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Acts 3:12-26 (web)

Peter's Second Sermon

3:12 When Peter saw it, he responded to the people,
"You men of Israel, why do you marvel at this man? Why do you fasten your eyes on us, 
as though by our own power or godliness we had made him walk? 

3:13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his Servant Jesus,
whom you delivered up, and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had determined to release him. 
3:14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 
3:15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, whereof we are witnesses. 
3:16 By faith in his name has his name made this man strong, whom you see and know. 
Yes, the faith which is through him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. 
3:17 "Now, brothers
{The word for "brothers" here may be also correctly translated "brothers and sisters" or "siblings."}
I know that you did this in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 
3:18 But the things which God announced by the mouth of all his prophets, 
that Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled. 

3:19 "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, 
so that there may come times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, 
3:20 and that he may send Christ Jesus, who was ordained for you before, 
3:21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, 
which God spoke long ago by the mouth of his holy prophets. 
3:22 For Moses indeed said to the fathers,

'The Lord God will raise up a prophet for you from among your brothers, like me.
You shall listen to him in all things whatever he says to you. 
3:23 It will be, that every soul that will not listen to that prophet 
will be utterly destroyed from among the people.' (Deut 18:18,19)
3:24 Yes, and all the prophets from Samuel and those who followed after,
as many as have spoken, they also told of these days. 
3:25 You are the children of the prophets,
and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, 
'In your seed will all the families of the earth be blessed.' (Gen 22:18)
3:26 God, having raised up his servant, Jesus, sent him to you first, to bless you,
in turning away everyone of you from your wickedness." 


Winning a Hearing

Often the most challenging aspect of evangelism is to get people to listen. Peter's first hearing was won at the outpouring of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. And so also we find hear a second hearing is won by the manifestation of the Spirit in the healing of the lame man. Later in one of his letters Peter writes:
"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,  keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." 1Peter 3:15
However to reach some people it is often necessary to win a hearing first before they are willing to listen. 

Focus on Christ

Having won a hearing, the problem occasionally arises that the preacher will pridefully then make too much of himself. This is a kind of celebrity phenomenon. But here we see Peter tries to redirect their focus onto Christ. Thus humility is essential to Biblical preaching.

The content of this second sermon parallels that of the first in chapter 2. (A good sermon is worth repeating). Again he speaks of Christ's death and resurrection and attempts to bring them to conviction of sin. Naturally this involves humiliating the audience, but that's just part of Christian ministry as Jesus also practiced it.

The Application - A Call to Respond

Again Peter indicates that you can do something to be saved. You can repent and turn to God.  But in contrast to his first sermon, he mentions nothing of water baptism here. Once again this just affirms the interpretation of Acts 2:38 that he is not speaking of water baptism as a necessary condition to be saved, but rather simply as an external sign to indicate that one has repented and believed.

The central point to the gospel is the forgiveness of sins. Perfect behavior makes one righteous in God's sight. But all have sinned and come short of such a standard of righteousness. Thus God has provided another way for people to be reckoned righteous. Through Christ's atoning work on the cross people are reckoned righteous in God's sight based not upon their behavior, but based upon the forgiveness of their sins. This is not to say that the imputation of such a righteousness is completely independent of a person's behavior. For to qualify to receive it, one must humbly turn to God, acknowledging one's sinfulness, and put saving faith in the person and works of Christ as He revealed Himself in the Bible. (Faith which is of saving value inevitably affects one's behavior and results in applications indicative of such faith.)

"All Things"?

vs 21 speaks of the restoration of all things. By "all things" it is speaking categorically and not individually. For we learn elsewhere in scripture, such as in Rev 21:8 that not all will be reconciled when considered on an individual basis. Charles Spurgeon comments on the Greek word "pas" being used here saying:
 "Pas": some of all types  ... "the whole world has gone after him" Did all the world go after Christ?  "then went all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan." Was all Judea, or all Jerusalem, baptized in Jordan? "Ye are of God, little children", and the whole world lieth in the wicked one". Does the whole world there mean everybody? The words "world" and "all" are used in some seven or eight senses in Scripture, and it is very rarely the "all" means all persons, taken individually. The words are generally used to signify that Christ has redeemed some of all sorts -- some Jews, some Gentiles, some rich, some poor, and has not restricted His redemption to either Jew or Gentile ...

 C.H. Spurgeon from a sermon on Particular Redemption

The reconciliation was possible by Christ's atoning work on the cross.
"For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."Col 1:19,20 (niv)
But this is effective only when people come to faith in Christ, as God has put such a requirement upon men, and it will not fully be realized until we stand before God in judgment. Thus though the work on the cross fully justifies, yet God is still in the process of restoring man's relationship to Himself as He draws people to put their faith in Christ - a process of which we as Christians are also involved in as we minister the gospel just as we see Peter here doing.

Peter's point here of course is that though they had sinned against God, it is God's intention is to reconcile the repentant to Himself. But as he was speaking to Jews he needed to show them that what he was saying was in line with the Old Testament as they had accepted as the Word of God.

The Prophets

Peter proposed that Jesus was the prophet that Moses prophecied would come. The emphasis is Deuteronomy is that you must listen to him or be destroyed. That probably got their attention. So also when we communicate the gospel, we need to communicate the gavity of the situation. Peter's reference to the verse in Genesis and to "Unto you first" also enhances the sense of the gravity of the situation by giving a sense of how important this message is on a global scale.

Turn away from your iniquities

Only if a person turns away from his iniquities will he receive the blessings inherent in the gospel. There are those who have a false impression of the gospel as if they could simply pray Jesus into their hearts in an experimental fashion with a trivial faith and then go on continuing to live their lifestyle of sin and yet expect to be saved from the wrath of God.
"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." 1Cor 6:9,10 (niv)

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Apr 26,2023