Strengthen the Brethren

I

I heard someone say this week … that they wanted to become a better person…that sentiment was echoed through many that I spoke to…
It was an odd week filled with many distractions and contradictions.
We found the depths of the seat of evil in Saskatchewan, and in Canada.
Horrifying connections between government and private companies, strongholds that if they continue will keep many in poverty and controlled… just as the Word declares… where the spirit of the Anti-Christ will reign supreme.
I admit it angered me greatly that death still had such a hold on this province…and across Canada and the world.
Satan’s ultimate plan for all…death without salvation, death without hope… death in every phase of life from children dying at an alarming rate due to the C-shots, to seniors drunk and forgotten in motel rooms, to discouraged to live.
Two solid days Satan had me focused on the depths of the pain, human suffering and his goal… simple… just make me see so much that I will give up because the way to hard, the task too hard and there is no way I could possibly make a difference.
But as we all know Satan is a liar, a cheat and a thief…
Thankfully, the Lord wouldn’t let me stay there… the Lord wanted me to see something … to remember others who have gone through similar tests…
Looking back we see the testimony of Job, tested tried and victorious,  but also that of Apostle Peter and how he faced these same type of horrific tests that we are all facing now… in this day and age… because even though the devil may have a plan – the Lord has a greater one, and like Job, Peter was about to face it…

 

Luke 22:31-34
King James Version
31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.
34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
Peter is a central figure in the transition from the Old Testament into the New Testament… the New Covenant between God and man.  He will be commissioned to take the message to the world…the man with the keys to the kingdom, but today we want to focus on three main events…three very powerful victories in Peter’s life.
How then, did Peter get to this place…where Jesus himself had to pray for him to make it through..
Peter like all of us was fighting three foes; his flesh- that always wants attention- good or bad, the world with all its trouble and turmoil, and finally Satan himself… raw evil… using the fear of death to try to manipulate and control.
The first time we see Jesus and Peter interacting…
Peter is  looking at self…the flesh…his own faults and failures, his own sin, he is full of shame and he knows it…
Luke 5

Four Fishermen Called as Disciples

1 So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, 2 and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. 3 Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.

4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

5 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”

6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.

7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”

9 F or he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken;
10 and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”
11 So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.
The first Peter seeing himself as a sinner a good thing if it leads to repentance… but a poor thing if it leads to egoism.
Even Peters sin-fulled, self – centred nature and flesh  couldn’t stop him from following Jesus, he saw Jesus as his saviour, the deliverer, his answer to all he longed for… so he trusted the Lord and followed him.

This was Peter’s first real victory not to focus on self and our faults and failures, but to follow Christ, looking unto him.

The next scene we want to focus on… we see Peter stepping out of a boat…

Jesus Walks on Water
Matt. 14 22  And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
The waves, the wind, circumstances… they all took Peters attention, distracting him from his goal of reaching Jesus… and it led him into the place of doubt… the result was almost his death and drowning,  but Jesus… lifting him up when he looked on him delivered him; and after the doubt came the revelation of the divine nature of Jesus that he was indeed Almighty God come in the flesh…
Each test… he was tempted… to  look at self, or the circumstances, but each time when he looked upon Jesus he saw… hope, he saw help.. he saw Almighty God!

This was Peters second real victory not to focus on the world with all its trials and troubles, but to look unto Christ, our Mighty God, Saviour and Deliverer.

This last scene we want to focus on … is where Peter has now walked with Jesus for 3 1/2 years.. he has seem miracles signs and wonders, he has been rebuked, he has walked on water… seen the deaf hear, cast out demons… a powerful few years to be sure… but in our first scripture we read Jesus speaks to him about a  battle he is about to go through .. a battle that Satan himself has instigated…  Satan wants to sift him and the Lord himself has prayed for Peter that his faith fail not.
But there is a purpose to this trial-

Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren

It is the night of Jesus’s arrest…
Peter is once again leaning on his flesh.., he won’t fail the Lord, he will fight, he will stand… but how little we know ourselves… when facing real death, how little we know to what lengths we will go to protect ourselves from pain, sorrow and public ridicule and condemnation.
Peter was no different…
The scene is late at night the hour is late and Peter is back in fleshly mode… a place where Satan can have him to shake him to the place he losses his faith.
Thayer’s Greek Lexicon

STRONGS NT 4617: σινιάζω

σινιάζω: 1 aorist infinitive σινιάσαι; (σινίον ‘a sieve,’ ‘winnowing-van’; an ecclesiastical and Byzantine word (cf. Macarius, homil. 5, p. 73f (496 a., Migne edition))); to sift, shake in a sieve: τινα ὡς τόν σῖτον, i. e., dropping the figure, by inward agitation to try one’s faith to the verge of overthrow, Luke 22:31

 

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
Matt.26:31 Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:

‘I will strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

32 But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”
33  Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.”
34 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the 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!”
And so said all the disciples.
The Prayer in the Garden
Matt.26:
Matt:26:36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.”
37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.
38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.
40 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?
41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
So Peter watched as Jesus was arrested…
Matt.26:58 But Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest’s courtyard. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end.
Peter Denies Jesus, and Weeps Bitterly
Matt26:69 Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”
70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”
71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”
73And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.”
74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed.
75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.
———-
Peter is an emotional and spiritual  mess… the enemy showed him pure raw evil… the railroading, condemnation, the lies, the beatings he witnessed… and finally the States injustice and crucifixion of an innocent man and not just a name but the Messiah, all he hopes and dreams and faith, the  WERE shaken to the core. It looked like Satan was winning…
Peter had  just denied even knowing him, Satan had him focusing on it all.
But thankfully that is not the end of Peter’s Testimony and story, but the moral is clear… even today in these last days, our flesh, the world and circumstances, and the devil himself will they to distract and get you focus on everything BUT Jesus Christ…

 

But that is Peters story… his testimony… but what about us… now in 2024 at the end of the age…this was his third victory – not to focus on the works of Satan and the evil in the world but to focus on and see the Risen Christ, the Gospel Being the answer for all !!
Thankfully, Peters conversion led him to preach the message that is timeless and our only hope.. it points directly to Jesus Christ…to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and how we respond…

Peter’s Greatest Sermon

Acts 2:14

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.
15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only [e]the third hour of the day.
16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—
23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;
24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.
25 For David says concerning Him:
‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face,
For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’
29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,
31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.
32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.
33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ’
36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

37Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

38Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the [k]remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

 

 

The answer though is clear … keep your eyes on Jesus … that is what Peters victory was all about, fighting against sin and the flesh, the world,  and the enemy –  are all battles we must fight but the answer is the same of all… keeping our eyes on Jesus… praying in the Holy Ghost… in tongues…allowing the Spirit to cleanse us from all filthiness of our flesh and spirit. Allowing the Spirit of God to work in us lets all turn our eyes toward Jesus … let us pray…  
Turn your Eyes upon Jesus —

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