If you are a pastor or lay person who wants to use this to preach in church – that is why I posted it. I don’t care about credit, I only care that God’s word is preached and Christ is glorified. I pray He uses this sermon in a mighty way through you. You have my permission to alter it (you’ll have to change the illustrations or at least not speak as if they are personal experiences) and use it however God leads you. God bless you in your ministry. You can listen to the actual sermon by clicking here or download it as an mp3 by right clicking and clicking “save as” here. You can also bookmark this to check out the other free written sermons on my blog.
There was a district attorney who was cross examining a woman who was accused of murdering her husband.
“And after you had poisoned the coffee, and your husband sat at the breakfast table partaking of the fatal dose, didn’t you feel guilty? Or didn’t you feel the slightest bit of pity for him knowing he was about to die and was completely unaware of it? As you sat there, didn’t you feel for him at all?”
“Yes”, she said. “There was one moment when I sort of felt bad for him.”
“When was that?” “When he asked for the second cup.”
Peter’s giving this sermon in another crowd, Peter’s second sermon recorded in acts. Unlike the woman who did in her husband, these people who did in Jesus won’t be tried in an earthly court. As far as the government was concerned, they were happy to have Jesus out of the way. But Peter tells them they will be judged later in a more important court, by God.
I have one more funny illustration before I get all serious on you.
Justice Harold H Burton was about to sentence a man who had been convicted of murder. The judge, as is the custom, asked the convicted man if he had anything to say before the judge handed down the sentence. The defendant said – “As God as my judge, I didn’t do it. I’m not guilty.”
To which the judge replied, “He isn’t. I am. You did. You are.”
Peter doesn’t ask them if there was some point that they felt guilty or if they felt bad for Jesus. Peter doesn’t soft sell the facts. And his primary goal is not just to make them feel guilty. On the contrary, he says, God’s will was done. God told us through the prophets that this would come to pass, and it has. And you did it and didn’t even know what you were doing. You were and are ignorant. Ignorance is a word we have twisted to mean something other than what it was originally meant. Ignorance means uninformed or uneducated. If you’re ignorant, you really didn’t know any better. We use it to mean inappropriate, or uncalled for. We say, “That was ignorant.” Peter is saying, listen, you’re guilty of killing the Son of God, there’s no doubt you’re guilty. You were the ones yelling to have the murderer Barabbas released to you, but you just didn’t know any better. When Jesus said on the cross, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do”, he could have just as easily said, they’re ignorant.
I want to pause here and say that when someone who is not a Christian comes to the food pantry and gets an extra box of food by lying and saying that they are picking it up for someone else, that’s wrong. But they are just ignorant. It’s a “get all you can out of these people” mentality. And we are required to respond with grace.
When a Christian does the same thing, it’s a different story. A Christian is not ignorant of what is required. We shouldn’t try to get more than what we have coming to us.
I was at the Zerkle House yesterday and a woman brought something back that she bought the other day and said it didn’t work. She said she paid $8 for it. Now Sue knew the woman only paid $5. I also knew it. It was priced $8, but when she bought it the woman said, “Will you take $5 for it?” They said, yes. So when she brought it back, maybe she didn’t remember that or maybe she did. I remembered it and Sue remembered it. So Sue didn’t let her off, Sue said, “No, you only paid $5 for this.” The woman said, “Oh yea, that’s right.” They just wanted credit, not their money back. So they got $5 worth of stuff and Sue bagged it up. Then a young girl with them wanted a pair of Jeans. They were $5. The mother said, no I only have $5 and I need gas. What would be an example of grace here?
It was so awesome to see Sue say, “Honey, you can have those blue jeans.”
So getting back to Peter and ignorance: I told the funny earlier about the woman who finally admitted she felt bad for a moment when her husband asked for the second cup of poisoned coffee, Peter isn’t telling them this to just make them feel bad.
Like Sue saying, no you paid $5, Peter’s not letting them off the hook.
He says, you killed the Holy One, the One that God raised from the dead. You did it, but there’s grace available. It just happens to be available from the very One you killed.
And because of Jesus, who you killed, because He will forgive you,
God doesn’t want to condemn you to hell. God doesn’t want to punish you.
In the middle of Peter’s first sermon, in Acts 2:37, it says when they heard these things, they were “pierced in their heart”. It’s the only place in the NT this phrase was used.
I want to pause again. Sometimes we think we’re being nice to people when we’re not. If someone spends all their money on drugs, and they come to us for money, because they say they need their rent paid, and we give them money, are we really helping them? Sometimes it seems like we’re doing the opposite of what is needed.
It sounds harsh when Peter says, you delivered Jesus up to be killed. As it turns out, Grace is the entire reason for telling them this. He’s not telling them to be mean. Peter’s telling them this because it’s the truth that they need to hear. Grace compels Peter to tell them like it is to try to turn their hearts to God. And he does it out of love.
And Peter says, even though you did this terrible thing, you can be forgiven. All you must do is repent and turn to God.
Peter says repent so:
1.) Your sins may be blotted out (vs 19)
2.) Your burden will be lifted (times of refreshing may come vs 19-20)
3.) When Christ returns, you will escape the judgment (vs 22-23)
4.) And that on you may receive and realize your blessing (vs. 25)
Today’s sermon basically comes down to 2 things:
Admit you’re guilty – Sometimes this is easier when we’ve done really bad things. Sometimes it’s harder to admit this when we’re a pretty good person.
Believe Christ is the one who can and will redeem you
Only when you believe these two things does repenting make sense.
We have to believe we’re guilty, and we have to believe that Christ is the one who can and will save us.
Some people believe they’ve done some things wrong, but either don’t believe Christ can or will forgive them. He forgave the very ones who crucified Him! Charles Spurgeon said, “They are nailing Him to the cross; the wretches are driving iron through His hands; but even while they fasten Him to the tree hear Him say, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
He releases us from our sin. He counts them against us no longer, like they never happened.
David Platt tells a story he heard about a guy who owned a Rolls Royce. The people who make Rolls Royce say they have never had one break down and yours won’t break down. There was a guy who owned one and it broke down! He called Rolls Royce and they immediately flew a mechanic to where the guy was and he fixed the car. After some time, when the man had failed to receive a bill, he called Rolls Royce and said he wanted to take care of the bill. They took his information and said to him, “We’ve checked and checked and we have no record of your car breaking down.” It’s as if it never happened.
Spurgeon also said, “This seems a simple thing, and yet it is the hardest thing in the world to bring you to it; so hard a thing that all the preachers that ever preached cannot make a man believe in Christ. Though we put it as plainly as we can, and plead with you, you only go away and say, “It is too good to be true;” or else you despise it because it is so simple. Peter explained it. Spurgeon explained it. I explain it. And we each count on the Holy Spirit to do something with our words.
I will end my sermon as Peter ended his – God raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, and take away your sin.