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#1 A Chosen Stone

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A CHOSEN STONE

(A Chosen People-Series on I Peter)

Westgate Chapel 10/1/00                                             I Peter 1:1

Proposition:      The man writing this epistle to us is a chosen stone, called by Jesus, and loyal to His Savior to the last.

I.      introduction

-          THIS morning we begin our series in the epistle of I Peter, in the New Testament.

-          IT is a series I am going to call – “A Chosen People.”

-          IN this epistle the apostle Peter wrote some of the most exciting descriptions in all of the New Testament of who we are in Christ Jesus.

-          I PETER 2:9,

      “…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

-          I PETER 2:5

      “…you like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

-          I PETER 2:10,

      “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

-          WHO is this man, Peter, who by the Holy Spirit will be speaking into our hearts for the next several Sundays?

-          IN I Peter 1:1 (pg.1200) he writes,

      “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.”

-          AND eighteen months after picking up the pen to write these life-giving words those same hands were nailed to a Roman cross and Peter was executed for his faith.

-          EIGHTEEN months. That is not very long.

-          HE writes a lot about persecution in his epistles, because at the time it was starting to break out in isolated places of the empire….but at the time it was not supported by Rome.

-          BUT in eighteen months Peter dies, some historians believe, in Rome, at the hands of Nero, who launched a full scale assault on all followers of Christ.

-          WHEN the time came, and Peter found out that he was to be crucified, he insisted on being crucified upside down because he was not worthy to suffer in the same way that Jesus had been crucified.

-          WHAT a great finish!

-          WHAT an awesome man of God!

-          WHAT humility!

-          WHAT godliness!

-          AND as we study the words he wrote you are going to see more and more of the depth and character of this man Peter.

-          THESE epistles turned out to be his parting counsel….but what kind of start did he have?

II.    the man

-          THE very first time we hear about Peter is in Matthew 4:18 where it says,

      “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (later to be) called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.”

-     WHO is this man, Simon, later to be called Peter?

-          HE was married, lived on the shore of the Sea of Galilee….and he and his brother, Andrew, ran a small family fishing business.

-          COMMERCIAL fishing in those days was much like it is today, very hard work, long hours, and dangerous.

-          HE was an unlikely candidate for an apostle from the very beginning.

-          HE wouldn’t have had much of an education up on the shore of Galilee…although as a young Jewish boy he would have been schooled by his family and the local synagogue in the Old Testament.

-          BUT he wouldn’t have been trained in theology, like Paul. He didn’t have the intellect for rabbinical debate or argumentation like Paul.

-          HE wasn’t a Pharisee, a Priest or a Scribe in the religious establishment.

-          HE wasn’t an orator, like Apollos.

-          HE was just a rough hard-working fisherman, working the waters of the Sea of Galilee with his brother, Andrew.

-          AND that was when Jesus called him…and in both Gospels that record Peter’s call, it says that he left his nets at once and followed Jesus.

-          IT wasn’t long before Jesus must have wondered if he had called the right man.

-          PETER talks a lot…..to put it mildly.

-          IN fact, there are more words spoken in the Gospels by Peter than by any other disciple of Jesus.

-          PETER was always jumping in with something to say.

-          AND a lot of times he says things that probably should have been left unsaid.

·         Like the time Jesus wanted to wash his feet, and it embarrassed Peter, and he said, “You will never wash my feet…..” because he didn’t understand what Jesus was doing.

·         Or the time Jesus came to the disciples in the storm, walking on the water, and Peter said, “Hey, if you are Jesus, let me walk out on the water to meet you!”

*     Or, “How many times should I forgive my brother, Jesus…..7 times?”

·         Or the time the glory of God was like a cloud on the mountain, and Elijah and Moses appeared to talk to Jesus….and Peter blurts out, “Hey, this is great! Let’s build three tabernacles and just hang out here!”

·         Or the time Jesus was telling the disciples about His death on the cross and Peter cries out, “Never, this will never happen to you!” (Not a good thing to rebuke the Son of God)

·         Or the time he boasts, “If everyone else deserts you, you can count on me. I will even die with you!”

-          “PETER, an apostle of Jesus Christ.

-          BUT before we are too hard on him, let’s remember the times Peter spoke and it was nothing short of the Holy Spirit speaking through him.

·         Like the time Jesus was asking His disciples who the people were saying He was, and it was Peter who said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

•     And Jesus answers, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”

•     In fact, it is in this context that Jesus changed Simon’s name and called him Peter, which means stone….and promised him that he would be some of the building material used in building the church of Jesus on the Rock, which is Christ Jesus.

*     Then there was the time that the masses that had been following Jesus starting leaving when His teaching got a little hard…and He asked His disciples if they wanted to leave also…and Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

-          “PETER, an apostle of Jesus Christ.”

-          PETER leads the other disciples in another category. No one else is rebuked by the Lord as frequently as Peter is.

·         When, out of fear of the wind and waves, he sank into the sea and cried out to Jesus to save him, Jesus rebukes him and says, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

·         In Matthew 15 Jesus tells His disciples the simplest of two-line parables about a blind man leading a blind man and both falling into a pit….and Peter didn’t get it, and Jesus says to him, “Are you still so dull?”

