From Folly to Faith: The Apostle Peter

From Folly to Faith: The Apostle Peter

Scripture: John 6:68, Matthew 4:18-20, 2 Peter 1:1-21
Date: 08/23/2008  Lesson: 8
Peter's transformation of character is one of the most striking examples of the power of God's work in the human heart.

Lessons From Solomon DVD Set by Doug Batchelor

Lessons From Solomon DVD Set by Doug Batchelor
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Good morning, Happy Sabbath. We're so glad that you are joining us for another "central study hour," coming to you from Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church here in sunny California. Welcome those of you who are joining us from across the country and around the world, whether you're watching 3 weeks delayed on the various television networks, watching live this morning on our website at saccentral.org, or listening on the radio, we're so glad that you're tuning in and that you're gonna sing along with us this morning, 'cause we're ready to sing here. We've been warming up. And our first song is 546, "the Lord is my shepherd.

" This is a request from jessie audridge from geelong, victoria, australia. And jessie wants to sing the favorite song this morning, , verses 1, 3, and 5... That was beautiful, wasn't it? Was that new to some of you? Well, thank you very much for sending in that request. And of course there's many of you who do have requests and send them in every week. Have patience.

We are getting to them. Just sometimes it takes longer than you'd like, unfortunately. But if you have a favorite, please go to our website at saccentral.org. And click on the "contact us" link. And right there you will find where you can send in your song requests.

And we would love to hear from you. Our opening song, you'll find on , "pass me not, o gentle Savior," 569. And this is a request from Timothy in england, carmetta in bahamas, janet in jamaica, Christine in australia, dedrine in jamaica, sherilynn in the Philippines, victoria and Martha in trinidad and tobago, trenton in turks and caicos islands, debby in Wisconsin, jonathan glenus in Arizona, and joanne in New York, rick in Connecticut, and melvin in Georgia. So, okay, we expect to hear you guys sing very loudly this morning, 'cause this is a popular song, 569, verses 1, 2, and 4... Father in Heaven, we thank you this morning for being the loving, Heavenly Father that you are, for being our Savior and our father and our best friend.

And we thank you so much this morning for bringing us here to worship you in your house. And I pray that you will be with us as we open up Your Word and study together. Be with those who can't be here, but are joining us from all over the country and across-- around the world. And we pray that you will be with them and that we'll all receive the blessing that you have for us this morning. And our speaker, and we pray that you will be with the words that he's gonna share with us.

Be with him. And we just thank you so much for loving us and for your Sabbath. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by don mackintosh. He is the director of the Amazing Facts center of evangelism.

Good morning. How is everyone this morning? Okay, blessed. Good to see you this morning. And exciting to study today about the apostle Peter. How many of you can identify with Peter? Seems like everything you say needs to be maybe rethought.

I especially enjoy Peter as well. And have you enjoyed this series, "God's great missionaries?" Isn't it a great series? As we're going through, you know, the great missionaries of the faith. And this week, "from folly to faith: the apostle Peter." You know, while we're studying this, there's a group of games going on in I think it's-- where is it? Beijing? The olympics. And I recalled a story from years back. I was reading about greco roman wrestling.

How many of you know what greco roman wrestling is? Sometimes happens on nominating committees, but often at the olympics. And there was this interview with this wrestler, and he was excited. He had lost and he had received the silver metal. He didn't get the gold metal. And they were interviewing him.

And they said, "well, how do you think you did?" He says, "I am so excited!" They said, "why is that?" He goes, "because the same man that beat me in the last olympics beat me again this time, but it took him 7 seconds longer, 7 seconds. I'm gaining on him," he said. [Laughs] don't you love that? And you know, how many of you have ever felt that way, where you're just going, "you know, it's been 4 years, but I don't think I've made too many strides in the Christian walk, only 7 seconds." And when you look at Peter's life, you're wondering, you know, is he going or is he--is he going forward? Or is he going backwards? And as we study this week's lesson, it talks about the call of Peter in our study. It talks about the fall of Peter, how he fell in different ways. That was like the second or third day.

And then it talked about the call again to Peter from Christ. And then finally it ended up by talking about the commissioning of Peter to, you know, he finally learned his lessons. And it takes us to the book of acts and to first and second Peter. How many, by the way, have studied your lesson for this week? Okay, good. It's going to be brand-new then for most of you here.

But those of you that have studied were looking forward to that. And by the way, I thought it was interesting. The free offer this week is number 153, "surrender of self," a book by Joe Crews. "Self, the greatest enemy, is trying the answer." It goes right along with our lesson today. But the other thing that was interesting was number 153.

Offer 153. You know how many fish it was that Peter caught when Jesus helped him cast down the net on the other side? . I thought, look at that. They picked offer 153 right on purpose this morning. Well, let's just pray again and then we'll get into our lesson today.

