July 17, 2022
For weeks we’ve been in the series, “UNLEASHED.”
My wife, Debra, and I were journaling through the Book of Acts together, in May.
I SAW A THEME, a truth to be found in the accounts written about the Apostle Peter.
By the grace of the Holy Spirit I am led to share this with you, today.
The Apostle Peter was the first Apostle chosen by Jesus. Matt 10:2 even says that Peter was the “first & foremost” choice of Jesus.
He was a handful. Headstrong. Impulsive.
You could say he was quite “a character”.
I think we can all relate to him as a human being. Peter was a human being, being human.
Impulses are a human response.
Let me ask you: Is it hard to think of an Apostle as just another person?
Sometimes that’s because we have been led to believe that Apostles and “Saints” are perfect people. Special people.
The problem with this idea is that if you think there are SPECIAL people, then you think that there are people who aren’t special. Maybe you think that about yourself.
Just because someone’s selfie is actually a painting on the wall of some Cathedral or a hospital is named after them, that doesn’t mean they weren’t regular human beings.
You can’t read ANY history book without learning that human beings are imperfect and they can make terrible mistakes. I could go on, but I think you can fill in those blanks.
But if you read THIS book, you find out that all human beings
ARE PEOPLE CREATED BY GOD.
ALL of us are INVITED BY GOD to share an eternal destiny with Him.
But, we can’t accept this invitation on some kind of whim, by some impulse, or casual consent. It’s not automatic.
There’s a choice involved, requiring considering things, thoughtfully
Listening to the Word, we get an understanding of our need for spiritual salvation
THEN comes a really heartfelt belief.
Romans 10:9 says,
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Rom. 10:9
Not just “Jesus IS” but you decide to make him Lord of your life.
Salvation is your spiritual response.
Make no mistake, this is the gospel message.
I want to describe to you what happened to the Apostle Peter, starting in Luke 5.
Luke 5 describes the beginning stages of Jesus’ ministry.
He’s already started teaching, he’s already drawing crowds.
Then an event happens in Luke 5, where the Bible says:
On one occasion, while Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret with the crowd pressing in on Him to hear the word of God, He saw two boats at the edge of the lake. The fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Jesus got into the boat belonging to Simon, also named Peter, and asked him to put out a little from shore. And sitting down, He taught the people from the boat. Luke 5:1-3
This is how things start with Jesus. He gets into your boat. While you’re busy washing nets, He’s in your boat and He starts doing things in your life and maybe you’re not paying attention.
But maybe you’re listening (the name Simon means “listening”), really listening!
Then He starts using your boat to affect the lives of others and maybe you feel like an eavesdropper. You may not realize He is working on you at the same time.
You may not think He’s aiming at you, but He is. He’s in YOUR boat.
Luke goes on to say that
When Jesus had finished speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’ ‘Master,’ Simon replied, ‘we have worked hard all night without catching anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.’ When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to tear. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them (Help us!), and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. Luke 5:4-7
When you have reached the point Simon Peter did,
At the end-of-the-night shift.
At the end of your strength, when nothing is working like it should.
When you’re thinking, “What have I got to lose?”
When all hope seems gone, Jesus comes into your life and sits… in.. your boat.
My prayer is that the Holy Spirit is now, through my words, sitting in your boat, right now. Lighting the candle of hope.
And you are like Simon Peter (hearing).
You can tell by Peter’s first response that he thought Jesus’ request was a waste of time.
So now…when the miracle happened, it shook Peter. Peter never saw this coming.
It shook his partners, James and John.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees. “Go away from me, Lord,” he said, “for I am a sinful man.” Luke 5:8
Now your Bible might say that Peter fell at Jesus’ feet, but an accurate translation says that Peter fell at Jesus' knees! How could that be unless Jesus was on His knees in prayer for that miracle, even as the miracle fell upon them all.
When Peter said, “I am a sinful man,” he is correct!
Here’s the picture this paints for us:
He IS a broken person.
We are broken people.
