You and I who are failures at so many things in life, we have such a man as Peter to thank for days of courage that we draw up from the scripture. He's my kind of failure. I relate to him. I see myself saying, Lord, ask me to come out.
I'll do it. And then beginning to sink. And yet, at the end, when it's all said and done, I'm the Lord's rock. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of Genesis.
Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Today, Pastor Rick will continue his message called, Peter, My Kind of Failure. He'll start today in Matthew chapter 16. Jesus headed towards Jerusalem and began to expound to his disciples that he was going to be crucified. Peter did not care for that message.
The idea was something to be corrected. And so we read in Matthew's Gospel, chapter 16, verse 22 and 23, then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. Now, he's not screaming at him, but he's correcting the teacher, saying, far be it from you, Lord.
This shall not happen to you. But when he turned, the Lord that is, but he turned and said to Peter, get behind me Satan, you are an offense to me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but of the things of men. Man, you go from being the one that when everybody is wondering and quoting others and you step forward and you say you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and the Lord says flesh and blood did not tell you that, Simon Peter, but my Father in heaven, he has told you that. And then shortly after you go to being called the devil.
I mean, that's not right, but this is how it is. The Lord corrected him. He received the correction. Not only does Matthew write about it, but Mark writes about it, which is significant because we believe with all the evidence, forensic literary evidence, to say that Mark's gospel is Peter's account. Peter telling Mark, Mark putting it into print.
Peter tells Mark the very story, the stories, I should say, that he lived. And so, yes, one of the deep failures was this rebuke in Caesarea Philippi, and then there was the great denial in Jerusalem. I want to again make it very clear that my understanding of the scripture concerning Peter's denial is that he did not deny as a coward, but he denied as a confused man. What would you have done? Would you have even continued to follow? They all did not follow.
John followed because he knew people within the court. Peter, he was a stranger. Matthew chapter 26 verse 33, Peter answered and said to him, even if all are made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble.
What would happen if that was never recorded for us? Would not we be the ones? I'll never fail the Lord, but we never say that. We're not for Peter. We would rush and make the same claim, but because of Peter, we received lesson. He denied as a confused zealot. He wasn't sure of his role.
He wasn't out to save his own skin. He had already demonstrated this. Remember Malchus? Malchus would not forget Peter for the rest of his life. I believe that that event there in Gethsemane of the disciple Peter, swinging that sword at Malchus' head, missing and getting only his ear, is recorded to note the bravery of the man and the love from which that bravery was born. He loved Jesus.
We read in Matthew 26 58, but Peter followed him at a distance to the high priest's courtyard and went in and sat with the servants to see the end. He could not just flee. He did flee in the beginning, but he turned back. He was not that kind of man. After the betrayal, he had to see what was going to happen. If he could be of any use, if in that courtyard he saw the Lord rushed by Roman soldiers, Peter, I have no doubt, would have jumped into the mix, but he was out of his element.
These were not weapons of carnal war and resistance. He did not know how to spiritually engage the situation he was in over his head, and he was learning that. He would never forget it. We have to learn it, too. We come to Christ again. We think that there's some benefit to the kingdom with us now in it, and God has to show us that that's never the case. When Peter was warming himself by the enemy's fire, Luke writes in the 22nd chapter of Luke, verse 60, Peter said, man, I do not know what you are saying. He's denying the Lord. Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed, just as Jesus said it would, and the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times. So Peter went out and wept bitterly. He's devastated. The look of Jesus broke the heart of Peter, as it does to all of us who see Jesus as sinners. This is much deeper than just a denial.
This is spiritual. The depth of that look cannot be captured in ink. Peter didn't elaborate on it when he's telling the story to others.
What could he say? Except you had to be there. I think that look of Jesus held more grace and love and kindness for all that Peter did not deserve in one instant, more than he could measure. It's so far beyond a simple denial. I mean, the denial wasn't something you'd shoot for, but this was much greater, and only Peter could understand that and those to whom the Holy Spirit would point it out after, and that's it.
