Most of you know what it is to put in a hard day’s work or play 4 quarters of a football or basketball game where you really left it all on the field or the court. You are sweaty and sometimes dirty or even blood stained, but even having expended everything you have in the day’s work or the athletic competition, you feel so much better after a good shower. You feel refreshed.
Once upon a time I took a company of Marine reservists from Des Moines Iowa to 29 Palms California, which if you didn’t know is in the middle of nowhere in the Mojave Desert. Our last weekend training with these reservists was in May. We went to Wisconsin for live fire, something we were limited at doing in Des Moines. We got snowed on at that last training session.
A couple weeks later, we flew these guys out for two weeks in the Mojave Desert—from freezing to 120 degrees for most days. After a week, most were exhausted. There was still a week of training left that included a battalion-sized live-fire exercise.
So, in the middle of the training on a day where we had an afternoon of maintenance, we maintained the Marines. We took them to the swimming pool for a couple of hours. It refreshed them enough to continue their training and the grueling exercise that was to come.
I have said before that we are designed with rest in mind. Rest is not only essential but refreshing and lets us live to the full.
You heard the story read this morning. Peter and John were heading to the temple. A beggar in the temple courts wanted money and the two apostles caught this man off guard. What they said went beyond the beggar’s expectations.
Silver and gold I have none—translation: I don’t have any money to give you.
But what I do have I will give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk. These two apostles helped him to his feet and the next thing you knew the man was walking and jumping and praising the Lord.
This caught everyone’s attention. They all knew that this was the long-time beggar at the gate called Beautiful. Elsewhere in scripture we see people thinking that the healed man was someone different from the one afflicted.
Not here. People recognized him and were amazed.
This man continued with Peter and John into the Temple area, and Peter had the awareness to know he had people’s attention. So, he asked, “Why are you surprised?”
This comes about through God and through the line of people you know—Abraham, Issacs, and Jacob. We didn’t do this. God did!
You should have seen it coming but you were blind. You killed the Messiah. You had a chance to save his life when he was before Pilate, but you chose to release a murderer instead.
We know that you acted in ignorance and that what happened had to happen to fulfill the prophecy of God and your part in this was that the Christ might suffer. He did.
He rose again.
We are witnesses.
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.
So, Peter caught everyone up on what has transpired, but next came a call to action. It was a call to repentance.
You might not have known what was happening—the truth be told the apostles were often in the dark until they received the Holy Spirit, but Peter left out that part—there was much done in ignorance, but now that you do know, it is time to repent.
You need to repent of your sin. You need to acknowledge Jesus as the Christ. You need to receive him as your Savior and Lord.
This won’t happen because he is still walking the earth. This will happen because you repent of your sin and know him to be the One promised Messiah.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.
You know the truth. You know the consequences for rejecting the truth. Now is the time to repent and receive Jesus as your Lord.
This wipes away your sin and does something else that we often overlook. It brings times of refreshing. We often think of salvation when we think of the blood of Jesus wiping away our sins. Our debt is paid. The Kingdom of Heaven has been given to us.
But let us not forget refreshing. Like the shower after the hard and dirty days work or the sports contest that left you exhausted, the shower brings a time of refreshing.
Repentance and discipleship bring us times of refreshing. Rest brings us refreshing. We become refreshed so we can live to the full.
Have you ever seen someone who gets burned out? Maybe it’s the job or taking care of someone or even serving in the church. People burn out.
Repentance, confession, and rest bring us to refreshment not burn out.
As in just about everything we can think of that God has told us, it’s for our own good.
There’s a saying going around that has manifested itself in several memes. It says: When you are tired, rest, don’t quit.
Rest and being refreshed help us run our good race. They help us keep the faith. They help us when the world is beckoning us to throw in the towel.
Think about that. When we sin, let’s confess and repent. Let’s not only tell God about it, something he is already knows. He already knows but has directed us to tell him, once again for our own good.
Let’s repent—turn away from and leave behind the thinking, doing, and relationship with the ways of this world that are sinful. Let’s make that wholesale exchange.
Let’s rest. Being a disciple is not easy but it is worth it. If we are going to continue in our race of faith, we need to learn to rest.
And let’s rejoice in being refreshed. Like a hot shower after a long day’s work or a swim in the pool in the middle of the desert, let’s receive the refreshment that comes with repentance.
We often talk about giving up a burden, but how often do we consider the times of refreshing that await us?
Let’s learn to repent, rest, and receive the refreshing of the Lord.