Cut to the Heart
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?”
38 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.
39 “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”
41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
*[2Ti 3:16-17 NKJV] 16 All Scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Peter has just dropped the bomb that these Jews have killed their long awaited messiah and king, the savior of the world whom they were all hoping for. He reasoned with the crowd and proved to them, using the scriptures, that Jesus was the Christ and his death and resurrection were prophesied.
Think of all the blunders that man has perpetrated on the earth and this one takes the crown jewel.
The God of the universe has come down in person to be with man and teach man. To heal diseases, to raise the dead, to convert sinners
and the very people who have waited for centuries, even millennia, for this advent have now turned on their own God and slain him. Many of these Jews were in that crowd that was yelling crucify him, crucify him.
A couple of verses before this Peter strongly declares, 33 “Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. … 36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:33, 36)
Any Jew hearing this has to be thinking I am in for it! By crucifying Jesus Christ they had rejected their only hope for redemption.
This dreadful realization, which was brought by the Holy Spirit through Peter’s preaching, convicted the hearts of the crowd. The scriptures says that they were cut to the heart and cried, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
Peter told them to do two things: first he told them to repent and second he told them to be baptized. If they did these things Peter said they WILL receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and that that gift is for all who place their faith in Jesus.
Peter is preaching the Gospel, a message that most of us are familiar with. Yet this is THE reason that we are here. This is the reason that our butts are sitting in these seats Sunday after Sunday.
The word Gospel means good news and no matter how much we think we know and understand that that good news it is always beneficial to remind ourselves of what the bulk of the New Testament addresses
This is the Gospel: God made everything by himself and he created Man in his image. He gave Man dominion over all of the Earth and He walked in fellowship with Man on the earth.
He gave mankind the ideal environment. Everything that Adam needed God provided. There was no death or suffering. There was no need for strenuous labor and there was no sin or despair. It was completely ideal.
In this ideal environment God provided Mankind with a choice, one tree that Man could not eat from. This tree would serve as a portal to the antithesis of what God originally designed.
If man ate of this tree then he would be, in effect, choosing the not ideal over the ideal, the flawed over the prefect.
Instead of a world that had no death or suffering it would be a world where everything dies and suffers
Instead of a world of abundance, a world of scarcity
Instead of a world where Man and God walked in complete fellowship, a world where Man is separated from God
Man instead of being born innocent would be born a condemned sinner
Instead of peace, war … instead of health, disease … Instead of rest, work … Instead of good, evil … instead of life, death
And God warned Man that if he ate off that tree it would bring death… but Man chose to eat off that tree anyway.
All that “not ideal” stuff came to pass, because humanity sinned against God in the Garden of Eden. It was a sin of rebellion and unbelief.
Sin is an archery term that means missing the mark. That is its literal definition. So when I go into the bathroom and see my son’s pee all over the floor instead of in the toilet, that is sin in the literal sense.
This world and the people in it miss the mark and Mankind asked for this and this is what he got.
When man ate from that tree, God pronounced him guilty and from that point on Man would live in a broken world, his nature marred by sin
Again this is a deviation and perversion of the original
Now God hates evil with a passion and he has appointed a day in which he will destroy the Universe and all the evil that is in it.
The Bible says that on this day God will burn the elements with fervent heat
And the souls of every rebellious sinner He will cast into outer darkness where they will stay in God’s prison forever without parole.
Here is the problem: God has condemned his creation to destruction because of sin. God the Judge of the universe has pronounced judgment; the sentence is just waiting to be carried out.
Furthermore we stand condemned with that creation. We are condemned already! We are sinners to a man and woman. Each is totally corrupt
[Rom 3:10-12 NKJV] 10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”
[John 3:18-19 NKJV] 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
The nature of sin is that it IS our nature. We don’t “become” sinners when we sin. We sin because we are sinners. It’s tied to our very essence. We are natural born sinners.
Think of a child. you don’t have to teach a child to lie, steal or hit you have to teach a child to not do those things because from the womb we are predisposed to evil
And though God is concerned with the kinds of things we do, He is more concerned about the kind of thing that we are and the truth is we are evil.
You might object to this, maybe you think I am overstating it but I challenge you to watch the news and to fairly evaluate your own heart.
All of us have sinned. We’ve lied, stolen, lusted, bullied, gossiped, coveted, hated, held grudges, been unfaithful, been disrespectful, been unloving and the list goes on and on.
[Rom 3:23 NKJV] 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Imagine a world without police. What would that world be like? Well we know what it would be like. It would be apocalyptic; it would be mad max because the evil of man needs entire institutions to restrain his wickedness.
