Steven Furtick - Yes You!
Most of all, Lord, we ask you to give us the faith to receive your grace in this moment. We believe it's already ours in the name of Jesus. Put it in the chat. Say it with your mouth. "It's already mine right now". Come on! Clap your hands like you know your Father left you some good gifts. I feel that pre-tour anointing. We're getting ready, man. By the time you see this, we'll probably already be in Atlanta. We're taking Elevation Church on the road this week. How many of you will pray for us at least once? Come on now. You can pray once. You pray over your french fries once. "Lord, bless these fried potatoes to the nourishment of my body".
That's a miracle. Just pray for us this week. We want to have a good time. I don't want any of them fighting on the buses. You know what I mean? I don't want Jenna and Jonsal having marriage problems when they get back from tour. "What happened to your marriage"? "We went out to lead worship". Are y'all sharing a bunk? You should talk to somebody. That would be a pretty good strategy: share a bunk. You know what I mean? You might get to cuddle. It's going to be amazing. For those of you who still want to come, there are still some tickets left. If you know somebody in the following areas, there's still time to tell them to come out. Atlanta, Tuesday, October 26; Nashville the next night; Tulsa; Fort Worth; Houston… That's going to be awesome, because when I'm in Atlanta Tuesday, I'm going to say, "Go Braves". When I'm in Houston, I'm going to say, "Go Astros," because I'm a hypocrite. I will pander. They won't even know I did it. I guess they will now, but I'm going to do it anyway. Fort Worth, Houston, Orlando, Sunrise, Jacksonville.
So, if you can make it… elevationnights.com. It's going to be game seven every night, the "world series" of worship. That's what we should call the tour: the world series of worship. But seriously, we're so excited. Pray for us. It's going to be amazing, absolutely amazing. Today, guess what? There is a word from the Lord for you in the house. I'd like you to say that by faith, and say, "There is a word from the Lord for me". Now look at somebody else and say, "There is a word". Put it in the chat. Why are you not putting it in the chat? Everybody in the room say it. I want every location. "There is a word". Look at your neighbor. You can't catch coronavirus looking at them. Y'all are so insulated. There is a word from the Lord for you! Yes, you! That's my title today. We're going deeper. We're going to pick up on last week. We're going deeper. This message is called Yes, You! Look at somebody else and say, "Yes, you". You may be seated. Yes, you. Did you get to hear the word from last week? He's nodding. He really heard it. That was the message. It was about the God nod, how God chooses you. Yes, you. Dirty you. Sorry. Beautiful you.
I want to affirm you today. But seriously, it took me back to… I'm going to be in Luke 5:1-11 to start with again. That won't be where we end, but we'll start there. The best sermon I think was ever preached here was the one Holly preached for the church anniversary. It was still before everybody was able to come back in the room fully and all of those things. You know, it was weird times. I usually come over with her when she preaches and listen to her do the sermon before she does it. Then I coach her afterward, but I've learned not to try to coach her to preach it like I would preach it, just to help her find the best… Yes, there have been tears during those coaching sessions. We have gone home in separate cars before after those coaching sessions. No, I'm just kidding. It's usually pretty good. When I came for that one… I don't even remember what she called the message, but I remember one part about it where she was standing in the pulpit looking so attractive and anointed. (They're not mutually exclusive.) She said in the middle of her message… She was preaching about Gideon and God calling him a warrior when he felt like a wimp. He had to become what God saw he already was. During the run-through, she said, "Yes, you". I couldn't take any more notes after she said that.
Have you ever been in church where it felt like God was speaking just to you? When she preached it, she said, "Put it in the chat: 'Yes, you.'" When she said that, I thought, "They can put it in the chat all they want, but that's my word. She's talking to me right now". I think what made it powerful was not only what she spoke but who spoke it, because I also know what it costs her to stand in front of our church and preach with such power. I go back to these outtakes in my mind of her telling me, "I'll never preach like so-and-so". "Oh, I know I should be able to be a leader, but I'm really not a leader like so-and-so". To see that woman… I'm not going to lie, y'all. It was kind of sexy and spiritual at the same time to see her up there going, "Yes, you". But I knew that for her to say that to the whole church, she had to first say it to herself. She had to push through all of these preferences and even push through what she considered to be her own personality to step out of her comfort zone and walk in her calling.
Yes, you. It hit me right in my heart. I struggle with the same thing, like I tell you all the time, and it was like we were just right there, and she was saying, "You are the one God has chosen to do the thing that God assigned for you to do. Yes, you". She just said it as one line. I'm going to make a whole sermon out of it today from Luke, chapter 5, verses 1-11. I want to read it again. If you come out to Elevation Nights, I might still be in Luke, chapter 5, because this is really good to me. Of course, we were noticing some things about the text last week, but let me just read it through briefly. "One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water's edge two boats…" How many boats? Oh, so he can get in either one he wants to, but he got in the one belonging to Simon.
