Series: Acts

Passage: Acts 3:1-26

Speaker: Jeff Thompson

God works a miracle through Peter and John, who direct all the glory back to Jesus and call the gathering crowd to repent. Their example reveals the one thing those who desire to be used by God need to understand.

Transcription (automatically-generated):

And so, let's just jump right in again. In verse is of Acts, chapter three, it says now Peter and John were going up to the Temple for the time of prayer at three in the afternoon. Christianity has only existed for a few weeks. At this point, pretty much everyone who is a Christian is Jewish. And they rightly view Christianity as simply the continuation of Judaism. Jesus is the Jewish messiah prophesied by the Jewish scriptures. And Christians are still working out what it actually means, practically that Jesus has fulfilled the law. They're still following some of the ceremonial parts of the law. And so, when it comes to something as fundamental as prayer, the disciples are still regularly praying at the traditional time of prayer at the traditional location of the Temple in Jerusalem, things haven't yet flared up with the Jewish religious leaders. Those leaders are likely thinking that this thing is going to die down. Just give it a few weeks, a few months and this thing will disappear. It will just be one more cult that springs up and springs down and nobody remembers. They view Christianity as just another expression of Judaism.

The common man or woman does. So, the followers of Jesus have not yet been banned from the Temple or anything like that. As I said, no conflict has flared up with the religious leadership yet. In verse two it says a man who was lame from birth. That means he couldn't walk. It doesn't mean he was like a downer to be around. He wasn't lame, he was lame. He couldn't walk, OK? 'You're like, "That's a little harsh." Bible Editors say, "No, he was lame from birth and was carried there." He was placed each day at the Temple gate called Beautiful so that he could beg from those entering the Temple. This specific gate into the Temple complex was called the Beautiful Gate. And this man had some family or friends who would place him there every day to beg from those entering. It was a prime location to catch people who wanted to get in one last good deed before entering the Temple complex. Score a couple of last-minute points with the big guy upstairs, so to speak. Verse three. When he saw Peter and John about to enter the Temple, he asked for money. Peter, along with John, looked straight at him and said, look at us.

So he turned to them expecting to get something from them. But Peter said, I don't have silver or gold, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk. Then taking him by the right hand, he raised him up and at once his feet and ankles became strong. So he jumped up and started to walk. And he entered the Temple with them walking, leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God and they recognized that he was the one who used to sit and beg at the beautiful gate of the temple. So they were filled with awe and astonishment at what had happened to him. As Peter and John walked past this lame beggar, the Holy Spirit grabs their hearts and tells them that God desires to heal this man right now. And to the astonishment of those in the vicinity, that is exactly what happened. This man is healed instantaneously, miraculously, supernaturally. And he takes off running and leaping and praising God. What a wonderful and joyous moment this would have been to witness. I love FF Bruce's comments on this, he says, suiting his action to his word, Peter held out his hand and, taking the Cripple's right hand, raised him to his feet.

At that very moment, this man, who had never been able to stand, let alone walk, became aware of a strange new strength in his legs and feet. Instead of collapsing beneath him, they actually supported him. First he practiced standing, and when he found he could do that, he put 1ft forward and tried to walk. When he found he could do that as well, ordinary walking seemed too humdrum a means of progress. His exultation must find more vigorous expression. So leaping in the air and bounding along, discovering that all his new limbs were now capable of doing, he accompanied the two apostles into the sinned precincts. Nor was it with his limbs alone that he rejoiced in God's goodness to him. The temple courts echoed his shouts of joyful praise. Allow me to share a few observations from this portion of our text. I find myself convicted when I read this because I'm a systematic person in recovery from OCD. It's taking a while. And if I had to be at the temple for a 03:00 P.m. Prayer time, I would budget my time for exactly that. And I wonder if I had been in Peter's shoes, what I would have done.

