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Welcome to Sunday School

Sunday School Lesson - January 29, 2023 
"Does it bring conviction?"

Acts 2:32-41
The Point:
"The voice of God seeks to convict us of the truth."
A primary way God speaks is by convicting us of our sin. He loves us too much to allow us to rush headlong into sin without calling us to repent and return to Him. 
Acts 2:32-36
32  This Jesus hath God raised up, where we all are witnesses. 
33  Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 
34  For David is not ascended into the heavens, but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 
35  Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
36  Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Key Words:
All the house of Israel (v.36) - This phrase refers to the descendants of Jacob (Israel). It could mean specifically the old Northern Kingdom, but it probably refers to all Jews. 
Christ (v.36) -- This title (derived from the Greek) is based on the Hebrew word for "anointed', frequently translated "Messiah".
God's primary concern for people is that they be in a right relationship with Him. If you are not yet a follower of Jesus Christ, then God's primary focus is not on what company you work for or what neighborhood you live in; His focus is on seeing you acknowledge that you are a sinner, turn from your sin, and place your faith in Christ. 
Act 2 begins with the Holy Spirit coming upon the 120 followers of Jesus in the upper room. This led to Peter's sermon, one he preached to the multitude of Jewish people when filled the streets of Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost.  During such feasts, the population of Jerusalem could swell from 55,000 to 180,000 people. God often speaks through the preaching of His word. In this case, Peter preached about the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus. 
The gospel hinges on Jesus being raised from the dead (1 Cor. 15:17). Peter proclaimed that he and his fellow disciples were witnesses to the resurrection. This authenticated Peter's message, for he did not speak of what he did not know, but rather he preached out of his personal experience. Peter declared that after Jesus' resurrection, God sent the Holy Spirit. The evidence of the Spirit's working was evident to everyone present, for everyone heard the disciples "speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God" (Acts 2:11). A clear sign that if someone speaks a word that was given to them from God, the Holy Spirit affirms the message. 
Peter cited Psalm 110:1 in which David prophesied of the Messiah. It was a favorite passage of the early church (Mark 12:35-37; 1 Cor. 15:25; Heb. 1:13; 10-13). It indicated that Jesus is the Messiah, the Lord and Savior of all who place their trust in Him. Referencing Psalm 110 also offers encouragement because, though the church might suffer at the hands of its enemies for a time, God the Father will defeat every foe and place them in submission to Christ.
Peter reached the climax of his sermon in verse 36: "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." Peter spoke these words with certainty. He emphasized that it was they who crucified Jesus. They may not have hammered the nails into Jesus' hands and feet, but they were complicit by their sin and rebellion against God and their rejection of the Messiah. 
A telling sign that a word comes from God is the centrality of Jesus Christ, especially His death and resurrection.  When God speaks, He uplifts Christ and His work. The Holy Spirt also brings conviction of sins. Peter declared it was his listeners who were enemies of God. When God speaks to you, He will draw attention to the sin in your life and your disobedience to His word. God will point out anything in your life that is disrupting your fellowship with Him. God knows what matters most in your life and He will speak to those issues. It is the Holy Spirit's role to reveal and apply God's truth to your life (John 16:13-14). 
 Acts. 2:37-38
37  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? 
38  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. 
A distinguishing characteristic of God's voice is that His words always call for a response. You cannot remain indifferent to you. You can reject it or obey it, but you cannot remain neutral. When Peter preached to the crowd, the Holy Spirit affirmed his words to these who were listening. As a result, they were "pricked in their heart". This indicates a deep emotional pain as the Jewish people realized, to their horror, that after waiting for centuries for their Messiah, they had crucified Him. 
Jesus promised that when the Holy Spirit came, He would convict the world of "sin, and of righteousness, and judgment" (John 16:8). We each have a sinful nature and are inherently evil and rebellious against God. We do not naturally do what is right or good (Rom. 3:10-12). Our consciences are so seared by sin, we would be without hope if it were not for God's gracious work to convict us of our sin. In this passage in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit took Peter's words and applied them compellingly to the people's hearts. When God speaks, the Holy Spirit will affirm the words to your spirit, you will know the message is from Him. 
The People responded to Peter's sermon by exclaiming: "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"  Words from Satan leads to guilt and shame; words from God lead to repentance and life. Peter instructed the crowd to repent. That is, to confess their wrongdoing and turn their lives in a different direction. 
Peter told them to be baptized. Baptism is an outward sign of an inner transformation. It signifies that a person's sinful nature has died, and they have been born again to become a child of God. Baptism does not save anyone. It is a public testimony that someone has repented of his sin and identified himself with Christ as his Lord and Savior. The New Testament assumed that all who were born again would be baptized. Baptism symbolically identifies a person with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. It symbolizes death to sin and being raised to a new life in Christ. 
Those who repented received 2 things -- first, they received forgiveness for their sin. Second, they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit enters your life, you have every resource of God at your disposal to enable you to do God's Will. 
Acts 2:39-41
39  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. 
40  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 
41  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized; and the same day they were added unto them about three thousand souls. 
As Peter concluded his sermon, he offered hope and encouragement to his listeners. This is a distinguishing mark of a word from God. Satan will seek to discourage you and lead you to a place of hopelessness. God desires to save you from your sin and give you eternal life. God's word brings hope for better days ahead!
Peter referred to God's promise. Later in his ministry, Peter again spoke encouraging words about God's promises (2 Pet 1:4). He knew that whatever God promised, He would most certainly fulfill. Peter emphasized the scope of God's promise of salvation: It is for all who believe and trust when God calls. 
Peter urged the people to "Save yourselves from this untoward generation." Being saved  is the fundamental need of every person. 
Peter understood the eternal peril that each of his listeners faced, so he preached with urgency. The peril of living in sin is being a part of a corrupt generation headed for destruction. The result of Peter's sermon was that three thousand people accepted the message and were baptized. 
Our focus in this study is to discern the voice of God. Last week's session reminded us to ensure what we're hearing is in line with God's Word, but let's consider also what the voice is calling us to. Is there conviction of sin or is it leading me to a place of hopelessness. Am I being pointed to Christ and His mercy and grace? When God speaks, He always speaks words of truth and grace, desiring to bring us ever closer to Him. 
For more information on this lesson attend Sunday School at our church on January 29, 2023. We will be glad to have you.  

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