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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - His Time With Jesus - Part 2

Allen Jackson - His Time With Jesus - Part 2

Allen Jackson - His Time With Jesus - Part 2
TOPICS: Lessons from Peter, Peter

It's good to be with you today. We're gonna continue our study on "Lessons from Peter". There's a lot of information in our New Testaments about Peter. We meet him as a young man, he has a fishing business, and he's recruited by an itinerant rabbi, Jesus from Nazareth. Peter doesn't understand it at that point, but his whole existence changed when he said yes to that invitation. He'll follow Jesus for three years, he'll follow him right up to the point of Jesus's arrest and his betrayal. He'll have a little bit of difficulty in that window, but following Jesus's resurrection, Peter gets an assignment of a lifetime, and he becomes an anchor, a significant portion of the Jesus story after the ascension back to heaven. It's an amazing model for you and me to be difference makers in this generation. Enjoy the lesson.

And he gives them a message in there. If you can pause just long enough to hear it, he said, "You've been chosen by God". Not because you always get the answers right, not because you always have the boldness you need when you should have it. God chose you in spite of who you are. Me too. In 1 Corinthians Paul said he chose the weak and the flawed and those who didn't come from very important families, he chose those that nobody else would choose, so that only God could get the glory. Makes me smile. I love it when people say, "Now where's your church? Murf...Murf...Murf...Murf... it's near Nashville". Yes it is.

And then Peter says that we've been sanctified by the work of the Spirit. To be sanctified is to be set apart. It's not your life anymore. To be a Christ follower means it isn't your life. The Bible says that to offer yourself as a living sacrifice. Folks, we haven't thought about this enough. Peter understands it. By the time he's an old man, he never goes back to being a fisherman. I mean, he may go fishing, but he never goes back to the business of fishing. He's been sanctified for the work of the Spirit, and then he talks about obedience to Jesus Christ.

Do you think Peter had had a lesson, do you think sitting around that fire on the shore of Galilee he was more interested in obedience to Jesus? And then he gives us the pathway. We've been sprinkled by his blood. That's a little blind to us but on the day of atonement, Yom Kippur once a year, the high priest, it was the most somber of all the days in the Jewish calendar when the sins of the people would be atoned for, and Jesus is the Passover lamb. And in the way that the high priest would go in and sprinkle the blood of the Passover lamb in the holy of holies, Jesus took his blood into the heavenly holy of holies to make atonement for our sins.

I'm not sure that day sitting on the shores of Galilee, Peter had emotionally caught up with that, but I'm absolutely confident, by the time that he wrote this letter, he said, "We have been sprinkled with that blood". Even if you have denied the Lord, even if you lacked the courage to stand next to your friend, even if you listen to the Romans give him a beating and you wouldn't do anything. Folks, we've been taught to go to church, we've been taught not to commit significant sin in public. We've been taught not to use profanity in polite company. I'm not sure we've been taught to honor the Lord with our best. We need some new training. He said, "You've been sprinkled with the blood of Jesus". And then he wraps the bow around it. He says, "Grace and peace are yours in abundance".

You know why he says that? Because he knows they've been his in abundance. Grace is the favor of God that you don't deserve. Peace is not the absence of conflict, peace is the confidence that God will intervene on your behalf. Grace and peace be yours in abundance. Folks, in all those places where you've denied the Lord, I wanna ask you not just to live through it, I don't want you just to leave it in the shadows of your past, I want you to get it out and bring it to the Lord and sit beside that fire. There wasn't enough room in your notes to put all this so you can check me later. It's the rest of that passage that we read a portion of, it's John 21.

Many of you know the story, Jesus looks at Peter and says, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me"? And he said, "Lord, you know I do". Then he said, "Feed my sheep". And he asked him a second time, "Simon, do you love me"? And he said, "Lord, you know I do. You know all things, you know I do". And he said, "Then feed my sheep". But he asked him a third time, once for each of the denials. "The third time he said to him, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?' And Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, and he said, 'Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you. And Jesus said, feed my sheep.'" Now we usually stop there. But Jesus didn't stop there. He said, "I tell you the truth".

Now you know your Bibles well enough by now, when you read that phrase right? Jesus is about to fry your mind. "Peter, I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself, and you went where you wanted but when you're old, you'll stretch out your hands and someone else will dress you, and lead you where you don't want to go". Now, we might not have known what to do with that. Culture, 2,000 years separate us, we haven't been around the fire and had all the discussions, but John doesn't leave us with there, he gives us a little bit of insight. The next verse says, "Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God". "Peter, they're gonna take your life from you too".

Remember the subtext for this whole conversation around this fireplace, this fire on the lake was Peter's responses or lack thereof on the night when Jesus was to suffer. And Peter is reinstated, there's a little beautiful little church we go visit on the shores of Galilee when we're there. It's a beautiful little place, it's where Peter was reinstated. But on the heels of that "Peter, do you love me"? Jesus said, "Peter, they're gonna take your life from you too".

