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Broken Vows

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
March 19, 2023 7:00 pm

Broken Vows

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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March 19, 2023 7:00 pm

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Have your Bibles with you. First of all, to Mark chapter 14, looking at verse 26 to 31, and then we'll move over to Luke. And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, you will all fall away for it is written, I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.

But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee. And Peter said to him, even though they all fall away, I will not. And Jesus said to him, truly I tell you this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times. But he said emphatically, if I must die with you, I will not deny you.

They all said the same. Then over in Luke chapter 22, verse 31 through 34, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you that he might sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. Peter said to him, Lord, I'm ready to go with you both to prison and to death.

Jesus said, I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day until you deny three times that you know me. Bow with me as we go to our Lord in prayer. Lord, I lift up our sick to you this morning.

Jeremy Carriker, Jim Belk, John and Shelby Key. Pray for Esther Carroll who have cancer removed from her forehead in just a few weeks. Pray for Elsie Camaro and Nicole Los. Pray for Judy Andrews' parents. We pray for healing. I pray also, Lord, for those in our families who don't know Jesus. Please open their eyes and their hearts to see the truth and to run to you in repentance. Lord, I pray for Susan Gray who's having a pacemaker put in tomorrow.

May this operation go well. May Susan do well with it. Heavenly Father, in today's passage, we see the danger of pride. We see the foolishness of making rash vows. We see the man of God, Peter, actually arguing with Jesus, telling him that he was wrong. Peter's confident he could never deny this Jesus who he loved so much but Satan sifted Peter, tried to destroy him. Satan hoped that what happened to Judas would happen to Peter. Judas felt guilt, committed suicide. Peter felt guilt and repented. Peter went on to glorify Jesus. Peter's now in heaven.

Judas died in shame as a traitor. Today resides in hell. Lord, use this message today to help us to trust you completely, to put no trust in ourselves. Help us to learn that this life is not a playground.

It's a battleground. Satan is our enemy. Jesus is our hope. We ask this prayer in the precious and holy name of Jesus. Amen. You may be seated. Our passage today occurs on the night before Jesus was crucified.

It was the darkest night that planet earth has ever experienced. Jesus has taken his disciples to a place that we call the upper room. Upper room was a big room that was on the second story of a house. Most Bible scholars are convinced that that house belonged to Mary, John Mark's mother. Jesus went into that house. They, first of all, had the Passover dinner together. Jesus told them, explained to them what it was all about. And after the Passover meal, Jesus is suited the Lord's supper.

And after that, he prophesied that one of the disciples would betray him. Right after that, Judas Iscariot gets up. He leaves the building and Judas goes straight to the chief priest and makes a deal with them that he will deliver Jesus into their hands for money. And while all that's going on, the disciples are back together.

They get in a huge argument about who is the greatest. Jesus uses that terrible situation, that terrible argument to teach them the importance of a loving, unselfish servant leadership. All this is happening with Jesus under full understanding that within less than 18 hours, he's going to have breathed his last breath.

He is going to have shed his precious blood and he is going to be nailed to a cross until death to pay the sin debt for his people. With the weight of the world on his shoulders, Jesus turns around to Peter and gives him a warning that should have shaken him to his bootstraps. I got four points I want to share with you as we look at this passage today. The number one is the sifting of Satan. Look at me in Luke 22 verse 31.

Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you that he might sift you like wheat. Folks, we live in a society today that is extremely cynical about the truths, the absolute truths of the Word of God. Speak about creation and evolutionists will smirk at you. Speak about the Ten Commandments and the hedonists will mock you.

Speak about family or marriage and your government will castigate you. But you speak about the devil today and our society will laugh at you. The devil?

Really? The devil? An enemy of God? One who will try to bring you harm? One who is all about killing, stealing, and destroying? You think we can believe that our society says to us?

That's a crazy thing. We are more sophisticated than to believe such a thing. They say the devil was just ancient man's feeble attempts to explain away all the evil and deception in this world.

But they say not us, for we have gone far beyond that kind of childishness and that kind of superstition. To acknowledge belief in a personal devil is to be labeled as a religious fanatic and an intellectually naive simpleton. Today's woke society would cancel you out in a heartbeat if you believe in a personal devil.

I think probably what we need to ask ourself at this point in time is who is it that said this? Who is it that's talking here about a personal devil? It's none other than the Lord Jesus Christ himself. The son of God, the second person of the Trinity, the king of kings and the Lord of lords.

