The Message that Changed the World

The Message that Changed the World:  Its Beginning

   Luke authored a two-part history of Christianity.  In Luke, part one; he recorded Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.  In part two, Acts, Luke proceeded to discuss the rapid progress of Christianity, from its origin in Jerusalem to its arrival in Rome, the capital of the empire.

   Jesus taught that His kingdom, that is, His rule or reign over the hearts of men, would make tremendous advances from a small beginning.  He compared the spread of His rule to the mustard seed.  As this very small seed grows into a plant large enough for birds to build their nests in, so the extent of Jesus’ rule would become great, though it had a very small beginning (Mt 13:31-33).

   Isaiah and Micah predicted that Jesus’ kingdom would begin in Jerusalem.  The law, the word of the Lord, would go forth from Jerusalem and many nations would desire to be taught His way and to walk in His paths (Isa 2:1-3; Mic 4:1-2).  Jesus referenced these predictions when He spoke to His apostles after His resurrection.  He explained, “Thus it is written that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Lk 24:47).

   Let’s open Acts to take a look at Luke’s record of the beginning of Christianity in Jerusalem, when Jesus’ gospel, the message that has changed the world, was first preached.

The Message that Changed Crucifiers into Christians

   Jesus chose Peter to open His kingdom to mankind (Mt 16:19).  His message in Jerusalem was the key that unlocked the door so that men could enter Jesus’ kingdom.  His aim was to convince Jesus’ crucifiers that He had been exalted to both Lord and Christ, that is, King (Acts 2:36).

   How did Peter convince Jesus’ crucifiers to become subjects in His kingdom?  A survey of his sermon shows his 4-prong approach to prove His conclusion:

1) Jesus performed miracles.  Peter began here because his audience knew this (2:22). They had seen these supernatural wonders with their own eyes.  Peter called them signs because they pointed to the truth that Jesus was the King that they had been expecting. 

2) Jesus fulfilled the Scriptures.  Peter quoted Scripture to back up Jesus’ resurrection from the dead (2:24-31; Ps 16:8-11) and His exaltation to King (2:34-35; Ps 110:1). 

3) The apostles were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection.  Peter was preaching with the other eleven apostles at his side (2:14).  These twelve men testified to the fact that God had raised Jesus from the dead.  They knew this was true because they had seen Him alive (2:32).

4) The truthfulness of their message about Jesus was backed up by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  Peter argued that what the audience saw, tongues as of fire sitting on the apostles (2:3), and heard, a tornado-like sound inside the house where the apostles were (2:2) and the uneducated apostles praises to God in many of the world’s languages (2:4-11), was proof that Jesus was at the right hand of God.  Jesus was the One who poured out these miraculous manifestations of the Spirit.

   This 4-pronged presentation of evidence convinced many of Jesus’ crucifiers that He is the risen King.  It was their acceptance of who Jesus is that made them want to be followers of the Christ, that is, Christians.  The same evidence remains for our consideration.  No one should let anyone rule their life without evidence of their right to do so.  Study Peter’s points for yourself to see if you should consider Jesus to be both Lord and King.


   When the crucifiers heard and accepted Peter’s evidence-based conclusion that God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ they realized that they had committed a grievous sin against God.  They were pierced to the heart (Acts 2:37), that is, their consciences were smitten with guilt, remorse, sorrow and shame.  In this state of spiritual agony they cried out to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”  They wanted to know what they should do to be forgiven – to receive the benefits of the sacrifice that they now understood Jesus had made on their behalf.

   Peter responded with God’s conditions of forgiveness.  Yes, Jesus death was the means of salvation, but they were told that they had to do something in order to receive it.  Peter told them to do two things, repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus in order to receive the forgiveness of their sins (2:38).

   In obeying the command to repent, the crucifiers were to simply put into practice the truth about Jesus that they had accepted.  Accepting Jesus to be the Lord and King, they were to put Him on the throne of their hearts and to determine to do His will instead of their own.  This change of mind would result in changed lives.  They would put off the old man, the attitudes and actions that the King condemned.  They would put on the new man, the attitudes and actions that the King commanded them to demonstrate.  Having crowned Jesus as King, their goal would be, whether in speech or action, to do all in the name of (in submission to the authority of) the Lord Jesus (see Col 3:5-17).

   The crucifiers were also commanded to be baptized in order to be forgiven.  The word baptism means immersion or submersion.  Other passages plainly tell us that this immersion or submersion is in water (Acts 8:38-39; 10:47).  Those crucifiers who received Peter’s word were baptized (2:41).  When the repentant sinners were immersed in water, their sins were washed away (see Acts 22:16) since they had met the conditions God had laid down to receive the benefits of His Son’s blood.

   The 3,000 crucifiers who responded by obeying Peter’s message in Jerusalem were the mustard seed-beginning of Jesus’ king-dom.  These citizens of His heavenly kingdom resided in one small spot on the globe and were just a small fraction of the estimated 200 to 300 million people living in the world at that time.  Yet, in just a few years, Paul remarked that the gospel had been proclaimed in all creation under heaven (Col  1:23).

   Since that time the gospel has continued to be preached throughout the world.  Countless people over the last 2,000 years (the Lord knows who are His- 2 Tim 2:19) have been motivated by their belief that Jesus is Lord and King to repent and be baptized in order to receive salvation and to enter into the service of the King.  Have you done so?  If not, why not?  Why not now?

Special Streams

Andy Cantrell from the Northwest church of Christ in Minneapolis will be presenting some lessons via livestream on the Woodland Hills church of Christ YouTube channel from September 13th-18th.

Andy will present a series with the theme: Unity:  To Preserve and Attain (Eph 4:1-16)

Sunday 13th Streams Beginning @ 9:30 AM

  • Unity to Preserve and Attain
  • Unity of the Faith and the Spirit
  • Attitudes that Unify

Weekday Evening Streams @ 7 PM

  • Mon   14th   Unity and the Old Testament
  • Tues   15th   Unity by Exercising Gifts
  • Wed   16th   The “Ones” of Unity (part 1)
  • Thurs 17th   The “Ones” of Unity (part 2)
  • Fri       18th   Knowledge of the Son

Andy will also be presenting a special theme in three morning sessions: “As an example of Suffering and Patience Take the Prophets” (James 5:10)

Morning Streams: Tues, Wed, and Thurs @ 10 AM

We hope and pray that you will watch these presentations of the gospel of Christ live or as recorded on YouTube.  The message that changed the world brings us all together.