Notice what it says. "…left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets". Mending their nets. Kind of like calling it a night. "We didn't catch anything. Oh, let's just get the nets ready. We'll go again. You know, get them next time, slugger. Good game". "He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon…" That's the phrase right there: the one belonging to Simon, whose name was changed later to Peter. So, if you're a little confused right now… You're like, "Wait a minute. I thought Jesus used Peter's boat". He did, but he's still Simon. We sing a song at church here a lot that says, "Way maker, miracle worker…" (We didn't write it. I wish we did. That's a good song.) It says, "Promise keeper". It lists all of these things God is. He's a way maker. He's a chain breaker. But I'm going to tell you what. We could write another verse on it. He's a name changer.
Something people have called you all your life, God will get down on the inside of you and show you that you're something else, something totally different. "Name changer, miracle worker…" I like it. Let's work it up. But he gave an instruction, and this is cool. Look at verse 4. It's what I was just describing when God speaks directly to you. "When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon…" That's the personal word. You have to listen for that. When the sermon ends, sometimes that's where God will speak the most to you. Jesus is teaching all of these deep things. "The kingdom of God is like a pearl. The kingdom of God is like… The kingdom of God is like…" Then he turns to Simon and says, "There's something I want you to do based on what you just heard". A lot of times, when I stop preaching, you stop listening, and that's where God would give you the breakthrough.
You have to listen really well, and be careful who you go to lunch with after I preach. They'll be talking about something so stupid and something so off subject. Sometimes you need to be like, "I need 15 minutes. I need 15 seconds". It doesn't even take God long. He's speaking. "The kingdom of God is like…" He sits down in the boat, he teaches the crowds, and then he turns to Simon, who will later be named Peter. He's already Peter, but he's still Simon. The process of discipleship is not God changing you into something else; it's him revealing who you've been all along. So, he tells Simon, "Hey, man, if you put out into the deep water and let down the nets, there's something down there. You can't see it, but I can". This is kind of freaky, because God sees things we don't see. Notice he didn't speak the fish into the water at that moment. He just knew they were already there. It wasn't about God putting something there that wasn't there. It was about him alerting Simon to what was there beneath the surface. That's how it is in your life.
There are things God is bringing forth. That's what God spoke to the earth. He said, "Bring forth vegetation. Bring forth". He didn't speak something that wasn't there to the earth; he brought forth what was in the earth all along. He's doing that in your life right now. He is bringing forth. Even the word parent is from the Latin which means to bring forth. Our job as parents is not to make our kids better versions of us; it's to partner with God in bringing forth the unique thing he put inside of them. If one more person tells me, "Abbey is going to be a preacher; I can tell…" You can't tell nothin'. She might be. She might be the president. I'm not going to limit her potential based on what I did up here. God has been bringing forth in your life lately some stuff you really didn't want to see. God has been bringing forth in your life lately some issues you didn't want to deal with, but he brings those things forth for a greater purpose. This is what we see with Simon. Are y'all with me so far? I'm just reading my Scripture, reviewing from last week.
There is a word from God for you…yes, you…right now. He goes, "Simon, if you'll do what I say, you can have what I see that you can't see". "Simon answered, 'Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.' When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled…" The word is nod, because their hands are full. Peter nods at John. "Hey, get over here and help me, man. I need some backup". By the way, some of us can only receive so much of what God wants to do because we don't have the right partners, or we don't have the right network, to use a little play on words. The nets were breaking. Well, you need more nets. "…their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink".
This is the surprising part of the text, and this is where I want to pick up. "When Simon Peter…" Which one? Both! The one he was before he met Jesus and the one he can be as he follows Jesus. Simon Peter. You thought that was a first name and a middle name. Nuh-uh! He's a name changer, a miracle worker. The miracle of it was that God saw the Peter in Simon even before Peter did. God sees the patient, kind, loving, joyful, free you before you even believe you exist. The surprising part of the text is that Simon Peter… They're both in the same boat. It kind of represents the flesh and the Spirit to me when I think about it. When he sees all the fish in his boat, you would think he'd be happy. "Oh, thank you, Jesus! PTL. [Praise emojis]". But he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man"! For he and all his companions were astonished at what God saw beneath the surface and brought forth to his boat. "[They were] astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John…" Nobody expected this. "…the sons of Zebedee, Simon's partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, 'Don't be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.'"