Let me ask you something. Do you think he would share a myth with us? Do you think he would, as the embodiment of truth itself, just tell us a lie? Do you think the son of God, the creator of the universe could lead us in a wrong direction and just make a mistake in what he said?

Well, I don't know about you, but I got a tendency just to think we ought to trust Jesus. We have people in our society today who are telling us that their three year old male child is identifying himself as a girl. And so instead of sitting down with that three year old boy and helping him to get over the confusion and to understand what's really going on with him, what do they do?

They take him to the doctor and mutilate his body. Folks, we have people today who are spending their time, their money and their emotional effort on killing the preborn babies, abortion and then tell me there's no devil. Folks, it was Jesus who said to his disciples, Satan's purpose is to kill, steal and destroy. Jesus understands the heart of Satan.

He understands the deception of the devil. And he wants us to know that we are not on a on a playground. We are on a battleground. And this is not a game. This is absolute war. Jesus looks into Peter's eyes and he says, Simon, Simon, Satan desires to have you and to sift you like wheat.

It's kind of interesting. He reverts back to Peter's pre-conversion name. Peter was the name Jesus gave him.

That means rock. But Simon was his pre-conversion name. And what does that name mean?

It means shifting sands. Folks, Jesus knows that Peter is approaching this satanic attack with the spiritual naivete of a lost man. Peter's heart is filled with pride.

He is not clothed here in the full armor of God. And Jesus knows what's coming for Peter. There's going to be a battle and that battle with Peter is not going to be pretty. Why does the devil go after Peter? Peter's a leader. Peter is the first one to say to Jesus, Jesus, you are the Christ, the son of the living God.

Peter was the first one to jump out of the boat and walk in faith on the water. Peter was the leader and I believe that Satan knew that if he could get Peter, then he could probably get all of them. In fact, when Jesus said to Peter, Simon, Simon, Satan desires to have you, the word for you there is written in plural. It doesn't mean just you, Peter, but he means y'all, you all.

That's who he's talking about there. And, and, and Satan wants all the disciples and not only Judas, not only Peter, he wants all of them. Jesus said, Satan's desires to sift you like wheat.

Now, what does that mean to sift you like wheat? I don't know if you ever listened to sports, but if you listen to sports, it's very interesting how the sportscasters will, will tell you the scores. They don't want to just say this team beat this team, this team beat this team, this team beat this team.

They got to give you something to break the monotony. So they'll say, the Yankees whipped Chicago. Toronto nailed Oakland.

The Braves scalped the, the Dodgers and the Orioles clobbered the Red Sox. Why do they do that? They give those just different little verbs there in order to break the monotony. Is that what Jesus is doing here? Is he just said that, that Satan wants to sift you? Does he just say that to break the monotony and not really use the word attack like he might normally use?

No. Folks, every word in the scripture is important. And he uses that word sift because it is the weapon that Satan is going to use in order to attack Peter. Now, the word vow in the Hebrew is nadir, and that word has two meanings.

It first means vow, but secondly, it means a kernel of corn. Satan's trying to destroy Peter, but God is using Satan to break Peter in order to build humility into him. Folks, when you experience a satanic attack, you need to immediately remember Romans chapter eight, verse 28. Now we know that God works all things together for good to those who love God and are the called according to his purpose.

That's not a cute little witticism to placate people who are feeling bad. Folks, that's some of the greatest news that we have in all of scripture. God is so powerful. He can take bad things, bad situations, bad people, and even the devil himself and use it for our ultimate good.

That's an amazing truth. In Jesus's day, they removed the wheat from the chaff by the use of a winnowing basket. They put all the wheat in this winnowing basket.

They take it, they throw it up into the air, and the wind would blow through and blow out the husk and the chaff, and then the heavier wheat would fall back down into the basket. Folks, sometimes, all the time, when they did that, some of the little kernels of wheat would roll away. What were those little kernels a picture of? Those little kernels are pictures of unfulfilled vows. You say, what's the big deal? One little kernel when 500,000 of them have just fallen right back into the basket.

What does it matter? Well, that little kernel represents the broken vow that Satan holds against you and uses it to create guilt in your heart. That broken vow is where Satan gets us. You ever said to the Lord, God, if you will just forgive me this time, I will never do that again. And then what happened? Two days later, you did it again. Did Satan use that on you?

You better believe he used it on you. Satan loves broken vows. Philip Ryken said it well, hit the nail on the head.

