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From Devotion to Denial and Back Again

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
October 17, 2022 2:00 am

From Devotion to Denial and Back Again

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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October 17, 2022 2:00 am

Pastor Bob La Tour preaches from the gospel accounts of Peter's devotion and betrayal.

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Well, as I mentioned to my Sunday school class this morning, no matter how much time you put into preparation, unless the Holy Spirit empowers the message, you are simply delivering information. And I've asked, as I've studied and prepared for tonight, that the Lord would use me as He sees fit.

The messenger is of little import. The message is all important. I want to read an introduction to you tonight that is based on a book by Erwin Lutzer. We will not be silenced. The deacons and elders are reading that book and going through it. It is very sobering, kind of descriptive of what is going on in our nation today.

So let me begin by giving you an introduction before we get into the message tonight. The title of the book by Dr. Erwin Lutzer is We Will Not Be Silenced. Its subtitle is Responding Courageously to Our Culture's Assault on Christianity.

On the back of the cover is the following statement. Each day you watch America turn further from Christian values and the core principles of liberty. It's frustrating to feel that you can't assert biblical truth without facing condemnation, and it's frightening to witness outreach and victimhood replace respect and reason. Amidst this dissent, how can you not only stay rooted in your faith but continue to publicly testify for Jesus? Dr. Lutzer seeks to inspire Christians, quote, to have a courage to walk toward the fire and not run away from the flames. He states, God has brought us to this cultural moment, and our future cannot be taken for granted. As has been said, in a time of universal deception, telling truth is a revolutionary act. That is a sobering statement, beloved.

Let me read it again. As has been said, in a time of universal deception, telling truth is a revolutionary act. This is truth. And I fear that there is coming a time when opponents of Christianity, that is assaulting this religion, will do something about us telling truth. I want to share with you four objectives tonight as we get into the message. The first one, to caution us, to take heed, lest we fall using the tragic example of Peter. He was a pillar of the church, a pillar of the faith, who went from devotion to Christ to denial of Christ and back again.

And that sobered me as I studied this passage. This isn't just your nominal Christian. This is the leader of the church, the early church. Secondly, not only do we want to caution us, but we want to challenge us to know and practice our convictions, to pray for courage to stand for truth, to present a consistent testimony for Christ, let come what may. I've begun praying that in my prayers and my personal devotions. Lord, help me to know convictions based upon your word. Give me courage to be consistent in my testimony for you today. Not only caution and challenge, but to assure us through Christ's reaction to Peter that in those times when we deny being his disciples by our silence or by wandering off course, there's mercy and forgiveness to be had before the throne of grace. And we can thank him for that.

We have six points tonight, and not to worry, they're not all of the same length. I'm not going to have you turn to the text yet. I just want you to listen to the first point, and that is Peter's privileges. And it comes under two headings, discipleship and leadership. And I want you to listen to an overview, if you would, of several scriptures in Matthew that kind of paint a word picture of the privilege that Peter had.

Discipleship, first of all, if you listen to Matthew 4, 18 through 20, just listen. You're introduced to Peter when Jesus called him to be a disciple. And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers. Simon called Peter and Andrew's brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. Then he said to them, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

They immediately left their nets and followed him. Under that is subtitles, folks, for around three years as a disciple and one of 12 apostles, Peter heard Christ preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. He witnessed him heal sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, those who were demon possessed, epileptics and paralytics. He witnessed multitudes follow Christ as his fame went throughout the region.

But it doesn't end there. He was present when Christ preached the greatest sermon ever preached, the Sermon on the Mount. He witnessed firsthand Christ's authority over nature. As the disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee, a great tempest arose and Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea.

There was a great calm. In awe, the disciples responded, who can this be that even the winds and the sea obey him? He heard two exceedingly fierce demon possessed men ask Jesus, what have we to do with you, Jesus, you Son of God?

Have you come here to torment us before the time? He saw Christ allow the demons to enter a large herd of swine that plunged to their death in the sea. He heard Jesus tell a paralytic man, Son, be a good shear.

