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,