Sermon Summary - Baptism (Acts 2:37-41)
The greatest need of every person in the world today: the forgiveness of sin. Peter has in this first Christian sermon demonstrated from the Scriptures and from the early believers’ eyewitness testimony of the resurrection that Jesus is the Messiah. This message reached the hearts, not of everybody, but of some who were cut to the heart when they heard (Acts 2:37, Heb. 4:12). This is the work of the Holy Spirit mercifully causing 3000 souls to feel their need for forgiveness. This is the greatest need of every human being right now, because all have sinned (Rom. 3:23, Eph. 2:1-3).
Our culture at large preaches relativism, which is the exact opposite of the objective standards laid out in God’s holy commandments. This eradicates the beauty of God’s grace in forgiveness of actual sins, which every soul objectively needs. The good news is that the Creator of the universe predetermined that His eternal Son would become a human being in order to be slaughtered on a bloody cross to absorb the punishment for sins, and that God then raised Him from the dead and thus forgiveness of sins is offered to anyone who believes. Water baptism portrays and dramatizes forgiveness of sins and union with Christ by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Back to Peter’s response to those who were cut to the heart (Acts 2:38) - “Repent” - this doesn’t merely mean feeling bad for your sins, but also following through on that conviction and turning around, changing your mind, affections, and heart to then walk with God by the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 26:18). “Be baptized” - there is a very close connection in the mind of the apostles between saving faith and water baptism - it’s assumed that every believer will be obedient to the command to be baptized (Matt. 28:19).
Romans 6:3-4 - in baptism, our old, rebellious, unbelieving self died, and our future physical death will not result in eternal condemnation. Baptism portrays the work of the Holy Spirit in uniting us spiritually with Jesus in His atoning death. And His resurrection life becomes our new life. Gal. 2:20 - newness of life is the life of ongoing faith and trust in Christ’s death, and God’s promises in Holy Scripture. This is signified this Sunday (10/7/18) in the baptism of Christopher, Alissa, and Michael.
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