This is a copy of the Sunday School Lessons presented to an adult class each Sunday.
- Name: Bible Study
- Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States
Retired, Lobbyist in Washington,DC - Management - BS Chemistry and various continuing education courses
Monday, May 23, 2016
Bible Study – Seize the Day: A Call to Missions – May 29, 2016
This is a special lesson on reaching out to others who seek truth.
Take your place in GOD’S Mission to the nations.
Our focus scripture is Acts 8:26-35.
In last week’s lesson, the Apostle Paul gave his testimony to King Agrippa. This was a witness to King Agrippa, ordained by GOD, for him to receive the truth of the Gospel of CHRIST and an opportunity for him to accept CHRIST as his Savior. King Agrippa was almost persuaded to accept CHRIST as his Savior but did not at that time. Spiritual seeds were planted into King Agrippa’s life, which gave the Holy Spirit the opportunity to work in his life up to his earthly death, wooing him to accept CHRIST as his Savior. However, the choice was his to make.
This week our study focuses upon once we accept CHRIST as our Savior, our willingness to go witness to those seeking truth, as led by the Holy Spirit. Christians need to study GOD’S Word and, as suggested in last week’s lesson, to have a two minute and a twenty minute testimony of our encounter with JESUS ready to share with others, as we journey along life’s road.
Christians must keep in mind that GOD equips those HE calls to obediently serve HIM. Christians are to study HIS Word, talk to HIM (Prayer) as we journey with HIM and be ready to respond when HE gives us opportunity.
I remember the first time I witnessed to a man. In the days leading up to my first witness, my wife and I had been meeting with a group of Christians. The LORD had been leading some in our group to bear witness to others. To me witnessing to someone was the scariest thing imaginable. Suppose the person to whom I was witnessing asked a question I could not answer? Or knew more about the Bible than I did? Or the person to whom I was witnessing responded in an angry fashion? Or I turned the person off to ever want to hear about CHRIST? Many questions! Satan fills our minds with many fears to keep us from witnessing. It is important that we be led to witness as GOD gives us opportunity and trust GOD to equip us as needed.
I used to fly a lot. I knew that the LORD wanted me to witness to someone on an upcoming trip. I had two legs to fly on a trip to New York City. On the first leg, as I recall, no one sat next to me. So I concluded that my opportunity to witness either missed the flight or there were some change in plans. I had to change planes in Charlotte, NC. I was among some of the first to board the flight to New York. I sat next to the window. I had the sense that the LORD wanted me to witness to someone on this flight. As more people boarded the flight I was praying and attempting to pick out the person. This person looks good but he or she would go to another seat. The plane was almost full and no one was seated on my row. I began to relax and somewhat relieved but disappointed. These next accounts are a bit over dramatic but consider that I was uptight.
It seemed that the plane tilted to the left and the doorway darkened. Then the passageway between the first class cabin and coach was filled with a physically fit man. I immediately prayed and said, “LORD this is not the person to whom you want me to witness.” The man sat in the aisle seat on my row. I prayed even harder. The man got up and I felt a sigh of relief. I knew he was not the right person. He went to get a magazine and came back to his seat on my row. We had breakfast and after the flight attendants cleared our trays I began talking to the man.
The first thing I knew, I was giving him my testimony. As I was approaching the end of my testimony I began to pray. “LORD suppose this man becomes angry, he could backhand me and knock me through the seat.” Of course, this was an exaggeration but never the less a thought. As I finished my testimony, the man leaned over toward me and said, “You know what?” I thought here it comes. I was ready for a negative reaction but he said. “You know what, I have been thinking about things like this for some time.” Oh, what a relief it was. The blood drained back in my head and we had a good discussion. He did not pray to receive CHRIST but the seed was planted.
I have found over the years that the LORD prepares the way when HE leads us to witness to others. We must let the LORD lead us and give us the right entry point. I think of our lives, as Christians, are like arrows in GOD’S quiver. HE knows our testimony, witness and our walk with HIM and HE selects us as an archer selects the right arrow to be released to accomplish HIS purpose. Christians must trust GOD to direct their lives according to HIS plan and purpose. HE equips us according to the need and provides the opportunity. Our part is to be obedient.
