Scripture: Acts 3:11-26
Biblical Numerology: 7 = A holy number,God’s number. Number of completeness and perfection.(suggest tag)That means that 8 is a new beginning, the start of a new era. A fresh start. Also signifies resurrection and regeneration. (Jesus rose the 1st day of the next week, starting a new era) Noah is an example of this as well after the flood. He was the 8th person stepping off the boat to start a new era.
2018 is the start of a new era, and I am looking forward to see what God is going to do in His church, in our lives as individuals. On that note, it is my sincere prayer that you will have blessed and prosperous 2018. May it be life changing for all the right reasons and may see the hand of God drawing you closer to Him and bring about times of refreshing as you grow in Him.
Proposition: We can be continually refreshed, if we will live in right relationship with God.
Intro: What is the most refreshing thing you can think of? For some of you, perhaps Coke is it! For others, when you’ve been working hard and perspiring profusely, a nice tall glass of iced tea is just the ticket. Still for others, there is nothing like cool refreshing water to invigorate you. In fact, water is refreshing in more ways than one. You can drink it and be refreshed, but you can also bathe in it or swim in it and be refreshed.
-There are other things in life that are refreshing. Laughter is refreshing. There is nothing like a good belly laugh to keep you going. Have you laughed out loud today? People Don’t laugh anymore, instead you get a “ LOL” Or an emoji. Try it. You might like it and it will make you look prettier. Singing can refresh you. Fishing – now there is a way to get refreshed. (Just ask Riaan) Jesus did it, so it must be pretty important, right? Then there’s Golf, someone said, “a bad day on the golf course is still better than a good day in the office” and it’s true. Or riding your bike can be refreshing. Those rides to nowhere. You only stop to have lunch when you backside is numb or when your fuel is up.
-Well, of all the refreshing experiences we can find, nothing can compare to the renewal of the mind and spirit that is found in the presence of God. That is what I’d like to talk about today. The message is quite simple, which is this:
Prop: We can be continually refreshed, if we will live in right relationship with God.
Interrogative: How does a right relationship with God affect our lives?
TS: We’re going to look at a few thoughts from our passage that will show us how a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ can bring refreshing to our souls.
Turning Away from Sin Brings Times of Refreshing
-V.19 says first of all, “Repent….” To repent means more than to feel sorry for the bad things we’ve said or done. The idea of repentance includes remorse, but also involves turning away from that which is offensive to God. It involves more than just an emotional response, but also moves the will into action. Repentance therefore is an action word, a Verb.True repentance results in change.
-When Peter preached to the crowd on the Day of Pentecost, here was their response in Acts 2:37“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’” This shows that repentance calls for action: What shall we do about the way we have treated God? Peter gave them the answer: “Repent, let God change your life, and receive His forgiveness.”
-When John the Baptist came preaching repentance, even the religious leaders were drawn to him and wanted to hear what he had to say. Well, John didn’t cut them any slack, but told them to bear fruit that was worthy of repentance. In other words, be willing to change the way you live, and God will forgive you and help you.
-Maybe there is something that God has told you to do, but like children sometimes do, you haven’t listened very well. Yes, you heard Him, but because it is something that makes you uncomfortable or requires you to trust God instead of yourself, you have not obeyed God. You keep saying that you will do what He says, but you keep letting yourself off the hook. Listen that is not the way we should respond to our loving Father. Maybe we forget too quickly that He is Lord of the universe. Yet, sometimes we dismiss His word to us so easily. Let’s repent of our disobedience and be quick to say, “Yes, Lord, I will do whatever you ask me to do.”
-If we will become quick to listen and quick to obey the Lord, we will find times of refreshing in our lives. All disobedience is sin! The Bible says it’s like divination. (Witchcraft) Let’s repent and turn away from the sin we have allowed into our lives, and that so easily entangles us and the times of refreshing will begin to flow into our lives like cool refreshing water.
-TS: In addition to turning away from sin, we must also turn toward our heavenly Father. We cannot turn towards sin and towards God at the same time. So, turn away from sin, but also, turn to God. “Choose you this day whom you will serve, but as for me …”
Turning to God Brings Times of Refreshing
-V.19 says, “Turn to God.” When there is sin in our lives, we do not want to face the Lord. Sin separates us from God. We don’t want to look Him in the eye, because we know that all is not right.
