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GET READY FOR THE RESET
“Peter & Follow Me”
As you probably know by now, we are getting ready for our series on Getting Ourselves Reset, and to get us there, throughout this month we’re looking at those within the Bible that encountered Jesus, and not only the reset He provided, but what those resets mean to our lives.
So far, we’ve looked at the Samaritan woman at the well, and Nathanael. Today, I like to look at Simon Peter, and Jesus’s calling upon his life. Now, while we have seen that the reset happened in the Samaritan woman at the time of her calling, and Nathanael when he followed Philip’s lead and met with Jesus, this is not always the case.
In these two instances, both experienced the reset when they realized and acknowledged Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, and then they followed. But it’s not in the “following” that the reset happens, it’s in the “belief.”
We see this in Thomas’s life, or who we know as “Doubting Thomas.” He was a follower of Jesus, one of the 12 disciples, but we don’t know much about him, with the one exception when he got reset.
After Jesus’s resurrection, He appeared to the disciples, but Thomas wasn’t there at the time. When they told him later he refused to believe. Eight days after that, Jesus again appeared, and Thomas was there, and Jesus told him to touch his wounds saying, “Stop doubting and believe.” (John 20:27 NIV)
And it is at this point that Thomas’s reset happened as He said, “My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28 NKJV)
Consider, Thomas had been following all these years, and the truth of Jesus as Lord and God was still not a reality to him, but now it was, and his reset took place.
This brings up a very powerful truth, and one we need to fully understand, and that is, Jesus’s call to follow isn’t when belief takes place. It is part of the process to get us there. For some it takes only a few minutes, while others, years. So, let’s not assume that because someone comes to or attends a church that they believe. And, on top of that, not everything is going to be honky-dory in our lives after the reset happens, but we’re going to have to go in for further, or follow-up adjustments.
This is the story of Peter, and one then that I would like to share with you today.
Out of all Jesus’s disciples, with maybe the exception of John, Peter is probably the most recognized. He’s actually mentioned over 150 times in the New Testament and is the central figure in the first 12 chapters of the book of Acts.
Peter, along with his brother, Andrew, were the first of the 12 to be called. After Jesus’s baptism and his 40 days in the wilderness where He was tempted by Satan, He came to the Sea of Galilee and seeing both Peter and his brother Andrew, He called them to follow.
“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19 NKJV)
And it says that they immediately left their nets and followed. And a few moments later we see Jesus making the same calling to James and John, the sons of Zebedee, and they were mending their nets, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed.
Now, the reason I mentioned these last two, whom Jesus called the “Sons of Thunder” is because Peter, James, and John were part of Jesus’s “inner three.” Jesus took them the Mount of Transfiguration where they saw Jesus glorified, and then Jesus took them further into the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of his arrest.
So, Peter was pretty close to Jesus, but he was also like a yo-yo, that is, up and down so many times in this relationship that it makes one’s head spin.
Like when Jesus came walking upon the water.
Jesus told the disciples to get into a boat and go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Something that isn’t that tough or difficult. But a storm came and was tossing the boat around like a dog’s chew toy. And then they saw Jesus walking towards them, and they were afraid thinking he was some kind of ghost or something. But Jesus said to them, “Hey, it’s me, don’t be afraid.”
Peter, as that natural leader and “nothing frightens me,” sort of personality, said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” (Matthew 14:28 NKJV). And Jesus said, “Come.” So out of the boat he goes and steps on the water. Now this is a real high point, I know it would have been for me. But then he got his eyes off Jesus and onto the wind and waves and fear entered his heart and he began to sink like a brick crying out, “Save me.” Obviously, the low point. One minute up on top of the water, the next underneath it.
And so, Jesus gently rebuked him saying, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:28 NKJV) Now I’m not in love those teachings that rip on Peter at this point, because personally, I don’t think any of us would have even gotten out of the boat, not without a life preserver.
And then there is the time when Peter told Jesus that while everyone else may desert Him, he would never desert Jesus, and when Jesus told Peter that Peter would indeed deny Him, he said, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” (Matthew 26:35 NKJV). And the rest chimed in the same.
