As we work through Acts 3:11-26, JP challenged us to use whatever platform the Lord has given us for His glory. This is accomplished when we assign responsibility, call ourselves and others to repentance, and remind others of the reason for repentance.
Stephen…a Faithful Mailman Who Saw Jesus
How to Destroy a Shadow: Stephen’s Masterful Defense of Jesus Finished Work
Hellenistic Lives Matter (And So Does the Ministry of the Word)
The Gospel is NOT a Fad
Beauty and the But
Where Does That Come From?
Living Bolder as We Grow Older
What Makes a Man Fit for Judgment, Ministry and a Ready Response - Acts 4:7-23
The Beginning of Persecution and the Proper Reason for It. - Acts 4:1-12
The First and Enduring Attributes of Christ’s Church
The First Savior Exalting Sermon of the Church
The Gift of Tongues Part 2
Baptism of the Spirit, Tongues of Fire and the Beginning of the Church
From Judas to Matthias: How to Choose Leaders and Find Hope in Failed Ones
The King’s Orders for the King’s New Men
The Story Before the Beginning of the Story: Genesis - Acts 1
Good morning. How are we doing? Good. Thank you for that enthusiasm from four of you. Did you guys have a good weekend? Good. Lots of Pokémon GO players out there? Okay. What a crazy thing, that this would be the biggest US mobile app to ever hit the scene. There are over 21 million active users right now.
I could take all of you and divide you up into two camps, those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about and would wonder why I would waste time even mentioning this and those of you who know exactly what I'm talking about and have wasted too much time probably playing this game. It's an incredible thing.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, quick crash course. I don't know what I'm talking about either. There are these PokéStops all over the city, and the game has incorporated with Google Maps. You can go to PokéStops and collect things through your phone. Now you're up to speed. Several of those PokéStops are here at Watermark.
Here's what that means. We have had strangers on our campus all week. It has been crazy. They just kind of come, and they're out there at the baptism pond. The water well is actually a PokéStop. You think, "Why would I care about this?" Here's why you maybe should. First, somebody on Friday and just said, "Hey, on Saturday, I'm just going to go up there with some friends, and we're just going to hand out water bottles and share the gospel with people and tell them what this place is and invite them."
I just thought, "Why didn't I think of that? That's a great idea, that you would have a platform, that folks would come to you, and you would take the opportunity to share the hope that we have in Christ with them. That is a fantastic idea." That is thinking about, "What is going on in the world, and how might I use it to have a platform to share the gospel?"
The Scripture says it like this: "Make the most of every opportunity…" That's what the apostle Peter is going to do today as we continue in Acts 3. He is going to make the most of an opportunity, use his platform to share Christ with those whose attention he has. The reason I think this message, which is a historical account, has application for us is that for every beating heart in this room, every person listening to this message right now has a platform.
You have people who have given you their attention. They want to talk to you. They want to hear from you. This might be your children, discipleship in the home. This might be your coworkers. This might be neighbors who you're having dinner with. This might be others from the community. It may be your kids. It may be your kids' friends. It may be your kids' friends' parents. Maybe you own a company. That's a big platform, quite a responsibility you have to share the gospel.
It's any time someone comes to you and wants to hear from you about anything. It could be something that has happened to you. It could be a field you have expertise in. It could be a life circumstance. It could even be a sin struggle that God has healed you from. Those things give you a platform, so we have to ask the question, "What is our platform this morning? Whose attention do we have? Who can we influence, that we wouldn't just spend (that is, to waste) time with people but would make investments in them that matter in eternity?"
This morning, we're talking about using your platform to advance the gospel. That is making the most of every opportunity, as Colossians 4:5 says. We're travelling through Acts. Quick recap. In chapter 1, the Holy Spirit comes with power, and these normal, ordinary, uneducated men do extraordinary, miraculous, profound things. They begin to speak in languages that they didn't know. Peter, in Acts 2, boldly preaches the gospel, referring back to the Old Testament.
It says 3,000 people were saved. That is 3,000 people converted now to Christianity, the Way, following Jesus Christ, this one who has recently died and risen from the dead. Now Peter is courageously talking about him. Then, in Acts 2, there toward the end, we see this picture of the church, that the church begins to gather. They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, the breaking of the bread.
