How to Respond to the Gospel Part 1

Pastor Mike will be speaking on How to Respond to the Gospel Part 1. He will be reading out of Acts 2:37-41.

We look at repentance as a one-time decision, a moment in our life where we made that choice that we were going to go a different direction. And that is a wonderful moment in all of our lives and is important.

But did you know as a believer that repentance is not just a one-time decision, it is a daily decision in my life? Hello and welcome to the Hope Worth Having radio program. This is Pastor Mike Sanders and we are excited that we can be with you today, that we can bring God’s truth to you.

Today we’re going to be in Acts chapter 2, this time in verse 37, and we’re learning about how to respond to the gospel. We grow up hearing the gospel so much that we really don’t even understand how to respond to it.

So today we’re going to begin responding to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s go ahead and get into our study. We want you to take your Bible this morning and join us in Acts chapter 2 in verses 37 through 41 is our text I’ve simply entitled it How to respond to the gospel.

Now it’s been a while since we’ve been in the book of Acts so let me just remind you that the book of Acts is a divine record of the most holy Spirit and it stands as a record of examples for all of God’s people to follow throughout the ages.

Many times people might ask the question, Pastor why don’t we do it like so-and-so church or so-and-so church and I say to them that it’s never my desire to be like any church but like the New Testament church that is found in the book of Acts.

That is our model. We look to the book of Acts and we see that the principles are there. how we can emulate these principles in the 21st century. Now Jesus Christ, before he ascended into heaven, had given a command to his disciples that the message of salvation through Jesus Christ was to be preached first at Jerusalem.

And you can find that information in Luke chapter 24 in your own personal study. And when we come to Acts chapter two, verses 37 through 41, we see the fulfillment of that command. The apostle Peter, who at one point was timid before the resurrection, who had denied the Lord three times, was grieving over his denial of the Lord.

This man named Peter had been restored by the Lord. And the Lord told him to go feed his sheep. and now in great courage and boldness and strength, the Apostle Peter preaches the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And for the first time in the history of the world, in the city of Jerusalem, the city of God, the message of the gospel was preached. And as the Apostle Peter preached and proclaimed the message of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Bible teaches us this morning that it caused his listeners to respond.

We went already through the message which covers the life of Christ and it covers the death of Christ the resurrection of Christ and the ascension of Christ. But we pick up in verse 37 and we begin to see the response.

I want you to note that in verse 37. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said to them, repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit for the promises to you and to your children and to all who are far off as many as the Lord our God will call verse 40.

And with many other words, he testified and exhorted them saying, be saved from this perverse generation. Then those who gladly received his word were baptized and that day 3,000 souls were added to them, meaning added to the church.

Can you imagine what a moment that was? I often think about how the Apollo. Peter, all the apostles baptized 3,000 people at one time. That’s incredible. But God on that day worked a great miracle in the hearts of those who were hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed to them for the first time.

And in that response that they had, we are learning how we should respond to the gospel. So I want to share with you three responses to the gospel that God is calling each of us to make sure in our hearts that we have responded this way to the good news of Jesus Christ.

First is simply the word repent. You’ll note in verse 38 the Bible says that Peter said to them, repent, repent. Now, when we think of the word repent, that’s not a word that we use every day, so sometimes it’s hard for people to process it in their mind exactly what it means, but it simply means a change of mind that has an effect upon our actions.

It’s a change in the mind about who God is, what we think about sin, and the purpose of life. It involves our mind, it involves our emotions, it involves our will. When we say that we are repenting, we’re literally saying that we are changing direction.

Now, we’re not doing a 360 going in the same direction, but rather we’re doing a 180. We used to walk after the world, we used to walk after our way, we used to walk in what we wanted, and now we have stopped, we have turned around, we have repented, and we walk in the way of the Lord.

We follow God’s will for our life. We see this exemplified in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 15, verse 18. You remember the story of the prodigal son. The Bible says that he finally came to himself. He says, I will arise and go to my father and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee.

This is an example of repentance, that he finally came to himself. He hit rock bottom. Many of you are worried about your children and you’re worried about family members. Maybe you’re worried about a neighbor and a friend.

I want you to know that you gotta be careful that you don’t step in and limit what God is doing. We wanna bail our children out, we wanna bail our friend out, we wanna bail them out, but you know what God wants?

