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February 9, 2021 7:00 pm
Rev. Phil Gerard continues the series entitled “New Testament Servants,” from Luke 22.
Welcome to The Daily Platform program feature sermons from Chapel services Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, whether it's the general travel service for the whole student body or services for those in the ministerial class or seminary.
Everyone at the school is blessed by the preaching of the word each day from the chapel platform today on The Daily Platform were continuing a four-part seminary series entitled New Testament servants which studies how God shows and equipped particular servants in the Bible to minister his word. Today's message will be preached by Rev. Phil Gerard Pastor of Midway Bible Church in Pelzer, South Carolina, where he has served for the past 18 years.
Phil also held pastorates in Mississippi and Pennsylvania before he moved to South Carolina. The title of his message is Peter a servant, chosen and equipped from Luke 22 when asking open your Bible's police to Luke chapter 22 take me a while to get there but can you can have your scriptures open to Luke 22. The four Gospels are full of Peter. He's mentioned nearly 200 versus no name comes up more often in the Gospels except that the name of the Lord Jesus Christ himself. No disciple speaks as often or as much as Peter, our Lord speaks more often to Peter than any of the other disciples. Peter Peter played the full oil to Jesus Christ we know Jesus. We understand Jesus and we wouldn't understand him nearly as well.
If Peter had not been part of the background I would Gospels portray Peter from two perspectives from the beginning, Peter is called the first.
Matthew 10 lists the disciples, and it begins with these words.
Now the names of the 12 apostles were these the first Simon who is called Peter in the Gospels. The lists of disciples rearrange the order of some of the names but Peter's name is always first because from the word go.
He was the leader of the band. He was the leader of the apostolic band. The leader on the other hand, the Gospels portray Peter as a bundle of contradictions. No disciple was praised more often by Christ than Peter but no disciple was reproved so pointedly as Peter was no disciple ever confessed Jesus so boldly or outspokenly, and yet no disciple intruded and interfered and actually tempted Jesus as much as Peter. Now there's a reason for this pendulum swing in Peter's personality.
When Jesus called Peter to follow him.
He said these words to him you are Simon son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas, which is translated Peter or rock see through his association with the Lord Jesus, his character was transformed from the sandstone of Simon to the hard rock the quartzite of Peter and until Jesus was finished with him. He vacillated between the Simon personality and the end of Peter personality and that the witness to that in the Gospels is that you you continue to see both of these names used in certain context is called Simon another context is called Peter, and it's interesting to note those uses of the word now. Are these two aspects of Peter's person intersect his leadership in this this vacillation this pendulum. That's where we find the crocs of the man Peter Jesus made Peter into a godly leader think the leader of the 12. The leader of the early church by transforming him from Simon into Peter by transforming him. I'm going to use these nicknames this morning from Sandy into Rocky in the few minutes that we have. This morning I want I want to trace this transformation. So first let's let's consider for a few moments.
What this man's Simon or or Sandy was before Jesus really got a hold of him before this transformation took place. Simon was a leader of sorts before he ever met Jesus.
I repeat Simon was a unnatural leader before Jesus transformed him why. From the very beginning. Is Peter recognized as the leader of the 12. Nowhere did Jesus appoint him leader know Peter was already the leader already made when he heard Jesus call yet. Remember that several of the disciples knew each other when they met Jesus.
Four of them were partners in a fishing business. James and John, Peter and Andrew guess who was the leader of that fishing business. We don't really know Scripture doesn't say, but I'll only give you one guess Peter was the, the leader of the band of disciples when it got its start. He was already the natural leader and and there's a lesson here. It's a lesson I learned the hard way in the first church that I pastored about four years ago now in Greenville, Mississippi in any church.
There are elected leaders and there are appointed leaders and there are natural leaders and blessed is the church where the natural leaders are also the elected leaders and where those natural leaders also support the pastor's direction, let me turn it around and put it the other way the church is going to have real problems. Real trouble if the natural leaders are not the elected leaders and if the natural leaders are not supportive of the pastor and his direction. I know this from experience learned the hard way 40 years ago.
What was what was it that made Peter unnatural leader. Let me make three suggestions. First of all Peter I believe was a man's man. I believe the before he met Christ. He was what in in Mississippi.