They had meals together. They shared all things in common. They met each other's needs. This is the same church that marches forward today, the same church we're a part of this morning. Then, in Acts 3… Two weeks ago, we looked at a healing that took place. This lame man who was opportunistic, who sat by a place where people travelled by with their tithes and their offerings… He is engaged with by Peter and John.
Peter and John are doing what they always did. They folded their newfound faith into their Jewish traditions, and they just went to the temple at 3:00 p.m. for prayer. They bump into this lame man who is begging for money, and God heals him. That's where we're going to pick up this morning. Where this took place is known as Solomon's Colonnade or Solomon's Portico in the Scriptures. It's around the temple.
We were just there. Todd had an opportunity to lead a trip to Israel. I had an opportunity to go with him. As we sat right there south of Solomon's Portico, he began to read this chapter, talking about how the church had begun and moved forward, and now we gather as Watermark. Rather than just telling you about that, I would love to show you. Would you watch this?
Todd Wagner: "While [the man who had just been healed] was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement. But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, 'Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you…'" Think about preaching that message.
[End of video]
I will think about preaching that message right now. This is what is going on. Peter has this platform now. This man is healed, and everyone's attention is turning to him. Peter is going to be just as opportunistic as the man was who sitting by the place where they would offer their tithes, asking for money. Peter is now going to use this healing as a platform to share the gospel.
As we move through this, I have three R words for you today, because we're going to look at how Peter used his platform to assign responsibility, to call people to repentance, and to show the outcome of their response. That is the reason we have hope. I'll begin in verse 11. "While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon's Colonnade."
When I first read that, I thought he was holding onto them because he couldn't really walk, because he had Bambi legs, if you will. That's not going on. I've read some commentaries obviously about this. In the Greek, it actually gives us hints toward the reality that this man is holding on to them because he's like, "You're not going anywhere. You just healed me. People need to know. Hey, they healed me. These guys healed me."
He's drawing attention to himself, grabbing them and saying, "The guys who just brought me up and allowed me to walk… You guys are not going to… Everybody needs to know who you are." Verse 12: "When Peter saw this, he said to them: 'Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him [Jesus] over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go." This is crazy because he's saying, "You guys are murderers." You never really want to call a murderer a murderer because they might murder you. You see just his courage in this situation.
He's saying, "You asked for Barabbas to be released." What this is a picture of is… We think of Barabbas as just an ordinary murderer. He wasn't. He was leading an insurrection. He was a kind of government official. He was a leader, if you will, trying to lead a revolt. He was arrested. They said, "Hey, do you want David or do you want Saul?" They said, "Give us Saul," if you will, if you understand the metaphor. They're saying, "Give us the leader. Give us the one. We don't want that leader; we want that leader. Give us Barabbas."
"You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see."
This man is healed because of his faith in Jesus Christ. "In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, I command you to get up and walk." If you have any questions about healing, I would encourage you to go back on the podcast and listen to two weeks ago. One observation from here is Peter is now emboldened. Do you know who this guy is?
This is the one who was embarrassed by Jesus, who denied Jesus. When a 12-year-old girl asked him, "Hey, aren't you the Galilean? Don't you know him?" He said, "No, I don't." It says he began to curse from heaven. "I don't know him." He allowed his best friend to die. Now, something has happened in him that he is courageously proclaiming the gospel.
1._ Peter assigns responsibility._ Now, I use that word for two reasons. First, he says, "Oh, you think I'm responsible for this man's healing? No. Jesus is responsible for his healing, and you're responsible for his death." He does it in two ways in this little section. "Jesus is responsible for this man's healing, and you're responsible for his death. You killed him. You put him on the cross. It was your sins that held him there to that piece of wood."
Peter is going to incredible lengths here to say, "It's not me." This is true humility. I think so often, we think of humility as this meek, mild, soft-spoken, quiet… No. Humility can be courageous. "It's not me; it's Christ. It's Jesus Christ. It's not my gifts. It's not my talents. It's Jesus who did this. It was God's grace that this happened, that this man was healed."