Would I have responded to the prompting of the Holy Spirit? Or would I have said within myself, the Holy Spirit does all things decently and in order, and being late for prayer cannot possibly be considered decent or in order. Therefore, onward. You see, my issue is that I want to live my life available to the Holy Spirit, available to be used by the Lord whenever and however. But I also really, really don't like being interrupted. Do you see my dilemma? The Holy Spirit is working to make each of us like Jesus, and Jesus was always available for whatever assignment His Father wanted to give him. That's the mentality our Heavenly Father desires us have. He wants us to view ourselves as being available to Him. Now, please understand my point. Not every interruption in your life is going to be God-ordained. Most of them are just going to be interruptions. The goal is to be available and listen to the Holy Spirit so that we don't miss those divine interruptions. Jesus didn't receive or welcome every interruption. Do you know that sometimes somebody would want to talk, and he would be like, hey, listen, Holy Spirit says it's time for me to go to bed.

We'll talk tomorrow. Other times you'd go meet somebody at 03:00 in the morning. If God told him to do that, Jesus was available to do the will of his Heavenly Father. He viewed himself as a servant and he was perfectly in tune with the Holy Spirit. And that's the mindset the Holy Spirit wants to develop in each of us. You see, that's the problem is I'm not going to be available to God. I'm not going to be available for Him to interrupt me if I don't view myself as his servant. Because if I don't view myself as a servant, then he's out of line. When he's interrupting me, I'm busy. But if I'm the inerrant of God, no servant, when his Master gives him a task, considers that an interruption. It's the very essence of what it means to be a servant. So, would you write this down? Believers are servants of Jesus, as Jesus was a servant of his Heavenly Father. Therefore, we should not view assignments from Jesus as inconvenient interruptions, but rather an essential part of the purpose of our earthly lives. To help me work on this, the Lord has blessed me with six children.

I've crowned a lot over the years, but my flesh still has to battle all the time against responding to every interruption with what I'm in the process of sanctification, just like you. So, the goal is not to go. What the goal is to say, is this a divine interruption or just an interruption? Because if it's a divine interruption, I'm available, I'm available. So, Lord, help us to be available. Help us to view ourselves as servants who are at the beck and call of their Master. My prayer is that God would bless us with divine interruptions. And where he needs to get it through our thick heads that he's doing something, that's my prayer. I'm a huge soccer fan. Football. To those more cultured sports fans out there and in football, every team has substitutes. The manager has the option of sending in one or more of those substitutes at any point in the match. For most of the match, those substitute players will stretch and go through various warm-up routines on the sidelines to keep loose because they know that at any moment the manager might point at them and signal that they're going into the match.

The coach is not going to point at a substitute who's leaning back on his chair in the middle of eating a box of doughnuts with his shoelaces untied and he's been sitting down in the same position for over an hour, not moving. Why? Because they're not ready. They're going to go into the match and they're going to pull a muscle. Within 30 seconds, they're going to get injured or they're going to make a dumb mistake because they're physically and mentally unprepared to be called upon. Peter and John were on their way to pray, and prayer was part of their daily life. They scheduled it, they planned to do it. They verse is the scriptures daily. Some practices and disciplines are just part of the rhythms of life of everyone who desires to be used by God. Those who genuinely want to be available to be used by the Lord. I'm talking about the basics like prayer, being in God's word, killing sin, fellowshipping with the brethren, serving one another, and being filled with the Holy Spirit every day. For the believer who desires to be used by the Lord, those are the spiritual equivalent of putting on your team's kit, tying your boot laces, keeping loose, staying warm, following what's going on in the match.

Those are practices that enable God to look at you and me and conclude they're available. They're available to be called upon. In Mark chapter nine, we read about a time when a man brought his demon-possessed son to the disciples of Jesus and asked them to heal him. However, they couldn't do it. They couldn't cast out the demon. And this was brought to the attention of Jesus, who did heal the boy and cast out the demon. And later his disciples asked him, why couldn't we drive it out? And Jesus replied, "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting." Now, in Matthew 17:20, which describes the same episode, it adds that Jesus told the disciples the reason they couldn't drive out the demon was because of your little faith. Now, when you put them together into the full picture, it's clear that Jesus wasn't telling his disciples that they needed to go away and fast and pray for the demon-possessed boy so that they could cast the demon out. He was telling them they needed to be in the practice of praying and fasting because if they were, they would be operating at a higher level of faith.