He said this, do you know how much danger you're in? When I hear the warning that Jesus gave to Peter, I sadly think of people who have left the Christian church. The girl who ran away from God as soon as she went off to college. The family that decided that they did not even need to be in church any longer, because that's not where God's at work anymore. The man who felt so powerless against Satan that he went back to a lifestyle of sexual sin.

They are all people that Satan wanted to have, just as he wants us to have. One of the most dangerous things in the world would be to think that we are not in any danger, which is the mistake that Peter made. Point two, pride goes before destruction. Luke 22 verse 32. Jesus said to Peter, but I prayed for you that your faith may not fail and when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. Back to Mark 14 verse 27 through 29. Jesus said to them, you will all fall away for it is written, I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.

But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee. Peter said to him, even though they all fall away, I will not. Jesus knew Peter's heart much better than Peter knew and understood his own heart. And Peter's going to turn away from him, Jesus tells him, and Peter doesn't believe it. Peter just totally dismisses this as just fantasy that this could never happen to him. Peter looks into the eyes of his creator and he says to him, you're wrong on this one, Peter. Now you've never been wrong before, but you're wrong here. I would go to prison for you.

I would die for you, but I would never deny you. Peter was doubting Jesus and he was underestimating the enemy. That's dangerous stuff. In our church world today, we've got a whole lot of people that are giving way too much power to Satan. They think that Satan is the God of evil. God is the God of good. They're just kind of duking it out to see who will win.

That is absolutely ridiculous. Satan is a created being of God. Satan is already a defeated foe. They are not on equal footing.

They are not on equal footing. When I was a kid, our next door neighbor was working in his flower bed and a copperhead snake came out from under some leaves. My next door neighbor, an adult, called me over and said, I want you to see this snake and look at the markings on it. And he showed them to me, explained it to me, and he said, this is a very dangerous snake. He said, if this snake were to bite you, you'd get terribly sick and you might even die.

And he said, now watch this. And he took his shovel, cut his head right off his body. That snake went crazy. His body was flipping and just going all over the place and his head was still attacking the shovel. Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.

Just hitting that shovel like crazy. And he said, you see that snake? He said, that snake's gone. He's going to be dead in just a few minutes. But he said, Doug, if that snake were to bite you, the head of that snake right now, there would be enough venom in him that it would make you terribly sick and maybe even kill you.

Now here's the key. Folks, Satan is like that snake. He is a defeated foe, but he will do you much damage on his way down if you are unprepared. Don't ever try to equate Satan's power with God's power. But don't ever try to equate Satan's power with your power either. Because folks, we do not need to underestimate the power of Satan.

Martin Luther got the right balance in the great hymn that we sang just a few moments ago, a mighty fortress is our God. He said this, for still our ancient foe does seek to work us woe. His craft and power are great and armed with cruel hate on earth is not his equal.

The prince of darkness grim. We tremble not for him as rage we can endure for lo, his doom is sure. One little word shall fail him.

That's the correct balance. Well, Peter had no idea that Satan was as powerful as he was. He didn't realize what it would feel like to be sifted by Satan. He felt very courageous at this point in time.

He did not know that the spirit of fear would just drain all that courage right out of him and his hands would be shaken and his knees would be knocking his boast. Lord, I'd go to prison for you. I would die for you.

I would never deny you. All that was was confidence in self, not confidence in Christ, but confidence in self and that's always dangerous. And what was Peter doing when he boasted to Jesus? He's making a vow. He was making a promise to the Lord based on his strength, based on what he thought he could do. Mark 14, 30 through 31, Jesus said to him, truly I tell you this very night before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times. But he said emphatically, if I must die with you, I will not deny you.

And they all said the same. Let me ask you something. You ever made a promise to someone and then you broke it? You didn't keep it? What does it do to you?

It fills your heart with guilt. You ever borrowed money from somebody and you said to them, you let me borrow this money. I will give it back to you on this certain day. And then that certain day comes and you don't have the money to give back yet. And so do you want to be around that person?

No. Man, you want to avoid that person like the plague. Now the truth of the matter is that person might not care whether you gave him back the money that day or not. That might not be any concern at all in his heart, but the guilt in your heart for breaking that promise builds a wall between you and that person. Peter had made a vow to Jesus. Jesus, you can count on me.

I don't know about everyone else. They may forsake you, but not me. I would die for you.

I'd go to prison for you, but I would never deny you. Satan knows what broken vows do. They create guilt and they strain relationships. They break fellowship. If I've promised you something and I don't do it, I don't want to be around you. I want to avoid you like the plague.

