In these days, it is urgent that we come back to the basics. Why? Because the fundamental truths of our faith—which we hold firmly in place in our hearts and minds— allow us to move forward successfully in the Christian life.
If we are indeed drawing near to the end of this age, we need to be preparing for a great harvest. In this month’s Teaching Letter, Derek Prince reminds us of our main task: to see people’s lives changed as they come by the hundreds—even thousands—to Jesus Christ. As they come, they will need to experience A Dynamic Entrance into the Kingdom of God.
The Holy Spirit Comes
Let’s begin by looking at a passage in Acts 2 which records the first day of Pentecost. Following Jesus’ ascension into heaven, His disciples had gathered in an upper room. The Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples as Jesus had promised, and for the first time, they began to speak in tongues.
In the same vicinity as this upper room, devout Jews from many countries were present in Jerusalem, along with the local residents. When the Holy Spirit fell, these Jewish pilgrims heard the disciples speaking in their own languages. They were amazed and asked, “Whatever could this mean?” (Acts 2:12). At that point, Peter stood up and began to explain from the prophet Joel and from the Psalms what was happening. He finished by saying,
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (verse 36)
“What Shall We Do?”
We pick up the story with the listeners’ response to Peter’s speech in Acts chapter 2, verses 37–38:
“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?’ Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”
Bear in mind that these people to whom Peter was speaking were Jewish men and women who were devoted to the Scriptures and to the Jewish faith. They had specifically gathered for a religious feast in Jerusalem at that particular time.
Nevertheless, when the truth of God’s Word under the anointing of the Holy Spirit was brought to them by the apostle Peter, they suddenly realized they were not in a right relationship with God. They had not received the Messiah whom God had promised, Jesus of Nazareth.
These Jewish visitors to Jerusalem were alienated from God. They were standing apart from God’s grace—not rightly related to God nor assured of forgiveness of sins. As with many people today, they had failed to realize their true condition until the Word of God was brought to them under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:37 describes how that anointed message affected them: They were cut to the heart.
The sharp, two-edged sword of the Spirit of God (Hebrews 4:12) had reached their hearts, penetrating through all their claims to good standing with the Lord by birth and by religious observance. With that stark realization, they then asked this pointed question: “What shall we do?”
Coming to a Place of Need
Most people have to travel a long way through life—through many ups and downs—to get to this point. Often, individuals have to make many mistakes and suffer many disappointments before they come to the place of asking this question: “What shall I do?”
True change comes with these kinds of honest questions. “How can I change my relationship to God? How can I become rightly related to Him? How can I receive His forgiveness, salvation, and grace? What does God require of me?” I am convinced, however, that as soon as a person sincerely asks those questions, God is ready with the answer.
As the spokesman of God, by the Holy Spirit, Peter was in perfect position to give these listeners a response to their question. In Acts 2, verse 38, he came out with a very definite, clear, specific answer.
“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”
In the section below, I have set forth Peter’s answer in three steps—in the order in which they were stated:
- The first step: repent.
- The second step: be baptized.
- The third step: receive the Holy Spirit.
Simply stated, Peter said, “If you are asking what to do, this is what God requires: that you repent, that you be baptized, and that you receive the Holy Spirit.”
The Same Results
On the basis of the Word of God, here is what you can expect. If you sincerely desire to be rightly related to God, He will give you precisely the same answer today as Peter gave those people in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. You must repent; you must be baptized; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Many people might suggest, “Well, repentance is all you need.” Some would say, “Well, you must repent and then when the church holds a baptismal service, you can put your name down as a candidate for baptism.” Others from the Charismatic persuasion might say, “In due course, we’ll tell you about this further experience called the baptism in the Holy Spirit.”
But God did not present it this way at all. Through Peter, He said, “Repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit.” I want to point out an unmistakable truth. On the Day of Pentecost, three thousand people did all three activities. They all repented; they all were baptized; and personally I am convinced they all received the Holy Spirit. It was not separated into successive phases that could be followed slowly or at their leisure.
The answer was complete and succinct—just three requirements: Repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit.
A Prayer For You
Do you desire to be a part of the coming great harvest? To see hundreds, and even thousands of people experience the incredible gift of a Dynamic Entrance into God’s glorious kingdom?
You may have been reading this letter to obtain a better understanding for yourself of what it means to enter fully into God’s kingdom. Or, you may have the desire to be better able to explain the way of salvation and entrance into God’s kingdom to others, as God pours out His Spirit around the world.
Either way, I would be honored if you would allow me the privilege to pray for you, asking God to help you understand and apply the truths I have shared here.
Father, we thank You for the clarity of Your Word. We thank You that You have made it so clear what You expect us to do, both by instruction and by pattern or type.
I pray for the person reading this material, that the Spirit of God will make these requirements crystal clear.
Show this person where he or she stands before you, O God. Enable each one willing to do whatever You require according to Your Word— for that full deliverance from the world, and entrance to the kingdom of God.
Lord, in all that You do, we will be careful to give You the praise and the glory.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.