“Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.” ~ Matthew 26:69-75
Father in Jesus name I thank You for Your Holy Spirit and the Bible. Thank You for these awesome treasures that are worth more than gold. Lord, teach me what You want me to learn through this. Holy Spirit open my eyes and ears to hear and do what You want to me do. Lord, quicken my spirit, revitalize my spiritual walk with You and draw me closer through grace. Lord, teach me thy ways to the point where I see the benefit of leaving my ways behind. I thank You for what You are about to do in this and my life in Jesus name! AMEN!
When it comes to living for Christ we tend to have problems in our walk, but powerful words in our talk. How is it possible to stay away from luke-warmness in my walk with God? By luke-warmness I mean a half committed commitment. How can I stay away from living a lifestyle that is seemingly real with God, but deep down on the inside, inwardly I know I am not what or who I profess I am? Is it even possible? So many times in life we tend to have choir rehearsal down pact, we have our Church attendance high, but when it comes to serving and being committed to Christ by our actions daily, we fail. It’s so easy to say “I am a Christian” but it’s so hard to live as a Christian. How is it possible? Can it be done? Will I ever have victory over this? These questions can come in our mind and sometimes even in our prayer life, but there is good news, God can answer all of those questions. Yes, it is possible, yes it can be done and yes you will have victory over “this” if you give more of yourself to God.
In the text Peter was face to face with one of the biggest tests of his life. Earlier, Christ told Peter that he would betray Him. (Matthew 26:34) Surely, this couldn’t be right, Peter walked with God Himself in the flesh, Jesus Christ for over three years. Peter was there when the water was turned into wine, Peter was there when the Pharisees and Scribes were confounded at the wisdom of God through Jesus, Peter was there when Jesus came walking on water and Peter was even the only one to step out of the boat and walk towards Jesus on the water. This couldn’t be possible, Peter deny Jesus? Yea right! However, it seems sometimes so hard to do the will of God. It’s so hard to obey. The Bible tells us earlier in this chapter that Peter was bragging about his commitment to God. (Matthew 26:33) The Bible says “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12) In other words, you shouldn’t boast about being super close to God or religious, because if you walk in pride and arrogance, you are bound to fall. The Bible tells us pride comes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18) and this is what Peter at the moment was exhibiting, pure pride.
Peter was now face to face with a test. After Jesus was dragged off only later to be crucified, Peter was standing beside a group of people and they sensed that he was one Jesus’ followers. What did he do? Certainly, he stood up and said “yes!” He didn’t, he denied Jesus Christ. It happened three times as God had spoken. How often do we deny Christ? You say “well, nobody ever asks if I am a Christian and I say no” but we deny Him in our tithes, we deny Him in our lifestyle, in our clothing that is inappropriate not only in Church but outside of it. We deny Christ in many ways; anyone can look over their life and see a consistency of denying Jesus Christ until they got to a point where God began to establish them in their faith. Do you want that? Do you want a real commitment and dedication to God? Do you want to be strong in your walk with God? Do you want to be a source of strength for your friends and family? Would you rather be the person with the answer to people’s problems or the person that just hears the “he said, she said” about everyone?
Fortunately enough, Peter, though he fell has given us a clear system to getting back on track with God. Peter and this text show us in great depth how to get back to God after a fall. From the looks of this text, it seems like it just shows the problems! Look at Peter denying Christ, what’s good in that? Well, there’s not much good in that, but look at the response of Peter. Jesus Christ made sure this scriptural text was in the Bible because it’s filled with factual information about what to do when our actions don’t line up with our words.
1) Remember the Words of Jesus – The Bible says “and Peter remembered the words of Jesus.” What do you know about Jesus? What you know about Jesus determines your stance in your relationship with Him. Do you know how God works? Do you want to know how God works? Should you be concerned when you are happy when people come to you with gossip? Each of these questions and statements can reveal to you, your level of commitment to Jesus Christ. The first thing that we have to do to make our actions line up with our words is seek God. Seeking God is done through prayer and studying the Word of God. Begin to look at the word of God, examine it and thoroughly find out what the answer to your dilemma is. Find a quiet place to look over the Bible. Don’t worry, fear or say “I don’t know the Bible” true, you may not, but God does and if you are a Christian God lives inside of you. The Holy Spirit is God and He lives in every believer. God being with you and in you is more than enough. Ask your Pastor questions. Look up some good Bible teachers online. Check your local bookstore and grab a nice study Bible. Begin to ask God to teach you about Himself and just as importantly about you. If you do these things you are very close to bringing more of your actions in line with your words and we all struggle with that.
