Creflo Dollar - The Purpose of Suffering - Part 2
Let's go to Luke 22. Let's get started. Luke 22:31 through 33 in the NLT. Let's look at Peter's trial and let's look at the trial of faith that Peter had. Luke chapter 22, verse 31 through 33. All right, now watch this, 31 through 33. "Simon, Simon," Jesus is speaking here, "Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat". Now watch this. "But I have pleaded in prayer for you". All right, who is praying for Simon? Say it again. Jesus. "I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail". So what was Jesus praying about Simon? Come on, what? "That your faith fail not".
"So when you have repented and turned to me again", so he says, "I pray that your faith fail not so when you repent it or when you've changed your mind", so there's something he needs a change of mind about, "When you've changed your mind and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers". Verse 33, "And Peter said, 'Lord,'" check this out, "'I'" Be careful when that word I is used. "'I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you'". And Jesus goes on to say, he told him, he was like, "Look, dude. Let me tell you, before", Is that in verse 34? "Jesus said, 'Peter, let me tell you something, boy. Hey, check it out. I know you sound good. It sound good. It sounds noble.' He says, 'But before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.'"
All right, now let me ask you some questions. Think about this. Did Peter's faith fail? I'm glad you stayed quiet. Now, traditionally we would immediately say what? His faith failed. Listen to me now. Did he deny his Lord? Yeah. Yeah, he denied his Lord, but if it be said that his faith failed, then Jesus's prayer for him was not answered. Is that even possible for Jesus to pray a prayer and it not be answered? No. You just read. "Simon, Satan's desire is to sift all y'all like wheat, but I'm going to pray to the Father that your faith will not fail". So I can't accept the fact that Jesus prays prayers that are not answered. There's not one time that Jesus prayed and didn't get exactly. What did prayer means? The example for us for prayer. How is his prayer not answered? If his faith failed, then Jesus's prayer wasn't answered. So what have we missed? 'Cause I'm going to tell you right now it wasn't his faith that failed. I mean, that's not possible.
So how then could this be understood? Was it in faith that Peter made his boasting profession of faithfulness? Did he say that in faith? It seems not when you look at Mark chapter 14, verse 29 through 31 in the NLT. Go there. Mark chapter 14. So we're rightly dividing it right now. Mark chapter 14, verse 29 through 31. Was it in faith that Peter made his boasting profession of faith? Huh-uh. "I will do this, and I'm prepared to do that, and I'm", sounds like another guy I read about in Isaiah 14. It wasn't in faith that he said that 'cause it was about what he could do. All right, now watch this, verse 29 through 31 NLT. "Peter said to him, 'Even if everyone else deserts you,'" watch this, '"I never will.'" 30: "Jesus replied, 'I tell you the truth, Peter. This very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.'" Response, verse 31, "'No,' Peter declared emphatically".
This is Jesus. If anybody knows what you're getting ready to do in the morning, he does. "'No,' Peter declares emphatically. 'Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you.' And all the others vowed the same". Peter's words were filled with self-confidence. Follow me carefully now. Peter's failure then was of self and not of his faith in God. In fact, his faith in God is what got him to change his mind, to repent. His faith didn't fail. The failure was of self. Through his failure, Peter learned his own weakness and his own inability to carry out his own resolve. So this is the first essential for dependence upon God. Out of this experience, although it was very painful and disgraceful, Peter emerged with a deeper sense of need of his Lord and greater faith in him. What he declared, "I," I was confidence in self. It was not confidence in God. He still had faith in God.
That's what got him to change his mind and said, "You know what? I probably need to have no confidence in me and I need to have more confidence in God's ability". Are y'all seeing this now? So before Peter's fall, Peter had faith in Jesus as the Son of the living God, but his faith was mixed with much confidence in self. So by the trial of his faith, by that trial, that was a trial, what that he went through. Imagine him denying he even knew him. First of all, I know it condemned him big time. I know he had big time problem with it, but then he did this in front of other people. I'm sure they had some stuff to say about, and I'm sure they did. "We saw you with him, and you do", so he went through some trials right there. So by the trial of his faith, confidence in self was burned out and his faith in the Son of God included dependence upon him for his daily life.
So if that whole situation were to happen again and Jesus is telling him something, he would say, "Well, I depend on God," instead of having confidence in self. In permitting Peter to fail because of confidence in self, grace taught him to depend wholly upon God. You can see your life in pieces of what Peter went through. So with all believers, failure of the flesh may be God's way or God's means to bring about a greater dependence upon him that grows into an even rich spiritual life, especially when you have confidence in you. Confidence in you places an order for a trial to burn out that impurity to increase your spiritual life to a place where you can depend on God and not on you. I got about ten people that got it. The rest of you, download this and listen to it again until you get it. Failures due to dependence upon self. Failures due to dependence upon self.
