Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38
Peter had just completed one of the best sermons ever spoken. His words cut to the heart of everyone who was listening. This is that moment where he gives a call to action. He called them first to repentance. He knew that the journey starts for each of us by getting right with God through confessing that we have sinned. Then Peter redirects them to turn to God. This is important because we can’t be forgiven of our sins on our own, but we have to turn to God for His mercy and grace. We receive this forgiveness when we make Jesus Christ the Lord or Master of our lives. As an outward sign that we have been changed on the inside, the first step of obedience that we are called to take is to get baptized. Our willingness to get baptized shows our love and commitment to follow wherever God leads.
When a person has put their faith and trust in Jesus, they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. That doesn't mean that they have to sit in a room for ten days waiting for a flaming tongue of fire to come and rest upon them. We believe that the moment a person commits their life to Jesus Christ, God sends the Holy Spirit to live inside of them. The thought of the Holy Spirit living inside of you might be a little confusing, but that isn’t the intent. The Holy Spirit is given to help guide and instruct us as we follow Jesus. He is given to comfort us and to help us to get rid of all the old garbage that is holding us back from loving God. He is working in unison with both the Father and Jesus to refine our character.
The Holy Spirit seals us as followers of Jesus Christ and serves as evidence that we are children of God. But what if you don’t feel like the Holy Spirit is living inside of you? Maybe you don’t see much difference between yourself and your neighbors. It could be that you aren’t convicted of sin or maybe you are uncertain if you died today that you would go to heaven. If you are reading this devotional and God is stirring in your heart, maybe it is time to put your full faith and trust in Jesus. Walk back through what Peter said and repent of your old way of living, turn to God, and ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. Then, commit your life to God by making Jesus your Lord and Master. When you commit your life to Jesus, He gives the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Think back to when you committed your life to Jesus. As pastors, we are always surprised when people say, "Well I have always been committed to Jesus!" Usually, the people who say this were raised in the church and don't have a defining moment when they committed their lives to Christ. Take some time to write out your faith story when you first committed your life to Christ. If you are confused or don't have a moment you committed your life to Christ, come see us in the decision room this weekend or fill out the form on the Decisions Tab of the Sagebrush app to talk to a pastor about accepting Christ.
Read Acts 2:13-41 (NLT)
But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!”
Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this. These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that. No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel:
‘In the last days,’ God says,
‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.
In those days I will pour out my Spirit
even on my servants—men and women alike—
and they will prophesy.
And I will cause wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below—
blood and fire and clouds of smoke.
The sun will become dark,
and the moon will turn blood red
before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives.
But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord
will be saved.’
“People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip. King David said this about him:
‘I see that the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is glad,
and my tongue shouts his praises!
My body rests in hope.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.
You have shown me the way of life,
and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’
“Dear brothers, think about this! You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn’t referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us. But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on his throne. David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave him among the dead or allow his body to rot in the grave.
“God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said,
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit in the place of honor at my right hand
until I humble your enemies,
making them a footstool under your feet.”’
“So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”
Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!”
Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.