SER # 17Wa
FIRST UMC – NEBRASKA CITY
WEDNESDAY APRIL 22nd 2020
TEXTS: ACTS 2: 14a; 36 – 41
THEME: CALL TO REPENTANCE.
God is Good! All the time! And all the time! God is good!
Our Scripture today is Acts 2: 14a; 36 – 41 “Peter stood with the other eleven apostles. He raised his voice and declared……..Therefore, let all Israel beyond question that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. When the crowd heard this, they were deeply troubled. They said to Peter and the other apostles, brothers what should we do? (conviction). Peter replied, ‘change your hearts and lives. Each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you, your children, and all who are far away – as many as the Lord our God invites. With many other words he testified to them and encouraged them saying, Be saved from this perverse generation. Those who accepted Peter’s message were baptized. God brought three thousand people into the community that day.
Word of God written for the people of God – Thanks be to God
The Lord’s Prayer:
Our passage today follows the experience the disciples had on the day of Pentecost. Pentecost took place 50 days after Jesus resurrection. People were gathered once again for their annual festival where they would come to the Temple and offer sacrifices. It was then on this day of Pentecost the promise that Jesus had promised his disciples was fulfilled. That was the promise of the Holy spirit who would be their teacher, counselor and comforter. When the Holy Spirit came people started speaking in tongues and all would understand. It then out of this that Peter gives the message that we just read.
I would like to share a little what repentance means: The word has a Greek root which is Metanoia this simply means turning around. Repentance is more than saying ‘I am sorry’ and continue with what you were doing but rather making a 180-degree turn. Jesus underlined this change when he would forgive people and ask them to go and sin no more. So, when people repent it simply means that they are giving up the path that they were following which had made them to sin in the first place. One is willing to completely change. What Peter was inviting the people on repentance was for them to change their view and understanding of who Jesus Christ was and accept Jesus Christ in their lives. People needed to believe and acknowledge the following:
- That Crucified Jesus is Lord and Christ: To understand this we have to remind ourselves one reason of Jesus to be crucified was that he was accused of blasphemy. Blasphemy simply means that Jesus was claiming to be God. Jesus who was crucified died and buried, he rose again and lives forever. He delivered his first promise, the pouring of the Holy Spirit. Accepting Jesus as Christ and Lord of our lives is to agree to let Jesus take the throne of our heart and believe and accept that he is God. What this submission looks like is that we accept that without Christ guiding us we will be heading in the wrong direction. That we have to consult our Lord (king) before acting on anything through our prayers. Before we embark on any project, we ask the owner permission first (Christ). When it comes to dealing with our faith journey, we have to reject the notion of “I will do it and ask for forgiveness later.” This happen often in our families – couples (I am guilty). Things don’t work out that way. You can’t insult or injure a person and ask for forgiveness later. Once we have turned to this road after repentance does not mean we are perfect but rather try our best God helping us to be our best.
- Change of heart and lives: Peter was addressing a true challenge of the day where people pretended to be what they were not. False righteousness was the game of the day among the religious leaders of the time. The change has to be genuine from the heart. Unless our hearts change nothing else change. Have you heard of people that say, “I am not a racist” yet when those who don’t look like them make an honest mistake, a racist judgment is thrown out to them? Or we care for the poor and the needy yet you are pressed to get something out of the pocket without judging. Peter is inviting us to change from inside. When our heart are changed then our lives are changed too. Change is never easy anywhere. We know that too well today where we are forced to change our living style in many ways to fight Covid-19. Social distancing, facemask washing hand and many more. As believers our heart need to be changes so that we can live lives that able to fulfill God’s commandment, Loving our neighbor and loving God.” This does not mean that our neighbors have to look like us, speak the same language be of the same gender or like the same things that we like. This what the gospel reminds us when our hearts are changed others will know because of the kind of fruit we produce. “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn-bushes or figs from thistles? (Matthew 7:16). When our hearts are changed toward Christ our action and responses will be those that will glorify Jesus. We become our brothers and sisters’ keeper.
- Accept Jesus forgiveness of their sins: We are reminded by the word of God that we have all sinned and fallen in our ways. Paul puts it this way, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and all shall be justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:23b – 24). Peter is putting before us that we are not perfect. We continue in the journey of redemption by the grace of God. Those of you who like wearing a white shirt or putting on any other white clothing know how hard it is to keep it white the whole day even when you are very careful not to spill anything on it. Little dust here and there and it call for a wash and often with breach. Our lives are like that. Like Prophet Isaiah puts it “Woe to me. I am ruined for I am a man of unclean lips, and live among a people of unclean lips and my eyes have seen the king, the LORD Almighty” (Isaiah 6: 5). We are sinful people who live in a sinful world made of sinful people, therefore we will need God cleansing often because we may have picked some dust(sin) when we never intended. That why we confess the sin of omission and the sin of commission. Remember the blood of Jesus washes us and we become as white as snow.
- Receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit: This is a special gift that Jesus promised us and it came on the day of Pentecost. It is this holy Spirit that we become our teacher, counselor, our guide and even our comforter. There are many attributes of the Holy spirit. So, we read of the gift as well as the fruit of the Holy Spirit. There are nine portions in the one fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22- 23a). There are nine gifts mention in the bible but there many more that we posses because God gift for his people are limitless. Paul in the book of 1 Corinthians write these gifts as: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit, the message of wisdom to another the message of knowledge, by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another a gift of healing by the same Spirit, to another miraculous power, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12: 7 – 10). There is nothing like gift-less Christians. To some these gifts are highly manifested while to others they feel mild but the truth is that they have not been put to much use. God has gifted you with the Holy spirit that is manifested in different ways. Our assignment may vary every morning as we read God’s mercies are new every day. Look out for what God is wanting you to do. There is a gift of God in you that needs to be put into use.