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F.A.Q. - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
May 26, 2024 6:00 am

F.A.Q. - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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May 26, 2024 6:00 am

An old Persian Proverb reads, "It's harder to ask a sensible question than to supply a sensible answer." Many times our questions to God are reactive—based on a sort of knee-jerk reaction to painful circumstances. Peter asked Jesus two questions of this sort. But whenever we ask God questions we must hang around to get the supplied answers. The questions Peter asked are similar to ones we frequently ask. Let's consider and apply Jesus' outstanding answer.

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Don't worry about the end times. Worry about the meantime.

God will take care of the end time. Study it all you want. Get excited about it. But don't get so hung up on it that you forget about the meantime. I have an expectation of you disciples, Peter as well.

To be occupied now presently until I come. Welcome to Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. Failures are sometimes easier to remember than successes, aren't they? Pastor Skip has called this teaching FAQ, and today we'll be hearing part two of this message, just one in our in-depth teaching series in the book of John, Believe 879. You'll want to be sure to stay tuned after the teaching to find out how to get a personal copy for your audio library.

And before we dig into this message, let's see what's going on in the Connect with Skip Resource Center this month. From timeless icons to contemporary celebrities, it's exciting to learn about influential people. But one biography stands out above the rest. The biography of God.

Here's Skip Heitzig. There's this vast, unfed hunger to know God personally. Discover the omnipotence, paradoxes, and mystery central to God's being and remove the limits you may have placed on who God is. There's something uniquely elevating about focusing not on me, but on God. It will do something to you. Skip's perspective shifting book is our thanks when you give a gift of $50 or more to help keep Connect with Skip Heitzig on the air.

Call 800-922-1888 or give securely online at connectwithskip.com slash offer. If you have a Bible or a Bible app handy, you'll want to be sure to turn to John chapter 13 as we join Skip Heitzig for today's message. Peter really was not listening to the words of Jesus. They were either going over his head.

He wasn't grasping them. Because if you remember on another occasion when Jesus was very complete and direct and said, I'm going to Jerusalem. They're going to kill me. And three days later, I'm going to rise. Peter said, No, Lord, not so it will never happen to you.

We're not going to let this happen. That's Matthew chapter 16. So Peter really wasn't in a place where he's really grasping what our Lord is saying. But reason number two above and beyond that is this answer reveals an expectation that Jesus has for Peter.

You can't follow me now. He's not saying, Peter, you can't ever go to heaven. He's just saying, Peter, you can't go now. You'll go later. You just can't come now. Now, as a parent, you can relate to that.

How many times have you had to tell your children? Not now, but later. Mommy, can I go to the store? Not now, later. Daddy, can we go on vacation? Not now. We'll go later on this summer. Can I drive? Not now, but later.

When can I start dating? Not now, but later. Now, the truth is, those kids are going to grow up and enjoy all of those things.

But what you're telling them is right now, just enjoy being a kid. Okay, Peter, you're a disciple. You're a follower. You can't go now. You'll go, but in the meantime, just be a follower. Now, when Jesus rises from the dead, He's about to ascend into heaven. The disciples, including Peter, this is Acts chapter 1, say, Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? Okay, we've been waiting long enough.

You've been hanging around for 40 days. Is this now the time where we get our positions and our promotions and you establish the kingdom? And Jesus said, listen carefully, it's not for you to know the times and the seasons that My Father has put in His own authority, but you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. In other words, don't worry about the end times. Worry about the meantime. God will take care of the end times. Study it all you want, get excited about it, but don't get so hung up on it that you forget about the meantime. I have an expectation of you, disciples, Peter, as well, to be occupied now presently until I come.

Here's how I want to apply this. We love to talk about heaven. We love to sing about heaven.

We love to comfort people who are on their deathbed and going to heaven. That's good, but we can't go to heaven yet. What do you mean we can't go to heaven yet? We can't.

We're not ready for it. Jesus said, I'm going to go prepare a place for you, but we can't go yet. You say, well, how do you know we can't go yet? Because here you are, in church, on earth, and God has you here for a reason. And until you fulfill that reason, He's not letting you go to heaven. Oh, you'll go there one day. Some of you might go this week. Some of you might not go for many, many more years. But you can't go now until you're finished with what God has for you here.