He wants them to hit rock bottom so that they’ll start to look up to God and they’ll come to themselves and they will turn back to the Lord’s house. Can God’s people say amen? That’s what the prodigal did.

is he saying, I’m gonna go back? Guy realized I’ve sinned. Can I sin against God? I sinned against my father and I’m just gonna go make it right. And he was more than glad to just be a servant. That is a beautiful picture of repentance.

Let me help you. Repentance is a change of allegiance. It is forsaking all and any known sin in our life. It’s not that we are perfected. It’s not that we walk away from everything that we understand.

And to be wrong, it’s that God takes us through this process that we no longer have our allegiance to self, the world, the devil, but we have an allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ. And all that we understand and know, we are willing to forsake it for Christ.

Jesus said, if anyone is gonna be my disciple, he must be willing to take up his cross and follow me. And to take up the cross is the cross of suffering and sacrifice. and self-denial, and to do that means that you forsake the world.

You forsake your selfish ambitions. You forsake the things that are hindering you from following after God. Listen to what Isaiah the prophet said in Isaiah 55, verse seven. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.

Let him return to the Lord and he will have mercy on him and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Now this is what God’ll do, and this is what the apostle Peter is calling on the people to do. Now we have to remember this in context, that this is a group of people who said, what should we do after hearing the case that Jesus is the true Messiah, that he truly did authenticate his life and his message in his miracles.

He was crucified for our sins. On the third day, he rose again, and after 40 days he ascended into heaven, sat at the right hand of the Father, interceding for the people of God. And after recognizing all this, the people said, what should we do?

And you’ll note that Peter did not say, you need to improve your life. You need to be a better person. You need to get more religious. They were already religious. The reason they’re in Jerusalem is because of their Jewish religion.

The reason that they are in Jerusalem is because of the day of Pentecost, and they were coming to have a celebration and to rejoice in a festive atmosphere, and they already understood that. But what Peter is saying is, I want you to leave your religion, I want you to leave your Jewish faith, and I want you to leave what you know and have known, and I want you to abandon it and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

And that’s a pretty powerful… statement because in abandoning Judaism, the people were going to find themselves ostracized. They were going to be rejected by their own family in the Jewish religion.

If you leave Judaism, you are considered to be dead. They walked away from all that. That’s why when we read this and we see that 3,000 people came to Christ, it is a profound picture of how dedicated these people were to Christ and authentic in their repentance.

Simply saying that I’m sorry God, I’ve offended you in some small way and then choosing to live however you want is not how the early believers understood repentance. When the Apostle Peter said repent, They understood that they were going to have to change their allegiance.

God calls us to be a people of repentance. I want you to go back to Revelation. Just take your Bible over there. It’s important for you to join me if you can, whether you use your Bible on your device, or whatever works for you.

If I’m with me, just want you to get there to Revelation chapter 2. Again, it’s always important when you read the Bible. We’re not proof-texting, but what we are doing is saying in context, what does this say?

And in verse 5, Revelation chapter 2, God, Jesus Himself, is speaking to the church. Peter was speaking to unbelievers. He told unbelievers to repent, but Jesus told church people to repent. Verse 5 of Revelation, you’ll see, Remember, therefore, from where you have fallen, repent, and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place unless you what, church?

Look at verse 16 of chapter 2. In verse 16 of chapter 2, He starts out and says, Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. Then look at chapter 3 in verse 3, Revelation 3, verse 3, this is all to the church.

Remember, therefore, how you have received and heard, hold fast, and repent. Therefore, if you will not watch, and I will come unto you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you, here’s my message to you, that if you do not know Jesus Christ, you need to repent.

And that if you do know Jesus Christ, you need to repent. Now think about this, we look at repentance as a one-time decision, a moment in our life where we fully survive. rendered God and we made the choice that we were going to go a different direction.

And that is a wonderful moment in all of our lives that is important. But did you know as a believer that repentance is not just a one-time decision, it is a daily decision in my life? I am daily repenting of my sins because I am in this flesh and I am dealing with the challenges of life and therefore God is calling me to live a life of repentance.

We come this morning into the house of the Lord, not because we are perfect, not because we have it all together, we come into this house this morning because we need God’s grace and we need His help and we come with a repentant heart.

and we confess our sins unto God from our hearts to Him as we pray, as we sing, as we rejoice, as we learn and grow, we are a repentant people. There’s never a day we stop repenting.

There’s never a moment that we could say, hey, I don’t have to repent anymore, but every day we rise up to the Lord, we lift our adoration to Him, but the second thing we do is we confess our sins to Him because that’s how Jesus taught us to pray.

