Sermons

Summary: Looking at some of the character flawed personalities that surrounded Jesus in his last days.

Matthew 16:21-23

“From then on, Jesus began telling His disciples what would happen to Him. He said, ‘I must go to Jerusalem. There the nation’s leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make me suffer terribly. I will be killed, but three days later I will rise to life.’

Peter took Jesus aside and told Him to stop talking like that. He said, ‘God would never let this happen to you, Lord!”

Jesus turned to Peter and said, ‘Satan, get away from me! You’re in my way because you think like everyone else and not like God.’”

Well meaning friends. We all have them. Folks who go out of their way to redirect our thoughts and attention. For this message I’ve called them "Clueless Claudes." They mean well, but they don’t have a clue. Their intentions are not always bad. Peter didn’t realize he was trying to divert a divine plan. Friends like these are just trying to help. They think they are doing the right thing, often because the things God calls us to, do not make sense in the minds of men. As far as many of these folks are concerned their friend just needs some encouragement. Peter obviously thought this way. Look at his words, "...God would never let this happen to you..." It is a limited knowledge of circumstances and direction that causes this conflict.

Peter had a cause for distraction. His whole life revolved around being with Jesus. He had personal reasons, Jesus might frighten people with that kind of talk. Certainly Peter was uncomfortable with possible outcomes. Peter had given up his fishing business for Jesus...if something did happen to Jesus, Peter would have to start all over again. What we begin to see is that when it comes to discouragers...their concern is often more for themselves. What will happen to me?

I may be left behind? Discouragement and redirection is their tool to delay the inevitable.

Ultimately the Clueless Claudes in your life are motivated by fear. They are afraid of failure, of loneliness, of the unknown, and of course a fear of loss. I can remember when I went into the ministry, the other church I was looking at was in Dover, Delaware. My parents, bless their hearts, had alot of well meaning conversations with me. Ultimately it was their own fears of me moving across the country that drove many of those conversations. I say this to make a point...often times those closest to us are some of the greatest sources of discouragement.

When someone is able to speak discouragement or distraction into your life, they become an agent of doubt. These doubts may cause you to second guess, to hesitate, and ultimately to focus inwardly. Once we have focused inwardly, our eyes are no longer on God and His will for our lives, but instead on us and our selfish motives. Some of God’s greatest plans for the lives of men have been sidetracked by this shift of focus. Sometimes a shift of focus can have catastrophic consequences.

Dealing With The Ninja In Your Life. Back in the early 80’s there were several Ninja movies that came out. I used to love watching them. Ninja were assassins hired by Japanese warlords many centuries ago. They were notorious, because of their use of stealth. Unfortunately the Clueless Claude’s of our life are often the Ninja that sidetrack God’s best for our life. Certainly Peter was used in this manner.

Recognize the source of the distraction. Your friends and family are merely the vessel being used, but Satan is the source. Look at Jesus response...He didn’t address Peter...He addressed Satan. Satan was using Peter’s weakness to distract Jesus. Satan seeks to distract you from fulfilling God’s will in your life.

Satan will do anything to steal God’s glory. He knows he is not going to win the war...but if he can win the occassional confrontation he’s happy. You see your obedience is threatening to Satan. If you became a sold out, 100% committed Christian...you might be used of God to snatch others away from Satan...you better believe he doesn’t want that.

Correct those who discourage you. Explain where and why God is leading you in a certain direction. Ask God to reveal the truth to them. I think of the story in 2 Kings 6 about Elisha and his servant. Elisah and his servant were surrounded by Syrian troops. The servant got paniced and shared his panic to Elisha. The Bible tells us that Elisha prayed that the servant’s eyes would be opened. The Bible says that the servant saw that their were fiery chariots and horses all around Elisha. Sometimes God does not allow others to see everything He allows us to see...pray for those who are spiritually blind. Show them God’s direction and help them to see God’s plan for their own life. Of course we must remember to love them in spite of their tunnel vision. Remember that love covers a multitude of sins.

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