But when they came to arrest Jesus, while Peter made an attempt to save Jesus by cutting of one of the temple guard’s ear, Jesus told him to put away his sword, and Peter then ran, like the rest. Now to his credit, he did follow, but now at a safe distance, and then before sunrise, he found himself denying that he even knew Jesus.
Well, I could go on with some more of these stories, in fact, I’m going to tell another in just a moment, but this sounds familiar. I’ve found myself over the years making similar statements and then wimping out in the end. Kind of like, “Been There, Done That,” and not only do I have the T-shirt, but now I’m going for the jacket.
Now, I shared with you two stories, one prior to the reset, and one afterwards. This does not bode well. And I’m going to talk about this a little later in our time together, but what I’d like to do is to look at the reset, and then how Peter remained Peter in spite of it, and honestly that’s not a good thing.
As Jesus and His disciple were on their way to Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked them, “Who do the people say that I am?” To which they replied John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. Then Jesus said, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter makes the declaration of a lifetime.
He said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16 NKJV)
And Jesus said to Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17 NKJV)
But Peter is Peter, and Peter remained Peter. And so after Peter’s declaration, and Jesus saying that only the Father could have revealed this truth, Jesus began to show them how he had to go to Jerusalem, suffer, die, but be raised on the third day. Now look at what Peter did, and said.
“Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!’” (Matthew 16:22 NKJV)
I kind of see Peter getting a big head at this point, thinking he was all that seeing how the Father God Himself revealed this secret to him and to him alone. It’s at these times when we think we’re God’s gift to everyone else that Satan comes on in and plays to our pride.
But Jesus was having none of it, and rebukes both he and Satan who was now using Peter to get to Jesus and stop God’s plan.
“Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23 NKJV)
I guess what I’m getting at in this teaching is that when we come to faith in Jesus Christ, when we get our lives reset, things aren’t going to go smoothly, and that’s because we now have an enemy that is out to destroy us and our testimony.
In fact, Jesus tells us that things are not going to be peaches and crème, but rather while we are still in this world, we will have trials and tribulations, but not to let them get us down, because He has overcome the world and hence Satan, and that He along with the Holy Spirit who is living inside of us are greater that Satan and all his demonic forces.
The fact is that we’re going continue to blow it like Peter, even after the reset, but look now at God’s grace and mercy being extended.
Prior to Peter’s denial of Jesus at His trial, in fact, it was at the Last Supper, and knowing of Peter’s soon to be low point of denying Him, Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32 NKJV)
And while Peter was distraught at his denial, he did return and became, basically, the leader of the disciples. Now, in the church today, what Peter did probably would have resulted in Peter being kick off the board. But remember, Jesus prayed for him.
After the resurrection, Jesus met them at the Sea of Galilee, and telling them to cast their net on the other side of the boat. And once again they caught a whole bunch of fish. It was at that point that Peter recognized that it was Jesus, and dived in and swam to shore.
Now came Peter’s restoration. Three times Jesus asked Peter if he love Him, probably to make up for the three times Peter denied him. And He called Peter each time to feed and tend those who would come and believe (John 21:1-22).
Now, there are several lessons from Peter’s Reset that I’d like to share
Trust God’s Plan
For this lesson I’d like to go back to when Peter took Jesus aside to rebuke Him, but instead Peter Himself needed some correction.
It says, “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.” (Matthew 16:21 NKJV)
And Peter basically said, “God forbid.” And Jesus had to set him straight, because as Jesus said, “For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23 NKJV)
In this walk of faith, there are going to be times when we don’t fully understand or comprehend the fullness of God’s plans. Peter didn’t know that Jesus had to die so that humanity can be made right with God.
And so, like Peter, we often say and act in a way that we somehow know better than God what is right. Here Peter felt that Jesus was making a mistake, and that this is not the way things should work, and thus he had a better way.
O, how this speaks to us. How often do we tell God how to do something? You see, we’ve got it all figured out, and if God would only listen, then it would all work out.
