Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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April 22 – Choices

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is First Lesson just read, Acts 3:11-21.  We begin with prayer.

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • Every day we are presented with a variety of choices.  Some of these choices are quite small and insignificant – what to eat for breakfast, what clothes to wear, how to greet other people.  Other choices that we make are quite significant – whether we’ll go to work or not, whether we’ll insult the boss or not, whether we will do our best or not. 
  • College students make choices that are quite significant – what their major will be, whether to enter grad school, how hard they will work on their grades, whether to engage in social activities that may negatively impact their grades and their future.  We sometimes make choices as to our jobs – staying where we’re at or taking up the offer of a new job.  Temptations are faced each day as well – and some people actually choose very drastic and damaging actions:  lying, stealing, an affair, or even divorce.
  • In our text we also see Peter highlighting this matter of choices being made.  He chose to heal a lame man, and people chose to gather around Peter – perhaps hoping to see another miracle.  However, Peter chose to preach a sermon highlighting the “choices” these people had made in regard to Jesus, and also God’s choices in sending Jesus to be our Savior.  As we consider this account, we too will be making choices about Jesus and our relationship to Him, and choices about how we are going to live our lives.  Peter relates in our text that:

 

I.  God Chose To Send His Son Jesus, The Holy And Righteous One, As His Servant To Save Us

Text:  “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers . . . glorified His servant Jesus . . . but you denied the Holy and Righteous One.”

John 3:16  “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

 

A.  Some However, Preferred A Murderer To Jesus

 

Text:  “But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you.”

 

B.  And Some Chose To Murder God’s Son, The Lord And Savior Jesus Christ

 

Text:  “and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead.”

         

C.  But God Chose To Raise Him Up And To Glorify Him

 

Text:  “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him.  But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead.”

 

Statement:

  • Peter is quite clear and forceful in reciting these choices made by the members of his audience.  He was also quite clear in proclaiming the choices that God had made in sending His Son Jesus Christ to save us. The choices and decisions of God obviously outweigh those made by people – they determine the reality. And how thankful we should be that His decision to provide us with forgiveness and salvation remains intact – everyone who repents and believes in Jesus “has everlasting life.”

 

Application:

  • I’m sure it is not one of our favorite pastimes to look back on the bad decisions we have made.  It is even less pleasant when someone else appoints themselves our judge, and makes sure that our sinful deeds are all properly highlighted and broadcast to others. 
  • But the good news – and it is always good news – is that God has chosen to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  The good news is that He always loves us, that He will never leave us or forsake us.  He has promised to be with us always – His choice!  Just as He continued to call these people who murdered Christ back to repentance and faith, so He also calls us to repent each day, and to find peace and courage in His forgiveness and mercy! It is just as Peter proclaimed and urged:

 

Text:  “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus.”

  

Transition:  But this brings us to “CHOICES” in regard to Jesus.  But one thing is certain, and that is that:

 

II.  Jesus Still Has Power To Heal Us And To Save Us

 

A.  That Power Is Seen In The Healing Of The Lame Man – By Jesus’ Name, Though Faith In His Name

 

Text:  “And His name—by faith in His name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.”

 

Statement:

  • Earlier in this chapter we read that this lame man was hoping only to receive some charity from Peter and the other apostles.  Instead, this is what happened:

 

Acts 3:2-8  “And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms.  And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.”  And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them.  But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”  And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.   And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.”

 

Application:

  • It was not so much the “faith” of the lame man, but rather the faith of the apostles.  And it was not so much their faith as it was “the NAME,” the precious Name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. 
  • But this is also the power available to us – especially to heal us from our sin, but also to provide all that we need to live healthy and productive lives.  And surely we have need of God’s help, His blessing, His healing, and His good gifts in our lives.  And so by His goodness in Christ Jesus:

 

B.  God Invites All Of Us To Choose Jesus

 

     1.  First, repenting of our sins

 

               Text:  “Repent therefore.”

 

     2.  Second, rejoicing in His gracious mercy and forgiveness

 

             Text:  “that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

 

     3.  That we too may participate in Christ’s great work of cosmic restoration

 

           Text:  “That He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, Whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago.”

 

Statement:

  • By God’s choice these promises have come to us – and He holds them all before us, in His Son, Jesus Christ.  He urges us to turn to Him in faith, faith in His Name, which is still strong and powerful to save us! 

 

Application:

  •  We heard of the tragic choices that the people of Israel made in regard to Jesus.  There are numerous considerations in our own lives, things which tempt us each day to turn away from Jesus, to reject Him, and to pursue other priorities:  the acquisition of success and wealth, foolish and sinful pleasures, self-determination and independence from God, the pursuit of earthly pleasures and the enjoyment of fun activities. 
  • We too will make our choices each day – whether to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” whether to “follow” Jesus, laying down our lives in the service of His kingdom; OR to reject Jesus for the pleasures of sin.  Because His forgiveness and mercy are new every morning, available to us at all times, the door back to God is always open to us, by His choice!

 

Conclusion:  Let us consider carefully then the choices that we make in life – especially in regard to Jesus.  By His gracious and loving power, may we always cling to Him for healing and health.  Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.