John Gray - Just Like New
John chapter 21, John chapter 21, this is Jesus talking with Peter, after Jesus has been raised from the dead. So when they had eaten breakfast, amen to breakfast, amen, already I like this scripture. Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these"? More than the other disciples that are assembled. Peter said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you". He said, he said to Peter, "Feed my lambs". Jesus said to Peter again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me"? He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you".
And I okay, you know the rest. Jesus said to him, "You can really sing, Peter, that was good". No, he didn't. He said to him, "Tend my sheep". Jesus said to Peter the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me"? By this time, Peter was grieved, because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me"? Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you". Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep. Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish". This he spoke, signifying by what death Peter would glorify God. And when Jesus had spoken this, he said to him, "Follow me".
This scripture highlights one of the most beautiful essential characteristics and attributes of Jesus that often goes overlooked, because of so many other wonderful, marvelous, amazing, beautiful things that we know Jesus for. But in this moment, we see a reconnecting of a relationship that had been severed. Jesus, talking to Peter, bringing Peter back into right relationship after a breach had occurred.
I wanna ask you a question, and I want you to talk back to me, if you can. Have you ever done anything you wish you could take back? I know that we're in church, and maybe you're at home, or maybe you're listening via Sirius XM 128, but I wonder if anybody else other than me ever wishes they could get back that one thing that we did wrong. Maybe you had an argument, and the argument kept escalating, and then you went out of bounds, and you said something you shouldn't have, and you wished you could get those words back, but once they are gone, you cannot get them back. Is there anybody other than me that wishes they could get some of their words back? Maybe a family member, maybe there was some tension and drama because they were crazy. You said the wrong thing, and you wish you could get it back.
Peter was living in the regret of some words that he said that he couldn't get back, and there's nothing worse than living with the possibility of not being able to right one of your wrongs. But Jesus, in this moment, decided to teach Peter the most valuable lesson about the blood. The blood is not just for the great by and by, but the blood can restore, redeem, and even reset, right here, right now.
I wanna preach from the subject, just like new. Tell somebody, just like new. In the scripture that I just read, Jesus was speaking to Peter, and he asks Peter, three times, do you love me? And Peter was like, "You know I love you, you know I love you, hey, it's me. I been rolling with you for three years, I've been down with you, you know I love you". But Jesus was valid in asking Peter three times, do you love me? Because just a few days prior, Peter had denied Jesus, how many times? Three times. And this denial wasn't just a regular denial, it wasn't like it just came out of nowhere.
In fact, Jesus had prophesied that Peter would deny him three times. In the garden, as Jesus was getting ready to be arrested and betrayed, he said to the disciples, it's getting ready to go down around here, I just want y'all to be prepared. They're getting ready to come get me, I'm about to be put over into the hands of sinners, it's going down. Peter, being the loudest one, always, on a hundred, "Hey, I don't care how it goes down, I'm with you, I love you. If it goes down, I'm going with you. I love it when they call you big poppa, I love you! I roll with you"! Jesus was like, "Peter, just calm down, I know that you're passionate, I know you always like that". "No, get your hands off me, I love you, man, I love you, I love you, I love you. I love you"! He said, "Peter, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times". "You crazy, I ain't never gonna deny you"!
The Bible says that Peter said if I have to die or go to prison, I will. I will never deny you. Have you ever said something, and you were sure you meant it, until you didn't? To understand the passion of that moment, you've gotta go back to our first introduction to Peter as, you know, a disciple of note. In Matthew 16, Jesus is walking with his disciples, and Jesus asks, "Who do men say that i, the son of man, am"? I don't know if he sounded like that, but that's how he sounds in the movies. The disciples were like, some say Elijah, or one of the prophets. I'm just rolling with you 'cause I saw you turn water to wine, I was like, turn up!
