CASE-01 - The 3,000 Converted on the Day of Pentecost
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CASES OF CONVERSION
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus
whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ, and when they heard this they were cut to the
heart and they cried out, ‘men and brethren what shall we do?’” Acts 2:36-37.
Today we’re going to be studying about cases of conversion in the Bible. In
essence, we‘re asking the greatest question that's ever been asked: What must I do to
As we think today about the gospel plan of salvation, and various cases of
conversion in the Bible, we specifically look to the book of Acts. You may be wondering
why the book of Acts? Did you know that before the book of Acts, there were no
Christians? Many people are confused about that idea. Sometimes they want to turn to
the Old Testament or various books and wonder, how do I become a Christian? The
book of Acts is the book that tells us what must I do to be saved. In fact Acts 11:26
says, “They were called Christians first in Antioch.” So, as we study these cases of
conversion, we’re specifically looking to the book of Acts, the book that is all about
conversion. As one thinks about conversion and obeying the gospel and becoming a
Christian, we need to emphasize and understand why there is such a need. Why does
man need to be converted? Why does one need to become a child of God?
I think as we turn to the Scripture, we can find evidence that is overwhelming
regards to man's need to obey God's plan of salvation. For example, man needs the
Gospel of Jesus Christ and needs to obey it, because he can't save himself. In the long-
ago, the prophet Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 10:23, “Oh Lord, I know the way of man is
not in himself, it's not in man who walks to direct his own steps.” I can't choose my own
way of salvation. You can't choose your way. Nobody else's way will work except
Almighty God's. Proverbs 16:25 says it this way, “There is a way that seems right to a
man, but the end thereof is the way of death.” It's not my way. It's not your way. And in
all kindness, it doesn't matter what I think or what you think about salvation. We need to
obey the gospel, God's plan of salvation, because we can't save ourselves. As we think
about conversion, let's realize the Scripture does affirm that man needs saving. There is
something that has caused man to be lost. We know that that is sin. Sin is the reason
we need to obey the gospel and be converted.
Do you remember Romans 3:23? How many have sinned? “All have sinned and
fallen short of the glory of God.” When God says “all,” what does He mean? Well we
understand all, but you know it is defined a little further for us in Romans 3:10. The Bible
says, “There is none righteous, no not one, all have sinned, none are righteous.”
Therefore, we need to be saved from the consequences of sin. What are those
consequences? “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in
Christ Jesus our Lord.” If one lives in sin and dies in sin, that person is sadly going to be
lost for eternity. Thus, the dire need to obey God's plan of salvation. The prophet
Ezekiel said in Ezekiel 18:4, “The soul who sins shall surely die.”
As we think about this great need, why do I need salvation, why does mankind
need salvation; let's realize that only God's person and God's plan can save us. That
individual of course is the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus emphatically said, “I am the way, I
am the truth, I am the life, no man comes to the Father except by me,” John 14:6. This
is why the Hebrew writer says Jesus is able to save to the uttermost completely those
who come to God through Him. It's God's system, God's plan of salvation that saves.
Remember Romans 1:16? Paul said, “I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is
the power of God unto salvation to all those who believe to the Jew first and also to the
Greek.” God's plan of salvation, His gospel can save. Jesus it was said in Matthew 1:19-
21, when He came into the world it was said, “You will call His name Jesus,” Why? “He
will save His people from their sins.”
Friend, as we think today about conversion, we’re specifically looking at New
Testament accounts of salvation. We’re talking about the cases in the Bible, in the New
Testament, when people asked, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ What was the biblical
answer to that question? And if that's a pattern for us, must we not also follow their plan
Today, we began with the very first case of conversion that ever occurred to
Christianity, in the New Testament. And that's found in Acts 2. Pentecost, the 3000 who
obey the gospel on the day of Pentecost, are a prime example for us of what we must
do to be saved. What'd they have to do that very first time the gospel is preached?
What, how do they respond to that? First of all, they had to hear God's word. Those on
Pentecost were gathered there, multiplied millions gathered, and Peter stands up with
the 11, and he preaches Christ to them. Notice Acts 2:14 what happened on Pentecost.
Acts 2:14 says this, “But Peter standing up with the 11, raised his voice and said to
them, ‘Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and heed
my words.’” For these people to be saved, they had to hear the word of God to have
true faith and belief in Jesus Christ. That’s found throughout the Scriptures. Do you
remember Romans 10:17? The Scripture says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by
the word of God.” How do I get faith? By hearing. By hearing what? The word of God.
Only the word of God can produce true faith in me that leads to salvation.
