Peter – Denier to Defender of the Faith
PETER – DENIER TO DEFENDER OF THE FAITH
PREACHER – ANDREW MORRIS
Reading – Matthew 26: 69-75
Preparation for this topic was especially meaningful for me God really ministered to me through this and I know there are people here tonight that are going to be put right with God again. Why do I say it was meaningful for me- well before I got saved I did some really really bad things, then Jesus calls my name and I experience a love that literally turns my world upside down, I am completely changed go into ministry and experience God doing the same for others but then along the way after knowing such intimacy with God I sin I’m not just talking about everyday kinda stuff that we all wrestle with but stuff tantamount to denying Jesus and his work in my life just like Peter. So here’s the question for tonight what happens when as a Christian you have done something terrible? To answer that we taking are deeper look at Peters life.
So it is Peter we’re profiling. Peter the rock, leader and pillar of the early church, his first sermon 3000 got saved but who’s story as recorded in scripture does not paint him as perfect but rather someone who messed up at times yet loved Jesus, someone I think just like you and me I suspect. We all know the passage I am going to read of when Peter stuffed up in a big way denying Jesus when in the recent past he had just been professing he would never leave him and would follow him anywhere, would give up his life for him. We’ll come back to that but some of his mistakes although perhaps not as serious come after Pentecost and when he was leading the church inJerusalem. On one occasion he got rebuked by Paul for his hypocrisy (isn’t it a blessing to have people who although they love us aren’t scared to confront us with where we are erring. If you have that don’t despise the fact but rejoice as God is refining you (I’m not talking about nit picking bible bashers criticizing most of what you say and do as unbiblical, but those who speak the truth in love).
So for those that don’t know much about Peter, he was one of the inner three disciples that were closer to Jesus than the other, he was their leader in some ways, their spokesman, he was impetuous and often didn’t think before he spoke but despite a lot of seeming faults he gave up everything to follow Jesus when he received his call. There are many stories with him in it that make for interesting reading but one in particular is were he says to Jesus I will lay down my life for you (Jn 13: 37) and Jesus is like, “Really? Before the rooster crows you will disown me three times”. This passage is that account, where he actually denies knowing Jesus.
I just want to start at the very beginning here- lets call it JESUS PLAN FOR PETER
The starting point here needs to be our starting point if we ever want to overcome. The starting point JESUS. Who called Peter? Jesus not Peter Jesus, who called you? Jesus not you Jesus.
So from the very beginning Jesus plan for Peter is to be a spiritual leader this is evident when he says in Jn 1:42 that his name shall be Cephas the rock, and also from the incident when they had been fishing all night not having caught a thing Jesus says try again so Peter obeys, BAM big catch and Jesus says from now on you’re going to catch men not fish. Clearly has a plan for Peter. So lets pause here a moment right at the beginning Jesus speaks that over him, that’s his plan for Peter but he later ends up denying Jesus what do we make of this? You know what this speaks of- well you may stuff up in your walk with Jesus but he knows what he’s making of you he is faithful when you are not, base your walk on Jesus on His call and character not your performance. When you base you walk with God on your performance how much you doing or not doing how well you doing or when you stuff up then you are going to have a tough time when you do mess up. If it all starts with Jesus his call and character where do you fit in here because surely we have to do something? Of course it is all God but it is also all you.
Point 2- Your part to play in the plan
What do I think the answer is to “what do you do when you’ve done something terrible”, well this comes in 2 subpoints FAITH and FOLLOWING. 1) Faith; There is an account in Mt 18 where he has confessed Jesus as the Christ the son of God and Jesus says “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church v18”. JI Packer on this point says- Rock here isPetranot Petros which is the Greek equivalent of Peters name. This variant shows that Jesus wasn’t merely saying you Simon, in your own person, are the one on whom I am going to build my church. NO the rock, thepetra, Jesus was speaking of was the faith out of which Peter had made the profession that Jesus was the Christ the Son of God. And it is this same faith that would be the means of making Simon into the man he was going to be. Peter makes a profession of faith (most here have made that profession of faith) but then he goes on later to deny Jesus. He stumbled and fell but it was this faith and to keep on following not turn back that was the difference for him. 2) Follow Jesus; You may stumble and fall but keep on following, Jesus can only make you into what he wants of you when you keep on following despite your failures. This is the picture in Peter, that God can renew and make something great of flawed people who trust him, that keep on following. The worst thing that can happen is because you know you’ve messed up that you don’t come back to church, stop spending time with friends who love Jesus stop reading you bible basically stop having a relationship with Jesus. You will go from bad to worse if you do that. Keep following Jesus even when you fail- Jesus first words to Peter where “Come follow me Mark 1: 7” and his last words to him personally were “You must follow me Jn 21: 22”. We need to be willing to follow Jesus even when we fail.
Point 3 Jesus resurrection is the difference- Peter on the other side of the cross
Peter is ready to go back to fishing, he’s messed up doesn’t feel he is worthy, he has let himself down and Jesus. But then Jesus appears to him echoing what happened in a previous encounter he tells them to cast the net the other side and they catch a huge amount Peter recognizes who it is and jumps off the boat swimming to meet him (not walking on water this time). Jesus is making fish and toast for them and takes peter for a walk and asks him 3 times if he loves him this kind of undoes the 3 denials if you will and Peter is like you know my heart Lord I do and Jesus reinstates him to his ministry role by telling to feed and look after His sheep. What grace, Jesus and his life death and resurrection are still as much the difference for you now that you’re a Christian and have messed just as much if not more as when you first came to him to make you profession and receive forgiveness, don’t stop now. It is in the pursuit of God that his purpose can be fulfilled in us (that’s one of my own and you can use it).
Jesus the only really perfect one.
Its interesting to note that Peter and Jesus trials are running concurrently at the time of this passage recounts, but with very different results. Peter who is a type of you and I, and Jesus as truly the only perfect one who passed his trial. My prayer is that firstly you recognise that you’re not perfect you mess up, you sin. Why this is necessary is because there are some that fancy themselves blameless these kinds of people are in danger of self righteousness and believing that how good they are will be the measure to which they stay right with God. But when we get to the place were we recognize that we mess up and that we can’t rely on our own effort to be made and kept right with God, that is when we turn to the only perfect and righteous one Jesus to be our righteous. Our faith is based on him so there’s no place for self righteousness and it also means that when we stumble then, we don’t fall away.
Remember your transformation isn’t complete. What transformation, the one where Jesus is going to make you who he wants you to be. You have been declared righteous and blameless before God because you are in Christ and despite when you mess up, so keep following him pursuing him and his purpose will be fulfilled in you. Don’t give up and don’t fall away otherwise you can never be redeemed and you purpose never fulfilled.
Remember God’s character when you mess up and remember he is faithful even when we are not. Have faith in Him, follow him even when you mess up knowing that Christ’s life death and resurrection are always your hope throughout your days.