Your sins are forgiven you. He then heard Jesus say this Pharisees who thought that Christ blasphemed against God with those words. Jesus said, but that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins. Then he said to the paralytic, arise, take up your bed and go to your house. Beloved, with the other disciples, he received from Christ power over unclean spirits to cast them out, to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Twice, twice, Peter witnessed Christ feed thousands with less food than it would take to feed a family. When his disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee amidst large waves and strong wind, they saw what they thought was a ghost walking on the water and cried out in fear. Jesus assured them that it was he, and Peter responded, Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water. At Christ's bidding, Peter stepped from the boat, succumbed to fear, began to sink and cried out, Lord, save me.

The response of those in the boat was, truly, you are the Son of God. Peter and the other disciples were told three times by Christ that he would go to Jerusalem where he would suffer, be killed and then resurrected in three days. And finally, Peter, James and John accompanied Christ to a mountain where they witnessed his transfiguration.

As his face shone like the sun, his clothes became as white as light, they heard the voice of God say, this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear him. Jesus gave Peter privileges as a disciple. And then, quickly, as a leader, Peter, James and John are often mentioned apart from the other disciples as somewhat of an inner circle.

And more often than not, Peter was the mouthpiece for the disciples. Now, I would like to ask you, if you would, to turn to Matthew 16. Our message will be in Matthew 16 and Matthew 26. And again, keep in mind, we are going to skip over some things. I want our focus to be upon Peter.

And as I said earlier, I want this message to caution us. As Patrick said earlier, this applies to us because we can very easily deny the Lord. If Peter did, with all the privileges he did, we who have the complete canon of Scripture and the Holy Spirit can do likewise. But Matthew 16, 13 through 19, and what I want us to look at is Peter's proclamation.

We've looked at his privileges, but what about his proclamation? Starting with verse 13. When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am? So they said, some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, others Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. He said to them, but who do you say that I am? Simon Peter answered and said, you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered and said to him, blessed are you Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. Jesus responded with the truth that God alone reveals this to men. We mentioned in Sunday school this morning about the gift of repentant faith. Not all evangelicals believe that faith is a gift.

I do, and I believe that you do as well. I could not muster the faith as a natural man to believe, and yet God in his grace and in his mercy quickened me to life, granted me repentant faith, and I fled to Christ. It is the only way to be reconciled to God. And here is a caution though, beloved. He recognized the truth about Jesus Christ. You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Here is a caution. A demon-bossessed man later in the ministry of Christ said, what have I to do with you, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? What am I saying? It is not enough just to recognize Jesus as the Son of God, the demons do.

We have got to go a lot farther than that. The third thing I want you to see, not only Peter's privileges as a disciple and as a leader and his proclamation that Jesus is the Son of the living God, but thirdly his pride. We know in reading the scriptures that Peter often spoke his mind, and sometimes that got him into trouble, but we all should be able to relate to that to varying degrees. He spoke his mind. He rebuked Christ.

He rebuked this one that he had witnessed all those things. He rebuked Christ and pridefully compared himself to the other disciples, as we will see in a moment. Matthew 16, 22-24. When Jesus told the disciples that he would be killed, Peter took him aside and he began to rebuke him, and here is what he said. Far be it from you, Lord, this shall not happen to you. But Christ turned and said to Peter, get behind me, Satan.

You are an offense, and that word means stumbling block. You are an offense to me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men. Then Jesus said to his disciples, if anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. And beloved, can you imagine hearing Christ say that to you?

Saying what? Get thee behind me, Satan. Get thee behind me, Satan. You are an offense to me.

We need to ponder that. What must have gone through Peter's mind? But he did not learn the lesson.

He did not learn the lesson. Turn over now, if you would, from Matthew 16 to Matthew 26, and we'll stay here for the remainder of the message. We're looking at Peter's pride. He disagreed with the very words of Jesus, and in Matthew 26, 31-35, he does it again. After the Last Supper, Jesus said to his disciples this, beginning in verse 31, all of you will be made to stumble because of me this night, for it is written, I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.

But after I've been raised, I will go before you to Galilee. Peter answered and said to him, even if all are made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble. Jesus said to him, assuredly, I say to you that this night before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times. Peter said to him, even if I have to die with you, I will not deny you. So said all the disciples.