They would live every day at a higher level of faith, and God would be able to move through their faith. When they came across situations like the demon-possessed boy, Jesus was telling them, "You need to be fasting and praying so that you're in the ready position for whatever ministry comes across your path." Here's the takeaway. Would you make a note of this? If you want to be used by God, you must be ready to be used by God. If you want to be used by God, you must be ready to be used by God. This is one of those times I just want to give a reality check and make sure that none of us are saying, oh Lord, I just long to be used by you in a greater way. You're not in the Word. Don't pray. You don't serve regularly. If you're not feeling up to it. You just don't come to church. Don't participate in serving your brothers and sisters, encouraging them. Just a reality check, because I love you. Like, what are you doing? What are you doing saying, God, use me? Because that's the spiritual equivalent of being the guy leaning back on the chair with a box of doughnuts and being like, why not me?

'Coach says, like, "You're not ready. You're not ready. You're going to hurt yourself. You're going to hurt someone else. You're going to make a dumb mistake because you're not ready." We all long for those spontaneous moments, those divine interruptions. But anyone who truly loves God desires to be used by God to minister his grace to others. But we have to be ready to be called upon. And I just want to ask you, are you ready? I'm not talking about an impossible standard. You could have been a Christian for 24 hours and be doing the things I've talked about. Are you ready for God to use you? Because here's what I know. He wants to. He wants to wherever you are right now, whatever your history, he wants to use you, but he wants you to be in the ready position available to him. One of the things you'll notice in the book of Acts is the apostles constantly refer to Jesus as Jesus Christ. Throughout the New Testament, the apostles do it literally hundreds of times. Jesus Christ. In the previous chapter, we read about the crowd's response to the miraculous events of Pentecost.

It said when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, brothers, what should we do? Peter replied, Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Why this term? Jesus Christ. Over and over again? I can tell you this. Christ is not Jesus' last name. You just need to know that. Rather, Christ is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word for Messiah. Mashiach. Every time Peter or one of the other apostles used the term Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus, they are making the statement that Jesus is the Messiah. That's why they're doing it. They're drilling into their listeners over and over again; Jesus is the Messiah. So, write this down. It's Christ in the Greek. It's Messiah in Hebrew. When Peter calls them to be baptized, it's based on recognizing and receiving Jesus as Messiah in the name of Jesus Christ. When Peter heals the layman at the beautiful gate, he invokes the power of the name of Jesus Christ the Messiah, not Jesus the Rabbi, not Jesus the good man or Jesus the Teacher, or Jesus the Guru, or Jesus the social revolutionary, Jesus the Messiah, the long-prophesied savior of the world.

The apostles did not leave any room for anyone to accept Jesus, turn to Jesus or be baptized. In the name of Jesus without understanding clearly that they were turning to Jesus as their Messiah, their Lord and Savior. In verses eleven, we read while he, the layman who had just been healed, was holding on to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astonished, ran toward them in what is called Solomon's Colonnade. When Peter saw this, he addressed the people. Fellow Israelites, this is a polite, courteous way of addressing the crowd. He's addressing them as the covenant people of God, and it indicates for us as readers as well that he's speaking to them as Israel. Collectively they represent the nation, the ethnic group of Israel. Peter says, Why are you amazed at this? Why do you stare at us as though we had made them walk by our own power or Godliness? The god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the god of our ancestors has glorified. And I just want you to notice the ways that Peter describes Jesus. He's glorified his servant Jesus, underlying his servant Jesus. So firstly, Peter tells the crowd that Jesus of Nazareth came to the earth as the servant of God.

And while we don't have time to examine them in this study, I encourage you to look at, meditate upon, and marvel at. The verse is put on the outline that you can do later this week that speak to how Jesus came to the earth as a servant during the Incarnation. Peter and John immediately respond to the crowd by rejecting any glory or celebrity of their own and rightly redirecting the glory to Jesus. Peter doesn't take any credit. I'd like to announce the launch of apostle Peter Healing Ministries international. Smash that like button and subscribe. You see, whenever a miracle is truly from God, the glory will be directed to Jesus, not a person. Not a person. If you remember Peter's address from the previous chapter, you'll recall how incredibly blunt and truthful he is with his Jewish brethren over the fact that they rejected and crucified Jesus, their Messiah. Well, that wasn't a one time approach from Peter. It's kind of his thing. He tells the gathering crowd that this miracle was to bring glory to Jesus, whom you handed over and denied before Pilate, though he had decided to release him. You denied and then underline this, the Holy and righteous One, and asked to have a murderer released to you.

