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Mar27SunMarch 27, 2022
This week we start our call to have fearless faith. In order to be fearless, we must fear God. When we fear God, we gain understanding and knowledge. When we fear God, we can live fearlessly. Living fearlessly means we trust God. Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” When we live this way, we can hold on to what God said to Joshua, except the land is now the world. Joshua 1:2 “Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” We cannot live fearlessly on our own. Christianity is not about trying harder or working harder, it is about surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ and being clothed with power from on High. When we surrender, the kingdom of God comes near, and the church once again looks like it should and doing as Jesus did.
Today we are going to look at the change in Peter after Pentecost compared to who he was before. We are going to take a quick journey to see Peter’s transition from fisherman to Apostle and the power that made it possible. We will see that there is hope for all of us. When Jesus called, the disciples left everything to follow Him. Luke 5:8 “One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.” Later Peter said Mark 10:28 “We have left everything to follow you!” Then Jesus replied 29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Have you surrendered?
The disciples were committed to Jesus or so they thought. Jesus had told his disciples that he would be crucified. He said Matthew 17:22 “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. 23 They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief.” They were also told they would fall away. This was already prophesied. Zechariah 13:7 “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones.” Matthew 26:31 “Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” It’s here that we see who Peter was. He had lots of enthusiasm and usually said what came to mind. 33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” 34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” 35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.” He had such confidence in himself but then Jesus was arrested and the disciples scattered and Peter did as Jesus said he would. Matthew 26:73 “After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” 74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.”
The good news is that after Jesus restores Peter, Peter became a man of great faith. The book of Acts is the power of the Gospel continued in the disciples. Acts 1:15 “In those days Peter stood up among the believers.” After Pentecost Acts 2:14 “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.” Then we see God’s power at work in Peter. Acts 3:6 “Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.” Then they threw him in jail and said to him Acts 4:7 “By what power or what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Peter was not the same man he was before Pentecost. Even those questioning him saw the difference. Acts 4:13 “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” They then said to 17 “stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard. 21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old. (lame from birth!) God can take unschooled, ordinary people and turn them into fearlessly faithful servants.
Peter went from someone who thought he was following wholeheartedly, to a fearlessly faithful man of God who really did follow wholeheartedly. He had left everything to follow which meant family and livelihood. Notice that when Peter denied Jesus, he went back to what he knew. Peter was the one who stepped out of the boat and walked on water. Here we get another glimpse into the zeal of Peter. Matthew 14:25 “Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” We also saw that Peter had a hard time staying awake when it mattered most. Matthew 26:36 “Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” 43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. 45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Are you watching and praying or sleeping? Romans 13:11 “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”
After Jesus was crucified, we saw that Peter still did not get it. Luke 24:1 “On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.” 8 Then they remembered his words. 9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.” It really is hard to believe how many times Peter messed up, but that should give you hope. Remember that satan doesn’t do anything without permission as God is sovereign. Luke said this about Peter Luke 22:31 “Simon, Simon, satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” 33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
Not only did Peter deny Jesus, he even went to the tomb, saw that it was empty and then left. Jesus said to the two disciples who were also walking away, Luke 24:25 “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” Does this apply to you? They even said to Jesus who was walking with them Luke 24:20 “The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” The Jews to this day do not believe that Jesus was and is the Messiah. They refused to surrender their plans to follow the plan of God. Peter was one of those companions who went to the tomb. The ladies were told Mark 16:6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” Where was Peter? Jesus had told them Matthew 4:19 “I will send you out to fish for people,” but instead Peter walked away and starting fishing for fish again.
Peter wanted to be so committed but at the same time he messed up a lot. After Jesus rose from the dead John 21:1 “Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.” Before moving on, a reminder that the God we serve is amazing and all-powerful. He controls everything. Acts 4:24 “When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.” Jesus had power and authority over everything. Matthew 8:23 “Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” Mark 1:27 “The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” Not only did Jesus control the wind and waves, he walked on the water and controlled what was in the water. Matthew 17:27 “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”
So back to the fishing that netted nothing. (Remember when Jesus first called the disciples and the boats were filled with fish) John 21:4 “Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. 6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. 7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.” Eating was very important in relation to the presence of the Kingdom of God. Luke also gave this example Luke 24:41 “And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.” Jesus said the kingdom would come near. Jesus said Luke 11:20 “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Jesus eating showed us the kingdom of God was here. Mark 14:22 “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” 23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. 25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Then there is this conformation that the Kingdom of God was here. Acts 10:41 “He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.”