Consider this as application for us when we are awarded with something, when you've been seen favorable with anyone. Candidly, God has gifted you a platform to give him praise, not as an acknowledgement like you're winning an ESPY or something like that. It's not like, "Oh, thanks to God. Let me tell you how awesome I am." But, "Truly, let me take this opportunity to tell you how Christ has allowed this to happen."
See, Proverbs 27:21 says that people are tested by their praise, that the praise of others is really a test for us. I will tell you that humility looks good on everyone. Humility is that outfit that fits everyone just right. Humility looks good on everyone. Humility is just honest. It's just saying, "Hey, I'm not so delusional to think that I did this outside of the Lord's sovereignty, that I got smart or was able to run fast or grew tall or whatever it is by my own strength and ability, by my own training.
Even in my training, that was God in his sovereignty allowing me to train. God allowed me to walk. God allowed me to go there. God allowed me to receive that education. He provided the funding. He put me in the family he did, in the location he did. That was God in his sovereignty who did those things. I just want to take a moment to give thanks to the Creator of the heavens and the earth who sent his one and only Son Jesus Christ to die for my sins, who has given me the promise of eternal life through his resurrection and the forgiveness I receive through that."
Someone here was recently given a pretty big honor, and a committee asked them that they would speak and pray but that they would write out their prayer so it could be approved. They did, of course highlighting the gospel. The committee came back and said, "Can you remove that part about Jesus?"
They said, "I think you've rewarded the wrong person with this opportunity. You might consider giving it to someone else. If I'm given an opportunity, I'm going to make sure that everyone knows where hope is found. If I don't have the privilege or honor to do that, I may not need the honor you're trying to entrust to me."
Who is responsible for our gifts and talents? That's Jesus. Who is responsible for Christ's death, Jesus' death? You are. He said, "You killed him. You rejected him." Romans 3:23: "…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." First John 1:8: "If anyone says they have not sinned, they deny the faith. They are liars."
The good news that we share, the gospel (which means good news), starts with bad news. The good news that Christ saved you starts with the reality that you needed to be saved. There is no room for self-righteousness in the gospel. You were a sinner, drowning in your sin. You could not save yourself. Someone had to swim out to you against your will and save you. The good news starts with the bad news.
That's why Peter starts here as he presents the gospel through this sermon. "Your sins are against Jesus Christ, who was blameless, so let me turn your attention to your rejection of Jesus Christ." Peter does this. He models a really powerful evangelism tool. He asked two questions. I read a book once called Questioning Evangelism. It was a rabbinic approach to evangelism. That is to say, the way that Jesus, a rabbi, approached evangelism. He would often answer questions with questions.
Peter models that here in a transition. "Why are you surprised? Why do you stare at us as if we did this?" "Why do you do things like that, Mr. Coworker? Why do you think that way, boss man? Why or how did you get there, Mrs. Neighbor?" In the last 11 years, I've been working primarily with young adults in their 20s and 30s. I've seen lots of gifted young adults, some really talented young adults.
There is one individual, one man who has stood out to me above the others. He was a very gifted young man. He played football, started in college early on. He was on a football team. He was just a gifted, strong, talented, good-looking, smart young man. I've seen lots of gifted guys. I've seen people who use their gifts for themselves. I've seen people who use their gifts to exalt Jesus. This young man just consistently stood out in the way he used the gifts and the accolades and the attention he received to point to Christ.
You can imagine that when you do that in the locker room, when you refuse to talk about women like the other players do, when you refuse to go the way some coaches would have you go, you are persecuted. You are ridiculed. This man did not escape that. He was persecuted. He was ridiculed. He was made fun of, but he consistently used every opportunity he was given to point to Jesus Christ.
On this one particular occasion, he had this coach, the coach of his specific division of the team who said, "Here's what I want you to do, guys. I want you to bring the most violent image you can think of. We're going to put it here in the locker room. We're going to kill this opponent. I want you guys to go. Your homework assignment is to find a violent image and let us put it up here." My friend is like, "I'm not going to do that. First, that's weird. Second, that's crazy. I'm not going to do that."