Christians need to keep in mind that they may plant a seed, prepare the soil, add water, add fertilizer or any number of things our LORD calls us to do as we obediently serve in HIS vineyard. We may add a piece of Spiritual understanding to a person’s life which will ultimately lead to that person’s salvation. We must trust. When the LORD leads, HIS purpose always produces positive results. We may never see the positive results but HE does. Christians must be available to give a cup of cold water to those who are thirsty, physically or Spiritually, or encouragement to those who may need a kind word or a hug. Allow GOD to use you as HE desires. HE always prepares the way, as HE leads Christians by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Let’s explore!
Let’s read Acts 8:26-27a:
The Conversion of the Ethiopian Official
26 An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip: "Get up and go south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to desert Gaza."
27 So he got up and went.
Philip was one of those chosen to serve food to the followers of CHRIST to allow the disciples to preach the gospel. Acts 6:5:
Seven Chosen to Serve
1 In those days, as the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution.
2 Then the Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, "It would not be right for us to give up preaching about God to wait on tables.
3 Therefore, brothers, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty.
4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the preaching ministry."
5 The proposal pleased the whole company. So they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte from Antioch.
Philip was referred to as “the evangelist.” He was eager to witness to others about CHRIST.
The Jews began persecuting Christians in Jerusalem, which resulted in many Christians leaving Jerusalem to go to other areas. This was GOD’S way of spreading the Gospel of CHRIST to others. It is referred to as the “Diaspora” or the scattering. Philip went to Samaria.
5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and preached the Messiah to them.
6 The crowds paid attention with one mind to what Philip said, as they heard and saw the signs he was performing.
7 For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed, and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.
8 So there was great joy in that city.
Philip was busy witnessing in Samaria when the “angel of the LORD” called Philip to leave his ministry and go “south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to desert Gaza."
Philip did not hesitate. He was obedient to his call even though he was serving the LORD where he was. He did not try to second guess the call, he responded.
As Christians, do we respond when we are prompted by the Holy Spirit?
Philip was not told why he was going, he trusted and responded.
Let’s read Acts 8: 27b:
There was an Ethiopian man, a eunuch and high official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to worship in Jerusalem –
Judaism classified worshipers into three categories:
J Jews because of their race.
- Proselytes, Gentiles who become full converts to Judaism.
- GOD-fearers are those drawn to worship the one GOD of the Jews (monotheism with ethical guidelines).
The Ethiopian eunuch was a GOD-fearer.
We learn the reason for GOD’S call to Philip. There was a high official of the queen of Ethiopia traveling back home after worshiping in Jerusalem. His reference to “Candace” is a title like “Queen Mother.” We learn that he was, in essence, the Minister of Finance in Ethiopia and he was a eunuch.
Eunuchs could have been castrated in order to serve in the harem or it could be the title of a government official. It is not clear if this man was castrated or a reference indicating that he was a government official. The eunuch had been to Jerusalem to worship. He likely bought a scroll which could have been written in Hebrew or in Greek, the universal language at that time.
If he was a eunuch by castration, he would not have been allowed to convert to Judaism but he could have worshiped in the outer courts but not the inner courts of the temple complex.
In Deuteronomy 23:1 we read:
1 "No man whose [testicles] have been crushed or whose penis has been cut off may enter the Lord's assembly.
But we also read in Isaiah 56:3-5: (A day was coming when this ban recorded in Det. 23:1 would change.)
3 No foreigner who has converted to the Lord should say, "The Lord will exclude me from His people"; and the eunuch should not say, "Look, I am a dried-up tree."
4 For the Lord says this: "For the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold firmly to My covenant,
5 I will give them, in My house and within My walls, a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters. I will give each [of them] an everlasting name that will never be cut off.
Let’s read Acts 8:28-35:
28 and was sitting in his chariot on his way home, reading the prophet Isaiah aloud.
The chariot was likely a four wheeled horse or oxen drawn wagon with some type of cover.
29 The Spirit told Philip, "Go and join that chariot."
The Holy Spirit gave direction to Philip and identified the specific chariot. The Holy Spirit will give all Christians specific direction when they desire to obediently serve our LORD.
