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The Apostle Peter’s 2nd Sermon

Acts 3:11-20


v. 1-10  The lame man asked for alms and got legs…this led directly into Peter’s 2nd sermon.


He and John gave the lame man something much better than the finances he was requesting…and he walked, leaped, and praised God…and it drew a big crowd!


What does a Baptist preacher do when he sees there’s a crowd?  [take offering?]  No!  Preach!  [then take an offering!]


Underestimated sermon, for in his 1st, 3k were saved, but 4:4 says 5k men were saved after the 2nd!  This is a masterful sermon, and we see God’s man growing in the Spirit and improving even more!


3 main points:

  1. You desired a murderer

v. 13-14   Barabbas chosen over Jesus by the Jews.  Custom was every year at Passover that a convicted criminal would be set free/considered to be a demonstration of mercy. 

        Wouldn’t just commute sentence, but rather they would turn a man loose!


Barabbas was the most notorious criminal of that day…guilty of treason/insurrection/robbery/murder.  And when Pilate asked the crowds whom to set free, the howling crowd in mass hysteria called out, “Give us Barabbas!”  What should I do w/ Jesus?  “Crucify Him!”

        They chose a murderer and they rejected their Messiah/chose a man who was convicted as guilty, and condemned a man who was completely innocent/spared the life of a murderer and ordered the killing of one who had raised the dead!

        No wonder v. 14 says what it does!


So what does that have to do w/ me?

        Barabbas is a picture of every lost person who walks this earth, and each one who rejects Christ as Savior.

  • Thief—all unsaved people are thieves!  “I haven’t ever stolen anything?”  Yes, you have, every day you continue in your lost condition you are robbing God of the glory which belongs to Him/created for that, and He allows you to walk His earth, breathe His air, enjoy the life you received from Him—but when you refuse to love and serve Him you rob Him!  Don’t just get saved to avoid hell [good reason, but not best].  That’s a bit selfish…get saved first and foremost to give God the glory He deserves!
  • Rebel—guilty of high treason against Roman gov’t…and each lost person who rejects Christ is doing more than just missing a great blessing, but they shake their fist in the face of God and say I don’t need you/want you…I can make it on my own!  [it’s rebellion!]  Verse in Psalms says the fool says in his heart, there is no God…we usually apply to an atheist…but study the Hebrew text and you’ll see the words “there is” are not in the text.

[No God!…or No,  God!  I don’t want your authority in my life/influence/rules] 

ill.—eat out/waitress brings dessert menu out/full so you say, no dessert/…it’s not that you don’t believe in the existence of dessert, but that you don’t want any, or don’t have room for it!


Say no to God, and you are a rebel, just like Barabbas

[Christians can and do rebel as well, and say, No God!]


thief, rebel…

  • Murderer—“pastor, you can’t charge me w/ murder”…I just did!  “Who have I killed?”  The Son of God!  And so did I…in heaven’s courts, we are ALL implicated in the death of Jesus Christ…it was my sin and yours that nailed Him there!  We are accessories!

R. G. Lee was witnessing to a man one day who said, I guess I’ve committed about every sin but to kill a man…he said, no you did that too!


Homicide, a terrible thing/suicide/infanticide…worse than all of those is Deicide, and we’re all guilty!


So Barabbas pictures all lost people. 


‘you desired a murderer…’


  1. You have denied the Lord

v. 13-14 2x’s ‘denied’

  • A risen Lord—v. 15  Peter can’t help but mention the resurrection in all his sermons…and why not, it’s the proof that He’s God, and that we’re right!


The tone of the sermon changes, as Peter offers them a loophole…though guilty, how they can be cleared of these charges!


They denied not only a risen Lord…but also:

  • A redeeming Lord—v. 17…it was in ignorance…though they knew He was an innocent man, they truly didn’t believe He was the Messiah.

This is a Jewish crowd, familiar w/ their OT’s…the law, which teaches there is a clear difference between willful sins and sins of ignorance [God places in totally different categories].  As different as murder and manslaughter!  [city of refuge]


He is not absolving them of their guilt, but he is mitigating the circumstances/the charge reduced from murder to manslaughter [a glimmer of hope!]


Peter started off as the prosecuting attorney, but now has moved up close to them, walked over to their side, as their defense attorney, and he’s pointing their attention to someone seated above them:  the pardoning judge!/our spiritual city of refuge, Jesus Christ!

[by the way, how long could a person stay in the OT city of refuge?  Answer:  as long as the high priest lived!…and the Bible says our High Priest ever liveth!]


Peter has said, you desired a murderer, you denied the Lord…


  1. You must decide to repent

v. 19        The gospel is not complicated!  The simple truth is that we are all sinners, we are all Barabbas.  You’re just like Barabbas, and so, you too can be set free, though guilty, just like Barabbas, because of Jesus!


v. 19-20

        Peter makes 2 promises, if they will repent:

  1. Their sins will be blotted out
  2. Jesus will return and set up His earthly kingdom


        So, Peter takes his OT and preaches Christ to them!  [but, Jesus isn’t in the OT]…au contraire!  He’s on every page!

Gen. 3:15—seed of the woman would come and crush the head of the serpent—that’s Jesus!

ExodusMoses was to strike the Rock and water would gush out, and then speak to the Rock—a picture of our once-smitten Savior! [acc’d to I Cor.]

Leviticusthey were commanded to take a male lamb w/ no spot or blemish and sacrifice them on the altar

Numbers 21children of Israel, as a form of judgment, were being bitten by fiery serpents, and Moses was commanded to fashion a brass serpent upon a pole for the people to look upon and be healed [still today the symbol of the medical profession!]  Look to the cross and live!


