Summary: Many preachers today don’t preach the Gospel straight. In his 2nd great sermon, Peter "preached it straight" to the Jews of Jerusalem who had rejected Jesus as their Messiah and Savior. This sermon dissects Peter's sermon and mines it for Gospel truths.
The Straight Shootin’ Preacher
August 24, 2014
TEXT: Please turn in your Bibles to Acts 3:11
The last thing we need today are preachers who don’t preach the Gospel straight. A preacher can afford to be off-base on many subjects and side-issues, but he’s GOT to be a straight-shootin’ preacher when it comes to preaching the Gospel.
Illus. – I’ll never forget one time going to hear an evangelist back in the hippie days. This evangelist adapted his message to the hippie crowd, which was good to a point. But it was basically this: Jesus was the coolest dude ever. He was the consummate revolutionary of his day. Following Him is the highest high you could ever have.
That was his message in a nutshell. The problem was that he never really talked about sin, or judgment or the cross.
At the end of the service, scores of people “walked the aisle”—because, believe me, he was very captivating and persuasive. One of those who went forward was my Grandfather, which was really odd since he was WAY past the age of all the hippies there that evening.
I was excited about my Grandfather’s decision, but over the years that followed, I saw no discernable change in him and no desire for spiritual things. I was shaken because I knew that this preacher received credit for a lot of “decisions,” but I’m not sure they knew what they were deciding to do!
In Acts 3, Luke records Peter’s second great sermon, and when he preached it, he was a straight-shootin’ preacher, telling it how it is, but doing it with love and understanding. Let’s dissect his sermon and learn the basics of the Gospel for those of you who might not know for sure of your eternal destiny, and also learn some things from Peter’s approach.
The setting for the sermon is provided for us in verse 11-12a – “While he clung to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the portico called Solomon's, astounded. 12 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people…” The one referred to who “clung” to Peter and John, that is, he stood with them, was a man who had been born lame, but had been healed by faith in Jesus in verses 1-10. Amazed, people gathered to see watch the spectacle of this former lame man who was now walking and leaping and praising God, according to verse 9. To Peter a crowd was chance to share Christ which he did in the rest of chapter 3.
I. NOTE WITH ME FIRST THAT THIS STRAIGHT-SHOOTIN’ PREACHER CONFRONTED THESE RELIGIOUS JEWS WITH THEIR MAIN SIN – Verses 12-15a – “And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? 13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. 14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.”
Look at Peter’s outline in verses 13 and 14 – He told them…
• That they had delivered up God’s Son, Jesus.
• That they had denied Jesus, the holy and just One.
• That they desired a murderer (Barabas) instead of innocent Jesus to be freed.
• And finally, that they had killed Jesus.
Now THERE’S an unconventional outline if I ever saw one!—especially before a crowd that had demanded the crucifixion of Jesus just weeks before!
What did Peter do? Peter got to the nub their problem, instead of dancing around it. Although there were notable sinners in Jerusalem, most of the people who rejected Jesus were the most righteous, religious, faithful people in the nation of Israel.
But when we stand before God, the question we will have to answer is not how good we were on this earth—because the Bible tells us that we’re ALL sinners who fall short of a perfect, all-holy God. In the end, the question will be, “What did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ?”
Peter was trying to help them to see that their big error was their rejection of Christ.
• He refers to Jesus as “the Holy One and Just” in verse 14. – These were designations for the long-prophesied Messiah every Jew would recognize.
• In verse 15, Peter called Jesus “the Prince of life.”