And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls (Acts 2:40,41.)
What if the church you attend was averaging 100 in number and in one day jumped to 2500? That’s pretty much what happened in our text. What an amazing beginning for the church! What do you supposed contributed to this phenomenal growth? As we have been comparing the message of the Apostles to the message of the modern church, we see that one contribution to this amazing growth was the message of the gospel being proclaimed, including repentance.
Paul the Apostle for this reason said in Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe.” Obviously, neither Paul in Romans or Peter in our text was speaking about mental assent when they spoke about believing or receiving his word. Unfortunately, many times instead of talking about repentance, we use terminology such as, “giving our lives to Jesus” or “living for God.” The truth is we’ve many time missed the Biblical idea of believing the Gospel, along with repentance. The problem with giving our lives to Jesus is we always wonder if we have given everything and if what we have given is enough. Living for God has the inherent problem of us being self-righteous because we’re so proud of all that we’ve done for God. When hard times come we then blame God because, after all, we’ve worked so hard for him, why are these things happening to me?
The power to change a life is resident in the message of the Gospel. As Peter preached the message of the gospel, it spoke to the hearts of people and they immediately believed and were changed. That means if we will simply tell people our story, of how our lives have been changed by the risen Christ, people will hear the gospel. In other words, when we do that, the message we proclaim will match the message the apostles proclaimed and there is no reason why the results won’t be the same.
Let’s never underestimate the power of the gospel. I know it changed my life over 40 years ago. It will also change the life of anyone who hears the message and responds.