If you recall the scene, Pontius Pilate recognized the innocence of Jesus, but the crowd demanded the release of the known murderer Barabbas and being a coward who feared for his position of political prominence, pilate acquiesced to their demands. We see here the second way that Peter describes Jesus to the crowd. He calls him the Holy and Righteous One, and he's making these paradoxical comparisons, these juxtapositions, every time he describes Jesus. You notice here that he basically says you chose the murderer, the guilty one, and handed over the Holy and righteous one. Verse 15 you killed underline this, the source of life, whom God raised from the dead. We are witnesses of this. Peter identifies Jesus as the source of life. And what a shocking indictment he gives the crowd. Again, this juxtaposition. They represent Israel collectively, and he says to them, you killed the source of life. The Greek word translated here as source means author or originator. Peter crafts a devastating oratory paradox by declaring to the crowd, you killed the one who gave you physical life and came to give you spiritual life. And then Peter once again attests to the resurrection and the fact that he and John were eyewitnesses to the resurrected Jesus.

Verse 16 by faith in his name, his name has made this man strong, whom you see and know. So, the faith that comes through Jesus has given him this perfect health in front of all of you. I love that by faith in the name of Jesus, the name of Jesus has made this man strong. How many of us have that same testimony one way or another? We're not yet who we will be, but praise God, we're not who we once were. The Lord has done and continues to do miracles in the hearts, minds, and bodies of those who belong to Him. And all we can say is, I put my faith in Jesus, and he's done great things in my life. He's done it. And notice that Peter declares the faith that comes through Jesus has given him this perfect health in front of all of you. Even the faith. To believe is a gift from Jesus, the faith that enabled the man to stand up and test his newly functioning legs. That faith was a gift from Jesus. In other words, we can't even stir up that faith within ourselves. It too is a gift from God, a gift that can be received or rejected.

As Paul wrote in Ephesians 2, 8, and 9, you are saved by grace through faith. And the faith that saves you is not from yourselves. It is God's gift, not from works so that no one can boast. In other words, you're not saved because God looked at you and said, listen, this guy is on the right track. He's 90% of the way there. I'm going to help him out and give him a little faith because he's earned that. Not at all, no part of it. God just comes to you in grace, reveals Himself to you, and gives you the choice. Gives you the choice. If anything in you desires this, I'll give you the faith. And that's how it happens. It's all Jesus. Verse 17 and now, brothers and sisters, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your leaders also did. Peter is speaking devastatingly, but it's so devastating because it's truthful, and he's doing it all in love. He calls them brothers and sisters because they're his ethnic brethren, and he's not looking down on them at all. How do I know? Because Peter also denied Jesus. He denied even knowing him three times on the night when Jesus most needed his friends.

And the hope that Peter offers his Jewish brethren is based on the forgiveness and grace that Peter himself experienced when the resurrected Jesus appeared to him on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Peter is saying, like me, you didn't get it, but now you can. The Holy Spirit is speaking to you now. He's opening your eyes and hearts now, and you must respond. Verses 18. In this way, God fulfilled what he had predicted through all the prophets that his Messiah would suffer. And there's the big reveal Jesus was and is the Messiah. Peter says, I know you didn't get it. You didn't understand who Jesus was. But the Lord used even your rejection of Jesus to work the miracle of salvation by Jesus going to the cross just as he promised through the prophets. There are many prophecies in the Old Testament about a man being sent by God who would suffer. But none of the Jewish religious scholars of the time had connected any of those prophecies to the Messiah. None of them. None of those prophecies, even Isaiah 53, contain the Hebrew word for Messiah, Mashiach. And so this suffering servant who appeared in Old Testament prophecy was a bit of a mystery to even the Jewish scholars.

They didn't expect a suffering Messiah. And so, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus didn't meet their expectations of a Messiah. And so what Peter is doing, and what the apostles would do repeatedly for their Jewish brethren, is explain that the suffering servant of the Old Testament is also the Messiah of the Old Testament. Because if the Jewish man or woman could understand that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus verse is line with the suffering inerrant and the suffering servant is one and the same as the Messiah, then suddenly everything would make sense and their understanding of the Scriptures would come together. So, write this down. Peter explains that the prophesied, suffering servant and Messiah are one and the same person, Jesus of Nazareth, one and the same person. Now, this gets interesting. This is cool. But why didn't God clearly connect the suffering servant prophecies with the messianic prophecies? Why didn't he connect them clearly so that they could recognize Jesus when he came? Well, our brother Paul tells us in two Corinthians, chapter two, Paul is writing about how he and the apostles preach the Gospel, a glorious mystery that was concealed before the death and resurrection of Jesus but has now been revealed as the means of salvation for all men.