Now that you're hearing this, pay attention to when you depend on yourself and then it fails or you depend on yourself and it happen, but then all hell broke loose. I'm teaching this because I want you to know immediately what to go to. It's like a car that's broke. I want you to know it, when you let the hood up, immediately what to go to, what the problem is. And it's not the devil all the time. "This is the devil". No. No. We have impure dependence on self that needs to be burned off. "So I have to order a trial to get this off of you because you're not going to be able to do what I called you to do depending on self. You got too much confidence in yourself, too much confidence in your degree, too much confidence in your education, too much confidence in who you know, too much confidence in how much money you got. You got too much confidence. Your confidence needs to be in me".
Failures due to dependence upon self should be stepping stones to deeper spiritual experiences. Those failures should be stepping stones. They should be steps that bring you to a place of more maturity. You should be getting matured by stuff you're going through. I don't get it. You're trying to be a Christian without the Word. What's that? "I'm saved," and you won't grow. "I'm saved," and you won't go to feeding time. "I'm saved". You won't judge yourself. "I'm saved". You're not maturing. We have to mature. We can't stay 20-year-old babies 'cause do you know what 20-year-old, you know what a 20-year-old Christian looks like? The flesh. Twenty-year-old Christians are selfish. They are dependent upon themselves, and they're only concerned about what makes them happy, and they play Christian games and talk Christian talk and memorize the Scriptures for the benefit of manipulating others.
Aren't you tired of that? Look around. You can hard trust nobody 'cause you're like, "You know, I'm saved". And now in your head you're like, "Yeah, what kind of saved are you"? How do you have to ask that question? Because, I mean, it's pretty obvious. You've seen saved people operate in the flesh, and you're like, "What kind of saved are you? Do you grow? Do you come to church"? Most people talk about coming to church. They can't ever figure out how important it is to, you know, get on that stream if you're not here or come here. It's vital. It's vital to your life. The devil is trying to kill you. He's trying to kill you. He wants to destroy you, but if you ever find out who you are and if you ever find out who you're connected to, and if you ever come to the place where you know he is the vine and you are the branch, then no weapon in hell will be able to scare you.
You'll stand up in the boldness of the power of the Holy Ghost, and demons will flee from you, but you don't know who you are. You keep identifying yourself with how you behave instead of identifying yourself through the faith that Jesus has declared you. You are the righteousness of God. So Satan says, "They don't believe that. I'm going to have them to define themselves by their behavior". You got to believe you are who Jesus said you are first, and then your behavior will be changed and be in lined with what that, but you won't believe what he says. You want to go out and believe what everybody else say. "I won't go to no church". Fine. You've been doing what you've been wanting to do anyway. And that's why I'm saying it is your dependence upon yourself that continues to allow these trials to come, 'cause God is trying to burn that impurity off you and you won't let him, and after a while it's just like, "You know what? You choose life or death, blessings or cursings. You choose". "Yeah, but what about grace"? Grace can't make you do nothing you don't want to do. Do you understand that?
And the Bible says grace teaches us, but we don't want to let grace teach us. That's what the trials are about, grace teaching you. You could have just went on to hell, but grace is trying to teach you. You know the number of people end up dead and got the nerve to go to God and talking about, "Why are you here? Why I'm here? I don't understand what happened. You're supposed to be God"? He say, "Yeah, and you're supposed to be maturing. I told you five times not to go there".
Remember that story I used to tell about that guy in the boat, and he fell off the boat, and a boat came by to get him? Said, "Hey, can I help you? You want me to go get on boat"? "No, the Lord going to rescue me". He said, "You sure"? "Sure". Boat went on. The other boat came by. "Hey, I know you're glad I'm here. Come on". "No, the Lord going to rescue me". Said, "All right". Third boat came by. You're in trouble now... Man said, "I got you. Come on. Come on. You can get in the boat". "The Lord going to rescue me". "Man, get in the boat. Get in the boat. You're drowning". "No, the Lord going to rescue me". And he drowned. Praise God he was born again and got to heaven. Went to God and said, "Lord, I got a question. How come I died? You're God. How come you didn't, you know, rescue me"? God said, "Dear God, man. I sent three boats by. What else you want me to do"?
That describes a lot of Christians, so immature you can't even tell when the hand of God is moving in your life. The answer knocking at your door and you're still talking in tongues instead of getting up and opening the door. The hundred fold blessing on the salary has come, but you won't leave your job, and he had told you like ten times, "It's time to go. It's time to go. It's okay to go. It's time to go. Ready? It's time to go". "No, I made a commitment, and I'm going to keep it". Too immature to even had a conversation with God. God say, "Well, how in the world am I ever going to get this increase in you and you're still stuck there"? Why aren't y'all screaming and hallowing at stuff like I was at the beginning? What happened to, "I'm a soldier in the army of the Lord"?
