Acts 2:37
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and asked Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"
Converting Power Permanent in the ChurchW. Arthur, M. A.Acts 2:37
Conviction of Sin: InstantaneousActs 2:37
Conviction of Sin: its NaturalnessW. Arthur, M. A.Acts 2:37
It is the Preaching that Pricks Men's Consciences that Saves ThemC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 2:37
RepentanceW. Antliff, D. D.Acts 2:37
SalvationSunday School TimesActs 2:37
Sham RepentanceActs 2:37
The Soul's Questions AnsweredR.A. Redford Acts 2:37
The Work of ConversionJoseph Sutcliffe.Acts 2:37
Want of Ministerial Results to be DeprecatedW. Arthur, M. A.Acts 2:37
The Day of Pentecost, and its Immediate GiftsP.C. Barker Acts 2:1-41
A New Style of Religious MinistryD. Thomas, D. D.Acts 2:14-40
A Sermon to Prick the ConscienceJ. C. Jones.Acts 2:14-40
A Varied Ministry Blessed by the Holy SpiritC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 2:14-40
Different Styles of PreachingW. Arthur, M. A.Acts 2:14-40
Elements of Power in Peter's SermonHomiletic MonthlyActs 2:14-40
Peter's Impulsiveness Useful Because Wisely DirectedW. H. Blake.Acts 2:14-40
Plain PreachingActs 2:14-40
Preaching on the Day of PentecostJ. Thompson, A. M.Acts 2:14-40
St. Peter to the MultitudeD. Fraser, D. D.Acts 2:14-40
St. Peter's First SermonG. T. Stokes, D. D.Acts 2:14-40
The First Apostolic Appeal to the MultitudeW. Hudson.Acts 2:14-40
The First SermonDean Vaughan.Acts 2:14-40
The Power of the Human VoiceJ. Parker.Acts 2:14-40
The SceneW. Arthur, M. A.Acts 2:14-40
The Gospel Demands from MenR. Tuck Acts 2:37-39
The Gospel According to PeterW. Clarkson Acts 2:37-40
A Famous ConversionBp. Brownrigg.Acts 2:37-42
A Sermon Without an ApplicationBishop Home.Acts 2:37-42
A True Saving Conviction of SinE. Cooper.Acts 2:37-42
Awakened SinnersW. Hudson.Acts 2:37-42
Being Pricked to the HeartActs 2:37-42
ConversionHomilistActs 2:37-42
Evangelical PreachingTheological Sketch-bookActs 2:37-42
Heart-Work God's WorkR. Baxter.Acts 2:37-42
Honest PreachingActs 2:37-42
Life-WoundsActs 2:37-42
On Being Pricked to the HeartActs 2:37-42
Only God Can Heal the Wounds He MakesHandbook of IllustrationActs 2:37-42
Powerful PreachingE. Paxton Hood.Acts 2:37-42
Reaching the HeartScottish Christian HeraldActs 2:37-42
Revival PreachersJ. Jenkyn.Acts 2:37-42
Rightly Dividing the Word of TruthW. Arnot, D. D.Acts 2:37-42
The Day of Spiritual WondersR.A. Redford Acts 2:37-42
The Effects of Gospel PreachingJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 2:37-42
The Effusion of the Holy SpiritJ. Saurin.Acts 2:37-42
The Gospel to be Preached to the HeartActs 2:37-42
The Great Question and the Inspired AnswerJ. M. Allis.Acts 2:37-42
The Operations of TruthProfessor Caird.Acts 2:37-42
The Results of Revivals not All KnownActs 2:37-42
The Truth the Sword of the SpiritJ. A. Wallace.Acts 2:37-42
We Must Preach to the Consciences of MenL. A. Banks.Acts 2:37-42
Effects of the Divine Power Upon the HeartE. Johnson Acts 2:37-47

That which followed immediately on the preaching of Peter's sermon brought out the truths of the gospel quite as fully and forcibly as the discourse itself. We learn from these verses -

I. THE RANGE OF DIVINE LOVE. (Ver. 39.) Peter declared, at this the outset of the new dispensation, that the range of God's redeeming love would be "exceeding broad."

1. It was to go from generation to generation: "to you and to your children."

2. It was to extend to remotest regions: "to all that are afar off."

3. It was to embrace every one whom the summons of the inviting Lord should reach: "as many as the Lord our God shall call." Thus, at the beginning, the apostles gave a true idea of the fullness of that "kingdom of God" of which their Master had spoken so much, and which he lived and died to establish.

