Real Man 1: Mr. Initiate (Mark 3:16)

Sunday, April 1st, 2012
Sermon Series: Mark

Real Men - Sermon Series
Sermon manuscript . . .

 

Real Man Peter–Mr. Initiate

Part 3 Real Men from Mark 3:16

 

Are you a real man?  I just received a quiz, which helps determine your “real man guyness quotient”.  Just write down the letter of the answer which best describes you . . . a, b, or c–ready?

Question #1  Alien beings from a highly advanced society visit Earth, and you are the first human they encounter.  As a token of intergalactic friendship, they present you with a small but incredibly sophisticated device that is capable of curing all disease, providing an infinite supply of clean energy, wiping out hunger and permanently eliminating violence all over the entire earth.  You decide to:

a.  present it to the President of the United States

b.  present it to the Secretary General of the United Nations

c.  take it apart to see how it works

Question #2  As you grow older, what lost quality of your youthful life do you miss the most?

a.  Innocence

b.  Idealism

c.  Cherry bombs

Question #3  When is it okay to kiss another male?

a.  When you wish to display simple and pure affection without regard for narrow-minded social conventions

b.  When he is the Pope (but not on the lips)

c.  When he’s your brother, and you are Al Pacino, and this is the only really sportsmanlike way to let him know that, for business reasons you have to have him killed

Question #4  In your opinion, the ideal pet is:

a.  A cat

b.  A dog

c.  A dog that eats cats

Question #5  What is the human race’s single greatest achievement?

a.  Democracy

b.  Air travel

c.  Remote control

Bonus Question:  One weekday morning your wife wakes up feeling ill and asks you to get your three children ready for school.  Your first question to her is:

a.  “Do they need anything to eat?”

b.  “They’re in school already?”

c.  “Are there really three of them?”

How do you score?  Give yourself one point for every time you picked answer “c.”  A strong guyness quotient would score at least 4 c’s on this test.  How did you do . . . 6—5—4–3?  Sadly, these questions actually expose the weaknesses of men, not a real man.  You see, Jesus Christ who created men has a better plan for men, and a lot of His design is actually discovered in the lives of the men He chose to be closest to Him–His twelve apostles described in Mark chapter 3.  Please open your Bibles to Mark 3, and take your outline to follow along.

At the beginning of Mark 3, the opposition to Jesus from the religious leaders has become murderous.  They are now plotting to kill Jesus.  So Christ moves His ministry outside the synagogues, by the Sea of Galilee, where the crowds have become so huge they actually become a danger to Christ.  It is at this crucial moment when Jesus picks His twelve men, who will share the load and continue His work after He is ascended.

Read aloud starting at verse 13, “And He went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. 14 And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach, 15 and to have authority to cast out the demons. 16 [And He appointed the twelve:].”  Notice, Jesus calls His men prayerfully, a whole night in prayer—sovereignly, He summoned whom He wanted.  He calls them relationally, to be with Him–and missionally, sends them to preach.

And He chose a team of men–a group made up of groups.  Each time the twelve are listed, there are three groups identified within the twelve.  Group one is Peter, James, Andrew and John.  Group two is Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas.  And group three is James, Thaddeus, Simon and Judas.  We know more about the men in group one, than in group three.  And the men in group one were closer to Christ than in group three.  There were no clones in the twelve.  They were all politically, economically, and personality different, yet God molded them into a team to change the world.

And today, we get to look at the first real man–the one with the foot-shaped mouth.  The Babe Ruth of the apostles–the one with the most homeruns and the most strikeouts.  First in every list, the leader, the initiator, the one who spoke first and thought about it later—my man who I can’t wait to meet, Simon Peter.  The end of verse 16 says, “Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter).”