Jesus then said, "But who do you say that I am"? Peter just blurted out the first thing that came to his spirit. "You're the Christ, the Son of the living God"! Jesus stopped and said, "Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my father in heaven, and I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it". Peter, out of the blue, gets the stunning revelation that Jesus is not merely a prophet sent to Israel, he is the unique Son of God, endued with power from on high, the unique Son of God whose blood can redeem the entire human race. Peter got the revelation, not James, not John, not bartholomew, not Matthew, not Zacchaeus, not none of them.
Peter, imagine the pride on Peter. Peter was like, hey, I got the revelation. Did you get it, no? I didn't think so, I got that revelation, I got that revelation, hey, hey, hey! Imagine the pride that comes with knowing you got a revelation that other people didn't get. Be careful, 'cause pride will creep in and make you think you're further along in your spiritual development than you really are. In Matthew 16:13, Peter got the revelation that Jesus is the Son of God. In Matthew 16 and 23, 10 verses later, these are the words that are recorded. Jesus saying to Peter, "Satan, get behind me".
Now, y'all didn't laugh yet, because you didn't catch it. You telling me, you get the greatest revelation in the history of mankind, and 10 verses later, the one that you just called the Son of God is now calling you a devil. What happened? Same Peter, but it's two different realities, because here's what you need to know. You can have great revelation from the Holy Ghost and not be in relationship with the Holy Ghost. There are a lot of people that come to church for many different reasons, and you can be in the presence of the God that you need change from, but never change.
I don't want to come here week in and week out, singing songs next to people that I'm just meeting, and then leaving here going back through the maze and cacophony of cars, sitting in traffic, for nothing to change. No, I didn't sacrifice a whole extra hour of sleep to get here not to get a breakthrough. I need to know that God is real, I need to know that I can encounter a living God, I need to know that this is not just a religious expression but an encounter in relationship. I need to know that the Jesus of the Bible is not just a man from history on ancient pages, but that he is real, and active, and alive, and Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. I need to know that Jesus can meet me at the point of my need. I need a real Jesus, I need a real encounter, because what's going on in my life, I need to be restored, just like new.
Somebody say, just like new. Peter, Peter had two realities. He had this great revelation, but then he still had a lot of flesh issues. Anybody in here, honest to say, you love God, but if I catch you outside, cause the truth is, we all know how to put on our religious masks in here. And there's nothing wrong with the reality of dual humanity. Because none of us are perfect. I'm gonna rewind, 'cause if you're ever gonna say amen in this sermon, that was the greatest place. I said, none of us are perfect. And the moment you get that revelation, maybe you'll have a little more grace for other people.
I ain't perfect, tell everyone, I ain't perfect. I'm not perfect. I, listen, I don't need help to do wrong. Can I get an amen, I got one, anybody? I don't need help to do wrong. If you cut me off in traffic, I may think the wrong thing. I won't say it, though, 'cause this is Texas, and they believe in the second amendment in Texas. I'm like, go right on ahead, you can have the whole road, bless your heart, 'cause I wanna live, I wanna get to the house. But the dual nature of all humanity is there's one moment when he has great revelation. Then he's right in his flesh.
The Bible says in Matthew 16:23, he tried to rebuke Jesus, and tell Jesus what he wasn't gonna do. And Jesus said, get your hands off me. I bind you, get behind me. You are mindful not of the things of God, but the things of man. And Peter didn't even realize what was going on. Because you can have passion and not have power. Peter was very passionate, but passion without process will produce pain. See, Jesus knew who Peter was, when he chose him. And he was willing to deal with the impetuous, you know, almost bipolar nature of Peter. He would go from these extreme highs to these extreme lows, but Jesus knew that if he just stayed with him, and invested in him, eventually he would produce a harvest of fruit. And not just regular fruit, but fruit that would remain.
See, this is the battle that we all must face, and this is the beauty of coming to Lakewood church, because there is a part of me that wants more of God, then my flesh says, I don't want nothing to do with God, and so there are times when I'm on fire, then there are times when I'm broken. Then there are times when I'm praying, and then there are other times, if I'm wondering if God even heard me when I pray. And then some days, I'm smiling. And other moments, I'm crying. And that doesn't make me a hypocrite, it makes me human. Peter is just like many of us. We've got two natures, and the thing you feed the longest is the one that is the strongest.
