Acts 2:36,37 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

     When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost those in the church fell under His influence; “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:4)  Onlookers who had gathered heard their own languages being spoken.  Some were amazed; “. . . we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (Acts 2:11).  Some thought the speakers were drunk.  Peter addressed the crowed and explained what was happening.  He concluded with the hammer blow which placed the guilt of the people squarely on them.  They were guilty, guilty, guilty!

     I can’t help but wonder  how it might have turned out different if Peter had been more mealy-mouthed, more accommodating, more inclusive.  What if Peter preached a message that was designed to help people feel better about themselves?   How would the people have responded? I don’t think they would have cried out; “What shall we do?”  Had Peter preached a different message he may have started a mega church right there in the first century! 

     What would have happened  had Peter preached a message based on a common church outreach paradigm operating today; “I believe that the responsibility in this Age is to ‘positivize’ religion. Now this probably doesn’t have much bearing to you people, being Unity people, you’re positive. But I talk a great deal to groups that are not positive… even to what we would call Fundamentalists who deal constantly with words like sin, salvation, repentance, guilt, that sort of thing.”  (Robert Schuller quoted in Let us Reason Ministries)  What if Peter hadn’t been a ‘fundamentalist’ and instead of sticking to the facts he had ‘positivized’ his message to the onlookers that day at Pentecost?

     Let us Reason Ministries have argued that Peter achieved the same end with a different message; “Peter had the same results with a different presentation in Acts 2. His was by the power of God through a scorching presentation of the gospel to the people that rejected Jesus. He did not cater to their sensitivity.” (Ibid)  I disagree for two reasons. 

     People are not cut to the heart by the ‘feel good positivized’ gospel.  It is a counterfeit gospel and as such produces counterfeit results.   One blogger puts it this way;   “Finding a mega church without an American Idol running the show . . . . is rare indeed. It’s not just that they put their pastors on pedestals. Many churches are in competition for bragging rights about church size. They all want to move up on the list of the top 1000 largest churches in America and they do not much care how they advance. Whatever works is their overriding methodology.”  Church growth and personal transformation are not the same.

     The telling hallmark of His true church is given in the book of  Acts.  People have a fear of God, a reverence and gratitude that is reflected in all they do.  God’s Word and His Holy Spirit works a transformational miracle in such a church; “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.”  (Acts 2:42,43)

     Remember; the Bible calls us to change, to transform;  “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  (Romans 12:2)

     It all starts with being cut to the heart.

     Praise the Lord!