Father in Heaven, today we're indeed grateful that you can lead us from folly to faith. And as we study the apostle Peter, we ask that you would give us this depicture that will encourage us, but also instruct us. In Christ's name we pray, amen. "From folly to faith." Now, you know, as i--how many of you, when you study the lesson, you go, "well, I see what I learned here, but there's something maybe a little bit more?" How many of you ever do that? Or how many of you like to go to a class--you studied and you get through studying and then you go to class and the teacher just gets up and reads the textbook that you just read? How many of you like that? Anyone here like that? Because that's not what's gonna happen today, alright? We're gonna look at this in a different way, because as I looked at this lesson, I thought, "whoa." "From folly to faith," what intrigued me was how Christ could lead someone like Peter from being fickle to being faith-filled. And so what I want to look at today is the discipleship principles that Jesus used to bring someone like Peter from being fickle and kind of freaked out to faithful and fulfilled.

What do you think? And so if you're a parent today and you have a Peter-like child, or if you're an educator, or you're thinking, "how in the world do I work with this person," maybe we'll just look at the discipleship principles. And I wanted to organize them around the call. How many of you ever heard someone say, "well, I'm called. I feel called to do this. I feel called to do that.

" And then you know, they feel called, or they feel called to leadership, but nobody follows, so they're just taking a walk, so to speak. You know what I mean. So they had this call. How many of you ever talked to someone that they're really convinced they have a call, but you're not so convinced? No? Or how many of you have ever questioned your own call? So I think there's multiple calls, right? Jesus says, "behold, I stand at the door and knock." Is that a call? But that's not the only door in the house, amen? So he gets inside the house and he starts knocking on the kitchen cabinets. Uh oh.

He starts knocking on other doors. You know what I mean? And those calls continue. So I want to talk about seven calls. I don't know if we'll get through it, but we're Seventh-day Adventists; we should, seven. Seven calls: the call to rock-like religion, the call to walk on water, the call to a living death, the call to conversion, the call to sheepish religion, the call to cross-based cultural insensitivity--we got to get to that one--and finally, the call to faithful proclamation.

I want to read something from a book called, "the faith I live by." "The faith I live by." It's by Ellen white. And here's what it says: "courage, fortitude, faith, and implicit trust in God's power to save are needed." How many would agree they're needed? "These heavenly graces do not come in a moment. They are acquired by the experience of years." How many find that helpful? "Faith I live by," 120. Now someone, Mark 1:16, right here. "And as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.

" Okay, and then verse 17. "Then Jesus said to them, 'follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.'" Look at that. That's an interesting text. This whole idea, "I will make you become fishers of men." It's a process. "Courage, fortitude, faith, implicit trust in God," these are what are needed, but it happens over the experience of years.

How many of you find that helpful this morning? And so he says, "I will make you become." That's why I'm saying this whole study of Peter is the anatomy of discipleship. And the first thing we find--someone wants to look up for me John 1:42. In the new testament, the call to Peter is given of course in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And each of them have kind of a different way the call came about. John 1:42.

Who's ready over here? Anyone? John 1:42. Go ahead, right here on the front. "And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, 'thou art Simon The Son of Jonah. Thou shalt be called cephas,' which is by the interpretation, a stone.

" Okay, this is the first principle, okay? The first thing, the call to rock-like religion. He says your name is what? "Simon son of Jonah." We call that Simon Johnson. John's son, right? Or son of Jonah. And you're no longer gonna be called that. Your name is gonna be cephas.

Now if you just met someone, the first time you met them, and they said to you, "hello, your name is bob, but no longer so be bob, because we don't want you to bob around. We want it to be un bob or no bob," or whatever. Well, how would you think about a person like that? But what does it teach us about Jesus? He understands. In fact, we're told he understood the heart of men. And he saw that Peter was a character, but that he needed to have character.

So he looks at him, and he says, "look, your name is Simon Johnson. But no longer, no longer. Simon does not say that anymore. Your name will be cephus." What do you think? Is this a discipleship principle? When you're talking with your children, is it best to tell them what they're doing wrong or tell them what you expect them to do right? What is this principle? I think it's found in Romans. Romans 4:17, you can write it down.

"God calls those things which do not exist as though they did." How many think that's good? "He calls those things that do not exist as though they did." Now you know, I work at the Amazing Facts center of evangelism, the college. Sometimes I'll meet potential students. And I'll talk to them and I'll say, "well, we'll see you at afcoe." You know? And many times I do. Or sometimes I'll talk to someone--i remember one. There was a man who came into the emergency department once when I was working as a nurse.

This guy could make everybody upset anywhere. And he did. And he told someone that they looked overweight. He told someone that they were not worth anything and that's why they're probably divorced. And he just had everybody completely freaked out.