What a man Peter was.  Peter’s leadership is seen throughout the first twelve chapters of Acts in an amazing way.  He’s the one who made the move to replace Judas with Matthias (Acts 1).  Peter was the preacher of boldness on the day of Pentecost where 3,000 souls were saved and the Church born (Acts 2).  Peter, along with John, healed a lame man (Acts 3).  He, along with John, spoke impressively to the Sanhedrin court (Acts 4).  He was the apostle who identified the hypocrisy of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5).  Peter was the one who rebuked Simon the magician (Acts 8).  He healed Aeneas, and raised Dorcas from the dead (Acts 9).  Peter took the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10).  And Peter wrote two marvelous epistles in which he repeated all the lessons Jesus taught him, thus passing them on to us.  Peter was the one who guided Mark in writing this gospel.  What a man Peter was–a real man, a godly man.

But how did he become that man?  Many of us are tempted to forget Peter was not always this amazing man of God.  I know many under-30’s look at older godly men or women and think they were always godly–it was easy for them.  Wrong!  They look at this great tree and forget it started out as a nut.  They look at the fruit of someone’s ministry and forget they were a seed, then a seedling, then a plant, then finally fruit.

Men and women, never forget–the growth of a godly man or woman is a long, painful process of planting, watering, growing, trimming, pruning, enduring attacks, fertilizing and more.  No man becomes a godly man without a long painful process of disciplined study and painful trials, suffering and heartache.  Real men know the growth of a godly man is a process that combines the truth of the Word of God, the community of the Church, the heat of trials and temptations, and the passing of time to forge a man or a woman of God.  And Peter was no exception.

So look with me at the three aspects of Peter’s development:  1 his innate created strengths, then 2 his shaping trials, and finally 3 his proven character as a man of God.  What was Peter at the beginning, before you see him being used of God to birth the Church and leading the charge in the book of Acts?  How did Peter become this great leader?  What does the Lord use to shape someone to be used of God in a mighty way?  The Lord uses three key ingredients to shape a man into a man of God, making Him a real man—His man.

#1  His Credentials–a real man’s created purpose

Where did Simon come from?  From a family of fishermen.  His fisherman father was named Jonah, or Bar Jonah after the prophet Jonah, who had some unique experience with fish.  His son Simon (our Peter) was also a fisherman, along with his brother Andrew, who is also a disciple of Christ.  They both were eventually centered in Capernaum.  Many of us, who’ve watched The Most Dangerous Catch, or some other commercial fishing venture, know that commercial fishermen are hard workers.

From the start, Peter was able to work hard and work long.  Real men know how to work, and know how to work hard.  This is part of our created purpose.  God gave the garden to Adam before the fall into sin, and in Genesis 2:15, God gave Adam the job of dressing and keeping that garden.  Adam was to work the ground and care for it, watch over it and guard that garden.  God created men to work before sin, before the fall.  In other words, work is not evil, no matter how you feel.  And it is required of real men to know how to work hard.

Proverbs 12:24, “The hand of the diligent will rule, but the slack hand will be put to forced labor.”  Proverbs 13:11, “Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, but the one who gathers by labor increases it.”  Proverbs 14:23, “In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”

Even after the fall into sin, when man was cursed, he was cursed at the very point of His responsibility to provide, was he not?  Women were cursed in childbirth, and men were cursed in provision, with the ground now more difficult to cultivate for food.  Men were now going to have to work very hard to provide.  The curse was a direct hit on the specific responsibility that God gave men and women.

Man’s specific responsibility was as a provider, and that’s right where the curse hit him, and now provision is difficult to obtain.  And women were cursed in their responsibility to have children and submit with the pain of childbearing and the struggle of submission.  It’s not easy, but it’s designed to cause us to depend on Christ in even greater ways.

Man is to be the hard-working provider, and if a man doesn’t provide according to 1 Timothy 5:8, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.  Throughout Scripture, the man is always the provider, just as Christ is the provider for His Church.  Real men work hard.  Single gals, never even look at a guy who doesn’t know how to work hard.  Like Adam, who knew God (had a Bible) and knew how to work (a shovel)–look for men to have both a Bible and a shovel.