30 When Philip ran up to it, he heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you're reading?"
This is a reason for all Christians to study the scriptures, to know them and to understand them. Keep in mind that GOD equips so don’t fret over what you do not know but what you do know. Your testimony is one of the most powerful tools in your equipment shed. Trust GOD to lead you to use the right equipment.
31 "How can I," he said, "unless someone guides me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
The Holy Spirit can reveal truth and HE can reveal truth through Christians either as teachers or through their lifestyle.
32 Now the Scripture passage he was reading was this: He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb is silent before its shearer, so He does not open His mouth.
33 In His humiliation justice was denied Him. Who will describe His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.
This scripture is found in Isaiah 53:7-8:
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth.
8 He was taken away because of oppression and judgment; and who considered His fate? For He was cut off from the land of the living; He was struck because of My people's rebellion.
Let’s continue with Acts 8:34-35:
34 The eunuch replied to Philip, "I ask you, who is the prophet saying this about-himself or another person?"
35 So Philip proceeded to tell him the good news about Jesus, beginning from that Scripture.
36 As they were traveling down the road, they came to some water. The eunuch said, "Look, there's water! What would keep me from being baptized?" [
37 And Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart you may." And he replied, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."]
38 Then he ordered the chariot to stop, and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.
39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him any longer. But he went on his way rejoicing.
40 Philip appeared in Azotus, and passing through, he was evangelizing all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
The Ethiopian eunuch accepted CHRIST as his Savior was baptized and continued his journey home, rejoicing. GOD had a plan for the eunuch and GOD had a plan for Philip. It appears that the LORD may have transported Philip to Azotus in a mysterious manner. It could be that both men were so filled with the Holy Spirit that the rest of their journey was seemed effortless.
Are we, as Christians, ready to obediently serve when GOD issues us the invitation? Satan will attempt to fill our minds with all sorts of doubts but keep in mind 1 John 4:
4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them (the spirit world), because the One Who is on you (JESUS) is greater than the one who is in the world (Satan).
Christians are conquers! Claim it! Blessings!!!
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Bible Study - Redeemed (6) - Redeemed From an Unbelieving Past - Acts 26:9-20 - May 22, 2016
Bible Study – Redeemed (6) – Redeemed From an Unbelieving Past – May 22, 2016
This is lesson six (6) and final lesson in our series entitled “Beauty from
Ashes: Redeeming Your Broken Moments.”
Our focus scripture is Acts 26:9-20.
JESUS can transform even the most hostile opponent into a faithful believer.
Saul (His Hebrew name), who we also know as Paul (His Roman name), in his life before salvation was on a mission, he thought by GOD, to eradicate the followers of CHRIST. Saul was well trained in the Jewish religion by a very popular Jewish Rabbi Gamaliel.
Acts 5:34-39: (Background regarding Saul’s Jewish Teacher)
34 A Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law who was respected by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered the men to be taken outside for a little while.
35 He said to them, "Men of Israel, be careful about what you're going to do to these men.
36 Not long ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about 400 men rallied to him. He was killed, and all his partisans were dispersed and came to nothing.
37 After this man, Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and attracted a following. That man also perished, and all his partisans were
38 And now, I tell you, stay away from these men and leave them alone. For if this plan or this work is of men, it will be overthrown;
39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even be found fighting against God." So they were persuaded by him.
Acts 22:3: (Saul gave King Agrippa a little of his background in the introduction. When we give our testimony we should tell a little of our life before we became a Christian. Keep is brief.)
3 He (Saul) continued, "I am a Jewish man, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and educated according to the strict view of our patriarchal law. Being zealous for God, just as all of you are today,
Saul thought he was doing the work of GOD in annihilating the followers of CHRIST. The followers of CHRIST feared him. When Saul encountered CHRIST on the road to Damascus, Saul’s life was changed forever.
Christians must not give up hope for the lost.
Rev. Lee Thomas spoke to our church this past Wednesday evening (May 11, 2016). Rev. Thomas has written the books “Praying Effectively for the Lost” and “Living the Exceedingly Victorious Life.” He discussed the importance of praying for the lost. [Rev. Lee Thomas, P.O. Box 1058, Westlake, LA 70669. www.lthomas@pelministries .org.]
