The message was brought by Rev. David Osborne
The things that go wrong in our lives won’t get better but there is hope because of Jesus Christ. Jesus told Peter such a time would come. Difficulties will come and they are impossible without God. I have a challenge question for you. Has your faith in the Lord failed lately? Have challenges from your past caused you to fail? We all have. We haven’t attained perfection, but we will one day when this corruptible puts on incorruption. Be honest with yourself. That’s what revival is about—to be challenged by the Lord. You can gage a revival, not by the singers or the preacher, but by the long-term effect is has on you. I won’t make an impact but God can. What about your habits? Is your prayer life effectual? God begs us to reach his throne through prayer. Are we? What about Bible study? Do we spend time there? How are you as a wife or husband? What about your witness for the Lord?
Luke 22: 31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
This building is structurally sound. Think about a big coliseum. There are I-beams in them to keep them strong. We need I-beams in our spiritual lives to hold our building of faith.
- Understand the Lord’s omnipotence—his unlimited power. He’s above what we can do or wrap our head around. Without breath, without a heartbeat, without kidneys, and all our other systems we can’t go on. With God we can. Notice what the verse 31 says. And the Lord said. There was a time when the words of the Lord were precious. We want our children to obey and listen to us. That’s what God wants from us. When he speaks, does our heart listen or do we buck up and refuse? We can hear God if we’ll just listen. The Bible is the most important thing my hands will ever hold. Back in the 1500 and 1600’s in England and Great Britain it was against the law for just anyone to have a Bible. Only those in authority in their church were allowed to have it. And they didn’t proclaim it correctly to the people. Having a Bible today is an opportunity. God is the Most High, the Great I Am. He gave us his love. Understanding this is the first essential I-beam to faith.
- The second I-beam is discernment. Look at what Jesus said next. Simon, Simon, behold. Simon is one of three names used for him: Simon, Peter, and Cephas. The name Simon means to hear. Jesus used Simon more than the other two. He was saying Simon: Often Simon would act and speak without thinking. Jesus wanted Peter’s attention so he called him Simon, and he said it twice much like our parents called us by both our names when they wanted our attention. Behold! Stop. Look. Listen to me. That’s what Jesus was saying to him. He says the same to us. Stop what you’re doing. Put aside the distractions and listen to me. In our generation our greatest distractions can be our cell phones, a work schedule, and a to-do list. Satan uses things to distract us. The Lord said Simon, Simon, behold. We get tunnel vision. I get it if I watch a VT game. My wife can be talking to me and I don’t even hear her. We just need to stop, look and listen to God. We might need to go through the valley for God to get us to do it. Jesus told Peter evil was coming. The illustration is in verse 31. Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. Sift is a curious word. Look back at Psalm 1. It says the wind drives the chaff away. They used a procedure to separate wheat from chaff and the wind or someone using some type of fan to blow it. The wheat was heavy enough to stay in the pan but the wind would blow the hulls of the chaff away. That’s what Satan wanted to do to Simon Peter. I could come to every one of you and call you by name and say Satan has desired to sift you as wheat. He’s a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. His purpose is to keep you from glorifying God. Even is our Christian culture here in America he is succeeding. Is he keeping you from it? Keeping you from prayer? From Bible study? He’s doing a good job. I don’t want to see anyone go to hell. The heartbeat of Jesus Christ is not that any perish. John 3:16 tells us that. If Satan can keep your mouth shut in the work place, he will. The first prophecy came in Genesis 3:15. God said Satan’s heel would be bruised. Satan is on his last leg. Have you ever seen a snake that’s had its head cut off? It just flops around. Satan is in panic mode after us. He won’t stop. We need discernment of good and evil and we need to be a good hearer.
- The third I-beam is prayer. Jesus told Simon But I have prayed for thee. He makes intercession for us with God. He stands in the gap and pleads for us. Peter let his prayer life down. There is a difference in prayer time and a prayer life. We are to have a constant awareness of God actually trusting in his power. When we don’t pray we’re telling God “I got this.” In verse 40 Jesus told the disciples to pray. In verse 46 he said rise and pray. He asked them why they were sleeping. Because Peter neglected his prayer we find what we read in verses 54-62. 54 Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. 57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. 58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. 59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. 60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter did exactly what Jesus said even though he affirmed he would go to prison and death for Jesus. Prayer is an essential I-beam.
- The next I-beam is understanding the return of Christ. Jesus said but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. Converted isn’t talking about salvation; it means to return. When your faith fails, return to God. We are the family of God, everyone everywhere who has accepted Jesus as Savior. Think of it personally. How well do you listen to God? How well do you pray?
When we fail but won’t admit it, it causes a snowball. The encouragement is to listen to God and repent. First John 1:9 is written to believers and hangs on the word “if.” If we repent and turn back to the Lord he will forgive us. Are you struggling? Is your building going to stand or struggle? You need these I-beams to help you.