“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.”
Lord. That song expresses the longing of our hearts at all. Praise would be to the Lord most high Lord Jesus. We gather here today to declare to one another and to you, it’s true. There is a living Christ. There is a resurrected Jesus that has entered our lives. That has changed us. And to you, we give all praise, Lord, we’re going to open your word.
We’re going to hear about a sermon. Speaking about your nature, your work, God, speak into us your truth this morning. I pray in Jesus name. Amen. Invite you to take your Bibles this morning. And we’re going to be looking at acts. Chapter three is, as Randy mentioned, one dimension next Sunday is a baptism service, which are.
Hi, and special days around here, we’ve got 10 individuals that are going to be baptized. We’re going to be doing the baptism live. And our nine o’clock service would be taped and shown, uh, on online as well and live stream then. And then we’ll be hearing the testimonies and the 10 30 service again, uh, wanna encourage you to get here, um, and get here timely way.
We are not only having, uh, the guests of people that are being baptized. We’re also having our call-ins would campus is joining us here because a couple of the folks that are getting baptized are from their campus and we’re, we’re joining together and some of them will be coming over to join us. So look forward to that time.
Uh, as we celebrate together, I’m going to read 15 verses here in acts chapter three, I’m going to read fairly rapidly, acts chapter three, verse 11 through 26. And this is about the lame man who has been crippled from birth and is in his forties. Here’s what he says. Well, he clung to Peter and John, all the people utterly astounded, ran together to them in the Portico called Solomons.
And when Peter saw it, he addressed the people, men of Israel. Why do you wonder at this? Or why do you stare at us as though by our own power or pie too? We have made him walk the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers glorified his servant, Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of pilot when he had decided to release him.
But you denied the holy and righteous one and asked for a murderer to be granted to you. And you killed the author of life, whom God raised from the dead to this. We are witnesses and his name by faith in his name has made this man strong, whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
And now brothers, I know that you act in an ignorance as did also your rulers, but what God foretold by the mouth of the profits that is Christ would suffer. He thus fulfilled repent, therefore, and turn back that your sins may be blotted out. That times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord and that he may send the Christ appointed for you.
Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago, Moses said, the Lord, God will raise up for you. A prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him and whatever he tells you, and it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people and all the prophets who have spoken from Samuel.
And those who came after him also proclaim these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your father saying to Abraham and in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. God having raised up his servant sent him to you first to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.
There are different subjects that attract conversations for some people, while at the same time, driving others away. We had a community, my community group, and recent, a recent community group, right before we got started, um, over to the side, some of the husbands were, we were sitting in a circle, some of the guys were chatting away.
Animatedly and, uh, I looked over, we were trying, I was trying to, our group is not easy to pull rain in. So I was reigning him in to get started. And, uh, I caught the eye of one of the wives and she was looking at. And she mouthed the word golf and raised her eyes. You know, if I raised up the subject vaccines, some people would love to get into a conversation about that.
Most of us just want to, beyond it recently, I was watching a six or game and my wife came into the room and as she came into the room, she sat down and she made this, this announcement. She said, now I’m here because I want to be with you. I already know you love Joelle and bead, so you don’t need to tell me anymore about him.
There are different topics that raise different levels of interest, right? Some people are attracted, some people are annoyed. Peter is going to preach a sermon that has a similar set of conflicting responses. Some passionately drawn to. Some just find it irritating. The setting is Solomon’s Portico. Peter and John have just healed a lame man who is over 40 years old and has been crippled from birth that’s in the first part of chapter three, they’ve now gone into the temple and now have come out and are meeting in a place called Solomon’s Portico.
And I just want to show this to you real quickly. What we’re talking about, this is the whole temple structure, this giant facility with the four walls around it. This is the court of the Gentiles. And either side, it was a massive area where literally thousands of people could gather. And this is the temple structure itself.
This is, this is actually where, where Peter and John have gone in. And either at this gate or at the gate there, nobody’s sure exactly where they have healed this man. And they have now come out. And over here, this, this big red roof thing, I always feel not sure which I want to give everybody equal time.
If you’re way over here. This is called the, the Royal Portico. This is actually where the religious leaders met. If you may wonder why the religious leaders always there while they’re there, because if we can go back just for a second, there they go back because they’re there because they have a big meeting place.
