Summary: Hearing the word of God has a variety of reponses as Peter found out.
I. The Call for Repentance given by Peter
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. Vs. 37, 38
The first sermon of the church was about two minutes long. The results we are going to soon see is that 3,000 people became Christians. When Peter had explained what had taken place in the life of Christ, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the people who had gathered asked an important question, one we should all ask, “What shall we do?”
There are two important question we should be able to answer in life. The first, Jesus asked of His disciples and also asks of us. When He was walking with them in Casearea Philippi Jesus asked them, “Who do you say that I am?” This is a question of significance because our whole destiny depends on how we answer that question. The second question we must answer is what they asked of Peter here, “What shall we do?” A wrong answer to this question, no matter how correct a persons belief may be, will lead to eternal tragedy. And Satan has worked his hardest to bring confusion to the minds of people when it comes to this question. We all know there is a plethora of wrong answers which have been given over the centuries to this question. We need only to go back to Peter’s comments in the first sermon to bring clarity to the question.
A. Conviction grips at the heart.
The Bible says after they had heard from Peter they were pierced to the heart. This is the only place in the New Testament where the Greek word used here, Katanusso, pierced, is used. It depicts something sudden and unexpected, something that stunned them. And they came to the realization that they were indicted by their guilt and behavior before God. There were several reasons for this:
1. They realized they had crucified their Messiah. They had been looking forward to the Messiah for decades, and now they came to the realization that the One whom they had hoped for they had now executed. That instead of welcoming Him when He walked among them, they had instead rejected and turned over to the Roman authorities to be executed.
1. They themselves had done it. Imagine, it would have been bad enough to hear that someone had killed the Messiah, but far worse when they found out that they were implicated in the complicity in the crime. Could you imagine a greater sin than to have killed the Messiah.
1. They now had fear of the Messiah’s wrath. Peter told them, unquestionable, the Jesus they had killed was now alive. Peter had quoted Psalm 110 which spoke of how the Messiah would now come and vanquish his enemies, and what greater enemy would he have then those who killed him.
1. They were devastated by what they had done. What they had done, they realized there was no way they could undo it. I think all of us know how that can happen in our lives.
A. Conviction leads to the question of Repentance.
What happens to us when we come to a place where we have done something wrong? If we do not have a seared conscious, when conviction comes, then we begin to feel remorse, we become repentant. That is where those who had heard from Peter had come in their journey. Overwhelmed with anguish, despair, remorse and guilt, they asked Peter, what shall we do? An indictment of sin is important in any presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Without conviction one will never see the need they have for a Savior. So they ask Peter what they must do, and he responds.
1. You must repent.
Repentance is the Greek word, Metanoeo, which is a changing of purpose, a complete change of the direction one is heading and going the opposite way. A person who is truly repentant hates what they have done strongly. They hate sin because they know it to be an affront to God. False repentance dreads the consequences of sin while true repentance dreads sin itself. A person who is truly repentant forsakes their sin and turns and makes a total commitment to Jesus Christ. Repentance is an important and essential part of a genuine conversion. You cannot be converted without being repentant.
When John the Baptist was on the scene, it says in Mark 1:4 John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus teachings made repentance central in what he was telling everyone. Judaism itself had repentance at the core of its message as well. Peter told them there was something else they needed to do…