Monday, October 17, 2011

FEARLESS: PETER

Peter grew in fearlessness by experiencing a series of victories and failures

One of the greatest victories of my youth ministry life was this summer at Houseboat Camp.  There is a skit competition and the best skit wins a coveted prize, "The Golden Ski" (It's not really golden). The winning team gets to hoist the ski aloft and rejoice in the VICTORY!!!  The Apostle Peter also experienced great victory in his life.  His is one of the greatest stories in the Bible of turnaround, redemption, and freedom.  To help us understand how he became such a victorious leader of the Church let's look at some of his victories and failures. 

1. Victory #1 Calling Jesus the Messiah (Christ) (Mark 8:27-29)
"Jesus went out, along with His disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way He questioned His disciples, saying to them, "Who do people say that I am?" They told Him, saying, "John the Baptist; and others {say} Elijah; but others, one of the prophets." And He {continued} by questioning them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered and *said to Him, "You are the Christ." 

2. Failure #1: Walking on water and Falling (Matthew 14:25-33)
"And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, "You are certainly God's Son!"

3. Failure #2: Denying he knew Jesus  (Matthew 26:69-75)
"Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, "You too were with Jesus the Galilean." But he denied {it} before them all, saying, "I do not know what you are talking about." When he had gone out to the gateway, another {servant-girl} saw him and *said to those who were there, "This man was with Jesus of Nazareth." And again he denied {it} with an oath, "I do not know the man." A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, "Surely you too are {one} of them; for even the way you talk gives you away." Then he began to curse and swear, "I do not know the man!" And immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, "Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly"
I can remember a time in my life when I hurt so deeply that I told God one day, "If this is how bad it is going to hurt, leave me alone I don't want anything to do with you!"  That is one of the worst and awful things I could have said in denying God.  I denied God like Peter .  Thankfully He did not listen to that request, and even that same day God used me to lead a teenager to Christ!  Just like Peter God did not abandon me even though we both denied Him.  God is good and as as Timothy 2:13 says, "If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself." Denying us would be like Him Denying Himself...He CANNOT do it!

4. Victory #2: Starting the Church
In Acts 2:23-24 Peter preached his first famous sermon that started the Church.  The conclusion of his sermon was pretty powerful!
"this Man (Jesus) delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.  "But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power." 
Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook almost by accident.  Since it's inception it has easily been the most successful social networking technology. Facebook currently has 500 million users worldwide 50% of those are daily users. Those numbers pale in comparison to those who call themselves Christians.  Those who currently call themselves Christians is nearly 2 billion worldwide! Eat your hear out Mark Zuckerberg!  With Peter's incredible final victory he preached a great sermon full of passion and on that day won 3,000 men to Christ (not including women and children!).  That day was a start of a worldwide movement that is 2 billion strong.  You and I have faced victories, and failures.  Let's take heart that God is controlling and ordaining all things even the "bad stuff" to work toward the glory of his matchless name! we are promised this in Romans 8:28 "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to {His} purpose." Rest in his great and glorious plan through victories and failures!
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