That's not what you want him to say. You want him to be like, "Don't be afraid, Peter. From now on, I'm going to go fishing with you every time, and I'm going to show you every spot. You're not going to have to fish all night and catch nothing anymore. You're going to have some five-minute fishing trips. I'm going to just tell you where to put down the nets, and Boom"! Because that's what we want God to do. Right? "No, Pastor Steven. I want God to take 15 years to fix my problem. No, Pastor Steven". I give Simon Peter credit for his self-awareness. Self-awareness is a wonderful thing. Self-awareness will save you from doing stupid things, but self-awareness, as you're about to see in this text, can only take you so far. Simon is aware of his sinfulness, but he is not yet aware of his "Peterness". (I'm making up a word just to make a point.) Simon says, "Go away from me, Lord; I'm a sinful man"! He's scared. You would be too. "How did you see that at the bottom of the ocean? We've been fishing here all night. We've been fishing our whole lives. You're a rabbi. You're a carpenter. You know more about the water than we do, and you've worked with wood your whole life. If you saw that beneath the surface, I wonder what you see in me".
Most of us are still scared of God. We are. That's why we pray fake. You use some words when you pray. I just never heard you use those words until I asked you to say the blessing. "Thouest mightiest God-est, I prayest that thouest would visiteth us in this momentest". What is this superlativeness? I never even heard your voice drop that low. "Almighty God…" You're a soprano! You're a bass. This fake prayer you pray. "God, I just want your glory, your glory, God! Your glory"! No, you don't. Not yet. You have to start where you are when you come to God. I praise Peter for his awareness of how Simon he still is. His first instinct was not, "That's right, Jesus. You picked the right boat this time, brother. I'll tell you what. This boat is going to carry you all around the… I'm going to take you places to preach. You picked the right boat, Jesus. You have the right captain". He said, "I'm a sinful man. You spoke about what was beneath the surface of the waters, but I don't want to let you too close. You might see what's beneath the surface of me".
I don't get to see the real you when I'm preaching. I see the surface, Sunday, sanctified you sitting in that seat. My preaching began to change when I realized I'm really preaching to two yous: Simon and Peter. The Peter you was praising God during worship. "You turn graves into gardens"! The Simon you will try to turn a garden into a grave and kill something God is growing in your life before it has the opportunity to manifest. This is why we spoke last week about the importance of knowing that both are in the boat. What attracted me to the text was not like, "Oh, pull up the nets and you'll have a catch. Pull up the nets and praise him and you'll get a promotion". You might, you might not. That's not what attracted me to the text for our study. It was the contrast. It was the contrast between Jesus, who knew everything and needed nothing, and Peter, who needed everything and knew nothing. He didn't know. He didn't know the fish were down there. He didn't know the power was in him to be a rock that God could build on as he took the gospel to Cornelius, which unleashed the Word of God into the Gentile world. He didn't know any of that in that moment, yet Peter was already in the boat. Purpose was already in the boat.
That preacher that was in Peter was in the same boat with Simon. You could spend your whole life playing "Simon says," like we said last week. Not "Simon says touch your nose. Simon says touch your ear. Simon says touch your head". My inner Simon tells me much worse stuff than that. You know, "Simon says cuss him out. Simon says don't call them back. Simon says don't try to do it; you're going to look stupid. Simon says give them a piece of your mind". We use excuses. Here's what we do. We say, "I'm just being me". You are being the me you have seen, but that's Simon. Simon doesn't get to say who you are. That's called immaturity, not self-awareness. I'm a fan of self-awareness. I think it's great if you brush your teeth. I think it's great to have people who will say, "Your zipper is down" or "You're talking too loud" or "You're talking too much". That's great. Self-awareness is amazing. It'll make you walk into a room and go, "You know what? I'm probably taking this the wrong way right now. They probably don't mean anything by it".
Self-awareness is a wonderful baseline. A lot of us don't really know ourselves. We're filled with prejudices, like Peter was when he was Simon when he thought it was only for the Jewish people, and he didn't know God wanted to use him as an instrument to the Gentiles. Yeah, you. The you you knew before Jesus showed up is not the only you you can be. Self-awareness will tell you about your proclivities. It'll tell you about your past. It'll tell you about your background. It'll tell you which way you lean. Self-awareness is an awesome baseline so you can know where you're starting, but it's a horrible ceiling to show you how far you can go. Now, this is what I put on a pink sweater to say today: you haven't really met you yet. No, no, no. That's not a golf clap line. You haven't really met you yet! Do you know why I'm clapping? I'm excited to meet the me God sees.