Nearly every earthly resource imaginable has been brought to bear to combat the depravity of man yet still that wickedness remains
Hell is Gods way of quarantining that evil and if you will not be separated from your evil then you will be cast out with your evil
That isn’t to say that there is no good in man at all. Remember that the scriptures say that when God created man he called him very good. But sin has contaminated that goodness.
It would be like if a prankster hocked a loogie in your water bottle now there is good water in that bottle but you wouldn’t drink it unless you’re nasty! Well that is like sin in us man is still able to do good things sometimes but you will always get some of that contaminant with the good.
Also you have to understand that sin and evil are a privation of good. It is not a thing in the same sense as other things. It is the absence of a thing. Like cold is really a lack of heat or dark is the absence of light.
It is like cancer if you take away all the cancer and leave the patient what do you have? A healthy patient but if you take away the patient and leave the cancer what do you have? Nothing.
Think of rust on a classic car if you take away all the rust what do you have a great classic car but if you take away the car and leave the rust what do you have? Nothing!
This is the problem and the dilemma. We are contaminated with evil and God hates evil. His patience for evil will end he will not suffer it forever but he also deeply loves people and he doesn’t want to destroy them
This is why we must be born again. We need a new nature we need to become a new person. We must become something altogether different than what we are. We have to be born of the Spirit.
[Jhn 3:3 NKJV] 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
This new birth only happens to those who repent and place all their faith and hope in Jesus Christ who came to this earth to atone for the sins of humanity.
We were convicted in the courtroom of God’s justice and were awaiting that sentence to be carried out but Jesus paid our fine with the shedding of His own blood on the Cross. All we have to do is repent and cling to Jesus.
So what does it mean to be saved? It means that we are spared from the wrath of God that is coming on the world and the ungodly. We are saved from the bondage of sin and the consequences of it.
Now in light of the Gospel and the testimony of scripture isn’t interesting when people try to preach a Gospel that doesn’t include repentance?
There is a gospel that is being preached where sin is not regularly talked about or addressed. People are encouraged to come to Christ on different grounds than the eradication of their sin.
They are told to come to Christ so they can have their Best Life Now or so they can have Total Life Prosperity. But this is a different Gospel than the one preached by Peter on Pentecost.
We need to Repent and repentance is a requirement for salvation. Repentance is a fundamental shifting of loyalties; it is changing sides. It’s not works; it’s an attitude
This world is in a state of open revolt against the Almighty and at that rebellion’s head in none other than the Devil himself.
Repentance is laying down your weapons laying on your belly and placing your hands on your head with your fingers interlocked
It is placing yourself at the mercy of the one to whom you have been rebelling
It is more than mere mental accent. One can acknowledge the existence of the rightful ruler and still be in rebellion to him.
You have to acknowledge the existence of the rightful ruler AND pay homage.
Repentance is not only a change of mind but a change of heart. It is turning away from sin and the Devil to the True and Living God, the ruler of the universe.
It is believing in Jesus Christ and submitting to him; it is an act of humility.
Repentance is not something that is isolated to the unsaved or newly converted. We need to live in a state of repentance.
Every day is an exercise in bowing a little further, submitting a little more.
One of the ways we show our repentance is through Baptism. If you have not been baptized then I question whether are not you are repentant.
Your Lord has ordered you to identify with Christ’s Death, Burial and resurrection in baptism when you reject baptism you are refusing to identify with Christ!
You are in essence declaring that you are not a Christian. It would be like if you passed up communion every time it was offered. If you did so it would seem that you are refusing to partake of Christ sacrifice?
Baptism doesn’t save you but it is a public declaration of an inward faith so, if you haven’t been baptized then you have to ask yourself why you are unwilling to make that declaration.
We also see that repentance is a requirement to receive the Holy Spirit. I believe this is true for non-believers and believers. If you haven’t received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit then your attitude toward sin might be the culprit.
We cannot take a cavalier attitude toward sin and expect the HOLY Spirit to not be grieved. If you want power to be a better witness and power to walk in Holiness then you need to change your attitude about sin.
This whole saga from Genesis to revelation is to shed light on the problem of sin and to glorify the work and person of Jesus. How can we not be cut to the heart about our sin?
And when we are cut to the heart there are two responses: the first is the response of the Jews on Pentecost. Men and Brethren what shall we do? They were repentant and 3000 were added to the church that day.
The second response we can see in [Act 7:52-54, 57-58 NKJV] 52 “Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, 53 “who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept [it].” 54 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with [their] teeth. … 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast [him] out of the city and stoned [him]. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
Again there are two responses that one can have to the Gospel when they are cut to the heart by the Holy Spirit’s conviction. You can either repent or gnash your teeth.
(Visualize this) Stranger Things example?
[2Co 5:17-21 NKJV] 17 Therefore, if anyone [is] in Christ, [he is] a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things [are] of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore [you] on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin [to be] sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Cut to the Heart