·         At the foot washing incident, when Peter refused to have Jesus was his feet, Jesus said to him, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

·         When Peter tries to block Jesus from the suffering of the cross Jesus says, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” And that was just moments after Peter had said, “You are the Christ!”

·         When Peter falls asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane, right before Jesus’ arrest, Jesus rebukes him and says, “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?”

-          “PETER, an apostle of Jesus Christ.”

-          BUT there is something else that comes through loud and clear about this disciple Peter in the times he is rebuked by the Lord….without a moment’s hesitation he runs straight to repentance.

·         At the foot washing incident, after he is rebuked he says to Jesus, “…not just my feet but my hands and my head as well.”

·         At Galilee one day Jesus showed up and told them to try for a catch on the other side of the boat….and Peter was the first one to complain about how they had toiled all night without so much as one fish. But when the nets filled to breaking Peter jumped out of the boat and fell at Jesus’ feet and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”

-          “PETER, an apostle of Jesus Christ.”

-          IF anything comes through in examining his life it is to conclude that this Peter, this disciple, this apostle is just like us.

-          AT one point in his training as a disciple he asks Jesus,  “What do I get out of all of this?”

-          WHEN the mob comes to arrest Jesus, Peter whips out his sword and attacks the person closest to him, cutting of the guys ear.

-          THEN of course we all remember Peter’s infamous denial of the Lord…three times…with cursing for emphasis.

-          AND after Jesus’ death on the cross, and even being a witness to the resurrection, Peter is the first one to suggest they forget about their hopes and dreams and go back to fishing….and he leads the gang back to Galilee.

-          “PETER, an apostle of Jesus Christ.”

-          AND it is on the shore of Galilee that Jesus runs into Peter again.

-          YOU won’t find this in the account of John 21….but you can be pretty certain that Peter has given up all hopes of being an apostle…or an anything for that matter.

-          FOR all the reasons I have just given you.

·         Uneducated.

·         Hot headed.

·         Rough around the edges.

·         Talks too much.

·         Speaks without thinking.

·         Boastful.

·         Ambitious.

-          BUT on this day, early in the morning, sometime after the resurrection, Peter is severely broken.

-          HE had denied the Lord three times….the One who had done nothing but love him, instruct him, care for him, and even died for him.

-          AND that morning, around the breakfast fire at Galilee….Peter was convinced that it was all over…that he had blown any chance of being in relationship with Jesus again, much less being a disciple or apostle.

-          SO with his head is hung low, and his appetite gone, Jesus singles him out of the crowd of disciples and says,

      “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

-          AT first the question stung Peter. He was all too aware of his failure and was certain that a rebuke or a termination of the call was behind the question.

-          THREE times Jesus asked the question, until finally Peter said,

      “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

-          AND Peter could hardly believe his ears at Jesus reply,

      “Take care of my sheep.”

-          TAKE care of my sheep?

-          YOU mean there is hope for me….the one who denied you Lord?

-          THE one with the big mouth?

-          YOU are willing to trust me with your sheep?

III.   THE calling

-          “PETER, an apostle of Jesus Christ…”

-          GOD called him when he was a stumbling, rough, crude fisherman and made an apostle out of him.

-          IT was the call of God and the love of God that transformed this man called Simon into a stone used in the building of the kingdom….and we are about to benefit from the legacy of an epistle he wrote 18 months before he died on a cross.

-          THE Greek word for apostle means one “sent out as a personal representative with the full powers of the one doing the sending.”

-          GOD took a brash, boastful, crude fisherman and called him….knowing full well all of Peter’s weaknesses and problems, but having the final product of an apostle in mind.

-          THE calling included the power to change this man from the inside out….especially on the Day of Pentecost when this talkative apostle preaches the first bold feisty evangelistic sermon in the face of those who had crucified Jesus…and 3,000 came forward at the altar call.

-          HIS battles with elements of his character are not over, just because he is baptized in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

-          HE is still Peter.

·         He argues with the Lord over the interpretation of the vision of a sheet let down with unclean animals.

·         He goes to Cornelius’ house to share the Gospel with the first Gentiles, but reminds them that it is against the law for a Jew like himself to associate with Gentiles.

·         Paul even has to reprimand him for shunning the Gentiles socially when the Jews from Jerusalem are around.

-     BUT also, like the Peter of the Gospels, he is charging forward with the Gospel, taking the lead, making decisions, being the spokesman for the church…

·         He moves on getting a replacement for Judas.

·         He doesn’t hesitate to tackle church’s first disciplinary action with Ananias and Sapphira.

·         He does a great of the preaching.

·         He helps with the councils and problem solving.

·         He is fearless in the face of the Sanhedrin.

-          PETER, an apostle of Jesus Christ.

IV.  conclusion

-          AND 18 months before he pays with his life for feeding Jesus’ sheep….he picks up and pen and writes a letter to you and me under the guidance of the Holy Spirit….telling us that we are a chosen people.

-          OF all the disciples he should have a great appreciation for being chosen.

-          OF all the disciples he should know that the choosing has little to do with what we have to offer.

-          OF all the disciples it is Peter who knows that the calling comes with a persistent love that will not let you go….even when you boast and bluster….when you curse and deny that you know Him….that love keeps coming.

-          PETER an apostle of Jesus Christ.

-          THIS is someone I want to listen to.

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