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Pathway of Peter: Lesson 1 - Faithful Steps

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The Pathway of Peter!  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  30:17
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The Pathway of Simon Peter

read poem
How does a middle class fishin' man
End up in the middle of God's mission plan? 
He's a back water who walked on water.
One of the first to see Jesus in his authentic identity.
The Lord called this man the Rock. 
The gates of Heaven are his to unlock.
He's a truth denier turned Spirit-filled testifier.
After the resurrection God gave him a new direction.
God used this ordinary to do something extraordinary.
He didn't become the man he was in a day. 
So we need to look and see how he got this way. 
The next four weeks we will be looking at different episodes in Peter’s life that show us how he became such a man of God. This series could be longer, there is so much to Peter’s life. Other than Jesus, he’s the most talked about character in the Gospels. You know what, I think we’ll find that we can really relate to Peter. Like YOU and ME , Peter was essentially an ordinary guy who God used in Extraordinary ways.

The Climax of Peter’s Story: Preaching on Pentecost

One of these extraordinary moments in Peter’s life comes just a month or so after Jesus’ death. At the day of Pentecost when the disciples received the Holy Spirit. Peter stands up in front of a huge crowd of faithful Jews from all over the known world and begins to preach to them about Jesus is the messiah they are all expecting. This is what happens after the sermon.
Acts 2:37–41 CSB
When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he testified and strongly urged them, saying, “Be saved from this corrupt generation!” So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added to them.

Peter the Preacher

3,000 becoming a Christian in 1 day! That’s incredible! It is absolutely Extraordinary! you might even say he’s one of the best preachers in Christianity. Can you imagine if God used YOU like this? I’m NOT saying any of us are going to be the next mega-church preacher, or TV evangelist, but the same God that used Peter wants to use us for his mission! God may not be calling you to anything that makes you famous, popular, or even something that could be called successful. But he is calling you to something. That same God is still at work. Before we get carried away by the extraordinary in Peter, let’s talk about Peter in the ordinary. Here’s our Question: How does a middle-class fishin’ man end up in the middle of God’s mission plan?

Peter: The Middle-Class Fisher

We call the man Peter, but his real name is Simon. Jesus will later name him Peter (which we’ll discuss next week), but know that Simon, Peter, or Simon Peter are all names for the same guy. Simon Peter is from Bethsaida, but moved to Capernaum. Those folks from Galilee had an lower class accent when compared to the high-society folks of Jerusalem or other cultures.
When Matthew, Mark, and Luke all introduce Simon Peter he is fishing. That was his occupation. Together with his brother, Andrew. They ran a small fishing operation.
They probably had moderate success. Now the gospel of Mark actually tells Peter’s perspective of Jesus as Peter was the spiritual father of Mark who recorded Peter’s memories. An important fact is that we know that Peter owned a house that was the home for many people, including his family his wife and mother-in-law lived there, and their home became the meeting area for many of Jesus’ activities in the region.
Luke 5:1–11 CSB
As the crowd was pressing in on Jesus to hear God’s word, he was standing by Lake Gennesaret. He saw two boats at the edge of the lake; the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the land. Then he sat down and was teaching the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” “Master,” Simon replied, “we’ve worked hard all night long and caught nothing. But if you say so, I’ll let down the nets.” When they did this, they caught a great number of fish, and their nets began to tear. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them; they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’s knees and said, “Go away from me, because I’m a sinful man, Lord!” For he and all those with him were amazed at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who were Simon’s partners. “Don’t be afraid,” Jesus told Simon. “From now on you will be catching people.” Then they brought the boats to land, left everything, and followed him.

