Peter preached. Acts 2:14-36
REACTION: “They were cut to the heart.” Acts 2:37
REQUEST: “What shall we do?” Acts 2:37
REPLY: “Repent and be baptized.” Acts 2:38
RESPONSE: Those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about 3,000 souls. Acts 2:41
What we can learn from these things:
The response teaches us that baptism is essential to salvation. It moves one from being outside of Christ to being “in Christ.”
The reply teaches us that repentance along with baptism is always a part of the answer to the question of salvation.
The request shows that every person must do what is commanded by God to be saved. It is not all up to God, each person has his part to do.
The reaction is where it all began. The people would not have been baptized if Peter had not told them to be. He told them in response to their question. Their question would not have been asked without the reaction they had to his sermon.
They were cut (pierced) to the heart. The word pierce means to be smitten in conscience…sudden and acute and stinging pain. It expresses panic, guilt, fear, and trouble. It is similar to what the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-31) felt when he “came to himself” and wondered, “What am I going to do?”
In Acts 2, there were two sides to this cutting/piercing of hearts that led to the question, that led to the reply, that led to the response. Peter’s preaching pierced their hearts. It was Bible-centered (he quoted from Joel 2, Psalm 16 and 110), Christ-centered (Acts 2:22, 23, 32, 36), and people-centered (Acts 2:12-16, 22-23, 29, 36).
The audience’s listening pierced their hearts. Bible-centered, Christ-centered, people-centered preaching sometimes puts people to sleep. But it is this kind of preaching that is instrumental in people being wounded in heart, yet obedient to God. Tired bodies, bored minds and closed ears will never lead to a pierced heart. “Now when they heard this” (Acts 2:37). They were listening. No Bible in their lap, no PowerPoint on a screen, what they had was an open heart. They realized the message was true…that it was for them…and that they were in big trouble.
What must we do?
Peter preached…the audience listened…which led to being cut to the heart…which led to the question…which led to the answer…which led to men and women obeying Jesus in baptism. Much has changed in the two millennia that have passed since then, but this simple pattern has not.