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Context: Testimony has just been delivered to support the claim that Jesus of Nazareth has risen from the dead and is both Christ and Lord. What does it mean in your life for Jesus to be both Christ and Lord?

The audience has been brought face to face with their sin against a holy God and the guilt and shame and judgment associated with that sin. These are some heavy words – words that the modern church thinks we can avoid or sugarcoat. But the reality is that apart from man being humbled to experience the depths of his lost condition, he has no need for a Savior.

Peter is going to answer for us the most important question a person can ask: “How can a convicted sinner be saved?” His answer will be biblical and balanced – rooted in God’s sovereignty and yet placing the responsibility and accountability squarely on the shoulders of the individual. No one will be able to argue that God did not make a legitimate universal offer of a gracious free gift of salvation.

We affirm two truths: all those who contritely and humbly desire to be saved will be saved AND only those who have been appointed by God’s elective decree and awakened by His effectual call will have such a desire.


You must understand God’s message in these seven areas to grasp the answer to the all-important question: “How can a convicted sinner be saved?”


A. Conviction of Sin Requires Insight Into Man’s Condition from Understanding God’s Word

“Now when they heard this,”

“Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ” Rom. 10:17

Word of God is still the method that God uses to bring conviction of sin; need to get the Word out; Satan does not want the Word to get out; wants us to use other methods

Charles Spurgeon often warned against the invitation system, even in his public preaching to the lost. It was not uncommon to hear him warn,

• “God has not appointed salvation by enquiry-rooms. . . . For the most part, a wounded conscience, like a wounded stag, delights to be alone that it may bleed in secret.”

The role of the preacher is to exhort men and women to faith in Christ. That is all. And that is enough. God is well able to do everything else. . .

“Sometimes we are inclined to think that a very great portion of modern revivalism has been more a curse than a blessing, because it has led thousands to a kind of peace before they have known their misery; restoring the prodigal to the Father’s house, and never making him say, ‘Father, I have sinned.’ How can he be healed who is not sick? or he be satisfied with the bread of life who is not hungry? The old-fashioned sense of sin is despised, and consequently a religion is run up before the foundations are dug out. Everything in this age is shallow. Deep-sea fishing is almost an extinct business so far as men’s souls are concerned. The consequence is that men leap into religion, and then leap out again. Unhumbled they come to the church, unhumbled they remained in it, and unhumbled they go from it.”

B. Conviction of Sin Can Only Be Produced in the Heart by the Holy Spirit

“they were pierced to the heart,”

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Heb 4:12 διϊκνούμενος as moving into and through something producing a marked effect go through, thoroughly penetrate

But Holy Spirit is able to produce conviction

Emotional response will not be the same with each individual

“pierced” – sharp pain or a stab, often associated with emotion; literally be pierced through, be stabbed, be pricked deeply; idiomatically, of the sharp pain felt in the heart from conviction or remorse; to experience acute emotional distress, implying both concern and regret – only NT usage

“He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” John 16:9

Parable of the Soils – only one type of soil is that good soil where the gospel seed takes root and grows to a healthy, sustaining plant –

Many obstacles to a heart that is prepared to respond to God’s Word

– Hard, stubborn heart

– Preoccupied heart – too many other concerns

Are we allowing the Holy Spirit to pierce our heart in areas where we need to respond to Him in repentance and faith in our spiritual growth? Or have we shut down; tuned out the Holy Spirit; developed a calloused conscience … how sensitive are we to the Holy Spirit?