Christians are Holy. We are the temple in which the Holy Spirit resides. As Christians, through our faith in JESUS, JESUS imputes to each Christian authority in HIS name. Christians can claim the salvation of each person within their family, friends, employees and all who they place within their circle. That does not mean that they are saved because they are in your circle. Each person must make a personal decision to follow CHRIST but he or she is sanctified or set aside such that the Holy Spirit can work within the life of the person in your circle to receive salvation at some point in his or her life. We can claim their salvation and know that the Holy Spirit will work within their lives to the fullest extent possible to bring about salvation. The decision will be his or hers to make but he or she will make it before they die. We may die before the person within our circle dies but our prayers will continue to work in his or her behalf after we are physically dead and in Heaven.
Saul’s desire was to obediently serve GOD but he was working in the flesh. GOD knew Saul’s earnest desire was to serve HIM but he was working against GOD’S will and purpose because of ignorance to the truth. Once CHRIST came into Saul’s life he saw truth and his entire focus changed in an instant.
Acts 7:54-60: (Saul was present when Stephen was martyred.)
The First Christian Martyr
54 When they heard these things, they were enraged in their hearts and gnashed their teeth at him.
55 But Stephen, filled by the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven. He saw God's glory, with Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said,
56 "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"
57 Then they screamed at the top of their voices, stopped their ears, and rushed together against him.
58 They threw him out of the city and began to stone him. And the witnesses laid their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 They were stoning Stephen as he called out: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!"
60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin!" And saying this, he fell asleep.
The young soldier guarded the clothing of those who stoned Stephen but he also heard Stephen’s testimony and truth. Seeds were planted by GOD into Saul’s heart through Stephen’s witness.
The fact that Saul was converted and became a Christian did not stop the Jews from trying to obliterate CHRIST followers which included Saul. Salvation certainly changed Saul’s life and focus. Let’s explore!
Let’s read Acts 26:1-8: (Background leading to our focus scripture.)
Paul's Defense before Agrippa (Paul was excited to have the opportunity to give his testimony to King Agrippa.)
1 Agrippa said to Paul, "It is permitted for you to speak for yourself." Then Paul stretched out his hand and began his defense:
2 "I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that today I am going to make a defense before you about everything I am accused of by the Jews,
3 especially since you are an expert in all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.
4 "All the Jews know my way of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem.
5 They had previously known me for quite some time, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I lived as a Pharisee.
6 And now I stand on trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers,
7 [the promise] our 12 tribes hope to attain as they earnestly serve Him night and day. Because of this hope I am being accused by the Jews, O king!
8 Why is it considered incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?
What is this hope of which Paul is speaking? GOD raises the dead! JESUS!
Let’s read Acts 26:9-11:
9 In fact, I myself supposed it was necessary to do many things in opposition to the name of Jesus the Nazarene.
Often many of us work hard at doing religion in our strength only to find that we are empty. We can do religion in our Christian churches and come up empty because we are working in our strength and leaning on our own understanding. Truth is according to our definition and not according to revelation as the result of our personal encounter with CHRIST as revealed by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
10 This I actually did in Jerusalem, and I locked up many of the saints in prison, since I had received authority for that from the chief priests. When they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.
11 In all the synagogues I often tried to make them blaspheme by punishing them. Being greatly enraged at them, I even pursued them to foreign cities.
Paul was giving his testimony to King Agrippa. We can use this outline to prepare our testimony. Paul gave an overview of his life before CHRIST came into his life. He was a devout Jew. He was a Pharisee. He thought he was obediently serving GOD by destroying those who were followers of JESUS.
Let’s read Acts 26:12-18: (Circumstances leading to salvation.)
Paul's Account of His Conversion and Commission
12 "Under these circumstances I was traveling to Damascus with authority and a commission from the chief priests.
13 At midday, while on the road, O king, I saw a light from heaven brighter than the sun, shining around me and those traveling with me.
14 When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'
15 "But I said, 'Who are You, Lord?' "And the Lord replied: 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
16 But get up and stand on your feet. For I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and a witness of things you have seen, and of things in which I will appear to you.
17 I will rescue you from the people and from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you,
18 to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.'
Paul describes his encounter with JESUS. JESUS commissioned Saul to serve HIM and that HE would be with him in ministry.
