22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
1) We notice that the man who preached this sermon could not have preached it unless something dramatic had not happened to him. He said to them ‘the Lord whom you crucified’, although he denied the Lord in a terrible way not long before this. However, he truly repented, obtained forgiveness, and was filled with the Holy Spirit.
As he preached, the Holy Spirit convicted them of ‘sin, righteousness and judgement’, just as Jesus said the Holy Spirit will do when He comes. To convict means to persuade and convince without a doubt. Most of them were not those who drove the nails through His hands, raised the cross, etc., but in God’s sight their sin caused His crucifixion. David too were not at the scene of Uriah’s murder, but God called him a murderer for his hand in Uriah’s death.
2) The Holy Spirit convict of righteousness.
Many thought that Jesus died from weakness, for they cried and mocked Him, ‘if you are the Christ, save Yourself’. Peter therefore makes it clear that they through wicked hands have crucified Him, while He offered Himself willingly and freely for their sakes. He died in their stead as the Passover Lamb.
3) The Holy Spirit convict of Judgement.
When Satan thought he was victorious over Christ, he was defeated and judged. If prince of this world was judged, we too will fall under the same condemnation unless we truly repent.
When they heard Peter’s sermon, they were cut to the heart and realised the irreversibility of their deeds. They stood guilty before God, without excuse. You too know that you are guilty before God without excuse. However, acknowledging this helps nothing unless we act on the conviction and work of the Holy Spirit. That is why they cried, ‘what must we do?’ Peter’s answer was that they should repent, be baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit. Baptism is the testimony that you have repented, and cannot save you.
In verse 40 he added that they should ‘save themselves from this perverse generation’. After the Holy Spirit in grace convicts you of sin, righteousness and judgement, unto repentance, you must take the steps to turn and flee from sin. Yes, you have confessed your sins, but have you repented? Have you turned from your wicked ways? Have you forsaken the world and worldly people? Have you forsaken lukewarm friends and family. Jesus said, ‘I came not to send peace, but a sword’ (Matt 10:34).
Someone aptly said that false repentance dreads the consequences of sin, but true repentance dreads the sin itself. Judas also repented, because he realised the consequences of his sin.
Lukewarm Christians would go to worldly entertainment, and excuse themselves that they are only relaxing. What do you as a Christian want from the world? Where do you get the time for the world and its entertainment? Tell me young people, do you spend as much time reading the Bible as you do watching videos? Do you know the Bible as you know your sportstars? If you don’t, then you’re a lover of the world, an enemy of God and on your way to hell! Maybe you comfort yourself that your parents are Christians and you grew up in the revival, but you love the world. Then you are enemy of God and on your way to hell. You are not a worldly Christian, but on your way to hell, and you need to repent! You need to take those worldly videos and music and burn them, as well as the radio you use to listen to worldly stations.
Save yourself from this perverse generation – that’s your part, not God’s. Get up and get away from sin. It does not help to confess it, but not be resolved to turn from it! You waste the time of the man or woman of God. There where you are guilty of sin, before you confess it, make the decision to repent and leave the sin.
Once on a preaching tour we preached against the TV and its evils. Our host was convicted of his TV set (although we did not know that he had one), and sent it to be burnt without even consulting his wife. Today he is still on fire for God. Another man who was convicted of the evils of TV, first wanted God to convict his wife and children too. He never parted with his TV.
If the Lord has spoken to you in His grace, do not first consult flesh and blood, but obey God unreservedly.