Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers…
1. Peter's sermon was not a fine display of eloquence.
2. Neither was it a very pathetic plea.
3. Nor a loud but empty cry of "Believe, believe!"
4. It was simple, a plain statement. and a soberly earnest argument.
5. Its power lay in the truthfulness of the speaker, his appeal to Scripture, the concurrence of his witnessing brethren, and his own evident faith.
6. Above all, in the Holy Spirit who accompanied the Word.
I. SAVING IMPRESSION IS A PRICK IN THE HEART. To be cut to the heart is deadly (Acts 5:33): to be pricked in the heart is saving.
1. All true religion must be of the heart. Without this —
(1) Ceremonies are useless (Isaiah 1:13).
(2) Orthodoxy of head is in vain (Jeremiah 7:4).
(3) Profession and a constrained morality fail (2 Timothy 3:5).
(4) Loud zeal, excited and sustained by mere passions, is useless.
2. Impressions which do not prick the heart may even be evil. They may
(1) Excite to wrath and opposition.
(2) Lead to sheer hypocrisy.
(3) Create and foster a spurious hope.
3. Even when such superficial impressions are good, they are transient: and when they have passed away, they have often hardened those who have felt them for a season.
4. They will certainly be inoperative. As they have not touched the heart, they will not affect the life. They will not lead to
(1) Confession and inquiry, nor
(2) Repentance and change of life.
(3) Glad reception of the Word, nor
(4) Obedience and steadfastness. Heart-work is the only real work.
II. WHAT TRUTHS PRODUCE SUCH A PRICK?
1. The truth of the gospel has often, by the power of the Holy Ghost, produced an indelible wound in minds sceptical and opposed.
2. A sense of some one specially startling sin has frequently aroused the conscience (2 Samuel 12:7).
3. Instruction in the nature of the law, and the consequent heinousness of sin, has been blessed to that end (Romans 7:13).
4. The infinite wickedness of sin, as against the very being of God, is also a wounding thought (Psalm 51:4).
5. The exactness, severity, and terror of the judgment, and the consequent punishment of sin, are stirring thoughts (Acts 16:25-30).
6. The great goodness of God .has led many to see the cruel wantonness of sin against Him (Romans 2:4).
7. The death of Christ as a Substitute has often been the means of revealing the greatness of the sin which needed such an atonement, and of showing the true tendency of sin in having slain One so good and kind (Zechariah 12:10).
8. The abundant grace and love revealed in the gospel and received by us are sharp. arrows to wound the heart.
III. WHAT HAND MAKES THESE PAINFUL PRICKS?
1. The same hand which wrote the piercing truths also applies them.
2. He is well acquainted with our hearts, and so can reach them.
3. He is the Quickener, the Comforter, the Spirit helping our infirmities, showing to us the things of Jesus: His fruit is love, joy, peace, etc. We need not utterly despair when wounded by such a tender Friend.
4. He is a Spirit to be sought unto, who acts in answer to His people's prayers. We turn for healing to Him who pricks.
IV. HOW CAN THESE PRICKS BE HEALED?
1. Only One who is Divine can heal a wounded heart.
2. The only medicine is the blood of His heart.
3. The only hand to apply it is that which was pierced.
4. The only fee required is gladly to receive Him. Conclusion: Let us ask the question, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Let us then obey the gospel, and believe in the Lord Jesus.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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?