So, when we talk today about obeying the gospel, plan of salvation, in these
cases of conversion every one of them had to hear the message of salvation from the
word of God. As we talk about hearing God's word, what specifically are we talking
about? What are the qualities and characteristics of someone who correctly hears God's
word? Well first, hearing the word of God means that I recognize its authority. God's
word has the final authority on salvation. Let me give you an example. On the Mount of
Transfiguration, Jesus is there transfigured before His disciples. And Peter makes the
statement, ‘Lord it's good for us to be here. Let's make three Tabernacles, one for you,
one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ The voice of God came down from heaven and said
this, “Jesus is my beloved son in whom I'm well pleased, hear ye Him.” When we talk
about hearing the word of God, we’re recognizing that God's voice is the final authority.
It has the final say on matters of salvation. The Scripture does teach that specifically.
Matthew 28:18 Jesus said, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth,”
and then He said, “Go and make disciples of all nations,” whatever you do in word or
deed we're to do in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. John 12:48 teaches us why,
because it's those words, the words of Christ are going to be my judge. Jesus said, “He
who rejects me and does not receive my words has that which judges him, the word that
I've spoken will judge him in the last day.”
Listen carefully, as we talk today about obeying the gospel, these cases of
conversion, and specifically hearing the word of God, it doesn't matter what popular
opinion says. It doesn't matter what some quote, pastor somewhere says, or some
religious leader somewhere says, the only thing I'm accountable for and you are
accountable for as it relates to God, is His word. All else is inconsequential concerning
salvation. We must put our hope and trust in the authority of God's word.
Secondly, hearing God's word means that I'm going to do my homework that I'm
going to check and make sure that what I've heard is true to the word of God. Imagine
the scene, Acts chapter 17:11 the Bible says of the Bereans, “These were more noble
minded than those in Thessalonica in that they searched the Scriptures daily, received
the word of God with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether
these things were so.”
Envision the scene in your mind, the apostle Paul comes to the area of Berea
Paul knocks on the door, he says ‘I've changed my ways I'm here to tell you about
Jesus. I want to tell you about salvation in Christ.’ What did those Bereans do? They
received the word with all readiness. They said, ‘Paul come in sit down tell us and tell us
what you're talking about.’ Paul came in they sat down. Together Paul began to tell
them about Christ, tell them about the message of salvation, tell them about his
conversion, and when he was through with that, what'd they do? Did they automatically
accept it? They said, ‘Paul we've heard what you had to say, we've written it down,’ then
they searched the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Friend the good and honest heart is the one who hears the message with
readiness. When someone preaches the gospel, we’re ready to hear that that that
potentially, could be the voice from God God's message to that person. So we’re ready
to hear it. But we’re not going to obey it; until we've checked it, and we've made sure it
is God's word, not man's word. This is why the Scripture says, ‘prove all things hold fast
that which is good,’ 1 Thessalonians 5:21. This is why John said, ‘Test the spirits to see
whether they are of God.’ Why John? ‘For many false prophets have gone out into the
world.’ This is why it's so important to study, to show yourself approved unto God. A
workman, who does not need to be ashamed, When you hear the message that's being
preached, when you hear anyone stand up and preach, and they say ‘I've got a
message from God or this is what God says,’ check it in your own Bible. Be sure. A lot
of people have been duped and deceived into believing a lie, when they had the Bible
right in their own hand. All they had to do was check it in the Scripture. That's all we
ask, that's all God asks of you check your Bible and see, is this really the word of God
that were hearing?
When we think about hearing the word of God, it means that if it is God's word
and we've checked that, my responsibility to that message and your responsibility to
that message is to listen very carefully to what God says. Luke 8:18 says, ‘Take heed
how you hear.’ Are we listening with an ear toward eternity? ‘Take heed who you hear,’
Mark 4:24. What we hear, all those things are essential. And as Jesus said in every one
of the letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor, “He that has ears to hear let him
hear,” Revelation 2 and 3. The day of Pentecost, they had to hear the message of God
to be saved.
