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April 22, 2021 12:00 am
What Peter is saying here in this opening phrase and so especially what is really going on, persecution proclaiming this pre-holding to this confession of faith in Jesus is not other than the divinely appointed God the son, the Messiah, so he opens with that. It's as if he says luck. This is the gospel of grace don't go following the wrong man didn't get it wrong really is the Bible teaching ministry Stephen today we begin a series called profiling Christian. It comes from the opening verses of an epistle that Peter wrote called first Peter, he was writing to Christians who felt marginalized in the Roman Empire and who needed encouragement from God. Peter's goal for them and for us was to remind them of God's unfailing grace as we get started in this series, Stephen will help us get to know the author Peter.
So today's message is part one of a sermon called introducing an old fisherman here is 8064 arsonists have set fire to the Imperial city of Rome by the time the fire is brought under control. Three of the 14 districts in which the capital city is divided will been burned to the ground isn't a coincidence that the property most affected. In fact, where the fire began began, was that same plot of ground where the Emperor Nero wanted to build his new Imperial Palace and it was in room historians have long since believe that he was in fact the arsonists, but to avoid suspicion his propaganda machine began spreading the news the Christians ignited the flame those you know strange people who never really quite fit in love.
These strange gatherings where they worship a dead carpenter knows some somewhat unpatriotic people who will not pledge allegiance to Caesar and those people won't allow even the possibility of the existence of some other god or goddess in our great Pantheon.
Those people it figures the persecution against Christianity. Up to this point has been local. It's been somewhat random, unorganized, but now it begins to coalesce. Christianity is facing a new crisis.
Their world is changing and they are frankly no longer welcome. About this time, an old fisherman turned church statesmen reaches for his coil and under the inspiring influence of the Holy Spirit begins to write. Now he knew the Christians not only in his generation but by the spirit of God in every generation would be asking these kinds of questions that maybe were asking more today than ever how you respond when people think you're strange for worshiping totally differently, but dogmatically, as if you belong to the only true and living God, do you react when government officials penalize you for your beliefs how you work for employers who demand that you make concessions or else you move on after a spouse rejects you, because you will not reject Jesus Christ. What you do when you realize why your life might not immediately threatened your career is letters of the apostle Peter could have been written to us today beloved. They have they have and are they ever needed, perhaps only in recent months, the average Christian is begun to read the newspaper and follow the news reports. Watch the decisions of legislators and courts with a growing sense a growing recognition that suffering something for the sake of following Christ isn't just new. It's going to be normal being mocked and maligned and misunderstood marginalized as it is simply new to the American Christian but our world has changed and things are coalescing.
We now entered an era in our history where to be comfortable and culturally acceptable and at the same time a committed Christian is impossible unless you keep quiet and that's not much of a commitment. One author put it this way, the days of casual Christianity is over and I'm really excited about that he wrote it's no longer possible to drift hoping that no tough choices will have to be made will not cost something to be a follower of Jesus Christ and he goes on to write very perceptively.
Never before in American history is been so important to the Christian to be connected to believing body of believers participating with other believers in worship, encouragement, instruction, prayer, discipleship, gospel outreach because he summarizes the directors the night, the more important every single candle becomes. You become all the more significant as the lights go out. Perhaps only in recent months, the average Christian in the average believing church in America is finding more sympathy and more respect and more interest more concern for believers and other places around her world like in China or Indonesia or Turkey or Sudan or Japan or Russia with new laws enacted just weeks ago. The basic question asked by the majority of believers around the world were just beginning to pass is how we live.
When our world changes and we respond. In fact they put it this way, what is our disposition supposed to be what what is our demeanor supposed to be like was our reputation to be. I think the answer is by our brothers and sisters around the world affect one mission agency that monitors the church of the People's Republic of China asked several thousand believers went through them to faith in Christ, especially when it could mean the motion persecution even in prison and many answers were provided, but the one answer that was given most often that drew them to the gospel was the joy get that the joy in the lives of believers with whom they came into contact such joy that made them envious and curious and then receptive as we study the letters of Peter and we read the newspaper.
