- Sermon Notes
September 12, 2021
My experience in 60 years and over 40 following Jesus, is that sooner or later we all encounter troubles, heartaches, situations that challenge us to the core, that even threaten to overwhelm our faith.
We are living in days where highly credentialed medical professionals suggest that stress and anxiety is fast becoming the number one cause of death.
One of the most famous conversations in the Bible Jesus had with anyone – in Matthew 26:31-35.
Peter said, Lord….I will never fall away…
A most boastful declaration by any man and we know it ended with a catastrophic personal failure in Peter’s life. A failure that shook him to the core and almost causes his faith to collapse.
This is what we are going to talk about because Jesus is going to tell Peter three (3) important facts about his troubles that are going to enable him to endure and get through it and survive it in a biblical Christlike way.
His lessons for Peter are meant for us now.
Background – Passover meal, the Seder with His disciples the night before He was betrayed. In just a few hours from Luke 22 Peter is going to experience the failure we just talked about; deny the Lord 3x and then in shame he’s going to slip away and quit the ministry and go back to fishing.
But prior to all this look what Jesus tells him.
I. God’s Authority Is Over All
Peter, Satan himself is asking My permission to sift you – nobody asks permission from someone who has less authority than they have…
We only ask permission from someone who has more authority, a greater authority and a higher authority than we have.
So you have to ask yourself, who in the universe has more authority, higher authority than the very prince of demons himself – we know the answer is only almighty God.
The devil had to ask Jesus for permission to act against Peter – yet one more proof that Jesus really is Jehovah God in the flesh, exactly as He claimed to be.
What did Satan ask of Jesus; Jesus said Satan asked to sift you like wheat?
• Ancient days – farmers would take wheat grain, hard grain, put in a machine called a sifter and grind it over and over until soft clean flour was the result.
• Satan was asking to crush Peter into flower – using his fears to deny the Lord, then the shame and embarrassment that followed – that he would get him to give up spiritually and quit the ministry and go back to fishing.
Clear that Jesus has granted Satan’s request and he’s coming after Peter to destroy him – To eliminate him permanently as a servant of Christ.
A. Trials may sift us but God restores us
Jesus says right here it’s going to be rough, but your faith will not fail, you will recover, you will return, and when you do, use what you learned from this sifting experience to encourage and strengthen the people of God.
Satan got Peter to deny Jesus. Peter left broken. Peter went back to fishing…but in John chapter 21, Jesus came after Peter and He revitalized his faith, removed his guilt, restored him to the minis-try and he went on to be a mighty servant of God who’s NT sermons and letters still strengthened the hearts of God’s people even to this very day.
B. God protects us, He is the strongman
Complete the following sentence –
The biggest problem, heartache or trouble in my life right now is __________________.
We all put something in the blank because we all have some problems or troubles.
Job 14:1, “Man, who is born of woman, Is short-lived and full of turmoil.
Luke 22 Jesus shared with us 3 important facts about our troubles that will help us endure them, make it through them, survive them – in a biblical Christlike way.
1. Our troubles are all inspected
Luke 22:31, Satan has asked permission to sift you like wheat…
With these words Jesus reveals to us a great operating principle of the universe, namely, as followers of Jesus Christ, Satan must get permission from almighty God before he can lay a finger on us as followers of Christ.
Job 1:6-12, Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Then Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But reach out with
Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will certainly curse You to Your face.” Then the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not reach out and put your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord.…
Job Chapter 1 Satan wiped out everything – but Job didn’t curse the Lord.
Chapter 2 Satan is back and wants more latitude with Job – God gives him over again but he must spare his life.
Notice both Luke 22 and Job 1; 3 important truths about God’s limiting ministry on our troubles…
1. God set up a hedge of protection around every single follower of Christ including you and me.
2. We find out Satan must get God’s direct per-mission in order to go inside that Hedge.
3. Even when God permits Satan to get inside the hedge around us – God sets precise limits on what Satan is or isn’t allowed to do.