But under this, this section here, this wall here, the front wall is where, what it’s called Solomon’s porch. Now, if we can bring up that next picture, this is what it looks like. Two column structure, open to the courtyard here, and, but a large open area to meet in. It’s where Jesus taught. We read in some of the gospel accounts.
It is also where Peter is now addressing the crowds. They have left the temple with this guy hanging on to them. I think he was a little bit, he seems like a gentle spirited guy and he’s nervous with the crowds. He’s never had this kind of attention before. Um, he’s, as I mentioned last week, he he’s jumping all around with enthusiasm, um, for the first time in his life, but he’s now holding them as they come into this Solomon’s Portico.
And as all the people have gathered, Peter addresses them with this sermon and there’s conflicting responses. Some of the people respond as chapter four will tell us as it begins, they’re greatly annoyed. Those would be the religious leaders and some of the people attending them. They’re annoyed by the message.
They’re annoyed by the, the, the inconvenience it’s going to cause them the more they talk about Jesus, the more they talk about his resurrection. But in verse four of acts, chapter four, we find a very different response. Thousands, 5,000 of them will believe on Jesus Christ. So we come to this message recognizing its power to attract or to annoy a great deal, will depend on the posture.
One takes towards it. I encourage you as we look at the five points of the sermon, and I’ll tell you, the first two are going to be longer than the other. So don’t despair
as you look at this, I hope you’ll come with an open mind and see how the sermon speaks to you. These five things that he addresses the first of. The sermon talks about who Jesus is in verse 12. He says, men of Israel, why do you wonder it us? And why do you stare at us as though by our own power or piety?
We have made him walk he’s. Peter says, why are you looking at me? I I’m no wizard. I don’t have the power. He says, why are you looking at me? I don’t have a, I’m not some kind of holy man. I don’t have a special piety. So where are they to look? Well, he’s going to tell them in this sermon, he launches into a description of the one whose power did heal.
The man, it culminates in verse 16 and his name by faith in his name has made this man strong, whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given this man his perfect health and the presence of you all a number of times in the next few chapters, we’re going to see this phrase, name.
Talking about the name of Jesus and basically name refers to everything. That’s true about a person, his character, his attributes, his reputation, his accomplishments. Peter is saying there is nothing in my name or John’s name that qualifies us for the action that has taken place. There is everything in the name of Jesus.
I mentioned this story before I just do it quickly. Number of years ago, the chaplain 76 is a close friend of many of us and a member of our church was Bruce MacDonald. And I was the backup chaplain. I had the privilege to go to a lot of games during that time. I remember one time I went into the game and before the games going on, when the players are on the court, there’s hardly any people in the auditorium, in the facility.
I got there early and I’d actually gone down as I often would do down by the court and try to invite guys that I knew sometimes came to chapel would invite them or opposing players. So I was right courtside and I was right down in the corner and, uh, hardly anybody in the stands. And all of a sudden I hear this voice and the voice says this, Hey, who are you?
And I turned around, it was pat Croce, the president of the Philadelphia 76 years. Now, what he was asking is who gives you the right to be standing right on court side while these guys are playing, talking to the players. So I turned to him and, and I’ll tell you what I did not say. I did not say, oh, I’m mark Willey.
Played small Ford, high school, little bit of college. Matter of fact, had a sweet jumper right from the corner right here. I also did not say I’m pastor mark Willey. I pastor church FCC living naitivity you may have heard of us. I’ll tell you what I said. I squeaked out, uh, I’m here, uh, doing chapel I’m here for filling in for Bruce McDonald tonight.
He was response. Oh Bruce McDonnell, Bruce. I love Bruce. Bruce is great guy. Doing a great job. Have a wonderful night chaplain. Now what happened there? Here’s what happened? I banked all my claims of worthiness on the name of Bruce MacDonald. That’s exactly what Peter is doing here. Peter is saying, I got no credits.
I didn’t, I didn’t do this. Now you might be thinking if you’ve read the gospels and tell him, I said, wait a minute. I mean, obviously you didn’t have any creds with the, with pat Croce, but these guys did do miracles and Peter and John did miracles all the time. Well, it’s the hand of Peter that was reached out to this crippled man.
It’s the power of Christ that raised him. Peter knew that Peter is pointing the way to the name of Jesus and the character of Jesus. And he describes Jesus in this way, in these verses. And if you look at verse 13 through 15, you’ll see this highlighted, he starts by saying Jesus of Nash. Which was just the way I want you to know exactly who the historical guy is on talking about.