And so they said to me, "we want you to take care of him." And he was screaming and yelling and everything else. And they had these guards. And they had him tied down and stuff. And they put me in the room. And said, "what am I gonna do?" And I asked the Lord, "please help me.

" And then this thought came to me, "just whisper to the man, 'cause he's yelling. Just do what you want him to do, you just do." So I started to whisper. I said--I'll just call him sam--no offense if anyone here is named sam. But I said--you know, "speak Lord, for thy servant hears," in other words, you know. So I said, [whispering] "sam, I'm really sorry things are going so bad.

" He yelled and he looked at me. And then he kind of goes, [whispering] "me too." He started to whisper back to me. The guards thought I was gonna be killed. They thought I was in the room and he had killed me. So they came in, he started yelling again.

And then I started whispering again, and he changed. Look, if you're--if someone's mad at you, what's the best thing to do? Be mad back? Only if you want world war 6. Model what you want them to do. That's what Jesus did. He said, "your name is Simon Johnson.

" And actually, Simon son of Jonah. And Jonah wasn't known to be-- you remember Jonah? It's kind of a, you know, a fishy story, right? And the inside story about Jonah was that he was fickle. And he didn't figure it out 'til he was inside the belly of the whale. Right? And so God had to work with him. And he says, "well, I don't want you to be called, son of Jonah.

I want you to be cephas, a rock." Amen? Discipleship principle number one: a call to rock-like religion. Did Peter get this? If you look in 1 Peter 2:5, you write it down. He says, "we're called to be living stones built on the cornerstone." He got--well, that's ahead of the story. Let's go to call number two. Number two was the call to walk on water.

Christ called to walk on water. Matthew 14:28, Matthew 14:28. Matthew 14:28-29, "and Peter answered him and said, 'Lord, if it be thou, bid me come to thee on the water.' And he said, 'come.' And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water to go to Jesus." Okay, so Jesus says, "come, walk on the water." The call to walking on water. By the way, lest I forget, at the end of time will God's people be walking on water? Yes. They'll be walking-- Revelation 15, "on the sea of glass.

" Now let me ask a question. Does it sound logical to ask a stone to walk on water? Not logical. But what's impossible with others is possible with God. This is a discipleship principle. He says, "look, I want you to walk on water.

" It seems like it can't happen, but there's more to that story. Why was there a storm? Lack of faith. Lack of faith. Yeah, but what exactly was happening? Well, if you are floundering here, it's good because we're walking on water. But Matthew 14, if you were to go back in verse 16 through 21, you'll find out that there was the feeding of the 5,000.

Remember that? And what had happened was it was so effective that--what had happened? Look at John, Gospel of John 6:14-17. John 6:14-17. Jesus had been feeding the 5,000 and this was true wonder bread, right? It was wonderful, right? And the loaves and the fishes were multiplied. Then notice verse 14, "then," it says, "those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, 'this is a truth that prophet that should come into the world.' And when when Jesus therefore perceived they were gonna come and take him by force to make him king, he departed again to a mountain by himself alone." By the way, he told the disciples to leave as well. And they did.

"When it was evening, the disciples," it says, verse 16, "went down into the sea, and entered into a ship, and went over to the sea toward capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus had not come to them." So here's the setting: when he called him to walk on water, what had proceeded that was what? The feeding of the 5,000 and everybody wanted to make him king. And they were riding the waves of success. I mean Peter was just beside himself. He said, "look, everything has come together.

Now it's come--" and in fact, and the people were enthusiastic. He said, "this is a profit." And they were spelling that p-r-o-f-i-t, right? 'Cause they could see some massive profits. I mean the guy could make bread. The guy could feed the armies. All these different things, right? So they saw that.

In fact, in our reading for today, or our reading for this week's lesson, we were encouraged to read "Desire of Ages." Remember that? And that's always the case usually on the last page, on Friday's lesson. And in "Desire of Ages," page and 80 and onward there, that was our assignment. Let me just share with you some of the words from that reading. Is that okay with you? Is that gonna be alright with everyone here? Okay, good. Thank you.

So listen. "And in their enthusiasm," what's enthusiasm mean? "En" means in. "Thusiasm" means thias. They thought God was in them. "In their enthusiasm, the people were ready at once to crown him king.

" And then it says, "the disciples united with the multitude." Well, what was motivating? Here are the words from "Desire of Ages" that what was motivating Peter and the other disciples. "Ambition." How many think that sounds good? "A long-cherished popular delusion." Doesn't sound too good to me. "Worldly aggrandizement and love of honor are what motivated them." But what did Jesus understand? They saw this as a possible coronation moment, right? It says in that wonderful book, "Desire of Ages," he said, "his crucifixion was to be his coronation." Totally opposite of what they were thinking. So when Jesus saw this happening, he immediately said, "stop. You go away.

