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The Shadow Of Peter Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
August 16, 2022 1:00 am

The Shadow Of Peter Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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August 16, 2022 1:00 am

What do people really need? The Apostle Peter didn’t have extensive resources and neither do we. In this message, we discover the effect our lives have on others, and why we, like Peter, must live in the power of the Holy Spirit. If we stand in the light of Christ, our shadows will impact others with resources that are far beyond our own power.

This month’s special offer is available for a donation of any amount. Get yours at rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-217-9337.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Long ago, the apostle Peter's influence was so powerful that even his shadow caused the sick to be healed. Today, the effect you and I have on the lives of others and why we too must live in the power of the Holy Spirit.

From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. We're in a series on the life of Peter and how he was empowered by the Holy Spirit, truly a man chiseled by the master's hand. Now, Pastor Lutzer tells us more about Peter's shadow and ours. You know, the thing about Peter, of course, was that he was especially anointed by God.

As we indicated in this message, he was able to walk along and even his shadow, those who were in his shadow, experienced healing. But the story that we're talking about now has to do with Ananias and Sapphira, a man and his wife who lied, who tried to give a better impression as to who they really were. There's an interesting theological point that is also made here. Peter says, you have not lied to man, but to the Holy Spirit. Imagine that when we lie, it's not just to others, it's to the Holy Spirit. We want to thank the many of you who support the ministry of Running to Win.

We believe that through the providence and the goodness of God, of course, it's touching thousands upon thousands of lives every day in twenty different countries. Would you consider partnering with us, becoming a part of the Running to Win family? Here's what you can do. Go to RTWOfferer.com. When you're there, click on the endurance partner button.

Call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now, I want you to know today that sometimes our shadow is not a shadow that comes and touches people and blesses them. Sometimes our shadow has to be the shadow of a stinging rebuke. The Bible says that those of you who are spiritual, restore those who have fallen and do it in a spirit of meekness, lest you also are tempted.

And you know what we have a tendency to do when we see a fault in someone's life is to run to somebody else and to spread that gossip and to spread that word. And that's why the psalmist says, oh Lord, keep me from the strife of tongues. The strife of tongues. When what we ought to do is to lovingly go to them and to rebuke them that they might be restored into fellowship. When the apostle Paul uses that word, he talks about people being out of fellowship with God and the Greek word means the setting of a bone. Now, when you have a bone that needs to be set, you don't like to have somebody come and try to set it with a crowbar.

You need someone to come with tenderness and love and they will not necessarily die. God was making a powerful statement here at the beginning of the church. He was trying to tell people very pointedly that he deals harshly with sin and he hates dishonesty. And what a reminder that is. And by the way, God has not changed his mind. It's just that in this era, God is willing to allow all the lies to accumulate and then deal with them all at one time. But sometimes our shadow is a shadow of rebuke and it brings pain to people. People who need to be brought to pain that they might be brought to repentance. That's part of my responsibility.

It's part of your responsibility as a child of God. And please don't read this passage and say, well, this was Peter. Yes, this was Peter, but Peter was a man of flesh and blood just as we are. And by the power of the Spirit, he was able to bless, but he was also able to rebuke.

There's a third instance and we'll only be able to comment on it briefly. And that is in Acts chapter 8. In Acts chapter 8, the gospel is going to the Samaritans. You remember in the 8th chapter, Philip was preaching in Samaria and the people in Samaria believed. And it says in verse 14, now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen upon any of them. They had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then they began laying their hands on them and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. You may say, well, Pastor Luther, this passage doesn't make sense because I thought that when people believed on Christ, they received the Spirit.

Yes, they do. But in the book of Acts, we have a period of transition here and God wanted to make sure that the Samaritans, who never got along with the Jews, and the Jews never got along with the Samaritans, and ethnically there was great rivalry and hatred between them. God wanted to make sure that everyone recognized that there was but one church, and therefore to unify the church, he had Peter and John go to Samaria and they put their hands on these people that they might receive the fullness of the Spirit and the blessing of the Spirit, which today is the inheritance of every single one of us who believe on Christ. So I want you to notice that sometimes Peter's shadow was a shadow of joyful opportunity. It was a shadow that was opening up doors to the Samaritans and if we had time, we'd read the 10th chapter and find that Peter opened the doors to the Gentiles as well. You remember the Lord said to him, I give you the keys of the kingdom. And because Peter had those keys, it was his responsibility to open doors of opportunity that people might believe the gospel.

And we have that privilege as well. You see, as Jesus Christ's representatives, we have the privilege of introducing men and women to saving faith, to explain the gospel, and being God's link on earth to see their conversion and to see them accept Christ as their Savior. I'd like to make a couple of concluding observations here. First of all, the greatest impact that we have is through our lives. It's not what we can give financially, important though that may be. It is really a transformed life, a life that touches people, that helps them in their walk with God.

