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PETER’S SECOND MESSAGE

Acts 3:11-3:26
Key Verse: 3:19,20

Today’s passage is Peter’s second message in Acts. This message came as Peter told the Israelites the fact and the meaning of the healing of a crippled man. This message is related to Jesus’ death and resurrection and God’s restoration of all things. Peter assures that when they repent and turn to God, their sins are wiped out and the times of refreshing comes from the Lord and God sends Christ for them.

First, “You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead” (11-17). Look at verse 1. “While the beggar held on Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade.” The beggar must have been so thankful. He did not go anywhere. He clung to (threw his arms around) Peter and John. All the people were astonished and came running to these three, trio. They were in Solomon’s Colonnade. Jesus once was walking the temple area in this Solomon’s Colonnade (Jn 10:23). In Acts 2 when Peter raised up to address the crowd of over 3,000 people, at that time he was like nobody to them. But he spoke to them boldly. Now after healing a man crippled from birth, Peter became somebody. All the people came running to him in astonishment. So many people were focusing on him. Suddenly he seemed to be a celebrity. How did Peter do at this situation? Look at verse 12. “When Peter saw this, he said to them: ‘Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” Their surprise and staring at him was a question to him. As for Peter, he had no part with self-glorification. He knew who he was. When people regarded him more than who he actually was, he refused it. He knew that they should not draw their attention to him at all. So he turned their attention to God and Jesus.

Look at verses 13-15. “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead…” In these verses Peter exposed what God did for Jesus and what they did with Jesus. The people of Israel were familiar with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for this God is the God of their fathers. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is the God of the living, not of the dead (Lk 20:38). When the cripple walked in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, it was God glorifying Jesus, his servant. Jesus is the one of whom God spoke through the prophet, “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight” (Isa 42:1).

What did they do with this Jesus? They handed him over to be killed. Jesus always did what pleased God (Jn 8:29) and sought to do God’s will (Jn 7:17). He was so pure and humble and compassionate. He was also undaunted and courageous. They handed him over to be killed, because he was not fit to their sinful nature. Although Jesus was one of his own people, they denied him before Pilate, Roman governor. Pilate tried to let Jesus go three times, but they disowned him to the end. Then Peter said, “You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murdered be released to you.” In the Old Testament God is called the Holy One of Israel.” And Romans 3:10 says, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” Among all human beings no one is righteous before God. So when Peter said of Jesus as the Holy and Righteous One, Jesus is beyond human description in his holiness and righteousness. He is the Holy and Righteous One, with three capital letters. But they substituted him with a murderer. Luke 23:25 says of the murderer, “He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for.” They treated the Holy and Righteous One worse than a murderer. Then Peter said, “You killed the author of life.” John 1:3-4 says, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life…” He is the Creator and Author of all life. Their lives came from him. Their existence and the existence of their children were possible because of him. But they killed the Author of life. We often hear terrifying news of some children killing their parents: one burned the house where his parents were sleeping. Whatever the reason, the crime is too awful to think of. Then how about killing the Author of Life? What could be a worse crime than this? That would be the worst crime men ever committed in history.

In this way Peter uncompromisingly pointed out their grievous sin. Their sin so well exposes the sinfulness of mankind. Fallen men hate God. Jesus once said, “They have hated both me and my Father,” and quoted the words of Psalms, “They hate me without reason” (Jn 15:24,25). Fallen mankind unreasonably hate God. Romans 8:7 says, “the sinful mind is hostile to God…” Hostility leads to killing. Jesus said of the unbelieving Jews, “I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts” (Jn 5:42). Bible talks about the total depravity of human beings, that is, the whole being corrupted. More precisely the core of the heart is corrupt. So it is said to be radical corruption. (The word radical derives from the Latin radix, which means “root”.) If a part of an apple is rotten, it is partly rotten and some part can be eatable. But if the centre of an apple is rotten, it is really rotten. Jesus said that eating with unwashed hands does not make a man unclean, but the things that come out of the heart: “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Mt 15:19). Paul said, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature” (Ro 7:18). One theologian said, “We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.”

In our times there is a teaching that tries to encourage people to find something good, something radiant and shining in them. According to the Bible that’s a sheer deception. Fallen men have no hope in themselves regardless what kind of people they are. Then what did God do? Look at verse 15 again. “You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead.” Peter did not say, “You killed the author of life, so God would destroy you accordingly.” No. He said, “You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead.” This indicates that God is the living God and Jesus is indeed the author of life. This is the power of God, specifically, this is the power of God’s love, the power of undying love of God. God’s love cannot be killed and die. God’s love overrides the sinfulness of mankind and wins. According to verse 18, by raising Jesus from the dead, “God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer.” The Christ of God Jesus suffered and was killed by the hands of sinful men. But ironically, Christ Jesus died for the sins of sinful mankind. God raising this Jesus from the dead shows that he is the sovereign and his redemption plan prevails. His redemptive love triumphs. “You killed the author of life, God raised him from the dead,” is the gospel, the good news and hope for all sinners. Peter said, “We are witnesses of this.” Jesus is the approved author of life. He is indeed the author of life. He gives life to those who come to him (Jn 5:21).

Look at verses 16. “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.” The complete healing of the crippled man was a visible token of God raising Jesus from the dead and that’s way faith in the name of Jesus is effective.

