. It is by faith that we receive the Holy Spirit who is the very presence of God in our lives and the surety of our salvation on the last day (Gal 3:2; Eph 4:30).

Let’s finish by following Peter’s example. Acts 2:40 tells us, “with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them saying, ‘Save yourself from this crooked generation.” Listen,

V. You must be born again

You cannot continue on the path you are on and escape God’s judgment. God has made his judgment clear by raising Jesus from the grave. Look at Jesus the standard of holiness and the standard of love. He will judge us. Can you stay where you are? Can you continue in your anger, in your rebellion, and in your pride? No, you must turn. You must repent of your sin. Tell your Maker that you know you have run away from him and you are sorry. Follow the Spirit’s conviction of sin to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Today, because of your sin and coming judgment, repent and believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus lived a righteous life for you, Jesus died an atoning death for you, Jesus rose victorious over the grave for you, Jesus is now praying for you that you will repent and believe the gospel. Repent, believe, and come seek baptism. Make your allegiance known. Declare to the world that you belong to Jesus. And do all of this depending up and asking for the Holy Spirit. If the Father is drawing you today to repent and believe the gospel then the gift of the Holy Spirit is for you. Trust him and follow him to faith in Jesus.

Discuss Acts 2:37-41

  1. In what way did God comfort, challenge, or correct you today?
  2. What is conviction over sin? Can you give an example from your life?
  3. Seeing that the Spirit uses the Word to pierce our hearts leading to repentance (Hebrews 4:12), what strategies will Satan use to keep you away from the Word?
  4. Repentance is more than acknowledging the need to change. Repentance is turning in thought or deed away from godlessness or selfishness. What do we turn to in repentance?
  5. Can you give an example of repentance from your life?
  6. What is the significance of being baptized in Jesus’ name?
  7. Can a person be forgiven prior to being baptized? Is it necessary to baptize a person in order for God to forgive that person?
  8. What do you think about the claim that the refusal to be baptized would soon result in church discipline?
  9. If you are a Christian, did you receive the Holy Spirit prior to, during, or after your baptism?
  10. Who do you know that has not repented and been baptized? Pray for an opportunity to share what you learned today with him/her.

Discuss Acts 2:29-36

  1. In what way did God comfort, challenge, or correct you today?
  2. What is dangerous about confidence and certainty without wisdom? Can you give an example?
  3. What does it mean that Jesus is Lord?
  4. What does it mean that Jesus is Christ?
  5. The four pieces of evidence for Jesus being Lord and Christ are the pouring out of the Spirit, the planned crucifixion, the powerful resurrection, and Jesus’ exaltation to the Father’s right hand. Which piece of evidence do you find the most convincing?
  6. What are the Father, Son, and Spirit doing in Acts 2:33?
  7. Where do you see the Holy Spirit leading in your life?
  8. Why is it necessary to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead in order to be saved? See Romans 10:9.
  9. What does it mean that Jesus is exalted at the Father’s right hand?
  10. What are you looking forward to when Jesus removes all sin and temptation and makes all things new?
  11. Seeing that Jesus is Lord and Christ, how should you live? Or, if you believed Jesus is Lord and Christ, how would your life change?
  12. In Acts 2, Peter gives us a good example of how to interpret the Bible with Christ at the center. Where else do you see Christ promised in the Old Testament?

Resurrection Hope Acts 2:25-28

Main Point: Christ’s resurrection gives us hope.

As we prepare to celebrate the Lord’s Supper together, we are going to work through the three approaches to Acts 2:25-28. In Acts 2:25, Peter quotes one of David’s psalms, Psalm 16, and shows how it is fulfilled in Jesus. So, we’ll take these verses from David’s perspective, from Jesus’ perspective, and then we’ll look at it from our perspective. Let’s read God’s Word together (Acts 2:22-28)

 

I. David’s hope

Now, it is good to know that David did not live on easy street. David wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Instead, David was born with a shepherd’s staff in his hand. Get to work and protect the flock. His childhood was filled with danger in the wilderness. His teenage years were filled with wars. In his twenties he began leading battles engaged in hand to hand combat. He then began running for his life due to death threats from the king. Later, when David became king there were still battles, but his family was especially rough. David committed adultery and then murder. One of David’s sons raped one of David’s daughters then another son killed that son. Later a son ran David out of town and tried to kill him in order to take the throne. Through it all, this was the constant

  • God’s presence was David’s hope

Notice how David speaks in verse 25, “I saw the Lord always before me.” David lived with an awareness of God’s presence. In Psalm 16:8 we see that David saw the Lord because he set the Lord always in front of him. So, let’s state the obvious, David experienced the presence of God because David intentionally sought the presence of God.

Kids, have you ever been “it” in a game of tag? Imagine you are “it” and all you do is sit there hoping you will catch someone. If you sit down on base and hope and pray that you will catch someone, will you catch anyone? No, you must get up and go after them. You must set yourself to going and getting them. This is David, David saw the Lord because David decided he would focus on the Lord.

