Thursday, March 2, 2017

And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’”  (Acts 2:40 (NKJV).

longwindedPeter had the opportunity on that special Pentecost to preach the Good News to thousands.  Earlier he and the other disciples thought Jesus’ preaching was offensive to the Pharisees (Matthew 15:12).  Here in Acts 2, Peter preaches truth not political correctness.  Peter told that crowd that they were guilty of crucifying God’s Son (Acts 2:36).  In response, some asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”  (Acts 2:37).  Peter answered in verses 38-39.  However, rather than call upon James to lead them in an invitation song, he kept on preaching.  Luke tells us, “And with many other words did he testify and exhort.”  Yes, he finally stated, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40).  Most preachers don’t use such words like that today in extending an invitation.  Of course, this wasn’t “in church” nor does Luke mention an invitation song.

Have you ever wondered what Peter’s “many other words” were?  Some believe he gave the “five steps” to being saved, the “five acts” of worship, the qualifications of the three church offices, and the three-fold mission of the church.  Others add how Sunday worship is to be conducted, future rules on the proper and improper use of church buildings, and the three things that the contribution is limited in financing.  If one practices it, it must have been the practice of the first century church!

There are many standards introduced and followed by believers which may sound godly, but the mother of their origin is found in Genesis 3.  Some are labeled as the “old paths,” but were introduced less than two or three hundred years ago!  Some may be touted as divine tradition, but can be traced to someone’s great, great grandparents rather than the Holy Spirit.

All attempts to guess what Peter’s “many other words” were, fail.  God’s standard is not built upon assumptions, comfort zones, opinions, or human judgment.  One may believe something sincerely and honestly, but it still may have its origin in man, not God.  The Pharisees thought their search of the scriptures put eternal life in their pocket.  Jesus indicated otherwise.  They were reading into the scriptures what they wanted to believe, but it wasn’t what God said.  If assumption is God’s standard, then there would be none.  This is what some in the Old Testament followed (Judges 17:6; 21:25).  Let our standard be the Bible.  Let us not misapply it and end up with a gospel that isn’t Good News (Galatians 1:6-9; Revelation 22:18-19)!