Acts 2:37-42
Acts 2:37 (KJB)
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Were pricked - Agitated greatly, cut through, or pierced
Peter’s sermon had gotten right to the heart of the matter that Jesus was the promised Messiah and Israel had been blind to this reality, now that they know who He was and the fact that they had crucified Him pricked them in their hearts and caused much consternation and anxiety within them. In verse 12, they had asked what all of this means but now they have been anguished in their hearts. They now want to know what they must do? They may have thought that there was something they could do to make up for the injustices which Jesus suffered. They might have been thinking about making some type of guilt or sin offering under the law. Instead, in the next verse Peter gives the Gospel message to them.
Acts 2:38 (KJB)
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Repent - Change one’s mind or be converted
Remission - Deliverance, forgiveness, or suspension of punishment
Peter responded to them, not in the letter of the law concerning some kind of offering instead he responds with the Gospel message. The first thing he tells them that they must repent. Repentance is an act whereby your mind is changed about something which leads to a lifestyle commensurate with that change of mind. The word “repent” in the Greek is in the Imperative Mood which means it is a command and not an option. Repentance is not something that is done before the moment of salvation but repentance is simultaneous with salvation. Repentance is never initiated by man but by God. (2 Tim 2:25 KJV) In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; A person being spiritually dead would be unable to do any type of work for salvation. We find in 2 Timothy 2:25 that God is the one who gives repentance so the truth may be acknowledged. Only one that is saved will be able to acknowledge the truth.
Then Peter states that a person must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin. This is not speaking of water baptism because there is no way that water baptism can ever remove sins from a person and initiate salvation. The baptism which is in view is not water baptism but it contains two elements. (Rom 6:3 KJV) Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? The first element is being baptized into the death of Christ. Now this is not speaking of water baptism but the fact that we are baptized into Christ through the spiritual rebirth. That baptism into Christ affects us by giving us a death to the things of the world. We read that we were baptized into His death. When Christ went to the cross, He died for the sins of His Elect but He also showed us that He died to the things of the world. This thought is carried from verse 2 concerning the death of the believer to the things which oppose true Christianity. (Rom 6:2 KJV) God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? The baptizing that we receive is a uniting of the believer into Christ and into the death of the magnetism and performance of sin. Water baptism is just an outward sign of what happens inwardly when someone becomes saved and has no significance in salvation.
Then Peter goes on to preach that it is to be done in the name of Jesus. These are not just words which are appended to our prayers but the name of Jesus carries with it all the authority of Heaven and the power of Eternal God. For one to be in the name of Jesus, they must be saved by Christ. This is why Peter states that these things must be done in the name of Christ because only He has the authority to save someone. For if a person is granted repentance by God and is baptized into the death of Christ and in the name of Christ, the second element is they are given the gift of the Holy Spirit to indwell them eternally. Christians are made alive unto the things of God by means of the indwelling Holy Spirit but those in worldly religions are attempting to reach God while remaining dead in their sins. (John 4:24 KJV) God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. This is how we truly worship God. Once we are saved, we have the Spirit of God indwelling us and that is how we worship Him in spirit and in truth because the Holy Spirit lead us into all truth. (John 16:13 KJV) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. Once we become a person who is spiritually alive, then we worship God the biblical way and not the religious way.
Acts 2:39 (KJB)
For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
(Acts 1:4 KJV) And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. Peter now states that the promise of the Holy Spirit is not just a gift given to a certain few. Many might have been under the notion that it would be the leaders of Israel who would receive the promise and then teach from that standpoint. That is not so, there would be no super spiritual class of clergy. The promise of the Holy Spirit would be given to every single person who became saved through the Lord Jesus Christ. The promise was to those who were hearing Peter, and to their children, which would mean the next generation and all the generations to come until the last one. Then the promise is to those who are afar off and this would mean those around the world who became saved, and finally all that the Lord calls to salvation, no matter where they are in the world or in whatever social status, will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The last phrase would also include all the countries of the world down through all the ages until the last one is saved and the Lord returns.
Acts 2:40 (KJB)
And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
Untoward - Crooked, evil, devious, corrupt, unjust, and full of obstacles
Save yourselves - Be saved, preserved, or kept safe
Peter’s sermon must have went on for a while longer and the rest of it is not recorded here for us but the summary would be that through salvation they would be able to turn away, or repent, from the ways of the untoward generation in which they lived. It would not only be their generation, but this would apply to all of them till the last one. A person who is saved would be saved from the evil which will come upon all of the generations throughout time. Peter is stating that there is only one way a person can escape the evils of this world and that is through Christ. When you look at the alternate meanings of the word “untoward,” it definitely reads like it is describing our time. That is why we can see that the Bible never goes out of date!
Acts 2:41 (KJB)
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
That…received - Welcomed, receive favorably, or receive with pleasure
This must have been a huge crowd that was listening to Peter because this verse is stating that not everyone who heard Peter had gladly received the words. Yet, Peter’s sermon had great effect upon the crowd because three thousand people had become saved that day and had become baptized. Notice the order that they received the word and became saved first, then they were baptized in water as a testimony to their inward transformation. In just one day, the power of the Gospel increased the number of believers from approximately 120 to 3,120. This should give us tremendous encouragement because we never know what impact any phase of ministry will have on those who are hearing. This is why it is important that we always remain vigilant in ministry.
Acts 2:42 (KJB)
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Continued stedfastly - Adhere firmly to or remain devoted to
Doctrine - Teaching
After the three thousand had become saved, they had not dispersed yet but chose to stay in Jerusalem. Since salvation had taken place, they now began to show a hunger for learning the Word of God. They had started learning the teachings of the Apostles and they were stedfast or had remained devoted to the teachings they were now learning. Jerusalem had become one big Bible conference as they were not only learning the true Gospel, but also had remained to fellowship with the Apostles, which included having meals together and times of worship which included prayer times. We are not sure how long this large crowd had remained together in Jerusalem until they finally had to go back to their homes but while they were together they had enjoyed a great time of fellowship and spiritual growth as the seeds of the true Gospel were now starting to sprout.