Here’s who he is. He says in verse 13, he is God’s servant. He’s quoting from Isaiah 52 and 53. The clearest reference about the Messiah in the old Testament about him being the suffering servant. He’s talking here about Jesus commissioning, that he is calm as the representative of almighty God, Jehovah God, he’s a servant.
He’s his commissioned spokesman. Gotcha. God-centered secondly, he’s the holy and righteous one in verse 14, he’s talking about his character, sinless purity and goodness. The righteous one is a term that is used in the prophetic books who talk about the, the kingship of, of the, the one that would come and about his character being sinless and pure righteous.
And holy, he talks about his capability. He’s in verse 16, he’s the author of life. He created all life. Death couldn’t hold him. He was raised from the dead imagining listening, Peter two, Peter, talk about this guy later in the book of acts. This is going to be a scene where Paul has testified about Jesus and, and a Roman governor is going to write this.
And he says this he’s writing actually to the emperor. And he said, he talks about a dead man named Jesus, who Paul says is raised from the dead. This is Peter standing there. He’s saying the guy that is raised here that is running around. That is, that is bouncing around with enthusiasm has never walked before, has been raised by the author of life, by the holy and righteous one.
But the very servant of the most high God, Jesus, who is life has been raised from the dead. Now this description of Jesus is annoying. If you are trying to have a managed Jesus, CS Lewis and his great work, the mere Christianity talks about. How people want to embrace Jesus or think positive thoughts about Jesus, but it’s an a managed sense.
Here’s what he says. I’m trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about him. I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say a man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.
He would either be a lunatic on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg or else. He would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice either. This man was, and is the son of God or else a madman or something worse. You can’t shut him up for a fool. You can spit at him and kill him as a demon, or you can fill at his feet and call him Lord and God.
But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to Peter presents a perspective of who Jesus is. The second thing this sermon gives that can be both appealing or annoying. It talks about what you have done in verses 13 to 17.
Peter, doesn’t just talk about who Jesus is. He talks about what they did in light of who Jesus was. He says in verse 13, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers glorified his servant Jesus. He’s the commissioned representative of our, our God, the God of our fathers, the God of Israel that Jehovah God y’all.
We got. So, what did you do with his commissioned representative? Did you welcome as God’s representative? And he tells us in verse 13, you delivered him over and deny him in the presence of pilot. When he had decided to release him, he says, pilot thought better Jesus than you did. He then goes on in verse 14 and he says, this he’s the holy and righteous one.
He is the character of holiness did honors character as being worthy of love and adoration versus tiny scene. He says, you asked for a murderer to be granted to you. Instead, the guy that would be let go by the leader. He came as the one who is the author of life in verse four to 15. He’s basically saying, did you bow before him and give thanks for his creating you, you killed.
Now you may hear all that. And you may say, well, shoot, they were a bunch of idiots. I mean, no wonder they got the hammer dropped on them from Peter in this sermon, killing a good guy, like Jesus, it inexcusable behavior. What does that have to do with me? I mean, I didn’t do that. I wasn’t there Peter’s goal was to help them see their sin.
He did it in a very direct way, but there is a relevance to his message in 2022 Burlington county, New Jersey, because the titles that are used here of Jesus Christ and the way he is presented to us, speak to our own flippancy toward Jesus. It isn’t an outgrowth of our own failure to consider the significance of these titles.
So let me just run back through them. One more time. He’s the author of life. Jesus Christ is the author of every living entity in the cosmos. More specifically, he’s the creator of you. You are not a random compilation of billions of atoms. You are not just the product of a chance development over millions of years.
You are designed by God. Your life then has purpose and meaning, but it also means that as a being who is directed, whose creation is directed and orchestrated and designed by God, you have also been designed with the purpose of living your life. In relationship with God to live. According to the ways he says are the best ways for you to live your life.
The, to do life with him, to do life, the way he knows is best for you is to live the way life was designed to be with God at your center. He is the holy and righteous one. Sin is abberant and it is a distortion of the way life ought to be. He’s the standard. He’s the one that is the measure of the life that you are called to live.
And given the gift to live sin as rebellion against God’s way sin as rejection of God and his purposes for your life. He created you to do life with him, to enjoy him and sin in its most foundational level. And actually, this is a beautiful portrayal of God. Cyn at its most foundational level is betrayal.
