Focal passage: Acts 2:22-24, 32-33, 36-38
Jesus died for our sins, rose again and reigns as Lord.
“Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and may complicate pregnancy.” Statements like this one are plastered on every package of cigarettes, but did you know these warnings were not always required?
Midway through the 20th century and before the medical research available today, cigarette packaging was quite different. Companies claimed smoking relieved asthma, calmed nerves and even lengthened life expectancy.
And smoking isn’t the only activity no longer encouraged. We once covered our mouths when we coughed, but today we cough into our elbows to stop the spread of germs. Babies used to sleep on their tummies, but now we are told they should snooze on their backs instead.
Messages about our health are always changing, aren’t they? For that matter, messages concerning just about everything never seem to stay the same.
Only one message will never be affected by medical research or congressional legislation. Jesus died for our sins, rose again and reigns as Lord. The message Peter preached on Pentecost in Acts 2 is the same gospel we cling to and share today. Jesus is a real man – God in human flesh – who came to earth and performed miracles. Though sinless, He was condemned and crucified, but after three days, “God raised Him up, ending the pains of death” (Acts 2:24). Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. After the resurrection He was exalted by God, and even now He is seated at the right hand of the Father. When Peter finished his sermon that day, listeners responded with a question, “what must we do?” (Acts 2:38). He exhorted them to repent and believe in the forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
I don’t know what new and surprising headlines will appear tomorrow, but it doesn’t matter. The message of the gospel will always be the same. Just like 2,000 years ago, we are sinners in desperate need of a rescue. And just like Peter explained on that day so very long ago, rescue only comes through repentance and faith in the completed work of Christ.