March 24, 2013 INTRODUCTION – What the book of Acts is about, and why we are going through it.
The reality and expectation that as we continue to follow Jesus we will increasingly be His instrument for His ongoing healing ministry and other miracles. And as this happens we will receive opportunities to explain what is behind the miracles.
Last week we looked at the miracle healing of the lame man in Acts chapter 3: vs. 1-10.
Today we are going to look at the message that Peter got to preach or proclaim as a result of that miracle of healing. Let’s read it together starting with vs. 11
I want to focus on four things that are crucial for the message to be able to explain or connect the dots of the miracle:
1. The need for selflessness
2. The need for boldness and straightforwardness
3. The need for hope and mercy
4. The need for Christ proclamation
I. The need for selflessness – vs. 12 A. Power – not special powers
B. Piety – nor special piety (some super saint)
C. Peter’s past – what a departure! Surely this is one big reason why God entrusted such amazing miracles to Peter and his fellow apostles and disciples. They could be trusted with such.
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31,32
D. Many people were healed by the hands of the apostle Paul – “For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’s sake.” II Cor. 4:5 Pray for selflessness
II. The need for boldness and straightforwardness (vs. 12,13,14,15,19, 23, 26) because our society is mired in political correctness and religious deception and confusion. Seven things Peter confronted them with A. They shouldn’t have been amazed and Peter confronted them with that fact. (vs. 12) God has healed the sick through His servants throughout biblical history; Jesus’s earthly ministry saw thousands of healings; why wouldn’t His disciples continue His healing work?
B. The Jews delivered Jesus to Pilate; and when Pilate was ready and willing to release Him, they disowned Him – – even though He was their long awaited and much longed for Messiah. Vs. 13
C. Not only did they disown Him, which Peter repeats in vs. 14, but when they could have asked for Jesus’ release in keeping with Pilate’s tradition of releasing a prisoner for them ever so often, they instead asked for a known violent murderer to be released – named Barabbas.
D. Peter says they themselves put Him to death, though in actuality the Roman soldiers did the dirty work. But they were clearly responsible, and they might as well have nailed Him to the cross themselves. (vs. 15)
E. Peter wasn’t content to just state these things. He commanded or exhorted them to repent so that their sins might be wiped away – – in no way softening the seriousness of what they had volitionally done to their Savior. (vs. 19)
F. In vs. 23 Peter doesn’t mince words about their eternal destiny if they do not own and repent from their sins.
G. Finally in vs. 26 Peter reminds them that God sent Jesus to them to bless them “by turning every one of them from their wicked ways”
It’s high time we believers quit beating around the bush. Only when people are lovingly, but boldly and straightforwardly confronted with the truth can they be set free by that same truth. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” How are people going to know the truth unless we tell them?
Pray for boldness and straightforwardness
III. The need for hope and mercy (vs. 17, 19, 20, 25, 26) (6 ways He sprinkled hope through his message) A. “Brethren” more affectionate than “Men of Israel” in vs. 12
B. “I know that you acted in ignorance” Doesn’t mean they are thus excused. Just means that Peter acknowledged they were spiritually blind and because of their hardness of heart were unable to see Jesus for who He really was. “being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;” Eph. 4:18
C. Hope that their “sins might be wiped away”, & hope that “times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” vs. 19
D. Hope that God the Father might send Jesus? He already did! Speaks probably of His kingdom. Some say it speaks of the end of the age or millennial kingdom. But this promise is based on their willingness to repent and return to their maker; and thus it can’t be speaking of His return at the end of the age. He will return whether they repent or not. The point is – Peter is speaking great hope to them of the ability to not only be forgiven, but also to experience and behold Christ and walk with Him in the now! (vs. 20)
E. In vs. 25 Peter speaks of their great privilege as Jews to whom the prophets were sent and the covenant was made
F. In vs. 26 Peter thrills them with how it was to them first that God sent His Servant and Messiah to bless them – based on His promise and covenant with Abraham in Gen. 12.
Pray for our ability to speak life and blessing and affirmation and destiny to people in Christ
IV. The need for Christ proclamation (vs. 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22 & 23, 26) 8 things everyone needs to know about Jesus A. Jesus was glorified as the promised Servant by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For the Jews they would have immediately connected Jesus to the promises of the coming servant of God in passages such as Isaiah 42:1, 49:6,7, 52:13, 53:11. This speaks of His humility and a style of leadership that was such a contrast from the corrupt and self obsessed spiritual leaders of Jesus’s day. This sermon ends in vs. 26 with yet another reference to Him as the Servant that God raised from the dead so that He could help each of us turn from our wicked ways.
B. He is the Holy and Righteous One – which speaks of His sinlessness, moral uprightness, and absolute purity (vs. 14) The writer of Hebrews in ch. 7 vs. 26 speaks of Him in a similar way, “For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens.”
C. He is the Prince or Author of life. (vs. 15) The abundant ,eternal, soul satisfying life that God has destined for us originates and is found only in Him. The apostle John put it this way, “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.”
D. His name is heals the sick (vs. 16)
E. He was destined to suffer for our sakes (vs. 18), which speaks of His sacrificial death on the cross for our sins; and the reality that this was in the mind and plan of God before the world even began
F. He is the Christ or the anointed One, which speaks of His deity (vs. 20)
G. He is the ascended One, which speaks of His place at the right hand of the Father in heaven (vs. 21)
H. He is the prophet, whom Moses spoke of long ago – – who would speak the very words of God – being the very God – and who would speak into the hearts of men in a way that leaves them breathless (vs. 22, 23) Pray for our ability and anointing to preach Christ to grow