C. Conviction of Sin Prepares the Heart to Respond to the Gospel Message of God’s Grace

“and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’”

Asking the right question; Peter is going to respond by telling them how they can be saved; All of the apostles united in the same message; divine plan of salvation – not invented by each preacher

“Men brothers” – as sinners we have more in common than not; no room for arrogance or disdain – same address Peter had used earlier 2:29 – now they are on common ground before the cross

he doesn’t say: There is nothing you can do. God is sovereign and there is nothing you can do but beg him that perhaps He will give you a shot at salvation … Look at the wrong emphasis in the inquiring movement – moaning and groaning; long travail of seeking God …

Balance: not saved by some human decision of the will; saved by Spirit of God; but called to make a decision of the will – Not works to repent of sins and transfer trust to Jesus Christ


Many ways to examine the process of salvation:

– Can look at the Order of Salvation from the divine perspective – God must first grant life before man is able to repent and believe – that is not the emphasis here

– Can look at the nature of the New Birth experience itself; what takes place at conversion

John 3 and interaction of Jesus with Nicodemus

– Can look at the Human Responsibility to repent and believe and then follow through with baptism to demonstrate that your change of mind is genuine and results in a change of action = that is the emphasis here

A. Repentance

“And Peter said to them, ‘Repent,’” One word answer to life’s deepest question

A change of mind that leads to a change in action; a turning of direction is involved

Parallel later in vs. 41 with “receiving the word” = responding in faith

Faith and Repentance are two sides of the same coin; where one exists, the other does also

Not just a change of mind about who God is .. but a sin component to this repentance

Not a new message – look at Jonah’s message to Nineveh – need for repentance because of their great wickedness 3:10 “When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way; then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.”

Ministry and Message of John the Baptist had prepared the way for this gospel response of repentance and water baptism; what happened when the hypocritical Pharisees came to participate: Brood of vipers; bring forth fruits worthy of repentance –

Not everyone who professes repentance is a genuine believer

Difference between worldly sorrow and godly repentance – 2 Cor. 7:10 “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.”

B. Water Baptism – talking about immersion in water

“and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ”

Seems to us strange to include such an emphasis here on water baptism – we hurry up and add all types of caveats – does not mean this … emptying this command of its force

Can’t say that it is talking about Holy Spirit Baptism – obviously, water baptism is in view = symbol of that reality that has occurred spiritually

Not advocating baptismal regeneration – Acts 3:19 — repentance; but not minimizing baptism either — what about all of the people that were sprinkled as infants and have never been baptized? Are they saved? Mark 16:16

Yes, if they have made a true confession of faith in Christ and identified with Him .. but still does not minimize the importance of the act – only 2 ordinances Christ left for His church – baptism and Lord’s Supper

Wiersbe: the people in the home of Cornelius received the Holy Spirit before they were baptized (Acts 10:44-48)

Cleansing symbolism of baptism – 1 Pet 3:21 “not as the removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience” – emphasis is on the attitude behind the act — Bock

Not a people movement – everyone must individually repent and be baptized – parents cannot do it for their children – another blow against infant baptism; testimony of your own conscience to identification with Jesus Christ

Exclusivity of the gospel promise – only through the name of Jesus Christ – no other name under heaven by which we can be saved – look at how people waffle on this key point when pressed (Joel Osteen TV interview with Larry King)

Alexander: by his authority, acknowledging his claims, subscribing to his doctrines, engaging in his service, and relying on his merits

Taking step to identify with Jesus in His death, burial and resurrection; commitment to have Jesus as the new authority in your life; entrance into path of discipleship

Rom. 10: Confess with your mouth

Look at other responses to this question of What must I do to be saved?

– Response of Jesus to rich young ruler in Matt. 19:16-26 – “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that may obtain eternal life?” Different starting point; works orientation; heart not pierced with conviction of sin; trying to convict him of his sinfulness – Go, keep the commandments … “Go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me”

– Account of Philip preaching Christ (His crucifixion and resurrection) to the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-40; Response — “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” – let’s move on to take the next step of water baptism

– Paul evangelizing the Philippian jailor – Acts 16:30-31 “What must I do to be saved? Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household” – baptism immediately follows

Stott: What the gospel demands is a radical turn from sin to Christ, which takes the form inwardly of repentance and faith, and outwardly of baptism. For submission to baptism in the name of the Christ we have formerly repudiated gives public evidence of penitent faith in him. Additionally, by this same repentance, faith and baptism we change allegiance, as we are transferred into the new community of Jesus


“for the forgiveness of your sins;”

eis – usually describes purpose or direction; (some want to translate: “with a reference to”)

Toussaint: take the clause “and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ” as parenthetical. The verb “repent” is plural and so is the pronoun “your” in the clause “so that your sins may be forgiven”. Therefore the verb “repent” must go with the purpose of forgiveness of sins. On the other hand the imperative “be baptized” is singular, setting it off from the rest of the sentence.