Let’s read Acts 26:19-20: (What Paul did after his encounter with JESUS.)
19 "Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.
Saul hit the road running, so-to-speak in the power of the Holy Spirit.
20 Instead, I preached to those in Damascus first, and to those in Jerusalem and in all the region of Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works worthy of repentance.
Saul began preaching in Damascus. The Jews tried to kill him but he escaped through a window and being lowered over the city wall. The Jews had people located at the city gates to cease Saul if he tried to leave the city. Saul studied for three years. He met with the Apostle Peter and James the half-brother of JESUS. He preached the Gospel of JESUS in Jerusalem.
21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple complex and were trying to kill me.
22 Since I have obtained help that comes from God, to this day I stand and testify to both small and great, saying nothing else than what the prophets and Moses said would take place-
23 that the Messiah must suffer, and that as the first to rise from the dead, He would proclaim light to our people and to the Gentiles."
Let’s read Acts 26:24-32: (The invitation to receive JESUS as Savior. When giving your testimony an invitation to accept CHRIST as Savior should always be given either by you or those responsible for the gathering.)
Not Quite Persuaded
24 As he was making his defense this way, Festus exclaimed in a loud voice, "You're out of your mind, Paul! Too much study is driving you mad!"
25 But Paul replied, "I'm not out of my mind, most excellent Festus. On the contrary, I'm speaking words of truth and good judgment.
26 For the king knows about these matters. It is to him I am actually speaking boldly. For I'm not convinced that any of these things escapes his notice, since this was not done in a corner!
27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you believe."
28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Are you going to persuade me to become a Christian so easily?"
29 "I wish before God," replied Paul, "that whether easily or with difficulty, not only you but all who listen to me today might become as I am-except for these chains."
30 So the king, the governor, Bernice, and those sitting with them got up,
31 and when they had left they talked with each other and said, "This man is doing nothing that deserves death or chains."
32 Then Agrippa said to Festus, "This man could have been released if he had not appealed to Caesar."
GOD’S plan was for Paul to give witness to Caesar but along the path to Caesar he was to give his testimony to other leaders, which he had. This was GOD’S plan for Paul. Paul knew the truth and was bold in sharing the truth of JESUS as GOD gave him the opportunity.
Are you excited about being a Christian? Do you want to share CHRIST with those with whom you come into contact each day? We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world may we all be eager to share CHRIST as HE gives us opportunity. Your testimony is one of the most powerful evidences of the presence of JESUS in your life. People can argue the Bible but your testimony is your personal encounter with JESUS on your road of life. Write it out and be prepared to share it as GOD provides the opportunity. Have a two minute
version and a 15-20 minute version. Blessings!!!
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Bible Study - Redeemed (5) - Redeemed From Devastating Failure - Luke 22:54-62; Acts 4:8-13 - May 15, 2016
Bible Study – Redeemed (5) – Redeemed From Devastating Failure – May 15, 2016
This is lesson five (5) in our series entitled “Beauty from Ashes: Redeeming Your Broken Moments.”
Our focus scripture is Luke 22:54-62; Acts 4:8-13
GOD can redeem us from even our worst failures.
Our lesson today is vital for all Christians. When we do something that is contrary to obediently serving GOD, Satan moves in to claim victory. Satan immediately makes us feel unworthy and his desire is to defeat us as Christians. Christians live under GOD’S Grace and HE knows many of us will fail HIM some time in our walk with HIM. What does 1 John 1:9 reveal to us?
1 John 1:8-10:
8 If we say, "We have no sin," we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say, "We have not sinned," we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
We, as Christians, are all sinners saved by grace.
You would think a person who had physically walked with JESUS would be the last to deny HIM. Many of us say, “If only I had lived when JESUS lived upon earth.” Let’s explore!
Let’s read Luke 22:31-34: (Scripture leading up to our focus scripture.)
Peter's Denial Predicted
31 "Simon, Simon, look out! Satan has asked to sift you like wheat.
32 But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
33 "Lord," he told Him, "I'm ready to go with You both to prison and to death!"
34 "I tell you, Peter," He said, "the rooster will not crow today until you deny three times that you know Me!"
Peter was ready to fight and give his life for JESUS as we read in our next scripture.