And Paul writes in verses seven and eight, it's on your outlines we speak God's hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom that God now get this predestined before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age knew this wisdom, because if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. Here's what Paul is saying. God wrote the Old Testament in such a way that you could see pieces of his plan of salvation, but you couldn't make out the full picture. And he wrote it in such a way that once Jesus had lived, died, and resurrected, you could look back and see clearly in hindsight the full plan of God laid out in the Old Testament. And God did that because if he had laid out the whole complete full plan in total clarity, Satan and the gods of this age would never have tried to kill Jesus. Why? Because they would have realized they were signing their own death warrants. That's what Paul is saying when he says none of the rulers of this age knew this wisdom. They couldn't perceive it because if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.

So, what did Satan and the gods of the nations think Jesus was doing on the earth? Well, most likely they thought he was there to reclaim the nation somehow there and then to establish his kingdom and try and rule and reign on the earth. They probably had the same expectations that the disciples and the Jewish people had of Jesus. They were all expecting a divine king to come in the lineage in vain of David, a military leader who would liberate Israel from Roman occupation, restore the kingdom to Israel, and usher in a golden age of Judaism in which Israel would rule the nations. And I'll go further. I suggest that Jesus even intentionally provoked the powers of darkness into killing him by saying things like, the kingdom of God is among you. Or how about the time he goes to Caesaria Philippi, a demonic pagan stronghold, and says of himself, on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. And just a few verses later, in that same chapter, we read from then on. From then on, Jesus began to point out to his disciples that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised on the third day.

From then on, you see, by provoking Satan in the powers of darkness, Jesus knew that things would be set in motion that would shortly result in his death in Jerusalem. He's intentionally picking a fight with the kingdom of darkness. I'm going to build my church and the gates of Hades are not going to overcome it. Do something about it. That's what he's doing. And if you're like me, there have been times where you read the scriptures and you're just astounded by how dense the disciples seem to be when Jesus tells them in advance he's going to suffer and die, right? And they're like, what do you mean? He's like, I'm going to suffer and die? No, but seriously, Jesus what do you mean? Obviously, like metaphorically. We get it. You're using some super fancy word pictures. But what are you actually like? I'm going to die. Jesus, be clear. And you're just astounded by why they can't seem to get it. But as I've explained, they believe Jesus was the Messiah. But the idea of the Messiah suffering and dying was inconceivable to the Jewish people. They were like, we know our Old Testament scriptures. Messiah doesn't suffer and die.

What are you talking about? But not only that. As we've just read, the truth of God's plan was being concealed until it was fulfilled. In Luke chapter nine, Jesus tells his disciples, it is necessary that the Son of man suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and scribes, be killed and be raised on the third day. And then later in that same chapter, we read that Jesus told those same disciples, let these words sink in. The Son of man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men. And then we read in the very next verse, but they did not understand this statement. Now get this. It was concealed from them so that they could not gas is. So I think we need to cut the disciples some slack. You wouldn't have got it either. I wouldn't have got it either. They couldn't understand Jesus words about his suffering and death until after the fact because it was being supernaturally concealed. Jesus told them that they might later recall his words and realize in hindsight that his betrayal, death and resurrection had all been planned, had all been ordained. He was in control the whole time.

But even after the resurrection, when the truth is no longer being concealed, the paradigm shift of a Messiah also being the suffering servant was so great that the disciples just couldn't wrap their minds around it in a timely manner. That's why we read in Luke 24 45 that Jesus had to supernaturally open their minds to understand the Scriptures. Jesus is like, I'm the suffering servant and the Messiah. They're like, I don't get it. And he's like, Let me open your minds. And he does. That supernaturally. That's the only way that they're able to get it. Now why should the crowd believe peter's claims that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah. Well, that's what the miracle was for, to prove to the crowd that God was working and speaking through Peter and John. Remember, miracles alone did not mean that someone was speaking the truth. There were people who worked miracles by occultic power, by the powers of darkness. But if a person spoke the truth of Scripture and worked a miracle, then you knew they were legit. Indeed, Scripture declares this is part of the reason Jesus performed miracles, to authenticate the words that he was saying.

