I have always been intrigued by the change I saw in Peter after the power of the Holy Spirit came upon him. He was a different person. Peter went from being a fisherman to a fisher of men. He went from being a coward to courageously proclaiming the gospel in power without fear of the consequences. There was such a change that rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law 13 saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, and they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Before Pentecost, Peter was very enthusiastic and committed but something was missing. During my journey from the empty way of life handed down from generation to generation, I have felt that there is something missing in the church. God has taken us on a journey to show us there is a lack of power in the church, thus meaning God has turned his face from shining on us. Therefore we are not seeing people change the way they should and that means most are staying the same and not seeing this power. That is the reason the church today looks nothing like the beginning of the church did who proclaimed the gospel fearlessly in the power of the Holy Spirit had the manifestations of the Spirit. Mark 16:20 “The Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”
Even then because the church turned away just like we have, you ended up with the warnings in Revelation such as Revelation 2:4 “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” First for us means going back to the beginning as laid out in scripture. Revelation 3:1 I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” This is the condition of the church today and just maybe it has been 2000 plus years in this condition. People absolutely refusing to humble selves before our King.
Many Christians are like Peter. They listen to the teaching. They are committed to the church yet something is missing. Peter sat at the feet of Jesus himself but yet there was still something missing in His life. Peter was always out front in following and in speaking. Matthew 4:19 “Jesus said, Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.” Sure I will try to walk on water. Matthew 14:28 “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?” That told the story of what would happen later. Matthew 16:13 “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 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, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Then right after this Matthew 16:21 “Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “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.” Then he wanted to build shelters, then caught a fish to pay the temple tax, he learned about forgiveness, feet washing and cut off an ear to name a few.
Then the biggest test of his life happened. Mark 14:37 “Then Jesus returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour?” Matthew 26:31 “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. 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.” Luke said it this way. 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.” 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.” Luke said, “61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.” Can you imagine how that would have felt? Luke 24:10 “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. 2 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.” Then Peter went fishing and there Jesus presented himself to them still teaching them how to fish. John 21:5 “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.” Luke 4 told us that at the beginning of their journey with Jesus Luke 5:6 “they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signalled 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.” Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”
But Peter who was extremely committed and dedicated was still missing something. He has denied Jesus even though he said he would die for him and now here was Jesus reminding him once again that he would fish for men. John 21:15 “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “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.” Even in this meeting Peter was still Peter and asked, “Lord, what about him?”
So we have this great man Peter who really wanted to serve the Lord. He was dedicated and willing to literally step out of the boat to follow Jesus and willing to leave everything but something was still missing. How many people have been with Jesus but are still missing his Spirit. They do and say all the right things and because they have not been tested will probably deny Jesus just like Peter did when satan comes to sift them. Just like Job satan must have permission. It is easy to follow when everything is running smoothly but what happens when things do not go as you planned. How many have denied Jesus because they are angry with him? How many have denied Jesus because they refuse to listen to his word? How many deny him because they do not know the word of God? How many deny Jesus because they do not believe His power is available today?
But something amazing happened to Peter and this is what is missing in the church today. Peter obeyed and waited. Acts 1:15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty). Then what Jesus had promised happened, the filling of the Holy Spirit that resulted in power and change. Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” This was not a one-time event but the beginning of many events under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. What we see here is not new as the Old Testament showed us all about the power that would be available to all who believe. Peter in great boldness said, Acts 2:17 “‘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.”
So what does this anointing look like? What made Peter become a different person? That’s easy the same thing that changed Saul. When Saul was anointed king an amazing thing happened to him. 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. 7 Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you. 8 “Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do. 9 As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day. 10 When he and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him; the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he joined in their prophesying. 11 When all those who had formerly known him saw him prophesying with the prophets, they asked each other, “What is this that has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?”
We are praying that the Holy Spirit will come powerfully upon us and we will be changed into a different person just like Peter and just like Saul. We are asking God to change our hearts. We see the power of the Holy Spirit coming on people always has results. Acts 2:38 “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.” The message is the same today; save yourself from this corrupt generation. You see the empty ways and forms of godliness that have been handed down have left us weak and in bondage to the enemy. False teaching has caused the church to veer off the path and now we are paying the price. The church today believes in a spirit that has no power so that is a false spirit, that spirit is not the Holy Spirit.
We are told in Joshua 1:7 “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.” Matthew 28:18 “Then Jesus came to them and said, “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.”
The problem today is the church has not been asking what if we do not obey. We are shown very clearly in scripture what will happen. The desolation and lack of power we are seeing in the church today is a direct result of disobedience so as we wait we trust and believe that seeking God will mean we will find him. No longer do we accept these empty ways. Enough is enough but as you see in Matthew28:7 “When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” Luke 24:38 “He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?” 25 He said to them, Mark 16:13 “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 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.”
So if we are the body “Why aren't His arms reaching? Why aren't His hands healing? Why aren't His words teaching?” This isn’t just about being nice to people so they can come to church this is about having our hearts changed. Gideon said, “13 “Pardon me, my lord, but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” It is obvious that the power is missing in the church so can it really be the church or is it just membership at a social club. We must believe that God will pour out his Spirit once again. When someone says God does not do that any more they are denying Jesus Christ.
So what changed Peter? The power of the Holy Spirit came on Him. Remember that this promise is for us too. Now we have this Peter with the Spirit of God living in him. Acts 3:4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 6 Then 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. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” Power changes everything.
11 While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. 12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.