I wanna talk to all these people that tell me Jesus only gave group hugs. We use that language 'cause we don't have the courage to face the Jesus that will tell the truth. We got to grow up a little bit, church. Now Peter's still very much in process, you got to love him. "Jesus said to him, 'follow me.' And Peter turned and saw that the disciples whom Jesus loved, John was following them. And when Peter saw him, he said, 'Lord, what about him?'" Jesus just told Peter, "We're good, but they're gonna take your life too". And Peter turns around and sees John, "Well, what about him"?

It gives all of us hope. And Jesus said, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you"? What did Jesus say, "That would be none of your stinking business, you follow me. That's your assignment". Now, I think those two experiences around the fire need to be a point of reflection for all of us this week, the places we haven't been, who we could or should have been for the Lord. And to recognize that it's not just a casual, well, I'm in a different place now. We've got to go back and repent, and renounce, and release, and be clean, and accept a new place in our relationship.

I've got a couple of minutes, I wanna give you one more scenario with Peter. Matthew 16. Jesus has taken the disciples up into the Golan Heights. Their base of operation is Capernaum on the northern end of the sea of Galilee, it's a hard climb, several days climb into the mountains to Caesarea Philippi. And when he gets there with the disciples, he said, "Who do people say that I am"? And the disciples all find a voice, and they give him all the answers. There wasn't any more uniform response then than there would be today. "Some say you're a prophet, and some say you're John the Baptist, and some say you're Elijah, and some say you're a teacher". And Jesus said, "Well, what about you"?

And folks, that is the question that your eternity will hinge on, every human being. What do you say about Jesus? And it's not about the church we attend or the denomination that we prefer, and what do you say about Jesus? And Peter answered, "Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'" "You're the Messiah, the Son of God". You go, yeah, duh! Are you willing to say that about Jesus? I don't mean a church, I don't mean if you're doing a private online test, I'm talking about when you're in public with your peer group, or at work, or at your holiday table with your family, are you willing to say that you believe Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God? It's important. Not as some creedal recitation.

You see, if you're willing to acknowledge that and to believe that, then the authority over your life has to change or we're foolish. If you believe Jesus is the Son of God and you won't submit to him as Lord, you are choosing destruction. But if you hedge your bets, "Well, he was a miracle worker, you know, he was a healer, he is a religious figure, he's a great teacher, he's a person of historical significance". It wasn't any easier for Peter. "You're the Messiah, the Son of the living God". And Jesus said, "You're blessed Simon, son of Jonah, this wasn't revealed to you by men, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you". Here we go again, truth bomb. "You are Peter, and on this rock I'll build my church. And the gates of Hades will not overcome it".

Just a brief aside, I don't think Peter is the rock, I think it's the truth that Jesus is the Son of God is the rock upon which the church is built. But there are some things in that passage that are noteworthy. What Peter had to say was revealed to him by the Father, wasn't the result that he did his lessons or his daily Bible reading, he had a revelation. We're gonna need God's revelation to grow up into what he created us for. It's not a revelation beyond scripture, it's a revelation to understand the scripture that is unfolding in front of you. There is such anxiety in the contemporary church about talking about current events.

How can you understand your faith if you don't let it be understood in the light of current events? It makes no sense, it's false. Peter had courage, he was willing to publicly identify the Messiah. The rest of the disciples were not quite there yet, they're finding their voice, they had an opportunity. And then Jesus, I love this. He's the author in Hebrews, he says, "He's the author, and the completer, and the finisher of our story". And he just wrote a new ending for Peter. He wrote a new chapter for Peter when we meet him his name is Simon, means a reed. When Jesus says now you're Peter, it means a rock. When Jesus found Peter, he could be easily swayed, is that a safe, by his emotions, what he felt, what he wanted. "If that's you walking on the water, I wanna walk. Whoa, it's windy out here, help me, Lord". But when Jesus leaves him, he's a rock. We'll look at that more in the next session.

Think of the statements Jesus made to Peter. You know, we think, oh, I want Jesus to do something. Careful, just whoa, big fella. Jesus also said to Peter, "Get behind me Satan, what you're thinking and saying has nothing to do with God". Jesus also woke Peter up and said, "Could you not pray with me for an hour"? Well, not really. Peter, why did you doubt? What caused you to doubt? See, we think of doubt as something abstract, some, like, theoretical something or other. Like when technology fails, I don't know, it's just in the cloud. When we doubt, what we are saying is I don't believe Jesus is enough. I don't believe he is who he said he was, I don't think he can do what he said he can do. Peter, why did you doubt?