Days go by. The coach realizes he hasn't. He sits everyone down and says, "Hey, let me just tell you that not everyone has taken advantage of this assignment I have given to you. You have until Friday to do it." He still doesn't do it. Come Friday, he's singled out. Now the third time. "Hey, what are you doing? What are you trying to do? Do you not understand what I've asked you to do? You need to do this. I'm your authority."
He goes home, prays, and obliges. He goes, "All right, I will." He comes back with this image. He says, "Coach, this is the most violent image I can think of. Can I tell you about it? This is where God, Jesus Christ, died for my sins. My sins held him there. Everything wrong I've done… You may think I'm a good person. I'm not, coach. The things that I've done are against God. They were so grievous that he had to die for me. Coach, he had to die for you."
He had a platform to share the gospel. The reason I love that story is because he said, "God is responsible for my gifts." You say, "Yeah, but he was the hardest worker on the team." Indeed, he was. He was placed, in God's sovereignty, in a family that taught work ethic, who taught him the faith, the ways of the faith, how to stand out. That was God in his sovereignty who placed him there. God made him strong. God gave him his size. God gave him his mind.
Yes, he trained hard. By the grace of God, he worked hard. When given the opportunity, he said, "Do you want to know who killed Jesus? I did. I put him there. So did you." What now? Verse 17: "Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders." Guys, do you see the scene? The man is healed. They're chilling out there outside of Solomon's Portico. People are listening. He begins preaching.
"Hey, I know you were stupid. It's because your leaders were stupid, but God is going to use your stupidity. In fact, it was prophesied, the ignorant things you've done." "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…"
2._ Peter calls others to repentance._ In verse 19, he actually defines it, that you would turn from your sin and turn to God. It is a U-turn. "I'm going this way, and I'm turning, and I'm going to go this way. I'm marching toward adultery, toward pornography, toward materialism, toward my sin struggles. I'm marching toward the things I find identity in, and I repent, not just confess but repent. I turn from those things. I remove access to those things. I eradicate my life of the things that cause me to be tempted toward those things.
I go all in with God through community, through the church, through studying his Word. I'm all in with these things. I repent. I turn from those things." More than confession, more than saying them, but turning from them. What a beautiful reminder. If you're here this morning and are like, "Yeah, but can God forgive me? Is my sin too big?"
See, when Peter here says, "You killed Jesus," he's not talking figuratively. This is not some beautiful metaphor he's using. He's not saying, "It was your sins that held him there," like I'm saying. He's saying literally, "You killed him. You could have let him live, but you chose not to. You guys specifically…"
His audience there, these people who were going to worship in the temple, these people who stood in the crowd and said, "Give us Barabbas! Give us Barabbas! Crucify him!" "You did that, but God will forgive you. He will allow you to be an heir to his kingdom. He will give you all of the blessings that he desires to give you right now. You can be an heir to the time of refreshing, that is when Christ is back on his throne as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and the Prince of Peace."
Don't we need the Prince of Peace right now? We need this verse after the tragedy that has hit Dallas, the racial division that we live in, blind to our own part in it, and frustrated as we think about it. It's always easy to see the splinter in the other side, and I hate that there are even sides. God is calling us to repent. Let repentance start with you. This morning, let it start with you.
We've talked a lot about that as we've addressed the body of Watermark. Recently, as I was doing ministry, I was engaged with a young man who just said, "Man, you just don't understand the oppression that I felt and the deep hurts that I felt. My community doesn't understand. Man, I have to tell you that there is a part of my heart that is glad police officers died."
We talked, and we wept. We cried, and I apologized for any oppression I've been a part of or where my leadership has been deficient in those I minister and shepherd in regard to allowing any oppression on their behalf. I held him, and we hugged, and we prayed. Then I just said (because I have to), "And you need to repent that any part of your heart would delight in the death of another human being. You need to repent."
Let that repentance start with each of us, that we would search our hearts and understand our part in that, the things we're doing wrong, where we're running away from Christ. Todd often says, "If you like what you got, keep doing what you're doing, but if you keep doing what you're doing, you're not going to like what you got." Repent.
