When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the apostles, “Brothers, what must we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them. “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized and about three thousand were added to their number that day. (Acts 2:37-41NIV)
What did people hear that convinced them they needed a Savior? They were reminded of God’s message through the prophets, what David had said in his psalms, and Peter shared his experience walking with Jesus and how and why He was crucified. We are told that “their hearts were cut” meaning they were convicted–by the words preached to them–to change their ways.
What were the other words said to them? We are not told, but I am convinced whatever they were, the people were able to understand with clarity what was said and there were convinced and accepted the message. In the KJV, the 41st verse reads, “they gladly accepted…”
My question for the day is, how do people gladly accept a message from a preacher who does nothing but make noise? It is not the noise that makes people glad–or it shouldn’t be–but the words of the message based upon the Word of God!
One of the reasons the “church” is in such sad shape is because people who attend the buildings are more interested in “making noise” and “having church” than in hearing someone capable of expounding the Word of God and making it relevant to our everyday lives. Yes, I’m talking about the “whoopers” and the “grunters” and the “screechers” and the music that is so loud no one can hear the message. None of the noise leads anyone to salvation; it merely serves to stir up emotions in people and get them so riled up they don’t even realize they have not heard “The Word” because those who employ the “noise” method of preaching, usually don’t know enough Word to teach God’s people how to live. And this is how Satan has deceived the body of Christ–by “making some noise” that has no relevance to salvation.
It is The Word of God, preached and taught by those who have been called by God to do so–rightly divided and broken down to the lowest common denominator that people need to hear in order to make a decision to be saved and lived saved. When all people hear from someone who is supposed to be teaching them is noise or the repetitive use of song lyrics, see theatrics presented by the preacher in the form of jumping around, acting like they’re having seizures, and moaning and groaning in a microphone–so loud the noise creates headaches–they don’t respond to an invitation to be saved or to join the church.
When are we going to figure this out? When the last doors of all church buildings are closed? People don’t need “noise” to be keep them in right relationship with God, they need The Word. We also do not need “cheerleaders” in the pulpit trying to “pump us up” to praise God. Every born-again Believer who knows how God operates, knows and understands His Word, praises God without encouragement, but that praise may not take the form of the shouting, running, and whooping that some are trying to ignite. Every day, I wake with a praise on my lips and thanksgiving in my heart because I didn’t have to wake up.
Perhaps, the larger problem in many churches today is that the leadership doesn’t understand the difference between praising God and worshiping God–especially in a building–designated the church. I do not attend buildings to “have church” by making noise; I attend to hear an encouraging Word from the Word and when I hear The Word, my heart is stirred–the noise only aggravates me.
When people hear the pure Word–no sugar-coating added or other synthetic sweeteners used–hearts are changed and souls are added to the Body of Christ--not just the membership of a local church. We should be more concerned about being “The Church” than in “having church” every time we enter the building.