As I was thinking about this, the Scripture came to mind that says, “The Mighty One, God the Lord, has spoken.” (Psalm 50:1)
What got my attention is that the Lord God, the Creator of heaven and earth has spoken, so who am I then to question. Who am I to question what the Lord has revealed? Who am I to sit in judgment or question the nature and character of God?
Instead, the Bible tells us not to be rash or hasty in what we say, because God is in heaven and we’re on earth, therefore let our words be few (Ecclesiastes 5:2).
To Job the Lord said, “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.” (Job 38:2)
You see, God has to rebuke the real spirit behind these thoughts, and that is Satan, who is trying to prevent God’s plan and purpose to be worked out in our lives, and so God says to us, “Quit thinking in the natural and in the flesh and start to give Me the room to work it out in your life.”
Therefore, we need to fully trust in God’s will and way for our lives and have the confidence and believe. Remember what Jesus told to the father of the demon possess son who had been trying to heal his son through all these various ways and methods, and Jesus said, “If you only believe, all things are possible.” (Mark 9:23)
Walk by Faith
In speaking about heaven and our new bodies, the Apostle Paul said, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV)
This was something Peter learned there on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus came walking on the water. It says that Jesus told them not to be afraid that it was indeed Him, and not some ghost. And Peter said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” (Matthew 14:28 NKJV)
And Jesus said, “Come.”
Now look at what happened. “Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!’” (Matthew 14:29-30 NKJV)
He took his eyes off Jesus and placed them upon the circumstances that were happening around him, the wind and the waves, and he stopped walking by faith in Jesus and began walking based upon his sight.
Let me share with you something I heard at the leadership conference I just attended, and that is, we have to stop looking at the truth of our circumstances, and trusting in that truth, and start trusting in the truth of God and His word.
Living this life of faith isn’t always going to be smooth sailing. There will be troubles, challenges, and problems. Now, when we come to faith in Jesus, we’re a lot like Peter and spiritually we’re walking on that water.
Unfortunately, we’re also a lot like Peter and soon our attention gets diverted to everything else going on in our world, and Satan brings the wind and waves of fear against our lives, and we begin to sink, and all we’re doing is gasping for air.
Walking by faith means that no matter what happens in this life, we must never lose our faith. Though we might lose our house, health, finances, a loved one, marriages, and any number of other things, but we must not lose our faith.
But what I love about this story is that while we’re sinking beneath it all, we only need to cry out to Jesus, and He reaches down and pulls us back up. Yes, there’s a lesson to be learned and yes there will be a gentle rebuke, but we’re saved and back in the boat with our Savior and Lord.
Keep on Learning
Peter was a disciple of Christ. When facing the Sanhedrin and sharing the faith of Jesus it says, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13-14 NKJV)
Peter was constantly learning and wanting to learn more. Like how often is one to forgive. And then the time he sought to better understand Jesus’s parable that it’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles but what comes out of it. Or when he along with Andrew, James, and John asked what the sign will be that signals the end.
You see, the word disciple comes from the Greek word meaning a learner. By calling Peter and the rest to be His disciples, Jesus was calling them to be learners, and thus to obtain the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding to be preachers of the gospel message.
And the reason I says they needed to learn to be able to preach the gospel, as then we all should be is because it was after Jesus’s death, burial, resurrection and ascension that they were then called “Apostles, or those who are sent.
This is the Great Commission that Jesus gave to them at the end, and the Great Commission that He gives to us.
Look now at Peter. It was Peter who preached the very first sermon on the Day of Pentecost where 3000 people were saved and added to the Church. And it was Peter who boldly took a stand before the Sanhedrin and refused to stop preaching in Jesus’s name.
And so, we need to constantly be learning and growing in our faith. And what this means is that we need to have a humble and teachable spirit as we open God’s word, and through the study of God’s word in our various times together.
As I look then at Peter’s reset and how he still had to learn and grow, making mistakes yet still moving forward I thought about this new series of messages that we’re entering into beginning in November.
In fact, this is why we are doing this series on Resetting Your Life in three parts, because while we begin with the reset, God wants to ignite that reset into something greater, and then, because Satan wants to delete the reset, the Lord gives us that which we need to refuel and continue moving forward on this road of faith.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study