Mark 1:4 “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” Uses eis here as well – connection is directly to the repentance rather than the symbolism of the baptism

This is the issue – How are you going to deal with your sin problem? They don’t just go away on their own. The wages of sin is death. That is the reality. The OT sacrifices were just a type of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God that provides complete remission of sins = “sending away”

Most people want to try to build up some type of brownie points or goodwill points to try to balance off the sins they have committed – but you must find forgiveness and remission of sins

Not just a passing over of sins but actual forgiveness, cancellation of debt, of guilt, of punishment; sending away; pardon

Leviticus 16:26 “And the one who released the goat as the scapegoat shall wash his clothes and bathe his body with water; then afterward he shall come into the camp.” 16:20-22 symbolism of releasing the goat and sending the sins away – activities of high priest on annual Day of Atonement

Deuteronomy 15:1 “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts.”

Matthew 26:28 “for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”

Mark 1:4 “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are downtrodden, — focusing on the results of forgiveness of sins

Luke 24:47 “and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” – universal offer of salvation

Acts 5:31 “He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” – talks of repentance as a grace gift

Acts 10:43 “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.” — here speaks of faith instead of repentance

Acts 26:18 “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” – good definition of repentance

Ephesians 1:7 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace,” – Parallel to redemption

Colossians 1:14 “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”


A. Consisting in the Gracious Gift of the Holy Spirit

“and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

2 gifts – forgiveness of sins and now gift of Holy Spirit – not just something for the privileged few; the apostles; or the 120 disciples

Longenecker: This primary gift includes a variety of spiritual gifts for the advancement of the gospel and the welfare of God’s people. But first of all, it has to do with what God’s Spirit does for every Christian in applying and working out the benefits of Christ’s redemptive work.

Pretty important gift as we see from the dramatic events of the Day of Pentecost

Once again, we have tended to minimize the reality of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Grace Gift

Receive this gift right now = downpayment that we will receive all we are promised for glory

Emphasis on being called to Holiness – talking about the Holy Spirit

B. Universally Offered in This New Church Age – to Jews and Gentiles

“For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off,”

The opportunity for salvation is present today; right before you; you cannot make some lame excuse that you were shut out from any opportunity to receive the promise; you cannot blame God or His sovereign election

Same method of receiving the promise applies all over the world and down through the ages

Toussaint: those who are far off = Gentiles (cf. Ephs. 2:13, 17, 19)

C. Made Effectual by the Sovereign Election and Calling of God

“as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself.”

Doctrine of the effectual calling; but don’t isolate this from the universal offer of salvation and the need to take personal action to repent and be baptized


A. Manner of Proclamation

1. Witnessing

“And with many other words he solemnly testified”

2 Kings 17:13 Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah, through all His prophets and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets.” (2Ki 17:13 NAS)

Giving a solemn warning; to be emphatic in stating an opinion; to insist

this salvation issue is serious business; dealing with eternal destiny; we have something to testify; cannot remain quiet; can approach it from many directions

2. Persuading / Exhorting – try to close the deal

“and kept on exhorting them,”

Imperfect active – ongoing activity, not just a one-shot appeal; call to one’s side

We are appealing primarily not to the emotions but to the will; so intellectual understanding is a prerequisite and then there must be a call to commitment

B. Message of Proclamation

“saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation!’”