All right. Let's work on this. Turn to somebody and say, "Nice to meet you". But I understand as I'm meeting you, I'm really meeting two yous. I'm meeting the nice, polite you who just looked at me and said what the pastor said to say, but I understand if I get stuck behind you on 485 tomorrow in traffic, I might meet Simon. A lot of preachers' sermons are so plastic, so candy-coated. But we don't need to just preach to Peter. I have to talk to Simon, because you have to walk this out. They are both in the same boat, both in the same body. Pull out your phone. You have apps on there that can grow you in your faith. You have apps on there that can lead you off a cliff. Go to your contacts. You have contacts in there that can strengthen you in faith. You have Delilah in that phone somewhere who will cut your hair and leave you shaking and blind…yes, you do…in the same phone, in the same boat, in the same Steven.
Now let me tell you. This is how it works for me. It's not all this space for me either. It can be like… Before I came out here today, I was walking around the green room speaking in tongues, just wanting to get out here so badly. Three minutes later, I thought, "O God! I don't know". Before I could even get the microphone on, my batteries wanted to die. Not the batteries on the microphone…the batteries in me. But that doesn't cancel what God spoke. Peter (Simon) had enough sense to say, "Because you say so…" "It doesn't matter how I feel about it. I can go off your word". By the way, I want to tell you something. Jesus didn't need Peter's boat. That's why it was so powerful when Holly was talking to me and y'all were listening. She said, "Yes, you". Y'all were like, "Oh, that's my word," and I was like, "Oh, that's cute. That's my word". What I heard in that word was "He wants you".
That's hard for me to believe. People don't use you because they want you; they use you because they need you. I give Peter credit for his self-awareness. "I'm a sinful man". That's exactly what Jesus knew when he went to the cross. All that was in you… That's what he died for. He's going to take care of that in Jerusalem, but for now… I may say it this way on Elevation Nights tour this week. He stepped in. Grace got in the boat knowing. Jesus needed nothing, knew everything. He knew Peter would sleep in the garden of Gethsemane while he was over there praying like drops of blood. That's not how it is for us. We wouldn't let people close if only we had known what they were going to do. Simon Peter is like, "Jesus, go away. If I let you close, I will let you down". Jesus said, "Let down the nets". That wasn't the only "let down" in Peter's future. Jesus knew at the moment he got into Peter's boat that Peter would deny ever knowing him.
Why I praise God is he got in anyway, fully knowing what Peter thinks he's telling Jesus. "No, Jesus. You don't know. I'm a sinful man. You should get in John's boat. John will lean on your chest at the Last Supper. I'll cut off an ear. I'm a sinful man. I'm a crazy guy. Get away, Jesus. You don't want any of this, I promise you. My boat is good, but my heart isn't". Can I prove to you that Jesus didn't need Peter's boat? Because I know you don't believe me. You're like, "He totally needed the boat. The crowd was pressing. It says that in verse 1. He needed the amplification to be out on the water, because there was no microphone or battery pack. He totally needed Peter's boat". But I saw in Matthew 14 something. This is later in the ministry of Jesus. "Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake".
I know this might not feel good to say it, but say, "God doesn't need me". That set me free, man! When I thought he needed me, it felt like a burden to serve him. When I thought he needed me, I thought, "I'm letting him down. God needs me so much". Not really. He wants me. Ha-ha! Do you hear that, Devil? He wants me, Steven Furtick, Larry Steven Furtick Jr. He wants me! That is a revelation. Y'all, self-awareness can only get you so far. You need divine guidance. You need a God who spoke the sea into existence to show you where the fish are. You need a God who knit you together in your mother's womb. "Before you were born I formed you and set you apart". "Simon, I got in your boat knowing. I wasn't feeling my way around. I didn't eeny, meeny, miny, moe. I knew what was in your boat. I knew what was in your heart. I knew what was in your bloodline. I knew what was in your background. I knew what was in your temperament. I knew what was in you, and I got in because I wanted to".
When you can walk on the water, you don't really need a boat. It would be a much more effective way to preach if you were standing on top of the water versus sitting in the boat of the dude who didn't even catch anything five minutes earlier. He got in, and he sat down, and he said something. When Peter did what he said, Simon saw something that scared him to death. Now, I don't know if I've been explicit about this, so let me make sure I get my point across. He's still Simon, and he's already Peter. You already have it. "Go away from me. I'm a sinful man. I'm a petty person". Then we brag about it. "Oh, that's just how I am". Simon says, "Throw a fit". You throw a fit, because "That's just how I am". Simon says for you to isolate yourself and hide and just kind of set yourself over here because you're defective. "That's just how I am. That's just my lot. That's just the way it has always been. If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all". He's permanently Peter, temporarily Simon.