No one else. No one else can enter behind this kind of veil without the Holy Spirit, as it is with every other kind of veil that separates sinners from a holy God. And then years later, after all these things, when Peter had become the great apostle who was restored, still the leader, separating himself from Jerusalem as if he could because of the legalism and the dedication to an obsolete faith that Jesus had delivered them from, as he moved away from those things, he finds himself in Antioch where Paul is doing a great work with others, but Paul is the leader there, of course. We read about this in the Galatian letter.
Paul has recorded it. The Holy Spirit has endorsed it, which means it is for our edification. And what was happening here is Paul had been dismantling this division between Jew and Gentile. Yeah, lights come to the Gentile. It's come through the Jewish Messiah. There's no longer a distinction.
All those things are done. The only thing that matters is the blood of Jesus Christ, the righteousness of God upon us. But those Jews had a hard time learning it. Not all of them, but the majority of them. And so Peter comes up to where Paul is in Antioch, sees all of these Gentiles getting saved. Antioch is in Syria. And he's right there with them.
Amen. Laughing it up in their houses, eating it. He had already been to the house of Cornelius.
He knew the drill. But then those from Jerusalem, from James, had come up to Antioch to check it out, to put their seal of approval on it. But again, they were trapped in this guilt-centered religious legalistic approach to freedom from sin. And they could not appreciate what was going on.
They only brought division. And Peter reacted to that. Aren't we all susceptible to such things? Well anyway, in Galatians chapter 2, we read, Paul's accounting says, now when Peter had come to Antioch, I would stood him to his face because he was to be blamed. Again, if you want to turn there, it's Galatians 2, verse 11. He continues, for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles. But when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.
He had to wash the smell of bacon out of his robes. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him. So that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter, before all of them, if you, being a Jew, live in the manner of the Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?
Why? Pardon me. We, who are Jews by nature and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by deeds of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by trust in Christ, what he has done, and not by the deeds of the law. For by the law, or by the works of the law, no flesh shall be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin?
Certainly not. Well, this goes on as just as powerful, and we need to read this part with us. He says, for I, through the law, died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith, and the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing. Powerful. I don't know how much of that he got to tell Peter, but Peter knew it out anyway.
Peter knew it all. He was not intellectually deficient when it came to his theological position. He just allowed himself to be swayed by others. I can relate to that. I can identify with that. Anytime you feel like you don't want to say the gospel, preach the gospel because you fear what someone else might say, then you too can relate to the same thing. Or maybe, maybe there's been a Christian leader in your life that has failed you, and you've not been very merciful towards them.
Maybe they've gotten a doctrine a little twisted, or they've goofed up a little bit on a position. That was Peter. Would you have said, that's it.
I'm never going to listen to another word Peter says. That's what we do. That's what I do.
That's what I've done. I can think of a Bible teacher who endorsed a book that I think he should not have endorsed at all, but he did. He's almost twice my age, and actually I saw him in Jerusalem. And when I saw him, all I could see was the love of Christ on him.
I had been pretty disappointed with his endorsement. But see, that's what was happening, or what happens to us. We see a righteous man filled with the Spirit, used by God, no worse than us.
And because they may go to the left or right sometime a bit too much, we reach into our pocket for those stones that we keep with us, and we're ready to throw them. And the lesson here in Galatians is don't do that. Don't be so quick to judge. You're not Simon Peter. You're not the Apostle Paul. But you can be like them if you just let the grace of God guide your life, and not the guilt of sin.
Sign me up, Lord. That's the side I want to be on, because if you were to take Peter, John, and Paul, which one of those three would you most relate to, would you most identify with? I think that Paul is, of course, one of the great men of all Scripture. But I don't relate to him as I do to John. But then when I think of John, I don't relate to him as I do to Peter. When I really am honest with myself, theologically I relate most to Paul, but in reality, when I look at me, my heart, who I am, I relate to Peter, and I'm not ashamed of it. This man, Peter, stepped into the too deep of a sea on a stormy night. I wish I had that sort of faith and courage in Jesus Christ. This man, Peter, stepped forward in error after getting it right. I know that.
