Summary: 1) Refreshing Joy (Acts 3:20), 2) Restoring Joy (Acts 3:21), 3) Resulting Joy (Acts 3:22-24) , 4) Realized Joy (Acts 3:25–26)
I'm generally not a fan of commercials, but one that I continue to chuckle at, involves the "back to school theme". Seeing joyous parents singing "it's the most wonderful time, of the year" at the prospect of their kids going back to school, always puts a smile on my face.
Fall tends to be a refreshing time of year for a number of reasons. With Sunday school back on, Parents don't have to worry about kids during the service. With elementary and high school, they don't have do occupy the kids during the summer, and even with the rest of the time: the cooler nights, more rain and resumption of the many fall activities, it's all very refreshing. Yet, it all depends on your attitude. Some look at this as a time of joy at new prospects, but to others it's just back to a fall grind.
The Jews looked forward to the coming of the Messiah as a time of peace and prosperity for the whole earth. In Acts, Peter had to clarify that although the Jewish Messiah had come, the Messianic age in its fullness was still to come when he returns (20). His audience’s participation in these times of refreshing (19) when the time comes for God to restore everything (21) hinged upon their attitude towards Jesus (New Bible commentary: 21st century edition. 1994 (D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer & G. J. Wenham, Ed.) (4th ed.) (Ac 3:1–4:31). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.).
For the events of your life, your expectations will determine your reaction to events. If you are a hopeful person, with purpose and expectation, you will be joyful and that will be infectious. But if you are pessimistic, wandering, and either dread or disregard the future, one in relation to Christ's work now and in the future, then it will only get worse as time goes on.
The message of Acts 3:20-26 calls everyone to consider their relation to Christ and the joy and refreshing that comes through repentance and faith in Him. In this section we see: 1) Refreshing Joy (Acts 3:20), 2) Restoring Joy (Acts 3:21), 3) Resulting Joy (Acts 3:22-24) , 4) Realized Joy (Acts 3:25–26)
1) Refreshing Joy (Acts 3:20),
Acts 3:20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, (ESV)
Repentance not only brings the individual blessing of forgiveness of sin, but ultimately collective blessing also. True forgiveness could only have come from their turning to God by accepting his Messiah. Then only would “the times of refreshing” come from the Lord. The word times is in the plural and signifies periodic seasons in which the forgiven and restored believer experiences the refreshing nearness of the Lord (Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953-2001). Vol. 17: Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles. New Testament Commentary (135). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.).
• One of the basic realizations this morning is that we come corporately to the presence of the Lord: we come with our questions, burdens, and concerns. We marvel at His greatness, we acknowledge our failures, we thank Him for his forgiveness, and we plead for His guidance and intercession. This is meant to be refreshing.