So, God brings the partners. God mends the nets. All of the things I talked to you about last week… Did you hear last week? God gives you the nod to say, "Yes, you. I'm going to mend your nets. I'm going to bring you partners. I'm going to show you where to fish. By the way, I'm not going to just show you how to catch more fish. I'm going to teach you to fish for something different. I'm going to teach you how to fish for what really matters". That's what you're going through right now. God is drawing out, bringing forth. God is parenting you. They say Jesus was teaching Peter, but really he was parenting Peter. He was bringing forth Peter. Peter means petros. Peter means rock. Peter means solid. And that's you…yes, you. Not John this time. I don't think Peter ever really understood this, though, because after Jesus rose from the dead, Peter looked back at John, who was kind of stalking them. John is kind of creepy, you know. He calls himself the one Jesus loved and stuff like that in the Scripture.
The Lord is telling Simon Peter… He's still both. You'd think you could come to this point in your life… I don't know. Maybe you've never thought this. "I'm going to come to a place where I'm going to be completely Peter, completely solid. 'On Christ the solid rock I stand.'" That would be wonderful. If you have the book that tells me how to always be Peter, would you please autograph it "Jesus" and hand it to me, and I will buy it? I'm so sick of fake people acting like they are never Simon. I wish I had five minutes to find your Simon, and then I could expose you in front of the whole eFam. But Jesus is so good to Peter. He said, "Don't be afraid. From now on…" He's already Peter, but if he stays stuck in Simon, he will never see Peter. Jesus sees Peter in every Simon. Yes, you. Jesus sees the Peter. Do you think he can see the fish at the bottom of the Lake of Gennesaret and he can't see the Peter at the bottom of you? But he's going to have to draw it out.
Peter looked back at John and said, "What about him"? And Jesus said to Peter, "What about him? You leave that to me. You must follow me. You…yes, you". Do you have a little thing in you that says, "Not me"? I do. Sometimes I'll hear somebody… Even another preacher will be saying, "You're more than a conqueror," and my inner Simon is like, "Not you". I think that's a good place to start, because it puts you on your knees, like Peter at Jesus' feet, which is something God can use, but I think it's a bad place to stop. The Lord gave me a message today to preach to somebody who feels stuck where you started, stuck in Simon. "I'm a sinful man". You are, but he died for you. That's what you were. Now you're a saint, a holy saint. You still have some patterns. That's called the flesh.
Simon never leaves. You just have to tell him where to sit. I'm glad I learned this. I thought if I had doubt in the car I couldn't go anywhere. I found out you can have doubt in the car, just don't let it drive. I'm confiscating your driver's license. All of the lies you've been telling yourself, all of the limitations you've been telling yourself, all of the labels that have been given you, all the sinfulness that is keeping you from seeing… You can ride, Simon, but you can't drive. You can stay around, but you can't tell me how far to go. You can have a word, but not the last word. See, this is the season some of us have been in. We've been stuck where we started, but God said something very powerful to me. He said, "Remind them: you're not stuck where you started; you're stuck where you stopped". "I'm a sinful man". But Jesus said, "Don't be afraid of what you were. That's what you were before I stepped into your boat, knowing exactly what you are, knowing exactly what you did, knowing exactly where you've been, knowing exactly what you're not". "I want the boat belonging to Simon. Yes, you! Stinky Simon. Yes, you"!
You're not stuck where you started. "I'm a sinful man". Yeah, but you are also the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. What happened on that cross was more than a physical act. It was a new name! You are only stuck where you stopped. "I just have to be me". Well, there's a new me I need to meet. Oh man! Peter has so much potential; Simon has so much baggage. Peter has so much purpose; Simon has so many problems. They're both in the same boat. So, all week I've been telling Simon, "Sit down. Peter needs to pilot this boat". That's what Jesus called him. It's Peter. Simon said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," and Jesus said, "Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, Simon son of John. I tell you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I'll build my church". Let's clap that he gave him a new name. All right. Y'all look in Matthew 16 later today. A minute later, Jesus said, "I have to go to Jerusalem. I'm going to need about three days for y'all to think everything went wrong, and then I'm going to get up out of the ground". Peter said, "Never, Lord. This isn't going to happen to you".
Jesus said something really weird. He has already called him Peter just a minute earlier. Then he looked at him and said, "Get behind me, Satan". "O God! We're going backward. This is the wrong direction. I started as Simon. Then I was Peter. Now I'm Satan? Lord, this is going the wrong way". You've been feeling like you've been going backward lately. Right? I'm speaking to somebody. Maybe not everybody, but somebody. "I feel like I've been going backward. O God, I'm feeling more tempted now. O God, I'm feeling like it's harder now. I'm feeling less sure. I'm feeling less certain. I don't know what to do. I used to know. I don't know anymore". You're not going backward. That's called the sifting. When Jesus got into Peter's boat, he not only knew there were fish in that spot where there weren't a little while ago. He knew about the sin that was in Simon. Simon is only speaking about the sin he knows about. Jesus knows the future ones you didn't even think to include on your résumé, and he still got in.