There are moments like this in our lives, when we know we need help…
Our impulse is to push people away. Our impulse is to push Jesus away.
So Peter gets it right about himself, but then
his impulse about what to do was wrong – he wanted to push Jesus away!
Why? Because his mind is set on, “I am a lost cause…”
What if Jesus had heard Peter say, “Get away from me” and Jesus replied, “Oh, okay”?
We forget, like Peter, that we are often people of thoughtless words.
Of Impulses. We’re quick to condemn…others…and… ourselves.
Impulses cause conflict.
Let me give you a definition of impulse:
An impulse is a sudden, strong but thoughtless urge to act or speak.
This is Peter in a nutshell.
Impulsive ideas pop up from his mind and he goes straight to action or speaks words without thought or wisdom. It’s like a reflex, you can’t seem to NOT do it!
This reminded me of our dog, Mazy. When she would lay on the porch, catching some sunshine on the floor. Snoring. If I call her name, she might just ignore me. BUT
Throw a ball and she’d get up and run…for a second before she realized that’s not what she was doing, she stops running and lies back down.
It was just an impulse, not to my voice, but to a ball.
Thoughtlessly, Peter judged himself.
Thoughtlessly, he condemns himself, …and pushes his only hope away.
He’s correct about his past, but he’s wrong about he’s future!
You can be right about being wrong, you can be wrong about being right, but either way, Jesus is still coming for your love.
After witnessing a miracle! Seeing “WHAT JUST HAPPENED!”,
He dooms himself BECAUSE HE’S IN A RUT OF DOOM! Have you been in that RUT?
But God calls us out on that. In Ezekiel 34:11, He said,
Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. Ezek. 34:11
Why? Because we earned it? No!
Because He loves us. How can I know that? You KNOW THIS!
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
And Romans 5:8 tells us,
God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Jesus doesn’t come for your love on an impulse, He gave His LIFE for you!.
Peter, as a Jewish man, he would’ve had a lot of God’s words in him. In his Hebrew religious mind, he could have applied Lev. 5:5, which says that a man who has sinned must confess the sin he has committed. And the sinner should confess that sin to a priest SO THAT a lamb can be sacrificed instead of the guilty man. … so that a lamb can be sacrificed instead of the guilty man.
It makes me wonder, did he later realize that when he said “Get away from me, I am a sinful man” to Jesus, he WAS confessing to a priest and…
he WAS confessing to the very lamb who would be sacrificed to cleanse him of his sins?
His impulsive thoughts kept him from remembering the redemption…
promised in the Jewish law through the BLOOD of a LAMB.
Impulses cause you to forget what God says and
Impulses cause you to ignore what God said.
Not on that first day, he didn’t get that, because on that first day he was being impulsive. His ears were shut. His heart was numb. He spoke impulsively.
Impulsive, thoughtless Peter thinks: “I am a lost cause.”
Listen to what Paul said about this same thing in Titus 3:3
For at one time we too were foolish, disobedient, misled, and enslaved to all sorts of desires and pleasures—living in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. Titus 3:3
Yep! That about sums us up right? For our defense, our impulses are
“Oh, I didn’t mean it.”
“I don’t know why I said that.”
“I only said that because you…”
Paul completely flips the switch on all that mess and simply says that we need to let Jesus change us:
But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for us appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of the good deeds which we have done, but because of His mercy, by the washing of the regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:4-5
Let’s fast forward to a storm on a lake. There’s a “here we go again” moment with Peter!
Now, Peter is in Jesus’ boat! They’re crossing the lake for a meet-up with Jesus. A contrary wind rises up against them. They are all exhausted and making no progress.
Peter got that part. We all get that part. Rowing and rowing. No progress. Repeat!
Then, they all see Jesus coming, walking on the water – and the disciples have the impulsive thought: They all think Jesus is a ghost.
But not Peter! This time, Peter recognizes that this is not a ghost, but Jesus!
Peter shouts out, ‘Can I come out and do that too!?’
Yes! He believes!...for a minute.
