Author Topic: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 1--2nd Quarter 2017--"Feed My Sheep" 1st and 2nd Peter  (Read 2181 times)

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Richard Myers

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As we begin the second quarter in this year's Sabbath School lessons, let us get to know who is teaching Seventh-day Adventists around the world. Robert K. McIver teaches Bible and archaeology at Avondale College in Australia.

Western Europe, North America, and Australia in great measure have departed from the faith once given to the church. We do not know of Dr. McIver. We believe it important that our church members who will be influenced by Dr. McIver have a little bit of information as to what he teaches.




The teacher has studied and written on Matthew. He quotes from Matthew chapter 22, the wedding feast. There are two ways to teach the parable. The preacher has it right, when he said that we must come to Jesus just as we are. He does not say that the righteousness of Christ, the wedding garment, will not cover one unconfessed or unforsaken sin. After listening to the whole sermon, it was disappointing to not be told the all important truth about the power of grace to transform the heart at conversion.



With this video, you may want to pass over the drums and start at 5:20. Hymns at end are nice, followed by baptisms.

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Wally

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  • Romans 8:35, 38, 39



Feeding the Sheep




Because our study this quarter is 1 and 2 Peter, we are reading the words of someone who was with Jesus at most of the important moments in His ministry. Peter was also someone who had become a prominent leader among the earliest Christians. These facts alone would make his letters worth reading. But these letters take on added interest given that they were written to churches experiencing troubled times: they faced persecution from without and the danger of false teachers arising from within.

Peter warns that among the things that these false teachers will promote is doubt about the second coming of Jesus. “Where is the promise of his coming?” they will say, “for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” ( 2 Pet. 3:4 ). Today, almost two thousand years later, we know the reality of that charge, don’t we?

Besides Peter’s warning about false teachers, the suffering the churches experienced is a topic that he returns to several times. This suffering, he says, mirrors the sufferings of Jesus, who took our sins in His body when He died on the cross ( 1 Pet. 2:24 ). But the good news is that Jesus’ death brought nothing less than freedom from the eternal death caused by sin, as well as a life of righteousness here and now for those who trust in Him ( 1 Pet. 2:24 ).

Peter says that Jesus not only died for our sins but will return to earth and usher in the judgment of God ( 2 Pet. 3:10-12 ). He stresses the fact that the prospect of judgment should have significant practical implications in the life of the believer. When Jesus returns, He will destroy all sin and will cleanse the earth with fire ( 2 Pet. 3:7 ). Then Christians will receive the inheritance that God has been storing up for them in heaven ( 1 Pet. 1:4 ).

Peter has very practical words on how Christians should live. First and foremost, Christians should love each other ( 1 Pet. 4:8 ). He sums up his view by saying: “Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind” ( 1 Pet. 3:8, NRSV).

Peter’s epistles are also a fervent proclamation of the gospel, the central message of the whole Bible. After all, if anyone should know the saving grace of the Lord, it is Peter. This same Peter, who so openly and crassly denied His Lord (even with cursing), saying, “‘I do not know the Man’” (Matt. 26:74, NKJV), is the same one to whom Jesus later said, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:17). These two epistles are examples of Peter’s doing just that?feeding the Lord’s sheep.

And, of course, any part of that feeding would include the great truth of salvation by faith in Christ, a theme that his fellow worker, the apostle Paul, so powerfully proclaimed. This is the truth of God’s grace. Peter knew about this, not just theoretically, or just as a doctrine, but because he had experienced the reality and power of that grace for himself.

As Martin Luther wrote in his commentary on Peter: “Consequently this Epistle of St. Peter is one of the grandest books of the New Testament, and it is the true, pure Gospel. For Peter does also the very same thing as Paul and all the Evangelists do in that he inculcates the true doctrine of faith, how Christ has been given to us, who takes away our sins and saves us.” Commentary on the Epistles of Peter and Jude (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1982), pp. 2, 3.

Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep. We are among those sheep. Let’s get fed.

Robert K. McIver grew up in New Zealand and has worked most of his career at Avondale College, where he teaches Bible and archaeology. He is the author of several books, including The Four Faces of Jesus and Beyond the Da Vinci Code.
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Richard Myers

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Lesson 1 March 25-31

The Person of Peter

Sabbath Afternoon


Read for This Week's Study: Luke 5:1-11; Matt. 16:13-17; Matt. 14:22-33; Luke 22:31-34, 54-62; Gal. 2:9, 11-14.