And what was the outcome? Verse 25, “for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken.” The presence of God, pursued by faith and according to God’s word, gave David the strength to endure death-threats and war and loss. Once, when David went to war, another group came and stole all of his stuff and kid-napped his family. But it wasn’t just David’s stuff and David’s family, they took all his men’s possessions and all their families. Listen to 1 Samuel 30:6, “And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” That’s what we’re going after, how to strengthen yourself in the Lord your God.

Back to Acts 2 and we must move quickly. “I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken, therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced.” David’s stuff didn’t return, and his family didn’t come walking up the driveway, but David wasn’t shaken, his heart was glad, and his tongue rejoiced. The presence of God brought David stability and joy. Stuff won’t get you there. Relationships won’t get your there. Only the nearness of God brings hope.

And David knew it would turn out. On the first reading it appears that David was convinced he would fight and not die. He’s going to strap on a sword and go get his wife back. He writes, “my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption.” Either David is convinced he will never die, or David is convinced he won’t die in this particular situation. I think it’s the second. Hades is the place of the dead and dead bodies rot. Death is not David’s immediate future because God is at his right hand. David did not consider himself an immortal, but he was convinced God would see him through this danger.

Acts 2:28, what had God done for David? You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.” David continued living and though his life was full of terrible things, David was looking forward to the fullness of joy because of God’s presence.

Now, Peter preaches this passage because, Acts 2:30, David is a prophet and more than talking about himself, David is talking about one of his sons, the Messiah. Psalm 16:8-11 is ultimately about Jesus and not about David. It is true to David’s life in shadows and parts. Psalm 16:8-11 is true to Jesus in its totality. Let’s follow Peter and look at

II. Christ’s resurrection

In Acts 2:31, Peter makes it clear that David is talking about Jesus in these verses, David foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. Let’s work back through the verses looking at Jesus

  • The Father’s presence was the Son’s hope

Jesus says, “I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced.”

Where David said, “I set the Lord always before me,” Jesus says, “the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing” (John 5:19). Jesus was a man who daily lived off the strength of God’s word. Jesus says, “I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (John 17:4). There is a direct connection between knowing God, obeying God, and experiencing the love of God. Jesus was able to endure great pain and great loss because of his nearness to the Father. Jesus knew God, obeyed God, and enjoyed the love of God. And Jesus invites us today to come near to God, set our minds on God, and find our strength. The Lord’s Supper is an invitation to come to the Father through the Son. The Lord is set before you today.

Now, David rejoiced because God was with him and he would not die. Jesus rejoiced because God was with him and though he will die, he will rise again.

  • Jesus was set on the resurrection

Look back at Acts 2:26, “my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.”

Jesus was unmistakably clear that he would die and rise again. Just listen to three rapid fire pronouncements in Mark 8, 9, and 10. “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mk 8:31) “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise” (Mk 9:31). “And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise” (Mk 10:34). From a place of authority and resurrection hope Jesus says, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father” (John 10:17-18). Jesus is set on God and committed to the cross and resurrection.

The point Peter is making in Acts 2 is that God planned for the Messiah to die and God planned for the Messiah to live. A shamed, humiliated, crucified, and raised Messiah is the Lord’s doing for our salvation. Jesus is raised! Jesus is right now seated at his Father’s right hand full of the gladness of the Father’s presence. It is so good to be with God!

Jesus died and was raised. What do we do with that; with the cross and resurrection?

III. Follow Jesus

Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. Apart from him we can do nothing (John 15:5). So, what are we trusting Jesus for? Why are we following Jesus? What does dependence look like?

  • Follow Jesus to the Father

Jesus is clear that he came to give us his joy. John 15:11, Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” In difficulty, suffering, and danger Jesus wants your joy to be full. How do we experience this great joy? First, we must be clear, to ourselves, that joy is not found in stuff. Joy is not found in the cheap stuff of party favors and joy is not found in the expensive stuff of boats or houses. Joy is found in the presence of God. So, why are we not happy? Maybe we are frustrated because we are looking to stuff to make us happy. We’re like a person eating 10 pounds of packing peanuts and wondering why we feel awful. We need to clarify where joy is not found; it is not found in stuff or even in relationships for that matter. Joy is found in the presence of God. So, how do we get to the Father? How do we get joy? We get to the Father only through the Son. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one gets the Father expect by me” so that we will depend on him to take us to the Father for joy.

In the fearless and joyful Christian there is a clear understanding that I get to God only through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We follow Jesus to the Father for our strength and for our joy. We also

  • Follow Jesus to the grave

Jesus bids me come and die. Jesus calls me to lay down my life for my friends. Jesus warns me that if I protect my life, I will lose it and “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus demonstrates this truth in his own cross and Jesus calls us to pick up our crosses every day and follow him. The stay at home mom takes up her cross every day and dies for her family. Greater love has no one than this! See the dad who says no to the promotion or the extra work; he lays down his life, his career, and his good name for his family. Greater love has no one than this! The one who was wronged goes to the guilty and loving patiently confronts and works for healing. This is a dying and a loving. We tell ourselves no in order to do good to others. We put sin to death in order to be holy before God and helpful to others. The call to Christ is a call to the cross. Where are you experiencing daily dying?