Let’s read John 18:10-11:
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear. (The slave's name was Malchus.)
11 At that, Jesus said to Peter, "Sheathe your sword! Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given Me?"
Peter was ready to fight but when JESUS did not want to fight, Peter lost his will to fight. Peter was perplexed, wasn’t JESUS to be the promised Messiah Who would establish HIS Kingdom upon earth? Peter did not know that there was a higher plan at work as we read in 1 Corinthians 2:6-8:
6 However, among the mature we do speak a wisdom, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.
7 On the contrary, we speak God's hidden wisdom in a mystery, which God predestined before the ages for our glory.
8 None of the rulers of this age knew it, for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
In our Spiritual journey, GOD often allows matters contrary to our belief system to come into our lives to get us on the right Spiritual track. It is for our good and to bring us into conformity to HIS will and purpose for our lives.
GOD keeps certain matters hidden until they have accomplished their intended purpose. Peter encountered such a mystery because he had thought that JESUS was to be a political Messiah to reign for a time upon earth. GOD had a greater plan which would be revealed later. It would be a much greater plan to defeat Satan and to establish GOD’S Kingdom in the hearts and lives of all who place their faith in HIM. Those who place their faith in HIM would be born-again into GOD’S Family and become children of GOD through the miracle of re-birth in their spirit. All who are re-born in their spirit will enter heaven and enjoy heaven in their re-born Spiritual body until they return with JESUS, at HIS second coming, to receive their New Glorified Bodies. Oh, what a day of rejoicing that will be.
This story about Peter gives hope and assurance to every Christian who has denied CHRIST. If you feel that you have denied CHRIST, GOD has not pulled away for you. HE is waiting for you to confess, repent and then HE will restore. Do not give up on HIM because HE has not given up on you! Keep this in mind as we study together.
Let’s read Luke 22:54-62:
Peter Denies His Lord
54 They seized Him, led Him away, and brought Him into the high priest's house. Meanwhile, Peter was following at a distance.
Notice that Peter was following at a distance. Often when we are disappointed, we keep matters at arm’s length, especially Spiritual matters. Often, when that happens we are gathering more information and are trying to understand what is going on.
55 They lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, and Peter sat among them.
56 When a servant saw him sitting in the firelight, and looked closely at him, she said, "This man was with Him too."
57 But he denied it: "Woman, I don't know Him!"
58 After a little while, someone else saw him and said, "You're one of them too!" "Man, I am not!" Peter said.
59 About an hour later, another kept insisting, "This man was certainly with Him, since he's also a Galilean."
60 But Peter said, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!" Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed.
61 Then the Lord turned and looked at Peter. So Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, "Before the rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times."
Talk about heartbreak. JESUS had told Peter what was going to happen and it did. What effect does the look of JESUS have on Peter? What effect does the look of JESUS have on each of us when HE turns and looks into our lives?
62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Satan intended for this to break Peter but GOD meant for it to prepare him to obediently serve HIM. Peter was broken when he realized that he had denied JESUS just as HE had told him.
When we, as Christians, think we have figured out our relationship with JESUS and we come to a situation in our lives that does not go according to our plans, we are often perplexed. We can react in many ways. We can seek truth or we can throw up our hands in unbelief. Life is a journey.
GOD allows these questionable times to come into our lives to rid us of false notions about HIS plan and purpose. That is when we should then turn to HIM for understanding. Let’s consider Peter’s reaction following this incident.
Peter felt unworthy to be a follower of JESUS after denying HIM. But GOD was not finished with Peter. If you have denied JESUS, GOD is not finished with you either.
After the death, burial and resurrection of JESUS, JESUS appeared to over 500 people. Peter was one to whom HE appeared as we read in:
34 who said, "The Lord has certainly been raised, and has appeared to Simon (Peter)!"
1 Corinthians 15:5:
5 and that He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve.
It seems that JESUS made it a point to present Himself to Peter as we our next scripture.
John 21:1-17: Jesus' Third Appearance to the Disciples
1 After this, Jesus revealed Himself again to His disciples by the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed Himself in this way:
2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called "Twin"), Nathanael from Cana of Galilee, Zebedee's sons, and two others of His disciples were together.