Peter gets out of the boat, and is walking on the water with Jesus.
Okay, I get it. I am going to church regularly. I’m in a church D-group and Gatekeepers with the men. I’m beginning to walk on the water with Jesus.
Suddenly…O Help Me God!… Impulsively, Peter forgot and he started sinking.
Even though he was already walking on water
Peter started worrying about the waves he was walking on! Impulse!
A thoughtless response! Time to start sinking!
You see, here’s what’s going on: as Peter spends more and more time with Jesus impulses decrease as you to change.
Now, in another account, there’s a gathering of Jesus’ disciples.
Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?”
Lo and behold!
Peter’s impulses did not kick in.
Peter was not the first to speak.
Some of the disciples were impulsive, guessing that Jesus was John the Baptist; others punted and tried “Jesus is Elijah” and still others, claimed Jesus was a prophet.
This time, before Peter spoke, he listened.
Thoughtfully, he said, “You are the Messiah.”
And Jesus said, Peter, upon this rock, I will build my church.
Now we see that Peter’s weakness of being impulsive is becoming a strength.
Peter’s weakness is changing into a strength. Peter has been listening to Jesus. Jesus’ wisdom has been changing Peter’s weakness of impulsiveness into a strength: …Boldness.
That Peter, with his weaknesses, was the Peter we knew before Jesus discipled him.
The weakness of impulsiveness is changing to the strength of “boldness.”
A strength which came changed from a weakness.
A “streakness” is a weakness changed to a strength by being discipled by Jesus.
But listen to me, let me pivot on this, because there’s more to this.
Luke tells us about ANOTHER time, at the very end of Jesus’ earthly ministry.
After he was resurrected and before He ascended to heaven,
Jesus went up on a mountain to pray with Peter, James and John.
In Luke 9, it says that
…as Jesus was praying, the appearance of His face changed, and His clothes became radiantly white. Suddenly two men, Moses and Elijah, began talking with Jesus. They appeared in glory and spoke about His departure, which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Luke 9:28-31
Peter, James and John are taking all this in. Yet another miraculous event!
But Peter…He asks Jesus if he should build some huts.
Could you imagine Peter on our church building committee!
See, here’s the impulse: “what can I do?” The word “impulse” starts with the one-letter word “I ”
Peter is the same man who was the first Apostle
First to declare that Jesus was the Messiah.
But then, he’s the frightened man who denied knowing Jesus on the night Jesus was betrayed.
Just like the rest the Apostles, Peter left his friend, His teacher, his Messiah, to die. Alone…
The Impulse of fear.
Fear, like, on the night Jesus was arrested. The Prince of Peace was getting arrested, but His number 1 guy pulls a sword and cuts off someone’s ear!
Jesus, suffered and died for that Peter.
Even Peter fled and left Jesus alone, Jesus redeemed Peter’s soul.
So imagine, seven weeks later, on the day of Pentecost, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to Peter and the other Apostles and disciples…and to you and me.
THAT miracle unfolds in Acts 2.
So Peter is there. Which Peter?
The sound of a mighty rushing wind comes to the place where all the disciples are staying.
Flames appeared over the heads of the faithful.
And people began to speak in languages they didn’t know, languages which were understood by the foreigners among them.
This time, Peter
watched the miracle and considered what was happening,
finally, Peter realizes that all this was not about him or what he could do.
He made up his mind to do God’s will for the sake of other people!
This time, this redeemed man, this Holy Spirit filled man, Peter, stood up with the other Apostles, RAISED HIS VOICE AND BOLDLY DECLARED
In the last days, God says, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on My menservants and maidservants, I will pour out My Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. Acts 2:17-18
I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the coming of the great and glorious Day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
Peter is preaching God’s Word! This is not just a sermon, It’s Another Miracle!
He didn’t make this up.
He’s not saying what he thinks.
He’s not falling on his old mindsets,
He’s not acting on any impulse,
He’s not building huts,
He’s not cutting off ears,
He’s not hiding in fear,
Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit!
And he says:
Everyone who calls on The Name of Jesus…will….be…saved.
