Branson Bible Church
Sunday Service 5.8.2022
  • Jesus Messiah
      • 1 Samuel 2:1–10ESV

  • Glorious And Mighty
  • Good Good Father
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        BBC Kids Easter Play

        May 15, 2022 - 11:00 AM - 11:00 AM
  • Intro: I don’t play favorites in my home or in the church family. Although... Clara is definitely my favorite wife… also my favorite woman in the world. But you won’t fault me to that.
    I don’t play favorites with my kids or with my fellow servants in the body of Christ. However, when I read New Testament narrative, especially in the Gospels, I have a favorite Apostle.
    Peter is hands-down my favorite among the first followers of Jesus. And it is not because the Lord providentially set him up to be first among equals, the leader of the disciples. It’s actually because I can see quite readily how much I have to learn from the lessons that Jesus taught Peter. Before Pentecost at least, Peter is … open mouth, insert foot. Peter is speak first (act first) and ask questions later.
    It was Peter who jumped out of the boat and walked on the water to Jesus, but then started looking around at the circumstances instead of staying focused on Jesus, and his faith faltered (Mt 14). It was Peter who made the great declaration for the group when Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” And he answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Mt 16:15-16). And then right after that when Jesus begins telling them that he must suffer in Jerusalem and be killed and rise again, Peter pulls Jesus aside and rebukes him for saying this and that they must not let that happen. And then Peter receives a rebuke: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (Mt 16:23)
    Suffice to say that Peter has a lot to learn about how to focus his passion. Peter has a lot to learn about putting confidence in Christ (in the work of the Spirit) and not in himself. So I love Peter… because there is so much that I can readily apply to my own inclinations that must be changed to the mind of Christ.
    Today’s lesson, from Luke 22:31-38, which Peter and the other disciples needed to learn, is that you don’t persevere in following Jesus by shear force of your will in the flesh. The depth of your devotion isn’t contingent upon the passion and eloquence with which you can state said commitment. Here’s what I believe you should see today from the text:
    Our perseverance is due to God’s preservation. Our preparation is to rely on God’s provision. It is Jesus’ intercession which makes this possible.
    *** [define terms] Now let’s read the first half of our verses for today.
    Luke 22:31–34 ESV
    “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”
    Jesus tells Peter of Satan’s plans but also about his own prayer for preservation. Instead of thinking, oh no, and asking, yes, help me Lord!, Peter audaciously presumes his own strength. So Jesus prepares him to learn the lesson and predicts his denial in detail so that Peter will remember… and it will wound him like a surgeon (for his own good).
    Peter must learn (and so must we) not to rely on his own flesh for…

    Preservation in Spiritual Testing (vv. 31-34)

    First, we must realize (and take seriously) that behind spiritual conflict is a spiritual adversary. - Where we are in Luke’s Gospel, Satan has clearly ramped up his overt activity in opposing Jesus. Before (in v. 3) he was active in the Judas’s betrayal of Jesus, and now he is evidently approaching God with wanting to test the disciples (the you’s in verse 31 are plural). This sounds a lot like what took place with Satan approaching God about Job. And like then, the Gk word for demand here suggests a successful response, which I take to mean that God sovereignly allows the testing to sift them. [Which one of the 12 will be proven false? Ultimately, with the juxtaposition of Judas’s betrayal and Peter’s denial, it seems intentional that Luke wants us to see a difference. One does not have true faith in Jesus and is sifted out as not genuine. Another’s faith falters, but because of Christ’s own intercession, does not fail.]
    So Satan desires to sift them like wheat. Now the image here is different than the picture of winnowing away chaff, which is accomplished by some kind of pressure applied to remove outer husks, then tossing the mix into the air so that the chaff is blown off by the wind by the good stuff falls back down. This picture is of sifting with a sieve so that only the real heads of wheat would go through, while other items like pebbles and such can be sifted out because they are left behind in the sieve. - Satan wants to prove the disciples, through this trial and testing, to not be wheat at all but just junk. In other words, Satan will show God that these guys don’t love him at all, they aren’t faithful at all. Watch what happens to them when Jesus is under attack and out of the picture.
    From Jesus’ perspective, it seems that Peter is at the center of this conflict in some way (v. 32 onward the you’s are singular, talking to Peter). Perhaps if Satan succeeds in exposing Peter’s falsehood or weakness, who even now is a vocal leader among them, maybe all the others will lose heart. This leader especially then must learn dependence on God for his perseverance and preservation.
    There is a spiritual adversary, and the disciples cannot (nor can we) stand in our own strength, but God himself preserves those whom he has made his own. So if you’re wondering in v. 31 why on earth God would allow this, you need to remember that God is perfect in his goodness and he knows what he’s doing. If God knows what he’s doing in sending his Son to a cross, we should think he knows what he’s doing in allowing us to be tested.
    But why does the sifting not result in showing us to be dross? Peter, in his flesh, fails this whole thing miserably. What Jesus predicts in v. 34 is precisely what happens. So why doesn’t Satan succeed? It’s because the genuineness of Peter’s faith doesn’t depend on Peter at all! It depends on the one who gave him faith in the first place.
    Jesus, the very one who himself becomes mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5), himself intercedes for Peter (prays for)… because it is He, the triune God, who preserves his people. Peter’s faith doesn’t ultimately fail because God doesn’t allow it to fail. Jesus intercedes for Peter, so that his coming failure results in refining his faith rather than proving it to be false.
    So Peter was about to learn this lesson, and become the most famous person to ever learn this lesson, for his sake, for the sake of his brothers, and for our sake. He’s the poster child for “I can’t. God can.” You’re either wheat or you’re not wheat. You’re not out here choosing whether or not you’re wheat. Loud declarations of ‘wheatiness’ change nothing. (Buuuut, that’s exactly what Peter will insist.)
    First though, Jesus instructs Peter: when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. (*** repentance and others focus - Don’t wallow, encourage the others.)
    Finally, we find out another reason why Jesus addresses Peter specifically about this (besides him being the first among equals, the leader), and perhaps why at the beginning he said “Simon, Simon” (his birth name, as opposed to the name Jesus had given him: Peter). The reason is that Jesus wants Peter to learn a really hard lesson from his fleshly overconfidence. - Every one of these guys is going to scatter, at least at first (Mt. 26:31). But Peter, I’m addressing you because you are loudly and boastfully proclaiming your undying devotion: “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” No, you’re going to deny that you even know me.
    Rather than presuming our own spiritual strength, we must see the real enemy, and we must fear and realize our own inability, and we must cling to God to be our protection and preservation.
    Our perseverance is due to God’s preservation. And it is Jesus’ intercession which makes this protection & preservation possible. And now we see further that our preparation for these pressures is to rely on God’s provision.
    Luke 22:35–38 ESV
    And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”
    For perseverance under times of intense pressure (like they will deal with this night), and for sustained ministry in the face of prolonged opposition, we must rely on God’s provision.