I was reminded of how important this is on Tuesday night. I had an opportunity. I've been speaking at a camp all week. It's a Baptist student camp, nine student ministries converging. There were about 1,300 students there, and they said they would like an altar call. I said, "Okay." I'm not completely comfortable with that. Sometimes it can feel manipulative.
I thought about how I would do that. I just had this message really calling them to repent. I said, "If you would like to place your faith in Jesus Christ, his death, and resurrection for the forgiveness of your sins, if you haven't done that, I want you to stand up." I thought maybe one or two would.
Over 100 students rose to their feet and said, "Hey, I'm ready to go all in with Jesus." Yeah, it was awesome. It really was cool. Afterward, I said, "Now that you've done that, you need to talk to someone. You need to share with someone. You need to plug into the church." Afterward, there was a long line of people. Just one after the other, they just said these things.
"I'm cutting myself. What do I do?"
"I'm looking at pornography. What do I do?"
"I'm having sex. What do I do?"
"I smoke weed every day. What do I do?"
"I have hate in my heart. What do I do?"
"I'm so angry at my stepfather. What do I do?"
Just one after the other, the confession of these sins that have held these folks back from going all in with Jesus. One after the other, I said, "You need to repent. Let me show you what that looks like. It's ridding your life of that which is tripping you up, holding you back from Christ. It's choosing to no longer go the way of death, turning to the way of life, going all in there, not adding it to your life on a Sunday, but all in, completely in with Jesus, trusting in his death and resurrection for the forgiveness of your sins."
We should use any platform we're given to call people to repentance, not to tolerate consistent sin. Now, do nonbelievers do bad things? Yes. It's their job description. They should do terrible things. They don't have the Holy Spirit. They don't have any good in them leading them to life. As you shepherd, lead, steward, minister to, own a business where nonbelievers are, they're going to live that way, but you still call them to repentance.
Here's what I mean. You give them an opportunity to turn from that way. You say, "I would not be loving to you if I didn't tell you that way is going to lead to death. Can I show you something better? Can I show you a better way to live, a better thing to engage in, a better Savior to follow? Can I give you some good news that you need because of what you're doing?" Give them an opportunity to repent. Here's why.
Verse 20: "** … ***and that he* [God] may send the Messiah [Jesus] , who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. For Moses said, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you.'" Moses said this. "Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people." That's Deuteronomy 18:15. He's reading the Old Testament to them.
"Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days. And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, 'Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.' When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways."
He's blessing you by calling you to repentance and allowing you to do so. Jesus did not abolish the law, but Jesus actually fulfilled the law, and he's saying, "The prophets foretold of this, not of the church that was a mystery, but of the Messiah, that he was coming, the one like Moses. You must listen to him." This is what he's saying.
Here's what he's doing. This is a profound evangelism tool. He's using what they know to get them to what they don't know. He's using the Old Testament to point them to the New Testament. He's using BC, before Christ, to point them to Anno Domini, the year of our Lord. "Let me share with you what you know so I can get you to what you don't know."
When I talk to a lawyer, I talk to them about the grand administrator of justice, Jehovah. When I talk to a doctor, I share with them about the amazing healer. When I talk to a teacher, I talk to them about this great teacher who walked the earth. When I talk to… Whatever that is, I'm trying to use what they know to bridge the gap. A builder. "Let me tell you about the Creator architect. I'm going to start with what you know to get you where you don't."
When I talk to a financial advisor, I talk to them about the one who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. That's what Peter is doing here. "Guys, listen up. Come here. Come here. Don't you understand that Adam, in the garden, when he was tempted, there was a man named Jesus who passed the test in the garden, and he crushed the head of the tempter?
Don't you understand that when Isaac carried that wood up that mountain to be sacrificed, it was pointing to one who would carry wood up that very same mountain to be sacrificed? This time, he would be the substitutionary atonement. Don't you understand that Noah, when God's wrath came down on this piece of wood that people trusted when it was lifted up, that anyone who trusted in the piece of wood would be saved, salvation, that he was pointing to Christ who would be lifted up on a piece of wood? If you trusted in that, you would be saved.