Memory Text:     But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Matthew 14:30, 31

Peter is the author of the two books (1 and 2 Peter) that bear his name. He was one of the early followers of Jesus; he remained with Jesus during the Lord’s ministry here; and he was one of the first disciples to see the empty tomb. So Peter had a wealth of experiences from which, inspired by the Holy Spirit, he could draw in order to write these powerful letters. “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” 2 Pet. 1:16.

Peter appears often in the Gospels, revealing both his triumphs and failures. He was the usual spokesman of the disciples in their interactions with Jesus. After the resurrection and ascension, Peter became a prominent early church leader. The book of Acts talks about him, as does the book of Galatians.

Most important, Peter knew what it was to make mistakes, to be forgiven, and to move forward in faith and humility. Having experienced for himself the grace of God, he remains a powerful voice for all of us who need to experience that same grace, as well.

Amen!  Peter also knew what it is to sin. His denial of Jesus was a constant reminder of his continual need of grace in order to keep from sinning. It is a wonderful object lesson for us today when we consider the power of grace to walk on water, and the helplessness of sinful man when we take our eyes off of Christ. We will sin when we take our eyes off of our Lord, just as surely as we will not sin as long as we maintain our connection with Him.

We need Jesus all the time in order to do any good thing. He knows this, and is right there beside us knocking on the door of the heart wanting back in, if we have fallen in the water. Is it that hard to cry out "Lord save me?" Sadly, for many it is. They do not think they need to be saved. They have been taught they are saved even when they sin.

One of the wonderful truths given to us is found in 2 Peter. Many fail to not only see their continual need of Jesus in order to not sin, but they have not understood the opportunity given to us to actually have a dual nature. We cannot be God, but we can share His nature. Sounds like an abomination to say so, but it is true.

"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Peter 1:4. 


We need not remain in bondage to sin. If we will allow the Holy Spirit to come into the heart, then we will be set from from sin.  But, only as long as we are partakers of God's divine nature will we have power to resist the smallest temptation to sin.


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Sunday March 26

Depart From Me!



When we first meet Peter, he is a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee (Matt. 4:18, Mark 1:16, and Luke 5:1-11).

We actually meet Peter before this when Jesus sees him, John, and Andrew as described in John chapter one.

 1:32   And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 
 1:33   And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 
 1:34   And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. 
 1:35   Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; 
 1:36   And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! 
 1:37   And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 
 1:38   Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? 
 1:39   He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. 
 1:40   One of the two which heard John [speak], and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 
 1:41   He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. 


He had been working all night without catching a fish. But then he and his companions obeyed Jesus’ command to return to the lake and to try again. How astonished Peter and the others must have been when they caught so many fish that their boats were sinking. What must have been going through their minds after this miracle?

Read Luke 5:1-9.

 5:1   And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 
 5:2   And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing [their] nets. 
 5:3   And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 
 5:4   Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 
 5:5   And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 
 5:6   And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 
 5:7   And they beckoned unto [their] partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 
 5:8   When Simon Peter saw [it], he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 
 5:9   For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 


What do Peter’s words to Jesus in Luke 5:8 tell us about Peter? That is, what insights do they give us about where he was spiritually?

Peter appears rather foolish to doubt God's Word. He obeyed, but complained while doing so. Our human eyes and our wisdom do not see as God sees. Peter had a lot to learn. While he did indeed doubt God, he was also humble enough to realize what he had done. His heart sank as he understood who he was and in whose presence he was standing. When the Holy Spirit reveals our sin, we too ought to fall down as did Peter and acknowledge our sin.

Peter must have been impressed by what he knew of Jesus. Even before this miracle, when Jesus told the group to put down the nets, Peter-though incredulous because they had caught nothing-nevertheless said: “at thy word I will let down the net.”  It seems that Peter must have known something about Jesus already, and this knowledge impelled him to obey. Indeed, evidence suggests that Peter already had been with Jesus for a while before this event.

Perhaps one key is in Luke 5:3, which talks about what happened before the miracle of the fish. “And He entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And He sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.”  Maybe the word of Jesus here was what had first impressed Peter so deeply.

Perhaps so.  On the other hand, maybe Peter had much more to go on. Let's look at what happened in the past. In the previous chapter, Luke 4.