    Preparation for Sustained Ministry (vv. 35-38)

    What these verses teach us: First, make sure you understand where provision comes from—not from your flesh or determination, but by the will and mercy of God. (v. 35)
    Ok, that’s foundational. Now (Jesus is saying), I’m gonna leave and you’re gonna have to do this ministry for a much more prolonged period of time in my absence, so you need to prepare for that. And the situations you face will not always (perhaps not often) result in a miraculous type physical provision like a promised you when I sent you out on the brief ministry with nothing (Luke 9). But I did that then to teach you that it is God who provides. So I need you to be prepared now for the long-haul endurance race, but without forgetting the first part!
    So the reason I’m telling you this is that I’m about to suffer unfairly (being numbered among transgressors), which I must do to fulfill scripture (quoting from Isaiah 53:12). (See also Luke 23:32-33, crucified with two criminals)
    Two things for the disciples to learn from this (and you and I also): Not only will you need to be ready for sustained ministry, but there will also come times of intense pressure, like what you’ll experience in the immediate future when I am betrayed and tried and crucified. (You’ve staying with me in my trials up until now, but the battle is heating up to a point you haven’t experienced yet. … And back to Peter, even if your faith fails you in that time, I will preserve you and keep you from falling away.) So there will be times of particularly intense pressure.
    And secondly, over the long haul we must realize, that if Jesus suffers such rejection, then his disciples too must be ready for such opposition and rejection.
    1 Peter 4:12–14 ESV
    Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
    But again, don’t forget the first part (It is God who provides. It is God will will sustain us ‘til the end.) So Jesus can say, I go as the Father has planned. He will provide and sustain me.
    You go as I and the Father are sending you, as planned. Preservation and provision as you walk in that plan will come as you trust in and rely on God. He can be trusted. His word is true. The sacrificial ministry that I am about to accomplish is for you and for all who believe in me alone for righteousness and restoration to God. This is the guaranteed foundation that it is God who has made provision for your salvation, and it is God who will sustain you, and it is God who will complete it in the end.
    Oh, but of course, the whole conversation ends in disappointment (Look, Lord, we’ve got two daggers)... which Jesus must have known and anticipated. These guys, like us apart from the work of the Spirit, are spiritually dull. So they take out two literal daggers. - I take Jesus statement to be a patient dismissal because he knows they missed the point, which is to be spiritually prepared for intense pressure and sustained ministry by depending on God’s provision.
    They don’t get it now, but later, when all has taken place and the Holy Spirit comes upon them, not only will they remember these things, but they will also understand them. (cf. John 14:16-17, Jn 14:26, 1 Cor 2:12,14)
    Conclusion: Just as Jesus was teaching his apostles, we too must learn that… Our perseverance is due to God’s preservation. Our preparation is to rely on God’s provision. It is Jesus’ intercession which makes this possible.
    So what is our part?

    Look Constantly to God

    Depend on God and not on yourself. Rely on God and not on yourself. (note the importance of prayer - consider too the necessity of feeding on HIS Word)
    readiness for struggle/hardship, need for help to persevere - prayer & study the word
    embrace God’s work to refine your faith
    assumption of our own weakness, that we don’t “got this”
    (help for) spiritual sensitivity and understanding - prayer (and feeding on the word)
    God’s grace to us means that he can and he does restore us after failure when we repent. And he can help us to once again be useful instruments for the church and for gospel advance.
    PRAY
    ---
      • Luke 22:31–34ESV

      • Luke 22:35–38ESV

      • 1 Peter 4:12–14ESV

    • Jesus, Thank You

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