In this passage, Peter continued preaching the gospel to a bunch of Jews in the Temple.  He does three things that we should pay attention to.  He appeals to the authority of the Old Testament, he appeals to need for repentance, and he and John persevere in the gospel amidst adversity.

Authority of the Old Testament

It is way to easy to ignore the Old Testament because of its seemingly boring stretches.  But this was the Bible for Jesus.  This was it.  This is what Peter and John had for Scripture.  The New Testament was still being written.  So, they had to know the Old Testament well.  They had to reconcile Jesus with the Prophets–and in doing so, it became clear that “what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled” (Acts 3:18) in Jesus.

Again, in verse 21, Peter says that Jesus will come back to restore all things according to that which “God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.” 

He is still not done, “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 sould 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.” (Acts 3:22-24).  That is a lot of Old Testament talk.  When we can recognize that the Old Testament is ALL about Jesus, it will be a lot more exciting and we will understand a lot more about our Lord Jesus.

Repentance

“Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come…” (Acts 3:19-20).

When these Jews heard that Jesus is supposedly the Messiah spoken of in the Old Testament, they put it together that Jesus would also be the Messiah that would come to judge and restore the earth.  They knew the consequences because they knew their Bible.  Peter then says, “Repent that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come”. 

“Times of refreshing…”

The Greek word translated as “refreshing” actually carries with it a more descriptive nuance of what Peter is talking about here.  It carries with it the notion of breathing space or relaxation.  This breathing space is such that when Jesus does return to throw-down WWE style, those who repent can have some breathing space and relax.  Those who repent can rejoice when Jesus returns rather than dread it.  Why?  Because genuine repentance results in our sins being blotted out!  I say genuine repentance, because there exists several avenues of counterfeit “repentance” which do nothing for blotting out sins. 

1.) Mere Confession – This is “oops, my bad” repentance.  Mere confession apart from a real turning away from sin, is not genuine repentance.  Imagine brother Billy, who just pulled sister Sally’s hair.  Billy gets caught and is forced to apologize.  You get mere confession, “Sorry Sally”.  This is also where we get a false “theology” of struggle.  So many Christians merely confess pithy, church-acceptable sins; when in reality, dark and dirty, yet proud, sinful natures lay beneath.  This is the guy who struggles with pornography but his confession is about procrastinating on his homework.

2.) Selfish Repentance – This is when someone says “Sorry, God” in hopes of receiving some sort of earthly blessing.  Maybe you have been doing poorly in math class, you infer that it is because of an unconfessed sin-issue.  You tell God you’re sorry in hopes that He will magically raise your GPA.  The blessing of repentance is sins blotted out and breathing space when Jesus returns.

3.) Religious Repentance – This is the really vocal church kid who always confesses the sins of others, but never his or her own.  They may know their Bible really well, be in the worship band, be really good contributors in small group, and be on a Log-shoot ride into Hell.  Why?  Because someone who always confesses the sins of others (and never their own), always offers prayer (but never asks for prayer), always offers advice (but never seeks it), is creating an entirely false and prideful front for other Christians to bow before.  The other side of this coin is  merely confession.  Be someone who others can confess to, also be someone who confesses sin to others–not to anyone and everyone thought.  Find someone who takes sin seriously and will hold you accountable to turn from it, and will praise Jesus that he has died for you.

Gospel Perseverance

Peter and John got arrested for this bold proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Are you willing to risk an awkward moment?  Losing friends? Reputation? How much do you really believe that the Gospel is good news?  There is no loving act for a lost soul apart from sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with him or her. Persevere in sharing the gospel.

 

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