So, I want to take you for a moment to Passover night before Jesus goes to the cross to die for Simon and James and John and Judas and you too…yes, you. "See there, Preacher, I've been going to church since I was about 6 years old. My mama used to take me over there to the vacation Bible school. I'm not really one of these sinners". Have you ever heard of self-righteousness? That's a pretty good sin too. You can't see it on the surface, but if you let down the nets far enough, there's a Simon inside all of us. Don't let anybody make you feel inferior, like you can't praise God, like you can't worship God, like God can't use you. Don't you ever let them do that to you. At the moment you think Peter is so self-aware… He has seen miracles. He has seen blessings. He has seen healings. Jesus healed Peter's own mother-in-law. Did you know that?
That's why many scholars think Peter denied him. Okay. Just joking. Just checking you out. But he really did. He healed his mother-in-law. He saw him heal blind people by spitting on the ground and putting mud on their eyes. Other times, he'd seen Jesus just speak a word. Any way you put it, Peter had seen a lot, because God was drawing out what was there all along. This is a blessing of what God brings up out of you, but here's something I… I never quite saw it like this before until I was studying for this message called Yes, You! In Luke 22 (I didn't mean to do a whole series on Peter in one week, but that's apparently what we're doing today), Jesus looks at Simon, who has been named Peter but is still Simon, and says… Do you remember last week? "Simon, Simon". Twice is covenant. "Simon, Simon (who you were, your given name, who you were before I got into your boat)…" "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you". That means to tear apart, to separate the useful from the useless, to separate who were truly the followers of Jesus from those who were just the fans.
Now let's be Peter for a moment. Jesus says to you, "Simon, Simon…" First of all, you're like, "Who are you talking to? I'm Peter. Remember you told me…Cephas, Peter? Dwayne Johnson, the Rock"? He's still calling him Simon because he's still Simon. You're still flesh. Strong faith still has weak moments. He said, "Satan asked to sift all of you". He's talking about the cross. He's talking about the testing. He's talking about those crises of faith we all have. Do I really still believe God is with me? Will I really still follow even through the Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering? "He asked to sift all of you as wheat". Then I'm thinking, if I'm Peter, "And you told him no. Right"? "No. I didn't tell him no". But look at verse 32. This is beautiful. "But I prayed for you, Simon. I'm going to let you go through this season of sifting, but not alone. Just like I didn't leave your boat, I'm not going to leave you now. You're going to be sifted…all of you. But I prayed for your weak place, Simon".
It's one thing to pray for Peter, but how many thank God that you have a Savior who will pray for Simon? God said you needed to hear this. "I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail". But didn't it? Didn't Peter deny knowing Jesus three times? Didn't Peter look at the servant girl and say, "I don't even know what you're talking about; I'm not one of them"? "Yes, you". "Not me"! "Weren't you one of his followers"? "No! Not me, not me". He has gone from saying to Jesus, "Even if everybody denies you, I won't," to when they ask, "Weren't you following this guy"? saying, "No, not me". "Wasn't it your boat"? "No, it wasn't mine". Yet Jesus says, "I prayed that your faith would survive the sifting".
Receive this word. You will survive this sifting. I'm not playing with you. I'm prophesying to you. You will survive this sifting. God said, "I'm not going to stop it from happening. I'm going to allow it, but you will survive it". I feel like we should just praise God right now for what we're going to survive and who we're going to be on the other side. Jesus said, "After you have turned back, strengthen your brothers". God said, "Not only are you going to survive it; you're going to have strength to show for it, and I'm going to use it". Yes, Lord, I receive that. That's my word. That's just for you, Simon. I'm going to get testimonies for this for months after I preach it. "I'm the Simon you were talking to. I'm the shaky one. I was being sifted. The Devil was coming after my kids. The Devil was coming after my mind. The Devil was coming after everything I ever knew myself as. The Devil came after my career. The Devil came after my sleep. The Devil came after my sanity. The Devil came after my memories. The Devil came after everything I was carrying, and I survived the sifting".