And parents, stop doing so much for your kids they don’t know how to work hard, provide, earn a living.  And from the very beginning, we know Peter was a hard worker–he spent his nights fishing, and daytimes mending nets and selling fish.  And he was also a provider since we know Peter was married, because our Lord healed his mother-in-law in Mark 1:31.  And we know Peter later took his wife along on ministry trips.  First Corinthians 9:5 indicates they didn’t have children, or their children were already grown, we don’t know.  But we do know Peter’s brother Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist before he was a disciple of Christ.  And it was Andrew who said to Peter in John 1:14, “We have found the Messiah.”

In the gospels, Peter is mentioned the most frequently of the twelve.  He is part of the inner circle of the four disciples who were closest to the Lord.  He was involved in the most intimate events of the Lord’s earthly ministry, witnessing the Transfiguration, the raising of Jairus’s daughter from the dead, and a part of the special group pulled aside in the Garden of Gethsemane.  And when Matthew lists the apostles in Matthew 10:2a it says, “Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: the first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother.”

The word “first” in verse 2 is protos–it doesn’t refer to the first in a list, but speaks of “the chief”, the leader of the group.  Matthew clearly calls Peter the leader of the twelve.  Peter’s leadership was also evident in the way he normally acts as the spokesman for the entire group of twelve.  Peter is always in the foreground, taking the lead.  He is the initiator, and is naturally the dominant personality among this incredible group of ordinary men.

The Lord chose Peter to be the leader, since it was the Lord Jesus who created Peter, equipping Him by His sovereign design to become a leader.  Then, through His life and ministry, Christ Himself shaped and trained Peter to be the leader.  Real men know it is God who, before any of you were even born, has created you.  Then through the gracious Gospel, in time called you, and is now growing you in order to accomplish some specially chosen good works in this life for His glory and your joy.

Remember what God said of Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5?  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”  Ephesians 2:10 is equally pointed, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  What did Jesus design into Peter?  What were the qualities Peter was created with which Christ used to mold Him into His man?

First  A Commencer

Peter is the one who starts things, initiates direction, and drives action.  Peter was the one who made things happen–the commencer, the leader, the initiator.  In Matthew 16:13 to 16, Jesus asks, “’Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ 14 And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.’ 15 He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ 16 Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’”

The other disciples are still processing the question, “Who do you say?”  Like schoolboys, afraid to speak up and give the wrong answer, they remain silent.  But Peter is bold, decisive and takes the lead.  Obviously Peter had to retreat sometimes . . . take a step back . . . retract, or be rebuked, but he was always willing to grab an opportunity by the throat and go for it.

Again, Peter’s name is mentioned in the gospels more than any other name, except for Jesus.  No one speaks as often as Peter, and no one is spoken to by the Lord as often as Peter.  Like Babe Ruth, famous for home runs, yet also famous for strikeouts–no one hit more home runs and no one struck out more than Peter.

No disciple is so frequently rebuked by the Lord as Peter, and no disciple ever rebuked the Lord, except Peter.  No one else confessed Christ more boldly–yet no other disciple ever verbally denied Christ as publically as Peter did.  No one is praised by Christ the way Peter was.  Yet Peter was the only one Christ ever addressed as Satan—“Get behind me.”  You gotta love Peter being the initiator.  But with that, you gotta own the down side to being the driver.  Yet the Lord took that quality, and shaped an impulsive man and molded him into the dominant figure at the birth of the Church.  Peter was the initiator/the commencer.

And what was natural for Peter, must be supernatural for every Christian man.  God requires all men to initiate.  Face it friends, just like Jesus is equal to yet submits to God the Father, so husbands and wives are equal before God.  But men are to lead their wives in their role as head.

Read Ephesians 5:22-24, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.”

The husband is the head.  Paul is stating a fact–not could be, would be or should be the head, the husband is the head of the wife.  The only question is, are you like Christ as Head, or are you like the world’s sick concept of leadership?  In this context, the husband is to lead his wife, love his wife and link to his wife.  You are to sacrifice for her, serve her, cherish her, be responsible for her, provide for her and adore her.  Your commitment to her should make every secular woman who sees your marriage envious for what you have in your marriage.