I've done that. I've nailed hard verses only to mess up on a little one because of my own pride. I've said, you are the Christ, and in the next breath, Lord, let me correct you on this. I know what it's like to pledge allegiance to the Lord, then step backwards in confusion, retreating just the way I said that I wouldn't do. I can identify with Peter. I know what it's like to step on the feet of other people in weakness when I knew better. I know what it's like to be a little bit of a bully when I shouldn't be. I've learned.
I'm not saying I do this every day. I'm not even saying I've done it recently, but I have done it, and that's why I relate to Peter so much. I do think he is one of the great men of all the Bible, but he's not given to us that way, but when you think about it, it is there.
It's inescapable. Within each failure this man committed, there was a heart of success. Within each failure, Satan, Satan and hell were rattled because there was a port that was still open that they could not shut, and that caused them great concern. In Caesarea, when he opened that gate and said, you are the Christ, just because he messed up later didn't mean that Satan was comfortable now. What he said was this man has the potential to see into the spiritual realm faster than those around him and do something with it. On the Mount of Transfiguration, when he said, oh man, this is powerful.
Let's build three houses up here, three monuments to Moses and Elijah, the law and the prophets and to you, Lord Jesus. And then the father says, Peter. He doesn't say Peter, but that's how Peter took it. This is my son. This is the one, not them.
This is the one. Hell looked at and said, wait a minute. Yeah, he got rebuked, but he stepped forward. He recognized that this was a powerful something going on, and he could not shut his mouth. He did something with it. What if he does it when he gets it right? Oh, I love that.
I love that very much. Hell was rattled by this man, went on Galilee. He alone asked to step out, and then the next time he dives into the water, the cold water, in the midst of spring and swims to shore just to stand there in the presence of Jesus. He didn't have anything to say. What did he say?
He swam up to the beach. What did he say? What could he say? He was just so happy to be there, that we're going to be in heaven, in Gethsemane. When he pulled that sword and he swung it, part of Satan must have said, oh yeah, we got him in the flesh. But another part of him said, oh no, we got a man that loves this Jesus and will do anything for him. And in Jerusalem, there he is, like a lost puppy, still following, tagging along.
God's unlettered dynamo. He needed no seminary except the seminary of Jesus Christ. We all have to be educated. We all have to be taught. Anybody that says God is not for education is ignorant. God is very much for educating his people. How he does it has to conform with how he has declared it in Scripture.
This is why he was a success. John's Gospel, chapter 1, verse 42. Andrew, it speaks of bringing him to Jesus, and he brought to him, and he brought him to Jesus.
Now, when Jesus looked at him, he said, you are Simon, the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas, which is translated a stone. Cephas is the Aramaic word. Petros is the Greek word for the Aramaic word. It's a movable stone, as opposed to an immovable stone, petros.
In fact, the root word for petrify comes from this Greek word. Well, the Latin gets hold of it and becomes petros, and then we anglinize it and it becomes peter, the movable stone. I know you say, well, he's the movable stone, but Jesus is the immovable stone. Yes, but in the hands of Jesus, a movable stone is a powerful thing. All you have to do is ask Goliath about moving stones, what they can do to the causes of the enemy.
And so, an apparent mismatch in the beginning. Peter, a stone. You're sure about that, Lord?
Any kind of stone. Are you sure that that's the name you want to give this man? Jesus, of course, said absolutely. I said what I said. I meant what I said.
I don't apologize for it. It was a challenge and an invitation at the same time for Peter to develop stability, maturity in Christ. To have that name given to you, to say this is your name, now match it, live up to it, have that in your nature. What if God called you, you know, the righteous knight of Christ?
