Craving for new beginnings and refreshments these days? There is only one key to it and discover what it is!
“Now fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. 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 Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.” (Acts 3:17-20).
Human oppositions can never stop God’s promises and purposes.
Four points I want to bring to your mind from this passage. First of all, human oppositions do not stop God’s foretold promises in the scripture. You see, the incarnation of Jesus Christ- His birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection was foretold in the old testament scripture hundreds of time. All these prophecies regarding Christ were fulfilled exactly as it was prophesied. There is not another book on this planet earth like the Bible because it has hundreds, and hundreds of prophecies fulfilled precisely predicted. Why don’t you find out by yourself this truth?
This is the reason why the Bible has always been the most read and best-sold book in the past, and even today this is true. Bible is God inspired, and God originated. It is not a book produced on this earth by earthly human beings. Peter in His preaching on the day of Pentecost says to the thousands of people gathered there, Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did you leaders. However, this is how God fulfilled what He had foretold through all the prophets (in the Bible), saying that His Messiah would suffer.
The point I want to impress in your heart is this. No human oppositions can stop God’s promises given in the Bible. Peter said in another preaching that Jesus was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of the wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. However, God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. It says God gave Jesus to us for our salvation according to His pre-determined and deliberate plan and foreknowledge. However, they with the help of wicked men put Jesus to death by nailing Him to the cross. However, you see, God raised Him from the dead because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.
What is this means? If God decrees and appoints something to fulfill in our life, no matter what the ignorance or opposition of people, God is going to make it happen. If someone or something stands in the way to fulfill God’s purposes and plans it is going to fail ultimately. God even uses the enemies, ignorances and determined oppositions to serve His ultimate purposes. Is this not what happened in the incident of Jesus? Jewish people and especially the religious leaders among them opposed and acted against God’s decree and purpose. They thought they would end the movement of God by killing Jesus. They did all they could to stop the plan and purpose of God. However, God raised Him from the dead because the death could not hold its grip on Him. Therefore the first point is you can grab on the promises of God with no doubt because if God promised it would happen no matter what. No human opposition, plans, enmities, and acts can stop God.
I am sure some of you can agree with this point in your personal life experience. People and your friends thought your life was gone. They thought you are history. They believed God left you and abandoned you. However, now you are in the church praising God, worshipping God and serving the Lord. What happened? No human opposition, from whatever sources it might be from, can stop what God has started in you. He is the God who turns the coin and works in favor of you as He did to Jesus, the savior of the world. You see you, and I are serving the same Lord who raised Jesus from the dead. He is able and powerful to do that in your personal life as well. When David was fleeing from His kingdom by fearing his own son and his team, David might have thought that is the end of it. Absalom and his team thought they won. However, God turned the coin eventually. David came back to his kingdom and ruled again. Joseph was the victim of his brother severe jealousy, and they initially tried to kill him and then sold him to Egypt as a slave. All people including his jealous brothers thought the life and story of Joseph ended. However, God was with Joseph, and he became the Prime Minister of Egypt, second office to Pharoah, the king of Egypt.
Let me ask you what are you facing now? If you are a child of God, no matter what happens, no matter what the oppositions and enemies talk about you and do to you, God is the same God today. God is the God of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, David and so forth. No human oppositions can stop God’s promises in your life.
Repentance is the key that unlocks all of God’s blessings in our life.
The second point I want to talk to you is this. There is only one key that unlocks our future blessings, and that is repentance. Repentance is the key that unlocks God’s favor and blessings in our life. No other thing can and would do this. Peter says to the people that he knows that they acted in ignorance. However, he asks them to repent and then turn to God. You heard it right! There is only one key that unlocks God’s favor and blessings, and that is repentance and turning to God. Sometimes God even uses ordinary circumstances like hearing a message like the one you are listening now, personal sickness or the sickness of someone in the family or even natural calamities to bring this truth to our attention. Hundreds of people’s houses were destroyed in Houston and Florida when severe hurricane and flooding happened there. Many people’s homes were burned in a fire recently in California when the fire spread there. Most recently severe flooding like never occurred took the lives and comforts of hundreds of people in Kerala, India. God in heaven is talking in a loud voice “repent and turn to God.” God speaks through all these incidents. Are we listening?