And real men also accept the responsibility to disciple their children.  The Lord clearly directs the responsibility of parenting squarely on the shoulders of the fathers in Ephesians 6:4.  “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”  The context of Ephesians 6:1 to 4 makes it clear, parenting is first the responsibility of the father.  He must know his children’s hearts, provide, take the lead in setting an example, teaching and living the Word of God.  Fathers are faithfully involved in the church and serving others.  Real men take the lead–they make mistakes like Peter, but they continue to pursue their role as a responsible, servant leader.

Second  A Communicator

Not only did Peter declare to Jesus in Mark 8, “You are the Christ.”  But in John 6, when some of Christ’s followers were not walking with Him anymore (they left because Christ clearly declared to the crowd who He really was–God from heaven), and at that critical moment, with some sorrow, Jesus asked his twelve men, verse 67 to 69, “You do not want to go away also, do you? 68 Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. 69 We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”  What a spokesman.  No one made a greater pronouncement—yet no one inserted his foot in his mouth and chewed more than Peter.

Regarding our Lord’s death, in Mark 8:32, “As Jesus was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.’”  No one is more praised than Peter, yet no one is more rebuked than Peter.

Yet that didn’t stop Peter from asking questions.  Peter asked the Lord to explain a parable in Matthew 15.  “How often we should forgive?” in Matthew 18:21.  He asked about the withered fig tree in Mark 11. He asked about the future of John in John 21.  Peter initiated the question regarding the identification of the betrayer (Judas) in John 13.  He was always asking questions–that’s a leader.  Real men are disciples of Christ, and a true disciple is a learner–they love learning the Word of God, they get excited about hearing the Word and living the Word.

Now just because a man is surrounded by the Word of God doesn’t mean the Word is in Him, nor is passionate about living it.  Single gals, find a man who loves the Word, talks about the Word, applies the Word, and humbly asks others about the Word.  And wives, support your husbands in their efforts to become saturated in God’s Word.  You will be blessed as a result.  Peter loved learning and communicating the Word–do you?

Third  A Courageous Man

Remember when Christ described His betrayal?  Peter said in Mark 14:29, “Even though all may fall away, yet I will not.”  After the Lord told Peter he’d deny Him three times, Peter still said in Mark 14:31, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.”  Yet in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Roman soldiers came to arrest Jesus, the gospels tell us there was a great multitude of soldiers armed with swords and staves.  In all likelihood, there were hundreds of battle-ready soldiers surrounding them that night.

Can you see it?  Surrounded by hundreds of professional soldiers, Peter attacks them.  Without hesitating, Peter pulls out his sword and takes a swing at the head of Malchus, the servant of the High Priest, who was at the head of the procession.  Thankfully, Peter missed his head and cut off his ear, which the Lord immediately put back in front of everyone.  But what courage–Peter’s going to take on the entire cohort of six hundred.  Mark 14:47 says, “One of those who stood by drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear.”  But Jesus, in John 18:11, “said to Peter, ‘Put the sword into the sheath.’”

Even though he often failed, Peter was a man of courage, and all God’s men are men of courage, not because we don’t experience fear, but because we’re indwelt with the Spirit of God.  And Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”  It is this same Spirit who empowers us to stand for truth when everyone else is compromising–to speak up when all are silent, to sacrifice when everyone is selfish.

You have the Spirit of God–real men live dependent on God’s Word for wisdom, and God’s Spirit for empowerment.  God takes this raw material we see in Peter, and transforms Him into a mighty man of God.  But this comes through a lot of testing.

#2  His Crisis–a real man’s growth through trials

We love Peter so much, because we see so much of ourselves in his many failures.  It was the heat of these crises that burned off the dross of his many weaknesses, and cooked him into God’s man.  What were some of those great failures?

First  His Trials

It was Peter who would be singled out for a rebuke for sleeping in the Garden of Gethsemane.  In Mark 14:37, “And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?’”

