Dr. Rik B. Wadge, Ph.D.
Intro: On the most important night of his life—on the most important night in history—Peter, „the Rock,” sat alone in a dark corner weeping. This wasn’t common place for him. He was a strong self-reliant fisherman. He was bold! He was courageous! And now, he was completely undone. The Rock had been shattered.
Every great man or woman of God can point to a time of breaking in his or her life where a time of conflict, a time of pressure, or a time of decision transformed them from an ordinary piece of coal into a precious diamond, that is pliable in the master’s hand. Abraham; Isaac; Jacob; David; Solomon; the prophet Jonah; Job; The disciples…
Peter is one of those individuals who was broken. Let’s go back to the very beginning when Jesus called him…
The Appointing of the Twelve Apostles
13 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons. 16 These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
The name Simon is a Hebrew name which means: „to hear”
The name Peter is the surname which Jesus gave him after Peter’s great proclamation of the person of Christ. Peter means: „a stone, or a rock”
We’re going to look at Peter’s life, through the use of four choices in the life of Peter: Q: Are you….
1.Fishing or Following?
The Calling of the First Disciples
5 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, 2 he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 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.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled 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.
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Let me tell this same story in a different setting. You’re in business for yourself and sales are really down… you’re wondering where the next meal’s coming from. You’ve just put in an all nighter at the office.
You’re depressed, you’re worried, you’re concerned… and you’re exhausted.
Just before you gather up your briefcase, you turn to lock the door and at the last moment in comes a new client. He makes a business deal with you that turns everything around. He hands you a large sum of money… you’re instantly thinking of the bills you can pay, the food you can buy, the family obligations you can meet… you’re on top of the world!
Your head is spinning. And before you can even catch your breathe… the stranger asks you to walk away, and leave everything behind you. Would you?
What is the relationship with God worth to you? If someone offered you the winnings of the California state lottery, and all you had to do was walk away from Christ or walk away from His church would you?
Peter had a choice. He left the world’s security behind him and chose to walk with Christ. When we follow Christ… it’s a walk of faith. He commands us to follow. Peter did.
He left that boat, the net, the bankroll of fish and began a new fishing enterprise:
Peter and Co. Fishers of Men. “we catch ’em, God cleans ’em”
The choice was before him, and Peter chose Christ.
Just like Peter, God has called you to leave your nets and follow Him.
Brothers and sisters continue in your walk of faith, and God will never let you down.
Second question: Are you…
2.Influenced or Influencing?
Peter’s Confession of Christ
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
When Jesus asked the question what do others say. It was easy to give the rumours of the day.
But when Jesus personalized the question and asked “but who do you say that I am.”
It was Peter who spoke up.
It’s one thing to quote what others say about God.
It’s quite another to speak about God from your own personal experience.
It’s one thing to read about a great Christian’s conviction about God.
It’s quite another to speak from your own conviction about God.
Can you say with personal conviction that God is great, that God is strong, that God is loving, that God is faithful? Because He is!!!! Some of you can. You’ve seen God in motion in your life…
Peter watched God in motion, up-close and personal. Working miracles; Healing hearts, Touching lives…
Peter knew God. And Peter made the choice to be an influence to those around him.
So can you. God is in you… he’s created you for great things. To speak up for Christ, when no one else will. We have God’s power within us at all times.
1 John 4:4
4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
But, you know in life it’s not just the positive experiences that teach us about God. Sometimes we learn from our failures. And sometimes God uses these very failures
to break us, so that He can remake us, into who He wants us to be.
Question 3: Are you…
3.Fearful or Faithful?
Around the campfire.
55 But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”
57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.
58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”
“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.
59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” 60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.
What would you have done? If you were Peter… you’ve just been had. Would you try to get out of it?
Brothers and sisters, there will come a time when you’ll have to make a decision whether or not to stand up for Christ.
Peter blew it!!!! But, when people blow it how do we respond? The church is notorious for shooting it’s wounded. Many a great leader has felt the wrath of an unforgiving Christian. When your leaders blow it, how do you respond? Are you quick to bring criticism, or are you quick to bring restoration?
Peter denies Christ 3 times, and after the resurrection Christ offers Peter restoration 3 times.
Peter accepts, because Peter is a broken man!
Have you had a breaking experience in your life? Christ is here to offer you restoration, forgiveness, healing.
Question 4: Are you…
Passive or Powerful?
Peter Addresses the Crowd
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. ……….36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Simon went from being „one who hears” to Peter the one who does.
One who proclaims who Christ is with his life.
Peter led the church through a time of persecution.
Remember what James says about a religious person who just listens but never puts into practice what He hears.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
Peter is an example of how to respond to choices in the Christian life….
Peter’s also an example of God’s great ability to forgive our lack of faith and our many failures to follow.
We have choices to either:
Fish or Follow.
To be Influenced or to Influence
To be fearful or faithful followers of Christ.
And to live passive or powerful Christian lives.
It’s our choice.
Bill Hybels, Who Are You (When No One’s Looking)
Every single day we make choices that show whether we are courageous or cowardly. We choose between the right thing and the convenient thing, sticking to a conviction or caving in for the sake of comfort, greed or approval. We choose either to take a carefully thought-out risk or to crawl into a shrinking shell of safety, security and inactivity. We choose either to believe in God and trust him, even when we do not always understand his ways, or to second-guess him and cower in the corners of doubt and fear.
The Christian who has been revived by the Holy Spirit of God will be the one who follows in spite of the masses; He influences in spite of those around him; He’s faithful in spite of public opinion; He’s powerful in spite of the lukewarm standards.
I ask that you would stand where you are if you sense that Christ is asking you to take a stand for Him today.