Fisher of Men

If you read Mark carefully side-by-side with Luke you can make a good case that Peter was already a disciple of Jesus by this point and had been for a good while. He had seen demons exorcised, diseases healed, a paralyzed man healed, his own mother in law healed. So Peter was already a follower, but this story in Luke 5 was a huge turning point for Peter. Notice the sermon Jesus was preaching isn’t even recorded as what is important. This episode focuses on what happens after the sermon. Jesus starts giving Peter some fishing advice after Peter has been fishing all night and is cleaning up his supplies. This is just funny to think about. (examples of if I walked into your companies to give you suggestions) If you look carefully, Peter almost says no to Jesus! but he doesn’t and that is HUGE! He trusts Jesus, he is curious by Jesus, he has faith enough to obey Jesus.
As they put their nets into deep water as Jesus instructed, they find themselves in the middle of a miracle. Their nets are instantly filled in both boats and the fishermen almost swamped their boats. This story isn’t about the fish. In fact, it sounds like they left those fish on the shore. This is a story of Jesus preaching to fishermen the way the fishermen needed to hear. This shook Peter to his core. It’s one thing to see a miracle in someone else’s life even his mother-in-law, but now this is CLOSE to home. Peter is supposed to be the fishing expert. This is the single-most successful days in Peter’s career. Probably worth more than his whole career. It’s at this moment that Peter realizes the teacher in his boat is way more than an average man. Teachers come and go, but Jesus is more than that. Peter gets on his knees begging for mercy and confesses that he is a sinner before the Lord. Peter becomes the first in the gospels to do that, to confess his sins. This is how a middle class fishin’ man end up in the middle of God’s mission plan. This moment when Peter realizes he knows nothing about fishing and confesses to Jesus that all he is, is a sinner is exactly the kind of Resume Jesus is looking for.
Jesus lovingly tells him “do not be afraid” (he says that a lot)
Luke 5:10–11 CSB
and so were James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who were Simon’s partners. “Don’t be afraid,” Jesus told Simon. “From now on you will be catching people.” Then they brought the boats to land, left everything, and followed him.
“From now on you will be catching people”.This is good new. When you catch fish, you kill them, sell them, and eat them. Yeah, we don’t do that with people. When Jesus says catching people he means convincing them of the message of Jesus. So instead of killing the catch he will be showing them new life. I don’t know how many fish were in the nets that day in Peter’s boat, but I have a feeling Peter remembered this story when he preaching on Pentecost and 3,000 people became Christians because Peter decided on that day to become a fisher for men. With Jesus’ help Peter caught a miraculous catch of fish back then on the shore and on the day of Pentecost Peter caught 3,000 men who became Christians.
How does a middle-class fishin’ man end up in the middle of God’s mission plan?
At the end of that passage we just read, it says they brought their boats to land, left everything, and followed him. All throughout Peter’s life we see steps of Faith where Peter chooses to follow Jesus.

Steps of Faith

STEPS of FAITH are huge. I can’t stress enough the extraordinary that God did through Peter came from Peter continually showing faith in the ordinary one step at a time. From this day at the beach in the boats with the fish, we’re going to fast forward in Peter’s story. Peter lives life with Jesus, he hears his teaching, sees his miracles, watches him drive out demons, he eats the bread crumbs that miraculously feed 1000s, and every day that he continues to step-by-step follow Jesus he is growing in his faith. All those things bring us this next episode in Peter’s story:
The guy from some town in Galilee, The Back Water (Guy) Who Walked On Water
Matthew 14:22–33 CSB
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. After dismissing the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Well into the night, he was there alone. Meanwhile, the boat was already some distance from land, battered by the waves, because the wind was against them. Jesus came toward them walking on the sea very early in the morning. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said, and they cried out in fear. Immediately Jesus spoke to them. “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter answered him, “command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those in the boat worshiped him and said, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Jesus Walks on Water

This is an incredible scene. Can you imagine this scene in a movie, it would be one of the most trip-y, freaky things ever. Jesus and his crew were finishing up the feeding of the 5,000. Jesus tells the disciples to go on to their next place across the lake and Jesus goes off on his own to pray/recharge. Meanwhile, it’s the wee hours of the morning, the disciples are crossing the lake, and a massive storm comes along and they are losing the fight against nature. Then they notice something strange. Jesus is walking toward them on the water. Remember, it’s like before the sun rose for the day. All they have is moonlight and maybe candles. They just see this silhouette, of course they freak out!
Then Jesus speaks to them and tells them NOT to be afraid. (See, he does this a bunch. Must have been a frightening guy). Notice that he immediately speaks to them. It’s like he had the conversation in his head: “Hmmm, yeah I can see how this would be disturbing, I better say something”.