It is saying to the God who says, I created you to delight with you to live and to enable you to live life as have designed it to be a life that has joy and peace and contentedness, but you spurned me as the center of your life. It’s what scent is. It is turning. It’s why the Bible constantly refers to sin as spiritual adultery.
It is betrayal of our ultimate life partner.
He is then the servant commissioned to come among us. The third part, him being a servant among us doesn’t really make much sense until you realize he’s the author of your life. That he is the standard of holiness and righteousness, and that we have spurned him. And yet in the face of that, spurning he comes among us to be the suffering servant.
He tells us here, as we look at this passage in verse 18, he says an amazing things to these people. He says, you did it ignorantly. He really cuts even the religious leaders of pass. And he says they did it. They didn’t understand all the significance of who and what they were doing to the, who. They didn’t know what they were doing.
They didn’t know how it did not know how it all fit together. These Jews did not see the depth of evil in their behavior until they saw the nature of the one who came among them. Maybe you see things in a similar. Maybe this morning, God wants to re impress upon some, to impress upon some for the initial time.
The reality of who it is that has come, who it is that is designed you, who it is that wants to do life with you, who it is that lays out these standards of righteousness. It is one that is more for you who is safer to you than anyone you’ve ever experienced in your life.
Maybe you’ve looked at sin as a sliding scale and a comparative, and there has to be the wake up call to look at our own lives. As these people were forced to do, to see the significance, not of their sin compared to others, but in the standard and measurement of the holy God who had loved them, who now came among them and modeled what righteousness.
I was talking to a guy recently and I have his permission to share this. He was telling the story of when he was younger, he had a severe issue with alcohol and he had just come to Christ and, uh, was talking to his grandmother about how, how much he struggled with the gay lifestyle. And she made him read.
She asked him to read first Corinthians six first Corinthians six is a list of lifestyles that keep people from God. He saw they’re people who practice homosexuality, and then he saw drunkards. That’s why she had them go there. And then he said with a little twinkle in his eye and I love the way he said it.
He said, as I looked at that passage and I saw my sin listed. Saw as other people’s sin. I also recognize we’re probably a number of things in that passage that spoke to me.
There’s a book called the Screwtape letters and in, and it’s a story of a senior, uh, demon Screwtape. Who’s speaking to wormwood, a junior associate. And in this, this brilliant writing, the senior devil is presented as talking to the junior associate with this statement. He said, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the enemy.
The enemy has got murder is no more effective than carts. If cards can do the. Indeed the safest road to hell is the gradual one, the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts. What Peter is saying to these people is the same thing he would say to you. To me, you must see that your sins are the ones that qualify you for judgment and separation from God.
You begin to understand why some people find this message annoying. The third thing again, we’re going to move faster on these. It talks about what God did in verse 18, what God foretold by the mouth of all the profits that his Christ would suffer. He thus fulfilled two very important concepts here.
Number one, it says, God, the father sent Jesus here. To suffer the word suffer pathless. The word we get passion from is actually talking about all of the end of life experience of Jesus in that passion week, where he is betrayed, where he is, where he is rejected, where he suffers the beatings and culminating in the work of the cross.
God, the father ordained that he chose that, that Jesus would come as the suffer scent for people who have recognized their sin who need forgiveness, but he also sent him in a plan. He planned for Jesus to suffer number of these verses that we’re not taking time to highlight basically are talking about the prophecies of which there are hundreds of Jesus coming.
That they had, God had planned this though. The people have guilt on their hands. And he certainly is acknowledging that and having Jesus killed his coming was by the God who had orchestrated the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The fourth reality that he presents in this sermon is it talks about what you must do.
He says it here in verse 19, repent and turn back. The word repent is from two words that actually mean change your mind, have a different perspective. Look at yourself and things differently. He says, and then turn back, turn back to what I believe he’s saying turn back. Did Jesus take another. Repent change your mind now, gaze at the one that came among you, who healed this man who does his power, my hand lift him up his power that did it, but understand that he came, he lived out the passion.
He shows the cross
for you. And so Peter says, take another luck, consider who he is, consider what you’ve done and consider what he’s done for you. The fifth thing says this. It talks about what God. Your sins will be blotted out. He’s talked here about if you repent of your sin, if you, by faith, determines used their faith of Jesus.
If you embrace Jesus Christ as your savior, your sins will be blotted out. This is a cool expression in the pirates of the day. And I read this by enough offers and didn’t appreciate, I really think this is a reality that pirates was a thick parchment, hard parchment. And basically the ink that they used in that day did not have the acidic substances that are in casts.
