Do you ever get fed up with yourself? “Ugh, I’ve done it again. I’m such a failure. I’m too weak to be effective for God.” We love the Lord, we’ve confessed our sins and asked him into our hearts, taking up our cross daily only to stumble and drop it too many times to count. Please know that there is hope in our weakness, and today we’re revisiting Peter who is the perfect example. Let’s dive in!
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Guest Host: Jennifer Ervig
Do you ever get fed up with yourself? “Ugh, I’ve done it again. I’m such a failure. I’m too weak and therefore will never be effective for God or any call He places on my life.” If we’re all honest, we’ve all proclaimed something similar to ourselves, whether audibly or thoughtfully in a moment of unintentional or unexpected sin. We love the Lord. We’ve confessed our sins and asked him into our hearts, and we take up our cross daily only to stumble and drop it too many times to count and more than enough times to make us feel like powerless failures. This is the Bible for Busy People and we’re on episode two this week of finding out if we have what it takes to live for Christ. I’m Jen, and today we’re going to revisit Peter. He was passionately dedicated to Jesus, to the point of cutting off an ear of one he viewed as an enemy to Jesus. The guy had chutzpah. Man, do I love that word. He believed himself ready to do anything that Jesus would need him to do as his friend and follower. He was shocked when Jesus told him that very soon, he’d actually deny even knowing him three times. Peter was aghast. No way would that ever happen. He was sure of it, but then we see the story in Matthew 26. Jesus got taken away by some government officials. Peter stayed close at hand to see what would happen to him, and while watching and waiting, three people recognized him as a follower and friend of Jesus and called him out as so. Guess what? Peter denied all three accusations out of fear. Shocker. Oh Peter. Imagine the devastation and heartbreak he experienced when he heard the rooster crow, as Luke 22 describes. He had a powerful love and dedication to Jesus and thought himself firm and strong enough that it seemed incredulous to him that he could ever possibly deny Jesus and let him down in that way. However, the truth emerged and Peter realized that no matter how much you love Jesus, and no matter how strong you are, you are still weak in your own power. God knows this about us and that is why he provided an answer to our frailty. God knows we fail, but he has prepared a gift, especially for us to help us in our weakness. Romans 8:26 says, The Spirit helps us in our weakness.
And Acts 1:8 encourages us that we
will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
We see evidence of the benefits of such power from the Holy Spirit again in Peter. Let’s read in Acts 2:14 of the NIV Here, Peter has found his Holy Spirit chutzpah and preaches his first sermon.
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning!
He said this because the onlookers were confused, hearing people not of their nation speaking in their languages, and it was very out of this world to them to say the least. So Peter says,
16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 “‘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. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Wow. On the day of Pentecost, as depicted in Acts two, just weeks after Peter so miserably failed Jesus by denying him because he feared the reactions of the people. We find him boldly addressing the curiosity of the crowds about the happenings of Pentecost by preaching his first sermon, subsequently causing 3000 people to be saved. What kind of power enabled him to do that? What was the switch? The same man who was cowardly only weeks before has now made a powerful friend in the Holy Spirit, who gives him boldness and strength to do the things he ought to do. The Holy Spirit is available here and now to do that for you too. In that Pentecost sermon, Peter declared that the promise is for you and your children and all who are far off. So many times we not only relate to Peter, but also to Paul who himself admitted in Romans 7:15 that he finds himself doing the things he doesn’t want to do and not doing the things he wants to, or knows he should do. We are devastated that in our human weakness we have fallen into temptation again and again, and we wonder how’s it even possible to have the power or the strength to stand firm for Jesus? Thanks to Peter, now we know. It’s not our power, but his yesterday, Peter told us in second Peter that his divine power, or chutzpah, has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through getting to know him. Tomorrow we explore what it means to know him, to even become best friends.
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