Here, where it says “Everyone who calls on the Name of Jesus, “calls” does not mean “calls” is in a ‘hello,’ it’s not a speed dial, it means to call out “save me!”
like a sailor calling “Mayday, mayday, mayday!”
How different is the redeemed Peter? The new, Spirit-filled Peter?
This is the new creation. This isn’t a better Peter, but a new Peter.
Now his walk redeemed
Spirit-filled, he says what God says, not what he thinks.
As I ask for the music team to come up, let me close with this:
After that amazing Pentecost miracle day when Christ’s disciples came together, after they received the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus, and
After the Pentecost miracles and Peter’s sermon greatly multiplied their numbers,
After they began to declare the gospel under their Great Commission to the world,
Peter and John walked to church, at the Temple in Jerusalem.
They saw a broken man, who could not walk, sitting at the Beautiful Gate begging for handouts. They approached him. The man’s only expectation was to be given some coins.
Peter saw that man at the Beautiful Gate where Peter always walked …
right on by, …maybe EVERY DAY!
Something new built up in Peter’s heart. I don’t think it was just another impulse. It was not just another something he could do personally.
Peter had been a fisherman, he had a rough life,
he used to have a quick temper,
he worked very hard but received only a modest income,
His life was ruled by his impulsive decisions and certainly some bad consequences.
His future didn’t look good so good, until Jesus showed up and sat in his boat.
So, when Peter approached that man at the Beautiful Gate, this time, he said to him, “look at us!” Then he said,
“Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk! Acts 3:6
Hear the Spirit: the real Beautiful Gate is not the Temple court, not the arches and walls, it is the Beautiful Gate opening in a man’s heart to do God’s will.
As I ask for the prayer team to come up,
Let me ask you, what kind of faith does it take to say “get up and walk” to a man who had never walked?
If you’re a human being just being human, it’s a reckless mistake!
If you’re a believer, redeemed and filled with the Holy Spirit,
You can reach out to someone through your own Beautiful Gate letting out the power of the Spirit that’s in you!
Giving financial aid to the poor is an exceedingly good thing.
Giving healing is even better! And, I’m not talking about just healing a lame man’s leg, I’m talking about the healing of salvation to save your soul!
Set aside your impulses to just do something, take hold of your streakness,
What you thought was your weakness could be your calling –
Ask the God who, and when, and where. But bless the person right in front of you.
The steps of a man are ordered by God.
Know for certain you do not personally have the power to heal,
What you have in you, however - is the God who DOES HAVE that power.
HE is IN you.
The takeaway from this should be that our faith is not about faith in who I am, but faith in WHO GOD IS!
Open up the Beautiful Gate of your life.
Now, I am certain that some of us here today may not feel redeemed.
Or your not sure you have been redeemed,
Or you want to ask God for His forgiveness - which He can’t wait to give you.
Or you want to be saved,
Or you want to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Let me invite you to open the Beautiful Gate of your own heart today.
When Jesus got into Peter’s boat.
On an impulse, he did what Jesus asked him to do.
Then Peter began to see blessings pour into the lives of people, which gave him hope.
Peter left behind his way life, for a new one, with Jesus.
Today, we have an advantage over Peter, because Jesus could not redeem him, could not save Peter, until Jesus went to the cross. Not until Jesus rose from the dead.
But you and I have the advantage that the Cross has already Come,
Jesus has already risen.
The salvation Peter waited to receive is available to you today.
When you give yourself to Christ as your Lord and Savior, He will give you the gift of the Holy Spirit, promised to Peter, to me, and to all who believe.
You can still be a human being, being human, but if you make that decision NOW,
You’ll be a HUMAN BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT OF THE LIVING GOD.
If you feel that today is the day, you can make that decision right now,
to commit your life, leave the nets and follow Jesus.
Don’t wait. Come to this altar and tell Jesus that today is the day.
At Motion Church the altar is always open for any prayer needs.
Now, won’t you join your church as we pray at the altar and worship Jesus.