Do you still have your war clothes on? No, because you're trying to figure out a way to poke holes through this to not understand that this is God's method of maturing you, and that is to get you into complete dependence on him. All trials aren't needed if you'll just learn how to walk in dependence on him, and he can begin to teach you how to do that. What is God trying to say to you? Where is God trying to bring you? Why is it always up and down, up and down? "Oh, I'm in God this week. Next week I'm not. Oh, I'm in the Word today. I don't understand it". Well, that's why, you know, one of the reasons you have a pastor. And I'm trying to break it down, teach it, doing all kinds of things that I freak out when I look at it, like, "I can't believe I did that. I can't believe I said that, you know". Anything to try to get you to understand it, but, oh, I had the wrong tie on.
"I ain't coming to church on 'cause I don't like that color of tie he had. The Lord told me when a preacher had this color of tie, don't trust him". See, I ain't even got time. Go on, brother. I will help you find another church. Go on. It's time for me to have another altar call for people who want to leave because there's somebody out there that'll help you, that'll love you, that'll teach you. The problem is not the different preachers you've had over the years. It's you. Think of that. It ain't even the devil. Some of y'all blame the devil. Devil be like, "Uh". 'Cause if you're going to give him credit, he's going to take all the credit you'll give him. It ain't the devil. You are a free moral agent. You can choose life or death. You can choose blessings or cursings. You can choose to depend on God or you can choose to declare your independence away from God. Something switched in the earth. Something switched in the atmosphere. Something's coming. You better hear me. Something coming just as sure as I stand here this morning.
It don't feel the same. The air don't even feel the same. There's a huge battle going on. Satan senses that his time is drawing near. And you know what I'm sensing as a Christian? Man, I'm getting stirred up. I'm ready. Here's what I mean by that. Here's what I mean by that. Let's do it, God. For everybody that ever doubted you, for everybody that thought they can live without you. Use this World Changes nation. Use them in the street. Use them on a job. Use them on airplanes. Use them when they're traveling, when they're walking in the park. Let the anointing come on them. Let them glow if you have to. Whatever you got to do to use these World Changers to make a mark that cannot be erased. Something's happening right now as we are seated, as we're here together right now. Something's happening right now in your life. Satan has had his claws on you for years, and now the angels of God are moving on our behalf, and you are about, some of you have already done it, don't even know it.
Bible says be careful when you entertain strangers because you could be entertaining angels and doing it unaware. The commission has been given out. There is about to be a move of God on this planet like you've never seen before, but we must mature. We got to be mature Christians. We can't be a bunch of babies that are deceived by the antichrist when he shows up and gets on television and tells us, when he says, "Peace. Peace". You got to be mature enough to say, "Whoa, that's prophecy". And he's training you right now. He's training you to believe everything that come on television. Everything the news say, you believe every bit of. You've been trained right now for Satan's use unless you make your mind up, "I'm not going to depend on me and the flesh. I'm going to depend on God. I have complete dependence upon God. I need to hear from God".
The Holy Spirit, the Bible says, will teach you and show you things in the future. He'll show you where to go and what to do. You're going to need the inside guide because there are going to be false prophets and antichrist, and some of them are going to be doing miracles, and you're going to be deceived by miracles. And you don't know that it's a spirit of darkness that's doing something because he knows that's how to blow an immature Christian's mind. But I don't care how many miracles. I've been in places where I've seen people do miracles and heal the sick, and I sat back there, and the Lord said, "They are not of me". But a whole bunch gravitated to them. "Oh, but they did this and did this".
I don't care what they did. God said they are not of him. The Holy Ghost will lead you and he will guide you, and you're going to need the Holy Ghost 'cause everything that look good ain't going to be good and everything that look bad ain't going to be bad. I have never seen. The entire world is being trained in deception for the antichrist to come and just blow all kinds of smoke in your ear and you just take it with no spiritual discernment at all, and then who have not agreed with you, if a trial comes on them, then you assume, "Well, see now. Look at them. How come that trial came on them and not me"? Because he's taking them to another level, and you're stuck because you don't want to go nowhere.
So when I look at people, when I see you going through some stuff and I see things happening in your life, I don't immediately assume its sin. You remember the John 9? "Who has sinned that this child was born blind, the mother or the father"? And Jesus said, "Neither one of them sinned, but that my work and my glory can be seen". And that's what he's doing with you. When people look at you and you're going through stuff, they say, "Oh, you must have did something wrong. Oh, you must have been sinning". No, that's not the case. God's getting ready to allow his glory to be seen through you and he's getting ready to do something awesome with you. He's getting ready to do something magnificent through you. Glory to God. Hallelujah. Don't be afraid of trouble. Learn how to trouble your trouble. Say it out loud, everybody here, "God's getting ready to use me".