-Just like Adam and Eve in the Garden, we sometimes try to hide from God, because we don’t want to face the consequences of our actions. However, God always knows what’s up! The longer we refuse to turn to Him, the longer we will wallow in the sense of guilt and failure.
-The Psalms are filled with the language of intimacy, in which the Psalmist asks to Lord to look on him favorably, or to make His face shine upon him. Now, be clear about one thing: God loves us beyond what we can comprehend. Even when we fail and sin against Him, He still loves us. However, His love is so strong towards us that He will not smile upon us when we sin against Him. The Bible tells us that the Lord disciplines those whom He loves. So, if we refuse to turn to God, we can expect some loving discipline to come our way. I like the saying: “God loves me just the way I am, but too much to let me stay that way.” God’s work in our lives is always for the better. At times we may not feel like doing better or turning to God, but He has a way of drawing us back to Himself.
-When we turn our hearts toward God, we will experience times of refreshing in His presence. There is nothing as refreshing as making things right with our Creator. Why is that? Because we were created to have unbroken fellowship with our Creator. We were created to have a good relationship with Him, talking and listening to Him. When it is well with my soul, I find myself refreshed because I am doing what I was created to do – that is to live in harmony with God.
-TS: Now, along the same lines, Peter tells this crowd that if they will repent and turn to God, then He will send His Messiah to them. And this is really the heart of what Peter is saying. How does a person turn to God? People turn to God by turning to Jesus, and having a close relationship with Him.
III. Staying Close to Jesus Brings Times of Refreshing (It is all about relationship!) “It’s all about Jesus”
-V.20 says that if they will repent and turn to God, He will “send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.”
-Jesus had already come and lived, died, and rose again. However, Peter tells them that in addition to the times of refreshing Jesus brings in the here and now, Jesus is going to come back again to restore things the way they are supposed to be.
We Must Listen to Jesus
-In v.22, Peter shows that first they must listen to Jesus. 22”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. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’” The idea, of course, is not just to hear what Jesus says, but to do it. If we will listen to Jesus, we will stay close to Him and find times of refreshing in His presence.
-Jesus compared Himself to a Shepherd and said, “My sheep know My voice.” Can you recognize when Jesus is speaking to you? He speaks through His word, through the Holy Spirit, through circumstances, through a still small voice that we can only hear with our hearts. Jesus is speaking, but it is up to us to listen and obey.
All the World Will Be Blessed By Jesus
-God said to Abraham, ’Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ Since Peter is preaching to Jews here, he goes on to say in v.26,“When God raised up his servant (Jesus), he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.” The Jews were the first to receive the blessing that was promised through Abraham. Jesus was a descendent of Abraham, and He came to save the people from their sins.
-As we move on through the book of Acts, we find that the gospel of Jesus is moving outward from Jerusalem. It is for all the people of the world, not the Jews only.
-The key to this blessing is how we receive it. Obviously, not every person in the world will receive this blessed by Jesus. Why not? Because not everybody will repent and turn to God. Not everyone will listen to Jesus. In fact, many people will choose their own destruction, rather than God’s blessing. If we choose to ignore God’s answer for mankind, we are passing up the only way to get right with Him, and to find the refreshing we need in our lives.
-Why do we sometimes hold on so tightly to things God is asking us to let go of? He often ask us to sacrifice the thing we love the most.(Abraham and Isaac) God really does want to bless us with His very best, but we can get so attached to the things of this life that we aren’t willing to release them to Him.
Conclusion: Are you willing to let go of what seems so important to you? If you will, I can assure you that God has something 1000 times more wonderful than what you would be giving up. Maybe you are holding onto some things in your life that are so wrong for you, it affects you negatively. It is detrimental to you. The only way God can give you what He has for you is for you to be willing to let go of the old life. As Peter said, “Turn away from sin. Turn to God, and you will begin to experience times of refreshing in your life.” Jesus will forgive you, and one day He will come back to this earth to give everyone the reward they have prepared themselves for. What have you been preparing for? Life with Jesus for eternity, or just enjoying the here and now?