That's mind boggling, folks. Mark's account states that Peter spoke more vehemently or in stronger terms. In other words, when we look back at what Matthew said, Peter said, I will never be made to stumble. I will not deny you vehemently, you know, almost as though he is scolding Christ.

He's denying what Jesus said would happen. We go on, though, in Luke's account, Jesus 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 notice this, and when you've returned to me, strengthen your brethren. I'd like you to remember that, and I'll read it again. When we get back to where Jesus restores Peter, not only to a right relationship with him, but leadership.

Notice what he says, what I read. He says, I've prayed for you that your faith should not fail. When you have returned to me, strengthen.

And to me, that is a sign of leadership, a sign of instructing, if you will. Strengthen your brethren. Drop down, if you would, to verse 40, and this is all under Peter's pride. We're going to read several different verses out of this little section. Matthew 26, 40 and 41. During Christ's prayer and emotional suffering in Gethsemane, he warned the disciples to be alert, and here's what he said. Verse 40, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, what? Could you not watch with me one hour?

And I emphasize that because this is the guy that says, I will never be made to stumble. I will not deny you, if it means death. Jesus comes back and says to Peter, what?

Could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

I know you mean well, but your flesh is weak. Drop down to verse 47. We read, and while he was yet speaking, Jesus, behold Judas I of the Twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people. As Jesus interacted with Judas, his betrayer, Peter tries to prevent Christ's prophetic words from coming true.

This is the third time he doesn't get it. We read in verses 51 through 56, and suddenly one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. But Jesus said to him, put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.

Or do you think I can now pray to my father and he will provide me with more than 12 legions of angels? How then could the scriptures be fulfilled that it must happen thus? In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, have you come out as against a robber with swords and clubs to take me?

I daily sat with you, or I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and you did not seize me. But all this was done that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him and fled. Beloved Jesus boldly proclaimed his deity as the son of God and again confirmed that what was happening was a fulfillment of prophecy, including the fling of the disciples. And commentators all agree that I read this sword wielding disciple was none other than Peter. And I don't know that Peter really let it sink in that he was defying prophecy. He was defying that one that he acknowledged as the Christ, the son of the living God. I have to hand it to him when you remember that a great multitude came with clubs and swords and they had two and Peter took one and tried to defend Christ.

Commendable but very ill advised and very disobedient if I can put it that way. We've looked at Peter's privileges and they were great as a backdrop to his denials. We've heard his proclamation, you are the Christ, the son of the living God. We've considered his pride just in three passages in Matthew. And now we want to look at Peter's perjury. Perjury is a false oath and that is listed in Zechariah 817 as something that God hates. It's something that God hates.

Why? The Hebrew word means an untruth. And we're going to see that Peter made a false oath of the most grievous kind, the most grievous kind that you could possibly make. We look first at his disobedience in Matthew 26 57 through 58 starting with verse 57. Those who had laid hold of Jesus led him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.

But here we go. Peter followed him at a distance to the high priest's courtyard and went in and sat with the servants to see the end. John's account records that in the garden, Jesus said, let these go away. If Peter had listened to the Lord and obeyed, he would not have failed the Lord in such a humiliating way, but he didn't listen and he didn't obey. Ironically, the apostle John was also a part of this failure for he'd followed with Peter.

He was known by the high priest, the word tells us, and got both of them into the high priest courtyard. So we've seen his disobedience. He followed when Christ said all of them would flee. Secondly, we see his descent from devotion to denial, his descent from devotion to denial.

Chapter 26 starting with verse 69 and reading verse 69 and 70. Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard and a servant girl came to him saying, you also were with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied it before them all saying, I do not know what you're saying.

And folks, here's a disturbing part of this. No one threatened Peter with harm. This person simply said, you also were with Jesus of Galilee.

John was with Jesus of Galilee. He knew the high priest and was farther in than Peter was. So it wasn't like they were pulling a sword on him.

No one threatened him at this point. Notice verses 71 to 72. And when he had gone out to the gateway, so he was by the fire, this girl says what she says, and he decides to get a little bit further on the fringe.