2) Peter separated himself – The Bible says “and he went out.” The second thing you must do in order to find out how to be closer to God is to leave your surroundings. It may be hard to accept, but God can’t do what He wants to do in and through you until you separate yourself from those things hindering you. The things you accept in your space and environment will dictate your character and actions. Do you hang out with a big crowd? What makes you do that? Are they influencing you in the wrong way? Do you leave feeling closer to God or do you leave with junk in your mind, all of the gossip and ridicule from everyone in your Church family? Is it all in your face all day long on Facebook and Twitter? Are you responsible for circulating rumors about people that you know aren’t true? How should you respond to that? Just like Peter you have to “go away.” You have to make a firm decision that “I want to be all God wants me to be and that is what I will be.” You have to begin to separate yourself from the things that hurt your walk with Jesus Christ. Peter left the area that caused the betrayal of Jesus. There’s no way you can walk away from sin and stay in a sinful environment. The second thing you must do in order to walk with God and have your actions line up with your words is to separate yourself from the crowd, the bar, the club, the wrong music etc. etc.
3) Weeping/Broken over sin – The Bible says Peter “wept bitterly.” One thing is for sure when you begin to draw closer to God, you will begin to feel the effects of sin, not only on the world, but towards the heart of God. God begins to let you feel the effects of your sin so you realize that it hurts the heart of God. Without knowledge that your sin affects God, you won’t ever overcome it. You can’t stand apart from sin until you realize that it affects God, everyone and everything around you. Sin has a way of coming into our life and dulling our ears to what the Spirit of God is trying to say to us. Sin desensitizes us to the will, plan, desire and purposes of God. Sin steps in between us and Christ. Sin always separates us from God. Sin has to be dealt with. The only way you can truly get away from sin is to feel what the Bible calls “godly sorrow” in your heart. The Bible says “For godly sorrow worketh repentance.” (2 Corinthians 7:10) The Bible is telling us that when we feel sin and how it’s messed up our life, our family’s life, our cousin’s life, our uncle’s life those very feeling causes us to repent. Without knowing the problem of sin, you’ll never have a desire to get away from it. Nobody is perfect, but nobody who is a Christian should live in willful deliberate sin. You have to strive to fight against sin if you want to be closer to Christ and have your actions line up with your words.
We see that Peter ran away from the situation, but what else happened with Peter? Was Jesus through with Peter because he denied Him? Nope, we find the opposite to take place. The Bible says “the goodness of God leads us to repentance.” (Romans 2:4) Peter just did one of the worst sins of his life, he denied Jesus, but we find something very significant take place at the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Bible is careful not to take away things that are extremely important and this is evidenced within this text. God tells us that when Jesus rose from the dead, just three days after Peters denial that an Angel met the women at a tomb and gave a very specific command to them, the Angel said “But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.” (Mark 16:7) Isn’t it interesting that the Bible tells us that the Angel said tell his disciples and Peter that Jesus is coming? God made sure that Peter knew he was not counted out or disowned because of his mistake. God actually made a point in adding “and Peter” to promote the fact that Peter was still loved the same way as before the betrayal. Sometimes we feel as though we have let God down when we sin or fall away from Him for a long time. Sometimes we feel like we aren’t worthy to come back to Jesus or call on His name for salvation or freedom from a habit, language or bondage. It’s true, we all get like that, we feel that way, but just like Peter God gives personal appeals to come back. You might say, where’s my personal appeal? Well, if this message has touched you, this is your personal appeal. Have you walked away from Christ, perhaps even ran away? Don’t worry! If you feel this is for you, it’s because God loves you; He led you here. God wants to fix those issues of your life that seem so hard to accept, it’s hard to apply the Word of God at times, but like Peter, there are three things that we must and can do. What’s stopping you? God wants you to live a life of blessings and satisfaction, sin has temporary benefits and long term damaging effects, so why stay in it? Why live a lifestyle of willful and habitual sin when God has His arms open wanting to take you higher in faith through Christ. Why wait on God for something, but right before He gives it to you, you run away? Why stand back and let God perform heart surgery on people, completely transforming their lives without asking Him to do the same for you. The truth is, it’s a choice you have to make. Will you make that choice right now?
Father in the name of Jesus I thank You that You don’t give up on me. I thank You that You have never given up on me and never will. Lord, fill me with Your Spirit. Give me a grace to stand apart from sin and cling to Your will. Lord, help me to be a Christian that impacts the world and that is fully dedicated and committed to You. Forgive me for my lack of commitment and halfhearted walk with You. Lord, fix me, fix me of those things that You and I both know are wrong. Make a way of escape. Fill me with Your presence, power and joy. Let my life shine brighter. Protect me from the falls and snares of the enemy. Let my life shine brighter because of the fall. Like Peter, let it be used as a testimony that Jesus Christ is absolutely awesome and filled with grace. Thank You Lord for Your personal appeal to me as Your child. I love You and appreciate You very much. I ask this prayer to be real in my life, fulfill it in my life in Jesus name! AMEN!