Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com
Acts 2:32-39 (NIV)
32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’ 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
The Apostle Peter gave this sermon on the day the Holy Spirit came into power to birth the Christian Church. Here we also see the basics of what a church is. Peter first presents the “law”. He tells them that they killed Jesus! Their sins were the reason that the Son of God died on a cross (Acts 2:23). This “cut to the heart” of those listening, so they asked what they could “do”. Peter then gives them the Gospel: because of what Jesus has already done, God has forgiven their sins and they can receive the gift of God’s Holy Spirit through baptism! So, what is a church? It is not what music we sing or what programs we have available for our children. A church is where God’s Holy Spirit gathers people to hear the “law and gospel” preached that exposes our need for a savior and points us to our only source of hope. As we enter a time of transition at Shepherd of the Hills, let us pray that God would keep our church faithful to this Good News!