So he goes to the gateway. Another girl saw him and said to those who were there, this fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth. But again, he denied with an oath. I do not know the man. And again, beloved, no one threatened him with harm. He had retreated to the gateway from sitting with him at the fire in the courtyard and he referred to Jesus as the man, as the man.

And thinking that through, that is sobering to me. He had said, you are the Christ, the son of the living God. And now he refers to him as the man. He denied knowing Jesus with an oath. Calvin, MacArthur, many other commentators all agree with the statement that I'm about to make. A quote, calling on God as his witness, Peter declared, I do not know the man and pronounced a curse of death on himself at God's hand if his words were untrue.

Can I read that again? In studying this, it left me speechless. Calling on God as his witness, Peter declared, I do not know the man and pronounced a curse of death on himself at God's hand if his words were untrue. That is mind boggling to me.

That is mind boggling to me. Peter pertains God's name. William Barclay commentator states, any oath in which the name of God was directly used was considered to be definitely binding.

Let me read that again and then go on. Any oath in which the name of God was directly used was considered to be definitely binding. But any oath in which direct mention of the name of God was not made was not held to be binding. I taught this again a couple of weeks ago on disciples serving Christ. If you didn't call upon the name of God in making an oath, it was the equivalent of us saying, had my fingers crossed.

I didn't mean it, you know. It was, the commentators say it made a sham of taking an oath. But if you evoke the name of God that Jews would not even pronounce, that's serious stuff. And I'm, for lack of a better way of putting it, in awe, any oath in which the name of God was directly used was considered to be definitely binding. And Peter made an oath and pronounced a curse of death on himself at God's hands if his words were untrue.

Let me give you another quote. Licken Duncan states that Peter wasn't using foul language when he uses the word oath. Peter was not using foul language. He swears an oath.

In other words, he's saying something like this. May God strike me dead if I am one of the disciples of Jesus Christ. He is swearing an oath that he doesn't know Christ and that he's calling down God's curse upon him in case of his falsehood. I have never, I don't believe, ever heard that explained that deeply, that he was calling a curse upon him if he was one of Jesus' disciples.

And it gets worse. Notice verse 73 through the first part of 74. A little later, those who stood by came up and said to Peter, Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you. Then he began to curse and swear saying, I do not know the man.

And again, folks, they are not threatening him with physical harm at this point. They're saying that his speech betrays him. He's a Galilean. One commentator humorously put it this way. That's like some New Yorker living in the South, you know, and when he starts talking, Southerners, no, he ain't from here. I grew up in New York, but I have lived for nearly 50 years with a Southerner, you know, and I am a man without a country because you think I've got a Northern accent to some degree, and when I go back home, I just use the term y'all, you know, and this is what they're getting at. Your speech betrays you.

You are a Galilean. That's basically what they're saying. Matthew Henry put it this way. And this again, profane swearing was very customary among the Jews. It's hard to suppose that swearing would be one of the spots of God's children, one of the sins of God's children since Peter, when he was charged with being a disciple of Christ and would disprove the charge, cursed and swore. So you can't imagine some follower of this goody goody, this rabbi. You can't imagine one of them talking like Peter is talking now, and he cursed and swore thereby thinking to convince him he was no disciple of Jesus.

And why? Because it was well known of his disciples. They dared not allow themselves to swear. So he's gone from just I don't know what you're talking about to taking an oath. May God strike me dead if I'm one of his disciples, to swearing, to try to convince him that I don't know who Jesus is.

I'm not part of his crowd. Then we look at Peter's punishment. What was Peter's punishment? This might surprise you a little bit at the start, but verses 74b through 75.

He's done this. He's sworn immediately a rooster crowed, and Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times. So he went out and wept bitterly. As one who proclaimed that he would never deny Christ, Peter was devastated. And Peter, folks, really he was a strong man. We're not talking about some milquetoast dude. He was a fisherman, a very hard task. He showed he had courage by pulling out a sword against a multitude of clubs and spears, clubs and swords.

But here's the thing that I want you to get. He remembered the word of Jesus. If you remember the word of the Lord, and you knowingly go against that word, and you have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you, that's punishment to me. I feel grief that I have knowingly violated the word of the Lord.

That is punishment to me. But it gets worse. Luke's account adds a very troubling detail.

