Bella Vista Church of Christ



Charles Cash


People Need To Be Motivated (1)


  Peter, on the day of Pentecost, preached the first sermon following the resurrection and ascension of Christ back into heaven. The sermon was delivered to a multitude of Jews out of some fifteen different nations gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost. This was the exercise of one of the “keys of the kingdom” Jesus promised Peter in Matthew 16:19.


  It was a powerful and moving sermon about the Christ, beginning in the 14th verse of Acts 2, and concluding with this statement in verse 36, “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Then the record says in verse 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?’” In answer to their question, “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”


  Peter had preached the good news, the gospel, the “power of God unto salvation.” But please notice that Peter did not leave it at that. Even though their being “cut to the heart,” caused them to ask “what shall we do?” and even though Peter had given the answer: “Repent and be baptized,” he did not stop there! He did not say, “There it is; take it or leave it; it is your choice.” No, not at all! “With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them (did he testify and exhort KJV), ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’” (Verse 40) The narrative concludes, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” (V. 41)


  People need to be motivated! Will Rogers once said; “There are no lazy people, just unmotivated people. Somehow, they didn’t come equipped with a battery or their voltage is low. They lack spark and enthusiasm.”


  The outline of Peter’s sermon is provided there in Acts 2 for all generations to read and follow in order to attain, by the grace of God, the salvation of their souls. How preachers would like to have, myself included, an outline of the closing invitation. What did he say?What were the many words? What was included in the exhortation, the pleading? Here is a thought question that will never be answered by any of us. How many Jews do you suppose would have been converted there on that Pentecost if Peter had just stopped with giving the answer to their question and had not continued with exhortations and persuasion? We will dare to say it would not have been three thousand.


  Amid a discussion of reconciliation to God, Paul gave the objective of his preaching: “We try to persuade (motivate) men.” (2 Corinthians 5:11) Paul was trying to do the same thing that Peter was doing; and he did a good job of it. Not unlike the case of Peter in Acts, chapter 2, the exact details, or exhortations used, are not always recorded. Paul, and Peter for that matter, did not succeed in motivating everyone. For example, King Agrippa asked Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade (motivate) me to be a Christian?” (Acts 26:28) The more familiar reading is, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”(KJV)


  Now, we would never diminish, nor underestimate, the tremendous power in the influence of a godly Christian’s life in leading another to respond to the Lord. But, even in that scenario, one would still have to obey the gospel out of conviction of heart that it was God’s will and therefore the right thing to do. This is what this article is about!


  When people learn about Jesus, who He is, and what He taught, as in our text, they need to be motivated to respond. When people have heard the gospel message over and over again, they need to be motivated to do what they know in their heart of hearts is right.


  Though we do not know what Peter used in his final invitation containing “many words and exhortations,” we do know that they would have been Biblical and designed by God to bring about a reconciliation between God and man. We also know that these motivating factors would be revealed elsewhere in His Word. So, by further investigation, we just may hit on some of the things Peter might have talked about.


Next week: People Need to Be Motivated (2)