As we think about Acts 2, and that great sermon, there are so many things
specifically that Peter outlines for them that they had to hear. What did they have to
know as it related to salvation? They had to know from the Scripture that Jesus was
proven to be the son of God. Notice Acts 2:16-21, the Bible records, “But this is that
which was spoken by the prophet Joel, ‘it shall come to pass in those last day,’ says
God, ‘that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, your sons and your daughters shall
prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall see dreams on my
menservants, and on my maidservants, I will pour out my Spirit in those days and they
shall prophesy. I'll show wonders in heaven above, signs in earth beneath, blood and
fire and vapor and smoke the sun shall be turned to darkness, the moon into blood,
before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord, and it shall come to pass
that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ Peter's talking about the
events that just happened. The Holy Spirit coming upon these disciples, they being able
to speak in unknown languages without ever having studied them, and he said this is
what the prophet said. Proving Christ is the son of God, because these things are
Thus, as we think about what I need to know to be saved, I need to know I've
looked at the proof. Jesus truly is the son of God. Prophecy over and over again
confirms that. You can look in Isaiah 53 and every one of the details of that suffering
servant is fulfilled in Jesus. You can read in Psalm 22 about what was going to happen
on the cross, and Christ fulfilled that perfectly. You can look all the way back to Genesis
3:15 where the seed of woman would crush the head of Satan. And Jesus again fulfills
that perfectly. I see the proof in the Bible, just as they did from Scripture, that Jesus is
the son of God.
When I turn to Acts chapter 2, not only do I see the proof from Scripture that
Jesus is the Christ, God Himself affirms and proves this through miracles. Look in Acts
2, and I want you to notice verse 22. The Scripture records, “Men of Israel hear these
words, Jesus of Nazareth a man attested or approved by God to you by miracles,
wonders, and signs which God did through Him, in your midst as you yourselves also
know.” How can I be sure Jesus is the Christ? God through miracles, signs, and
wonders proved that. What do we mean? Think about some of the miracles Jesus did.
Jesus took a few pieces of fish and a few loaves of bread and fed 5000 people. And
they took up 12 baskets of fragments. How did He do that? That's God from heaven
saying, ‘This is my Messiah, this is my Son.’ Think about the wonders that occurred. For
example, when Jesus got out of the boat or Jesus is out in the water, and they're
coming to Him on the boat, and they see Jesus. And He's walking on water. Who can
walk on water? That's just not physically possible. And amazing wonder! What was the
purpose of that? To show this is my Son, this is the Savior of the world. When you think
about signs from heaven, for example think about at the baptism of Jesus. When John
baptizes Christ and that voice from heaven approves of that. ‘This is my son in whom
I'm well pleased.’ That sign from heaven was pointing to Christ, as the Son of God. And
the miracle surely proved Jesus is God's Son.
As you look through the chapter, you see the plan of redemption proving this. In
verse 23, God's whole scheme of redemption was pointing toward Jesus Christ. You
have that the resurrection brought into that in verse 24 to 28. The fact that Christ was
raised from the dead, that that death could not contain Him, the empty tomb, Peter in
essence says is proof of Christ as the Messiah. He draws up one of the great prophets
David himself. “The Lord said to my Lord sit at my right hand till I make your enemies
your foot stool,” and Peter says, ‘David's long gone and buried who's he talking about?’
David affirmed Christ was the seed who was going to reign on His throne. And who's
going to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Revelation 19:16.
We turn to that key verse that really is the climax of climax of everything these
people need to hear. Acts 2:36, “Therefore in view of this overwhelming proof, therefore
let all the house of Israel know assuredly God has made this Jesus whom you crucified
both Lord and Christ.” In essence, Peter said the evidence is overwhelming. God has
proved it to you, that one you've just killed, He's your Lord, and He's your Christ. In view
of that evidence, as they saw the evidence, as they heard those words, as it made it
impact on their heart and mind, these people made the proper response to God's
message. Notice Acts 2:37. The Scripture records, “Now when they heard this they
were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'men and brethren,
what shall we do?’” The evidence mounted up. They could not deny it their heart. It is
opening up to that word and their feeling that in the heart. They know it's truth. ‘What
shall we do?’ What a great response to that message! They believed what Peter was
saying is true! To be saved you've got to believe in Jesus. You've got a look at the
evidence and believe He is the son of God. John 8:24 Jesus said, “Unless you believe
that I'm He, you'll surely die in your sins.” You can't be saved without commitment and
belief to Jesus Christ.
Listen ever so carefully, many people teach this, many men and false teachers
teach this, but the Bible doesn't. The Bible doesn't teach belief alone saves. In fact the
only time “faith” and “only” occur in your Bible, it says the exact opposite. Did you know
that? James 2:24 James said, “We see then that a man is justified by works and not by
faith alone.” How are we justified? Not by faith alone the Scripture specifically says that.
And so just as in this context and just as it every account you see, they ask, what must
we do? They believe in Jesus. And they say, “What must we do?” And details are given
for exactly what they must do. Matthew 7:21 Jesus taught something must be done.