Well, now I've got to live up to it. Couldn't you call me once in a while? I mean, I don't mean call me up every now and then. I mean, call me, hey, he is once in a while. He's fickle.
Sometimes he gets it, sometimes he doesn't. How about you call me that, Lord? That would be appealing to our weak nature. It is something that the church is doing more and more. Churches are appealing to the fallen and weak nature of their congregants and as such, the inner men do not get built up, but the church becomes more and more like the world with a side dish of Jesus because they are reaching down and leaving them down. But when you have a church that holds the standard high to pull the people up, the carnal want to rebel against that. They want to say so. They want their flesh to be asserted.
They want power. The scripture says you've got to die. When you die, you have no more power. Dead men are powerless unless they are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
This was the case with the church at Philadelphia. You have a little strength. That is another way of saying you are a weakling. If I were to take my five-year-old and say, hey, push against my hand, I'd say you have a little strength.
Compared to me, she would be a weakling. That's what Christ says to us. However, unlike me with my child, God with his children empowers them so that their little strength subdues the flesh and becomes powerful and mighty in spirit.
And that's why he was an unlettered dynamo. That's why if we read beyond the Gospels and Acts and onto his letters, we find that while he was a fisher, a fisherman, to take fish to the market, he became a fisher of men to take men to their maker. And that's what I want. I want the same thing that Peter got. I want what Peter wants because I have the same God that Peter has. In fact, this man, if you read the letter of Jude, you find the impact that he made on the man Jude, who was the brother of the Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh. Is there anything else said of this man that I should know? Not to take anything away from the great apostle Paul, but Paul takes nothing away from the great apostle Peter. And you must see him that way to benefit from what the scripture has preserved about him. Takes nothing from Paul. You know, we have that saying, a candle loses none of its own light when it lights another candle. That's Peter and Paul. Powerful men.
Worth time. But Paul without Jesus, or Peter without Jesus, they would have just been a scholar and a fisherman and died that way without ever coming in touch with each other. But because of Jesus, their lives changed and so did so many because of them. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, hell was rattled by the potential in Jesus, of Jesus, in Peter, and that's why Jesus said in Luke chapter 22 verse 31, the Lord said to Simon, Simon, Simon, indeed Satan has asked for you that he may sift you as wheat.
Because that's the case with every one of us. That's why he is so relevant to us. Now I'm going to skip over all the verses in Acts when Peter is raising the dead, when he is going into the temple and the silver and gold have I none such as I have give I you, when he looks at Simon Magnus and sees that he is a counterfeit and he says you're poisoned in bitterness, bound in iniquity, and you're not right with God, he says to him. That's our message too to those who are not right with God.
When he says to Sapphira and Ananias, you lied to God. Satan filled your heart and they dropped dead and everybody was afraid of the church. It was this Peter blazing the trail. I'm going to close with this thought. If there were addresses in heaven by the apostles, if when we died and we went to heaven and the apostles were allowed to speak about their experiences, Peter would draw the most listeners. I have no doubt in my mind Peter would draw the most. Paul of course would draw many and it would be powerful. You would have a quality and a depth that she just would never find in Peter. John would have much to say, many people to be blessed by what he has to say, but Peter would draw the multitudes and they would be right. And so you and I who are failures at so many things in life, we have such a man as Peter to thank for days of courage that we draw up from the scripture. He's my kind of failure. I relate to him. I see myself saying, Lord, ask me to come out.
I'll do it. And then beginning to sink. And yet at the end, when it's all said and done, I'm the Lord's rock. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. Pastor Rick is teaching from God's word each time you tune in.
As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, this teaching is available free of charge at our website. Just visit crossreferenceradio.com. That's crossreferenceradio.com. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can do so at crossreferenceradio.com or search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app store. That's all for today. Join Pastor Rick next time for more character studies right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-04 11:22:19 / 2023-03-04 11:31:57 / 10