And here's what he says. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times. So Peter went out and wept bitterly.

I could not get away from those words. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. That would be punishment. That would be punishment. Not only remembering the word of the Lord that you blatantly, despicably violated, but then after you violated it, and the rooster is crowing, and you look, and the Lord turns and looks at you.

That is punishment. I can't imagine the grief of Peter when he looked into the eyes of Jesus, whom he denied in the strongest possible way. Matthew Henry says this. He remembered the words of the Lord. This is what brought him to himself and melted him into tears of godly sorrow, a sense of his ingratitude to Christ, and the slight regard he had to the gracious warning Christ had given him. Nothing grieves a penitent more than that he sinned against the grace of the Lord Jesus and Christ's token of his love. Ligon Duncan states that the early church fathers said that Peter, for the rest of his life, could not hear a rooster crow without tears welling up in his eyes. I don't know how true that is, but I know Ligon Duncan to be a very careful expositor of the word and a student of church history to be certain. The early church fathers said that Peter, for the rest of his life, could not hear a cock crow without tears welling in his eyes. And I could believe that.

I could believe that. When you had so offended Jesus Christ, this one that you had lived with for three years and experienced all these things, culminating and hearing God's voice say, this is my beloved son in whom I'm well pleased, and you have denied him so badly. Beloved, here is a sobering thought. Believers will look into the eyes of the Lord at the judgment seat of Christ. Now I'm thankful I'm not going to be judged for a relationship because I am a son of God by faith in Jesus Christ.

But I will be judged for works. And I, this is just pure speculation, but I can't help but wonder if when I look into his eyes, if I don't think what might have been if. What might have been if I'd have done more? Not out of obligation, but out of love.

What might have been if? And I will at the same time, and you will also, praise God for his grace and mercy, who saved us when we didn't deserve saving and saved us in spite of ourselves. J. C. Ryle says this, we see in Peter's bitter tears the grand mark of difference between the hypocrite and the true believer. When the hypocrite is overtaken by sin, he generally falls to rise no more.

He has no principle of life within him to raise him up. When the child of God is overtaken, he rises again by true repentance and by the grace of God amends his life. Let no man flatter himself that he may sin with impunity because David committed adultery and because Peter denied his Lord. No doubt, these holy men sinned greatly, but they did not continue in their sins. They repented greatly. They mourned over their falls.

They loathed and abhorred their own wickedness. And that's the difference between a hypocrite and a true disciple of Christ. Mark 16 verse 7, the women at the tomb, the angel said to them, but go, tell his disciples and Peter, singling him out by name. Go tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you into Galilee. There you will see him as he said to you.

Another reminder, Peter, I told you that this was what was going to happen. And then, wonderfully, we see that Peter met privately with the Lord and Christ restored him to discipleship. Listen if you would to 1 Corinthians 15. In that chapter, Paul wrote, for I delivered to you first of all that which I also received that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that he was buried, that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures, now get this, and that he was seen by Cephas, Peter, then by the 12. So the first person that Jesus addressed privately after his resurrection was Peter, and then the 12, and then 500 at one time. Jesus also restored him publicly, and that's recorded in John 21 verses 14-19.

And in closing, I'd like you to turn there if you would. John chapter 21 verses 14-19. Now I'm going to read those verses, and then I want to read an excellent excerpt from John MacArthur's commentary on this in closing. We're talking about Jesus restoring Peter publicly in front of others, and in this case, it's in front of the other disciples. After putting this in context, it's after the resurrection, Jesus met the disciples at the Sea of Tiberius when we begin in verse 14. This now is the third time.

Isn't that interesting? This is now the third time Jesus showed himself to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these? He said to him, yes, Lord, you know that I love you. He said to him, feed my lambs. He said to him again a second time, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me? He said to him, yes, Lord, you know that I love you. He said to him, feed my sheep, pretend my sheep. He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me? Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, do you love me? And he said to him, Lord, you know all things.

You know that I love you. Jesus said to him, feed my sheep. Most assuredly I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished.

But when you're old, you'll stretch out your hands. Another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish. This he spoke signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when he had spoken thus, he said to him, follow me.