One and one Hannah one of the other. Although their nets are legal and inspiration if we end up panicking or resentful or angry were not heading in the right direction. Peter will write in his first letter in the face of testing. Keep on rejoicing before he's going to write in this letter that when they revile you because of your association with the name of Jesus Christ I want you to be happy. My car is what you have a settled sense of internal joy and satisfaction. He will write.
In fact, if you open his letter. At first Peter and go over to chapter 5 chapter 5 in verse 12 he says I have written to you briefly little part of is why exhorting testifying.
This is the true grace of God stand firm in the Lord you are. People redeemed by the grace of God is the gospel of grace from God stand in grace in the midst of your changing world. Don't lose sight of his grace and his graciousness and demonstrate the same to your world if you turn back to chapter 1 and verse one. It reads simply and yet profoundly Peter and apostle of Jesus Christ. The original construction could simply be rendered Jesus Christ's apostle Peter was sent out. That's what Compostela mean he is an agent commissioned by Jesus Christ to fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ for and in the general sense, we are all sent one and more specific formal terminology which uses here and apostle was among that group of men personally discipled by our Lord, who had seen him after his resurrection. Those were the qualifications. It's worth noting that Peter here and the early church adopted as they referenced their leader. Both the human name.
Notice that Jesus and they combined it with the messianic title Christ first. Today Jesus Christ goes together, like a first name and a and a last name there there inseparable and rightly so, but Christ wasn't a name was a title. The title meant Messiah, anointed one reference for the one it would come and die with the sins of all world when the church was formed on Sunday on the day of Pentecost. The earliest of creeds. We can call their their earliest confession of faith was this imputable preaching in acts chapter 2 in verse 36 that Jesus is the Christ, they they knew him first as Jesus the man that came to understand that he was divinely anointed as God the son to become the Messiah become a little later. It's interesting, by the way, that Jesus Christ is used consistently and entirely by all of the other apostles only Paul reverses the order to refer to him as Christ Jesus enters meaning there is interesting that the early apostles would all come to know them first of Jesus and then as the Christ before the apostle Paul. His experience was reverse and he came rather suddenly into an awareness that Jesus was deity, then the is going along that road is going to go captures more Christians and a bright light shines in and knocks him to the ground and a voice comes at the next chapter 9 is as a running blaze with light that would temporally take away his eyesight, and you hear this voice he heard it from heaven saying, Saul, why are you persecuting me and he responded.
Who are you, Lord.
That's kind of like saying lose up there, you know lose up there saying that to talking to me and I must've stopped his heart when the voice responded.
I am Jesus. So for all of the other commissioned apostles would follow Jesus, the teacher came to normal over time is Jesus the Christ. Paul, who had not met the Lord until after his resurrection and ascension came to know versus deity speaking from the heaven and that he learned his name was Jesus. And so we often refer to him and that experiential order Christ Jesus. I would Peter is saying here in this opening phrase is so important, especially when his readers are going to encounter persecution for claiming this creed for holding to this confession of faith in Jesus is none other than the divinely appointed God the son, the Messiah, so he opens with that. It's as if he says luck staying with that. This is the gospel of grace don't go to Pharaoh if you're not following the wrong man. You didn't get it wrong. He really is the Christ.
Isn't this what causes so much heartburn in our changing world. To this day. It is really boils down to this creed, this confession of faith that we hold today and it is becoming more and more offensive that you and I would actually believe Jesus is our living Lord, and he alone is the embodiment of the triune God of whom we sung that he's more than just another teacher that we believe that there is no salvation there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. Accept reformers 12. We believe that is becoming more and more strain in our world that we withhold.
