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The Life Preserver Of Hope

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
November 29, 2021 7:00 am

The Life Preserver Of Hope

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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November 29, 2021 7:00 am

1 Peter

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Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. By the way, before we judge Peter too harshly here, what are the denials of Christ in your life? When have you betrayed Him? When did you find yourself warming yourself at the fire of compromise?

When did someone give an off-color joke and then you laughed? Whenever someone said something that was offensive to the Lord, why didn't you speak? Thank you for joining us today on this edition of Fellowship in the Word with Pastor Bill Gebhardt. Let's join Pastor Bill Gebhardt now as once again he shows us how God's Word meets our world. I think of the words of the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians. And he says, we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep so that you will not grieve, he said, as the rest who have no hope. There's the word, hope.

What distinguishes us as believers in Jesus Christ? What is it that we have? Hope. Hope is as important to us as water is to a fish. When we are trapped in a tunnel of misery, hope points to the light at the end. When we are overworked and exhausted, hope gives us fresh energy. When we are discouraged, hope lifts our spirits.

When we are tempted to quit, hope keeps us going. When we lose our way and confusion blurs the destination, hope dulls the edge of panic. When we struggle with a crippling disease or a lingering illness, hope helps us persevere beyond the pain. When we fear the worst, hope brings reminders that God is still in control. When we must endure the consequences of very bad decisions, hope fuels our recovery. When we are forced to sit back and wait, hope gives us the patience to trust. When we feel rejected and abandoned, hope reminds us that we are not alone. And when we say our final farewell to someone we love, hope in the life beyond gets us through our grief. Put simply, when life hurts and dreams fade, nothing helps us like hope. Webster defines hope as a desire accompanied by an expectation of or belief in fulfillment, to desire with expectation of obtainment, to expect with confidence. Without hope, prisoners of war languish and die. Without hope, husbands and wives give up on their marriage and divorce. How often does the word hopeless show up in a suicide note? And if it's not in the note, it's always implied. Hope is the life preserver in the turbulent seas we call life.

But it is a slippery life preserver. There once was a man who loved to see a rugged man, a man's man, strong willed, passionate, expressive. He did nothing halfheartedly. When it came to fishing, he was determined and sometimes even obnoxious. But he was loyal when it came to his friends, loyal to the core, blindly courageous, often overconfident, and occasionally that overconfidence caused him to overstate his commitment. His name is Peter. And it's interesting that Peter is the man that God chose to reveal to us the height and the width and the depth of that slippery life preserver that we all need to live, hope.

I think the reason that God chose Peter to write the first epistle, 1 Peter, is because there was a time when Peter himself could not get a hold of the hope that he desperately needed. Open your Bibles to Luke 22, Gospel of Luke chapter 22. The night before Christ is crucified, before we go to the section I would want to read, I want to go to one verse, verse 24, because I want to give it some context. Luke writes in verse 24, he writes and he says, And there arose also a dispute among them, that's the disciples, as to which one of them was regarded to be the greatest. On the night before his crucifixion, with all of the anguish that he was about to face, the disciples are in a dispute as to which one of them would be greatest. By the way, I would think hands down they most thought it was Peter. I mean, after all, Peter was one of the three, Peter, James and John, that the Lord took aside.

He was with them on the Mount of Transfiguration. It was Peter that always showed this courage. It was Peter who jumped out of the boat and walked on water for a period of time. It is Peter in a moment here that will cut off the ear of one of the temple guard. Now I want to go to the passage, verse 54.

Luke writes this. Having arrested him, they led him away and they brought him to the house of the high priest. But Peter was following at a distance. And after they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them. And a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, this man was with him too. But he denied it, saying, woman, I do not know him. A little later, another saw him and said, you are one of them too. But Peter said, man, I am not. And about an hour had passed and another man began to insist and said, certainly this man also was with him, for he is a Galilean too. But Peter said, man, I do not know what you are talking about.

And immediately while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. Mark adds something to this. And remember, it was dictated by Peter, an insight that we don't get here from Luke. Mark says that one of the responses that Peter gave, Mark writes that he began to curse and swear. It could be that he would be saying if he was swearing, if I am a liar, may God strike me dead. That will hold up for the word for swear, but not the word for curse. He may have said, do not connect me with that blankety blank blank blank.

You imagine that. Here is the man who said, if everybody leaves you, I will stand up for you. He is the man that Jesus said, will you?

Unbelievable words in verse 61. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. This is not glance, this is em blepo. This word means to a fixed gaze.

It means to discern clearly. Could you imagine that? After he's spoken that way and three times denying him, he's close enough in proximity and the Lord just turns and stares at him.

What was the look? It's not surprise. Can't be surprised, the Lord already told him that was what's going to happen. I don't believe it was anger. I know it wasn't rejection. I think it was aching sorrow. Wounded love. Profound disappointment.