II. THE FIRST RESULT OF DIVINE TRUTH (Ver. 37.) This was (and is):

1. Spiritual agitation.

2. Earnest inquiry. When they heard this, they were pricked in their heart; they said, "What shall we do?" This is the simple, natural, constant course of things divine in the heart of man. When the truth of God is faithfully preached, and when the seed falls on good soil, there is spiritual agitation; the soul is smitten, the heart pierced; there are "great searchings of heart;" the old apathy, self-sufficiency, equanimity, is disturbed and broken up, and the spirit is troubled with a deep disquietude. It discovers that everything is wrong: the past is guilty, the present utterly unsatisfactory, the future clouded. Then comes earnest inquiry: "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" "Wherewithal shall we come before the Lord?" How shall we be forgiven, justified, accepted? What is the path of reconciliation and peace? Through what spiritual experiences must we pass? What is the way into the kingdom of God? The soul, thus in earnest, turns to the sacred Scriptures or addresses those who speak in the name of Christ.


1. Repent; i.e. turn from sin and selfishness to righteousness and holy service; abandon the old and evil life of folly, thoughtlessness, worldliness, wrong-doing; put that away with shame and sorrow, and enter the opposite path - turn Godwards, truthwards, heavenwards.

2. Accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Teacher, Lord, Savior; be baptized into him. Heartily accept him, and honestly avow him, as your Divine Redeemer.

3. Separate yourself from the sin which surrounds you; "save yourselves," etc. (ver. 40); have no participation in guilt, and have no sympathy or fellowship with sinners, as such.

IV. THE PROMISE OF DIVINE MERCY AND INDWELLING POWER. These conditions fulfilled, there will be:

1. Remission of sins (ver. 38).

2. The indwelling of the Holy Ghost (ver. 38). Christ, our almighty Savior, our Divine Friend, being with us, we shall have above us a reconciled heavenly Father to whom we can look up with rejoicing, childlike trust and love; and we shall have within us a Holy Spirit, cleansing the thoughts of our heart by his inspiration; sanctifying our nature; empowering us for the burden, the witness, and the battle of life; preparing us for the companionships and engagements of immortality. - C.

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
It may not be well that some of you should be pleased. Sometimes, when a man grows outrageously angry with a sermon, he is getting more good than when he retires saying, "What an eloquent discourse!" I have never yet heard of a salmon that liked the hook which had taken sure hold of it; nor do men admire sermons which enter their souls. When the Word of God becomes as an arrow in a man's heart, he writhes; he would fain tear it out; but it is a barbed shaft. He gnashes his teeth, he grows indignant; but he is wounded, and the arrow is rankling. The preaching which pleases us may not be truth; but the doctrine which grieves our heart and troubles our conscience, is, in all probability, true; at any rate, there are grave reasons for suspecting that it is so. It is not the way of truth to fawn on guilty men. I say, the Lord uses ministries of a cutting kind to make men uneasy in their sins, and cause them to flee to Christ for peace.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

If a man really saw an angel, or one "risen from the dead," we should expect that all consideration of bystanders would forsake him in the awe of the moment. And so, if in an instant a supernatural power opens the unseen world to the soul, with its one eternal Light, its heaven and its hell, although the view of these must be imperfect and confused, yet if it is a view, a sudden view, it must shoot fear, wonder, awe, through and through the soul, till man and man's opinion are as little thought of, as fashion by a woman fallen into a steamer's foaming wake.

(W. Arthur, M. A.)

An unconverted man sat down to read the Bible an hour each evening with his wife. In a few evenings he stopped in the midst of his reading, and said, "Wife, if this book is true, we are wrong." He read on, and a few days later said, "Wife, if this book is true, we are lost." Riveted to the book, and deeply anxious, he still read, and in a week more joyfully exclaimed, "Wife, if this book is true, we may be saved!" A few weeks' more reading, and, taught by the Spirit of God, through the exhortations and instructions of a city missionary, they both placed their faith in Christ.