Don't you understand that David, when he fought on behalf of God's people and slayed the evil that is Goliath, that Jesus fought on behalf of God's people? He was the man who went between. God's people didn't have to fight because Jesus fought. He slayed the Goliath of evil, sin, death, for salvation. Don't you understand that Samson, in his last act of his life, he stretched out his arms, crushing God's enemy and crushing himself?
At the same time, Jesus stretched out his arms and crushed the enemy of God, Satan, sin, and death. In place, he crushed himself. He was crushed. Don't you understand that Jonah, when he went in the whale for three days and was resurrected, the people repented, that Christ goes in the grave for three days, is resurrected, and calls others to repent, starting with you? Come on. Don't you understand? I'm taking what you know and pointing to what you need to know."
3._ Peter uses his platform to remind them of the reason they must repent._ There are two outcomes, two results to their response, if you will. The reason they need to repent. There is a place called heaven and a place called hell. Every human person who has ever lived is in one of them. Every person who lives is headed toward one of them, and if they don't listen (verse 23), it will result in them being cut off.
If they do listen (verses 25 and 26), it will result in them being blessed. We use our platform to warn others of the horrors of hell and the glories of heaven, that God blesses faithfulness. He blesses repentance. Do we believe that there is a heaven and hell? Do we believe that? Do we live like that is true? That we would leverage our platform to do the most profound thing you could possibly accomplish, better than any promotion, any job, any neighborhood you could live in, any house you could buy, any car you could afford.
The greatest thing you could use your life for is allowing God to use you to heal someone, that they would actually cross over from being headed toward hell to Jesus. What a profound accomplishment, that that one accomplishment would be greater than anything else you could spend your 80 years doing. We use our platform because we want to see people in heaven. We don't want to see people in hell.
What is your platform? Watermark? School? Business? Neighborhood? Is it talents? Is it skills? Is it a story that has been written on your life? Why would people listen to you? Why do they talk to you? Why do they engage with you? Who are you engaged with? What is your platform? A healing can be an incredible platform, but let me tell you something. So can disease.
My friend's baby was diagnosed with trisomy 18 in the womb. Because of that, over 100,000 people heard the gospel. Another friend of mine has terminal cancer. Because of the way she stewards her cancer, someone hears the gospel every single day. I have heard of teachers who keep EvangeCubes on their desks so students in a public school would come up to them and say, "What's that?" and they would say, "I'm glad you asked. Let me show you what it is."
I have heard of people in the medical profession who bridge the gap between someone's physical needs to their spiritual needs. "Hey, I may be able to heal you today with this antibiotic, but you need something more than this antibiotic." I know a young woman who had an abortion who now uses her days to warn everyone of that choice she made that God has forgiven her for.
I know business owners who lead Bible studies and apologetics classes for their employees and say, "Why would I own a business if I can't use it as a platform to share Christ with folks?" In the wake of all that happened, I have heard of young adults. One specific young man had his boss come to him and say, "You're religious, right? You go to church, right? I feel like people really need God right now. Would you mind reading to us some Bible or something?" "Sure. Turn with me to Ephesians 2:8-9."
Friends who have their neighbors over, do you know what your strategy is? They say, "Hey, will you just share your story with us?" Do you know what neighbors do after you say, "Will you share your story with us?" They say, "Will you share yours with us?" "I sure will. Can I tell you about how I spent much of my life running from God, how that God sent his one and only Son Jesus Christ?
He died for all the sins I committed. I'll tell you specifically what they were, as much as I can remember. They went in the grave with him. He came out without them, giving me a second chance, a first chance at eternal life, that I could live with him forever and ever because of the work he did in his Son."
What Peter is doing here is he's saying, "God is responsible for our gifts, but we are responsible for our sin. Peter is saying we need to call people to repentance, and Peter is saying we need to remind them of the results of their response. That is the reason of the hope we have. Peter is using his platform to share the gospel.
Thursday was one of my proudest moments of being a part of this church. It really stood out in a profound way as we participated in the memorial of Officer Michael Smith. It's a weird thing to have coffee with an individual at Starbucks weeks ago and then hear the President of the United States of America mention his name.