Nothing unique about the perverseness of this present generation – In fact people at time of Christ were even more culpable because they did not respond to the personal presence of Christ and His preaching on earth – cf. references to Sodom and Gomorrah not being as liable

Wiersbe: apostles looked on the nation of Israel as a “crooked generation” that was under condemnation (Matt. 16:4; 17:17; Phil. 2:15). Actually, the nation would have about forty years before Rome would come and destroy the city and the temple and scatter the people.

Luke 9:41 – look at the characterization Christ made of this generation – “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you and put up with you?”

“perverse” – crooked, bent, dishonest, unscrupulous; bent sideways; twisted; tangled; turned away from the truth

Proverbs 21:8 “The way of a guilty man is crooked, But as for the pure, his conduct is upright.”

Philippians 2:15 “that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,”

literally, of an object on the potter’s wheel become misshapen; figuratively pervert, corrupt, distort (AC 13.10); passive, of the truth be perverted, be distorted (AC 20.30); in a moral sense be depraved (LU 9.41);


A. Immediate Connection Between Faith and Obedience — Two Step Process

1. Exercise of Personal Faith in Word of God = Response of Repentance that was demanded

“So then, those who had received his word”

receive gladly, welcome – after understanding what was said – only NT usage

Bock: “Receive” goes along with “call on the name of the Lord” (v. 21) and “repent” (v. 38). Each expression points to a different dimension of the embrace of the gospel that saves.

2. Obeying Christ in Water Baptism

“were baptized;”

B. Integration Into the Visible Church

“and there were added that day about three thousand souls.”

Nothing wrong with counting baptisms; seems to be the initial step of integration into the visible church; that is why we can make it a prerequisite

Why don’t we see such dramatic response in our situation?

Lot of baby believers to nurture and disciple – how did they accomplish this task?

Stott: commitment to the Messiah implied commitment to the Messianic community


A. The Focus of Perseverance – 1 Concentrated Mindset

“And they were continually devoting themselves”

– Daily not just weekly interaction;

– intimate not just superficial interaction

B. The Focus of Perseverance = 4 Ongoing Christian Commitments = Marks of a Healthy, Growing Church – What should we be focusing on as a church?

1. Indoctrination – A Learning Church

“to the apostles’ teaching”

Importance of doctrine and theology – Massive indoctrination program begun at Pentacost with baby believers who had a hunger to hear God’s message

Aspect of submission to teaching God has provided; important to study on our own as well; but we need teaching from gifted leaders

Look at the access we have to the apostles’ teaching; so many opportunities to learn and grow

Not for knowledge sake but for growth and ministry

2. Integration of Fellowship – A Loving Church

“and to fellowship,”

Sharing their new common life in Jesus Christ (1 John 1:1-4); Includes the sharing of their material possessions to meet the needs of others – will be studying this in depth next week

Toussaint: The omission of “and” between “fellowship” and “to the breaking of bread and to prayer” indicates the last two activities are appositional to fellowship.

3. Intimacy of Relationships – both horizontally and vertically – including Worship – A Liturgical Church (not high liturgy!) – Communion Service – simplicity of the elements of bread and wine

“to the breaking of bread” Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11

The observance of the Lord’s Supper at the close of their agape meal; we gather together to remember the death and resurrection of Christ and look forward to His coming again;

Did not just see each other on Sundays … but during the week as well; spent a lot of time together; not burdensome

4. Intercessory Prayer – a Looking-to-the-Lord Church

“and to prayer.”.

Acts 1:14 – a focus right from the start

The Privilege of Prayer

The Expectation of God answering our prayers

Perserverance in prayers – takes a long time for many requests – maintain the fervency

Ongoing ministry of Christ as our great High Priest and Advocate before the throne of the Father

Rom. 12:12; Col. 4:2


Have you responded to the message of salvation? Repent; receive the Word; be baptized – you need God’s gifts of the remission of sins and the promise of the indwelling Holy Spirit

Are we focusing as a church on the most fundamental areas that will ensure our healthy growth and ministry success?