3 "I'm going fishing," Simon Peter said to them. "We're coming with you," they told him. They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Peter had had it; he was going back to being a fisherman. But JESUS did not give up on him. JESUS went to him where he was working.
4 When daybreak came, Jesus stood on the shore. However, the disciples did not know it was Jesus.
5 "Men," Jesus called to them, "you don't have any fish, do you?" "No," they answered.
6 "Cast the net on the right side of the boat," He told them, "and you'll find some." So they did, and they were unable to haul it in because of the large number of fish.
7 Therefore the disciple, the one Jesus loved, said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tied his outer garment around him (for he was stripped) and plunged into the sea.
8 But since they were not far from land (about 100 yards away), the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish.
9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread.
(Brad do you remember us cooking fish (trout) on the coals of the fire? Yum, yum!)
10 "Bring some of the fish you've just caught," Jesus told them.
11 So Simon Peter got up and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish-153 of them. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
12 "Come and have breakfast," Jesus told them. None of the disciples dared ask Him, "Who are You?" because they knew it was the Lord.
13 Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish.
14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to the disciples after He was raised from the dead.
Jesus' Threefold Restoration of Peter
15 When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love (agape), Me more than these (HE likely pointed to the fish.)?" "Yes, Lord," he said to Him, "You know that I love (phileo) You." "Feed My lambs," He told him.
[The first 2 times by Jesus (vv. 15-16) agape (Love that demands nothing in return); and phileo (Brotherly love), the last time by Jesus (v. 17) and all 3 times by Peter (vv. 15-17) phileo. Peter's threefold confession of love for Jesus corresponds to his earlier threefold denial of Jesus; Jn 18:15-18, 25-27.]
16 A second time He asked him, "Simon, son of John, do you love (agape) Me?" "Yes, Lord," he said to Him, "You know that I love (phileo) You." "Shepherd My sheep," He told him.
17 He asked him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love (phileo) Me?" Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, "Do you love (phileo) Me?" He said, "Lord, You know everything! You know that I love (phileo) You." "Feed My sheep," Jesus said.
When JESUS was about to ascended into heaven, HE instructed those with HIM to wait in Jerusalem until they received the promised Holy Spirit. Those waiting are listed in Acts 1:13-14:
13 When they arrived, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.
14 All these were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.
The Holy Spirit came as JESUS had promised and recorded in Acts 2:1-5:
1 When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place.
2 Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying.
3 And tongues, like flames of fire that were divided, appeared to them and rested on each one of them.
4 Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech.
5 There were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.
Guess who preached that day? It was none other than The Apostle Peter and over 3,000 people accepted CHRIST as their Savior.
When Peter and John were on their way to the temple to pray, GOD gave them an opportunity heal a man who had been lame since birth in the name of JESUS. The lame man was healed and about 2,000 men accepted CHRIST as their Savior.
This upset the Jewish religious leaders and they had Peter and John arrested and hauled into religious court. Our next scripture picks up on Peter and John addressing the Jewish religious leaders in their religious court.
Let’s read Acts 4:8-12:
8 Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders:
9 If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man-by what means he was healed-
10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene-whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead-by Him this man is standing here before you healthy.
11 This [Jesus] is The stone despised by you builders, who has become the cornerstone.
12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved."
The Name Forbidden - Let’s read Acts 4:13:
13 When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and knew that they had been with Jesus.
Peter filled with the Holy Spirit spoke with boldness and the religious leaders were amazed. They knew that he had been with JESUS. Peter was a changed man. Faith in JESUS can change your life. Confess your sins and ask JESUS to come into your life. If you made that decision sometime in your life and did some things that disappointed GOD, confess them, repent and allow GOD to restore you.
GOD can take our brokenness and make something beautiful. Have you experienced brokenness? Do you feel that you have disappointed GOD? Confess it, repent and allow GOD to fill you with the Holy Spirit. When we confess and empty our lives of the things that hinder the Holy Spirit, we make space of the Holy Spirit to occupy more of our lives. The ultimate goal is for the Holy Spirit to occupy all of us. We are the temple of GOD and the temple must be cleansed of anything that in unholy. Confess your sins now and ask GOD to cleanse HIS temple, which is your body and to fill you with HIS Holy Spirit. Blessings!!!