Summary: When Pentecost arrived, Peter was a changed man. In this sermon, we explore what brought about the transformation.
A. One day an Amish family visited a mall in the big city, something they had never done before.
1. The family split up into smaller groups and moved about the mall, being amazed by almost everything they saw.
2. The father and one of his sons were especially amazed by the two shiny, silver walls that could move apart and back together again.
3. The boy asked his father, “What is that, Father?”
a. The father responded, “Son, I don’t know, I have never seen anything like that in my life.”
4. While the boy and his father were watching the shiny, silver walls, an old lady in a wheel chair rolled up to the moving walls and pressed a button.
a. The walls opened and the lady rolled between them into a small room.
b. The walls closed and the boy and his father watched small circles of lights with numbers above the walls light up.
c. They continued to watch the circles light up in the reverse direction.
d. The walls opened up and they were amazed when a beautiful, young woman stepped out.
5. The father said to his son, “Quick, son, go get your mother.”
B. Don’t you wish there was an elevator that could cause whatever kind of transformation we wanted?
1. We could step in as we are, the doors would close, and then when the doors reopened we could step out as we want to be.
2. Transformation is something that most of us are looking for in many areas of our lives, including physically, relationally, occupationally, financially, emotionally and spiritually.
3. We all have seen those advertisements with the before and after pictures – that I’m sure they are always true and accurate, right?
4. We are suckers when a product is advertised as “new and improved” – wow, I better buy it now because it is new and improved!
C. The question that I want us to explore today is the question: Can People Really Change?
1. Can people change or can’t they?
2. Are people stuck the way they are, or can they be remolded?
3. Is it possible to become “new and improved?”
D. For the past several months we have been examining the life of the apostle Peter.
1. During this series, I think we have gotten to know Peter quite well.
2. We have witnessed Peter’s strengths and weaknesses, and have seen his personality and tendencies.
3. When Jesus initially introduced himself to Peter, Peter told Jesus to get away from him because he was a sinful man, but Jesus invited him to be a disciple anyhow.
4. When Jesus came walking on the water, we witnessed Peter boldly request the opportunity to do the same, and Jesus granted his request and Peter walked on the water for a few steps and then he sank, but Jesus grabbed him by the hand and helped him get back into the boat.
5. When Jesus announced that He was going to Jerusalem to be crucified, Peter told Him that was not going to happen, and Jesus referred to Peter as Satan. “Get behind me, Satan!”
6. When Jesus announced that all of the disciples would abandon Him, Peter quickly said that all the others might, but he never would – then Jesus said to Peter that he would deny Jesus three times that very night – and Peter did that very thing.
7. After Peter’s denial, Jesus was crucified, then was resurrected and appeared to His disciples.
8. In our last sermon, we saw Peter sitting around a charcoal fire with Jesus and some of the disciples having some breakfast, while Jesus asked Peter three times if Peter loved Him.
a. Although he was hurt by Jesus’ questions, Peter answered each of them, “Lord, you know that I love you.”
b. Jesus replied to each of Peter’s responses with a command: “First, Feed my lambs. Second, Take care of my sheep. And third, “Feed my sheep.”
c. Then Jesus commanded Peter: “Follow me!”
E. Let’s spend a minute being reminded of the timing of these events.
1. Jesus was crucified and resurrected on the day before and after the Sabbath of the Passover.
2. Following the resurrection Jesus made appearances to His disciples for 40 days, and then they watched as Jesus ascended into the heavens, promising to return the same way some day.
3. One of the parts of the story of Peter’s life that we want to discuss today occurred on the Day of Pentecost, which took place 50 days after Passover.
4. And so there was a 10 day period (about a week and one half) between the time the disciples last saw Jesus and when the promised Holy Spirit came upon them.
5. Let’s take a look at the new and improved Peter and discover what made the difference.