Success in any project is dependent upon knowledge of the situation, a proper attitude, and a willingness to do what is necessary. These three things are evident in the establishment of the church in Acts 2. Here, a large crowd is gathered together who had a knowledge of God. They had gathered to observe a religious feast, and Peter and the other apostles came with more complete knowledge. They what they know, and many turned to Christ as a result of the apostles’ actions and Peter’s teaching.
In our attempts to teach and live God’s word, we need to have a knowledge of that word. However, we might still have several questions regarding what is revealed. Why has God done things the way He has? Could He not have made things easier, more obvious? Like those people gathered in the book of Acts, we have some knowledge. Also, like those people, we should be able to see a bigger picture than simply what God does for us. Rather, He wants us to be like Him so we can be with Him.
In Titus 1:2-3, Paul speaks of God’s eternal plan, and Ephesians 3:11 speaks of an eternal purpose. God’s desire for us to be like Him and with Him is not a new thing. This has been God’s desire since the beginning. At creation, God gave us a part of Himself, and, in the Garden, Adam and Eve were with God, and they were like Him in that they were innocent and sinless. God’s plan goes beyond simple forgiveness. It restores our purity and holiness that sin steals away.
We have to have a knowledge of this situation to help us understand Christ’s sacrifice, and we need to understand and appreciate our own guilt in sin. Romans 1:18 speaks of God’s anger with ungodliness and unrighteousness. Romans 6:23 plainly states that death is a consequence of sin. One sin separates us from God and put us in need of redemption and reconciliation. As an offering for those sins, Christ went to the cross, meeting the demands of justice, putting Himself in our place.
A Correct Attitude
We have to view these facts as something other than cold and hard. Back in Acts 2, Peter tells the crowd to act upon their knowledge – to repent and be baptized. This is not something to take under advisement or to consider complacently. Knowledge demands obedience if our attitude is correct. Hosea 6:6 records God’s desire for goodness, mercy, and knowledge over rote ritual. Repentance is more than saying, “I’m sorry.” Faith is more than saying, “I believe.” Obedience is more than simply showing up on Sunday, and baptism is more than getting wet. It is a reenactment of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. My attitude should be one of humility, and its nat an easy quality to take on.
We may know what Jesus has done for us, but we will be unwilling to submit to His word unless we can take that message to heart. What is my attitude in my treatments of others, in my conduct in the workplace, in my priorities, in how I treat my brothers and sisters? Do I behave how I want or how He wants? Do I view His word as commands or as suggestions?
Gaining a correct attitude will spur me to action. In Acts 2:38-39, Peter makes it clear that God’s promises are for those who are listening to him. When he told them what they should do, Peter claims this promise is for them and for anyone who will hear the message. Romans 8:24 speaks of hope we have when we are saved, when we are obedient to God’s word. The promises we have give us that hope, and hope serves as a motivation to our Christian lives.
I Peter 3:15 tells us to always be ready to speak about that hope we have, but, without involvement, no one will see my hope. Hebrews 6:17-20 makes it clear that God keeps His promises, and He does not lie. We can be confident in the promises of our God, and our attitude and hope gives us the motivation to be as involved as we should be.
Once many in Acts 2 learned of Christ’s role, they demonstrated a willingness to get involved in the cause. They took the facts given to them and applied them to their own lives. They viewed those facts from the perspective of a humble attitude, and they obeyed God’s word. They became involved based on the anchor of hope Peter spoke of when he invited them to obedience. Likewise, we need knowledge, a good attitude, and involvement to receive the hope of God’s promises.
lesson by Tim Smelser