Every day people live un-repented life around the world. Governments and leaders live un-repented life. The world we live in an unrepented culture. Repentance became an old-fashioned word for many. However, in the olden days and today, there is only one way to get God’s favor and blessing, and that is called repentance. Repent and turn to God! The people when they heard the preaching of Peter asked this question, “what must we do?” Peter said, “repent and turn to God.” The more we are silent on this wonderworking word –repentance- the more problem we are going to get into in the coming years of our life. How come preachers are not preaching God’s message to repent these days? I don’t understand. People need to hear “repent and then turn to God.”
What is the real repentance?
By the way, what is repentance? Repentance is not just an emotional experience or just feeling sorry. Jesus said this in Matthew 7:13-14 that broad and wide is the gate and road that leads to destruction and many people enter that gate and travel that road. It is like a high way and very convenient to walk, and it leads to destruction. However, there is a narrow gate and a narrow road. Small is this gate, and narrow is the road, and it leads to life. Also, only a few people find it.
Listen, in your ignorance, you may have joined with people who walk on the wide and broad road that many walks and when you walk in it, you hear the message of the God in heaven, and it tells you the road you walk leads only to destruction. You listened to preaching, or you listened to a Bible verse that says you God loves and want to save you and He gave His Son Jesus Christ for you. It tells of coming to Christ. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall never perish but have eternal life. It says God does not want you to perish. (John 3:16). God cares about you and loves you, and so you can come to Jesus Christ and get saved. When you heard the message, you stepped out of the broad road that you were walking and step into the narrow gate which is Jesus Christ. This is repentance. It means you were going in one road in one direction- destruction. Now you turned around and going in another direction- life. You took a determined step to turn to God and obey Him and live for him. This is repentance. You remember prodigal son. He was going in the way of destruction, went as far as he could away from his loving fathers home and if he continued in that road he would have been destroyed and ruined for sure. However, God talked to him, and he came to his sense, started walking in the opposite direction, back to his loving father and home. This is repentance.
Have you repented? Repentance is needed for Christians and non-Christians. Billy Graham, the greatest evangelist of our time has seen on this earth, once said this, biggest harvest field in the world is the church. Many people go to church but never repented of their sins. Many think they will go to heaven when they die, and attend the activities and programs of the church but they never been repented and turned from their old path. They still walk in the wide road that leads to destruction and Sunday morning they go to church and go through just some feelings. No real repentance happened. They are walking near or around the narrow road every Sunday but never step into the narrow road. What a sad situation? Bible says we must repent and there is no other way to enter into God’s kingdom. Jesus said, “repent, the kingdom of God is at hand.” Bible says in 2 Peter 3:9, “but God is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Beloved, God was longsuffering toward us. He sent his messengers to us, and they preached to us, God’s Holy Spirit convicted us many times, God spoke and cried loud through some personal experiences He allowed to happen and He spoke through natural calamities. God was longsuffering toward us. Why? He is not willing that any should perish, but all of us should come to repentance. Do not test His longsuffering any-more. Come to Him when He calls you in love. Come today and repent and turn to God.
Listen, two supernatural benefits of repentance.
Then the passage says repentance and turning to God results in results. What are they?
Sins wiped out, erased and blotted out forever.
First one, our sins may be wiped out. If no other good things occurred, this is enough to thank and praise God. God says when we repent and turn to Him, He will wipe out all our sins. It means all sins and wrongdoing wrote against you will be gone forever. Imagine a white or blackboard where all your mistakes, sins and wrongdoings listed one by one. The moment you repent and turn to God, God will erase all listed sins against you. Lord God declared and promised this in Isaiah 43:25, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Not only He erases your sins and wrongdoings but he blots out, wipe out and nothing there to see any more. Micah 7:18 says, “He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Did you read the Lord will tread our iniquities underfoot and will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea? So that it will never come back again to haunt us. Oh my Lord, this is a good enough blessing for you and me. If nothing else happened, this would be good enough. Bible says in Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Reread this. It promises you will never be condemned for your sins. No condemnation for those who come to Christ in repentance. People may and the court may, but God never condemns for our sins. Devil will try to condemn us to stop our progress in the Lord. However, remind him what his future is and tell him to get out of your way because God never condemns you for your sins. Remind him God prepared a lake of fire for him and his demons. Use the Bible verses I cited above. Another passage is 103:12 and it says there, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” He removed our transgressions, sins, and wrongdoing away from us like east is from the west. East will never meet west and west will never meet east. When you repent and turn to God, your sins will never meet you again. OH, what a blessing! You may say your sin is big, and you may think no one can forgive it. However, do you know God will never remember it, He removed far away from it so that you will never see it again and God will never condemn you for your sins. It does not matter, big or small, the Bible says God has nailed your sins to the cross where Jesus died and it all died with Christ and no more alive to blame you. God will never remember nor blame you and He keeps His promises. Psalm 32 says, “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.” Upon repentance and turning to God you are the most blessed out of many others in this world. You are far better than billionaires and other wealthy people because God the creator of the universe is on your side and He forgave and covered your sins.