Mike, by all accounts, was a follower of Jesus Christ. Mike used his platform to share with others about Christ. He would love people as Christ did. His last day of service here was just a little over a week ago. A volunteer came in, and he overheard them say that they had not had dinner yet and that they were hungry.
This police officer orders a pizza for them. He doesn't leave his station and has it delivered to their room. Who does that? Because Mike used his platform, his authority, to share Christ with others and to give them hope, we were able to leverage his death in a way that stood out among any memorial service, any funeral I've been a part of, anything I've been a part of. More people, through this man's life and one sharing than I can think of right now heard the gospel.
Police officers came from all over the world. There were some from Canada. I talked to some from New York. They came from all over the place. They converged on this place. Some of them were devout followers of Jesus Christ, excited to be in a church. Others of them had never been in a church. We've heard from some afterward who said, "I've never heard the gospel shared at a funeral before, and I've been to many."
I hate that my friend died, but his death was leveraged more for the advancement of the gospel than I've ever seen. If you don't know, there were 6,300 people here that day. Only 3,600 people fit in this room, but there were 6,300 on our campus. It was on TV, and 1,200 more streamed through Watermark. Thousands more on TV got to hear the gospel because of this man's life. You would be proud. Your senior pastor did not hold back. Praise God. Rather than tell you about it, I'll just use a few minutes to show you. Watch this.
David Brown: Heidi, thank you so much for giving me the pleasure and the privilege to speak to you today. We don't understand always what God has in store for us, but we know his ways are not our ways. Because of my belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Mike closed his eyes in history and then opened them in heaven. That's the belief we hang onto.
Kyle Land: They say love is the answer. It sounds great, but how do we accomplish that when there has been so much tension, hatred, fear, and confusion. Forgiveness must come first for love to be established, the same forgiveness that Jesus Christ gives us. Communication and change of action must follow to reestablish that trust.
Please allow me to take that first step. To those protestors who cried out Thursday night, to my team as we rushed to El Centro to help out, how does it feel to be the ones hunted now? I say to you, "I'm sorry." I am so very sorry that you felt as if your voice, your opinion, and your life did not matter to us. I am sorry for the misdeeds and wrongs of the few in my profession over the years who have caused and created this distrust, fear, and anger toward law enforcement.
Todd Wagner: Jesus is not just some idea. He's not just some propositional statement. He's a person. You need a relationship with him. You can't just answer, "I believe it's true. The story is true." You have to trust in him. There has to be a moment in your life when you say, "That's my King. That's my Lord. That's my Captain who ran toward my cross. I personally accept his grace, his provision for me."
He doesn't just wink at sin because I'm his boy. He doesn't skate over justice. Because he loves me, he gave himself for me. "It is appointed for a man to die once, and after this comes judgment." I know this. When Mike stood before the Lord, the only commendation he gave was his trust in the cross. Because Mike loves you, I know he would want you to be the same. Consider his Jesus.
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Praise God. Mike's life was a platform to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, which made it very easy for his death to be a platform that we would share the gospel of Jesus Christ. May you and I go and do the same. Would you stand with me as I close us in prayer?
God in heaven, first and foremost, we pray for the surviving officers and their families in Baton Rouge this morning, the wake of havoc that is moving in and through that place. We pray for the shooter. We pray for their salvation, if they're alive. I'm not up to speed with the news, but you are, God. We pray that you would do something good out of this evil.
Would you start with us, each of us individually? Would we not look outward but inward? Father, help us to individually repent for our part in any of this. Father, would you create a light here at Watermark, that we would shine brightly, engaging others, using any platform that you've entrusted to us to share the hope we have in Jesus Christ? Would you take all that we are that we might praise you? We bring everything that you have given to us to you and ask you to use it now.
"Therefore, I urge you brothers in view of God's mercy to present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the patterns of [Dallas] this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you'll be able to test and to prove what God's will is, his good, pleasing, and perfect will for your lives."
Would you use your platform to call others into relationship with Christ? If we can do that in any way, partner with you, feel free to let us know in the Watermark news. We'll have a team up here ready to pray for you, if you're just in a place where you would love to talk to someone or have someone pray for you. There will be a team up here. I love you guys. Have a great week of worship.