Thursday, April 16, 2009

Peter's Denial

We continued out 'Perspectives' series this week by looking through the eyes of Peter.  We know a lot about Peter but when I asked the students what they know about him, the first thing mentioned was that he denied Jesus three times.  It stinks that someone who did such great things can be labeled by his biggest mistake in life.  We took a moment to look person that Peter which included:  he was a fisherman by trade, he was the leader of the 12 disciples, he cut off the soldiers ear when they came to arrest Jesus, his original name was Simon but Jesus gave him the nickname "Peter" or "Cephas" which means rock. He probably gave him this nickname not because his character was already like that of a rock, but to remind him of the person he needed to be.   We know that sometimes Jesus called him Peter and sometimes Simon.  This is probably because Jesus might have called him Peter when he acted like a rock and called him Simon when he needed to be corrected or rebuked.  We also know that Peter spoke when he should have been listening and was an over ambitious person.  Then as mentioned earlier we know that he denied Jesus three times, even after Jesus told him he would.

We can read the account of Peter's denial in all four gospels but we looked at the account in Matthew 26:69-75.  We looked at ways we too deny Jesus today.
1)  If we are asked if we are a christian or follower of Jesus and say no when in fact we are.  This seems very unlikely but is 
      possible because we see that Peter did it.  Most of us think we would never do such a thing, but the other ways we can deny 
      Jesus are just the same
2)  When our actions don't reflect that Jesus lives in us.  This is when our actions are worldly.  Maybe people can't tell the 
      difference in you and a non-christian.  I told the students to think about how someone would describe the person that they are.        If they would describe you as anything other than a follower of Christ, then you have been denying Jesus in your lifestyle.
3)  When we don't say anything and keep quiet.  When we are around sin and people sinning and we say nothing and are tolerant 
      of it then we are denying Jesus.  This doesn't mean that we have to verbally attack them, but we can't be tolerant of sin going 
      on around us.  Also when we laugh at sin.  The thing is, according to Romans 6:23 sin brings us death.  Even the smallest sin 
      that one might think is silly or funny brings death.  It doesn't seem so funny when put that way.
4)  If you never accept Jesus as your Savior, then you are in constant denial of Jesus.  This is by far the worst because if this is the 
      case then you are destined for Hell.  But you don't have to be if you accept Jesus as your Savior.

We look at Peter's mistake and can learn not to fall into the same sin.  We have to remember to that Peter moved on.  We don't read in scripture that he confessed the sin of denying Jesus and sought forgiveness, but we know that he must have.  We know this because he went on to preach and do great things.  We can read in Acts 2 that 3000 people were saved on the day of Pentecost when he preached.  See if you have been denying Jesus in your life, then you first need to realize it then repent and turn to God (Matthew 3:2).  Then if you've never accepted Jesus in the first place, then you can get that right by admitting you are a sinner and ask for God's forgiveness.  Believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose on the third day for your sin.  Then ask him to live in your heart.

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