Summary: Our hearts need to be convicted again of our sin of placing Christ on the cross. Your sins put Him there, but you can be forgiven in the same matter that the people on Pentecost were forgiven.
RELIVING PENTECOST: THE CONVICTION ACCOUNT
THEME: RESPONSING TO THE CONVICTION OF OUR SINS.
TEXT: ACTS 2:36-41
Year ago there was a large controversy over a movie. The fighting was intensive. The movie was called the “Passion of the Christ.” There were numerous charges against the movie. Some of the charges included that it was inaccurate, it was too brutal and bloody, and that it was too graphic. These charges will small compare to the fire storm over whether the movie was anti-Semitic. For those who are not familiar with the politically correct term, this means that the movie was accused of being against the Jews. The Jews were arguing that the movie pictured them as the one’s who killed Christ. The Jews were arguing that it was not the Jewish nation that were responsible for the death of Jesus, but rather it was the Roman nation, and hence the Gentiles who were guilty. This debate went back and forth numerous times of accusing and defending each party of the guilt and responsibility over the killing of Jesus Christ. The fingers were pointed, the arguments were given, and the responsibility was denied. No one wanted to take responsibility for the death of Jesus Christ. The producer of the movie was being interviewed. His name was Mel Gibson. Mel Gibson does not seem to be the religious authority in the world. But he did speak some truth in this interview. As the interviewer was pressing Gibson on who killed Jesus. The interview was looking to stir up more strive and debate. The interviewer was looking for more headlines for the local papers. The interviewer asked who really killed Jesus Christ. Mel Gibson stated, “You did, I did, and everyone killed the Lord by their own sins. Everyone’s sins put Jesus on the Cross. The interviewer went to the next question.
This is the point of the cross of Jesus. This is the point that Peter comes to in his lesson on the day of Pentecost. Peter has been empowered with the Holy Spirit to declare Jesus as the Christ. He mentions the prophecies, he mentions his perfect life, and he mentions Christ’s glory. He mentions that Christ has been exalted to the right hand of God. But now Peter gets to the conclusion of his message. He gets to the you and me section of this sermon. He gets to the powerful point of the lesson. He gets to what you need to do about what you have done. He gets to the sin, the real issue. He gets to your heart. Peter states with a bold voice in Acts 2:36 “"Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ-- this Jesus whom you crucified." Hearts through the audience were convicted, they burned inside. They were guilty, they were wrong, they killed the Son of God. They cried out for his blood. His death is their entire fault. They rejected, they murdered, and they sinned. The people on Pentecost were convicted.
Maybe you have never felt this level of conviction before. Hopefully you have felt convicted before. It is the burn in the heart where you know, you see, your sin for the first time. It is the moment you realize that you are wrong. You have sinned.
Anthony Campolo recalls a deeply moving incident that happened in a Christian junior high camp where he served. One of the campers, a boy with spastic paralysis, was the object of heartless ridicule. When he would ask a question, the boys would deliberately answer in a halting, mimicking way. One night his cabin group chose him to lead the devotions before the entire camp. It was one more effort to have some "fun" at his expense. Unashamedly the spastic boy stood up, and in his strained, slurred manner -- each word coming with enormous effort -- he read in broken English from Matthew 25:40 “’Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’’ That was all. The boys know the context of that verse of mistreating and overlooking people that others did not see as worthy of love and attention. Conviction fell upon those junior-highers. Many began to cry. The young boys realized that the way they were treating this boy was the way they were treating Christ. All the boys repented that night.
As great conviction fell over that camp, great conviction fell over the land of Jerusalem. And the people wanted to make the situation right again. They wanted to be forgiven, to be sorry for their sin. The people realized they were wrong.
And Peter told them what to do in Acts 2:37-38 “Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" And Peter said to them, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The people cried out for relief. How were they going to make this situation right? Peter provides the answer. The people are to repent which means to change one’s direction or to change one’s mind. The people were to realize that they made a mistake. They killed the Christ. The second thing they were to do was to be baptized. This was going to wash away the sin of crying out for the blood of Christ. The people had to be immersed in water. Why water, why not water. This was the command that they were to obey. Not to argue about, not to question. If the blood of the son of God is on your hands, you are not going to quibble over why water. You are going to do what you are told. You are not going to reject the water. The water is the action that is going to prove that you are truly committed. You are truly convicted. This is the command that God gives, he could have given fifty other commands, but this is what the Lord chooses. This is the action that is going to wash the sins away. Good enough for me. I am in no position to argue over the act of baptism. If I feel sorry for all the sins that I have committed, and I must be baptized to be saved, throw me in that water.