That lined up with Scripture. In verse 19, Peter tells the crowd, therefore repent and turn back so that your sins. May be wiped out. To repent means to change your thinking, to change your mind. In this instance, Peter is appealing to the crowd to change their mind about who Jesus of Nazareth was and is he's not simply a rabbi, a teacher, a great man, or a social revolutionary. He says, Change your mind and believe that Jesus was and is the servant of God, the Holy and righteous One, the source of life, and the Messiah. Peter rightly points to the solution, calling them to repent and turn to Jesus so their sins can be wiped out. And I pray that we never cease to be astonished by such statements in the Scriptures. If we place our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, he wipes out all of our sins. He offers us total, complete, absolute and unconditional forgiveness from every sin we have ever committed or ever will commit. The totality of the forgiveness of Jesus is breathtaking and the longer you walk with Him, the more astonishing his grace becomes. Because when you first get saved, you're like, I need the grace of Jesus.

You walk with them closely for a few years and you're like, oh man, I really needed the grace of Jesus. You walk with them a few more years and you're like, I really need the grace of Jesus. You walk with them a few more years and you're like, I don't even get why you gave me grace, Jesus, but I really, really need it. Because the more you walk with God, the more clearly you see yourself. And when you walk next to God, you walk with God. You can't help but notice increasingly how good and glorious and wonderful he is and how I'm not all of those things. Time brings clarity with it as you walk with the Lord. Now, very interestingly, peter shares a few eschatological things. Eschatological means related to the end times. And I know what you're thinking. You're like, oh my gosh, Jeff, you see the end times and everything all the time. I wasn't looking. I know you won't believe me, but I wasn't looking. I swear I wasn't looking. But it's right here and you're going to see it. These things are easy to miss because he says them so quickly.

But they're really clear and I wanted to take a couple of minutes to point them out to you because we always try to encourage you. BJ and I. That whatever you believe about any area of Christianity. How salvation works. How the Holy Spirit works. How marriage is supposed to work. Church leadership. The end times. Whatever your view is on those issues. It has to work. It has to harmonize with what the Bible says everywhere in the Bible. You don't have a right belief system if it works well in this part of the Bible. But when you get to this verse over here, it doesn't make any sense. So, if what you believe about the end times is accurate. It's going to work. It's going to make sense everywhere. The Bible talks about the end times, and that's exactly what happens here. In two verses in the Book of Acts, we find several things that harmonize with what we believed about the end times and what we saw as we studied through the Book of Revelation. So, Peter urges his Jewish brethren to repent and turn to Jesus in verse 20 that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.

Now listen closely. And that he may send Jesus, who has been appointed for you as the Messiah. Heaven must receive him. That's Jesus until the time of the restoration of all things, which God spoke about through his holy prophets from the beginning. So, Peter tells the crowd that these coming seasons of refreshing and the time of the restoration of all things get this is contingent on Israel's collective repentance and turning to Jesus as her Messiah. Do you catch that? He's saying, turn to Jesus repent, because if you do, then these seasons of refreshing, then the time of the restoration, then Jesus can come. He's saying, but none of those things can happen until you repent and turn to Jesus. The Jewish people looked forward to and longed for the coming of the kingdom age when they believed the Messiah would rule over the nations from the throne of David and Jerusalem and make all things right. And Peter tells them there can be no kingdom age until Israel accepts Jesus as King. If you were with us for our study through the Book of Revelation, then you will understand that the kingdom age the Jewish people long for is the millennial kingdom, the thousand years where Jesus will rule over the earth as King.

