Monday, October 17, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 78

The Advent Part 70

Acts 2:37, “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

As a fearless witness for truth and a confessor full of the boldness of Christ Peter held his discourse in front of thousands of men, who were in their own right devout, yet who blinded by tradition had crucified the Christ. Full of the Holy Spirit Peter made known to all who heard him that God had made the Jesus whom they had crucified both Lord and Christ.

With a holy courage and an unshakable love Peter named the sin of the men who stood before him, not attempting to sugar coat it, or deliver it with less of a sting. Like a sword his words cut to the people’s hearts, not only because the words Peter had spoken were the truth, but because they were imbued with the power and authority of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit strengthened the word of truth in the conscience of Peter’s hearers, and cut to the heart they acknowledged their culpability, guilt and complicity in the events that had transpired. They realized that indeed the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth was held against them as sin and rebellion against the one true God.

The truth had been spoken, the Holy Spirit had pierced the hearts, and once this occurs in the life of an individual, the Word of God never returns void and without fruit. This is why we must speak the truth even if it is uncomfortable for the hearer; this is why we must speak the truth even though we will be hated for doing so. It is the truth, it is the testimony of Jesus the embodiment of truth that takes root in a heart and brings forth the fruit of repentance.

In order for anyone to be cut to the heart, first and foremost they must hear the truth; they must hear the unadulterated Word. It is hearing the Word of God that is the doorway by which the heart of the sinner can come to faith and repentance. We hear many things throughout our lives, every day it seems we are inundated with something, yet it is only the Word of God that has the power to pierce the heart and bring souls to repentance.

Just as it is not enough to hear of a good doctor but one must follow through and submit to his scalpel in order to be cured, we must submit to the living Word of God and allow it to pierce our hearts in order to be cured of the malady that is sin.

Hearing the Word must be followed by the piercing of the heart. No, not every heart can be pierced by the sword of God’s Word, because there are hearts that have long turned to stone. Sin hardens the heart, it turns the heart to stone, and the more one persists in sin the harder and more unfeeling the heart becomes.

Hebrews 3:14-15, “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

Sin not confessed is a great danger for it stands as a roadblock between the heart and the Word of God, and likewise dulls the understanding of those who persist in it. With each passing day a sin that is not confessed and repented of grows in its reach, in its size, and what seemed perverse and defiled to the conscience of the individual a month or a year ago, becomes common practice and something readily accepted. The understanding of God’s holiness, righteousness, and justice that once burned bright, the knowledge and delineation between that which is good and that which is evil that once formed the foundation of one’s moral code all become jumbled, and the lines become blurred, until men find themselves calling darkness light, and light darkness.

Isaiah 5:20, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

When discussing this passage of scripture in Acts, some have wondered what the other apostles were doing while Peter was speaking. Some have said that they were just standing there, while others have even gone so far as to say that what the other apostles were doing will forever remain a mystery, but personally I do not believe this to be so. What I believe the other apostles were doing while Peter was speaking was translating in other languages that which Peter was saying. Not all who had gathered to see and hear spoke Aramaic, for many had gathered from every land, yet they were all cut to the heart.

Men react one of two ways upon hearing the Word of God: they either harden their hearts, refusing to receive the message God is speaking to them, or they are cut to the heart and ask as those of old asked, ‘what shall we do?’

No matter how hard we try, no matter how much effort we put in, no matter how much we plead, in the end it is God who must pierce the heart, and it is the individual who must ask what it is that must be done. I can’t convert anyone, I can’t change anyone’s heart, all I can do is sow the seed of the Word and let God water it, and mature it, and bring forth fruit in due season. If God doesn’t pierce the heart, than a raised hand at the end of a service becomes nothing more than a formality, something forgotten as quickly as it was done.

My duty is to sow seed, my duty is to preach the Word, not keep an account of how many of the seeds fell in good soil. The sower does his duty, the sower sows, leaving the rest in the hands of God.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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