I. THE INQUIRY MADE. Men always want to know what they are to do when conviction of sin is on them. This was Paul's excited cry when on the way to Damascus, and that of the Philippian jailer. And until a sinner is willing to do anything that he may, if possible, undo what he has done amiss, little evidence of a contrite state of heart does he afford. But how blessed is God's plan of salvation. We have not to do or to undo; another has done for us what is required, and what we could not do. Jesus has died, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God. All left for us, therefore, is repentance which leads to the avoidance of sin in future, by submitting to His ordinances, and present realising, appropriating faith. "Men and brethren!" Previously any contemptuous terms were good enough for the followers of the Nazarene; but see how the change of heart affects the speech. A sinner under conviction will naturally become more guarded in language than before. How many ways has the Spirit of God of producing conviction; and how many ways has a convicted sinner of showing the conviction which is thus produced! Not only do men adopt new modes of action, but new styles of speech.

II. THE REPLY GIVEN. How ready is the apostle to respond.

1. "Repent," as if he would say, do not go about to establish a righteousness of your own; do not suppose that by costly sacrifices or penal suffering you shall be saved. Hate your sin and flee from it. Repent; sincerely, instantly, earnestly; seek mercy, for it is awaiting you.

2. Be baptized, as an expression of your determination henceforth to be enrolled under the banner of the Messiah, thus publicly admitting His claims, and showing your faith in Him, and obedience to Him.

3. Do this in reference to the remission of your sins; not supposing that baptism will save you, but rather that it will symbolise the regenerative power of the Spirit by which you have been awakened, and then you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

(W. Antliff, D. D.)

Confession of sin is not a mere abandonment of sin as a losing game. That was a shrewd: but not a very flattering estimate found on record in the private thoughts of an old divine. "I believe," he says, "that it will be shown that the repentance of most men is not so much sorrow for sin as sin, or real hatred of it, as sullen sorrow that they are not allowed to sin." When any individual surrenders an iniquitous occupation because he perceives public opinion is setting against it, and that eventually he will be injured by its continuance, it is simple mockery for him to try to make moral capital out of the relinquishment. When a young man forsakes dissipation because it endangers his place with his employer; when a merchant gives up dishonest trade-marks because his tricks are becoming transparent, and honesty seems the best policy — this is not penitence for sin; it is only the hypocrisy of worldly wisdom.

Conversion is a work of —

I. ARGUMENT, for the judgment is gained by the truth.

II. CONVICTION, for the awakened are pricked to the heart.

III. ENQUIRY, for they ask, "What must we do?"

IV. COMFORT, for its subjects have received remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

(Joseph Sutcliffe.)

Sunday School Times.
1. Men must be pricked in their heart before they can have the joy of salvation in their heart.

2. The conditions of salvation — how easy! Salvation has only to be accepted.

3. The conditions of salvation — how hard! Each one must repent; that is, turn from his sin; and that is no easy matter.

4. Salvation is accompanied with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Without His help, no one could conquer sin.

5. The promise of salvation and the help of the Holy Spirit is to all men of all peoples.

6. The promise of salvation is a family covenant, extending through the father to the children.

7. The exhortation, now as ever, is: "Save yourselves from this crooked generation."

(Sunday School Times.)

To suppose that it has been withdrawn is —

I. TO SUPPOSE THAT THE ONLY PRACTICAL END OF CHRISTIANITY HAS BEEN VOLUNTARILY ABANDONED. If Christianity cannot renew men in the image of God, she ceases to have any special distinction above other religions. Her mission here was to overcome Satan in the realm in which he had hitherto triumphed, to re-establish the empire of God.

II. Not only would this practical end be abandoned, but THE STANDING EVIDENCE TO CHRISTIANITY WOULD BE DISCONTINUED. The miracles and prophecies are past, and no accumulation of arguments can demonstrate to our neighbours at this moment that Christianity is a power which can actually make men superior to their own circumstances and sins. The only real and effective evidence is living men who have been regenerated. Wherever men can be pointed to whose lives are a manifest example of salvation from sin, there is the standing evidence that Christianity is "the power of God unto salvation." Is it supposable that Christ has withdrawn or diminished that power which would show continually that He "saves His people from their sins"?