II. God’s Word Promises Endurance
Nothing enters your life or my life as a follower of Christ unless it has first been inspected and limited by almighty God….it allows for God to make us a staggering promise.
I Corinthians 10:13, No temptation has overtaken you except something common to mankind; and God is faithful, so He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
This is why in Luke 22, Jesus said to Peter, “when” not “if” you turn back. Jesus had already inspected what Satan wanted to do to him and that it fell into the limits of what Peter could bear.
Illustration – The Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs.
Fact #1 our troubles are all inspected
Fact #2 our troubles all have a divine purpose – they are not accidental or random
A. We need a Godly view of suffering
In Luke 22:32, Jesus said Peter, when you turn back again I want you to strengthen your Christian brothers and sisters as a result of this sifting experience. When you come out I will teach you some things so be ready to use the teachings from the trial to encourage your brothers and sisters when you come out. Peter did exactly this.
1 Peter is all about suffering, pain, heartache and how we can trust God’s faithfulness through it.
1 Peter 5:10, After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, con-firm, strengthen, and establish you.
He will make you strong and firm and steadfast. Where did Peter learn this lesson so he could declare it with passion and certainty?
Not from his successes in the Book of Acts, but from his failure that night in Jesus when he denied Him.
B. Trouble is our friend in disguise
Every problem has a purpose…why did I lose my job – why did my parents treat me poorly or why do I have health problems or why did that person I love so much die…
We have to learn to look at all these heartaches and acknowledge to that trouble, you are my friend in disguise because God is going to use you to teach me some important lessons I can’t learn any other way – lessons that are not only a blessing for me in the future but for anyone I meet in the future.
Fact #3 Our troubles are all overridden
Romans 8:28, And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
God promises us that He will take every trouble, heartache, problem and He will turn them into a blessing instead – – for those who love God.
C. God is ready to restore you too
He told Peter in Luke 22; Peter, you are going to have a catastrophic failure, but Peter, I’m going to override that failure, overrule that failure – and in spite of that failure, I’m going to turn you into a mighty servant of God…and that happened –
Galatians 2:7, But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised.
Paul tells us that Peter was entrusted by God to preach the Gospel to the Jews. Amazing commission the Lord gave Peter. In the book of Acts, Peter is the central figure to carrying the gospel to the nation of Israel and the Jewish people.
The Apostle Paul in Galatians 2:9, calls Peter a pillar of the church.
My point – before Peter failed in that night in Jerusalem, God had already overridden Peter’s failure – He had it worked into His perfect plan to re-deem that failure and make it something of a blessing in Peter’s life.
God did the same thing for Joseph – long before his brothers sold him into slavery – to become the PM of Egypt.
God did the same thing for young Esther – long before her parents died, and turned it into her becoming the queen of Persia and saving her people.
As a follower of Jesus Christ today, before any problem or crisis strikes your life, you can be sure God has already overridden it in His perfect plan for your life and it’s already designed for a blessing. God wants to restore you too.
Consider your own testimony.
Doesn’t it only matter what God has promised us rather than what you understand?
If He says He has it figured out, take that to the bank – He didn’t lie to Moses or Peter or Esther and He won’t lie to you or me.
We all have something to fill in that blank – some sitting here asking, why God? I can’t answer that question specifically for you or me.
But I can tell you 3 things about yours and my troubles to give us the strength we need to make it through – Biblically.
1. Your troubles have all been inspected and limited by God and “o, yes you can”.
2. Your troubles and my troubles have a divine purpose – they are not random or coincidental and we should see them as our friends in disguise.
3. Our troubles have already been overridden by a sovereign omnipotent God in His perfect plan for our lives.
These 3 facts will get us through all kinds of trouble in life, and for many of you, perhaps a new perspective on being restored as you walk by faith.
Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (NIV)
31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded to sift you men like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith will not fail; and you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”