It's a very fundamental but profound point. If God's purpose for your life was merely to get you to heaven, that's a big thing. But if it was only that, you know what would happen the very minute you accept Christ? You'd just keel over dead.

Is that good? He'd say, quick, get them out of here. Get them to heaven. Boy, our altar calls would look very different, wouldn't they?

Instead of counselors, we would have undertakers in the prayer room just sort of dragging people up. More to heaven. But the fact that you and I are here shows that God has a plan and a purpose in the meantime as we look toward the end time. Here's my challenge to you this week. Romans chapter 12, verses 1 and 2.

That's your homework for this week. Go home and practice Romans chapter 12, verse 1 and 2. Those two verses read this way. I beseech you, therefore, by the mercies of God, that you present your body as a living sacrifice to God, holy and acceptable, which is your reasonable service. And don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you might prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Plainly put, you say, God, here's my body.

Here's my life. Show me what your perfect acceptable will is for me right here, right now. And that's the principle that comes out of this answer of Jesus to Peter. Your present faithfulness is expected. Where I'm going, you can't come now.

Here's the second principle. Your future is assured. Your ultimate future in heaven is absolutely assured.

You'll notice the second part of that answer. Where I'm going, you cannot follow me now, but you shall follow me afterward. According to tradition and church history, it was 67 AD when Peter died at Rome. They were going to crucify him in the common Roman method of execution, but Peter said, I'm not worthy to be killed in the same manner as my Lord. And so according to tradition, Peter was crucified upside down. So Peter followed Christ in life.

He followed him in death, and he followed him into glory. And please notice what Jesus says. Notice the certainty in his voice when he says, you shall follow me afterwards. Not, Peter, I sure hope you make it. Peter, you ask a lot of stupid questions. And if you can get over a lot of those hang-ups and issues, and if you ever really do become the first pope, well then maybe you'll make it into heaven, Peter. No, he says with absolute certainty, no hesitation, you shall follow me afterwards. Here's my point. Salvation should be a sure thing for those who follow Christ.

We shouldn't be ambiguous about it. If you are following Jesus Christ today, you believe in him, you ought to know that you're going to follow him all the way into heaven. Now John, who was an eyewitness of this, wrote a little book in the New Testament called 1 John. And in chapter 5, this is what he said, I'm writing these things to you so that you may know that you have eternal life. You ought to know it.

It ought to be fixed. No hesitation. What did Jesus say to the thief on the cross with that little meager faith that thief had?

He said, assuredly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise. If you travel and you go to the airport, you notice there's basically two types of passenger. Number one, there's the confirmed ticketed passenger. Number two, there's the standby passenger. I can be in an airport and I can tell who's the ticketed confirmed passengers and who are the standby passengers.

It's pretty easy to tell. Ticketed confirmed passengers are relaxed for the most part. They sit down, they read a book, they sleep, they talk to one another, they grab a bite to eat. Not so with standby passengers. They hover and they kind of move around, fidget a little because they don't know if they're going to get on that plane or not. They hope so, but they don't know. They want to get to that destination, but they're unsure. So the difference, even though they both might make it to the same destination, is confidence. One has a ticket, one hopes to get the ticket.

I think you catch my drift. If you knew that within this week you were going to stand before God, this life would be over. Would you be nervous about that? Wow, what's he going to say to me?

Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord. Or will he say, depart from me, I never knew you. If there's one thing you need to be sure of, it's this. You need to be sure of it. You go, well, how can I be sure?

How do I really know? Same way Peter knew, the same way the thief on the cross knew because Jesus said so. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life. If you trust Christ, if you follow Christ, if you're his disciple today, you'll follow him all the way into heaven. Charles Haddon Spurgeon was so sure about his salvation, he said, if you believe in Christ and are damned, I shall be damned with you.

So all I'm saying is if you're not sure before you leave today, make sure you're a ticketed, confirmed passenger. Let's look at the third and final principle that emerges from the answer of Christ to Peter. That's in verse 38, and here's the principle. Your failure is anticipated.