Chuck Swindoll sort of captures the moment and says, here's what he thought was going on. What have you done, Peter? You've numbered yourself among these, my enemies and betrayers. You've done exactly as I said you would, Peter.

Oh, my longtime friend. Look at what you have done. The response in verse 62. And he went out and he wept bitterly. This isn't just a little tear down his face. This is gut wrenching.

This is him just crying, sobbing, weeping. By the way, before we judge Peter too harshly here, what are the denials of Christ in your life? When have you betrayed him? When did you find yourself warming yourself at the fire of compromise? When did someone give an off color joke and then you laughed? Whenever someone said something was offensive to the Lord, why didn't you speak?

It's easy for us. Someone wrote that the test of our testimony is not how we act before the friends of the cross, but our conduct and actions before the enemies of the cross. And he went out and he wept bitterly. I believe that that stare kept him from the cross. I believe that's why he wasn't with John. I believe that Peter was haunted by that stare.

I believe that Peter lost hope. And shame filled the void. But only for three days.

But only for three days. Turn with me now to Mark Chapter 16. The gospel of Mark Chapter 16. Just imagine how Peter felt for these days. I believe personally I think the other disciples had a lot of trouble trying to console him. Here is a man that stood up and bragged about how courageous he would be and how faithful he would be. He had to wonder would God ever use me again.

Ever. He had lost hope. The one thing that he needed was gone. But hope is always available to a child of God. Hope is always available to you.

Always. Verse 1. And when the Sabbath was over Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome. They bought spices so that they may come and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb and looking up. They saw that the stone had been rolled away although it was extremely large.

Entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting at the right wearing a white robe. They were amazed. And he said to them do not be amazed. You're looking for Jesus the Nazarene who has been crucified. He is risen. He is not here.

Behold. Here is the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter he is going ahead of you to Galilee.

And there you will see him just as he told you when they went out. And they fled from the tomb for trembling. An astonishment had gripped them.

They said nothing to anyone for they were afraid. As I said God always is willing to throw the life preserver of hope to one of his children. The life preserver is God's word. That's where hope is found for us. Did you see it in the text? Did you see the word of hope?

Let's look again. Verse 7 go tell his disciples. And here it is. And Peter. And Peter. He could have said in John.

James no. And Peter. Peter needs to hear this. Tell Peter. Wow. Can you imagine the scene when he heard that?

You're telling me you set me apart. He now has hope. It's birthed again.

Now we can go on. You see that's something about hope. Hope liberates us. Hope releases you from your past.

That's one of the great things about the gospel. When you come to Jesus Christ, hope is born in your life. Hope motivates.

Hope helps you bounce back. Hope initiates. It sets you free to seek God's will. And hope activates. Hope is the fuel that we need to keep on going.

And it's there in just two words. Hope brought to life. Tell Peter. Jesus isn't finished. He wants to continue to build hope in Peter's life. Go with me now to John chapter 21. John 21, they are now in Galilee. And John writes this. He said, after these things, Jesus manifested himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberius. And he manifested himself in this way.

Simon Peter and Thomas called Didymus, Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, James and John, and two others of his disciples were together. And Simon Peter said to them, I'm going fishing. Wow. You wonder what's going on in Peter's mind.

Maybe after my denials, this is my job. This is my life. I'm going fishing. I mean, when he called me, I was a fisherman. I'm going to go back and fish.

You see, I'm going fishing. And they said to him, we will also come with you. And they went out, and they got into the boat.

And that night, they caught nothing. But when day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach, and yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. And Jesus said to them, children, you do not have any fish, do you? Rhetorical question when Jesus asks it.

He always knows the answer. No fisherman likes that, by the way. Caught nothing, huh? And they answered, and they said no. And he said to them, cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you will find a catch. They must have hated that. Wait a minute. We've cast the net, the right, the left, the head, behind, here, there, over there.

We caught nothing. So they cast, and they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. And therefore, that disciple whom Jesus loved, that's John, said to Peter, it is the Lord. And when Simon Peter heard it, that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on, for he had stripped himself for work, and he threw himself into the sea. That's Peter.

I'm going right for him. But the other disciples came in a little boat, for they were not far from land, about 100 yards away, dragging a net full of fish. And so when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it and bred.

That already tells you something. Jesus had bigger fish to fry. This is not about fishing or a catch.

This is about the restoration of hope. So he says, bring some of the fish which you have now caught. And Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land full of large fish, 153.

And he says, and although there were so many, the net was not torn, very unusual. And Jesus said to them, come and have breakfast. None of the disciples ventured to question him with, who are you, knowing that it was the Lord. And Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise.

This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. And when they had finished breakfast, Jesus says to Simon Peter, Simon son of John, do you love me more than these? What a statement. The statement, by the way, that Peter always implied. Lord, I'll never deny you, I love you more than these.

