Please pray – Lord Jesus, King of Glory; thank you for all that you have done for me. I humble myself before you Father, I praise your holy name Jesus. Allow your Spirit to guide my thoughts, my actions and fill my heart with your tender mercy. Thank you Jesus for defeating death and affording me everlasting life. Thank you for your unconditional love, I will keep fresh in my heart and mind the sacrifice you made for me. Let your Holy Spirit flow through me as I learn to walk closer to you Lord, in Christ Jesus’ name, Amen.
As a matter of fact, here are some sobering statistics:
- 46% of Christians who go to church say it does not affect their life.
- 1 in 5 churchgoers say they never read the Bible.
- Over 40% of those attending church read their Bible once or twice a month at best.
- 6 out of 10 Christians who attend church said they did not have any significant insight in regards to their life.
Now some of this can me contributed to the leaders in the church and if that’s the case then find a church that spiritually feeds you and guides you while you are on your journey to the Kingdom. However, the responsibility of reading His word and living the way God designed it, is on us. We cannot blame God, the church, friends or family. He gives us that choice of who we are to Him and how we love Him. Please have your Bibles within reach and read the verses before and after the passages that we look at. This will give you context and a better understanding to Gods message. I’ve been a Christian for over 30 years and although that may be an impressive number, I can tell you my walk with the Father has been less than impressive. It wasn’t until I had a heart attack at age 46 when things began to change for me in respects to my mortality and my walk with the Lord but it wasn’t until my mother’s passing that it all came to focus. Saying I’m Christian and living as a child of God can be two different things entirely. In this message you will see we all can relate to this in some way and how we can learn from the disciple Peter.
Being in a place where you can hear God and be inspired when reading His word is a special and intimate time with the Lord. I recommend you make an appointment with Him to sit and just let Him speak to you. It never seizes to amaze me of His divine interaction when I least expect it. Thinking I was to do a message on Jesus being raised from the dead, I was reading scriptures and studying about the resurrection looking for something new, something that I had not heard before and before I knew it, He led me to these passages – Matthew 26:34-35 and Mark 16:4 – let’s take a closer look at what I believe God wants us to see here.
Matthew 26: 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 35 Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.”
When the Holy Spirit stopped me at these two verses I asked, where is the message you will have me to know, Lord? Then Jesus asked me, “How many times have I been denied just recently?” I must say, I felt hurt in my spirit to know that I have recently denied Him. I then was eager to submit to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for Him to minister to me in this message.
The moment after Jesus told Peter he would deny Him three times, He was forcefully detained by the Roman guards in the court yard. A court yard is not that large, about 100 to 200 square foot and being full of bystanders and onlookers it was crowded but Peter and Jesus could still see each other. Peter was frantically trying to get clear of all of them and away from Jesus. While Peter was denying he knew Jesus to a young woman, Jesus was being beaten, spat on, kicked, and punched and even having His beard plucked out by the handful. It is likely Jesus was looking right at Peter with blackened, swollen eyes, bruised and swollen lips, and blood in His mouth and on His face, at the very moment he was denying Him. This was the beginning of the death of our Blessed Messiah, and Peter knew it. What stood out to me in this passage was how I could relate to Peter, and how adamant he was before Jesus was subdued and the beatings began, to stand with Jesus “even to death”. At the time Peter said this to Jesus, he meant it. What happened? Where did Peter lose his loyalty and devotion to Christ? Was it fear for being known as a Christian? Or maybe the fear to be persecuted for being a follower? What if he didn’t want others to know he was a follower of Christ because he knew what their perception of being a Christian was, especially in those days? I believe it was all of these and more because we all have been guilty of this as well. This was who Peter was at the time. When Peter saw Jesus standing in the sea, Jesus told the disciples, “take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” (Matt 14:28) and immediately Peter said to Him, “Lord if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” (Matt 14:29). Jesus had already said it was Him but he questioned Him anyway, “Lord, if it is you”. Peter was constantly battling to hear the Lord because of his weaknesses but he was very eager to please the Lord too.
Can you relate to this? A person’s character is set deep in their heart where their convictions lie, it’s the essence of who we are. Jesus knew Peter’s heart and He was working on him to pull out the best of Peter but he was stubborn and at times didn’t want to, or couldn’t give in. I can relate to this too, anyone else? Here’s the good news Saints, Jesus died on the cross and descended into the pits of hell to retrieve the Saints of Law and took back the keys of hell, He rose up to proclaim the victory over death and took back what the first Adam had lost. Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!
Then when Mary Magdalene and Mary (mother of James) came to the tomb and saw that He was gone. They encountered an Angel dressed in white sitting next to the empty tomb.
Mark 16:4 But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.
