East Side Church
(Baptist - Disciples of Christ)
201 Spruce Ave.
Sharon, PA 16146
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September 22, 2013
"Cut to the Heart"
Acts 2:37

Intro: Last week, concluded a sermon series based on Acts 2 providing evidences for the Christian faith. Staying in Acts 2; changing focus. New series addressing question, "How does a person become a Christian?" There is no more important question, not only for each of us personally, but also for our church! People and churches who go wrong on this question will face God's judgment!

How You Don't Become a Christian!

Birth! Not! Born into a Christian family, or a "Christian" country. (Read John 3:1-8.) It takes something much more radical than birth to become a Christian!

Being involved in Church! Not! Going to church! Becoming a member! Getting baptized! Taking communion! Doing Christian duties! (Read John 3:9-10.) It takes something much more radical than "doing church" to become a Christian!

By deciding! Not! Walking the aisle! Saying the sinner's prayer! (Easy believism/ mental assent/ historical faith.) (Read John 1:13.) It takes something much more radical than your own resolve to become a Christian!

How You Do Become a Christian! (Read Acts 2:36-37.) To become a Christian requires the most radical heart surgery you can imagine! Peter's audience: "cut to the heart." Person becomes a Christian when Holy Spirit "wounds" their hearts while they read/hear God's Word. (Read Hebrews 4:12-13.) Bible = scalpel God uses to bring healing.

What did this feel like for the people listening to Peter's sermon? Peter was describing events they had witnessed. Jesus of Nazareth crucified two months earlier. Crowd had shouted for His crucifixion, thought Jesus a pretender, a political threat. But as Peter spoke, his audience had a growing sense of awful certainty, responsibility. They realized they had rejected and killed the Savior-King that God had sent to them!

If becoming a Christian requires the most radical heart surgery you can imagine, what does this feel like for you and me, today? The Holy Spirit "wounds" your heart while you are reading/hearing God's Word. Old fashioned word is "conviction." Feels like God is specifically operating on you! What does this look/feel like?

1) Your thinking changes as you come under the Holy Spirit's conviction . As God's Word is applied to your life, your thinking changes:

About God. (Formerly, ignored. Now, concerned with His holiness, concerned w/your accountability to Him.)

About yourself. (Formerly, thought you were an ok person; no better/worse than anyone else. Now, convinced you're personally guilty, have offended God. No longer complacent about death; concerned about facing God as Judge after death.)

About sin. (Formerly, thought that you occasionally did bad things, slip ups, accidents, but good outweighed bad. Now, increasingly convinced that your heart is corrupt, that every thought and act is stained by sin, offensive to God.)

2) Your feelings change as you come under the Holy Spirit's conviction . General: Sense of heaviness; seriousness! C.S. Lewis: "The weight of glory"

Feelings about yourself! Sense of despair about your own attempts at goodness; sorrow that your sin causes God grief. Compelled to accept that it was your sins that nailed Jesus to the Cross. Realization you are unable to do anything to save yourself. Above all, a sense of urgency. Not changing surface behavior; a little moral reformation won't help your condition. You see your need for heart surgery; must be born again!

Feelings about Jesus! Formerly, looked at Jesus with polite respect, but largely ignored Him. If religious, Jesus was one planet in your solar system. Now, in light of your desperate situation, you begin to hope that it is true that Jesus is a friend of sinners. Growing sense of hope, daring, trust, appreciation for Christ's sacrifice, need for Christ as Savior. Desire for Him to be the center of your life. Increasingly focus on Him!

To become a Christian requires the most radical heart surgery you can imagine! Have you experienced conviction? Has your thinking, your feelings, undergone this change? Have you been born again? Has the Holy Spirit birthed faith in Jesus in your heart?

I'm New Here
© East Side Church, 2013