Summary: When people acknowledge the Savior, they acknowledge the need for being saved from a condition of sinfulness. Jesus had already paid for their sins, but they would not experience his forgiveness unless they turned (repented) to God. Don’t ignore the Lord’
Opening illustration: In 2010, auto manufacturers recalled a staggering 20 million cars in the US for various defects. The thought of such a large number of defective cars on the road is startling enough. But what is more disturbing is the apathy of some owners. In one instance, the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety warned owners, “It’s a free repair. Get it done. It may save your life.” Yet, despite the risk to their own lives, 30 percent never responded.
Likewise, many ignore God’s “recall notice” to the entire human race. Unlike a defect found in automobiles, the moral defect of the human race is not the Maker’s fault. He made everything “very good” (Genesis 1: 31), but people’s sin ruined it. God’s offer to us is “repent . . . that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3: 19).
God offers not just a free repair of the human heart but a replacement of it (Ezekiel 36: 26; 2 Corinthians 5: 17). Though the offer costs us nothing (Ephesians 2: 8-9), it cost God the life of His only Son Jesus Christ. “[Jesus] bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2: 24). (Illustration from C. P. Hia, Our Daily Bread)
Don’t ignore the Lord’s call. The free and permanent remedy offered by God for your spiritual defect will save your life! Let us turn to Acts 3 in God’s Word and check out this recall notice …
Introduction: Throughout his sermon, Peter insisted that Jesus is Savior. He suffered according to God’s plan and the prophets had foretold his suffering. The apostles had seen Jesus’ death and resurrection. At least some of the audience would have heard Jesus teach and heal — and seen him die. Given these facts, Peter preached that only one reaction from the audience is appropriate. Luke summarized it in a sentence: “Repent…and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out” (3: 19).
Peter speaks here of repentance as a turning to God (1: 19). The reason is because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God — Jew and Gentile alike (Romans 3: 23). All people must turn to God, even those who have understood and tried to follow the Holy Scriptures (Acts 26: 20). To experience reconciliation with God, everyone needs forgiveness, repentance, and the Holy Spirit. (Repentance then meant to turn from their idols and follow the living God)
How to respond to God’s ‘Recall Notice?’ (What to do with the ‘Recall Notice?’)
In context today, “repentance” implies turning to God by accepting Jesus as Lord, and as the Messiah whom God had chosen (9: 35; 11: 27). When people acknowledge the Savior, they acknowledge the need for being saved from a condition of sinfulness. Jesus had already paid for their sins, but they would not experience his forgiveness unless they turned (repented) to God (3: 19).
What are the benefits of God’s ‘Recall Notice?’
First we need a diagnosis. And the diagnosis in verse 26 is that we have a serious problem: our hearts are made of stone. Christ is our only doctor who can transform it. He alone is the donor too.
In Bible language, the word "heart" doesn't just mean "the large, muscular pumping thing in our chest that keeps blood flowing". The word "heart" in the Bible has a much wider meaning. It is linked here with spirit, and often in the Bible the words heart and spirit are used interchangeably. So when David prays Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me, he is not asking for two things — a clean heart and a right spirit — but one thing: to be completely clean inside. A person's heart and a person's spirit are essentially the same thing. David is asking God to revamp him completely from the inside out.
Jeremiah also spoke of this spiritual change in the heart of sinful man (31: 31). The change is in the heart that will cause the people to turn to the Good Shepherd. The people receive a new heart that desires to please the LORD. The "new spirit" (v. 26) is "My Spirit" in v. 27. He is referring to the Spirit of Yahweh (Ezekiel 37: 14; 39: 29; Joel 2: 28-29). Only the Holy Spirit can empower man to fulfill the word of God. There are twenty-five references to the Holy Spirit in the book of Ezekiel. A new heart and a new spirit are themes Ezekiel reflects on several times.
The Holy Spirit dwelling in the heart of the believer will "cause you to walk in My statutes and you will be careful to observe My ordinances" (v. 27). What Moses law could not do God does through His "Spirit within you." His dwelling within enables the "new heart." The heart of stone has been removed and replaced with a "new heart" and "a new spirit." Only the sovereign grace of God can do that. As the believer yields to the Holy Spirit He enables us to "walk" in the statutes of God and carefully observe His "ordinances." The holy life is an exchanged life.