Peter fell hard and during the crucifixion he wept with guilt and dismay for his denial. He realized instantly what he did when he heard the rooster crow, it brought him to his knees as he watched them take Him away beaten and bruised. Jesus upon His resurrection, told the Angel to send Mary to tell His disciples “and Peter”. Praise God for “and”. Jesus knew where Peter’s heart was even though he denied Him. He made sure He mentioned Peter because He knew Peter was so broken he didn’t think Jesus would want to see him. Are you with me so far? I thank God I can relate to the story of Peter, for I too had fallen hard by my denial but Jesus loves us so much it goes beyond comprehension. Peter gives me great comfort when we look at his character that is so full of failures and flaws, and by what Christ later made him to be by the power of the Holy Spirit. This tells me there is hope for every one of us. Before Christ could fill Peter with the Holy Spirit and make a new man of him, he had to go out and “weep bitterly”; he had to be humbled, he had to understand the separation of self. In the previous messages we talked about the separation of self and how our old souls (ways) fight with the new born spirit (salvation). If we want to understand this, there are four points that will help us get there.
First – When Peter was found, he became a devoted disciple of Jesus; Matthew 19:27 “We forsake all and followed thee” (On fire for the Lord in the beginning).
Secondly – Peter lived the life of self; self-confidence, self-assured, self willed, trusted his own wisdom. He couldn’t deny himself. (Matthew 16:24).
Next – After denying Jesus, Peter repented; understanding where he fell and why. The amount of guilt and shame, hopelessness and despair that fell on him. Crying out, “I denied my Lord, God have mercy upon me”.
Finally – By Love and Grace, Peter is transformed: The work that Christ began in Peter when He called him to follow Him was perfected when he was filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. This was the turning point for Peter, full of sin, constantly getting into trouble, foolish and reckless, now filled with the Spirit and the life of Jesus. Christ had completed the transformation of Peter’s heart with the Holy Spirit but not until he was humbled and his soul was cleansed with the tears he wept.
My friends and family, are you hearing the message? Jesus can be Lord in church every Sunday no problem, but if He isn’t Lord outside of the church and a part of who you are, then is it safe for me to say, He is not Lord in your life? Is it possible you are in the world and not in Christ? Hear me, please, I was where Peter fell. I denied Jesus and told people I believe the way I feel is right for me. *I would look right at the Word and deny Him, do you hear me? I tried to walk this life with “my” idea of salvation to suit my needs, my impure and worldly thoughts, my – self. When it all crashed in I called out to Him, and even though I denied Him and ran from Him, He reached in and pulled me from my – self. He filled me with the Holy Spirit and changed my heart. He feeds me His word and gives me comfort and the love I need to keep on the narrow path. Because Peter submitted to Christ he became a changed man, a new heart transformed. “A heart of flesh and not of stone” Jesus has risen from the grave my friends, and this message is about the resurrection…OURS. Even if we have fallen or walked away, I can tell you He’s alive because He’s afforded me to rise with Him and He changed my heart. I have become new in Christ, and those of you who have experienced this change know full well He lives within us and is calling all His Saints to rise up and resurrect your commitment and your love for Him. If you have not accepted Jesus as your Savior, or if you’ve fallen or walked away or if you feel you’re not as close as you know you should be, or maybe you don’t want it “your way” anymore and are tired of “playing” church, I want to pray for you. There are two prayers I’ve been led to write, one is to ask the Lord into your heart for anyone who doesn’t know how to receive salvation and the other is to commit, (recommit) your life to the Lord.
If you have not accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, please pray this into your heart, and be sincere. Heavenly Father, God of Love and mercy; I am a sinner and need forgiveness. Jesus, I thank you for going to the cross. I believe you are the living Christ who died and rose from the grave to give me everlasting life. I know I am saved by Grace only and You are my Lord and Savior and I accept you into my heart. Thank you Jesus for saving me, Amen. If you said this prayer in your heart and meant it, praise God. Congratulations and welcome home! The scripture says, if you confess in your heart you accept Jesus you must confess to others that you were saved. If you deny Him here on earth, He will deny you in Heaven.
Mighty God of all things, forgive me for turning away from You; from denying You and the calling You put in my heart. Lead me Lord in Your way and not in mine; put a burning conviction in my heart to read your word and to listen for your voice. Thank you Lord for reaching me “and” calling me back. I commit my life to you God; I will do my part Lord, with prayer, fasting, tithing and reaching others for the glory of the Kingdom. Send to me the Holy Spirit and have Him do a mighty work in my heart, change me Lord for who you know I can be as You did Peter. I pray this in the Holy name of Jesus, Amen and Amen. Did the Holy Spirit speak to you? Did you pray and recommit your life or maybe someone received Jesus, praise God. If so, please let us know as a group (email response “reply all”) so we can all be blessed by it. God bless us and thank you Lord, for all you do for us. In Jesus name, Amen. Once again, thank you for taking the time to allow the Holy Spirit to minister to you. I pray you are blessed by these messages and are able to take this knowledge with you into the community and may it strengthen your daily walk with our Father, Amen and Amen.