 4:31   And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. 
 4:32   And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power. 
 4:33   And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, 
 4:34   Saying, Let [us] alone; what have we to do with thee, [thou] Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God. 
 4:35   And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not. 
 4:36   And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word [is] this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out. 
 4:37   And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about. 


And perhaps, since Peter had before this been called Cephas by Jesus, when John the Baptist was still preaching, Peter knew much about Jesus, that He was the Messiah. One of the two which heard John [speak], and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.  He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.  John 1:40,41,42.


However, after the miracle, Peter sensed something more in Jesus, something holy in contrast to his own sinfulness. Peter’s realization of his sinfulness, and his willingness to admit it publicly, shows just how open he was to the Lord. No wonder He had been called! Whatever his faults, and they were many, Peter was a spiritual man who was ready to follow the Lord, regardless of the cost.

Yes, the disciples were teachable, but they were not thoroughly converted. They wandered in and out of conversion. And, when Peter denied Jesus, he was not willing to be humiliated. They were so deceived that Jesus in 3 1/2 years could not reach them with the truth that the Lamb had to die. Such a deception!


Read Luke 5:11.

And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him. 

What’s the crucial principle here? What does this text tell us about what kind of commitment Jesus asks for? What should it tell us, too, that these fishermen were willing to abandon everything when their nets were full?

They trusted Jesus, they loved Jesus, they knew Jesus. But, they did not know themselves. They did not know the gospel of grace. Jesus is patient with us. Conversion is a long protracted process of wooing by the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not choose the highly educated, they were not teachable. He chose these fishermen because they were not so full of themselves. He would spend 3 1/2 years preparing them for the ministry.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Monday March 27

Confessing the Christ

One of the grand moments in the story of Jesus occurred in a dialogue with Peter. Jesus just had been dealing with some of the scribes and Pharisees who had been challenging Him to give them a sign, something to prove who He was (see Matt. 16:1-4). Then, later, alone with the disciples, Jesus talked about the two miracles He had performed, in which He twice fed thousands with just a few loaves and fish. He did all this in the context of warning the disciples about the “leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matt. 16:11).

Read Matthew 16:13-17.

16:13   When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 
 16:14   And they said, Some [say that thou art] John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 
 16:15   He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 
 16:16   And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 
 16:17   And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 


What is happening here? What is the significance of Peter’s words to Jesus?

Peter here spoke boldly of his faith in Jesus. And it’s clear from Matthew 16:20 that his confession of Christ as the Messiah was shared by the others, as well. This was to be a turning point in the ministry of Jesus, even though the disciples, including Peter, had much more to learn.

Yes, there were changes taking place in the ministry of Jesus. This was not early in His formal ministry, this conversation took place shortly before Christ was crucified. They were on their last trip to Jerusalem. Jesus could not even after 3 1/2 years of teaching, convince His own disciples the Lamb had to die. Such a deception! What is the lesson for us today? There has come into modern Israel just such deceptions that allow many to believe they are saved when in fact they are "miserable, and wretched, and poor, and blind, and naked." How can this be? How could it be that when Jesus came to His own, they knew Him not, and put the Son of God to death?

Satan has had 2,000 additional years to prepare deceptions for those whom the end the world has come upon. There is still time for all who have bitten into the forbidden fruit to turn to Jesus and feed upon Him. We must drink His blood and eat His flesh. He is the Manna which came down from heaven. We must feed upon the truth found in the Bible. God's sends teachers, but they point the sheep to the pure fountain, not to broken cisterns of human wisdom.


“The disciples still expected Christ to reign as a temporal prince. Although He had so long concealed His design, they believed that He would not always remain in poverty and obscurity; the time was near when He would establish His kingdom. That the hatred of the priests and rabbis would never be overcome, that Christ would be rejected by His own nation, condemned as a deceiver, and crucified as a malefactor,-such a thought the disciples had never entertained.” - Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 415.

As soon as the disciples recognize Jesus as the Messiah, Jesus begins teaching that He must suffer and die (see Matt. 16:21-23), a concept that Peter could not accept. Peter goes as far as to “rebuke” Jesus. Jesus then turns to Peter and says, “‘Get thee behind Me, Satan’” (Matt. 16:23). This is one of the harshest things that He said to anybody during His ministry; yet, He did it for Peter’s own good. Peter’s words reflected his own desires, his own selfish attitude about what he wanted. Jesus had to stop him in his tracks, right then and there (and though Jesus was really speaking to Satan, Peter got the message). Peter needed to learn that serving the Lord would involve suffering. That he learned this lesson is clear in his later writings (see 1 Pet. 4:12).