And I'm gonna go pray." And he began to pray for them because he said, "this is gonna be hard for them. They don't understand what they don't understand. And they're not willing to stand under." This was the whole thing. Now this is what "Desire of Ages" says about that. "Desire of Ages," 379, paragraph , "they had left Jesus with dissatisfied hearts, more impatient with him than ever before since acknowledging him as their Lord.

" So they were impatient with him. They left him impatient. "Unbelief," she continues, "was taking possession of their minds. The disciples reasoned until they brought upon themselves great spiritual darkness." You see what's happening? Spiritual darkness had come upon them. "Their thoughts," notice this, darkness, "their thoughts were stormy and unreasonable.

" So you have darkness and storminess. "And the Lord then gave them something to afflict their souls and occupy their minds. When the gale struck," the storm struck, it came out of nowhere. "They forgot their disaffection, their disbelief, their impatience, everyone worked to keep the boat from sinking." How many think God knows how to disciple? "The weary men gave themselves up for lost. The sea had taught them their own helplessness.

And they longed once again to be in the presence of Christ." How many think that's a powerful discipleship thing Jesus did there? He, first of all, calls Peter a stone. He says then, "walk on water." But the real reason he says, "walk on water," that's a little cameo of this bigger story. Peter walked, remember, and he sank, because he started looking back. But the reason Jesus had to remind him there on the water was because what he had just done with the disciples, right? They had wanted to crown him king. He was discipling all of them.

Now get this. I love this. You might love it too. You tell me. On a scale of one to ten, how many of you are ready? Scale of one to ten, how much you love this next quote.

"Jesus had not forgotten them, not for a moment did he lose sight of his disciples. With deepest solicitude, his eyes followed the storm-tossed boat with its precious burden. For these men were to be the light of the world." In other words, he's standing there on the shore. He sees the whole storm. He sees everything.

And he's just watching the boat. And he says, "these are gonna be the light of the world." They're not yet. They're the fright of the world at this point. They're the night of the world at this point, but they're gonna be the light of the world. And they need to be discipled by the storm.

.. And he's just watching. And then, notice when he comes up. "When their hearts," "Desire of Ages," 381, "when their hearts were subdued, their unholy ambition quelled and humility," they prayed for help, "it was given to them." How many think that's a discipleship principle? How many of you, this week, have been going through trials? [Laughs] God has not lost sight of you. Do you think he knows what you're going through? Do you think it might be for a purpose? Later on, in "Acts of the Apostles," which we were encouraged by the way to read along with this lesson with Peter, notice what it says, "trial is the part of education given in the school of Christ.

It is because God is leading his children that trying experiences come upon them. Trials and obstacles are his chosen method of discipline and his appointed condition of success. How many of you say, "bring on the trials." You don't even have to pray that. God will do it already, so he's gonna bring those trials upon you. You see he wants us to overcome defects.

And so he was letting that little boat, you know, go on Galilee. As soon as they asked for help though, he was there. And that is expressed in the story. When he said, "walk on water," and then what did Peter do? He looked back, and he began to sink. And then what happened? He looked back.

And he said, "help me, Lord." And as soon as he said, "help me," what did Jesus do? Stretched out his hand. I love this. "There are many who error," this is "Christ's object lessons," page 387, "there are many who error, who feel their shame and their folly. They look upon their mistakes and errors until they are driven almost to desperation. These souls are not to be neglected.

When one has to swim against the stream, there's all the force of the current driving him back. Lend a helping hand. Then be held out to him, as was the elder brother's hand to the sinking Peter. Speak to him hopeful words, words that will establish confidence and awaken love." How many think this is a discipleship thing that's going on here? It's powerful. First of all, the call to be a rock.

Second, the call to walk on water. Right? And third, the call to a living death, a call to a living death. In our lesson, we saw in Matthew 16, this call. Now someone right here, 16:20. Who has chapter 16, Matthew 16:20? Another very provocative statement.

Moving right back here, :20. Little tiny cameo, but let's read this. It's a fascinating text, Matthew 16:20. "Then charged he, his disciple--" his disciples. "His disciples--" that they should do what? "That they should tell no man-- they should tell no one.

"That he was Jesus--" that he was Jesus the Christ. "The Christ." Thank you very much. So, he commanded his disciples, Matthew 16:20 that they should tell no one that he is the Christ. Now wait a minute. I'm from the Amazing Facts center of evangelism, right? I don't tell people, "don't share Christ.

" I mean if I go to the students and I say to them, "please, do not share Christ." They're gonna go, "I need my money back. I came here to learn how to share Christ." By the way, that's what we do when they come to college the first several weeks. We go, "please, do us a favor. Don't go out yet." But it's because, you know, we want to give them some techniques and what not, right? We want to help them make them become fishers of men, like it says Mark 1:16-17. So Jesus says to them, "don't share.

