by Barbara Holt*
Peter, brash, egocentric, unreliable, liar—he spoke before he thought, boasted of his loyalty to Christ, and then when confronted, proved his disloyalty and lied. The day was Pentecost, and Christ has now ascended to the Father’s right hand. Peter, the least likely to be used by God to proclaim the gospel and see 3,000 new converts added to the church, boldly stood before the unbelieving crowd and proclaimed, “Men of Israel, hear these words!”
What words was he referencing? The Holy Scriptures—the very Word of the Most High! The utterance from God that was so powerful, so piercing, that as Peter spoke, it sliced through them like a sharp sword piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, discerning even the thoughts and intents of their hearts.
In their deep distress, they cried out to Peter and the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
Their hearts were now open. The veil had been lifted from their eyes. They understood the scriptures Peter proclaimed about the Messiah. Their guilt and shame was exposed and their souls cried out to the only One who could save them from their sins.
Three thousand were converted! Can you imagine? It was all because one man preached the Word of God to them.
This didn’t happen because the speaker was eloquent, charismatic, or perfect. No, remember this was Peter—forgiven but imperfect. This mass conversion occurred because God’s word is powerful. “’Is not My word like a fire?’ says the LORD, ‘And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?’” (Jeremiah 23:29)
Peter believed the Word he was preaching. It was the risen Lord Himself who opened his understanding so he might comprehend the Scriptures (Luke 24:44, 45). Therefore, Peter preached with the conviction that what the Word said was indeed true. His faith in God’s Word, ignited by the power of the Holy Spirit, formed an invisible blade that was thrust deep into the souls of each man in the crowd revealing his need for Christ’s forgiveness.
Isn’t that what we desire? To see people impacted by the Word we teach and preach?
Like Peter, you and I are imperfect people who sometimes fail. Yet, God offers us not only His forgiveness but a chance to be life-changers for Him. I’m glad that the successes of ministry do not rely on my perfections or I would be of no value to God. There’s no way I could ever “measure up” or be considered worthy to speak His word. No, all I can do is accept His forgiveness, try my best to live a holy life, and then rely on God to do the rest.
The secret to successful preaching and teaching is that the Word of God is living and powerful. Jesus, who is the Word, does all the work. We are just expected to make ourselves available so that together with Him, His good, acceptable, and perfect will is performed.
What a relief to know that it’s not up to you or me to successfully expound the Word. Jesus is the force behind every scripture we quote, for “without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
*Barbara Holt and her husband Paul served in the pastorate for many years until relocating to Cleveland, Tennessee to serve in the Church of God of Prophecy International Offices. Barbara is one of our newest members with the PCCNA Women in Ministry Commission. She has 2 sons, 5 grands, and according to her, one big baby husband.