- Sermon Notes
Truth for Your Turnaround
Illus. To change or not to change…
This morning we continue through Acts 3 in verses 11 to 26, where we see Peter encourage the people to turn their lives around by turning to Jesus Christ and powerfully tells them of the truth associated with that turnaround in their lives.
Last week, we looked at the first public miracle of healing by the apostles through the power of the Holy Spirit. Peter and John were on their way to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer when they were met by a man begging for charitable gifts at the most prominent entrance into the temple, the Beautiful Gate.
Acts 3:3-6, When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple grounds, he began asking to receive a charitable gift. But Peter, along with John, looked at him intently and said, “Look at us!” And he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I do not have silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!”
The man was immediately healed, he began walking and leaping and praising God. It was an amazing scene, as the man who had spend his entire life begging at the temple entrance, walked on his own two feet into the temple with Peter and John. As he walked with them, people recognized him as the man who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate and beg, they were utterly amazed and astonished.
Their great astonishment is translated elsewhere, “greatly wondering.” How was this possible? What had happened? They were certainly curious as to how the man had come in walking when for his entire life, he had to be carried everywhere he went. And this is where Peter points them to Jesus and gives his second sermon.
There is a Name You Must Know
Acts 3:11-12, While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the portico named Solomon’s, completely astonished. But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why are you staring at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made him walk?
As noted, after the man is healed, he begins walking and leaping and praising God. We then learn of the reaction of the crowds at the temple as they saw him, recognized him, were amazed and astonished.
Peter, John, and the man who could now walk and leap head deeper into the temple. As they do, the description of the scene is continued astonishment, people were running together at them.
“Running together” describes the gathering of a multitude, running along with others. I picture the crowd of people running to get a glimpse of the great healing that had just taken place.
The man’s life was completely changed, things had turned around for him in an amazing way.
The people marveled, perhaps wondering if Peter and John could do a miracle for them, but Peter has something and someone important to reveal to them.
(Vs. 12), “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why are you staring at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made him walk?”
Peter gives us insights into the fact that the people may have been thinking Peter and John were these amazing healers.
So often we see something miraculous and amazing happen and we think, I need to know that person, I need to get to know them. Ministries can so easily make it about a special person, a name of note, but Peter appropriately lets the people know that there is a name they must know, and the name is not Peter, or John…It is Jesus Christ.
Acts 3:13-15, The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you handed over and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, but put to death the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.
In referencing the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, Peter was making it clear that the healing which had taken place was not from the hand of man but was the handiwork of the God of Israel, the God of that Jews had spoken of for generations.
He continued, this God, the God of Israel, has glorified Jesus. And Jesus is the name they needed to know.
Peter calls Jesus, God’s Servant, and while that may be an unusual title for us to see applied to Jesus, in the Old Testament, the coming Messiah, the Savior was referred to as the Servant of the Lord.
Isaiah 42:1, “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.
Isaiah 52:13, Behold, My Servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted.
Isaiah 53:11, As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, for He will bear their wrongdoings.
Peter points them to Jesus, because they did not realize yet that He was the Savior, He says in effect, “Jesus is the Servant spoken of throughout the Scriptures. Jesus is the one who suffered, the one who was pierced and crushed, the Servant who would justify the many and bear their wrongdoings.”
He continued, Jesus is the servant who God has glorified, but they handed over and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him.
Peter says, “you put to death the Prince of life,” Jesus was the one who had come to give them life.
Though they put Him to death, God raised Him to life, and Peter stands before them as a witness!
1 Corinthians 15:4-6, He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom remain until now…
Acts 3:16, And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.
Peter ties it all back to the healing of the lame man, that his ability to walk, to stand as all can see, is on the basis of faith in Jesus’ name.
Illus. The Name.
Acts 4:12, There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Romans 10:13, Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved…
Turn to Him Today
Peter told them that they had disowned Jesus. And it is interesting because Peter himself had been in the place of denying and disowning Jesus.
Peter had denied Jesus three times. Jesus had told him he would, and Peter denied that He would ever deny Jesus, but he did. And Jesus would come and restore Peter after His resurrection.