" Now why was it that Jesus said that? I'll give you a little hint. But in the context, why did he tell them--Matthew 16--not to tell anyone? Hadn't--in verse 17--hadn't he just told Peter, "blessed are you Simon bar Jonah for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my father which is in heaven," when Jesus had said, "thou art the Christ, The Son of the living God." How many remember that? He says, "that's a thought from heaven, Peter." Right? This guy has thoughts directly from heaven. And then God says, "don't tell anybody who I am." Why would he do that? Hadn't he just told Peter that, "the gates of hell would not prevail against the church?" How many remember that? And Peter understands that. So why did he say, "don't tell anybody?" Doesn't the Bible say in Romans 10:9-10 that, "if confession is made with the mouth and belief in the heart, then you're saved?" How many have ever heard that? This is something that again and again is pounded home. If you just confess Christ-- was Peter a confessor? Yes, he confessed Christ.

And so, I mean, in most churches, he would have been baptized or dry cleaned or whatever they do in the particular church you attend. And he would have been fine. He would have been good to go. But Jesus says, "don't tell anybody." Why not? Well, let's look. Look at verse 16, verse 22 through 25.

"Then Peter took him aside," Jesus. He had a little talk with Jesus to make it right alright. "He took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, 'far be it from you, Lord.'" In other words, he confesses him again. "That this should happen to you." "But he turned and said to Peter, 'get behind me, satan. You are an offense to me for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.

'" So Peter had just had a thought from heaven, but now he has a thought from hell. How many of you can relate to Peter? The same mind that's singing praises to God at Sabbath school at church on the way home loses it when the kids or the wife or the husband says something. And you were just singing, you know, "we have this hope." Your wife says, "nope." You know what I'm saying? How many of this has ever happened to you? So this is what Peter, he had a thought from heaven. He has a thought from hell. And Jesus explains Matthew 16:24, "if anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross--" Luke 9:23 says, "take it up daily--" "and follow me.

For whoever desires to save his life will lose it. And whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Why was it then that he had said to him, "even though you have confessed Christ, even though you say you're a Christian, don't share"? Because Peter's religion was what? A crossless religion. It was the confession of Christ without the cross. How many of you have ever heard about this type of religion? Here's how Ellen white describes it, "Acts of the Apostles," 525, "there had been a time in Peter's experience when he was unwilling to see the cross in the work of Christ." Didn't want to see--he wanted to see Christ, but not the cross. Dot, dot, dot, "self-pity, which shrank from fellowship with Christ in suffering prompted Peter's remonstrance.

" So, are there Christians today who desire a crossless walk? Are there Christians today who would rather have the power of political might or military action or faith-based initiatives or state funding or--are you with me? They'd rather have that than the crucible, the cross of Christ. Right? And what would Jesus say to those people today? "Don't bother sharing me. Do me a favor, because I'm not like that." He's talking to Peter. And he says, "okay, I just told you this thought was from heaven, but you got this other thought from hell. And until you get that thought from hell out of there, please, do heaven a favor and don't confess me before men.

" Wow. So what was Christ calling him to? First of all, the call of rock-like religion. Be a stone. Number two: walk on water. Number three: this call we just went through was to live a living death, to be willing to suffer day in, day out for Christ, because you're dead to self.

And you're living only to him. How many think that's a powerful discipleship principle? You know? Has that ever happened to you? You're ready to go confess Christ and someone says, "no, you don't quite have it right. We'd rather you don't speak today." I had a homiletics teacher once that did that to me. He listened to my first sermon and he stopped me in the middle. The title of my sermon was, "life.

" And he brought that life sermon to its final end. He killed it. Stopped me right in the middle of the sermon, he says, "we don't need that kind of life. Stop please, do us a favor." I was like...and I kind of went back to my room. And he came back to visit me in my dorm that night.

I think he thought maybe he'd killed me, which he rightly should have done, because if I told you about the sermon you would say, "I would have stopped you too." So, he comes to my room. And he shares with me, he says, "don, I hope you're--i hope that you've been thinking since the class." He didn't come and say, "I'm sorry for what I've said." I go, "yes, it has crossed my mind a few times." And he said, "actually I wasn't doing that to you." I said, "oh really? I just happened to be there when you stopped my sermon." And he said, "I wasn't really doing it to you. I like you very much. You have a lot of potential when you're converted." And he says, "the reason I stopped you was not for you. It was for the people that had to listen to you.

" And I was like, "ohh." You know, that was the best counsel I could have received. How many think we need a little more of that counsel now and then? No? I know I do. My wife will sometimes disciple me. We used to have two churches. And in between the churches, she would bring forth cross-bearing comments, like, "please don't say that again.