So what Peter does. Here's the opens with the most condensed doctrinal statement sort of the shortest credo confession you can ever order Jesus Christ's the man is our God and Savior, the Messiah, under something else in this opening phrase is all going to get to today, in case you're wondering what you also have here in this opening phrase is a rather startling display of God's grace that would allow you to read the name Peter next to the title apostle.
Many of you decided to read through the Gospels we just finished Matthew Mark Luke and John stopped many realizing I really need to crank the thing back up and start reading. Just afflicted opening a red first Peter chapter 1 and verse one where Peter is an apostle, you would be stunned if he did write a letter to God will allow to be asked after the church you you could expected to open with something like Peter Amanda denied Jesus Christ that fits the manager didn't keep his promise to Jesus Christ that that works. The man who used to be one of the closest disciples of Jesus Christ that works sticky repeater and apostle of Jesus Christ. So let's look at some snapshots to find out how Peter got from the ending of John chapter 22 whatever it is to this point right here fact I'm going to propose to you that who Peter was in the growth he experienced will have an incredible impact on what he writes and how he does it is past life, his past failures. His past disappointments and successes are going to make all the more vibrant and rich Stinson never kept as you read his letter to become all the more precious as it has been to every Christian and every generation at every time. So let's just gonna stop for a moment, let's ask the question how did Peter get from John I Peter who was Peter especially for those of you who are younger and the faith we need to do a little digging what I want you to picture in your mind, a fourth-grade student who perpetually has his hand up in class and when called upon.
He is absolutely nothing to say but he still speaks and and so speaking reveals he is nothing to say that's Peter John MacArthur is and is so wonderful, there are 12 ordinary man. He described Peter like he title this chapter as the apostle with a foot shaped mouth pretty good stir. I can never forget Howard Hendricks thing was one diamond seminary class that Peter opened his mouth, his mouth only to change feet Peter is that disciple who rushes in where angels fear to tread his inquisitive is impulsive and daring by the way, while we often are quick to find fault with Bagley started sinking beneath the wheat. Those those waves out there with the wind and the boisterous waves broiling around that little boat we often overlook the fact that he was the only one I got out all the other disciples are clinging to their cushions, hoping that they could serve as flotation device because they thought the boat is going down, but we fault him for denying the Lord in the courtyard. He was still the only disciple who followed him that far before denying no disciple speaks as often the record of Scripture as Peter does. No one talks as much as Peter and no one is spoken to by the Lord as much as Peter no disciple is corrected more often than Peter and Peter's the only disciple to have ever corrected the Lord is not a good idea. No one verbally denied Jesus more publicly than Peter, and yet no disciple ever confessed the deity of Christ more boldly than than Peter J on Valero decades ago that probably no other person characterized in Scripture appears so impetuous and unstable and distrustful, and yet at the same time so bold, fearless and devoted. By the way, all of the above. As I describe them are reasons why we love him we love Peter.
We just sort of feel closer kinship more immediately we warm up to this particular manager, Paul. Let's face it really does kind of intimidate Brazilian attorney and is likely think you got all buttoned down Peter the fisherman was coming loose and we, like, we can identify with that easier.
He so clearly flawed, which we all are just so happens with Peter.
Peter was born. His given name was Simon or Simeon in the Hebrew of the on the previous from the truck father's name is Johnny and a brother named Henry might have more siblings oleanders mention routing until the vendor was younger or grommet a fishing village on the Sea of Galilee and developed a fairly successful fishing enterprise with his brother Andrew think they join two other brothers known as James and John. The four of them would all leave their nets and follow Jesus. Eventually we know that Peter was married because his wife often traveled with him in ministry trips were told for scripting chapter 9 verse five possible they didn't have children. No reference to them which would've allowed her time to be more involved directly in the strength we can conclude that his fishing enterprise was lucrative successful enough for him to buy a home in Capernaum and what we would call an upper-middle-class district near the synagogue. The home is large enough to accommodate other disciples and the Lord.