And lo and behold, Peter also tells the crowd that when Israel collectively is ready to repent, God will send Jesus back to the Earth. That refers to the future event known as the Second Coming. Peter says that he, God, may send Jesus, who has been appointed for you as the Messiah. Now, we know that one of the primary purposes of the seven years of the Tribulation will be to break Israel's stubbornness and bring her to the point where she cries out to God for deliverance. And it's at that moment, right at the end of the tribulation, that Jesus will return and reveal himself to Israel as her Messiah. That moment is prophesied in Zechariah 1210, where Jesus says, then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the house of David and the residents of Jerusalem, and they will look at me, whom they pierced. They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child and weep bitterly for him as one weeps for a firstborn. So they'll cry out to God for deliverance. God will send Jesus. Jesus will appear to them as their deliverer, their Messiah, and they will grieve over the realization that they crucified him.

They will repent, receive him as their Messiah, and their relationship with God will be restored. And indeed, the whole universe will be restored in the millennial kingdom. As Jesus reverses the effects of the curse of sin, returning the Earth to an Eden like state, under his rule, creation will be restored. And speaking of that, I want you to notice Peter's verbiage when he refers to the restoration of all things. And I want you to contrast that phrase, the restoration of all things with what we see happening at the end of the thousand years of the millennial kingdom. John opens Revelation 21 by writing, then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven, and the first earth had passed away. Something that has been restored is not something new. That's literally why the word restored exists, because it doesn't mean the same thing as the word new. The word restored describes something returning to its original state. Peter says that when Jesus returns at the Second Coming, he will usher in these seasons of refreshing and a time of the restoration of all things. And that's exactly what happens in the millennial kingdom.

That same Peter writes in his second Epistle that at the end of the millennial kingdom quote, the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn up and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be burned up. And then three verses later, Peter writes but based on his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth where righteousness dwells. And I just share that quickly to clear up potential confusion, because some teach that God's end goal is a return to Eden and for us to spend eternity with Him on this earth. And I want to make it clear that Peter doesn't agree. And our view of Revelation lines up with Peter's teaching in the Book of Acts and what Peter writes in his second Epistle. But those who believe that we're going to spend eternity on this earth are contradicted by the words of the Apostle Peter. Lastly, I want us to notice that Peter says God spoke about these things through his holy prophets from the beginning. Peter is referring to the prophets of the Old Testament, and he's telling us that they prophesied about the repentance of the Jewish people at the end of the millennium.

They prophesied about the second coming of Christ. They prophesied about the millennial kingdom. And I share that because some teachers will tell you that all these Old Testament prophecies about the end times are really about events that happened between 70 Ad. And 120 Ad. The fall of Jerusalem and the scattering of the Jewish people in the Diaspora. Again, the Apostle Peter disagrees with that view. And Peter continues exhorting the crowd to repent and turn to Jesus, telling them in verses 22, Moses said, the Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must listen to everything he tells you, and everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be completely cut off from the people. Peter's quoting from Deuteronomy 1815 through 19 this crowd of Jewish men and women would have been acquainted with those verses because they're part of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible and the scriptural foundation of Jewish life. Peter's point is that Moses, one of the patriarchs, a father of Judaism, prophesied about the coming Messiah. Moses spoke about Jesus. Not only that, but we know Moses was a type of Jesus.

Aspects of his character and works pointed ahead, prophetically, to what Jesus the Messiah would do during his life in ministry. Peter says, Remember, brothers and sisters, what Moses said. Remember how Moses told you do not miss the Messiah when he comes. Just as Moses was sent to your forefathers to deliver you from slavery in Egypt, jesus has been sent to you to deliver you from slavery to sin. He continues in verses 24 in addition, all the prophets who have spoken from Samuel and those after him have also foretold these days. Peter says all the Old Testament prophets from Samuel on one way or another prophesied about Jesus as the coming Messiah. Verses 25 you are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors, saying to Abraham, all the families of the earth will be blessed through your offspring. Peter says Jesus is the Messiah. The prophets we're speaking of Jesus is the fulfillment of the covenant God made with Abraham when he promised him that all the families of the earth would be blessed through his descendants and indeed through Jesus. Everyone is invited to be blessed, forgiven, made right with God, given a new spirit, have his life poured into you, be adopted into his family, and have an unspeakably glorious future secured.

