Summary: The proper response to guilty feelings will help us live in right relationship w/ God.
How to Deal with Conviction
“When Something Good Makes You Feel Bad”
Intro: Last week we talked about being under the influence (not of intoxicants, stimulants, or any illegal substance, but under the influence of the Holy Spirit). Peter was under the influence when he stood up to speak to the huge crowd of people who had gathered in reaction to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit used Peter to speak powerful words of truth which brought conviction to the listeners. How do you handle conviction? When you know you’ve done something wrong, and you feel that little twinge of guilt, what do you do with it? Do you ignore it? Do you let it get you down? Do you blame somebody else for the way you feel and excuse yourself?
-It is interesting to watch how children learn to deal with conviction. Some don’t deal with it very well, but then sometimes they aren’t taught how to deal with it. How we respond to feeling bad about our behavior is one of the most important lessons we can learn as a child. It doesn’t come natural, though. Just watch little kids. Nobody had to teach them how to lie. It comes naturally. The Bible tells us what we should do when something good makes us feel bad; there is one central thought I’d like to leave with you today:
Prop: The proper response to guilty feelings will help us live in right relationship w/ God.
Interrogative: What is the proper response when we know we are in the wrong?
TS: As we take a look at how Peter’s listeners responded when they were faced with their own sin and guilt, we will see at least 3 steps that can apply to our own lives.
I. Get Right
-Maybe you have heard people use this phrase before: “I’ve got to get right.” People who are addicted to drugs may use it to describe a drug-free state, when they are no longer under the influence of the drug. Get right and stay right.
-A contemporary Christian song surfaced several years ago, that said, “Get right or get left, for the Lord’s coming back for you.”
-Well, when Peter’s listeners heard the Spirit-inspired message, v.37 says they were cut to the heart. You know God’s word has a way of doing that to us. Hebrews 4:12 tells us 12”For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” The sword of God’s word, when delivered in the power of the HS can cut to the heart. Jesus also said in John 16:8 “When [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” So, in Acts 2, the HS has just come and filled these believers, and Peter stands up under the influence of the HS and preaches a very convincing, powerful message.
-This message was so strong, that when the listeners were convicted by it, they asked, “What can we do about the way we have treated the Messiah? Is it too late? Did we miss our chance?”
-As we have already read, Peter had good news for them. The first thing he told them to do was repent. To repent means to turn around, to make a U-Turn. This shows a change of heart, a change of direction & a change of actions. Peter was telling them that they needed to turn away from their hard-hearted unbelief, and to turn to God, who had given them the Messiah. He told them to get right in their hearts.
-Maybe you have been confronted with your own sinfulness and failure sometime in the past. If you are a Christian, I know you have faced this. How do I know it? Because that is how we come to Christ. We come to realize how badly we have mistreated our Creator, and we repent. We turn away from all that is not pleasing to God. If you have not repented and turned away from all that is wrong, then you cannot call yourself a Christian until you do.
-What do we do when something good makes us feel bad? Well, according to Peter, we need to repent, because God is the One who is disturbing us, convicting us, and making us see our need to get right with Him!
-It is only when we make things right with God that we can say, “It is well with my soul.” Everything is okay, because my heart is right with God, and I’m trusting Him with my life.
-TS: Well, at the same time we are repenting and getting headed in the right direction, we also need to be cleansed. We cannot clean up our own lives enough to please God. We need Him to cleanse us.