Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, you have probably noticed that it is easy to go through the motions in your study of God’s word, whether individually or on Sundays in church. The gospel can seem so straightforward that we put ourselves in danger of missing it—but in our weakness, we always need to hear its truth preached to us. We need to hear the same thing today that we did the first day we believed. We cannot disconnect our Christian walk from “the word of truth, the gospel of [our] salvation” (Ephesians 1:13) because God ordained the two to be connected. The Spirit of God works through the word of God to sustain the people of God.
Therefore, the first thing Peter did after receiving the Spirit on the day of Pentecost was to stand up and preach a long sermon; then, as more and more people heard and listened to the word of God, they grew as individuals and as a whole (Acts 2). Alternatively, when the word of God is not heard, the church does not grow. Why not? Because the Spirit works as the word is heard, and the word is heard as the Spirit works. The sermon of Acts 2 is in your Bible not only to show you how those men and women came to faith but also to bolster and encourage you in yours.
Here is what the word produces when the Spirit is at work. When Peter preached on that day, his hearers “were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’” (Acts 2:37). In other words, there was conviction. Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (v 38). And they did. So there was also commitment. Finally, the new believers gathered together to hear the apostles’ doctrine, break bread, and pray (v 42). So there was community. Conviction, commitment, and community—and it all started with a Spirit-prompted sermon!
Growing in our faith involves both heart and mind. We have the responsibility to place ourselves under biblical teaching and pursue the study of God’s word individually, asking God’s Spirit to show us Christ on the pages of our Bibles and cause us to love Him more. If you are going through the motions somewhat in your reading of Scripture or in your Christian life more broadly, come back to how you first started. Read the gospel in God’s word. Be convicted by your sin, and commit to trusting and serving your Savior. Immerse yourself in the community of believers that God has given you for your good. And ask Him to work in you through His Spirit, so that the commitment and excitement that suffused that Jerusalem church might be your experience too.
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Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.