Peter found himself in that moment and now rushing back to what happened, where Jesus had to restore him. Peter had been walking with Jesus for three years. Then at the time of Jesus' crucifixion, Jesus said, "Peter, you are going to deny that you even know me". Peter was like, "Never, ha"! You ever said what you'd never do? Bible says, when they arrested Jesus, the disciples took off. All of them just scattered, like roaches, just left. The Bible says, Peter followed closely into the courtyard of the high priest, and he was warming himself by the fire. A little girl asked and said, "Hey, aren't you one of Jesus' followers"?
Now, keep in mind, Peter was real loud. "I said, I never, I'm never gonna deny you, I love you. Wherever you go, I'm with you"! The little girl was like, "Don't you know him"? He was like, "I never heard of him. I don't, I don't know who he is. Who are you talking about, I don't know him". "I'm from, I'm from, I'm from Katy, Texas, I don't even know what you're talking about". The Bible says, asked two more times. Peter swore he didn't know Jesus, and as soon as he got to the third one, the rooster crowed.
The Bible says, in one scripture, Jesus can you imagine robbing, having betrayed the Son of man, that you even knew him? And then he looks right at you? How his eyes pierce your soul. At his greatest moment of need, you deny that you even know him. How many of us have had opportunities to tell somebody we know Jesus, but we keep our mouths closed? How many of us have a safe theology that only allows us to talk about Jesus amongst those who we're familiar with, but the moment we get out there with unbelievers, we don't tell them a thing? How many of us have missed moments to share the Gospel when we knew something on the inside was telling us, that person's in trouble, you need to give them prayer, and you beat yourself up, you said, "But God, they might reject me, they might tell me I'm crazy". And then you know you were supposed to say something, and the moment passes?
The regret of missing a moment, the regret. Living in the land of what if. Man, that's a terrible place to live, the land of what if, what if I had done that differently? What if I could get that moment back? What if I had listened to my mama, and not started dating you? That land of what if! Some of you are like, he's talking about you, Herman, he's talking about you. The land of what if has a street called regret. How many of us have struggled with the unintended pain of regret? Regret is a cancer that eats away at your mind, it's an emotional and physical place of brokenness, where you try to replay the ending of a story you already know the ending to. There are no alternative endings, and so stop trying to relive, and wish you could get it back.
This is the power of Jesus, that even when we make mistakes, when we submit ourselves to Jesus, even our mistakes are a part of the all things working together for the good of them that love the Lord and are the call according to his purpose. I need to encourage somebody this afternoon, that God has not forgotten about you, and the mistakes that you have made can be redeemed, and are redeemed under the blood of the lamb. Somebody needs to get your joy back, because even the mistakes that you feel are beyond repair, Jesus knows how to come back and make it just like new.
When I was growing up, my mother had a lot of obligations financially, and so we had to make, you know, she had to make a dollar stretch. And so my mother, we couldn't always go to the mall. We would go to goodwill. I didn't know goodwill wasn't a regular store. Anybody else ever been to goodwill? Well, listen, goodwill has some ministry in there. If you didn't go to goodwill, garage sales. What is a, yeah, the garage sale, the yard sales. Any of y'all ever been to one of them yard sales? My mother would go in there, 13 dollars. She'd leave with a couch, two TVs. A fur coat, it wasn't real fur, but who cares? It was in there. You put the couch on top of the car, put some rope on there, like that was gonna help. You'd drive in the slow lane all the way home, with your arm out the window, holding. "Hold it, don't move"!
Now, I don't have strength, I'm nine years old. If the couch falls, my arm is going with it. I'm gonna just be a one-armed preacher named John, just in here. But the thing is, it might not be brand new, but it's new to us. I don't know who this is for, because some of y'all, life has thrown you away. But Jesus went, picked you up out of your circumstance and said, "There's value, here. Let me clean this off, let me take this in, let me restore them, let me speak life into them". And before you know it, he put you on display, and he said, "Come see what I did"!