Do you remember Peter’s attempt to walk on the water, reported in Matthew 14?  He began with a bold declaration of faith, but the swelling waves frightened him.  Rescuing him from sinking, Jesus rebuked him in verse 31, “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?”  It would be easy to criticize Peter’s lack of faith.  It’s true, Peter did sink–but remember where the other eleven men were?  They were still in the boat.

In the foot-washing episode in the Upper Room Peter protested, and Jesus again had to correct Peter’s perspective in John 13 from, “don’t you dare wash my feet” to “give me an entire bath.”  That is so like some of us–so “all in”.  Act first–think later.  We all feel the depth of Peter’s denial of the Lord.  Peter did deny the Lord three times, yet it was also because he was following so closely to Jesus–all the others had fled.  Much of Peter’s character was tied to his name.

Second  His Title

Notice Mark 3:16, “Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter).”  The verb “gave” is “to place upon,”–that is, He gave him an additional name to the one he already had.  Why did Jesus change Simon’s name to Peter?  In John 1:42, “Jesus said ‘You are Simon the son of Jonah, you shall be called Cephas [Aramaic], which is translated Peter.’”

John MacArthur writes:  “By nature, Simon tended to shift and vacillate, so the Lord changed his name to try to force Peter into thinking what He wanted him to become. He changed his name from Simon to Peter (Greek), or Cephas (Aramaic), which means ‘stone.’”  At first it must have been a contradiction calling “unstable” Simon the “stone,” but I’m sure every time Jesus called him by that name, he thought, “I better be firm–I must be a stone.”

I believe the Lord gave him his name to encourage him to become solid.  Every time the Lord would communicate to Peter, He could designate what He wanted to say to him by the name He used.  If He called him Peter (stone), he got one message–if He called him Simon, he got another.  And if He called him Simon Peter, still another message.

Even after his name was changed, he was still called Simon in two cases.  First, Simon was used to designate him in a secular way.  For example, “house of Simon” (Mark 1:29); “Simon’s wife’s mother” (Mark 1:30); Simon’s boat (Luke 5:3); Simon’s fishing partners (Luke 5:10); “Simon’s house” (Luke 4:38, Acts 10:17).  In other words, his secular identification was Simon.

Second, the name Simon was used when he was being reprimanded for sin.  When the Lord wanted to focus on his sinfulness, He called him Simon.  For example, in Luke 5:4 the Lord says, “’Simon, launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch.’”  They’d been fishing all night and didn’t catch anything.  You can just hear Peter mumbling, “This is ridiculous.  Does He think, we don’t know what we’re doing?  We’re the professionals, and He’s telling us how to fish?  Yeah, right!”  Then when Simon let down his nets, there were so many fish the nets broke and the boats began to sink.  It’s evident the Lord had unmasked Simon’s sin when Simon said to the Lord, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

Another example of Simon in his sinfulness is when he went back to his profession of fishing after Christ had specifically called him to preach.  The resurrected Jesus confronts him on the shore and asks him three times in John 21, “’Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’”  So Peter is seen as Simon in his sinful and secular identification–then as Peter in his spiritual identification.

In the gospel of John, Peter is called Simon Peter seventeen times.  Like my mother calling me by my middle name when I was in trouble—“Chris Charles, stop that!”  We did the same with our boys when they were in trouble, “Matthew John!  Mark Daniel!”  (Now all the time it’s, “Jean Ann…”).

John calls Peter “Simon Peter” probably because John knew Peter so well.  He knew him as always being in a flux somewhere between Simon and Peter.  In fact, the entire life of Peter can be outlined by his names–Simon, Simon Peter and Peter, thus showing his growth, how human Peter really was.  So what did God mold Peter into?

#3  His Character–a real man’s maturing in time

Character no longer matters in our culture–when presidents can do indecent acts in the White House, when presidential candidates can have three wives, character no longer matters in our culture.  But character desperately matters to all who follow Christ.  Marry a person without character, and your marriage will not last.  Partner with someone without character, and you lose everything.  Make someone without character your friend, and you’ll compromise.