Yes, Peter did learn the lesson and when he was re-converted, he fed both the lambs and the sheep. But, if he had learned the lesson when Jesus reproved Him, he would not have denied His Savior the night before Jesus was put to death. There is a lesson for us today. If we continue on beyond today, in a Laodicean condition, there will be a loss. We are either an influence for good or for evil. It is left to us as to which we shall be today. Are we walking in all of the light given? Or are we not giving the whole heart to Jesus? Are we "playing" church, or are we fully surrendered to Christ?

If we are fully surrendered (converted), then we will manifest all of the fruits of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. We will then be able to be an influence for good in our families, our neighborhoods, and in the church. If not, then we are working against the One who suffered and died that we might live.

Human wisdom will fail us, but the Manna which comes from heaven will never fail us. He speaks to His people today:

 3:14   And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 
 3:15   I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 
 3:16   So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 
 3:17   Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 
 3:18   I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 
 3:19   As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 
 3:20   Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 
 3:21   To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 
 3:22   He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 
 

How often do your personal desires clash with what you know God wants you to do? How do you decide what to do in those situations?

If we are fully surrendered to Jesus, then it may be that we want to do something different than what Jesus wants, then what do we do? We do what Jesus wants. Otherwise, we would not be fully surrendered, would we? If we choose to follow our will, then what does this say about the heart? It is not wholly given to Christ. There is need to make a whole heart surrender to Jesus. How can we do this? It is easy to say, but it is the greatest battle we shall ever have to fight. Self does not want to die.

It is only through grace that man can surrender his will to the will of God. Is there a lack of grace? Is this why so many cannot be converted? No, grace surrounds us as thick as the air we breathe. Then why do so many remain in a Laodicean condition? Because they have been taught a false gospel. They believe they are converted, when in fact Jesus says to them, "repent".

How can this lost condition be reversed? Jesus gives the answer in the very same message where He says to "repent."  We must buy of Him gold tried in the fire, faith that works by the love of God. White raiment that is the character of Christ, and eye salve which is the Holy Spirit that we might see the character of our God. It would be good if we would spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life of Jesus. By beholding Him (His grace), we would be transformed (converted) into His image (character). It is a Bible promise which has been cleverly hid from God's church. "We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Cor. 3:18.

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Tuesday March 28

Walking on Water


In their time with Jesus, the disciples saw many remarkable things, although few of them can compare with the events described in Matthew 14:13-33, Mark 6:30-52, and John 6:1-21. Jesus used five small loaves of bread and two fish to feed more than 5,000 people. Again, what must have been going on in their minds after seeing something like this?

Read Matthew 14:22-33.

 14:22   And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 
 14:23   And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 
 14:24   But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 
 14:25   And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 
 14:26   And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 
 14:27   But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 
 14:28   And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 
 14:29   And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 
 14:30   But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 
 14:31   And immediately Jesus stretched forth [his] hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 
 14:32   And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. 
 14:33   Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. 


What’s the most crucial message we can take away from this story for ourselves to help us in our own walk with the Lord?

With the feeding of the multitudes, these men had just witnessed the power of Jesus in a remarkable way. He truly had control over the natural world. That must have been what helped Peter make his rather bold, or even presumptuous, request: “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.” Matt. 14:28.

It was not presumptuous to believe he could walk in water. He trusted Jesus with his whole heart, at that moment. But, poor Peter did not know himself nor of his need of continually keeping His focus on Jesus. Poor Peter thought he could walk on water when not connected with Christ.


What an expression of faith!

Yes, it was an expression of his faith in Jesus. But, it did not last. He almost lost his life. Why did Peter fall in the water? Why do we fall in the water (sin)? What was the solution for Peter? And what is the solution for us? And, where was Jesus when Peter fell? And where is Jesus when you fall?


Jesus, then, acknowledged this faith and told Peter to come, which he did, another expression of Peter’s faith. It would have been one thing to walk on water when it was calm, but Peter did so in the midst of a storm.

The usual lesson of the story is about taking our eyes off of Jesus. But there’s more. Peter surely must have trusted in Jesus, or he never would have made the request and then acted on it. However, once he did act, he started to get scared, and in that fear he began to sink.

Where did the "fear" come from?


