East Side Church
(Baptist - Disciples of Christ)
201 Spruce Ave.
Sharon, PA 16146
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September 29, 2013
"What Shall We Do?"
Acts 2:38-41

Intro: Last week, began a new series in Acts 2, answering question, "How does a person become a Christian?" Most important question, for each of us personally, for our church! Today we return to the conclusion of Peter's sermon, and we recall the crowd's response.

The Crowd Realizes Their Responsibility! (Read Acts 2:37.) Crowd is alarmed; religious Jews responsible for the death of God's Messiah; discovered they had God's blood on their hands. Last week, learned we are in same desperate situation as Peter's audience: it takes something much more radical than birth, doing church, or your own decision to become a Christian. To become a Christian requires the most radical heart surgery you can imagine : Holy Spirit applies God's Word to your heart, convicts you of sin; you see your need for Jesus as your Lord and Savior. When you hear God's call to salvation (2:39), you ask same question as Peter's audience: "What shall we do?"

Peter's Answer: Be Separate! (Read Acts 2:38-39.) To become a Christian, three necessary separations:

Separation from Sin! "Repent!" Whole Bible's message. Nineveh's response to Jonah's preaching. John the Baptist. Jesus' first, continuing message. Repentance means to turn from your sin, return back to God. (College, thought I believed in Jesus, but didn't want to give up some sins!) Can you have genuine faith in Jesus, and not repent of your sins? No! True faith is repentant faith. True repentance is believing repentance. Two sides of the same coin.

Many people think they are Christian, yet believe that giving up sin is optional. (Read Titus 2:14, Romans 1:5-6; Luke 6:46.) Why it's impossible for faith and repentance to be divorced: Faith is the motivation for repentance; why turn from sin? Turn to something better, Christ! Only eyes of faith see Christ as better than sin! Only Christ can give you the will and the power to forsake sin! Becoming a Christian is a type of death! It necessarily cuts you off, separates you from sin's rule!

Separation from the World! Peter tells his audience they must also be baptized in Jesus' name! Baptism's OT background: Passing through waters of judgment. Noah's ark, deliverance from Egypt, entering Promised Land. Elijah crosses Jordan before chariot of fire. John the Baptist told Jews to prepare for heaven's kingdom by repentance, baptism!

Peter says same thing, only adds baptism must be in Jesus' name. Means that baptism is done with Jesus' saving death/resurrection in mind. Baptism symbolizes your sins being washed away; symbolizes you are sharing in death/ resurrection of Christ. Also symbolizes you see sinful world under God's judgment, and you're leaving it behind! Believer's baptism is the doorway into becoming a part of Christ's people, His church. No longer a solitary sinner, alienated from God and other humans by your sin, shame and guilt. You are part of a new society: God's family, Jesus' people.

Confront possible confusion: Many people get this reversed! Think b/c they were baptized, or b/c they are church members, they are Christians. Backwards! It is not a good idea to be baptized, or join the church, if you haven't trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Count the cost! Becoming a Christian is a type of death! It necessarily cuts you off, separates you from the world!

Separation (Set Apart) to God! Why have I compared becoming a Christian to death? Because without death, there is no life; without crucifixion, there is no resurrection! Becoming a Christian is the entrance into eternal life itself! (Read Acts 2:38-39.) Receiving the Holy Spirit! In OT, only prophets, priests, kings were anointed by God's Spirit. Moses' wish, (Read Numbers 11:28-29); why? Peter: Our reality! (Acts 2:16-21, quoting Joel! Also Acts 2:38-39.)

Many people think becoming a Christian is just about forgiveness of sins. So much more! God dwelling with us, within us! Privilege of being in constant, ongoing relationship with God! (Read Romans 5:1-5, 8:15-17; John 17:3.) Becoming a Christian necessarily involves separation from sin, separation from the world, and separation unto God. Being in relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit! This is eternal life, and it begins now!

Benediction: I John 5:11-12

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© East Side Church, 2013