He did. He told us that we are to seek His forgiveness, that the Lord would forgive us of our sins as we forgive those who have trespassed or sinned against us. And that’s where it all begins. One cannot be a forgiving person unless one is not regularly receiving the forgiveness of God.

You don’t just need a one-time bath and say, hey, I’m good, or a one-time shower. I’m good for the rest of my life. But so it is spiritually in my life. One might say, I don’t need to go to the church.

I don’t need to pray to God daily. I don’t need to read the Bible daily. I don’t need any of that stuff. If you wanna live pure, holy, cleansed before the Lord. If you wanna give off the sweet aroma of Christ in His loving kindness and His grace to others, then you will live a repentant life.

You will hear the words of the apostle that we understand that as we mourn over our sins, that the comfort of the gospel daily in our life continues to energize our life. Each of us is called to keep short accounts with God, repent of our daily sins, and bring them before the Lord.

The Bible says if we confess our sins, sins. He’s faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Many, many Christians are dealing with internal emotional struggles because they have unresolved sin in their hearts.

Many marriages are struggling. Many relationships are struggling because there are unresolved issues in their hearts that have not been brought to the Lord Jesus Christ. Do not buy into the lie of the devil.

I did that when I was 12. I did that at Bible camp. I did that at Vacation Bible School. I’m done with that, Mike. Let’s move on. Know every day, Lord, here I am. I’m a sinner saved by grace. I’m in daily need of your cleansing in my life.

And today, I repent in my heart for that. Now, I want you to know something that is unique about this calling to be repentant is that whether we’re an unbeliever or a believer, all of us should be led to repentance by the goodness of God.

The Scriptures tell us, do you despise the riches of his goodness, his forbearance and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to what, church? See? When you see how good God has been to you, you should not be swelled with pride.

When you see the blessings of God in your life as you gather with family and friends, as you see the beauty of God’s majestic creation all around us, the privilege to gather and assemble and to worship God, to fellowship with God’s people, to know that when you leave this world, that you’re gonna be with Christ forever and ever, the many blessings that you and I could go on and on and on about, it ought to lead our hearts to be repentant.

Because surely his goodness and mercy have followed us all the days of our life. Our response is not only repentance, but number two, you’ll notice that he calls us to be baptized. In verse 38, Peter said to them, let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.

I want you to jump down to verse 41 of Acts chapter two. And verse 41, the Bible says that those who gladly received his word were baptized. Now baptism, through the years as a pastor, we have seen some who’ve come along and said that there was no need for baptism.

They have had all kinds of things that people have said. Again, I just keep calling us back to the Bible, church. Our response to the gospel is not only that we repent, but that we are baptized.

The Bible says and teaches us that baptism is an ordinance that symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is an outward representation of the death of the old man dying and the new man being raised to life, God willing, and everything coming together.

We have some baptisms scheduled next Sunday, and you’re going to watch them when you come. You’re going to see me say, buried in the likeness of his death and raised in the likeness of his resurrection. It is a beautiful picture of not only our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and his death, burial, and resurrection, but it is a picture of the old Mike dying and the new Mike being raised to life in Jesus Christ.

That is what baptism is about. It is a beautiful ordinance. The scripture says in Colossians 2:12, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God who raised him from the dead.

Now one might ask, pastor, why is baptism considered an ordinance? It is because it powerfully presents the gospel of Jesus Christ. What is an ordinance in the church? It is the symbolic presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We at The Open Door Church believe that there are two ordinances and they are the Lord’s Supper and baptism. Are there many other good things we could do? But to understand that the ordinance is a picture of the gospel of Christ, it is a presentation of the gospel of Christ, qualifies baptism in the Lord’s Supper.

Again on baptism, the scripture says in Romans 6 .4, therefore we are buried with him by baptism unto death, that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even also we shall walk in newness of life.

Now there’s a lot of debate in Christianity into what we refer to as the mode of baptism. And when I say that how do we do that? How do we baptize? Some people sprinkle, and some people pour a cup of water on the person and claim that they are baptized.

But we at The Open Door Church, I’m not saying we’re super spiritual and I’m not saying that we’re pious and that we got it all together because we do not have it all together. But our position is simply this, that A, we want to be baptized like Jesus was baptized.

And Jesus was immersed underwater. Number two, if my theology is that I believe baptism is a presentation of the gospel and the gospel is defined in 1 Corinthians 15, one, the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, then if I sprinkle somebody, is that the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ?