We don’t like to wait, but the only way to prove true character is to wait–character is always proven in time.  Write this down—truth in time.  Singles, wait long enough to discover character–truth in time.  Friendships are proven over time.  Ministry is proven over time.  Peter’s character was proven over time.  He has credibility because we see what kind of man he became over time.  Turn to 1 Peter.

Simon became Peter, Mr. Rock Solid–his character was forged through the crises he faced.  Stubborn Peter would be molded into a model of submission.  First Peter 2:13, 18, 3:1, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution… 18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. 1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word.”

Sinful and foolish Peter would be molded into a model of self-control (from trying to cut off someone’s head, to patient self-control), 2 Peter 1:5 to 6, “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness.”

Senseless Peter would be molded into a model of suffering–Jesus told Peter he would be a martyr, so Peter asked about John.  How come he’s not going to die?  That’s not fair!  But later Peter says in 1 Peter 2:21 to 23, “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.”

Selfish Peter would be molded into a model of servanthood.  He fled–He denied Christ, yet Jesus told him to feed His sheep.  He learned to be a humble servant.  Rather than being dominated by his own pride, selfish agenda and self-importance, Peter would become a servant and sacrifice for others.  First Peter 5:5 to 6, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble.  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.”

God takes a man’s created credentials, puts them through crisis situations, and forges his character so that he can grow to become a mighty weapon of influence in the hand of God.  But let’s discuss that for a moment.  I have asked two of our elders to share their hearts concerning men being Peter-like leaders.  Welcome Rod and Robert.  I made them do this–they too are flawed men.

What does it mean to be a hard worker?

What does it mean to be a godly man at work?

What does it mean to spiritually lead your wife and children?

How do you work, shepherd your family, and serve at church?

Among many other lessons from the Holy Spirit, will you men . . .

1  Grow in your service to others

Leadership is first servanthood.  A bad servant never makes a good master.  Joshua learned leadership first by being a servant to Moses.  The greatest Christian leader is first a servant.

2  Work on initiating spiritual direction

Spiritual direction is not “do as I say”, but humble, “let’s do what Jesus says in His Word.”  It’s “follow me as I follow Christ.”  It’s setting spiritual direction for all those you love.

3  Accept the responsibility of biblical headship

If things are going wrong with your children, start praying, listen to your wife, get advice from godly men.  Don’t wait, be humble—ask.  If your marriage is off-center, then get help now, take the lead to do what is right.  If your finances are out-of-whack, then take the blame and get some help to establish a budget–be responsible.

4  Be aggressive about learning

Get deep in God’s Word, learn theology, get with men to work out sound doctrine in and through your life.  Learn how to answer the questions your children will ask you when they get older–don’t wait, be aggressive about learning God’s Word.  Join an RMG, a ministry, MOP, equipping classes, TC–go for it.

5  Embrace the reality that God uses imperfect men

Peter is such a great encouragement–the most rebuked is the most mightily used for God’s glory.  And even after being filled with God’s Spirit and being used mightily to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles, Peter still blew it later when Paul had to confront him about preferring the Jews in Galatians 2.  Though his weaknesses were curbed, they were not gone–but God used him anyway as he pursued Christ to the point of death.  If God can use Peter, He can use you and me.

6  Peter could not do anything without Christ and the Spirit

In salvation, you can’t–but Christ can in you.  In sanctification, you can’t–but the Spirit can through you.  It was Jesus Christ who was working through Peter.  But Peter also knew who Jesus was.  In order to be right with Christ, you have to say with Peter, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

You must cry out for help, come to an end of yourself, hate your sin, realize there is no hope for you except that Christ would mercifully forgive you, wash you internally and make you a totally new person–will you cry out to Christ today?  What Christ wants is all of you–He is not asking you to fix yourself up with a little Bible, fellowship and hard work.  Christ calls you to surrender–all of Him and none of you.

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ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.
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