Sermon Title: What Shall We Do?
Text: Acts 2:37-41
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “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. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls (Acts 2:37-41).
Last Sunday we studied Peter’s sermon in Acts 2—his emphasis on the life, death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus—and this past Sunday we looked at how he responded to the question that his audience asked.
“What shall we do?” is the most basic and important question anyone ever asks, and Peter’s listeners asked it when they became convicted that they had been responsible for crucifying the Messiah.
Peter’s answer is both simple and profound as he calls on them to respond to what Jesus had done for them by repenting and being baptized. We studied the meaning and significance of four words/phrases: (1) Repent; (2) Be baptized; (3) For the forgiveness of your sins; (4) You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
In some ways this was a fundamental lesson about obedience to the gospel. In another way, studying Peter’s answer forms the basis of what it means to be a Christian: submitting one’s life daily to Jesus’s call to live a cruciform (i.e., cross-shaped) life. Water baptism is an act that believers do once, but it’s something that we live daily for the rest of our lives. Every day we wake up to die to self and rise to walk a new life, so in a way the act by which we enter God’s kingdom is the same principle that defines the values by which we live.
- How can our class pray for you or a friend or loved one tonight?
Start Reading(read Acts 2:37-41)
- What questions or initial observations do you have after reading this text?
- Think about context: What’s the setting? Who’s the audience? How much do they know about Jesus?
- Acts 2—particularly verse 38—has been used often over the years in Churches of Christ. Did Peter’s words here contribute to your conversion? If so, how? Have you studied this passage with others to teach them?
- Why didn’t Peter tell the audience that they needed to believe in Christ?
- What does it mean to repent? Is it easy or hard for you? Why?
- What is the meaning of the word translated, “be baptized”? Why does that matter?
- What does it mean to repent and be baptized “for the forgiveness of your sins”?
- What is the “gift of the Holy Spirit”?
- In Romans 6:1-11, Paul encourages the Christians in Rome to live consistently with their baptism. What does that mean? How does your baptism—a one-time act—affect your daily life?
- At your baptism, you received “the gift of the Holy Spirit.” What difference will that make tonight when you leave the building? Tomorrow at work or at school?
Start Praying(ACTS acronym)
- Adoration: Praise God for how he has convicted us of our role in crucifying Jesus.
- Confession: Confess to God how we so often live inconsistently with what our baptism meant.
- Thanksgiving: Thank God for teaching us how to respond to his call to obedience.
- Supplication: Pray that God will help every member of this class to live daily as baptized believers in whom God’s Spirit lives.