Acts 3:11-26 ESV
Brief Review & Introduction
Brief review of the story of God: creation, fall, the promise covenant with Abraham, the law covenant with Israel, the royal covenant with David, and the first coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the new covenant.
Structure of Acts (see below to connect with the general structure of Luke-Acts)
- Jesus gives a mission and ascends to the Father (1:1-11)
- The early church in Jerusalem (1:12-6:7)
- The gospel message spreads from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, and other nearby areas (6:8-9:31)
- The gospel spreads to the nations (9:32-12:25)
- The gospel spreads through Paul’s three missionary journeys (13:1-21:16)
- The gospel is defended and reaches Rome (21:17-28:31)
Ideas and features of Acts
- Acts is part two of Luke’s account of the story of what the Lord Jesus Christ did and taught (Ac 1:1). Acts tells what the risen Christ did through his people by the Holy Spirit in its early days. Luke wrote Acts to tell this story and to bring out certain themes. However, among Christians of all types, it is popular to ignore this context and to use the book as a manual for spiritual experience, church practice, and missionary methods (cf. Thompson, The Acts of the Risen Lord Jesus, p. 17).
- The center of Luke and Acts is the accomplishment of salvation by Christ is his death, resurrection, ascension, and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit (Lk 23-Ac 2); everything in Luke leads toward this central core, and everything in Acts develops from it; the two books tell the story from the birth of Jesus to the gospel reaching Rome; the focus of Acts is the spread of the good news out from Jerusalem to the nations (Ac 1:8)
- Acts completes the historical narrative of the Four Gospels and the storyline of the Bible, except for the prophetic narrative contained in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ; Acts is known for its historical accuracy against all attempts of unbelief to refute it
- The book shows God’s sovereign rule in salvation, whether in the events of the crucifixion (2:23; 3:18; 4:27-28), in calling people to salvation (2:39, 41, 47; 5:14; 11:24; 13:48), or in giving faith, repentance, and open hearts (3:16; 5:31; 11:18; 14:27; 15:8-9; 16:14; 18:27)
- Acts has a number of summaries about the life of the church and the ministry of the apostles; nearly one third of Acts records summaries of sermons or speeches by NT apostles and prophets; in addition, there are about 38 different kinds of summary descriptions of the message of the good news (See Thompson, pp. 100-101)
- The book has much to say about the kingdom or reign of God in this present age; since Jesus is glorified and the Holy Spirit has been poured out by Jesus and received by his people, God’s kingdom has come near (1:3, 6; 8:12; 14:22; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31); Jesus now reigns from heaven and his people obey his authority
- Luke tells us constantly how God’s promises in the OTS are fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ; this is the theme of Acts; we will look at one example of how Luke does this
[Explain the setting of Peter’s address to his audience]
I. God’s actions in the gospel events
A.In everything God acted to glorify, to show the surpassing worth and honor, of his servant. This is one of the most amazing parts of God’s story. From a human perspective, we might well wonder, “How can the disgusting, disgraceful death of Jesus on the cross ever result in praise and honor?” It seems too hideous and beyond impossible. When it happened, he suffered pain and mockery; afterwards, it has been a stumbling-block to the Jews and foolishness to the nations.
1.This path to glory was foretold by Isaiah in what is called the fourth Servant Song (Is 52:13-53:12).
2.It was glorious in what God’s Servant Jesus accomplished—the forgiveness of sins and justification. Because of what Jesus Christ did in fulfilling God’s promise given through Isaiah, we can be right with God, declared right through believing in Jesus.
B.Peter, like the rest of the apostles, emphasizes God’s act of raising Jesus from the dead. This is the part of God’s story where, so to speak, God rolled up his sleeves and powerfully worked. God himself gave his Son and Servant resurrection life, a life of far greater glory and power than anyone had ever experienced (cf. 1 Cor 15). The crucified Jesus becomes the risen Savior and Lord.
1.The apostles consistently trace the reality of Christ’s resurrection back to the act of God (2:23-24; 4:10; 5:29-30; 10:39-40; 13:29-30; 17:30-31; 26:8, 23).
2.Peter declares that the healing of the beggar who had been crippled from birth comes through the power of the resurrected Jesus (3:16). Even the faith to receive the healing comes through Jesus!
Point: God’s act of raising Jesus from the dead is the starting point of salvation and God’s other acts of mercy.
II. Explanation of God’s actions – Peter explains the significance of what God did.
A.The gospel events are the fulfillment of the promises made through the prophets of the OTS (3:17-18).
1.We must never try to detach biblical prophecies and their fulfillment from what God did in Christ. Since he is the theme of the whole Bible, their untied witness points to the Lord Messiah.
2.Again, Peter emphasizes the idea that the sufferings of the Messiah were the plan of God: “But this is how God fulfilled…” (cf. 1 Pt 1:10-12).
Point: God’s story is about the sufferings and glory of Jesus Christ. Are you in agreement with God’s story? Or are you trying to make up an alternative story?
B.The people of God must listen to Jesus. God appointed him (3:20).
1.God through Moses (Deut 18:14-19) prophesied that God would send another prophet like Moses. As Moses was the mediator of the old covenant made at Sinai with Israel (Deut 5:5), so the coming Prophet would be the mediator between God and his people (1 Tm 2:5; Heb 3:1-6; 9:15; 12:24). The people to whom Peter was speaking should have been well aware of this prophecy. When Jesus came, he spoke just what the Father told him to (Jn 12:49-50; cf. 17:8). For this reason, Jesus bears the name, the Word of God, (Jn 1:1, 14; cf. Rev 19:13).
2.The crucial issue is that we must listen to and obey what Jesus has commanded (Mt 28:19-20). This includes not only belief in him as Lord and Savior, but also the way of life that comes from that great truth. God teaches you the truth about his Son, the Mediator, and you and I must be transformed by that truth (Rm 12:1-2).
C.Jesus will come again from heaven to restore everything (3:21).
1.Presently, as he is in heaven at God’s right hand, he rules over everything for the good of his people, the church (Eph 1:22-23). As people had already said, that rule includes the giving of faith and the healing of people.
2.But at God’s appointed time, Jesus will come again when God restores everything. God will make everything new (Rev 21:5). This present evil age will only continue until God says it is time to bring the fullness of God’s kingdom to this world (1 Cor 15:24-28; Ph 3:20-21; 1 Th 4:16-17; etc.) Then the full fulfillment of God’s promises will be realized.
Point: Part of your world and life view must include the end of history. God’s story has a destination and you and I must live in conformity with it.
III. Human responsibility in consequence of God’s actions – true conversion.
Ah, conversion is a very unpopular term in our time. People like to imagine that they can make up their own rules. Who would think of playing football or some other game that way? But people assume that they can live that way. The result is chaos. And so “ruin and misery” mark the ungodly way of life (Rm 3:16). The risen Christ commands a different way.
A.Turn from your wicked ways (3:26). Wickedness is sin. And sin is the rejection of God as God in your life, the refusal to love God with your whole heart, and the rebellion against God and his ways. All three aspects of sin must be forsaken. This is one part of true repentance.
B.Turn to God. To turn to God from these ways of wickedness, you must honor God as your God, love him wholeheartedly, and do what he commands. This brings about a new world and life view. It also brings refreshing from the Lord—love, joy, and peace! And wouldn’t you really rather have such blessings instead of chaos?
Apply: Right now is the time for you to turn from sin to God. Don’t assume that you need to clean up your life first. Christ will do that for you. Simply turn to the Lord Jesus now and trust him as your Lord and Savior.