Need I go on?  Jesus Christ is all thru the OT!  This Bible is a Him-Book, the whole thing is about Him!


Peter, here in Acts 3, shares some promises w/ the people:

v. 19       

  • Your sins will be blotted out

        That promise applies to you today…repent of your sins and they will be blotted out!

We learn from Jonah that you cannot run from your sins

King David proved we cannot hide our sins

Ananias and Sapphira lost their lives as they tried to lie about their sins

No sin can be allowed into heaven…that’s our dilemma, so what can we do w/ our sin?

        A question we ask today/a question we don’t like to face/5 seconds after we die it’s the only question that will matter!  “What can we do w/ our sin?”


Ill--In a dr. office the other day, I saw old photographs of the area from the early 1900s/a man and woman w/ distress on their faces/wonder what they are worried about?  Well, whatever it was, they aren’t worried about it now!/was it a financial crisis?/marital problems?/sick child?…those things are imp’t/not minimizing/but when this life is over, all that matters is, what about my sin?!


Peter didn’t say, repent, and you’ll be healthy and wealthy…he promised something better than that!

Your sins will be blotted out—that’s good news!


And on the authority of God’s Word, I can make you that same promise right now!


1st promise was made to individuals…


2nd promise:   

[made to nation of Israel/a national promise]


  • If they will repent on a national level, Jesus will come back and establish His earthly kingdom

This is Israel’s last chance to receive their Messiah.

        They’ve already rejected the preaching of John the Baptist/Jesus Himself/now they have the preaching of the apostles, and they face a flood of lights in their faces!  They are now facing the reality that Jesus is alive/rose from the dead, tho’ they killed Him…will they reject Him again?

        Acc’d to the Word of God, they did…tho’ there was a remnant saved [5k], that’s just a drop in the bucket to a nation numbered w/ the sands of the seas.


v. 20-21   Had the Jews not rejected their Messiah as a whole at this time, He would have returned THEN and set up His kingdom…but instead, it was postponed.


We’re in the last days, and America could be the first to disappear from the world scene.  It’s a sad reality that there’s nothing that resembles our country in Revelation, other than a smoldering heap that the whole world observes with amazement, gone in an hour.  We sin against a flood of light!


One day the last person that’s gonna get saved will believe, and their sins will be blotted out, and then comes the end.  And Jesus will set up His kingdom.


That’s the promises…

The Prophets:

To make his message more clear, and to drive it all home, Peter now brings up the prophets [very high in priority in Jewish minds]Moses


v. 22-23   Direct quote from Deut. 18

        He reminds them that even Moses prophesied to them that a prophet would come and He would be their Messiah, and that the cost of not following Him would be eternal damnation.  [very powerful point to these Jews!]


Amazing the sources some base their beliefs on:

Hell’s right here on earth!  [barber shop]

God would never send anyone to hell  [diner]

Moses said, not Joe Barber/Joe Millionaire/Joe Schmo/ or even Jo Mama!


Then he reminds them that Moses wasn’t the only one…many other prophets, too!

v. 24        Peter didn’t go into a lot of detail, but he could have…but it was coming to their minds, I’m sure…


Over 300 direct prophecies had been fulfilled, like…


Is. 7:14        He would be born of a virgin   Lk. 1:7        it happened!

Micah 5:2    born in Bethlehem                             Lk. 2:4        that happened!

Gen. 49:10  born of tribe of Judah              Mt. 3:3        that happened!

Psalm 78:2  speak in parables                      Mt. 13:34    that happened!

Zech. 9:9     ride on colt of a donkey           Mt. 21         that happened!

Is. 61           heal broken-hearted                  Lk. 4:18      that happened!

Is. 53:3        rejected by own                        Jn. 1:11       that happened!

Is. 53:7        stand silent before accusers       Mk. 15:5     that happened!

Ps. 22:18     cast lots for His robe                 Jn. 19:23     that happened!

Ps. 22                   (hundreds of years before crucifixion ever invented or thought of)  prophets said they would pierce His hands and feet, and it happened!

Ps. 22:1       “my God, why forsaken me?”  Mt. 27:46    that happened!

v. 5             tongue cleave to jaw                 Mt. 26:15    that happened!

Zech. 11:2   sold by enemies for 30 silver    Mt. 26:15    that happened!

Is. 53:9        buried w/ rich                           Mt. 27         that happened!


One skeptic said, “Certainly this is the most striking coincidence of details.”


Ill.cover the state of Texas w/ quarters, 2 feet deep, mark the back of 1 of them with an X.  Fly a man in and drop him anywhere you want in the state, blindfold him, and ask him to find that quarter with the X on his first try!  That’s the same chance of just 8 of the Bible’s prophecies being fulfilled by coincidence!


No wonder in v. 24 Peter said, All the prophets have foretold of these days!


Now, Peter says, because you’ve come in contact w/ this info…if anyone ever ought to get saved, it’s you!


v. 25                You’re Jews, children of the prophets/covenant, you have all this inside info…to not get saved now is to sin against superior knowledge!  You have a flood of lights showing you the way!


Peter says, for you to not accept Christ is to sin against a flood of lights!


v. 26        [emphasize each use of “you”]…can’t “you” see this?

        I can say the same to this crowd.  What a shame that some will go to hell from FBC…but Jesus promises there’s some lost mixed in to this group and every Bible believing group, what a pity!  For to go to hell from FBC is to sin against a flood of lights!

        To sit here and hear the truth/surrounded by people who love and pray for you…and to not make sure you’re saved in the face of all of that!


  • If you’re here today and you’re not sure, you’ll never have a better chance to MAKE sure than today!

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