Why? Could not Jesus have kept Peter afloat regardless of Peter’s fear? Jesus, however, allowed Peter to reach the point where he could do nothing but cry out in his helplessness, “Lord, save me!” (Matt. 14:30). Jesus then stretched out His hand and did just what Peter had asked. The fact that “Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him,” (Matt. 14:31), when Jesus could simply have kept him afloat without the physical contact, surely helped Peter realize just how much he had to learn to depend upon Jesus.

The lesson is just what we know. Peter could not walk on water in and of himself. The power comes from God. If we want to have power to overcome sin, we need to be reconciled with God, converted. We cannot resist sin in and of ourselves. We must have a living connection with Christ. When Peter took his eyes off of Christ, the connection was broken. His mind was no longer trusting in Jesus. Self took over and of course, the supernatural power found in Christ was lost. It is a hard lesson to learn, but a simple one. We need to be continually connected with Christ in order to do any good thing. We are evil by nature and are in continual need of Jesus. If we do not cling to Jesus, we shall fall.

We can start out in great faith, trusting in the power of our Lord, but when the situation gets frightful, we need to remember Jesus’ words to Peter: “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Matt. 14:31.

Are we like Peter? This experience with Peter falling into the water is only a little glimpse into the faith of Peter. It is very helpful to study the life of Peter during the 3 1/2 years with Jesus. In the Seventh-day Adventist Church it is commonly believed the disciples were not converted until after the crucifixion. But, this is not true. All except Judas had been converted prior to the cross. Why is this important? Because Satan has brought multiple "gospels" into the church. There is much confusion as to what it means to be converted, to have salvation. This is a masterpiece of deception.

As a people, we do not believe in once saved always saved, yet many have bought into a lie that once one is converted, he may sin and retain salvation. This is a form of once saved, always saved. No, it is not believed to be always, but there is no limit to how long one may be saved while sinning. When one allows for one to have salvation when one sins a known sin, then there is nothing to indicate one is not in a saved state.

As we study the disciples during the 3 1/2 years with Jesus, we can learn what it means to be converted. We know from what Jesus said to Peter, that he was not in a converted state at that time. "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired [to have] you, that he may sift [you] as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." Luke 22:31, 32.

But, we also have the Words of Jesus telling Peter that he does not need to be re-baptized, indicating he had been converted and baptized. "Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all." John 13:9,10.

Thus, we see that Peter had been converted, and that he was in need of being reconverted. When he walked out of the upper room the night he was re-converted, what happened later that night? And, after denying His Lord, where did Peter go, and what did he experience? The Bible is full of instruction for all who wish to know the truth.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Wednesday March 29

Denying His Lord

Read Luke 22:31-34, 54-62.

22:31   And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired [to have] you, that he may sift [you] as wheat: 
 22:32   But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 
 22:33   And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 
 22:34   And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. 
 22:54   Then took they him, and led [him], and brought him into the high priest's house. And Peter followed afar off. 
 22:55   And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. 
 22:56   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. 
 22:57   And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. 
 22:58   And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. 
 22:59   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. 
 22:60   And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 
 22:61   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. 
 22:62   And Peter went out, and wept bitterly. 


What lessons can we learn from Peter’s failures?

Peter’s intentions were good. And, in fact, he showed more courage than did the other disciples. He actually followed Jesus in order to discover what would happen to Him. But in doing so, he decided to hide his true identity. This compromise, this deviation from the path of what is good and right, led him to deny his Lord three times, exactly as Jesus had warned him.

Why did he hide his identity? What does this say about Peter's connection with Christ? Was Peter in a converted state when he hid his identity?


The story of Peter here is in a sad way very instructive on how devastating the result of compromise can be.

Yes, but what leads to compromise? The problem begins prior to compromising the truth. If we are connected with Christ, if the Holy Spirit has possession of the heart, there will be no compromise with the truth.


As we know, Christian history is soiled with the terrible results that happen when Christians compromise crucial truths. Though life itself often involves compromise, and we must at times be willing to give and take, in crucial truths we must stand firm. As a people, we must learn what are the things that we must never compromise, under any circumstances (see, for instance, Rev. 14:12 ).

Some truths can be compromised? Which truths are "crucial" and which are not? Is this setting up a difference between "little sins" and "large sins"?  This is a new direction, that some truths can be "compromised" while others cannot.