I'm going to make a statement then read what MacArthur has to share with us. Christ's three questions, do you love me? Do you love me?

Do you love me? Parallel Peter's three denials. And I cannot help but think it seems to me that Peter's grief that's recorded after Christ's third question is almost like him saying, I get it.

I get what you're saying. I denied you three times. And you've asked me three times, do you love me?

Now, this is extremely insightful. MacArthur states, when Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, he used a word for love that signified total commitment. Peter responded with a word for love that signified his love for Jesus, but not necessarily his total commitment. This was not because he was reluctant to express that greater love, but because he had been disobedient, denied the Lord in the past. He was perhaps reluctant to make a claim of supreme devotion when in the past his life had not supported such a claim. The third time Jesus asked Peter, he used Peter's word for love that signified something less than total devotion.

And that play on words is profound folks. Peter, do you love me? Peter, do you love me? Peter, do you love me?

What was his response? Well, the third time Jesus asked Peter, he used the word Peter's word for love that signified something less than total devotion. MacArthur says Jesus pressed home to Peter the need for unswerving devotion by repeatedly asking Peter if he loved him supremely. The essential message here is that Jesus demands total commitment from his followers.

Their love for him must place him above all others. And I would ask you to recall Christ's words in Matthew 16, 24. Then Jesus said to his disciples, if anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. Beloved, do you remember when I read that of John and it talked about signifying by what death Peter would glorify God.

It doesn't tell us exactly what that means. But if you look in commentaries, many of them, many of them claim that that refers to crucifixion. And church history tells us that Peter was crucified on a St. Andrew's cross, spread eagle upside down, because he did not want to be crucified like the Lord that he had denied. Peter, from devotion to denial and back again. And beloved, back again.

We know that the story doesn't end here. One of my favorite passages of scripture is 2 Peter chapter 1. You know, that is just golden to me. That God has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness. And because of that, with the power of his Spirit, we're to add to our faith the rest of these virtues. We're to make certain that we know that we are saved.

Make your calling and election sure. And Peter knew then, he said, the Lord has shown me that shortly I must put off this my tent or my tabernacle. In other words, the Lord has shown me, shortly I'm going to be martyred.

J. C. Ryle's conclusion of what I've tried to share with you tonight is this. The best of saints are only human and have many weaknesses. A person may be converted to God, have faith, hope, and love towards Christ, and yet be overtaken in a fault and have awful falls. It shows us the necessity of humility. So long as we're in the body, we are in danger.

The body is weak. The devil is active. We must never think I cannot fall. And that's the essence of my challenge to you tonight.

We must never think I cannot fall. Let me briefly locate what I started out with and then we'll close in order prayer. The objectives for tonight's message, to caution us to take heed lest we fall. And we use the tragic example of Peter, a pillar of the faith who went from devotion to Christ to denial of Christ and then back again. The second objective we had is to challenge us to know and practice our convictions, not our preferences. The things for which we will say, I'll die before I deny this. That is a small circle of things, folks. It doesn't include a lot of things that evangelicals want to put under that label.

It's getting right down to the maple sugar instead of the maple syrup, if you know what I mean. Know our convictions and say, I will die. I will die before I deny that the scriptures are the word of God. I will die before I deny that Jesus Christ is God the Son. I will die before I deny that He came to this earth and lived a perfect life and died a substitutionary death, was buried and rose, demonstrating God's approval.

I will die before I deny that. Those are convictions and we need to know what we believe. And then finally to assure us that through Christ's reaction to Peter, who grievously denied Him, that in those times when we deny being His disciples by our silence, we just say nothing, or by wandering off course, not doing all that we should, not being all that we should, there's mercy and forgiveness to be had before the throne of grace. Let us pray. Father, as I come before your throne tonight, once again, I pray that you'd use what was shared to challenge our people, to comfort them, to assure us, Lord, we see the moral climate of the world darkening by the day, if not by the hour. Give us conviction. Give us the courage to be consistent. Help us to realize that the darker the night, the brighter the light, and we are to be children of light. May our testimony be true. May you use us in these times of uncertainty to point others to the Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-23 04:00:24 / 2022-11-23 04:14:48 / 14

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