Harvest of Souls

There was a harvest of souls on… I would say that first Pentecost, but it wasn’t the first Pentecost.  For two thousand years God’s people gathered together for a harvest festival.  This festival God’s people weren’t just bringing in their harvests from the fields, God was bringing in a harvest of his people.  That is why this was a harvest of souls.  It was the birthday of the New Testament church!  How exactly did God make that harvest happen?  Let’s consider Peter’s sermon.

This is the so what factor to all of Peter’s words.  Don’t you realize what you’ve done?!  You have sinned horribly.  You killed Jesus!  The next verse is a fascinating verse because I think we’ve all heard something like this said or maybe words like Peter’s rebuke here to the Jerusalem crowd have crossed our lips.  Acts 2:37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” You are sitting at lunch talking with a friend, classmate, or coworker and they talk about some delightful sin they have been indulging in lately.  You offer a firm but gentle rebuke – and they are a) laughing and telling you how ridiculous and wrong you are for judging them. b) silent in an awkward moment hoping it will go away. c) cut to the heart.  Maybe you’ve experienced all three.  Only one of those comes from God.  Anytime anyone is cut to the heart by God’s Law it is because the Holy Spirit is working repentance.  If that is all the farther it goes, the Law ends in death.  The people asked a good question.  Honestly every person gets to this point at some point in life.  What can I do with my sin?

Some people who don’t know Jesus, try harder – they think maybe I can work my way out of my sin.  Turn a good deed – find an old lady and help her across the street a few times, volunteer at a homeless shelter – do anything GOOD so that I can balance out my sin.  This is a terrible answer because it is the answer of the Pharisee.  The person believes the lie that sin isn’t so bad or worse – there is no sin left!  I’ve reached complete balance in my life.  This is the answer of most world religions – work harder.

Others ignore it – they silence the worry by sinning more and figure it doesn’t matter.  This is the drunk who cures his hangover with another beer.  The porn addict who can’t find enough websites to fill his eyes.  This path leads to the destruction of the soul and the body.  That doesn’t mean that this person is beyond hope, but the answer to the question Brothers, what shall we do with our sin?  Don’t ignore it.

Peter’s answer is unique to Christianity.  Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  First repent – don’t run from sin, don’t justify it or ignore it.  Grab it by the horns and take a long hard look into your depravity and then wash it all away in the floodwaters of baptism.  Sins can’t be balanced out or ignored, but they can and have been paid for.  When Jesus died on the cross, he paid for every sin ever committed.  More importantly he paid for my sin and for yours.  As terrible as your sin is, Jesus sacrifice was greater.  You baptism is your pledge the rest of your days that you are washed clean in Jesus.  In a few moments you’ll have another opportunity to taste and see just how good and forgiving your God is – his body and blood was given and shed for you.

Want to hear more?  Including how the Spirit’s fire will never go out?  Watch this week’s message taken from Acts 2 – Harvest of Souls.