Again we pray, Lord Jesus; pour out thy Spirit upon us. Amen.
Acts 2, 29-36. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God hal sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh. he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he, seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore, being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this. which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand. until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
That which the Son of God has done for us the Holy Ghost explains, and establishes it firmly in the hearts of the faithful. That Christ became a man, and suffered death, and rose again, and entered into his glory; that he made atonement for our sins, delivered us from the curse of the law, and gained for us eternal life; that he reconciled us to God, appeased his anger, and annihilated death; — all this is indisputable; “it is finished.” It was foretold by David and all the prophets, because it had been determined in the counsel of God; and now it is presented in the gospel as an incontrovertible, accomplished fact. Now the prophecies are easy to understand; for they have been unwrapped out of their swaddling clothes. Now they are easy to believe; for their truth has been established by their fulfillment. Christ died, but is risen, and lives; the Holy Ghost came, and the church was founded; and in it we have the means of grace, the word and sacraments which Jesus has given us, with life and salvation for all them that believe.
We know this to be truth; for we have the testimony of the Holy Ghost in our hearts. He confirms the word in our experience; and he leads us into the fellowship of the Son of God, thus giving us knowledge of sin and grace, of death and life. But you are not saved by knowing these things and regarding them as true, if the Spirit do not establish their truth in your heart. Ask it of him in earnest prayer; he will not cast off one who says: “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief !” Do not let him go, until you have the full assurance of the truth in your heart. This is not a matter to be regarded lightly; it is a question of eternal life or eternal death. We are dealing with the question of salvation from cruel death and the pit of hell, from the grievous corruption of your soul, and from the righteous wrath of God. Something more is needed than mere human learning and idle speculations. None save the Spirit of God can bring the truth and life into the heart, and there confirm the testimony of the scripture. so that we believe with that faith which is stronger than death and hell, because it is divine in its nature, and is founded on the truth of God. Dear friend, life is here, and light, and salvation; they are to be found in the word, in which is also the Spirit, who will bring them home to your soul. By his grace you may receive them, and arrive at certainty in regard to your salvation. If you do not as yet have this faith, then may God make you zealous to pursue it with all your heart!
Grant us this grace, merciful Lord Jesus. Proclaim the truth in such a way, that we accept it, and that we reach the full assurance of faith, the certainty that thou art God, and that we have life in thee. Let us experience in our souls the power of thy resurrection, that we may live in thee, and confess thy name alway. Amen.
Holy Spirit, all-divine,
Dwell within this heart of mine;
Cast down every idol-throne,
Reign supreme, and reign alone.
See, to thee I yield my heart;
Shed thy life through every part.
A pure temple I would be,
Wholly dedicate to thee.