This is the sifting, and if you survive the sifting, Simon, you can be Peter. You can stand flat-footed and know that the rain fell and the winds came and the streams rose, but the rock stayed solid, and God is faithful. I have to make it through this to find out who I really am. I have to make it through this to find out who my kids can be. I have to make it through this to set an example that you can survive the sifting and come out solid. You can survive the sifting and come out praising. You can survive the sifting. How else would God reveal Peter if he didn't sift Simon, even if he had to use the Enemy to do it? He who began a good work in you will be faithful. All I'm trying to say… If he got in the boat, he's not getting out. That's all I'm trying to say. "After you have survived the sifting, Simon…"
Do you know what's amazing? From the moment Jesus saw Peter's boat, he knew about everything Peter would go through, and even at the worst moment… Maybe this word isn't for you right now. Put it on standby. "I had a pretty good week. I ate clean this week". I don't care about this week. I'm telling you faith fluctuates. One more thing. Do you want this little teaching thing or do you want me to go on to Atlanta and give it to them? I have one more thing I want to show you. I want to be obedient to the Lord, and there was one thing he showed me that totally surprised me from 2 Peter 1. "Pastor Steven, why are you going to 2 Peter"? Because I want to show you what was in Simon even as he sat by the fire and denied Jesus. Now listen to Peter. Not 16-year-old Peter, not shaky Simon…senior citizen swag Peter. Come on, praise God like you're 83 and you already made it through all of your trials. Come on, praise him like you have a bad hip, but you limp like Jacob on into the promise.
A lot of people who walk with confidence… It looks like swag, but it's really a limp. When you've been through enough, you can say stuff like this. This is what God is doing in you and me. I want to make it really clear, because we're not just talking about boats and fish and nets and metaphors. I'm talking about character. I'm talking about you…yes, you. Not the stuff. They didn't even eat the fish they caught. They left it on the shore and followed Jesus. It wasn't about what was in the water; it was about what was in them. Here's Peter encouraging a struggling church in 2 Peter, this letter he wrote after he had been sifted as Simon and after he had stood solid as Peter. He goes, "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith…" How many have faith? I'm talking about even a little drippy-droppy fake, a little Boop! You have a "boop" faith.
If you have that much faith… Jesus said faith of a mustard seed size, on that scale, can move a mountain. Watch how it happens. This is the word. You're not stuck where you started, Simon; you're stuck where you stop. Judas hung himself. Peter preached on the day of Pentecost. It is still not decided yet what your life will accomplish. You have no idea. You don't know any more than Peter knew when he said, "Go away; I'm a sinful man". You don't know what's under your boat. You don't know what God is going to bring forth out of you in a future season. That's why the Enemy wants to kill you right now. But Jesus prayed for you, Simon. He prayed for Simon to bring forth Peter. Peter is looking back on it and says, "I want to encourage you. Make every effort to add…" You're not stuck where you started; you're stuck where you stopped. "Add to your faith…" Raise your hand if you need a little help with one of these. I'm going to list them. Goodness.
How many need a little more goodness? All of the negative people like me who see the glass not half full but want to slap in the face whoever spilled it. I don't see the glass half empty; I see it as spilled, and I want to know who did it. I can be very negative sometimes, but I need some goodness. Do you need that? It's in the water, but it has to be drawn out. He said you have the faith. If you have the faith, you can get the goodness. This is just the Bible. I didn't make this list up. "…and to goodness, knowledge…" How many of y'all did something stupid in the last six days since I last saw you in church? Something so stupid. I mean, so stupid you don't even want to think about it again. It's like, "Ah, trigger, trigger. I did something stupid". You can get smarter. You can read the book you bought that's still on your phone unopened. I want to show you this from the Bible. I'm not just making it up. I'm not a motivational speaker. I'm telling you what is in you by the Word of God, the implanted Word that's in you, but you have to draw it out. You have to let down the nets for a catch. It's down in you. You could get more knowledge. You need more knowledge.
How many need more knowledge? I don't even know what to believe anymore on the news or anything like that. I don't know what's true. I don't know who did it. I don't know who didn't do it. I don't know if they're about to do it. I don't know if Elon Musk is going to fly a car over my house and drop a chem trail. I don't know anything anymore. I don't know about any of it, but I need the knowledge. God said, "I'll put my Spirit in you, and I'll give you the knowledge". But it's beneath the surface, Simon. What else, Peter? Peter is talking so mature now. "…and to knowledge, self-control…" Is this Peter? What? You mean you could be so reckless… Peter just said everything he ever wanted to say when he was walking with Jesus, but watch this. You're not stuck where you started. Peter said, "I used to have no self-control. Jesus was praying on the Mount of Olives, and I was sleeping". "I ate the whole bag," Peter said. "I was just going to have one. I ate the whole bag".