Even when Jesus was sending Peter out to fish for people in the last chapter of John, Peter was still messing up. Peter had gone back to what he knew and that was fishing. Even though Peter had denied Jesus, Jesus was sending him out to fish for people. Jesus asked him three times whether Peter loved him; Peter had denied Jesus three times. Throughout the gospels we saw that Jesus called Peter different names. When He made his confession, Jesus called him Simon, son of Jonah. Jonah also walked away until he was thrown overboard, swallowed by a great fish and spewed onto shore and eventually did what he was called to do. This time Jesus calls him Simon son of John. This takes him back to the beginning. John 1:40 “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).” When Jesus asked Peter do you love me more me than these, He first took him back to the beginning when Peter left everything to follow Jesus. This question was not whether Peter loved Jesus more than the others, the question was, did Peter love Jesus more than fishing. Peter had denied Jesus and then went back to what he knew. The command of Jesus is to leave everything and follow Him.
We then have this very interesting passage. The Catholics teach that Peter was the rock and they don’t like it when you say otherwise. Actually, the verse does tell you otherwise, but they ignore scripture so that this works well with their teaching that Peter was the first pope. Again, that is not what the verse says. The church is built on the confession that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah and power flows from that confession. Matthew 16:17 “Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Power follows the confession. The Catholic church does not have this power and is a disaster as you see regularly in the news. For example, priests not being able to marry is not biblical. Paul only said 1 Corinthians 7:7 “I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. 8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” Again, they distort what scripture states over and over. This is where tradition, experience and reason become more important than what the bible actually says.
This leads me to the next statement Jesus makes about Peter. He says John 21:17 “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” (Here Peter is still being Peter) 20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” I find this really interesting. Tradition tells us that Peter died a brutal death, claiming he requested to be crucified upside down because he had denied Jesus and almost everywhere you look accepts this as truth. They will say something like the bible does not tells us how Peter died but it does, as you just read it. Jesus did not say you would be dressed upside down with your arms out. As you read this passage, it is easy to picture dressing someone and I am pretty sure we all know what that means. Dying of old age, especially not in Rome really doesn’t make a powerful story as opposed to being crucified upside down, buried in Rome and the first pope. Just stick to what the bible says.
Even during this time where Jesus is talking specifically to him, he turns away and looks elsewhere. After Jesus described his death, his first response was, what about him? This was Peter before Pentecost. After Pentecost, he was a new and fearlessly faithful man of God who did not fear death. Up until that point he did try to have faith, but it was not yet fearless faith. He really wanted to believe and was very zealous but when tested, sank like a rock as soon as he took his eyes off Jesus. He was not yet the man he would later be, the man who said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Before Pentecost took place, Jesus had told the disciples to wait and Peter and the others obeyed. Acts 1:12 “Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” Jesus had told them Luke 24:46 “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Acts 1:4 “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Notice they were still confused about the kingship of Jesus.
After Jesus rose from the dead, He admonished the disciples. Mark 16:14 “Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen,” but then Jesus said to them “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” This could not happen without the power that came Pentecost. Everything changed after Pentecost and they and the church (anyone who believed) would have the power and authority to go out into the world clothed with power from on High. Peter was a new man after the Holy Spirit empowered him. Acts 5:12 “The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” This is not the man who cowered when asked if he was with Jesus. Jesus had given them a taste of what Pentecost would look like when He empowered them earlier. Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” This was a preview of Pentecost. This is the power that the church was supposed to continue in.
