Is James 5:14 for Today?
Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
INTRODUCTION: This is that. The speaking in various languages by the apostles and the understanding of them by the Jews from various nations whose languages they spoke was explained by the prophecy of Joel. That Spirit that Joel spoke of that would come in the last days of Israel in the flesh was this self same Spirit that was in the apostles and making them testify so that all tongues could hear and understand. No Gentiles here. All believed in Jehovah and worshiped at the Temple. That is why they were at Jerusalem at Pentecost. They were not unbelievers or without hope of life.
THE SERMON: Jesus of Nazareth had been taken and crucified by His own people. God had raised Him from the dead as David had promised in prophecy. This proved that He was indeed their Lord and the Messiah. Now He is at the right hand of God exalted. He is to remain there till His enemies have been made His footstool. Then He will come and trod them down, even as we see in Psalm 2.
Mention is made of the fact that when the great and notable day of the Lord shall come as spoken of by Joel, whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be preserved (See Daniel 12:1 ).
CONCLUSION: The promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost is unto them and to their children as well as to all Israel scattered abroad among the nations.
Now we know that after the sermon, the people were cut to the heart and they asked Peter and the other apostles what they should do. They had not known the day of their visitation, they had missed the Messiah, and so they were rightly troubled as to what they should do about it, if there was anything that could be done at that late date. And this is where Peter answered with the text quoted at the beginning of this teaching.
Peter has been preaching to the seed of Abraham, and to none others. Many of them were lost sheep of the house of Israel, the very people the Lord came to save. His name was to be Jesus for or because He was to save His people (Israel) from their sins. It does not say that they are unbelievers and without hope of resurrection.
But these Jews from all over the world are told to repent, turn from their religion which had been quite all right up to the Messiah to Whom all their rituals and ordinances pointed. All these were sinners, and all Christians today are sinners. But they were to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins. For what purpose? That they might be saved? That they might have everlasting life and a resurrection? No, that is not the reason. It is that they might receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, even as the apostles did.
Although Acts 2:38 is quoted over and over today as a salvation message, and people are urged to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins for denying and crucifying their Messiah.
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