I'm ashamed and I'm embarrassed. Satan put the idea into Peter's prideful heart to make the vow in the first place. And then after he made the vow, it was very easy for him to sift him, to attach the vow, to make Peter try to break it. This is why the Bible is so explicit concerning the seriousness of taking vows. It's why Jesus said don't swear.

It's why James said let your yes be yes and your no be no. It's why Solomon said boast not thyself of tomorrow for thou knowest not what a day will bring forth. When I'm doing premarital counseling with people in the first session that I have, I always share with them this passage from Ecclesiastes 5 verses 4 through 6. Solomon said this about vows. When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it for God has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than you should vow and not pay. Let not your mouth lead you into sin and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake.

Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the works of your hands? We break vows and the Lord destroys the works of our hands. Did you realize that in America today two out of every three marriages ends in divorce? That's 66%. That doesn't include all the people just living together outside of marriage. In Mecklenburg County for the last 20 years there have been more divorces than there have been marriages.

And what happens? Why do people do that? Well they say well I believe that the immorality that I am going to get into and the adultery that I'm going to get into is going to be enjoyed but it'll be worth it. Or they're just apathetic and they don't really care about the vow that they've made so they just go ahead and they break that vow.

We see the same thing going on with the politicians who make vows knowing that they have no intention of keeping those vows whatsoever and they wonder what's wrong with America. Folks our God is a covenant keeping God. He relates to us by giving us promises and then keeping those promises. And one of the greatest sins that we can commit is the sin of covenant breaking. And when we vow to people or to God and we break that vow then there are consequences. God destroys the works of our hands.

Alright point three is the believer's hope. Look at Luke 22 32. Jesus said to Peter but I prayed for you that your faith may not fail and when you have turned again strengthen your brothers. Jesus interceded for Peter. Jesus prayed for Peter. Peter fell into sin but he did not fall away from his faith in Christ. Satan was against Peter but Jesus was for him. Satan wanted to destroy Peter but Jesus had promised to save him. If you're in the Lord's hands listen carefully. All hell can't break you out of it. This is from Philip Ryken again.

I thought this was good. He said it is important to notice what Jesus prayed for. He did not ask any of the things that we probably would have asked. He did not pray that Satan would leave Peter alone. In the providence of God who works in every situation for the good of his people and the glory of his name, Satan was permitted to make this attack. Jesus did not pray that Peter would never sin. It was God's plan for Peter to see the limits of his own strength and then out of the painful experience to see how much grace God had for him so that he would be able to encourage his brothers in their own struggle with sin. Jesus did not pray that Peter would have a rich and easy life with one spiritual success after another. Jesus only prayed that Peter's faith would not fail. If Jesus Christ is the all wise God and if this is what he prayed for Peter then it must be the most important thing for us to have. Satan may attack a true child of God but there is no way in the world he can pry us out of the strong powerful hand of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My last point is Satan's attack on Peter's vow.

Mark 1466 through 72. And as Peter was below in the courtyard one of the servant girls of the high priest came and seeing Peter warn himself she looked at him and said, you also were with the Nazarene Jesus. He denied it saying, I neither know nor understand what you mean. And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed. The servant girls saw him begin again to say to the bystanders, this man is one of them.

But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, certainly you are one of them for you are Galilean. He began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, I do not know this man of whom you speak. And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, before the rooster crows twice you will deny me three times. And he broke down and he wept.

Peter denied Jesus three times immediately after that third denial the rooster crowed as Jesus said it would at the second time. And all of a sudden everything hit him full force. I think Peter was trying to get out of there.

And so he was kind of running around. He went around the corner of a building and it just so happened by the province of God that Jesus led by soldiers was being brought out of the home of Caiaphas, the high priest. And as soon as he got to that corner, Jesus was at the other corner. They turned around and there's Jesus standing right before Peter.

Peter looks into the face of Jesus eye to eye. And I can't even imagine what went through his heart. But Peter runs out and he weeps bitterly. He thinks to himself, well, that's it. My life is over. I have loved him more than I've ever loved anybody in my life. And now I have let him down.

It's over. Next three days, Satan sifted him with guilt. He said, Peter, you're a liar. You're a covenant breaker. Peter, look what you did to Jesus.

He's the rock. He told you that you were going to do this. You promised him that you wouldn't. Peter, look what you did to Jesus. Guilt pounds his heart. Satan is trying to drive Peter to suicide.

But God is using Satan to pound the self-sufficiency out of his heart. I want you to think just a minute, kind of compare Judas with Peter. They both sinned, didn't they? Judas betrayed Christ. Peter denied Christ.

