It’s the word I felt to give to those who are being baptized but also to all of us. All of us as we’re facing what could be very uncertain and difficult days.
I don’t know if you follow the news but it’s not good, is it? We don’t know what the next step is going to be.
There doesn’t seem to be any answer to the crisis which is coming upon the world except the one we find in the Bible, in Jesus.
And sadly, most of our leaders don’t seem to be interested in finding the answer from God and from Jesus Christ.
But, what is to be done? I’m going to talk about what is to be done, and about what’s to be done having been baptized.
Where do we go from here?
Let’s read from the Book of Acts chapter 2 which tells us about the first baptism that took place after Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, fifty days after Jesus rose from the dead, and ten days after He ascended into heaven and told the disciples to wait until the coming of the Holy Spirit.
On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came in power with signs and wonders following, and a great crowd was gathered, and Peter explained to them the Gospel.
He explained what had happened to Jesus Christ, how He died for our sins, rose from the dead, and is alive today.
You can take up the story in verse 37:
Peter explained to the crowd assembled there, (I think it was in the Temple) a mixed crowd of people, some of whom probably had been supportive of Jesus some had been opposed to Jesus, a crowd of people who were amazed to hear this account.
That this Jesus who had been crucified had now risen from the dead and is alive today.
Peter and the apostles were eyewitnesses of this. They’d seen Jesus alive, they knew He was alive, they knew he had risen from the dead.
And, in rising from the dead, He had conquered the power of sin, the power of death, and the power of Satan, and He’d overcome, and He’d risen from the dead to give life to all those who repent and believe the Gospel.
There were some people who were listening to Peter who had agreed to the decision to put Jesus to death. It was a mixed crowd; they were all crowded together.
They heard this sound and they’d come together to hear what he had to say.
Peter said to them: ‘You know, this Jesus whom you crucified, God has exalted and is now Lord and Christ.’
Some people say that means that ‘the Jews killed Jesus’. It doesn’t! It means that there were people there who were responsible for Jesus’ death.
And it is all of us who are responsible for the death of Jesus. All of us crucified Jesus because Christ died for our sins.
If we hadn’t been sinners, He wouldn’t have needed to die. But He died for our sins in order that we might be redeemed.
And He rose from the dead to show that He had conquered over sin and death, and hell.
Then, the people asked a very good question. They said, ‘Men, what shall we do?’
I wish more people would ask that question when we go out and preach the Gospel because it’s a good question.
What are we going to do about it? Does it have an impact upon our lives?
If you understand the Gospel, it has an impact upon your life.
Whoever you are, wherever you come from, whatever you’ve done in your life, whether you’ve been a big sinner or a little sinner, whatever you are, you are a sinner and you need to do something about it.
Peter says that what you need to do is quite simple: ‘Repent, turn away from your sins, and believe in Jesus Christ.’
In fact, when you look in the Book of Acts, people were baptized pretty much on the spot when they believed in Jesus.
From the testimonies we’ve heard, it doesn’t happen often in our baptism services but it is what happened on that occasion.
They heard the Gospel, they believed, and they were baptized in the name of Jesus.
And, here, Peter tells us that the promise is that they will then receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will come upon them and change them into a new person as they receive the power, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and change through the power of Jesus coming upon them.
He promises them that they would be saved from this perverse generation. That sounds a bit ‘condemning’, doesn’t it?
Those who received the Word were baptized. About 3 000 souls were added to them on that day!
It must have been quite a baptismal ceremony!
There is some discussion about where it took place. Was it in the mikvehs, the waters which were by the Temple?
Did they take them down to the Pool of Siloam? We don’t know but it says they were baptized on that day, and they became members of the new formed Christian church, the church.
Which means the ecclesia: ‘those have been called out’, the Body of Messiah.
And this was the beginning of what we call the Church. The beginning of the ‘church age’ in which people were saved through faith in Jesus.