One of my elders used to call around her. Good old boy. When Peter got his first real glimpse of who Jesus was. He responded by saying, depart from me. I am a sinful man now. I don't think Peter was just being humble. I don't believe he was being self-effacing. I believe Peter was describing himself as he actually was. Peter was a man's man and all that that can mean in not just the good aspect, but the bad and the 2nd Pl., Peter was full of enthusiasm. He did nothing by halves. It was all or nothing with him and the enthusiasm of the Peter is what's necessary to lead an enterprise and one example here will suffice to illustrate the whole remember the scene in the upper room Jesus strips and he girds himself with a towel and he begins to wash the disciples feet and Peter will have none of it was all or nothing and he said I'm not having any of it. And Jesus said to him, if I do not wash you, you have no part with me and were told that Simon Peter answered. Lord, not my feet only but also my hands in my head if it can't be nothing that that's the kind of person that Peter was in a number three, Peter was willing to boldly ask Russ's views a leader cannot be right.
Reticent, he has to be willing to to take a stand to tell people why he stands where he stands and then to take the fall out from taking that stand and this was certainly Peter, I believe, more than any of the other of the 12. So that's a very quick thumbnail sketch of Simon or Sandy to begin with. This was a man with the leadership qualities, but he was not worth following, because he didn't have any direction. He was a bundle of contradictions, but the point that I want to make to you is that there was material there that Jesus could work with. There was something there that Jesus could transform don't get the idea that God throws everything out that you were before you met the Lord Jesus Christ. You know, I grew up in circles where I often heard or read. The idea that you had to be emptied of everything so that the Holy Spirit could fill you and I find that a very confusing metaphor of certainly God wants to to take the besetting sins out of our lives. Certainly, the sinful habits need to be replaced, and certainly God wants to fill us with his spirit. But you will never cease to be you and I will never cease to be me but doesn't want to make a sin to cookie-cutter Christians all alike God is a God of great diversity and so you have certain qualities you've had them since birth, or you've developed and perhaps even before you know the Lord Jesus Christ and what Christ wants to do the work of transformation in your life is to take that sandstone and make it into something hard quartzite rock that he can use to build his kingdom.
That's what he did with Simon Peter, I want to make sure that the metaphor that I'm that I'm using this morning doesn't escape you, I'm comparing the transformation of Peter's character to the metamorphism of sandstone in the quartzite not quartzite is formed from sandstone at very high temperatures over 400°F and under great pressure nearly 15,000 pounds per square inch. That is a great deal of heat and pressure. Now what was the heat and pressure that God brought to bear on Peter to make him no longer Simon but Peter to transform him from sand, the interim Rocky well.
Our text gives us the clue. Look with me here in Luke chapter 22 Luke 22 verses 31 and 32 and the Lord said, Simon. Simon noticed that he uses the name Simon indeed.
Satan is asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith should not fail.
And when you have returned to me, strengthen your brethren. Jesus allowed Satan to sift that sand if you will. He allowed Simon to fall into Satan's hands to be tempted to be tried now he didn't abandon Peter.
He assured him that he was praying for him. He assured him up front that he would strengthen him in two ways.
First of all, his faith wooden door, he would not take the path of a Judas, and number two he would return. I actually prefer the old KJV word he would be converted, he would be changed. He would be transformed now. When did this sifting happened. I think most of us know the night of Jesus trial the day of his crucifixion brought about this this sifting. The first step in this transformation. You remember the events Peter's boast that he would die with the Lord Jesus be forever denying him the encounter in the garden where he tried to make good on that promise by cutting off the ear of the high priest servant and then that darkest hour before dawn when Peter denied the Lord three times in a word, God allowed Peter to fail big time. Many of us wonder why God would allow the attack of Satan why God would allow circumstances that sometimes seem to test us beyond what we can and door why God would ever permit us to feel like Peter must have felt after he saw Jesus die that all hope was gone.
Why does God permit us sometimes to fail so miserably. The lesson we learn here from the life of Peter is that often it is necessary. It's the necessary process in making a Christian leader is part of the process of taking us from what we were in our natural state, who we were when we came to the Lord Jesus Christ and making us into a person that God can you part of God making crystal clear that we cannot depend on ourselves. No matter how much natural talent we have, no matter how much education we have, no matter how much of a charismatic personality like Peter, we may have only by heat and pressure can sandstone be made into the hard rock of quartzite and only by the pressure of temptation in the heat of failure can we bring about the metamorphosis necessary to create a godly leader. You and my other life. I I work for the Provost people asked me what what I do at Bob Jones. I said do whatever the Provost tells me did a lot of the time.