He lived there with his wife and mother-in-law. On one occasion group bill and Jesus healed her or given to us by the gospel of Mark in chapter 1.
Now when the Lord meets Simon for the first time, he immediately nicknames them. Peter really more the nickname Cephas in the Aramaic. It means Petross in the Greek means rock stone pep. I think for Jesus Christ to take this impetuous, unstable, unpredictable, emotionally driven man and at the very outset he he almost prophetically says this is the person that I'm to make you and it's going to take a lifetime of ups and downs stops and starts what I want to do the time remaining is is watch some of it happening in fast motion and so what I wanted is dropping the in the several different scene, and I'm going to give you a caption to write next to each picture if you want to try to keep up and turn with me you can. The first snapshot is found in Luke chapter 9 Luke chapter 9 and in the caption underneath the scene is simply a word describes Peter at this point, and it's the word nonsense.
I thought about a lot of different words and finally settle on that measure turning. Here's the setting the three closest disciples to Jesus were Peter, James and John and their hiking with Jesus up this mountain and that mounds can be known forever is the Mount of Transfiguration were Jesus can pull back the veil of humanity reveals the splendor of deity and and they get up to the top and and Peter is worn out. He goes to sleep while Jesus begins to pray and that is kind of the normal pattern with Peter so we sleeping at some point Peter wakes up and is startled to find Jesus talking with Moses and Elijah says that the garments of Jesus are shining like the noonday sun and and Moses and Elijah are dressed in splendor.
We have no idea that looked like it was just splendid and and Peter started opening up his eyes and he wakes up any steps forward and inverse 33 keyboards on master. It is good for us to be here this is great.
I'm glad were here.
He has no idea what's taking place. It's good to be here, let's make three tabernacles at 3/10 one for you: one for Moses and Elijah was his biggest permanent which is heresies bringing Jesus down to the level of these two other prophets, Moses and Elijah which most religions of my duty to this very day. They said let's just gonna bring on the kingdom. Let's set it up like this who subscribe good were here. What is that one author said that the he magnificently disregarded the situation and ignoring the fact that nobody was talking to him begin to speak, and it's as if God the father interrupts the scene and interrupts Peter, and I think he's actually raising his voice. That's my guess, because he says notice. This is my beloved son, listen to him tonight when St. Peter's stop talking and listen to him. Peter's voice delivers nothing more than nonsense. Another snapshot is in Matthew chapter 16 Matthew chapter 16 and you can write the caption underneath this text insightful. This is one of the high marks of Peter's development covering these chronologically the Lord is asking the disciples to people say he is.
He said to me the world to straighten people say I am and then verse 14. You can hear the answer. The disciples refundable something or John the Baptist. Others say you're Elijah so others in the jeremiad of the weeping, probably because you weep a lot, so you must be Jeremiah or one of the other prophets and outcomes. The major question on this examination.
Jesus says to them, but who do you say that I am Eckstein Simon Peter answers in your thinking on a please sign and put your hand down. He has about 70 Simon Peter says you are the Christ. Notice that you are the Christ, the son of the living, and that will become the dead. The confession upon which church built the true church is built on the true of who Jesus Christ is, as Peter makes this profession. Jesus affirmed it and reminded us that it's the core doctrine of our entire faith well were only about halfway through this message, but were stopping here because were close to the end of our time today when we come back next time. Stephen will do a little bit of review for you and then bring you the conclusion to this message. Called introducing an old fisherman between now and then we'd enjoy the opportunity to meet and interact with you. You can write to us. If you address your email to email@example.com. One of the most common ways that people interact with our ministry is through our smart phone app wisdom international app contains the complete archive of Stephen's 35 years of Bible teaching is also the opportunity to follow along in our Bible reading plan and interact with us through that map to find the wisdom international app in the iTunes or the Google play stores. Thanks again for being with us today will have the conclusion to this message on our next broadcast. So join us for that here on wisdom for the heart