Let me put that another way. Your imperfection in following Jesus is anticipated. Listen to the words of Jesus to Peter the apostle. Jesus answered him, verse 38, will you lay down your life for my sake?

It's an interesting interaction here. Peter says, I'll lay down my life for you. If I were Jesus, I would have said, excuse me, Peter, that's my line. I'm going to lay down my life for you, not you for me. So he says, will you lay down your life for my sake?

Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow until you have denied me three times. Here Jesus predicts his failure. Was Jesus right or wrong? Of course he was right. Did Peter fail Jesus?

Yes. Within a few hours, Peter's going to deny that he even knows who Jesus is. I don't even know the guy. It's going to be a bitter night for Peter. Now Luke tells us the rest of the story. We're told in Luke chapter 22, while he was still speaking, that is Peter saying, I deny him. While he was still speaking, the rooster crowed and the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word that Jesus said, you will deny me three times. What a look that must have been. When their eyes connected, how did Jesus look at Peter?

We're not told. But I don't think he scowled or scorned or kind of that looked like sea. I think it was a compassionate, caring, I told you Peter, I tried to prepare you for this.

You must be feeling horrible and so, so embittered because of this. He looked at Peter and Peter remembered that Jesus said, you will deny me three times. Now listen, God knows all about you. He knows all about your imperfections. He knows all about your failures. He knows all about your foibles.

And they don't surprise him. Was Jesus surprised when Peter denied him? Did Jesus give him a look like, oh, I can't believe you did that. When you fail the Lord, do you think God ever looks at you and goes, oh. You mean you have that sin in your life? I never knew that. That sort of changes the whole thing now.

Nope. He's not surprised by it. Psalm 103, the Psalmist writes, he understands how weak we are and he knows we're only dust.

I remember first reading that text, it was so comforting to me. God knows how weak I am and he knows that I'm just dust. Have you ever seen dust on the floor? Dust on your furniture? Do you have a high expectation of dust? You'd be good dust now. You'd be perfect dust now.

You cleaned yourself up. God knows our frame and he remembers that we are dust. So here is Jesus anticipating the failure of one of his chosen apostles, the great Peter.

But that's not the end of the story. As Jesus predicted Peter's fall, Jesus predicted Peter's rising again. And again, in the account of Luke, Jesus said these words to Peter.

Simon, Simon, Satan has asked for you that he might sift you like wheat. But Peter, I prayed for you. And when you have returned to me, strengthen your brothers. Jesus anticipated Peter would fall, but Jesus anticipated Peter would return and use that failure to mount up and learn from the failure and strengthen his brothers and sisters around him.

When you are returned to me, strengthen your brethren. I love that. Let me tell you a story from 1929 now. FYI, I wasn't alive then. In 1929, at the Rose Bowl in California, there were two teams that squared off, Georgia Tech, University of California. One of the players for California was a guy named Roy Regals. And in the first half of the game, when Georgia Tech fumbled the ball, Regals grabbed the fumble, recovered it, and started running toward the touchdown line. The problem was he was confused and he ran the wrong direction. He was actually running to make a score for Georgia Tech rather than his team, California. One of his teammates saw the mistake that Roy had made, ran after him as quick as he could, and tackled his own teammate, 65 yards away from making a touchdown for Georgia Tech.

In the next play, Georgia was able to score the touchdown. Regals felt horrible. He let down his team. He helped score a goal for the opposite team. The question going around the stands at that game in 1929 is what is the coach for California going to do with Roy Regals, one of the star players, in the second half? At halftime, when the teams were in the locker room, Roy Regals was in the corner, towel around his neck, and he was just weeping like a baby. He had let everyone down. And then the coach made this announcement.

The players that played the first half will open the second half. Regals looked up and said, Coach, you can't mean, for the life of me, I can't do it. I ruined your life, Coach. I ruined everything for our team. The coach smiled and said, Roy, the game's only half over.

I got to tell you, nobody played football like Roy Regals played football in the second half of that game, given a second chance. And here is Jesus. Peter, you are going to fail me. I know all about you. I know all about your imperfection. Peter, game's only half over.

I have a job for you to do. Do you feel like you failed the Lord at some point in your life? You fumbled the ball. You scored a touchdown for the other team, perhaps.

