Summary: A close look at what it means to be sifted by the devil; for God’s glory and service.
Do you want to be sifted?
This week, we remember the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey (which fulfills Zechariah 9:9) and many rejoiced to go out and see Him.
However, as we saw on Sunday morning – there were the cries of “Hosanna” (save us) – but the same crowd also cried “Crucify Him” just a few days later as He was arrested and put on trial and finally crucified for your sins.
Tonight, I want us to look at something that not a lot of sermons remember at Easter.
This could be a Sunday morning message – but I let me be honest with you – this message is intended for those looking for a deeper growth. What we are going to discuss tonight is written in black and white but does take some spiritual maturity to really understand and apply.
Have you ever been sifted?
When you are sifted God is allowing your faith to be tested. He is allowing you to be set apart and proven loyal to His service.
This process takes away what does not belong, and all that is left is pure and useable for whatever you are doing. VERY IMPORTANT: We are sifted by God when we 1) ask for it, and when we 2) need it.
Tonight, as we journey closer to Easter I want us to see what this means and how we need to apply it to our lives. We pick up the story tonight as the disciples and Jesus are gathered for the Last Supper in the upper room. Jesus is speaking and teaching them about humbleness and servanthood (because they are arguing about who will be best in the Kingdom).
Read Luke 22:31-34
Point 1 – Nothing is done without God’s permission
Look at the words Jesus uses – “Satan has asked” – this phrase is so often missed in the life of a New Testament believer that it honestly ought to be put on our refrigerators so we can see it every day.
Satan has no authority in this world over the believer. He has no ability to curse, manipulate, or do anything else unless he first asks permission from God.
The fact that Jesus mentions this means that IT IS TRUE – and before we can move forward in our faith and renewal we need this applied to our hearts.
God has given Satan only the amount of power and authority that he needs to have in order to function and not one inch more.
However, consider this – how many times have we given the devil more credit than he is due? How many times have we said “the devil made me do it” or “that old devil is controlling things”? To that I say no more!
He has no authority!! This really spoke to my heart this week that God has not given anyone else authority over me, and there is no temptation common to man that I cannot overcome! (Reference: 1 Cor 10:13)
So get that first – before Satan has anything to do with you he has to ask God for permission – and then it is only allowed to prove your loyalty to God. Have you been sifted and proven untrue? Let us gain strength from that tonight.
Point 2 – Satan has asked to sift you
The definition of sifting is to be “passed through fine sieve for perfect blending and to remove foreign or oversize particles.”
When you are sifted by the devil, God is testing your faith. He wants you to be stronger and allow the junk to be removed!
Being sifted is a good thing, because it means that God is ready to do something else with you. It means that you have stayed stagnant long enough and it is time to shake off the cobwebs and follow His lead.
When you are sifted, God is moving in your life.
When you do not follow that movement of God – you are being disobedient. It does not matter how you slice it, or how you justify it to yourself – when God moves and you resist, you are disobedient.
Let’s re-read what Jesus says again in v31-32
Jesus has prayed for him to have strength to withstand the sifting, and we see later how Peter denied Jesus and how he felt afterwards.
This is what ought to happen to us when we fail. Some though, have grown too hardened inside to even see this betrayal Jesus anymore. This is sin. This is what we need to combat and get out in the light.
Jesus prays for Peter to have the strength to holdup, and if you want to see what a real prayer looks like you will read John Chapters 16-17. This is what Jesus was praying for – that we (Peter) would be able to stand up against the attack of the enemy.