What Shall We Do? (Acts 2:29-37)
If you’re queasy like I am, put ear plugs in! Bob and Ann, my in-laws, were hanging new paneling in living room. Ann gets a large piece into the quick of her finger; it breaks off. She screams – Bob runs in from bedroom. Has to use a large sewing needle to go up under fingernail to get it. He wants to put alcohol on it; Ann says, “No!”; they settle on peroxide. Tam and Rob are screaming and crying. Tam cries telling the story.
I get queasy and Tam cried because it’s not easy being in pain! Fortunate not to have had a lot of pain many have. But, been to the hospital and hospice house – Seen plenty of people screaming in constant agony.
Maybe you’ve never had much pain. But many of you have. Pain of surgery . . . car accident . . . broken bones . . . etc.
Worse pain than physical pain. I’d rather be in excruciating pain than see my kids go to hell; see the look on Tam’s face as I tell her I’m leaving; see my parents brought to shame by my actions. Confident that you, too, can imagine pain worse than physical pain.
Sin brings great pain!
Look at your life and tell me that sin brings no pain! How many nights have you lain awake wetting the pillow with tears of remorse? How many times have you had to swallow pride and go to someone you’ve wronged? How much pain has sin brought into your life?
Scripture (Acts 2:39-37)
We aren’t the first people to be racked with pain from sin. Fortunately, we find an answer to getting rid of that pain in our text. Let’s refresh our minds about this context: First Pentecost after the Resurrection; As always, great crowd in Jerusalem; Holy Spirit falls on apostles; Apostles speak in other languages; Crowd believes the apostles are drunk; and Peter defends the apostles and preaches the Gospel.
Peter has just quoted Psalm 16. Clear that the Resurrection mentioned there couldn’t be David’s.
David “spoke about the resurrection of the Christ.” “Christ” Greek/ “Messiah” Hebrew – in other words this was the One for whom the Jews were waiting.
verse v 32:
God raised Jesus . . . Resurrection not sleight of hand, scientific anomaly, etc. Work of God. Peter has used Scripture (Ps 19) to establish Resurrection; now uses his own eyewitness testimony.
v 33: The outpouring of the Holy Spirit – that which brought the assembly together and amazed them – is the work of this Jesus.
- Made Lord and Christ: “Lord” . . . “Master” “Christ” . . . “Messiah”
- The Jews crucified. Killed the Promised One. Killed their Master.
Cut to the heart. Greek means to pierce, to sting sharply. Understood the full realization of their sin, and they are in great pain. Sin brings great pain!
When they killed Jesus, Jews didn’t understand their sin. Likely went home quite content, thinking, “We did God’s will; crucified an impostor.” But, the contentment was temporary. Any contentment/pleasure from sin is temporary. “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Heb 11:24-25).
They cried out: “Brothers, what shall we do?” Pain seeks relief . . . medication, physical pain . . . alcohol, emotional pain. Pain of sin needs relief. No fun to know you’ve failed. No fun to know you’ve sinned against God. No fun to know you’re going to hell. Thus, sin brings great pain!
What can we do when we experience the great pain sin brings? Many take care of it themselves: turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, etc.; deny God’s existence; find an easy path in some denomination. That’s a sure way to compound the problem.
We need to speak to the non-Christian.
Peter’s simple answer: “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” (Acts 2:38).
“Repent” changing thoughts to change lives. Decide to change your life. Carrying out that decision in a transformed life.
Baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. In name of Jesus Christ – He gives baptism validity. For remission of sins – the point at which one’s sins are forgiven. “Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16). “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 3:21). If you know the great pain sin brings, be baptized today!
We also need to speak to the Christian.
Maybe you’ve experienced great pain from sin after being baptized. You wouldn’t be the first. Simon the sorcerer. “Repent . . . of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you” (Acts 8:22). Do you need to repent and pray this morning? Christians to whom John wrote. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn 1:8). They were given two steps. First: “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn 1:7). “Walk in the light” . . . “try to do the right thing.” Are you trying to live right? Second: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn 1:9). “Confession” means to “say the same thing”/admission before God that we are, as he has declared, sinful. We also confess to fellow Christians: “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another” (Js 5:15).
Before we give you an opportunity to repent, be baptized, or confess sin, based on your need, let’s dream for a minute. If the body of Christ fully recognized that sin brings great pain, where would the church be? Try to convert the lost . . . get them out of their pain. Wouldn’t look down on someone who repented . . . understand that person has great pain. Spend time with the Word of God so that we could avoid sin’s pain. . . What a glorious church!
Do you need to get rid of your pain this morning?
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr..