Peter had preached a dynamic sermon under the power and direction of the Holy Spirit, and the result was according to Acts 2:41, “those who accepted the message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” So, Peter preaches, the Holy Spirit convicts then the people are baptized and become part of the community of believers. Let’s notice what it was that Peter and the other eleven taught on that Pentecost morning that had such an impact on so many people.
“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge, and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.” Acts 2: 22-24 Peter goes on to claim, “therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2: 36
Peter reminded the people that they had seen the miracles, wonders and signs that had accompanied Jesus ministry. The Old Testament had predicted that the coming of the Messiah would be accompanied by such wonders and yet the people ignored those signs in Jesus ministry. He informs them that the death of Jesus was not by accident but was the plan of God for the redemption of mankind. There was purpose in all that happened in the ministry of Jesus and the cross. He also taught them that the Jesus they had seen nailed to the cross was now alive, being raised from the dead by the grace and power of God. Through God death had been overcome, not only for Jesus, but also for all who believed in Him. “God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.” That is one of the most wonderful statements in Scripture, because anyone who believes in God will be resurrected in Christ. Death has no power over a Christian because we will be resurrected to live for all eternity. Jesus truly is, “both Lord and Christ.”
It is no wonder that when the people heard this message of hope in Christ that, “they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, ‘brothers, what shall we do?’” Acts 2: 37 There’s the crux of anyone coming to Christ; they think there must be something that they must now do. What actions do we have to perform in order for God to give us this great gift of eternal life? Peter answered, “repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2: 38, 39
The people heard the message that Jesus, who was crucified for their sins, was resurrected and is alive. He defeated the grave and death and lives forever and anyone who accepts Christ will also live forever. The people were cut to the heart by the Holy Spirit and cried out what must we do to be saved? The answer was nothing but repent, be baptized and accept the gracious gift of salvation that wipes away your sins. The result is the gift of the Holy Spirit that draws us close to God. What happened to these three thousand after they were baptized that day? Luke tells us, “they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2: 42
On becoming a Christian there are no works involved, just a change of heart. When Christ comes into our life we find ourselves spending time in the word of God, longing for Christian fellowship and finding the time to pray. Paul tells the Colossians, “In Him you were circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead.” Colossians 2:11,12 Sounds a lot like Peter’s sermon doesn’t it? The circumcision made without hands is the cutting of the heart just like the people when they heard the gospel at Pentecost. When we are confronted with the love of Christ our hearts are changed and just as those nails pierced the hands and feet of Jesus the gospel pierces our hearts. We died with Christ on that cross, we are born again on resurrection morning and eternity is our home.