And so it would just sit on the parchment, almost like water. It would go on a little more, but basically it wasn’t absorbed. It didn’t have what ink has today and acidic part that will bite into the parchment. So what you could do, you did right. But it could then be wiped off and you could reuse that parchment.
It was almost like a tablet. Think of a whiteboard, think of a white board that is covered with all of your sin. Be a big board, right? A white board. The talks about all the things that we’ve said and done all the things that drove our heart, all, all the ways we, we, we didn’t act out, but we looked at people with hatred and animosity and envy and, and desire for them to get there.
So all those things are on the board and it says, now picture somebody coming along with the cloth and just wiping off all those things. And he says, this is why Jesus came. He came to wipe the board of your life clean. It’s what God does.
And he speaks to people that need life that need forgiveness, that need change. This is sermon that could be
evoking, very different responses. The religious leaders and others with them become greatly annoyed by it. The more the disciples talked about them, the more inconvenient it was for the religious establishment. They didn’t like the fact that it put everybody on equal spirit, spiritual footing, sinners in need of forgiveness, broken people who needed fixing, including them.
It said that their lives were not their own. The author of life claims authority over their lives. It annoyed them that it said that Jesus was the only one who could deliver them, change them, take the white board, filled with their sins and wipe it clean. And so to the proud the self-sufficient, the religionist, the whole message was pretty much annoying, but there were others to whom it was life.
It offered a forgiveness. They could not gain on their own. It offered a welcome to God’s family. They could not imagine it offered a heavenly future. They could not merit. And so dozens of them, scores of them, hundreds of. Thousands of them bowed the knee to Jesus Christ and received him into their life as savior and Lord.
Who are you today?
Is it annoying to think of me? And I got accept Jesus. I mean, I can handle it if he sees a great teacher is a good guy. I think there’s a lot of good. I think he’s, I believe he’s a real historical figure, but God creator of have me come on. Is it annoying to face the fact that you are a sinner that you can’t merit or earn eternal life, that this is not about what you will do?
It’s about what Jesus has done.
Will we allow our annoyance to keep us. From embracing the greatest news that has ever been offered to humankind, the author of life has come and died and born the penalty for our sin that we might find life in him. I don’t know where you are today. You may be a believer to have embraced Jesus for many years.
I hope God will just remind you of the glory of the grace in which you stand. But I also hope that those of you that are here are watching online that have never had this so personally focused. And to the point that it feels somewhat unsettling, maybe a little bit irritating. Peter loved these people enough to say, what about you?
What have I, you, what are you going to do with Christ? The question is important because it truly does determine one’s eternal destiny. I’d like to pray together. Lord, we come to you this morning.
God. It is awesome for me to think that every person in this room, their heart, their thoughts are wholly known by you and Lord. I pray that you who look at their hearts, may your spirit speak into their lives. Lord, may they come to yield, surrender and embrace this glorious Christ,
every head bowed and every eye closed, except for me. Maybe you’re here today, and God is speaking to your heart and saying, you know, I had you here in this room this morning or watching online today because I wanted to tell you about my son. And I wanted to tell you how much he loves you and has come to give you life.
Maybe God is speaking your life and heart rate and NFE. He, you know it. And you’d like to say, pastor mark, I, I’m not sure I’ve received Jesus Christ as my savior. I’m not sure I’ve, I’ve, I’ve embraced Jesus as the Lord and center of my life. And the way you’re talking about today, would you pray for me with every head bowed and every eye closed?
It’s going to ask you to just slip up your hand, say, would you pray for me past. I feel God’s speaking to my heart. Yes. Thank you. Yes. Thank you. Just slip it up. Thank you other others.
Thank you. Thank you, Lord. We come to you. We love your word. It speaks to us challenges us convicts us, but it changes us. Lord, you know, every person whose hand was raised, God, how I pray that you might enable them by your grace to settle this matter with you, that they might embrace your son once forever as their Lord and savior in Jesus.
Amen. We’re going to close in a second. You may have raised your hand this morning. You may not have raised your hand, but are going to walk out and think you, I should have, um, I’d love the chance to share with you a little bit personally, just in a one-on-one as would any of our pastors or members of our female staff can talk with you about how you can be sure about your salvation with Jesus Christ.
We’d love the opportunity to do that. Now. Go in peace to love and serve and enjoy the work