Testified and exhorted

At the moment in my quiet times I’m looking through the book of Acts. Earlier this week I read Acts 2:40 which says

And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”

It’s the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has come upon the gathered believers in Jerusalem, and Peter has just preached a sermon to the Jews who were around him. Luke has recorded for us the sermon he preached, then at the end he writes this verse.

This is gospel preaching. This is what I aspire to. Not as a pulpit preacher, invaluable as they obviously are, but in my day-to-day life. I hope I will learn to follow the pattern Peter used when he was preaching to a group of people. He both testified to and exhorted the people.

If I’m not misunderstanding the passage, the words are not meant to say the same thing. They are complementary. Peter testified by his life, showing the people Christ by the way he lived. Every day Christ was visible in Peter. Peter also exhorted, urging and pleading with the people to be saved. It may not be as catchy as UCCF’s “living for Jesus, speaking for Jesus” tagline, but isn’t this exactly the same approach?

We cannot share the gospel by simply living it. We must preach it, whether while stood in a church or in a casual conversation, so people can understand their sin and their need to call out to Jesus for salvation. But neither can we share the gospel by preaching alone. The gospel’s power is to transform lives, and if our own lives are not transformed then what is the gospel we are presenting in our preaching? Neither will do alone; we must have both.

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