That's me. Jesus asked a penetrating question here. The response of Peter is, yes, Lord, you know I love you, and in English you miss it.

Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon Peter, do you agape me more than these? Agape is that willful choice to love. It's unconditional.

Nothing can change it. For God so loved the world that he sent his only son. Unconditional love. Do you love me like that, Peter? And Peter said, yes, Lord, I feel I owe you. Friendship. I love you as a friend. Philadelphia, brotherly love. I feel I owe you.

Interesting. He couldn't make himself say it. You see, how can I say I agape you when I denied you? How can I say that?

You see, how can I say that? So I feel I owe you. Jesus is pretty persistent. And he said to him a second time, Simon son of John, do you agape me? And he said to him, yes, Lord, you know that I feel I owe you. Now the first time when he said it, notice what Jesus said.

10 my lambs. Now he says, shepherd my sheep. And then a third time.

By the way, it's not coincidental. How many times did Peter deny him? So he asked them the same question three times. In a sense, one for each denial.

But watch how it changes. And he said to him the third time, Simon son of John, he said, do you feel I owe me? He changed it. Do you feel I owe me?

I'll take that. And he said, Lord, you know all things you know that I feel I owe you. Jesus said, 10 my sheep. You see, because he was still struggling with his hope of being used by God, Peter is saying, I'm going to go fishing. Let's fish. That's what I am. Jesus said, you're not a fisherman. You're a shepherd.

You see, that's what you're called for. 10 my lambs. Shepherd my sheep.

10 my sheep. That's what Jesus says. This event changed Peter forever. He's different.

He's never the same. We often make the mistake when we make caricatures of Peter to always think of Peter as he was in the gospels. But I challenge you to think of the Peter that's in the book of Acts. I challenge you to think of the Peter that we'll see in 1 and 2 Peter. I challenge you to see that Peter, because he's different now.

Hope restored his courage, but it vanquished his pride. Eugene Peterson says this about Peter. He says, the way Peter handled himself in the position of leadership and power is even more impressive than the power itself. He kept out of the center of attention. He didn't parade his power, because he kept himself under the power of Christ.

He would have easily thrown around his popularity, his power, and his position to try to take over, using his close association with Jesus to promote himself. But he didn't. Most people with Peter's gifts couldn't have handled it then or now.

But he did. Peter is a breath of fresh air. Peter is the one who comes to write the epistle of hope. We all need it. If you don't need hope right now, you're going to someday. You can't live in the turbulent waters of this life without that life preserver. It's not just the hope of going to heaven, a certitude of the future. It's hope to get through a difficult marriage. It's hope to deal with illnesses, terminal diseases, children who live lives that you would not approve of. Hope. The apostle Paul said, and now these three things remain, faith, hope, and love.

We know that. It used to be faith, hope, and charity, but now it's faith, hope, and love. We write statements of faith.

We write it out. We let you know this is what we believe, this is what we stand for, and love. Wow, we talk about love all the time. We sing about love all the time.

You see, love is very popular among us, the love of God for us and our love for God. But there are no statements of hope and even few songs about it. But God values hope. He knows how important hope is to us. He knows that hope liberates. It releases you from your past. He knows that hope motivates.

It helps you to bounce back. He knows that hope initiates. It sets us free to seek God's will, and he knows that hope activates. It becomes the fuel we need to keep on going. That's what it did for Peter. Hope.

That's what it can do for you. Boy, if you find yourself in a situation and we say this word almost too flippantly so often, it all seems hopeless. It's never hopeless for you if you're a child of God.

Never. That life preserver is there. That truth is there.

But it can be slippery if we don't grab a hold of it in faith. Peter, of all men, a man of hope. That's, and you can listen to Fellowship in the Word online. At that website, you will find not only today's broadcast, but also many of our previous audio programs as well. At Fellowship in the Word, we are thankful for those who financially support our ministry and make this broadcast possible. We ask all of our listeners to prayerfully consider how you might help this radio ministry continue its broadcast on this radio station by supporting us monthly or with just a one-time gift. Support for our ministry can be sent to Fellowship in the Word, 4600 Clearview Parkway, Metairie, Louisiana, 7006. If you would be interested in hearing today's message in its original format, that is as a sermon that Pastor Bill delivered during a Sunday morning service at Fellowship Bible Church, then you should visit our website,

That's At our website, you will find hundreds of Pastor Bill's sermons. You can browse through our sermon archives to find the sermon series you are looking for, or you can search by title. Once you find the message you are looking for, you can listen online, or if you prefer, you can download the sermon and listen at your own convenience. And remember, you can do all of this absolutely free of charge. Once again, our website is For Pastor Bill Gebhardt, I'm Jason Gebhardt, thanking you for listening to Fellowship in the Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-16 13:18:01 / 2023-07-16 13:27:09 / 9

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