Not only God will never remember your sins and condemn you but also, upon repentance and turning to God, we become the new creation. Bible says He makes you and I like a brand new creation as if we never sinned. Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things become new.” You become a new creation and all things are passed away. All things become new in your life.
Times of refreshments comes from the Lord in heaven.
This leads us to the second result of repentance and turning to God. It says “times of refreshment may come from the Lord.” You see, the first result of repentance and turning to God is He will wipe away, erase, blot out, remember no more your sins. The second fantastic benefit is the Lord now sends you times of refreshment. After the flood of Florida and Houston, people yearned for new refreshments in their partially ruined life. The same is true with Kerala flood in India. People are in a recovery mode there now. Governments, organizations, people groups, and nations are pouring help there now to rebuild the state of Kerala. However, do you know all these rebuilding efforts are of course excellent and well, but none of these human efforts are comparable to God’s refreshments? When He opens the doors of heaven and send the showers of blessings for you, that is the real blessings and refreshments. Repentance and turning to god is what causes God’s refreshments in your life.
David says in Psalm 23, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not
want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness.” David says God restores his soul. All rebuilding and restoration are not going to do much benefit if our spirit or soul is not refreshed by the divine hand and touch of God. David says the Lord restores his soul not just once but on an ongoing basis. “Restores” is a present ongoing truth. It is not a one-time event. God loves is a truth. Sun gives heat is always the truth. God is the one who restores/refreshes our inner-being on an on-going basis. This is a result of repentance and turning to Lord. God says in Jeremiah 31:25, “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” You had a weary and faint soul because of the heaviness in your heart. Not the Lord promises He will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. Dear one, when God of the universe says He will satisfy the faint. This is going to be a kind of refreshment you never accustomed in the past. Bible says in 1 Corinthians 16:17-18, “I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus arrived because they have supplied what was lacking from you. For they refreshed my spirit and yours also.” You see you are going to meet with and fellowship with people who you never dreamed off. God will send people into your life, and they are going to come to refresh your spirit. You see God directly refresh you with His supernatural power, and He is going to send people in your way to refresh and help you. Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:16, “May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.” God sent Onesiphorus to Paul to refresh him, and Onesiphorus was not ashamed because Paul was in prison. This is what you are going to get from the Lord. Paul says to Philemon in verse 7, “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.” Do you know God has thousands of helping hands to refresh you in your need and He will dispose them faithfully? I have more references but do not want to take all. The point is the second benefit of repentance and turning to God is the season of refreshments in your life.
Beloved, How big and high are the indescribable blessings and refreshments we enjoy here upon repentance and turning to God? However, even though they are showers of perfect and good blessings from the Lord today, it is only a small appetizer when we compare to the one in store for us soon. The full course meal or the fullness of all refreshments is when God send Jesus Christ back to this world. This is referring to the second coming of Jesus Christ. The same Bible that promised and prophesied the first coming of Christ for the solution of our sins prophesied the second coming of Christ to this earth. Two times more prophecies are there for the second coming of Christ. If the first coming of Christ fulfilled with pinpoint accuracy, the second coming of Christ would also be fulfilled with no shadow of a doubt. The Bible in our weekly insight passage says Jesus, the Messiah, who was appointed for you must be in heaven until the times comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through His holy prophets.
When the doors of eternity open up, the holy city that the Lord built will come down out of heaven from God. It is beautiful like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. By faith, the faith warriors of the olden days including Abraham, Issac, and Jacob lived in tents even in the promised land. They lived like strangers in a foreign land. Why? For they were looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. The Bible says on that day, God’s dwelling place will be with His people, and He will dwell with them. God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying, or pain for all the old order of things has passes away. God restores all brand new. The curse on this sin-bound earth due to the original sin will be lifted up. God Himself affirmed this truth by His statement. God said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:2-5