The book of Acts shows us the disciples doing as Jesus did. Peter was made new just as we saw when Samuel anointed Saul. 1 Samuel 10:6 “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.” This is what was supposed to happen to all who believed. Now Peter was a fearlessly faithful servant of God. Peter even wrote two books of the bible and appeared throughout the gospels but not always in a good way. First and second Peter are two very powerful books of the bible. Earlier they could hardly believe who Peter had become as these were unschooled and ordinary men, but now he was a mighty warrior of God. Next time you read (Ok now is a good time to read them) 1 & 2 Peter, think about who Peter was and then who he became after Pentecost. Even though Peter was zealous for God, he often was not guided by the Spirit. Jesus even had to say to him, Matthew 16:23 “Get behind me, satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Now Peter was a completely changed man who was clothed with power. You cannot serve God in your own strength. You need the anointing that was promised to us. Just as Peter said Acts 2:39 “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” This gives us hope.
John the Baptist came preaching Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” So many Christians have not been baptized with fire yet think they have been. Mark 1:8 “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Jesus Mark 1:14 “proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Because the church refuses to repent, God has turned His face from the church, and we are missing the fire and we are missing truth. John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.” This is why there is so much confusion and false teaching in the church today. There is only one way, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the church. This is how it was supposed to be. John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” 1 Corinthians 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. If we are to be fearlessly faithful servants of God, we need the same anointing that came upon Peter. No, you won’t be adding a couple of books to the bible, though many have tried, but what you will do is preach the good news while clothed with power from on High and then the kingdom of God will come near. You cannot do this on your own. Most people who lack the Holy Spirit and that is most people as God has turned His face, seem to think if they just tried harder, they would be a better Christian. You can try as hard as you can, but you will not defeat satan in your own power.
The church at Pentecost was given the Holy Spirit to go to the ends of the earth clothed with power in the authority of Jesus name. Jesus said Matthew 28:18 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Nothing has changed as we desperately need that same power that raised Jesus from the dead. Ephesians 1:18 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” That same power is available to all who believe.
To have that power once again, the rebellious church must turn from wicked ways. We need to turn from building things with our own hands and following manmade and demonic doctrines, surrender our lives and return to God’s word. When this happens and God turns His face to shine on us once again, we will fear nothing because we will live by faith. Hebrews 10:38 “my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back. 39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” Abraham gives us an example of faithful surrender as he was willing to sacrifice the promise God had given him. Genesis 22:2 “Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you. 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son. And the two of them went on together.” Romans 4:18 “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”
As Abraham was about to follow through, he was told Genesis 22:12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son. 15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” Do you fear God enough to have faith in Him and trust? We then see how his faith and our faith have come together. Galatians 3:7 “Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. 4 Christ redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
That’s the question; do you belong to Christ? If you do, you will be anointed by the Holy Spirit since Christ means anointed one. If you are anointed, there will be power; so where is the power? John said Mark 1:8 “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Our enemies have defeated the church because the church rebelled against God’s word and is powerless. A call to fearless faith is a call to surrender completely to God and follow Him wholeheartedly just like Abraham. When you do, you will no longer be the same, just as we saw with Peter, and power will return. The church was to continue in the power just as we saw when Peter preached at the home of Cornelius. Acts 10:34 “Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. 39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” This was not a one-time event as many teach but what was supposed to happen as the gospel continued to be preached.
You can be satisfied with the empty and powerless ways of the church as most are, or you can turn back to God and wait on Him to clothe you with power from on high. Know that your decision will have eternal consequences. Jesus said Matthew 12:30 “Whoever is not with me is against me.” So, we have to choose whose side we are on. Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil and then empowered the church to continue in that work. John 14:23 “Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” This is the hope the church has; the very presence of God. Revelation 21:3 “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.” When God dwells in us, the kingdom comes near. 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?Ephesians 2:22 “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” When God turns His face to shine on us once again, power will flow just as we saw in the Gospels and Acts. Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
Will you seek God, so that like Peter you will be a fearlessly faith servant? Do you believe Jesus can and will empower His disciples today? Luke 9:1 “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Luke 10:1 “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” 17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” 18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ? Does the power flow just as scripture tells it would? Today the Son of God continues to be trampled. Hebrews 10:29 “How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” The church today looks nothing like the church Jesus started but there is hope because God promised there would always be a remnant of His people. Hear the good news of God. Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Peter’s words apply to the church today. Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah. 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”