Let me ask you something. What about your shadow in your business life, your shadow at home, the place where you walk out in the street, your relationship? What kind of an impact do you have? You know, when you take a stone and throw it into water, you have all of those ripples that continue.

Even though the stone has gone to the bottom of the lake, the ripples still continue. And do you know that what we do and the way we live will continue to eternity and long after we have died? Someone said, and I believe it is true, that in eternity we will become what we are now, only more so.

Think about that. You're a loving person. You're a person who has concern for others.

There's joy in your life. Well, throughout all of eternity, if you're a believer, that's the way you're going to be, only more so. But if you are unconverted, stingy, filled with self-will, very concerned only about yourself, unwilling to see your faults and your need of Jesus Christ, throughout all of eternity, you will be just like that, only more so. You see, it's the impact of our life. The impact of Peter's shadow continues even today.

And we'll be mentioning that particularly a couple of weeks from now when I wrap up his life and talk about his legacy. A second observation is that oftentimes our shadow is unconscious. We influence people when we're not even thinking that we influence people, simply by our lives. I remember the days up in Canada, I think it was 1958, when a hailstorm came and wiped out all of our crop. And my parents in those days did not believe in insurance. And I remember how that when the hailstorm was over and everything was lost, they asked us to get on their knees with them to thank God for his faithfulness and for all that he had done for us as a family. Now, my mom and dad weren't saying, we want to really influence these kids right.

Get on your knees because we want to impress you with our spirituality. They weren't even thinking about that. But think of the power of an unconscious example. And oh, think of the tragedy and the power of a negative example. Like a young woman who when she came to die said to her mother, you taught me how to drink, you taught me how to hold my cigarette, you taught me how to dress, and you taught me all about men, but you did not teach me how to die.

Tragedy, tragedy, tragedy. The power of a negative shadow. Thirdly, our shadow is really dependent on our relationship to the sun. You know, if you walk in darkness, there is no shadow.

And that's the way some people are. No impact for good, perhaps an impact for unrighteousness, as I've just illustrated, but it is only when we stand in the sun that we have a shadow that will impact people in the right way. And my friend today, I want to emphasize that you and I don't have resources to give to people what they really need. Peter didn't.

We don't. Our shadows in and of themselves are worthless, but if we stand in the light, with Christ, having received the fullness of the Holy Spirit from him, we'll be able to impact others with resources that are beyond our own power. I think, for example, of A. J. Gordon, who tells the story of walking along a field one day, and he says off in the distance he saw a man pumping water, and he wondered how anyone could pump water with such enthusiasm and consistency. But as he got closer, he realized that he was not looking at a man. He was looking at a pump, and the pump had on it the figure of a man.

So from a distance it looked like a human, but it really wasn't. And as he came closer, he realized that far from this pump, pumping water, actually the motion of this apparatus was controlled by an artesian well, and it was the pressure of the water that was creating the motion. No wonder that man, in quotes, didn't get tired. You know what Jesus said? He who is a thirst, let him come on to me and drink. For all those who believe on me, as the scriptureth said, from within them shall flow rivers of living water.

You'll have something to give to somebody because you've received what God has to offer. Some of you perhaps need to receive the forgiveness of Christ of the cross. And even if you're a Christian, you may need the cross this morning for your cleansing, but also if we do believe on him and are saved, what we need is the Christ of the ascension, the fullness of the spirit that our shadow may sometimes be a healing touch.

At other times it may be a rebuke, and at other times it may open doors of opportunity, but we will begin ripples that will go on forever. That's why I would like us to sing together today hymn 259, if you have your hymnals, if you turn to that, because I sense in my own life and I trust in yours as well that what we really need is the power of the spirit that our shadow might touch individuals forever and for good. The text says, breathe on me, breath of God, fill me with life anew, that I may love what thou dost love and do what thou wouldst do. I hope that when we sing this in a moment, we'll sing it with sincerity and ask God to give us something that we might be able to give it back.

Let's pray. Our Father, today we want to thank you for the life of Peter, thank you that he was a vessel that was available to your spirit, and that being filled with that spirit wherever he went, he was a means of blessing, of instruction. We pray that we might be like him and follow him insofar as he has followed Christ. Now Father, come to us in our helplessness and even as we sing, come and breathe on us that we might be filled and able to give to those in need. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

I want you to think back for just a moment and ask yourself this question. How many messages in your church have you heard about the blessed Holy Spirit? So often the Holy Spirit is omitted, omitted in preaching, omitted in teaching, and yet as we look at the New Testament we discover that it is the Spirit who is with us who energizes us, and certainly the Spirit of God energized Peter. And of course what we also must understand is that Peter's very presence had a power, and maybe you and I don't recognize this, but our presence does as well.

You've perhaps been in a situation and someone has walked into the room, someone who is very godly, and immediately it had an effect in the room. You know, it's important that we learn to walk in the Spirit. Now if you listen to the ministry of Running to Win, you'll discover that it is our desire all the time to preach all the truth of scripture, and we're so encouraged.