" I'm like, "ooh." Very helpful. So the call to rock-like religion. Number one: the call to walk on water. The call to a living death. Paul says, "I need to die daily.

" Now look at the next call, Luke 22, Luke 22. What was the real issue in Peter's life? Now get this. Peter is a what? He has been called a stone now. He's walked on water. He has all kinds of things we could go through what he's done.

And now Luke 22--by the way, Luke 22, that means how many chapters before 22? Unless you have a misprint, chapters, right? This is a lot of time. And there's a lot about Peter there. But then notice what Jesus says to him, Luke 22:31. Are you with me? Raise your hand if you're with me, so I know that I'm not reading ahead. Luke 22:31, "the Lord said, 'Simon, Simon--'" in other words, Peter doesn't usually listen so he had to say it twice, right? "Simon, indeed, satan has asked for you that he may sift you as wheat.

But I have prayed for you that your faith should not fail. And when you have returned to me," or as the King James says, "when you are--" what? "Converted, strengthen your brethren." But he said to him, "Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and death." Now how many think this is an amazing point? Peter has been confessing all the way along. How many of you have ever heard this evangelical mantra that, "if you confess, you're saved; you're converted?" How many of you have ever heard this? I mean it's drilled in. Lady on the plane the other day was talking to me and says, "if you died today, do you know where you'd be?" I said, "yes, I'd be in my casket." And so she gave--i wanted to hear what she'd say, you know. I wanted to hear what she'd say.

And so she gave me a Bible study. And this is the very thing she used. She had just come back from a faith healing service with a prominent faith healer who has all these people flocking. And she was--she said, "signs, wonders, and miracles: that's what we need!" And I said, "amen. Signs, wonders and miracles.

" And I said, "by the way, did you know in Thessalonians it says, 'the devil can do signs, wonders, and miracles?'" She goes, "it doesn't say that." I go, "yes, it does." Opened it up to her. She goes, "ooh." So how do you tell the difference, right? So I took her to Matthew chapter--what is it, 7? "Many will come to me that day and say, 'Lord, Lord, didn't we cast out demons? Didn't we prophesy, didn't we do wonders?' He'll say, 'depart from me. I never knew you, you workers of iniquity, of lawlessness.'" You're not doing the will of God. I said, "the only sign is if we are living obedient lives to God." I said, "did you go home with that faith healer?" How many of you--and "how do you know what the will of God is?" Psalm 40, "I delight to do thy will. Thy law is written on my heart.

" "What's the law of God?" And then I said, "you know what law specifically is the test of all those." And I showed her the Sabbath. And I went through and showed in Revelation 13 how the beast power does what? Calls everyone to worship, breaking commandment number one. Calls everyone to make an image: commandment number two. Calls everyone to have the name of the beast: commandment number three broken. And then the Mark of the beast.

What will that be if the number one, two, three, four. And she goes, "ooh." I said, "does the man keep the Sabbath?" "Ooh." Anyway, she got real silent, because what we need is conversion. Peter wanted all the signs, wonders, and miracles. But what he really needed was conversion. Is that what you need? Is that what I need? You know, every day we need a deepening of conversion.

We need to be converted. I'll tell you--you mind if I tell you a story? Let's take a vote. Story? No story? Okay, looks like story wins. In early adventist history, there was this guy whose name was prescott. Lots of things are named after him, you know? And prescott was a very prominent teacher.

And he was an editor. And he was like 60 years old when this happened. This is what happened. Ellen white was getting concerned that there were more workers at the general conference than there were out on the streets, more workers in the home office than there were knocking on doors. And so she said, "look, we need reorganization.

We gotta reorganize the whole church." And she specifically said to prescott, "you need to go out and hold an evangelistic series--" you're probably sad you sat up here, aren't you, right? "We're getting to know each other. You have to go out and you have to preach an evangelistic series." And then his buddy, a.g. Daniel said, "oh, no, no, no, no, no, he's too old. He's 60, 60 years old." She said, "no, that's just the right age. Go.

" And then to underline that it could be done, she went out and did an evangelistic series. Guess how old she was? Eighty-one. Amen? So, Daniels was just like going, "ooh." So Daniels came to visit her right down the road from here in saint helena. How many of you have ever been there? If you haven't been there, you need to go there and see this house. And he goes and knocks on the door to talk to Ellen white, because he has all these plans about how evangelism's gonna be number one.

Problem is he was just gonna be back at the home office with his fax machine and a computer talking about it. I don't think they had computers back then. And so guess what Ellen white said? General conference president knocks on the door, says, "I'd like to talk to Ellen white about my great evangelism plans to share him," or whatever, tell the world and tell them now. And guess what she says? "I don't want to see him. No, I don't want to see him.

