Last week we read in Matthew 26 of Peter’s denial of the Jesus just before our Lord’s crucifixion. And may I remind you that that denial did not take place before a legion of soldiers ready to kill Peter if he admitted to being a follower of Christ’s. No, he denied he knew the Lord in front of a young woman. Not exactly Peter’s proudest moment for sure! However, we do read later that he wept with sorrow as he felt the guilt of what he had done.
And yet in our reading today in Acts 2, just a short weeks later, we read about a very different Peter. Beginning in verse 14 we read of Peter preaching a very powerful message that was very direct and evidenced no fear at all of being identified with Christ. He was even as bold as to say in verse 23, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Wow Peter, what boldness! And how the Lord blessed his preaching as well, reading in verse 41, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”
So we have to ask the question of what changed in Peter’s life? What led him from someone that denied the Lord to someone who preached boldly with great effect? The answer lies in the first part of Acts 2: the filling of the Spirit. After Christ’s ascension to heaven, the promise of the Holy Spirit came true on the day of Pentecost and as a result we see a now Spirit-filled Peter boldly preaching Christ instead of cowering in fear. That’s the difference the Holy Spirit makes in someone’s life.
And so it is today, we as Christians need to be controlled by the Holy Spirit if we have any hope of being an effective Christian. So often we as Baptists tend to minimize the ministry of the Holy Spirit as we try to distance ourselves from the Charismatic movement. Yet we need to be reminded that the Holy Spirit is absolutely crucial for us to have victory over sin, be an effective witness and live fruitful Christian lives. May we be careful not to thwart in any way His working in our lives but be a usable vessel completely yielded to His control.