More Steps of Faith

Then Peter yells something back. “Lord if it’s you, command me to come out there with you.” See Peter knows by now that it’s only the calling of Jesus that makes the impossible, possible. So Jesus gives the word and Peter takes a whole new kind of step in faith. And Peter walks on water.
Now we’ve read it, we know that he doesn’t stay above the water long, but can we pause for a moment and see this for the success it is. This is Peter’s first miracle that God performed because of his faith. It’s something none of us have ever done. In fact, the walk on water club is only two members strong. Can you imagine the kind of faith required to leave the relative safety of the boat in the middle of a storm to attempt to walk on the water? Not only faith, but also obedience. He was doing what his Lord called him to do. So Peter walked on water. Simon Peter is the Back water guy who walked on water.
As we know, this doesn’t last. Peter takes a few steps, then the wind and the wave get to him. If Peter’s faith is a balloon, all the air is blowing out of that balloon right now. He becomes afraid and starts to sink. As he’s going down he calls out to Jesus to rescue him. Did you notice how quickly this cycle went? As soon as we don’t want God and try to do things without Him we are calling for Him to rescue us with the next breath.
So Jesus does rescue him and calls him out a little. He says “you of little faith, why did you doubt?” However, I think in those gentle words from Jesus, Peter learns a tough lesson. Peter needed to sink in order to take his next step of faith. Talk about learning from your mistakes. Peter saw success and failure in the same experience. One of the great things about this story is that he tried and somewhat succeeded.

Steps of Faith lead to Maturity

How did a middle class fishin’ man end up in the middle of God’s mission plan? Today, we’ve started a process of getting to know Peter better and the path he took to become church leader he was. From today and knowing what we’ll talk about in the future weeks it’s fair to say that Peter wasn’t instantly successful or instantly perfect. In fact his life had so many ups and downs. In my opinion, he’s one of the most relate able characters in the Bible. His life at every stage is filled with ups/downs and successes and failures. A common thread I see in his life was that little by little Simon Peter took small steps toward becoming more like Christ.
This is what I want you to learn from Peter today:
Steps of Faith lead to Maturity.
We saw that in Peter when he left his fishing operation to follow Jesus and when he stepped out of the boat to walk on water. Steps of faith lead to maturity.

What is Your Next Step of Faith?

What is your next step of faith? Do you resonate more with the first story? Are you familiar with Jesus, but maybe not truly a disciple of Jesus? Maybe today, there is someone in here who needs to start following Jesus. You need to take your first steps in that direction. We’d be happy to talk to you, or at least start a longer conversation about what it means to follow Jesus and to have faith in him.
Or maybe it’s the second story. Maybe you consider yourself a Christian, but you’re stuck. You haven’t grown in your faith, you’re just the same. Maybe you’re like Peter, you’re starting to figure out who Jesus is and you want to know what he wants you to do? Maybe God is using me today to call you out of the safety of the boat to take some steps in your life that will move you beyond your comfort zone toward spiritual maturity. Now be warned, if you take those steps, you might need to learn how sink and still trust God before you can really learn how to walk with God.
Guys, all of us need to mature. We need to become more like Christ. Jesus never said this would be easy. Folks, if you’re not moving you’re not growing. Each of us need to actively be taking steps of faith that lead to maturity. What is your next step of faith?
recap poem
How does a middle class fishin' man
End up in the middle of God's mission plan? 
He's a back water who walked on water.
One of the first to see Jesus in his authentic identity.
The Lord called this man the Rock. 
The gates of Heaven are his to unlock.
He's a truth denier turned Spirit-filled testifier.
After the resurrection God gave him a new direction.
God used this ordinary to do something extraordinary.
He didn't become the man he was in a day. 
So we need to look and see how he got this way. 
What is your next step of faith?
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