" "Excuse me. I'm the general conference president." "No, I don't want to see him." Then she writes him this. This is what she writes him. I'm gonna read it to you. "When the president of the general conference is converted," whoo hoo hoo hoo, "he will know what to do with the messages God has sent.

" How many think that's bold? Better be a prophet if you do that. I'm not recommending this, okay? So she sends this message. What was the message to Peter? "When you are converted, strengthen the brethren." What was the message to that particular leader? "When you're converted, you'll know what to do." By the way, if she could say that to him and if God said that to Peter, how many think that none of you are safe? Could God be saying to me today, "don, you need to be converted. You're up front, you're speaking, but you need to be converted," could he be doing that? One church that was in and pastor was one day preaching on this text about the grace of God and newton I think was preaching, that great hymn writer of "amazing grace," and was in the congregation when the pastor was preaching. And the pastor began to cry and finally confess Christ for the first time.

And the members went out and said, "praise God. The pastor has finally been converted." So, now here's what a.g. Daniels wrote about the-- you want to hear what he wrote? How many of you want to hear this? Okay, let's read it. "I received a message," he writes, "in which she said, 'when the president of the general conference is converted he will know what to do with the messages God has sent him.' I did not," he continues, "have as much light on the matter of conversion as I now have." Amen? "I thought I had been converted years prior. And so I had.

But I have since learned that we need to be reconverted now and then. That message telling me that I needed to be converted cut me severely at the time, but I did not reject it." Hallelujah? "I began to pray for the conversion I needed to give me the understanding I seemed to lack." How many of you want to pray to be converted today? You're in church, and you're saying, "I'm in church, but I need to be more deeply converted." Wow. So the call to rock-like religion, the call to walk on water, the call to a living death, the call to conversion, the call to sheepish religion: the next call. You see, when God calls us, it's not just one call. He continues to call, right? So the call to sheepish, sheepish religion.

Remember, by the way, that call to conversion, what happened that day to Peter? What happened to him? When he said, "you need to be converted," that day he said, "no, I don't need to be." But that day, cut off someone's ear. How many think that's not so good? That day he denied Christ three times. That day he went out and wept bitterly and almost killed himself. Judas went out and killed himself. You know the difference was, if you want to study this out? The turning point was really the story before with the feeding of the 5,000.

Judas at that time said, "I'll never trust Jesus again. He doesn't know good Marketing." And so Judas constantly went away. But Peter said, "no, you're the one that has the words of life." Peter was willing to change, to be reconverted. So when this crucible came, when Christ died, Judas killed himself, when he went out. But what did Peter do? He wept bitterly.

But those words of Jesus, they were wonderful. It's a discipleship principle. He said, "you need to be converted. But when you're converted, strengthen the brethren." Amen? Isn't that good? So there he is going, "I have a chance." Amen? And then that came back, "strengthen the brethren" leads us to the next principle which is the call to sheepish religion. Mark 16:7, Mark 16:7.

When Jesus was resurrected, as soon as he was resurrected, notice these wonderful words he had said, "when you're converted, strengthen the brethren." But right when he was resurrected, what did he say? Mark 16:7, "but go, tell his disciples and Peter." How many like that text? So he says--as soon as he's resurrected, he says, "go tell the disciples and Peter." Does that mean Peter wasn't a disciple? No, he was, but he was being discipled, right? So he goes, "tell him, tell him, I rose again." And how many of you think that's just the love of God? Soon as he comes up he says, "I said some pretty rough words. I want to make sure everything's okay. Go tell the disciples and Peter." Okay, the call to sheepish religion. Have you noticed this that every time God wants somebody to do something big for him he puts them in a sheep pen? John 21, remember our free offer today? How many remember the free offer today? What was it? Number 153, right? And that free offer was based on how many fish? , Well not really based on that. Anyway, what's the situation here? John 21:15-17, we see this wonderful story of a call to sheepish religion.

It's a deepening call. Christ is discipling Peter and it's getting deeper. Now John 21:15-17, Peter sees him, has just swum, did an olympic timed trial test swimming from the boat to the shore. And there he is talking to the Lord. "When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?' He said, 'yes, Lord; you know that I love you.

' And he said, 'feed my lambs.'" Second time, "feed my sheep, tend my sheep." Third time, "feed my sheep." So it goes from lambs, to feed them. To sheep, to just tend them and then finally to feed them. How many think that's an interesting progression? It's a discipleship progression. He says, "I'm not gonna give you the whole enchilada. No, no, no, no, no, I'm keeping the tofu cheese back.

I'm not adding the beans." First of all, start out with the little kids who are resilient, just feed them. And if you mess up, they'll probably forget it. Right? Then tend my sheep, just tend them, you know? Someone else will feed 'em. Don't you bother with that. You just kind of hang.