Stop saying stuff like this, by the way. "Oh, I'm just not a morning person" or "I'm just not a night person," or whatever. They make caffeine for that, y'all. You can get up. Stop saying, "I'm a sinful man". That's where you started. That's not where it stops. I feel the Lord speaking to me about that thing I've been saying lately: "I'm not an author". I've been saying it again. It gets back in you. "I'm not an author. I can't write". I hear the Lord speaking to me: "It's not yours yet". You don't know it yet. You haven't done it yet. You haven't broken it yet. You haven't been consistent with it yet. But if you want to put your faith in the water, there's a Peter on the inside of Simon. I'm telling you, there's a Peter on the inside of Simon. I'm not a good dad yet. I can't keep a relationship together yet. He said, "I have some self-control". This would have meant nothing to me if John had said it. I would have said, "Yeah, you are one of those Enneagram Nines, or whatever it's called…the Peacemaker or whatever". But when Peter is talking about self-control, I'm like, "Okay. I could get some too".
Yeah, you can get some too. Just don't let the sifting kill you. Just don't stop here. Just don't say, "I'm a sinful man. Get out of the boat". Just let the grace of God keep working in your life. Can I say something to everybody in the room? Keep coming. You did good to come. You didn't come to church; you came to fish. As I speak right now, God is pulling promises you buried down deep to the surface. "…and to self-control, perseverance…" Every quitter in here who's hanging up your nets for the night… God said, "Drop them one more time". I don't care it didn't work five years ago. It's not five years ago now, and you're not 25. You're 30. At 30 you can do everything. Right? Just because the fish weren't there a minute ago doesn't mean they aren't now. "…and to perseverance, godliness…" Peter. Stay with it, Simon, because there is a Peter on the inside of you that Jesus died to bring forth.
Luke 22:54: "[They took Jesus away to] the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them". This is the moment I want you to see. While Peter was sitting by the fire denying Christ… That may have been you lately. I don't mean you deny believing in God; I mean you are denying his purpose in your life. You are denying what he spoke over you. You're not playing your part. You're not showing up. You're sitting by comfort, fire, waiting to see what's going to happen next. This was crazy to me. I thought the message was prepared, y'all. I came out to preach it. The Lord said, "Look one more time". Peter sat by the fire. A servant girl saw him and said, "This man was with him". "But he denied it. 'Woman, I don't know him…'" "Not me". Yes, you. A little later someone said, "You are one of them". Peter said, "Not me"! Has that been the posture of your heart? "I can't do it, God. I don't have that knowledge. I don't have that perseverance. I don't have that self-control. I'm stuck. Nobody showed me how".
A third time, a little later, another asserted, "Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean". "Peter replied, 'Man, I don't know what you're talking about!' Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed". This is what I saw. Verse 61: "The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter". What did he see? Peter…even as Simon sat by the fire. Even in your addiction, even in your mistake, even in your denial… He can't deny himself. If we are faithless, he is faithful. What did Jesus see when he looked at Simon sitting by the fire? He saw Acts, chapter 2, verse 14. I'm going to tell you exactly what Jesus sees in that moment he looks at Peter. He doesn't look at him… "What a failure. What a waste. I never should have saved him. I never should have given him a chance. I never should have put him there. I never saw that coming". Jesus looks at Peter by the fire in the courtyard outside the office of the high priest, and he sees the Peter in Simon.
Acts 2:14 says something amazing. "Then Peter stood up…" Only Jesus can look at Peter and see through the Simon sitting by the fire and see the Peter who will preach the first sermon on the day of Pentecost that will build the church. So I wonder. Will you stand up, Peter? I mean stand up, like, right now. I'm closing. See, when I finish speaking, sometimes that's when God starts talking. That's why I don't understand y'all who slip out when I'm doing this part of the message. It makes no sense to me. When I finish talking, that's when God starts, and he says, "That was your word. Yes, you. I'm going to use you to preach on the day of Pentecost, and I see it even while you're sitting by the fire".
God, this is a moment for you to bring forth out of broken nets amazing glory, amazing purpose, amazing grace. I have spoken today to the Simon, but you see the Peter. I thank you, Lord, that everybody under the sound of my voice right now is going to survive the sifting because you're praying for them, because you live to make intercession, because you are our Great High Priest, Jesus.
Just lift your hands right now and say, "I will survive the sifting. Not only that, but I'm going to get knowledge and self-control and perseverance. I went in Simon, and I'm coming out Peter, because God knows what's in me". Yes, me. Yes, you. I want you to claim it by faith right now. Say, "That word was for me". Now receive it.
I'm already chosen
I know who I am
I know what you've spoken
I'm already loved
More than I could imagine
And that is enough.
I know who I am
I know what you've spoken
I'm already loved
More than I could imagine
And that is enough.