Your life isn't what it should be, what you wanted it to be. True story. A man looked at the newspaper one morning and was shocked to discover his name was in the obituary column. This surprised him. He didn't even know he was sick, let alone dead. So he went down to the newspaper and he complained, hey, you made a mistake.

I'm alive and you put my name as dead. And they apologized, but the man was insistent. He said, do you know what this is going to cost me and the business I might lose because of your mistake?

And finally the editor said, tell you what. Tell you what I'll do for you. Tomorrow I'll put your name in the birth column and give you a second chance. Do you want a do-over? Jesus is all about do-overs. This is Peter, and Jesus knew that even Peter would have a deep and dark failure.

But it's all about the do-over. Listen, let failure be your teacher, not your undertaker. He didn't have to bury you. Mount up with wings as eagles, go forward with His grace. Well, you know, failure never needs to bury us. We all fail, but God is always ready to restore us.

And if you need someone to pray with you today, maybe you're battle-scarred by failure, or maybe you've fallen away from a relationship with Jesus and want to get back to one, would you call us at 1-800-922-1888. Right now we have Skip and Lenya in studio. So let's see what they're thinking today.

Lenya? Skip, today you talked about answers God gives to our questions, which, that's thrilling to me. First of all, that we get to ask questions, and that God likes to answer them. You know, that He answers those who diligently seek Him. And so one common question is, how can I hear God? And that's usually followed up with, how can I know if I'm really hearing His voice, or is that just me, you know, thinking something? So do you have some qualifying or clarifying tips to help us know how to hear God, and to know that we know that it's God? You know, what I love to do is, in answering that, to take people back to the life of Jesus. He was incredibly busy, and of course, He was resourceful. He was the source of all wisdom and knowledge. And yet, in the midst of pressure, He saw the necessity to be quiet, to be alone, to be silent with His Father.

And I think we minimize that. And I mean Christians today minimize being sequestered apart, being alone, and listening to the voice of God by just having no other stimulation at all, and to be quiet and to meditate upon a text of Scripture, or to just spend time asking Him questions in prayer and then waiting and listening, you know, with an open Bible. But not always a Bible and writing the notes down. That's important, but I think to ask Him, you know, when Saul of Tarsus came to Christ, he said, Lord, who are You? That was the first question. And He said, I am Jesus.

And the second question is, what do You want me to do? Boy, that's a question we should always be asking, not just once like He did at the beginning of His life, but all the way through. And He did it all the way through. Even every morning, Lord, what do You want me to do today?

Yeah. I think one thing in helping us know the voice of God is that God doesn't contradict Himself. You know, if there is a Scripture that is antithesis of what you think God told you to do, might not be God's voice. I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure He won't contradict Himself. And I think if you're not sure if I'm reading that in the Bible correctly versus what I felt the Lord was telling me, it's good to get counsel from somebody who's walked that road before and has heard the voice of God. If somebody you know who's an older, more mature brother or sister in the Lord and can give you steady counsel of how to read it, how to take those impressions you feel and weigh it against Scripture, you'll be miles ahead. I always look for confirmation, so to speak, that the Lord will confirm what He said. So sometimes He might speak to me, but I wait on it for a while. And I'm allowing other life circumstances, the Word, maybe what I heard at church or a discussion I've had with somebody else to give me a confirmation that the Lord goes, oh, yeah, I said that. Right. I think revelation needs confirmation.

And I think if you feel God's revealed something to you, or for that matter, as a pastor, as I'm going through a text and I think I'm interpreting it correctly and I read 10 commentaries and they say exactly the opposite of what I think it's saying, chances are I'm not hearing it right. Well, thanks, Skip and Lania. And before we wrap up today, I wanted to invite you to get a personal copy of today's message. You can find it at connectwithskip.com, or you can call us and order one at 1-800-922-1888.

Each copy is just $4 plus shipping. What should you do when your life falls apart? Some great encouragement for messy lives is coming up next time. So I hope you can join us right here in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Make a connection Make a connection at the foot Of the crossing Cast your burdens on His Word Make a connection A connection A connection Connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-26 04:16:17 / 2024-05-26 04:25:47 / 10

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