So, Peter personally knew the problem of denying Christ, but also the power of knowing Jesus’ grace and mercy personally.
Acts 3:17-18, “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers also did. But the things which God previously announced by the mouths of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has fulfilled in this way.
Peter acknowledges their ignorance at the time Jesus was rejected, but now they should be able to see. He is the Messiah the Scriptures spoke of specifically.
Jesus had prayed for those who crucified Him, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34).
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:8 that if the rulers had understood what God’s plan was, who Jesus was, “they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.”
Peter says previously you acted ignorantly, but now you can see, Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophesies.
Acts 3:19(a), Therefore repent and return…
To repent is to change one’s mind or purpose, to turn away from their former way of life, and toward the new way of life. It is a change of mind that issues a change of behavior.
Peter says repent and return which is a word used throughout the New Testament which speaks of people in need of forgiveness turning to the Lord (Lk. 1:16, Ac. 9:35, 11:21, 14:15, 2 Cor. 3:16).
Peter is telling the people, you once considered Jesus worthy of death, you denied Him and crucified Him; but, you need to change your mind about Him.
In your life, when you see the facts about Jesus, are you willing to change your mind about Him? Are you willing to turn to Him when you see the reality of the situation?
Illus. Now that I see.
Regarding Jesus, Peter is telling people the truth for their turnaround, starting with the fact that they did not have to keep going the same way, they could choose Jesus that very day.
And when they turn toward Christ based upon the facts about His life…There were truths they would realize at the point of their turnaround.
There is truth waiting for you at the point of your turnaround. When you decide to change your mind about Jesus, and Peter, in light of the past and all the facts about those who chose to reject and crucify Christ, despite their sin, He tells them they can repent and return to Him.
Romans 3:23-24, All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.
Isaiah 45:22, Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.
Despite all that had been done, or the wrong conclusions to which they had come, Peter said, “repent and return…” and goes onto telling them the realities of their repentance.
Realize the Realities
A reality is the state or quality of being real. Something that is real, not perceived, or imagined. To realize something is to take ahold of it, to grasp it, or to convert it into something tangible.
Regarding salvation, we must realize the realities.
In the final verses of this chapter, Peter gives the people promised results associated with repentance. He tells them of some powerful truths for their turn around, and what they will be met with the moment that choose Jesus as Lord and Savior.
These truths are not exclusive to those in Peter’s day, but are truth for us as well, today.
Acts 3:19(a), Repent and return so that your sins may be wiped away…
When you repent and return, your sins are wiped away.
The term “wiped away” pictures the blotting out, erasing, or wiping away of ink on page.
In other words, the sins are not just crossed off, or crossed out, they are wiped away completely, going away, not longer recalled to mind or to be reviewed at a future time.
Even the sin of playing a role in Jesus’ crucifixion could be wiped away and blotted out.
Colossians 2:14, [God has] canceled the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
Illus. It is well.
Acts 3:19(b), In order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.
The times of refreshing mentioned speak prophetically of the time when Jesus returns. But “times of refreshing” can also be applied to us who are in Christ personally.
To refresh is to provide new energy, to reinvigorate, to provide rest, and the nourishment needed.
Matthew 11:28, Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:29-30, For I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Jesus says come, know who I am, lay it all down, trade it all in, you will find rest.
If you are carrying a difficult yoke, or a heavy burden, it’s not what Jesus has put on you. His burden is light.
Illus. What are you up against?
Psalm 62:5-8, My soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
There is truth that you will be revival and refreshment when you turn to Jesus.
Lastly, we must realize the reality of what Jesus Christ was sent to do, and for who.
Acts 3:26, God raised up His Servant for you first, and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.
That God raised up Jesus for them first is the undeveloped theme of the extension of the Gospel going to all the world, even the Gentiles.
Luke 24:47, Repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Acts 1:8, You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.
The blessings of salvation, the promises of times of refreshing and sins being wiped away were available to all who heard Peter speak and chose to turn to Jesus that day.
Acts 4:4, Many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
The blessing available to those on that day, are available for us today. Jesus was sent for you, for me, for all who would be willing to respond and receive.
John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.
While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement. But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses. And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all. “And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed to everything He says to you. And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days. It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”