Sermon for 3rd Sunday of Easter – Jubilate April 30, 2017
Text: Acts 3:11-20; 1 Jn. 1:5-2:2; Lk. 24:36-49 3yr. series B 17:2010
Favorite Hymns Service
Acts 3:11-20 – We Can’t Help but Tell the Saving Truth
About 2 months after Jesus rose from the dead, Peter and John went into the temple to pray. On entering they passed a crippled man lying there. As Peter and John went by, the man cried out, begging for money. Instead, Peter looked him in the eye and said, “Silver and gold I don’t have, but what I have I will give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” Instantly the man’s feet and ankles were made strong and he began leaping about.
You can imagine the stir that created. People rushed to see what had happened. When Peter saw the crowd, he couldn’t help but use this as an opportunity to tell them the saving truth about Jesus.
He was bold about it; nothing could stop him. He confronted the people for the sin they had committed in crucifying the Lord Jesus. That put him into danger with the Jewish leaders. But he couldn’t help himself. It was true; they needed to hear of their sin so that the gospel proclamation could help them find the Savior.
When we come to grips with the truth that Christ is the only way to heaven, Christians can’t help but tell others about the hope we have in a risen Savior. Even if it should endanger their lives, they tell it for there is a kind of divine restlessness that seizes their hearts.
Later that day, Peter stood before Jewish leaders and said, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved…and we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” I can’t help it. I’ve got to tell others.
Wouldn’t it be great if we all burned with that same type of love and zeal for the Gospel? It’s a divine restlessness that seizes the heart as one continues to meditate on the blessings that a risen Savior gives.
With this Gospel we go to people burdened by guilt to bring them the news that Christ’s blood cleanses from sin. With this Gospel we go to people worried about life to tell them how God works things out for their good. With this Gospel we go to the sick and dying, to those shattered by pain, to proclaim that one day Christ will wipe all tears from their eyes. With this Gospel Christ sends us to save men from hell for heaven. Nothing else can do it. Only Christ can. We can’t help but tell these saving truths, like Peter and John. Our lesson is from Acts 3:11-20.
1 John 1:5-2:2 – My Stain-Remover and Lawyer
There are many products that claim to be “miracle stain removers.” They’ll take away any spot or stain in your carpet, on a chair, or on your clothing. I’ll bet you’ve got some such detergents in your cabinets at home. Some work, others don’t, some only half way. But nowhere is there a better stain-remover found than in the risen Savior.
Sin’s stain is much stronger and penetrates more deeply than tomatoes or berry juice or any other staining agent can. Sin stains my soul; it saturates and dooms it. It will take more than a splash of chemicals to make me white again. It’s going to “take the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, to cleanse me from all sin.”
Only the precious blood of God the Son was powerful enough to remove sin’s stain. It can’t be found on a shelf in the store. But on the pages of God’s Word it is revealed. He is the stain remover who washes away our sin – all of it. Not just part of it, not just sometimes, but all the time, completely, no matter how great the stain.
And there is more to say about this because sometimes we don’t believe that the stain of sin is gone. But God wants us to be solid in our understanding of this, because sin will trouble you. The devil will make sure that it does. Sin troubles people who take their relationship with God seriously. Such people hear Scriptures warning not to sin. They daily fight against it. Yet, they fall. They try again to avoid it, but sooner or later end up giving in to sin. It seems like the stain won’t go away. Is there no hope for us?
In answer to that our lesson points us beyond the cleansing power of Calvary’s cross, past the empty tomb, up to the throne room in heaven. There stands the Stain-remover who washes away our sin. There He stands before the throne and pleads for us. Powerfully and personally He steps before the throne like a lawyer. And His Father listens to Him! Behind His pleas stands the evidence of the cross where He sacrificed Himself as the perfect payment. “Case dismissed,” the heavenly Father says. “Not guilty” is the verdict – not because we don’t sin. Oh, no, on the contrary, we sin often and confess it. But Jesus has paid for all of it and removed it from us.
He is my stain remover washing away all sin. He is my lawyer defending me before God’s throne. He takes care of me completely. Remarkable and sure! Our lesson is from 1 John 1:5-2:2.
Luke 24:36-49 – He Opens Our Minds
Closed minded – do you know anyone whom you consider to be closed-minded? A closed-minded person will only see things the way he wants to see them. He closes his mind to any other possibilities. No matter how true or reasonable they might be, he won’t listen to them.
Some of Jesus’ disciples were closed-minded. They had false expectations about Jesus and His kingdom. Some wanted Him to get rid of the Romans. They wanted Him to return Israel to the glory years of King David. Others wanted Him to provide a utopia here on earth. But when Jesus was crucified, their hopes vanished. There was no room in their thinking for a crucified Messiah. At His death they closed their minds to any possibility of life. It was necessary for Jesus to open their minds to understand who He really was and what He had come to do. They needed to understand God’s eternal purposes and how He had carried them out through Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection.
Perhaps, we understand better than the disciples did at first that Jesus’ purpose for coming into this world was an eternal one. Perhaps we see a bit better the reasons behind everything He did, especially in His suffering, death, and resurrection. Yet our faith is not perfect either. Misunderstandings and doubts plague our lives, too.
Haven’t you ever trudged along with the disciples with heavy hearts over things that you thought had gone wrong in life? Haven’t you ever closed your mind to the workings of God simply because He didn’t do things the way you thought He should do them? If you were in the Savior’s shoes, what would you do with such closed-minded people like we can be – like the disciples were? Would you give up on them?
On none of the occasions after His resurrection did Jesus act that way. Rather, He always acted as the concerned and loving Savior. He didn’t stay away but He sought out His disciples in their homes and He came to them with words of assurance to calm and give peace to their troubled hearts. “Peace to you,” He greeted them. He then allowed them to touch Him to see that it was really He, not a ghost. He even ate some food to convince them. But the most important thing He did was to take them into God’s Word and let them see how God promised all these things would happen for their eternal good. “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” and the gracious ways of our God
What a loving Savior He is! He seeks out the heavy hearted and perplexed where they are. He comes to where they live to clear up their misunderstandings, to gently sweep away their doubts by leading them into the green pastures of His Word; He comes to give us peace with God and His saving ways in our risen Savior. Our lesson is from Luke 24:36-49.