That means working on curriculum. It means thinking about you know what we need students to do in order for us to accomplish the mission of Bob Jones University and as I think about that and I think about it at times with my pastor's hat on a vital part of Christian students education really cannot be built into university curriculum or seminary curriculum. You see, everybody needs to take CR 501, you know what that is. That's crisis 501 and sometimes it's crisis 601 in crisis 701 and we can't put that on your schedule. Only God can put that kind of a course on your schedule.
Let me give you a plea for my heart when God schedules you and that course.
Make sure you complete the course. Make sure you pass the course. Make sure you don't have to repeat the course, I repeat, it's often the pressure of trial and temptation.
It's often the heat of failure that will transform you into the leader that God needs you to be.
Now there was a second event that converged with this first to transform Peter excuse me Simon. It's a Peter Sandy and the Rocky and that was Jesus resurrection and his his reconnection with Peter when Peter came to know that Jesus was resurrected. There was opportunity to complete this transportation.
Paul tells us in first Corinthians 15 that Peter was the first of the disciples to see the resurrected Lord of that encounter is not recorded anywhere in Scripture.
We don't have any insight you can use a little bit of imagination to think about the tears and the repentance and the reconciliation of of that reunion with peers. Life teaches us another important truth. At this point, and that is that there is nothing positive about failure in and of itself. I just impressed upon you is as deeply as I could, that we all at times need to fail. We need to go through trials and temptations in difficult times, but that failure does nothing for us spiritually. If we don't reconnect with the Lord Jesus Christ, the worst year of my life is the best year of my life because of that. And the worst time in your life can be the best time in your life if and only if you reconnect with the Lord Jesus Christ. I think two things happened I don't have text approval, but I think two things happened at least when when Peter reconnected with the Lord Jesus.
First of all, it was obviously repentance and there was obviously forgive and when we fail spiritually.
We need to make sure that were reconnecting with the Lord Jesus who can bring that cleansing and forgiveness. But Peter reconnected with the risen, the resurrected Jesus and I think the big thing that transforms failure in a person like Simon the transforms them into Peter is connecting with the resurrected Jesus the New Testament talks about the resurrection power of Jesus at the end of Ephesians 1, you know, we are what we need to be because of our union with Jesus Christ that we all have a difficult time explaining and we certainly have a difficult time putting into words, but Peter reunited with that resurrected Jesus and that's what completed that transformation that's what took that failure and made Peter. The rock that would leave the early church.
So what was the end result of this transformation was Jesus outlined it himself. In Matthew chapter 16 so very quickly and ask you to turn with me to Matthew chapter 16 we don't have time obviously did to dive into this context. I'm just gonna read two verses verses 18 and 19. I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it and I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. The end result of this transformation was Peter.
The rock let me say something that may surprise you. When Jesus said you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, the rock that he was talking about was Peter. I know some of you have been taught differently, but the verse here says your Rocky and upon this rock I will build my church.
One of us been told we can't believe that because that's what Roman Catholics believe.
Don't get backed into what you believe because of what Roman Catholics believe or don't believe the book of Matthew says your Rocky and upon this rock I will build my church preaching through the book of acts right now. God used Peter to open the door of the church to the Jews and in acts chapter 2 in acts chapter 8, he used Peter to open the door the church to the Samaritans, the half Jews have Gentiles in Roman error, excuse me and ask nine and 10 he used Peter to open the door the church to the Gentiles. None. None of that means that the Roman Catholic Church is right and what they teach about the Pope, but it does mean that Peter was the rock Jesus succeeded in transforming him from Sandy from Simon in the Peter.
The rock in building the church on sorriest Sandy or Rocky this morning, your character more like sandstone or hardcourt site has Christ started this transformation process in your life have you felt the heat of trial, the pressure of failure as I close, I urge you to obey the words of James chapter 1 and counted all joy when you fall into diverse trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces not just patients, but the rock of Christian character which Christ can use to build his church, you been listening to a sermon entitled Peter a servant, chosen and equipped from Luke 22 preach by Rev. Phil Gerard. This sermon is part of the seminary chapel series titled New Testament servants chosen and equipped.
I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina.
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Listen again tomorrow as we continue the seminary series entitled New Testament servants chosen and equipped here on The Daily Platform