According to Ellen G. White, Peter’s compromise and failure began in Gethsemane when, instead of praying, he slept, and thus wasn’t spiritually ready for what was coming. Had he been faithful in prayer, she wrote, “he would not have denied his Lord.” - The Desire of Ages, p. 714.

Amen!  I appreciate the author getting to the foundation of our faith. It begins with the connection with Christ. If we do not maintain our connection with Christ, then how can we resist temptation to sin, we cannot. If Peter had kept his hold on Jesus, he would not have fallen in the water. If Peter had watched and prayed in the garden, then he would not have denied His Lord. It is a simple gospel. We need not remain deceived. If we abide in Christ, and He in us, then we will not deny our Lord (sin). If we take our eyes and mind off of Jesus, then will cannot help but sin. We need Jesus all of the time. "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." 1 John 3:9.


Yes, Peter failed terribly. But as great as his failure, God’s grace was even greater. “But  where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:” (Rom. 5:20). It was Jesus’ forgiveness that made Peter one of the prime leaders of the early Christian church. What a powerful lesson for us all about the reality of God’s grace. What a lesson to us all that, despite our failures, we should press on ahead in faith!

Amen! Grace is everything to us. It is grace that transforms sinners into saints. It is more than a word. It is the transforming power. It must be brought into the heart if it is to work a transformation in character. When we behold the loveliness of Jesus, it cleanses the heart and brings forth repentance.


Yes, Peter knew what it meant to be forgiven. He knew firsthand just what the gospel was all about because he had experienced, not just the reality of his human sinfulness but the greatness and depth of God’s love and grace toward sinners.

How can we learn to forgive those who have greatly disappointed us as Peter disappointed Jesus here?

The answer is in the experience of Peter. If we know we ought to be willing to forgive those who sin against us, then what will enable us to do this? What was Peter missing when he fell into the water? And, when he fell the night he denied Jesus? So it is with all sin. If we do not want to sin then we need to be found in a converted state, abiding in Jesus and He in us. If we lose our hold on Christ, then we are no longer partakers of His divine nature. The Holy Spirit no longer lives in the heart, and then the fruits of the Spirit will not be in the life. We need Jesus all the time to do any good thing, including be willing to forgive those who hurt us. The great evidence of conversion is loving those who despitefully use us.



Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Thursday March 30

Peter as Church Leader


During the ministry of Jesus, Peter often acted in the role of leader of the 12 disciples. He was their usual spokesman. When Matthew lists the disciples, he says “first, . . . Peter” (Matt. 10:2). Peter also took a prominent role in the early church. It was Peter who took the initiative to appoint a disciple to replace Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus (Acts 1:15-25). On the day of Pentecost, it was Peter who explained to the multitudes that they were seeing the promised gift of the Spirit, poured out by God upon His people (Acts 2:14-36). It was Peter who, when arrested for speaking about the resurrection of the dead, spoke to the high priest and the assembled Jewish leaders (Acts 4:1-12). It was Peter who was led to Cornelius, the first Gentile to be accepted as a follower of Jesus (Acts 10:1-48). It was Peter whom Paul visited for 15 days when Paul first came to Jerusalem after his conversion (Gal. 1:18). Indeed, describing the circle of Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem at that time, Paul identifies three “pillars” of the Church: Peter, James the brother of Jesus, and John the beloved disciple (Gal. 2:9).

Read Galatians 1:18, 19; 2:9, 11-14.

1:18   Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. 
 1:19   But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. 
 2:2   And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. 
 2:3   But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: 
 2:4   And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: 
 2:5   To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. 
 2:6   But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed [to be somewhat] in conference added nothing to me: 
 2:7   But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as [the gospel] of the circumcision [was] unto Peter; 
 2:8   (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) 
 2:9   And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we [should go] unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. 
 2:10   Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do. 
 2:11   But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 
 2:12   For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 
 2:13   And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 
 2:14   But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before [them] all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? 


What do these texts tell us about Peter, even while he functioned so prominently in the early church?

Was Peter attempting to save himself by keeping the law, or did Peter take his eyes off of Jesus and follow Satan's lead? Peter sinned.

Even as a church leader, even as someone clearly called of the Lord (Jesus told Peter, “Feed my sheep” John 21:17), even as the one who received the vision about not calling “any man common or unclean” (Acts 10:28 ), Peter still had some important growing to do.

In what respect? Moses at the end of his life sinned. There is no excuse for sin. We all need to grow in understanding we hurt Jesus when we sin. It is a hard lesson to learn that we need Jesus all of the time in order to resist the smallest temptation to sin.


