Summary: Fourth in a series of teachings on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The Helper that Jesus said was to our "advantage" that He leave so that the Holy Spirit might come. This message explores the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing about refreshing and rest
Intro: Growing up liking to watch M*A*S*H – Going to Tokyo for some R & R
In the midst of all the power, there is another work that the Holy Spirit actively desires to do in our lives. He desires to provide us with a little R&R. . .and R. Not Rest and Relaxation, but Repentance and Refreshing. . .and Restoration.
With some Holy Spirit stigmas broken – we can now safely venture into the book of Acts.
- Set the stage of chapters 1 through 3:10
- Then Peter updates the crowd - Acts 3:11-18
- Today’s Key Passage - Verse 19 (read through verse 21)
Notice the progression in these verses.
- First, repent
- Second, be converted (it is an AND. . .two activities)
- In order that. . .So that. . .Third - sins can be forgiven
- Why? In order that. . .So that. . .times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.
Each even flows from the previous. Repentance, Conversion, Forgiveness, and times of Refreshing in the presence of the Lord.
What is the presence of the Lord? What is Emmanuel, God with us today? (The Holy Spirit)
You see, Jesus talked about the presence of the Lord, the arrival of the Holy Spirit prior to repentance. Remember what he said in John 16? Turn there with me, again, this has been our theme passage for this series, the Lost Truth of Easter. John 16:7 (read through verse 8)
When the Holy Spirit comes, prior to repentance, that arrival of the presence of the Lord brings conviction of sin, and personally, I have rarely found conviction, in and of itself, very refreshing.
But when in the presence of the Lord we move to repentance, and allow our heart to be converted to the will of the Holy Spirit, times of refreshing come upon us. And Peter tells us that those times of refreshing will lead to the sending of Jesus Christ (the second coming).
A little end times teaching here in the book of Acts. Look again at verse 21. How long must Jesus be in heaven? Verse 21 (read). Jesus will reside in heaven, there will be no second coming, until the restoration of all things which God spoke of through the prophets. Until everything has been restored, brought back to the place God intended from before all time.
Jesus himself spoke of this restoration in Matthew 17:11. The transfiguration has just taken place. Peter, James and John have just seen Moses and Elijah appear next to Jesus on the mountain. And as they are coming down the mountain, this whole episode has got their gears turning, and evokes the question from the disciples, “Why are the scribes teaching that Elijah must come first?” And Jesus answers, “Elijah does come, and he will restore all things.”
If you take a very literal view of the visions of Revelation, many believe that Elijah will be one of the two prophets sent to the Temple Mount to pronounce judgment. That he will return to earth as part of the restoration of all things. He didn’t die. He was swept away by a chariot of fire, and so very literal interpretations suggest that he will be physically involved in the restoration process.
The scribes had picked up the teaching from the prophet Malachi. In Malachi 4:5 it says, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”
So we have this prophecy, this declaration from Jesus, and now this teaching from Peter regarding a plan God has for restoration. Peter preaches that repentance leads to times of refreshing, which must take place until the restoration of all things, and Christ’ returns.
Stay with me now. That is what the Holy Spirit has for us in the here and now. A little R&R. . .and R. Times of refreshing and restoration, if we humbly repent.
Now, repentance is not a very attractive word in our society. Last Sunday night we explored some reasons people would shy away from prayers of confession and repentance. But it becomes a whole lot more attractive when we understand the refreshing and restoration it leads to.
You see, the world defines restoration as: bringing back to a former or original condition. Restoring furniture. Restoring an old home. Restoring a financial loss following an insurance claim or natural disaster.
But that is not a Biblical definition of restoration. The Biblical definition of restoration means to increase, multiple, or improve something so that after the restoration it is actually significantly better than it was before.