Sunday 16th May 2021

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We have spent the last two Sundays looking at a message Simon-Peter preached seven weeks after Jesus’ resurrection. At the heart of this sermon is the message that God shows his power over sin and death through raising Jesus from the dead. This is the message which Jesus taught and is confirmed through being foretold by god to numerous people throughout the 2,000 years covered by the Old Testament section of our Bible. The same message which we continue to trust in and share today.

Read the conclusion of Simon-Peter’s message and the crowd’s reaction to it: Acts 2: 31-42

Simon-Peter quotes from another psalm by King David (Psalm 110), and like the psalm we considered at last week (Psalm 16), we see that David obviously isn’t talking about himself, but is describing events in the life if the long-awaited Christ. Simon-Peter says that God not only raised Jesus from the dead, but as David says in psalm 110 Jesus is now ascended into heaven, he is at the Father’s right-hand! The crowd become convinced that what Simon-Peter says is true and that God has made this Jesus who they had crucified, both Lord and Messiah and so they ask ‘What shall we do?’

Simon-Peter tells them (v.38) ‘Repent and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the ever-present help of God’s Holy Spirit.’ It is worth reminding ourselves that repent simply means ‘a change of mind’, but a change of mind which results in changed behaviour! Baptism simply meant a ceremonial washing, to signify being washed clean of sin.

Simon-Peter announces to the crowd that if they want to show they had changed their minds (repented) and wanted to acknowledge that Jesus is the Messiah – the Christ, then they should be symbolically washed clean. in the name of Jesus, the Messiah and so know that their sins are forgiven, enabling them to become somewhere where God’s pure and holy Spirit could be present.

Baptism always has been about an outward sign of an inward decision, an outward sign of repentance – a changing of our mind, resulting in a change of action. An outward declaration of what is going on inside our minds and hearts. When we open up the church’s baptistry pool I ask the person who is about to Baptist, ‘Do you willingly declare that Jesus Christ is your Saviour and Lord, then having heard them speak about their faith in Jesus as their Saviour, I baptise them, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

But we heard in our bible reading that baptism isn’t he end of the process, rather it is the start of a life-long commitment to understanding what it means to live with Jesus as our Lord, our King. We see that as the people listening to Simon-Peter had a change of mind and their repentance led them to behaving differently. Our bible reading listed the new things they did: They learnt; they shared; they took communion and they prayed.

Those hearing Simon-Peter’s message were able to learn through listening to people who had been with Jesus. We can’t do that, but we have all that we need to learn written down for us in the New Testament.

We are also told that the new believers fellowshipped together. Defining this word often involved other words such as participation and partnership, but we have seen a great definition of it during lock-down as people have kept in touch with each other, supporting and encouraging each other.

Our bible reading also told us that the believers were already regularly sharing communion together which they describe as ‘Breaking bread’ and finally our bible reading also told us that they also devoting themselves to prayer. From what we read further on in Acts of the Apostles, this is not just praying by themselves but also joining together with others to pray.

So, the people who recognised that Jesus is the Christ, who died for their sins, so they repented, changed their thoughts and actions, and declared this through being baptised. They then grew stronger in their faith –

through           Learning more about Jesus - the apostles teaching

Supporting each other – fellowship

Sharing communion together – breaking bread

and Praying – alone and together

They made Christ’s love known through worship words and actions

HOMEWORK: find time during the coming days to consider how can you do even better at doing what is described in Acts ch.2 v42.

To God be the glory! Great things He hath done; so loved He the world that He gave us His Son;

who yielded His life an atonement for sin, and opened the life gate that all may go in.

Praise the Lord! praise the Lord! Let the earth hear His voice

praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice:

O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son

and give Him the glory, great things He hath done!

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood! to every believer the promise of God;

the vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

(Fanny J Crosby)1820-1915)

Page last updated: 23rd May 2021 6:10 AM