Look at Revelation 2. "To the angel of the church in Pergamum, write," When the book of Revelation opens, Jesus is standing in the midst of his churches, he still is. In order to get the message of the book of Revelation, you had to be in one of the seven churches. The great threat at the opening in the book of Revelation is that your lampstand would be removed from the church. That the presence of the Lord would be removed. We need to live with a little higher awareness that Jesus is standing in the midst of his church.

Folks, when the church fails, and I don't mean this to be overly dramatic or melodramatic, and I certainly don't mean it to be about self-importance, but historically, when the church fails, people die. Usually in great numbers. When we fail to be salt and light, destruction comes. Jesus said in John 10, "I've come that you might have life and have it abundantly, but the thief comes to steal, to kill, and destroy". And we have not imagined that what we do in the name of the Lord was that significant. We've thought that the great power was someplace else.

But there's a message for this church and I want you to see it because there's a promise for you and me and "These are the words of Him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 'I know where you live, where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You didn't renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city. Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam. He taught people to eat food offered to idols to commit sexual immorality,'" gee, those things aren't happening anymore.

"Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore"! He's telling the church to repent. "Otherwise, I'll come to you and fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna and I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it". Did you know the Lord wants to write a new name for you? We may have been the reed that we're so easily moved by the wind, but Jesus wants to write a new name for you. I didn't wanna have an abstract conversation about Peter without putting that before you. Would you be willing to let Jesus write a new name?

Now caution, the new name comes with a position, with a place, with a responsibility, with an assignment. We're gonna look at that in the next session. In fact, I gave you a passage from 1 Peter 1 for the application. "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he's given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead". He gave us a new birth into a living hope. Remember when Jesus is being tortured to death, suffocating horribly on that Roman cross, Peter is observing that with the guilt and the shame of his failure. And on the morning of the resurrection, the women come and say, "We've been to the tomb and the the tomb is open, the stone's been rolled away, but the body's not there".

And Peter and John start running immediately for the tomb. You can believe that just to say Peter's gonna jump out of the boat a few days later. When the women say "The tomb's empty," they're running. And John outruns Peter but John stops on the outside. You know what Peter's gonna do, right? "Get out of my way," he just walks into the tomb. No body. When he sees a resurrected Lord, it changes his existence. The story's not done. My lack of courage isn't toxic, I have a future. So he's writing, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his great mercy, he's given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead".

Jesus risen from the dead gives hope to you and to me. That my failure and my shortcoming, and my lack of courage, and my double mindness, whatever, has been addressed into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade, kept in heaven for you. So I have a question. We're gonna close. Will you accept your new name, the new assignment which comes with it? Are you gonna choose to hold the pattern that has probably defined much of all of our religious journey? You just determined to ask God to bless your old name. For God to review your plan and add to it his momentum. For God to let your dream come true and your aspirations be fulfilled. I'm pretty sure that first day Jesus borrowed Peter's boat, Peter would've been happy if he'd have just said he would've increased the catch of fish by 20%.

Jesus had a different plan for Peter, and I'm pretty sure he has a different plan for every one of us. Doesn't mean we have to be preachers, thank God, but we're all ambassadors. We need the church to be the church. Lessons from Peter, folks, they're worth learning. You know, we'll see him one day. You sit around a fire with Peter, it's gonna be a little awkward until somebody breaks the ice. We have the great honor and privilege of bearing the name of Jesus. There is no other description of our lives that has any value or significance compared to that. No degree earned, no title held, no accomplishment that has been achieved.

I'm not opposed to any of those things, they just pale in comparison to being included in the kingdom of the living God because of our relationship with Jesus of Nazareth. And somehow we've managed to get that conflated with attending a church service, or all the other goofy things that we quibble about. I wanna give the Lord my best, and I wanna encourage you to do that. We won't get it always right. The Lord will tell us what our future looks like and we'll turn around and go, "Well, what about them"? Or he'll tell us the times are gonna get difficult and we say, "Not for me, the rest of them probably so but", and he will help us through all of our childlike behaviors.

But one day we're gonna see the Lord, and we will want to have done more than attended faithfully. We will want to have been his ambassadors in this generation. I brought you a prayer. We're gonna work on this some more in the next session. We're gonna go to the book of Acts and watch what happens to Peter. He's gonna look different. I'm gonna spoiler alert, it'll be different, some. Why don't you stand with me for this prayer? After we say amen, just hold your spot for a half a beat. I have a blessing that I would like to say over you. If you will, you can receive it, you have to choose. But it's worth just a half a beat, okay? Let's pray together:

Heavenly Father, You have called us and made full provision that we might participate in Your eternal kingdom. Give us the courage to follow Your direction, the humility to change, and the will to persevere. May we be found faithful in all You assign to us, in Jesus's name, amen.

And now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations, forever and ever, amen.

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