"Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
The Apostle Paul, on his journey back to Jerusalem from his mission work, stoped to visit with the church in Ephesus. He spends a specific time with the elders there (Acts 20:17-38). As he recounts his ministry with the Ephesians, he shares a familiar evangelistic message with these men. They had heard it as Paul preached to both the Jews and the Gentiles.
“Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks,”
It is interesting what Paul said to Jews and Gentiles when he witnessed to them. They were from far different cultures and religions. Their way of life, everything from their diet to their morality, was so different. And yet, note the truth in the message that Paul preached to both groups.
“Repentance toward God,”
Jew or Gentile alike, their sin had offended the Holy God that made them.
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
It was His law that they had broken. They must turn from their sin and repent towards God. They both needed a significant change in their thinking toward God. The Jews believed that because of their physical ties to Abraham that their works made them okay with God. They had all the external trappings of religion, but they didn’t know Him relationally. The Gentiles worshipped anything and everything it seems. They did not know their Creator, and they “worshipped and served the creature” instead (Romans 1:25). Correct thinking about God is essential for salvation.
“And faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Lord whom the Jews had rejected, and who the Gentiles were ignorant of, must be trusted for eternal life. A sinner needs to have faith towards the Savior, the One who had paid the penalty of their sin. He had suffered and died in the sinner’s place on the Cross. He was the innocent sacrifice, and we are all guilty sinners, and yet He died for sinners. Yes they, just as we need to believe in the work of Jesus Christ for us. This faith in Him is vital to salvation.
“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This [Jesus] is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:10-12).
How about you, my friend? Have you repented toward God and put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation? If not, why not repent of your sin today? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31b).