Second, “Repent and turn to God” (17-20). Look at verse 17. “Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders.” We cannot deny that their rejection of Jesus was their willful and deliberate sin. But Peter saw the deeper reason of their sin, which was their ignorance. Here we see Peter’s shepherd heart for them. We are minded of Jesus, who prayed on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Peter continued to say, “But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer.” Peter helped them to look at God and realize the fulfillment of the prophecy concerning the suffering of the Christ. Then he said very clearly in verse 19, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.” Repentance means chaining one’s mind. Repentance is the way to God. God did all things for fallen men to turn God, even sacrificing his own Son. But each one should repent. God does not demand many things from sinners, but one thing. What God wants one thing from ignorant sinners is repentance. Nowadays people in authorities proclaim the motto, “One family under God.” Their saying is that God accepts everyone regardless of difference in religion, nationality, or any human condition, so all people on earth are one family in God. It seems to be an attractive slogan. But they have to know that God is the holy God. Sin problem must be solved to be accepted by the holy God. For this Christ died as the atoning sacrifice of man’s sins. There are people who say, “Since Christ died for our sins, we do not need to repent.” That’s totally none-sense. In this grace of God’s sacrificing his only Son for our sins, each one needs to repent of his or her sins. It is to change one’s mind. Repentance is the way of life.

On one occasion a woman was caught in the act of adultery. She was thrown down in front of the crowd and the people were ready to stone her according to the Law of Moses. When they asked for Jesus’ opinion, Jesus said, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to stone her.” At this all the people disappeared one by one, until only Jesus and the woman left. Now Jesus was the only one who was qualified to stone her. At this moment Jesus said, asked, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. Jesus set her free from the condemnation. Jesus would die in her place for this grace of no condemnation. Yet, Jesus’ final word for her is this: “Go now and leave your life of sin” (Jn 8:2-11). Jesus demanded repentance of her. Jesus wanted her to change her mind and way of living. Then she would indeed be free from sin. Repentance and receiving the grace of Jesus cannot be separated.

Look at verse 19 again. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out…” When we repent and turn to God, God forgives our sins. Here we see that God’s forgiveness includes wiping out our sins. “Wipe out” is in Greek, “Exaleipho”, meaning, “wash off, erase, obliterate.” In the ancient time people wrote letters on a papyrus with the ink that had no acid in it. The ink did not bite into the papyrus, so it could be simply erased with a wet sponge. Then the letters would be gone. When God forgives our sins, the sins are wiped out. What a grace! So God says, “…I will remember their sins no more” (Jer 31:34, Heb 8:12). And then verse 19 says, “…that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…” Refreshing of souls come only from the Lord. The Lord refreshes the souls of repentant sinners. Can you imagine living in a room where there is no wind and no ventilation? It will be full of smell and dust and later on hard to even breathe. Times of refreshing comes from the Lord. When we feel suffocated in our spirit, it indicates that our unrepentant sins are blocking in our spiritual airway to God. In this case we need to check whether certain relationships or deeds or thoughts are right before God. Through sincere repentance times of refreshing comes anew from the Lord. Look at verse 20. “and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.” What a blessing it is that Christ Jesus comes in the Spirit into the hearts and lives of repentant sinners! He lives together with us and guides our lives step by step in this world.

Third, God restores everything (21-26). Look at verse 21. “He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.” “Restore everything”? Wow! Everything is everything. As for us human beings their intellect, willpower and emotion and body all will be fully restored conformed to the like of his Son Jesus. And according to Paul, the creation waits in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay, and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Ro 8:20-21). In this universal restoration all the children of God and the whole creation will rejoice and shout for joy to God. The time will surely come. It will be perfected when Jesus comes again in time and space. He will come from heaven to judge the living and the dead and to call his elect.

God’s restoration of everything has been planned long ago through his holy prophets. Look at verses 22,23. “For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.” The restoration of everything also implies the restoration of obedience, which is the order of love. Therefore, obviously disobedient people cannot fit to this restored world. The people of Christ are to be the people of obedience. They love to obey, because he loved us first and his love endures forever.

Look at verse 24. “Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days.” “These days” refer to the days of Messiah. God told Samuel to raise David as the king of Israel, who would establish the theocratic kingdom of David as the shadow of the Messiah’s kingdom. Then Peter said in verse 25, “And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’” This promise of God to Abraham is the foundation promise of the Old Testament. From this foundation promise God had in mind to bless all peoples on earth through the seed of Abraham, Christ (Gal 3:16). So those who have repented and accepted Christ are heirs of the prophets and God’s covenant people. Look at verse 26. “When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.” The gospel of Jesus was preached first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. Here we see that God’s blessing is to turn away from wicked ways for salvation in Christ.

In this part, by mentioning the three major prophets, Moses, Samuel and David in the Old Testament, Peter assures God will restoring everything and this final perfection awaits the return of Christ.

In this second message of Peter, we heard, “You killed the author of life but God raised him from the dead”, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send Christ for you”, and “God will restore everything.” Thank and praise God for the gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Christ comes to those who repent and that truly refreshes our souls, and God will surely restore everything in Christ. May we keep the life of refreshing and live as witnesses of the gospel in this generation in the hope of God’s restoring everything.

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