III. The converting power is also THE CHURCH'S GREAT ATTRACTION. It is true that some would attract men by ceremonies, or talent, or the charms of architecture or music, — attract them that they may convert them; whereas the true order is, Convert, that you may attract. The one is the order of the charlatan, who trusts to factitious allurements for attracting the public, in the hope that he may cure some; the other, the order of the true physician, who trusts to the fact of his curing some as the means of attracting others. Whenever the Church sends into a family one new convert glowing with love and joy, she kindles light which will, in all probability, give light to all that are in the house. Whenever she is the means of making one shopman turn from his sins, and exhibit to his comrades a picture of holy living, in all probability she will soon have others from that shop at her altars. Whenever she brings one factory-girl to sit, like Mary, at the feet of Jesus, very probably in a little while other Marys will be with her.


1. Instruction is the basis of all moral operation; but instruction in morals, as in science, is of little force unless backed by experiment. One tradesman converted, and manfully taking ground among his companions against trade tricks once used by himself, casts greater shame upon their dishonesty than all the instructions they ever heard from pulpits; or, rather, gives an edge, a power, and an embodiment to them all. One youth whom religion strengthens to walk purely, among dissipated companions, sends lights and stings into their consciences, which mere instruction could not give, because it shows them that purity is not, as temptation says, unattainable. And so with all the virtues; it is but by embodying them in the persons of men that they become thoroughly understood by the public mind.

2. Just in proportion as the number of converted men is great or small, will be the amount of conscience in the community generally. Each new convert adds somewhat to the existing moral influence, and weakens the ties which bind men to sin. Where no one is godly, moderately correct persons are almost ashamed of their lack of badness; where a tenth of the adults are godly, even ordinary sinners are ashamed of their lack of goodness; and where a fifth, or a third, of the adults are so, the hindrances to the conversion of the rest are as nothing, compared with those that exist where the great masses are still living in their sins.


1. That which is wanted in an agent, above all, is zeal, burning desire to save sinners. This zeal is never a mutter of mere conviction, but always a matter of nature. It is "Christ in you." It is "the love of Christ constraining you." Agents with this nature we can have only by successive outpourings of the Spirit of God, by constant accessions of new converts.

2. When they who have been great sinners are themselves converted, having been forgiven much, they love much, and frequently become mighty instruments of winning others to Christ. When "numbers turn to the Lord," saying, "We have redemption in His blood, even the forgiveness of sins," — then some will assuredly appear with plain marks that the spirit of the prophets is in them, and that they are called to spread, far and wide, the glorious salvation of which they themselves partake.

3. Nothing so re-animates the zeal of old Christians as witnessing the joy and simplicity, the gratitude and fervour, of those who have been lately born of God. While the old disciple is to the young one an example of moderation and strength, the young is to the old an example of fervour; the one shedding upon the other a steadying influence, while he receives in return a cheering and an impelling one.

4. It is also wonderful how much the occurrence of conversions heightens the efficiency of men already employed in the ministry, or in other departments of the work of God, The preacher preaches with new heart, the exhorter exhorts with revived feeling, he that prays has double faith and fervour; and the joy of conquest breathes new vigour into all the Lord's host.

(W. Arthur, M. A.)

A farmer who all his lifetime has been sowing, but never brought one shock of corn safe home; a gardener who has ever been pruning and training, but never brought one basket of fruit away; a merchant who has been trading all his life, but never concluded one year with profit; a lawyer who has had intrusted to him, for years and years, the most important causes, and never carried one; the doctor who has been consulted by thousands in disease, and never brought one patient back to health; the philosopher who has been propounding principles all his life, and attempting experiments every day, but never once succeeded in a demonstration; — all these would be abashed and humiliated men. They would walk through the world with their heads low, they would acknowledge themselves to be abortions, they would not dare to look up among those of their own professions; and as for others regarding them with respect, pity would be all they could give. Yet, alas! are there not cases to be found wherein men whose calling it is to heal souls, pass years and years, and seldom, if ever, can any fruit of their labours be seen? Yet they hold up their heads, and have good reasons to give why they are not useful; and those reasons generally lie, not in themselves, but somewhere else, — in the age, the neighbourhood, the agitation or the apathy, the ignorance or the over-education, the want of gospel light, or the commonness of gospel light, or some other reason why the majority of those who hear them should continue unconverted, and why they should look on in repose, without smiting upon their breasts and crying day and night to God to breathe a power upon them whereby they might awaken those that sleep. Probably they have wise things to say about the undesirableness of being too anxious about fruit, and about the advantage of the work going on steadily and slowly, rather than seeking for an excitement, and a rush of converts. But while they are dozing, sinners are going to hell.

(W. Arthur, M. A.)

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