In the early days of the church, almost all the Christians were Jews, many of whom were “zealous of the law” (Acts 21:20). In their interpretation of the law, eating with Gentiles was problematic because the Gentiles were considered unclean. When some Jewish Christians came from James at Jerusalem, Peter stopped eating with the Gentiles in Antioch.

For Paul, such behavior was an attack on the gospel itself. He saw Peter’s actions as frank hypocrisy and he wasn’t afraid to challenge him on it. In fact, Paul used the opportunity to express the key teaching of the Christian faith: justification by faith alone (see Gal. 2:14-16 ).

Paul reproved Peter. It was the same fear that led all of the apostles to tell Paul to go through the purification rites. They did not want to suffer persecution at the hands of the Jews in Jerusalem.


Though called of God, Peter had some blind spots that needed correcting. How do we respond when others seek to point out our own “blind spots”?

Point out our sin? There is error in theology, and there is sin. We need to distinguish between the two. Whether sin or ignorance of doctrine, if we are abiding in Christ, we are thankful for correction. If we are not abiding in Christ then what is our response?  Before being converted, I understood how harmful it is to remain ignorant. If I am wrong about something, and refuse to listen to one who is trying to enlighten me, what does that say about me? One does not have to be a converted Christian to know he hurts himself to reject correction. One may be quite selfish and appreciate correction. It is pretty bad to remain in error, purposefully.

If "blind spots" are as with Peter, sin, then what? Do we appreciate reproof? If not what does that say about our experience with Jesus at that moment? Some teach that we are not to reprove sin. Why would that be? What counsel do we have in Scripture about reproof?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Friday March 31

Further Thought: Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, “The Call by the Sea,” pp. 244-251, “A Night on the Lake,” pp. 377-382.

From the fisherman’s early admission of his own sinfulness to his bold declaration of Jesus that “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16) to his terrible denial of his Lord and even to his triumphs and mistakes as a leader in the church, Peter certainly had been a key player. Thus, under the flawless inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he could write what he did, not only from theoretical knowledge but from experience itself. He knew not only the saving grace of Christ but His transforming grace, as well: “Before his [Peter’s] great fall he was always forward and dictatorial, speaking unadvisedly from the impulse of the moment. He was always ready to correct others and to express his mind before he had a clear comprehension of himself or of what he had to say. But Peter was converted, and the converted Peter was very different from the rash, impetuous Peter. While he retained his former fervor, the grace of Christ regulated his zeal. Instead of being impetuous, self-confident, and self-exalted, he was calm, self-possessed, and teachable. He could then feed the lambs as well as the sheep of Christ’s flock.” - Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 334, 335.

Who among us can’t relate in some degree to Peter? Who hasn’t, at times, stood boldly for their faith? And who hasn’t, at times, failed miserably?

Amen. And, like Peter, James, John, Moses, Daniel, do we learn from our sins?

Discussion Questions:

    What does it tell us about the grace of God that even after such a shameful denial of Jesus, Peter would still come to play such a prominent and important role in not just the early church but in the Christian faith itself? (After all, he wrote part of the New Testament.) What lessons can we take from his restoration about how to deal with those who, in their own way, have failed the Lord?

How do we deal with repentant sinners, or how do we deal with unrepentant sinners? Is there a difference? The day after Peter denied Jesus is instructive. Was Peter repentant? And, why did Jesus ask Peter if he loved Him.....three times? It was humiliating to Peter. Why did Jesus put Peter through this humiliating experience. Why the need for reproving Peter when he already had repented of his great sin?


    In class, talk more about the dangers of compromise for the church. How can we know on what things we need to give and take, and on what things under no circumstances we can compromise? What are examples that we can find in church history of compromise that led to disaster? What lessons can we learn from these events?

Compromise. Printing books that are contrary to truth? Allowing false gospels to be preached from the pulpit? Compromising the health message in our medical institutions? Compromising the teaching of our children? Following culture instead of Scripture? How many examples shall we share? Baptizing practicing homosexuals. Placing unconverted church members on the platform. Ordaining men who are not converted. Allowing the teaching of evolution in our schools. When the church compromises with the truth, what is the result? What do we learn from past experience?

The Lord wanted to come long ago. He still wants to put and end to the sin and suffering in this world. But, He delays His coming because the church has not done her appointed work. We ought to learn from the experience of Israel. The Bible tells us this about Israel: "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." 1 Cor. 10:11.