You chill over there. Then feed my sheep. How many are thankful for Pastor Doug? Week after week he feeds the sheep. How many are thankful for that? But it didn't start like that. He was back in a cave for a while and then tending smaller things then bigger things, amen? Discipleship principle.

Why? Because you know that play on words there. How many know that play on words there? When he says, "do you love me?" That word there is agape. "Do you really love me?" That's like Christian love at its finest. But Peter answers and says, "you know that I love you." And the word there is, "I'm just like your friend," phileo. He's saying, "yeah, I don't love you like I should.

I don't love you like I should. I don't love you like I should," is what Peter's saying. And so Jesus says, "that's okay. You can start out doing a little bit, a little bit more, and a little bit more. And by that process, you'll learn to love me more like you should.

" Let me ask you, those of you who have children, do you love God more and understand him more now that you had those children than before? How many of you see that? Where you're watching all the trials and different things and you love that little one more, but you know he's gotta go through that, you know, that trial. But you love him, right? The call to sheepish religion. This is a fascinating quote. I read it for myself. You can listen in.

"If one entering upon this work chooses the least sacrificing part, contenting himself with preaching and leaving the work of personal ministry with someone else, his labors are not acceptable to God." Whoa. This is from "Acts of the Apostles," page 527. "Souls for whom Christ died are perishing for want of well-directed personal labor. And he has mistaken his calling who entering upon the ministry is unwilling to do personal work that the flock demands." Later on she calls that--she says, "Peter was called to a double responsibility, not only the work of evangelism, but the work of discipleship." "Acts of the Apostles," 515, "if it was after Peter had been led to self-renunciation and an entire reliance upon divine power that he received his call," his call, his what? The call. We're talking about the call.

The call to be a what? The call to be a rock, the call to walk on water, the call to a living death, the call to conversion, the call to sheepish religion. It was after he "had been led to self-renunciation and reliance upon divine power that he received his call to act as a under shepherd." How many think that's a powerful call? So if you're a mom out there, and you're saying, "why in the world I have to stay in this house with these three screaming kids with the last name mackintosh?" Or whatever your last name is. That is one of the highest callings you could receive. Amen? The hand that rocks the cradle rocks the world. Don't try and look for something else.

If you've been called as a pastor to a small church or a district, be faithful there. Don't be gone from your district. Right? Some people are called to a wider ministry, but if you don't start where you're at, forget it. Amen? The call to rock-like religion, to walk on water, to living death, to conversion, to sheepish religion. I gotta briefly touch on this one in our last 2 minutes, minute on each.

Galatians 2, just tell you the story. You can look it up. The call to cross-based cultural insensitivity. Oh! What do I mean? You remember he went there to the Galatians? And Peter kind of lost his cross-like religion. He started to play favorites to the jews and not to the gentiles.

He said, "well I'll do certain things while they'll here and not when they're gone." And God said, "no, don't get into this cultural mumbo jumbo. Be evenhanded with everybody." Amen? Right? How many think we need more of that today? How many think we need less of this, "oh, we gotta do, it's cultural"? How many of you have ever heard that reasoning? And it's just given to do anything. And finally--i could go into that more, but I don't have time. Finally, the call to faithful comprehensive instruction. When you look in 1 Peter and Peter, you know what you find? You find that Peter now has moved from the fickle-- due to this fickle--what would you say--faithless person to someone who has surrendered self, like our free offer number 153 reminds us of.

He has surrendered self. And now he's willing in those epistles to do what? He can talk about conversion. He talks about the devotional life. He talks about lust. He talks about adornment.

He talks about sanctification. He talks about service. And he underlines it all by saying, "get comfortable with suffering." Do you know what the number one book is requested in all the areas of the world where there is persecution and suffering? You know what the number one Bible book that they want in all those countries? It's 1 and 2 Peter. You know why? Because he'd been through the suffering. And he speaks through his resonance to people who live in the reality of a cross-based religion.

And 2 Peter, the most requested books. And he ends, like we'll end today, by saying this, Peter 3:17, "you therefore beloved, since you know this beforehand--" see that was the big issue. You know it beforehand, you're gonna be suffering and all those things. "Beware lest you fall from your own steadfastness being led away with the error of the wicked, but grow in the grace--" grow. Has he been discipled, those deepening calls? "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

To him be the glory both now and forever." Amen. Thank you for joining us for this broadcast. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at amazingfacts.org. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs, including "Amazing Facts presents," "central study hour," "everlasting Gospel," "Bible answers live," and "wonders in the word." You'll also find a storehouse of biblical resources geared towards answering some of your most difficult questions. And our online Bible school is just a click away.

One location, so many possibilities: amazingfacts.org.

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