Let me read a letter that comes to us from South Africa, but I have to say that this is not just a letter for us, this is also a letter for you. The person says, I always listen to your program expecting that I will take one truth with me to improve my Christian walk. I feel like a new person, no longer valuing the temporal things of life.

My day-to-day life has since been transformed slowly, and it is amazing realizing how much I have changed. Well that's what Running to Win is all about, leading people to Jesus Christ and encouraging and helping all of us as we run the race of life. Would you consider helping us regularly with your prayers and your gifts? We call these people endurance partners. They are people who stand with us, as I already mentioned, regularly.

The amount that you give is your decision. But here's what you can do to find out more info. Go to RTWOffer.com. Now as you might guess, RTWOffer is all one word. RTWOffer.com, when you're there, click on the endurance partner button, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Let me give you that web address once again, RTWOffer.com.

Click on the endurance partner button. I hope that you will join us in this ministry. It's time now for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. The damage done by divorce is heartrending, but when it happens in full view of a local church, the pain is intensified.

Nancy has written from Pennsylvania with this story. My husband was saved at age 20 and was a deacon, a Sunday school teacher, and a youth leader for over 30 years. Now he's left me for the church organist. He says that after he divorces me and marries her, he'll ask me and my adult children to forgive him. He says we have to forgive him and invite him back to our birthday gatherings and holiday celebrations with his new wife.

As devastated as I am, I believe I can still think clearly enough to believe this is not a good plan. Does God really expect me to accept a clearly unrepentant adulterer as though nothing is wrong? For his mistress, this is her fifth affair with a married man. She also claims the grace and mercy of the Lord. Sixteen years ago, her husband cheated on her, so she feels completely justified. She divorced that husband, and despite my efforts to fight it, my husband will soon be rid of me by divorce.

What should I do? Nancy, first of all, let me thank you so much for asking this question, and even as I have read it, I've been praying that God will give me wisdom to answer it. The answer is this, however, that your husband is taking forgiveness for granted. He is confusing, first of all, forgiveness with consequences. Does he really think that he can leave you, that he can commit this great sin, leave you, become involved with this other woman and marry her, and then think to himself, I've done nothing that a little bit of forgiveness can't cure?

There are built-in consequences. One day a pastor friend phoned me, and he left his wife for another woman, and he said, well, even David got his Bathsheba, and I said, yes, David got his Bathsheba, but look at what he also got, the devastation of his own family, etc. It is very important for your children and other people who are watching this scenario to recognize the fact that a man cannot walk away from his wife, marry someone else, and then consider it to be just a small bump in the road. What does that say to your family, your children, the wider family of the church? What the church really ought to do is to discipline him, is to have him recognize that he is committing a sin, and he has to be put outside the congregation in a legal sense. So what he is doing is he's confusing forgiveness with consequences.

The consequences will still be there. He's also confusing forgiveness with genuine repentance. Obviously, neither he nor the woman he is marrying have any idea of what true repentance is, because they're repenting, so to speak, and asking for forgiveness before they commit a sin.

That is presumption. It only intensifies really their sin. So, specifically, to give an answer to your question, no, I don't think that he should be invited back for your celebrations with your children and the like, as if nothing has happened, because after all, he has asked your forgiveness. I think that after he is married, what you need to do is to write him a long letter, and you need to point out that you cannot pretend that what he has done is such a small thing that it can just be shoved under the rug. Yes, it is true that God is available to forgive him if he genuinely repents, but restoring him to the family is another matter. I think that there should then be repentance in the presence of the church and in the presence of your family, with real brokenness, so that he acknowledges among all of those who are watching that he has sinned.

Now, he's probably not going to be willing to do that, because he's going to say, well, you know, I'm in love with this other lady. Fact is, I believe the time will come when God will turn her heart to someone else. They will begin to have problems, and probably not until then will he finally face his sin and see the extent of the iniquity that he has done. So until that time happens, I think that you must respectfully avoid him. If he does show up to these celebrations, let him know that he is viewed as one who is under discipline, because I see no genuine repentance, no acknowledgment of his sin, and all that I see is a terrible example for everyone else who is watching what is happening. I pray that you will receive some counseling that will enable you to make wise decisions in the midst of this very, very difficult situation. But sin can never be minimized.

Forgiveness is wonderful, but that does not take a big sin and make it negligible. Thank you, and I pray that God shall indeed give you the wisdom about which I spoke. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer, on behalf of all our listeners in similar situations as Nancy's. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer, or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 614. Running to Win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. The master artist is nearly finished remaking Peter, a man chiseled by the master's hand. For Peter, and for you and me, God goes before us to make sure the road ahead is just the way He wants it. That's what happened for Peter. Next time on Running to Win, we'll relive the time when the apostle went to prison and was set free by an angel. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-10 11:51:05 / 2023-03-10 11:59:42 / 9

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