And then what was their response? The response was that Judas felt remorse. But Peter took that remorse and he turned it into repentance.

And what was the result of that? Well, Judas went out and he committed suicide. Peter went out and he turned the world upside down with preaching the gospel.

So where's the hope? In John chapter 21, Jesus is resurrected from the dead. Peter has gone back to his old profession. He's gone back to fishing. Thinks that's about all he can do now. So he gets in a boat.

A couple of the disciples are with him. And they go out on the Sea of Galilee to do some fishing that evening. They fish all night long. They don't catch a thing, not a minnow, not a shrimp, not a sardine, not even a cold.

I mean they catch nothing. And finally the sun's coming up. They look on the shore and there's a man there. He started a fire.

I don't know who he is. The man cries out and he says, guys, if you throw the nets on the other side of the boat, you'll catch fish. They take the nets, they throw them on the other side of the boat, and those nets become a fish magnet.

It's 153 fish just swim right into that net. All of a sudden Peter knows who that guy is on the shore. That's Jesus. Peter jumps in the water, throws his coat of toga off first and dives in the water and he swims into Jesus. Jesus got a little fire going there. Finally the other disciples get back and they eat a meal together. And then Peter and Jesus walk off together down the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Imagine Jesus put his arm around him and they're walking off and Jesus says to Peter, Peter, do you love me more than these?

And what these is he talking about? The other disciples? Maybe. Maybe his fishing stuff, his nets in his boat and all this.

Maybe that's what he's talking about. But then Jesus says this, Peter, do you love me? The word for love that Jesus uses is the word agapeo.

It's the strongest word in the Greek. Peter, do you love me? And Peter responds back, yes Lord, I love you but Peter uses the word phileo.

It's a much weaker word. Peter doesn't trust himself anymore. Jesus said then feed my sheep. Then Jesus speaks again. He says, Peter, do you love me? And again he uses that word agapeo. Strong word. Peter once again says, yes Lord, I love you but he uses the word phileo.

Very weak word. Jesus said then feed my sheep. Then Jesus asked him a third time, Peter, do you love me?

This time Jesus uses the word phileo. That means Peter, do you even like me? And Peter's crying by this time.

Tears are streaming down his cheeks. He says, yes Lord, you know I love you. And Jesus said then feed my sheep. Peter denied Jesus three times. He broke his vow three times. And what did Jesus do? He made him confess three times.

His love and his commitment was still intact. He confessed it. Folks, you think that was an accident? You think that was a coincidence that Jesus did it three times?

Absolutely not. Broken vows demand confession. They demand brokenness and they demand repentance. And what was the exhortation to Peter?

What was the challenge, the motivation to persevere? It was Jesus gave him the work of a servant. He said, Peter, feed my sheep.

Peter, feed my sheep. Maybe you've been through a situation like that where you've broken a vow to others, broken a vow to God and it hurts. You're feeling all this guilt. You've disappointed yourself. You've disappointed others and Satan's there to finish you off.

What should you do? Well, I think a good thing to do is to take a look at what happened with Peter. Jesus said, Peter, feed my sheep.

Did he do that? Folks, it was Peter that stood up on Pentecost Sunday and preached a powerful, powerful sermon and 3,000 people were saved. It was Peter who first took the gospel to the Gentile world.

It was Peter who wrote two books that we have in the New Testament. It was Peter that got arrested, thrown in prison in Rome and they took Peter out to crucify him. They took him out to the hill and as they got ready to crucify him, Peter said, do me this favor. When you crucify me, crucify me upside down for I'm not worthy to be crucified like Jesus. That's what happened to Peter.

That's what happened to him. Peter tells me there is hope for the proud, not to stay proud but to be broken and repent. God resists the proud that gives grace to the humble.

Let's pray. Heavenly Father, today's scripture teaches us of the danger of breaking vows. We see it everywhere. Business people enter into contracts, don't fulfill them. Husbands and wives make marital vows then cheat on their spouses.

Politicians make promises they have no intentions of keeping. We've become a nation of covenant breakers. You've taken your hand of grace off of us. We understand why unbelievers are not faithful to you or others. They have sinned natures and no Holy Spirit to empower them.

We have sinned natures too. But Lord, we also have the Holy Spirit. Help us to learn how to trust in your power and by the grace of God to keep vows and to glorify Jesus. We love you Lord. Thank you for loving us. And it's in the precious and holy name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-19 20:38:02 / 2023-03-19 20:50:21 / 12

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