Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday, November 27th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 3 John; Daniel 5-6
Today's scripture focus is Luke 22:31-34

Sorry I'm so late on this post!

Luke 22:31-34

English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Foretells Peter's Denial

31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”

Accompanying John MacArthur sermon:  Table Talk on Trouble and Triumph Part 2
Accompanying Mark Driscoll sermon: Jesus and Peter

It's no surprise that Satan wants to go after Peter.  He is, after all, the leader of the eleven.  And what does he want to do?  He wants to sift Peter like wheat.  When wheat was sifted, it cause the chaff to be blown away, leaving only the wheat.  In other words, it got rid of the fake and left what was real.

MacArthur add that the "you" here is not only referring to Peter, it is a plural form of the word you.  Satan wants to sift all of them.  He wants to violently shake them to find out if they're real.  And though the disciples will all fall (when they scatter in the face of Jesus' arrest), they will not permanently fall away.

Satan's first goal is to keep Jesus from the cross.  He knows the redemption plan.  His next goal is to disband the disciples so there would be no one to preach the cross.

Satan relentlessly appeals to God to turn against His own, to abandon His own, to leave them to themselves because they’re so weak.  Let their faith fail.  And he asks God for permission to assault their faith.

And God says yes.

Satan is still a servant of God.  A very unwilling one obviously, but he is still only a servant.  And he can not operate outside God's parameters.

Just like the story of Job.  Satan had to ask permission to test Job's faith.  And Satan thought that Job would fail.  But God knew he would not.  And Job reached a greater level of repentance and worship through his pain and suffering than he ever would have otherwise. His faith did not fail.

Check out v32.....
32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. 

When Jesus prays, you better believe His prayers are answered! He always prays in the will of God, and our great High Priest intercedes for us at the right hand of God.  Just imagine it - it's amazing!

I love this portion by MacArthur....
Satan wants to prove that he can destroy saving faith.  That’s the old effort.  That’s the age-old effort.  Satan says, “Let me at him and I’ll destroy their trust in You, I’ll destroy their faith in You.”
And you want to know something?  If it was left up to us, he would.  I’ve told you this before.  If I could lose my salvation, I would lose it.  If it were possible, it would happen.  If I had to save myself, I couldn’t save myself.  If I had to keep myself saved, I couldn’t keep myself saved.  My faith cannot fail not because of me but because of the one who secures my faith by His own intercession.  And when Satan goes, according to Romans 8, before God and lays an accusation before God against us, it does not stand.  Who can lay any charge to God’s elect?  It is Christ that justified.  Christ has already paid in full the penalty for our sin, declared us just, granted us righteousness and therefore no condemnation can stand against us.  And Paul goes on to say, “Then what’s going to separate us from the love of Christ?” And the answer is, “Absolutely nothing...nothing.”  No accusation stands against us.  Our great High Priest is for us and if God is for us, who can successfully be against us?  I love that.  “I have prayed for you.” That’s personal.....
No satanic assault, as evil and troubling as it is, can destroy saving faith.  Let the devil come, let the devil assault, let the devil give his best shot as a roaring lion against Simon and against the other ten Apostles, bring it on, bring it on, you cannot break saving faith because I intercede.  Christ is our security.  This is the great testimony of the words of Jude, “Of Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority before all time and now and forever, Amen.”  He will keep you from a final fall.  Satan is defeated in all attempts.
You say, “Well why does God even allow it?”  Because, look at the end of verse 32, “When once you have turned again, or been converted, strengthen your brothers.”  God allowed Satan to do his worst against Peter because out of it Peter would be able to strengthen others.
I also appreciated his thoughts on v33...
“Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death.”  Always overconfident.  “With You” is the operative phrase, prepositional phrase, “With You, as long as You’re here, I can go through anything, I can take anything.”  He knew Jesus could raise the dead, heal the sick and had limitless power.  As long as You’re here, I can endure anything.  And it showed up a little later in the Garden when the force arrived to arrest Jesus, Peter grabbed his sword and began to whack his way through all of them.  Started with the servant of the high priest named Malchus and took off his ear .  He wasn’t aiming for his ear, he was aiming for his throat.  He was invincible in his own mind, as long as “with You,” as long as Jesus is here, I’ll go to prison and death.
By the way, that was a prophecy because he did.  He ended up being imprisoned for his faith in Christ and ultimately crucified upside down because he wasn’t worthy, he said, to be crucified the way his Lord was crucified.  So he did go to prison and to death.  But here it’s just bravado.  “As long as You’re here, have at it, Lord, I will never deny You, I will never disappoint You.”  And he showed that as long as Jesus was around, he could pick up a sword and go at it knowing the Lord could bail him out at any moment with His power. 
But, when Jesus was arrested, that was a different story.  And Jesus knew that.  
And did Peter stumble?  Yes, he did.  Did he deny Jesus?  Yes, he did.

But did he lose saving faith?  No, he did not.  He was at the tomb, he witnessed the resurrection, and he was fully restored to his Lord.  Just like Jesus says in v34.

You’re going to go through a trial and a temptation and a failure that will be so devastating that in human strength you wouldn’t survive it, but it will be a time to prove to you how faithful Christ is to hold His own, even at their weakest hours.  Use that to strengthen others.
If you read 1 Peter, Peter’s first letter, start in chapter 1, read all the way to chapter 5 and see how many times Peter tries to strengthen others to be able to endure trials.  That’s one of his recurring, constant themes.  He became strong.  He became strong, an encourager to others to endure trials.  And Jesus saw that.  Yes He saw that Peter would deny Him, prophesied it.  Yes, He also saw that Peter would become a source of strength to others.  And he did become the great preacher of the first eleven chapters of Acts, became the great preacher on the day of Pentecost, the great preacher who brought the church from a standpoint of the truth being proclaimed into its beginnings and thousands of people in a matter of weeks came to Christ under his great preaching.
Do we stumble?  Yes, we do.  Do we fail Jesus?  Yes, we do.

But we can never lose saving faith.  Jesus intercedes for us.  He alone secures our faith.

I'd like to close with MacArthur's closing prayer...
Father, we thank You for the glimpse we have here of the great intercessory work of Christ on behalf of His own which we are.  Oh what a joy it is to know that no matter what we go through, no matter what manifest weaknesses we have, no matter what failures are exhibited in our lives, no matter how deep and severe the trouble we cause the Lord, He never lets go of His own.  Our faith cannot fail because of the work of the one who prays for us, even as He prayed for those men.  Thank You, Thank You, O Lord.  Thank You for loving us everlastingly.  Amen.

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 22:35-38
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Jude, Daniel 7-8

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