The Right Starting Place

by David & Stephen Olford

David and Stephen OlfordText: "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and they that gladly received his word were baptized and they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:37,41-42).

Thought: A mere glance at the structure and substance of Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost reveals that it was God-conceived, Christ-centered and Spirit-controlled, and therefore relevant and authoritative. This community of believers started with a conviction of sin, conversion of life, and a confession of faith.

A Conviction of Sin: "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said Men and brethren, what shall we do?"(v. 37). Peter had been preaching about Jesus who was taken by wicked hands and crucified, but who was raised by God to be Lord and Christ. The Holy Spirit was the instrument of conviction in making the multitude aware of the awfulness of rejecting the Savior. The issue on which God convicts men today is still that of Jesus Christ. Refusal to own Him as Savior and Lord can therefore only bring everlasting destruction from the presence of God. Have you been convicted by the Holy Spirit?

A Conversion of Life: "Repent, and be baptizedfor the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost"(v. 38). New Testament conversion is nothing less than a radical and revolutionary change affecting the whole personality. It involves a change of the human mind by turning in repentance to God. It further involves a cleansing of the human heart, which can only come through trusting in Christ, and a controlling of the human will by committing the government of our lives to the indwelling Spirit.

A Confession of Faith: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptizedabout three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers" (v. 41). Secret discipleship was unknown in Peter's day. A confession of faith expressed itself in baptism, obedience to the Word of God and allegiance to the church of God. Whatever demands the Word of God made upon these new converts was gladly obeyed, and consequently this fellowship of local believers made an impact upon the world for the good of man and the glory of God.

Thrust: God expects the same conviction of sin, conversion of life and confession of faith in our lives as that which resulted from Peter's preaching. What is your response?

David Olford makes possible the continuation of this column by editing material
from his father's writings. Through his efforts, Points to Ponder continues
to bless, encourage, and challenge readers.

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