Christ Covenant Church
Rev. Marq Toombs
16 June 2019
New Series — Acts: To the Ends of the Earth
Media Player or iTunes
Sermon: Acts 3
“Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (Exo 3:6, 15), the God of our fathers (Lev 20:37), glorified his servant-son Jesus (Isa 52:13), whom you delivered over (Isa 53:6, 12) and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One (Judges 13:7; Isa 53:11; Zech 9:9; Psa 15:10), 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 acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled (Psalms 22; 69; Isa 52:13-53:12; Zech 12:10; 13:7; Jer 11:9; Dan 9:26). Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord (Isa 32:15), 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 in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ (Deut. 18:15-20); Lev 23:29) And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel (2 Sam 7) and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant (Ezek 30:5) that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ (Gen 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14) God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”
[NOTE: Cross-References from Commentary on the NT Use of the OT by Beale and Carson]
CONFRONT THE PEOPLE
And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel…”
Not an antagonist confrontation. Later, he identifies with the Men of Israel and calls them brothers and sons of the prophets.
The point is this: In order for the gospel to reach the ends of the earth, the church and her ministers must engage actual people in inter-personal conversation.
We must not speak to everyone in general, but to someone in particular.
CONVICT OF SINS
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 Pilate, 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.
Peter convicted his Jewish brothers of sin. Like an OT covenant prosecutor, he charged God’s people with breaking God’s Law.
Exhibit A: They bore false witness against their neighbor when they delivered Jesus over to Pilate and denied him in the presence of men.
Exhibit B: They committed murder when they exchanged the Author / Prince of Life for an agent of death.
I wonder if Peter choked up, if his voice cracked, when he charged his Jewish brothers with denying Jesus, the Holy and Righteous Author of Life. I wonder if he heard echoes of the rooster’s crow even as he preached the good news of the suffering servant of the Lord.
8 “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, 9 but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
Luke 22:34, 56-62
34 Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.” … 56 Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” … And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.
Peter had denied Christ before men and women. He had also wept bitterly over his sin, repented and turned back to Christ. He received the remission of sins and refreshment from the Lord. He had been restored by Christ even after denying him.
CONVERGE ON CHRIST
And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But God fulfilled what he foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer for the sake of and in the place of his people.
Jesus is the gravitational center of the sermon. All the storylines converge in him, at the bloody cross and in the empty.
Peter exalts Jesus in the eyes and ears of the people. He calls Jesus the servant of God, the Holy and Righteous One, the Author of Life, the Healer, the Risen One, the Christ, the Prophet, and the Seed.
Jesus is the Servant of the Lord who did good and suffered for it, who left you an example that you should follow in his steps, who bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. (1 Peter 2:21, 24; cp Isa 52:13-53:12)
Jesus is the Holy and Righteous One who committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:23)
Jesus is the author of life who blazed a trail out of death into life, who opened up a new and living hope into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade. (1 Peter 1:3-4)
Jesus is the Healer who heals sinners by his wounds. (1 Peter 2:24)
Jesus is the Christ who suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit (1 Peter 3:18)
Jesus is the Risen One who saves you who are baptized, not by removing dirt from your body, but by raising you from the dead (1 Peter 3:21)
Jesus is the Prophet who speaks God’s truth and reveals God’s will to us in love.
Jesus is the Seed who came to bless all the families of the earth, all the nations of the world.
Peter centered his sermon on Jesus, and magnified the name of Jesus Christ in his preaching. He showed how the scriptures and the
It is by faith in the name of Jesus Christ that the weak are made strong, the broken are mended, the sick are healed, the guilty are forgiven, the dead are raised.
CONSOLE THE HEART
Repent and turn back,
that your sins may be blotted out, [remission]
that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, [refreshment]
and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, [return]
whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things [restoration]
about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.
This is not hellfire and brimstone, turn or burn, kind of preaching. This is the heart-felt plea of a friend and brother. “Please, step back away from the edge.” “Please, turn around and come back home.” “Please, change your mind and change your life.”
WCF 15 = Repentance unto life is an evangelical* grace, which must be preached by every minister of the Gospel, as well as that of faith in Christ. (We must call people to change.) [*Note: Here, evangelical grace means the grace that flows from the gospel. It does not mean Protestant grace over against Catholic grace.]
Repentance is turning from self and returning to God. “It is of such necessity to all sinners, that none may expect pardon without it.”
As there is no sin so small, but it deserves damnation, so there is no sin so great, that it can bring damnation upon those who truly repent.
Men ought not to content themselves with a general repentance, but it is every man’s duty to endeavour to repent of his particular sins, particularly.
As Tim Keller puts it:
Repentance out of mere fear is really sorrow for the consequences of sin, sorrow over the danger of sin — it bends the will away from sin, but the heart still clings.
But repentance out of conviction over mercy is really sorrow over sin, sorrow over the grievousness of sin — it melts the heart away from sin. It makes the sin itself disgusting to us, so it loses its attractive power over us.
As Charles Spurgeon said, “Slow are the steps of repentance, but swift are the feet of forgiveness. God can run where we scarcely limp, and if we are limping towards Him, He will run towards us.”
CONNECT THE DOTS
Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in 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 proclaimed these days.
You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’
In this sermon, Peter shows how all the OT scriptures, from Genesis to Malachi, point to Jesus.
Scholars point out that Peter quotes, cites, or alludes to every major section of the OT in this brief sermon. There are references to [Torah – Law] Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy; [Prophets] Judges and 2 Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah; [Writings] Psalms and Daniel.
The point is that Peter preached Christ with a smile on his lips, a finger on the verse, and God’s word in his mouth. This showed that he was not just making up the gospel of Christ out of thin air. He was
CONCLUDE THE STORY
God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.
Now, Peter charged them with particular sins which they had committed publicly in recent weeks. He consoled them with the gospel of grace. The Holy Spirit convicted them of sin, converted them to Christ, and comforted their hearts.
How did his Jewish brothers respond? Mixed response.
And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.
But many of those who had heard the word believed.