To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.
Horrific events in recent days have people looking for answers. Why is America so different than it was even 20 years ago? People used to sleep with their doors unlocked, but we have alarm systems today. In the near past, parents didn’t think twice about sending a child to the corner store on his or her bicycle, but those days are long gone now. Like the society in Romans 1 that is spirally downward, further and further into the darkness, we have become a land where we hear more and more of people “without natural affection”. (Rom 1:31) Who holds the answer to this dilemma?
We do, church! Brothers and sisters, we have the only hope for this and every age. It is the gospel that this generation needs! There is no time to tiptoe around the truth. We need the sense of urgency the apostles had in the text below. I’ve included all of Peter’s brief message below to those who witnessed the miracle of the lame man healed at the temple. Notice that in the message, there is no sugar-coating of the truth. He doesn’t beat around the bush or speak in subtleties. How desperately we need the same faithful preaching of the word of God today! It is a dark time, but Christ is the Light of the world! We have been called to give witness to that Light. May we boldly declare the truth. May we faithfully tell this poor generation just how desparate their case really is but also share that “God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”
(12) So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?
(13) The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.
(14) But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
(15) and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.
(16) And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
(17) “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers.
(18) But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.
(19) Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,
(20) and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before,
(21) whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.
(22) For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘THE LORD YOUR GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN. HIM YOU SHALL HEAR IN ALL THINGS, WHATEVER HE SAYS TO YOU.
(23) AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERY SOUL WHO WILL NOT HEAR THAT PROPHET SHALL BE UTTERLY DESTROYED FROM AMONG THE PEOPLE.’
(24) Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.
(25) You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.’
(26) To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”