Verse 26 god raised up his servant and sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways. God made the covenant with Abraham and the Israelites, so he came to them first. The Gospel came to the Jewish people first, but collectively they rejected Jesus for the same reason the Church was born in Jerusalem to give the Jewish people the first opportunity to put their faith in the resurrected Jesus as Lord and Savior and join His Church. I am so struck by Peter's bluntness when it comes to communicating with his brethren about sin. He says they need to repent and turn from their evil ways. Not just for perspective. These are conservative Jewish men and women around 32 Ad. They are like amish puritans times ten in our day and age. And Peter says he's come to turn you from your evil ways. Not everyone in that crowd was in the crowd that demanded Pilate release Barabbas. Instead of Jesus, you see, we sometimes forget this reality. Anyone who is currently in a place where they are rejecting Jesus as their Lord and Savior is wicked. They are wicked.

They are evil. They have sided with the enemies of God. It doesn't matter if they're nice, responsible people who are pleasant to be around when it comes to the issues that matter most. They are evil because there is no scenario in which a person can reject Jesus and be good. In fact, there is no scenario in which anyone can be good apart from Jesus. The Bible is crystal clear about what I'm telling you. The only reason we forget it, the only reason we feel awkward and get offended when I say it out loud, is because we tend to slip back into our default mode where we make ourselves the judge of good and evil. We default to that all the time, forgetting that the only one who can judge good and evil is God. And when we call something good or evil, we do so on the basis that God has judged it to be good or evil. And I highlight this because it's always important to remember we don't need Jesus to help us be better people or to maximize our potential. We don't need Jesus to take us from an eight to a ten.

We don't need Jesus to get us across the line. We need Jesus because apart from Him, we are dead in our sins. We are lost in our evil ways. We are slaves to sin. We are wicked and evil compared to the standard by which we will be judged the perfect righteousness of God. And we need to get that straight. God is not a ten and we're a seven. That is not reality. God is good, and apart from Him, we are wicked and evil. That's it. To be a Christian, you must first recognize that you desperately need Jesus to save you. You must first recognize that the standard of good and evil is not your judgment. The standard of good and evil is not the other people around you. As we've said before, you don't get to go to heaven if you can point out ten people who suck more than you. That's not it. You can't get the name Hitler doesn't have anything to do with you getting into heaven. At least I'm not Hitler. Doesn't work that way. And all of us who have repented and turned to Jesus have turned from our evil ways to instead follow Jesus on the path that leads to life.

And he has clothed us in his righteousness. His righteousness. Because we needed it because we were evil. We mentioned earlier about being in the ready position to be used by God, being available to be used by God. And I noticed in these early chapters of Acts that Peter was a man of the scriptures. You see, it's not like God gave him this gift and he was like, this is great. I've never even read the scriptures, and now I can just freestyle them whenever I want. That's not what happened. Peter had stored up the Old Testament scriptures within himself, and then the Holy Spirit breathed on him to pull those scriptures out of him, to minister to other people in moments like these. You cannot stand on the promises of God if you don't even know the promises of God. You cannot exhort, encourage and counsel people with the word of God. If you don't know the word of God, you can't have a scripture come to mind that's never even been in your mind. But when it's stored up within us, my goodness, the Lord can and will use it to bless us and others.

So if you want to be used by God, be a man or woman of the word. Store it up within you so that God can bring it out when he decides to be ready. Be ready. I'll say this in conclusion. If you want to be used by God, you must be ready to be used by God. Secondly, the Jewish people needed to hear over and over and over again that Jesus was the Messiah. He's the suffering servant, and he's Mashiach. He is both. Jesus is the Messiah. And so I just want to ask you, as we head into a time of worship, what truth about God do you need to hear over and over and over again, hundreds and hundreds of times, what truth about God do you struggle to remember, struggle to comprehend, or struggle to believe that he's forgiven you? That he's with you? That he'll provide what you need? That he cares about the deepest longings of your heart? That he loves you? That his plans for you are good? Whatever it is, you need to start speaking it over and over and over again, hundreds and thousands of times in your daily life.

Lord, thank you that You've forgiven me. Lord, thank you that you're with me. Thank you that you provide everything that I need. Thank you that the seeds I have sown into my children are never in vain. Thank you that you love me. Lord, thank you that Your plans for me are good. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You over again. Write it on your bathroom mirror. Say it aloud every time you see it. Put a Post-It note on the dashboard of your car and your computer monitor. Say it over and over and over again. For how long? Until you get it. Until you get it. That's why the apostle said over and over and over, Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is the Messiah. Over and over and over again.

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