If I just pour a cup of water on somebody, is that a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ? No, but when we take them and we bring them back and fully immerse them, and we say we’re buried in the likeness of Christ and raised in the likeness of Christ, that is a beautiful picture of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And that’s why we practice immersion. There are many other good reasons why we do it. Glad to spend time with you on that, but time will not allow me this morning, I want you to understand who we are and why we practice baptism, by immersion.

Baptism is an act of obedience to God. For Peter not only commanded that God’s people would repent, but he commanded that they would be baptized. Now do not misunderstand the apostle is not teaching that we are saved by baptism salvation takes place in the heart we confess him openly through baptism and that’s how it was in the early church baptism is the outward sign of an inward change in a person who has placed their trust in jesus christ now i know this is going to be hard for you and some of you especially you old timers you’re going to get mad at pastor mike and you say how do i know if i’m an old timer you’re an old timer if you’re 90 and up is that good for you did i did i just give a little grace there i gave a little grace but anyways here’s the thing in the new testament in the new testament people professed their faith in christ through baptism not by walking down an aisle oh pastor mike that’s a sacred cow you’re touching a rail that should never be touched people say to me pastor mike why aren’t you every sunday making people walk down the aisle i didn’t say they could you’re invited every sunday to come to the altar you’re invited every moment but listen the altar is in our heart ultimately and there are many people that come to christ every service we ask you to bow your head and to bow your heart before god and to respond to the gospel to respond to jesus christ but it was not until the 19th century that evangelists and churches would ask people to come down the aisle now i’m not against it if you want to do that do that but in the new testament they professed their faith why because baptism meant you were serious baptism meant that you meant business with god now some of you may say, I don’t need to be baptized.

Well, I would say you’re wrong, and I want you to know that when you choose to be baptized, you’re in good company. Think about the people in the Bible that have gotten baptized. Number one, Jesus Christ.

He chose to be baptized. Did you know the Apostle Paul chose to be baptized? Did you know that the converts, over 3,000 people at Pentecost chose to be baptized? If you are a believer in Christ, and you say, I truly have repented, Pastor, and you have never been baptized, then you need to respond this morning to the gospel by committing in your heart and letting us know that you want to be baptized.

Every time I take folks through our new membership class, we help them understand what baptism is because it is an important step. I believe as moms and dads, we should teach and train our children, never force them to be baptized.

I remember a mother, who wanted all her children baptized at the same time. And one of them, a little guy, was crying and weeping back there in the back there. And I said, look, I don’t think this is going to work out.

And I don’t want him to hate the church. And I don’t want him to be upset at the church because we forced him down. And who knows how far I’m going to have to shove him down to get any effectiveness in this.

I’m just teasing church. Each child has to make their own decision. All of our children chose to come to Christ and be baptized at different ages. There is no exact age. It’s God’s work, his work of the Holy Spirit in their heart.

But if you’re a dad, a mom, a grandma, or a grandpa, you should teach your children. I’m shocked. I go up to the Christian school. I talk to some of the kids. And I say, has anybody ever taught you about baptism?

No. Well, isn’t your dad a pastor or isn’t your family member? They don’t teach it anymore. They don’t teach it. Baptism was what the Apostle Peter commanded that the people do in response to the gospel.

It’s an important step in our spiritual growth. Here’s the thing. The only way you’ll ever grow in your faith is through obedience to God. Did you know that you want your children, you want your grandchildren to grow spiritually?

It begins with- faith. They obey God in baptism. That is the initiation of their spiritual maturity and spiritual formation as they are developing in their Christian life. Never be afraid. Never force it, but never be afraid to talk about it.

Never be afraid to bring that subject up. Oh, you. been saved. That’s what a lot of us work on. We want to make sure our kids and grandkids are saved, and we should. But let’s not stop. Let’s not stop.

How do you feel about baptism? What do you understand about it? These are great questions you can ask your children and grandchildren. When we think about how Peter calls us to repent, these are action words that require us to respond to God.

We really have two choices. We can either be hard-hearted or we can receive the gospel into our hearts by having faith in Jesus Christ. And I hope that’s true for your life today, that you have trusted in Jesus Christ and that you believe in Him as your Lord and Savior.

Hey, don’t forget that we’re on Facebook. Hope Worth Having, like us. Again, you can keep up with things that are going on in the ministry and how things are happening and also be a part of our live streaming on Sunday mornings.

You’re welcome to do that if you’re not plugged into a church or you’re sick or your church doesn’t have the means to stream live. We want you to take advantage of continuing to grow in your faith, so make sure you do that.

This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth having.

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