Jesus said, “It's not everybody that looks up in heaven and says ‘Lord, Lord’ that's going
there, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.”
What specifically were they told to do? Acts 2:38, Peter said, “Repent and be
baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins and you shall receive
the gift of the Holy Spirit.” These people, who have just realized they'd killed their
Messiah and are looking for an escape from that sin, are told to repent, to be saved.
Peter clearly said that. And friend, as you look throughout the New Testament that's
something that Jesus overwhelmingly taught. Luke 13:3-5, Jesus said, “I tell you no but
unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” Acts 3:19, they're told to repent and turn
again that their sins might be blotted out. We talk about repentance; yes they were sorry
for sin. They realized what they did wrong, but they wanted also to turn from that. That's
the idea of repentance.
Repentance isn't just saying I'm sorry and going back and doing the same thing.
Repentance is a changed way of thinking that leads to a changed way of acting
according to the will of God. Did these people have to confess Jesus? By the very fact
that they, when they responded to Peter's message and said, ‘men and brethren what
shall we do?’ They recognized you're right, He is the Christ; He is the Messiah. What do
we need to do to get right with God? Their very response was an acknowledgment of
who Jesus Himself was. The Scripture confirms as well as Jesus Christ that we must
confess Christ, Romans 10:10 and Matthew 10:32-33.
But then, what else did Peter say in Acts chapter 2:38? Look at it again. Peter
said, “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins in the name of Jesus Christ for
the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Friend, I
want you to listen real carefully, because we’re talking about hearing the word of God.
We’re talking about not what men say. What does the Bible say? ‘Repent and be
baptized.’ Why Peter? “For the remission of sins.”
The Bible teaches if it's sin that separates us from God, and it is, Isaiah 59:1-2
the Bible teaches, and we just heard from the mouth of God, men must be baptized for
their sins to be remitted. Remitted means removed wiped away, where it'll not be held
against us anymore. When you think about baptism in the New Testament over and
over again we hear the words about baptism being essential to salvation. Let me give
you two or three examples. Mark 16:16 Jesus said, “He that believes and is baptized
will be saved.” Jesus did not say he that believes will be baptized. Jesus did not say he
that is baptized and is baptized, he that believes be saved, he that is baptized be saved.
Rather Jesus said, “He that believes and is baptized will be saved.” Both are absolutely
essential to salvation.
Listen to the words of Jesus in John 3:5. Jesus said, “Assuredly I say to you
unless one is born of water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Must
one be baptized to be saved? To get in God's kingdom to have his sins washed away.
Let's think about another example. Who we can learn from as it relates baptism. Acts
9:6 Paul asked the Lord, “Lord what would you have me to do?” What was God's
answer to him? Paul recounts his own conversion in Acts 22:16. Ananias comes to Saul
and says, “Saul Saul why are you tarrying? Why are you waiting? Arise get up and be
baptized and wash away your sins calling on the name of the Lord.” You know, we
heard the words ourselves in Acts 2:21, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be
saved.” How do you call on the name of the Lord? “Arise and be baptized, wash away
your sins, having called on the name of the Lord.”
Friend does the Bible teach to be converted, to become a Christian, to have your
sins washed away, and to be saved, you must be baptized? Absolutely!
You know if we want to say it is clearly as we could, we could not improve upon
the words of 1 Peter 3:21. Listen to the clarity of this language Peter says, ‘baptism
does now also save us.’ Question: does the Bible say, does God say baptism saves us?
We just heard it, 1 Peter 3:21. If God says that, then friend to be converted, to obey the
gospel, I've got to submit to that.
So today, as we think about this case of conversion, they heard God's message,
they believed in Jesus, they were willing to change their lives, they acknowledged Jesus
as the Christ, and they submitted to God's plan of salvation.
Friend we’re pleading with you today, if you haven't obeyed the gospel, become
a Christian. Be converted before it's everlastingly too late.
Study Questions for: “Cases of Conversion: Lesson 1”
1. According to Act 11:26, where were they first called Christians?
2. Can we look into ourselves for the way of life according to Jeremiah 10:23?
3. According to Proverbs 16:25, the way that seems right to us leads to what?
4. How many have sinned according to Romans 3:23?
5. How many were found righteous in Romans 3:10?
6. According to Ezekiel 18:4, the soul that sins will what?
7. What is Jesus according to John 14:6?
8. According to John 14:6, how can we get to the Father?
9. According to John 12:48, who will be our judge?
10. What must we do according to Matthew 7:21?