The Message of our Mission.
Read Acts 2:37-42
"Repent, and each of you is baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins."
What is the message we are to proclaim? While the gospel message is focused upon the person and work of Christ, what are we to communicate? In Acts 2, we find Peter addressing the people who were gathered in amazement at the events that transpired on the day of the Pentecost. In response to their amazement, perplexity, and questions about the Apostles proclaiming their message in the various languages, Peter provided a theological overview of God's redemptive history. The events that happened came from God's redemptive plan that was established in the beginning and manifested throughout the history of Israel. In a message that echo's Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 15, that the gospel involves the message of Christ's death and resurrection, Peter points to the crucifixion as the work of God's sovereign plan (Acts 2:23). God then raised Christ from the dead to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies (vs. 24-28). Peter concludes his message by pointing to the deity and redemptive work of Christ (vs. 36). To affirm that Jesus is "Lord" is an affirmation that Jesus is God himself. The title Christ points to Christ as the Messiah who came to deliver us from our bondage of sin.
In verse 37, the people are "pierced to the heart" and convicted of their need for salvation, and so they cry out, "what shall we do?" This is the critical question. If Jesus is the son of God who brings salvation, how are we to respond? How do we receive the salvation he offers? Peter answers the question in vs. 38. Faith in Christ is expressed in two ways. First, faith in Christ involves repentance. The word repentance means to change the heart and mind regarding our old way of living and our view of sin and to embrace a new behavior and lifestyle. It is not just to be sorry for our sin, but to change our behavior so instead of acting in sin, we now are pursuing righteousness. To repent is to view sin as Christ does--a violation of his character and turn away from its practice.
Second, to embrace Christ is then to embrace his life and his way of living. Baptism is more than just being dunked in water. Baptism is to identify with Christ and his life. To embrace Christ is to be his disciple. A disciple was a learner, devoted to learning and following the instructor's teaching. We become Christ's disciples when we become wholly faithful and obedient to the teaching of Christ.
To turn from sin and embrace the teaching of Christ is the cornerstone of the gospel. As we share with people the gospel, there must always be a call to change. The gospel is not about obtaining personal happiness; it is about become holy and righteous and living according to how God desires us to live.