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  • Glenn Rosenbaum

HEAR GOD’S CONSISTENT MESSAGE OF REPENTANCE!


I. Turn away from your sins

II. Trust in your Savior


Acts 3:19-26 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 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.’ 24 “Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. 25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

In the name of Jesus Christ, whose coming at Christmas we joyfully celebrate, whose coming at Judgment Day we eagerly anticipate, whose coming in Word and Sacrament we greatly appreciate, dear Christian friends,

People have said they don’t come to church and/or they don’t have daily devotions because it is the same thing every week— a message of sin and grace, repentance and forgiveness, law and gospel. Have you ever felt that way?

While it is true that when you come to church every week and when you read daily a faithfully-written devotion you do generally hear the same thing, is that such a bad thing? Do you sin every week and every day? Every one of us has to say “yes” to that. Do your sins ever weigh you down, make you worry about your standing with God and leave you wondering about your eternal salvation? Every one of us has to say “yes” to that as well. Do you benefit from hearing that by the work of Jesus your sins have been erased from your account in the ledger God keeps and therefore you are in line to receive all the blessings heaven has to offer? Yes, of course, we do!

Our worship services and our faithfully-written daily devotions are repetitious, or what we might more positively call “consistent”, because they are all about God’s Word. And what does God’s Word do? It repetitiously, or consistently, provides a message of sin and grace, repentance and forgiveness, law and gospel.

So, I won’t apologize that what you hear today is what you heard last week and what you will hear again next week. It is important, it is necessary, it is uplifting to HEAR GOD’S CONSISTENT MESSAGE OF REPENTANCE! I. Turn away from your sins II. Trust in your Savior.

The Apostles Peter and John were at the Jerusalem Temple where they met a man crippled from birth. Miraculously, only by the power of God, they were able to heal the man so that he could walk and jump for the first time in his life! Not surprisingly, this caused quite a stir among the people in the temple courts. In their astonishment, they came running to find out what had happened and who had done this miraculous thing!

With this crowd assembled, eager to hear and eager to learn, Peter uses the opportunity to give credit to Jesus for this healing, but also to recount sin and grace, repentance and forgiveness, law and gospel. It is interesting to see it was Peter, who had himself denied knowing Jesus, who now tells these people, “you disowned the Holy and Righteous One” (Ac 3:14). It is significant that it was Peter, who had been forgiven and reinstated by Jesus (Jn 21:15-19), who now tells these people, Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.

Peter could speak about these things because he knew the full message of sin and grace, repentance and forgiveness, law and gospel. He had learned it from Jesus and he had lived it in his life. He knew that he had disappointed his Savior and drawn his anger and punishment down on himself by his natural and actual sins. He knew that Jesus was the one who had come to bring him a time of refreshing, by loving him, forgiving him and saving him.

Peter is not the only one to know this message and to speak God’s consistent message of repentance. Do you know whom else we heard from just during the past thirty minutes? In the Old Testament lesson, the prophet Daniel spoke the message of repentance and forgiveness to King Nebuchadnezzar and even the once-unbelieving King surprisingly spoke the message. In the Gospel, we heard John the Baptist say, “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” and that Jesus will gather his wheat (his faithful) into his barn (heaven).

But wait, there is more! In this text Peter quotes Moses who 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. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’ Those who do not listen to the Prophet Jesus need to repent; those who do listen get to hear the good news of their forgiveness from the lips of their Savior.

“Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days (as did Abraham, whom Peter also mentions here)…you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. God’s consistent message of repentance has been spoken ever since Adam and Eve fell into sin in the Garden of Eden. And it continues today as you heard Pastor Bishop speak the message in the confession and absolution this morning.

Wherever you hear it, whomever tells you that you are a sinner, listen to it. When your teacher disciplines you for your disrespect, when your co-worker corrects you for your dishonesty, when your pastor talks to you about despising God’s Word, don’t shoot the messenger for faithfully telling you the message. Don’t make excuses for your laziness or your lovelessness or your lust. Understand the consequences of your sins which draw God’s anger down on you. Every sin, no matter how big or how small, has God’s eternal punishment of hell connected to it.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even JesusWhen God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

Wherever you hear it, whomever tells you that you are a forgiven child of God as you trust in Jesus, listen to it. When you come back Wednesday and hear of your Savior Emmanuel who will reign over you, be comforted! When you come back this Tuesday or the next Wednesday and hear the children of our congregation and school singing and shouting for you to “see what great love” came down from heaven to us in the baby of Bethlehem, be glad! When you come back on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and are told one more time that Jesus Christ is born as Savior of the world, sing for joy!

After speaking these words of repentance and forgiveness, Peter and John were thrown into jail and the next day, when they were brought before the Jewish religious leaders, they repeated the message all over again. Even though they just said it the day before, they said it again. Even though they were being persecuted for the message, they said it again.

By their example, may we be encouraged to not only hear God’s consistent message of repentance over and over and over again, but to also tell it to others over and over and over again. It is clear: turn away from your sins and trust in your Savior Jesus.


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