At the same time, the call to Christ is a call to the cross and a call to the resurrection

  • Follow Jesus to the resurrection

Jesus says, “an hour is coming when all who are in the tomb will hear his voice and come out” (John 5:28).

Listen Christian, like David, you will die and be buried. Death is coming quickly for us all. But like Christ, you will be raised, and this is your future, “In the presence of God is the fullness of joy and at his right hand are pleasures forever more” (Ps 16:11). Jesus is already there, and he is coming again to take us there.

So, let’s

IV. Celebrate the Lord’s Supper

  • The Lord’s Supper is like a party invitation

Kids, have you ever received an invitation to a party? Maybe a friend asked you to come over or you actually got a paper invitation in the mail. Now I need to ask you, is the invitation the party? No, the invitation invites you to come to the party. The Lord’s Supper is like a party invitation.

The bread and the juice are inviting you to come and experience the Lord at your right hand. The bread and the juice point us to Christ who causes our hearts to be glad, our tongues to rejoice, and our flesh also to dwell in hope.

The Lord Supper invites us to look to Jesus who was not abandoned to the grave. The bread and cup invite us to look to the Holy One who did not see corruption. The Father raised him to life and made him full of gladness with his presence. Jesus is inviting us in our sin, in our guilt, in our fear, in our weakness, in our suffering, and in our shame to come and find life.

In the Lord’s Supper a Christian, marked by baptism and affirmed by the church, eats the bread and follows it where it is pointing. The bread invites us into the presence of God. By faith we believe that Jesus brings us into the presence of God. The cup invites us into the presence of God. By faith we believe Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness and gives us his righteousness so that we are acceptable to God and can enjoy his presence. What I’m saying is, I want us Christians to eat the Supper praying for an experience of gladness with God’s presence. This gladness comes as the Spirit convicts us of sin, the righteousness of Christ, and the presence of Christ right now with the Father for us.

Where there is sin, follow Christ and repent. Where there is a broken relationship, follow Christ and go be reconciled. Where there is fear, follow Christ and strengthen yourself with the Father’s presence. Where there is discouragement, follow Christ into joy. Let’s go to the Father, through the Son, and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s pray.

Discuss Acts 2:25-28

  1. In what way did God comfort, challenge, or correct you today?
  2. The presence of God brought David stability, joy, and hope in a crisis (1 Samuel 30:6). How do you think it looked for David to set the Lord always before him?
  3. Considering some of the spiritual disciplines like regular Bible reading, Scripture memory, prayer, fasting, singing hymns, and fellowship around the Bible, which do you find the most helpful for drawing near to God and why?
  4. List two or three great things God has done for you. Let your tongue rejoice.
  5. Does Jesus’ submission to God surprise you? Jesus only did what he saw his Father doing and only said what he heard his Father saying (John 5:19; 12:49).
  6. How would your life change if you only spoke and acted like Jesus?
  7. What gets in the way of your happiness in God?
  8. Where are you experiencing daily dying for the good of others? What does it look like for you to pick up your cross everyday and follow Jesus?
  9. How is the Lord’s Supper like a party invitation?

Discuss Acts 2:22-24

  1. In what way did God comfort, challenge, or correct you today?
  2. Why is it necessary to believe in Jesus? Why is belief in God not enough for salvation?
  3. What part does repentance for sin play in salvation? Is repentance necessary, secondary, or unnecessary?
  4. Why do the preachers in Acts keep referring to Jesus being from Nazareth? See Acts 2:22; 3:3; 4:10; 6:14; 10:38; 22:8; 24:5; 26:9.
  5. What do you believe about Jesus’ miracles? Were the stories made up? Was Jesus just a good magician-faker? Do the miracles demonstrate to you the power of God?
  6. How do you reconcile God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility?
  7. In what sense did you cause Jesus’ crucifixion?
  8. Why is it necessary to remember that God planned your redemption through Christ’s death?
  9. According to Acts 2:42, why did the Father raise Jesus from the dead? What are the implications of this truth for your life?
  10. How do you feel when you think about your own impending death? What does the resurrection of Jesus say to your hopes and fears?

Discuss Acts 2:14-21

  1. In what way did God comfort, challenge, or correct you today?
  2. Did you are receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? How do you know?
  3. What objections have you heard to Christianity? What are some good answers and how can you tie those answers to the gospel?
  4. Does it bother you that the “last days” have lasted nearly 2,000 years? What still must happen before Jesus returns?
  5. The possession of the Spirit for life and holiness is the mark of a Christian. Where do you see the Spirit working in your life? See Galatians 5:19-24 for help.
  6. If you are a Christian, in what since are you a prophet and a priest? See 1 Peter 2:9.
  7. The Holy Spirit empowers every Christian to witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Who do you know that needs to hear more about Jesus?
  8. Read Luke 21:25-28. What role to signs play in the return of Christ?
  9. What does it mean to call upon the name of the Lord and why must a person call upon the name of the Lord?
  10. When you think about following Jesus, what are you afraid of? Pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to teach you through the Word and give you strength.