Will we learn from Israel's and our own failures? Yes, but how long will it take? Meanwhile multitudes suffer and lose heaven when we continue in sin.


    Peter learned some lessons the hard way. From seeing his mistakes, how can we learn the lessons we need to learn but in an easier way than Peter did?

The answer is always the same, we need Jesus. We need to understand, teach, and live the gospel message. We need revival and reformation in the church. It begins with individual church members giving their whole heart to Christ. Let it begin with me. Peter learned that lesson, so can I. Let me learn of Christ, that by beholding Him, I will be transformed in character....every day.


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Memory Text:     But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Matthew 14:30, 31


Amen!  Peter also knew what it is to sin. His denial of Jesus was a constant reminder of his continual need of grace in order to keep from sinning. It is a wonderful object lesson for us today when we consider the power of grace to walk on water, and the helplessness of sinful man when we take our eyes off of Christ. We will sin when we take our eyes off of our Lord, just as surely as we will not sin as long as we maintain our connection with Him.

We need Jesus all the time in order to do any good thing. He knows this, and is right there beside us knocking on the door of the heart wanting back in, if we have fallen in the water. Is it that hard to cry out "Lord save me?" Sadly, for many it is. They do not think they need to be saved. They have been taught they are saved even when they sin.

 


This is so amazing that this truth is coming to the world church on the very Sabbath that this topic came up in a ministry meeting in one of the churches where I pastor in Michigan. We were talking about the waves and the wind. Peter fell under literal waves and was afraid of the literal wind. How else can we see the waters and the wind in light of Scripture?

Revelation 17:15 "And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."

Ephesians 4:14 "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive."


As the people around us are moved by the varying winds of doctrine that leads us to look to man instead of to Christ and His word, we begin to realize that our great need of continually abiding in Jesus is AS GREAT as when Peter felt he was drowning in the sea. We have no power in ourselves with which to combat human theories and doctrines that deceive. We are not to enter into controversy with Satan and those who are inspired by his spirit. That was Eve's mistake--she entered into a conversation with the serpent and went to parley with Satan.

Peter cried out for help when he felt he was literally drowning, but not when he tried to assume a false character and was questioned as to whether he was a follower of Jesus.

Matthew 26:69-74
69 Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.
70 But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.
71 And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.
72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.
73 And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.
74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.


Let us learn that can be those nearest us--friends, coworkers, members of the church, or family who may say something that is deceptive or untrue, or that may call forth from us (if we are not abiding) a response that is not a revelation of the divine nature. We see what the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) looks like:

Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.


This is the divine nature--and when we live by faith upon the Son of God, all of these fruits will be in our lives without one missing! But if we take our eyes off Jesus for a moment, we will inevitably fall. But there is no excuse for sinning, for grace is provided for each of us:

1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

We are to keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus and respond in a Christlike spirit. We need Jesus constantly or else we can do nothing but fall. Apart from Him, we can do nothing! Let us learn the lesson rather than deny Jesus His reward by committing one more sin that brings infinite pain to His heart. His grace is sufficient for you and me--now! Behold Him, and you will be transformed!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Amen, Pastor Sean!  Jesus is coming soon! There are two classes being formed, those who love God and obey the truth, and those who do not love God, and reject the truth. It is a sad situation to see those who are rejecting great light. In the process when God is separating the wheat from the tares, we must do all we can to lead even the Saul's to Christ. Saul of Tarsus was a persecutor of Christians, yet he was not only saved, but wrote most of the New Testament. Poor Ananias tried to tell God all about Saul: "Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem."

There are "Sauls" in this our day. We must present the truth, reprove sin, correct false doctrine, but do so with love and in the hope of leading the erring to the truth. We do not know who can be saved and who has already crossed the line of no return. In Christ we an example of how to work with people. Let us form characters that will be both merciful and just amid a Laodicean church and a world that is soon to perish. Let us "feed the sheep" with pure provender thoroughly winnowed of chaff.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

colporteur

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Sunday March 26

What should  Luke 5:1-9 tell us about our success in catching fish, where it seems there are no fish,.... if we will simply put down our nets ?
It's easier to slow a fast horse down than to get a dead one going.

Richard Myers

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It seems there were fish. How come they did not catch any until Jesus told them to put down the nets again. Why do we meet with what appears to be failure?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.