Summary: Peter denied Jesus, but he was able to repent and return back to Him. He therefore encourages us to guide against backslidding and denial of Jesus.
EXPOSITORY STUDY ON THE BACKSLIDDEN OF PETER
Study Text: 2 Peter 2: 20 - 22
- In 2Pet 2:20-22, we read of the real possibility and serious consequences of backsliding
- It is interesting that we find this passage coming from the inspired pen of Peter...
* For if anyone knew "firsthand" the reality and dangers of backsliding, it was Peter!
As he discovered the night he denied Jesus!
- The process of backsliding is a gradual one, often overtaking a person by surprise; and lest we fall from our own steadfastness...
* We shall carefully examine the process that led to Peter's denial of Christ. Followed by noticing how Peter's own words in his epistles are designed to prevent the same from happening to us!
I. THE EXPOSITION ON THE LIFE OF A BACKSLIDER
A. PRIDE - Mark 14:27-31
- In a boastful manner, Peter claims he will not fall away or deny Christ! In doing so, Peter takes the first step in backsliding: “pride"! -. Prov 16:18. Why is this the "first" step?
* Because the first step in entering the kingdom is humility- Mat 18:3-4. So if we lose "humility", we take that first step backward. 1Cor 10:11
B. LAZINESS - Mark 14:32-42
- Told to keep watch, Peter kept falling asleep. It was therefore lack of diligent preparation which caused him to be caught off guard for what was to follow.
- The same thing can happen to us! Without diligence, we too can be found unprepared - Luk 21:34-36. More often than not, it is a "gradual drifting" that catches us off guard -Heb 2:1-3. But when we are proud of ourselves, we become lazy, and that easily leads to the next step.
C. COWARDICE - Mark 14:54
- Note that it says "...Peter followed Him at a distance". Now that Jesus had become unpopular, Peter stays far enough away so as not to be identified with Him. Peter was unprepared for the challenge of facing ridicule and persecution
-Without diligent preparation, we too can become guilty of cowardice!
a. Ashamed to be seen carrying a Bible, b. Ashamed to be seen giving thanks
c. Ashamed to be seen with other Christians d. Perhaps even ashamed to let others know that we are Christians!
- And yet, Jesus has made it clear what He thinks of "cowardice". Mark 8:38; Rev 21:8
*When we are ashamed of Christ, it is natural for us to fall into the next step of backsliding.
D. WORLDLINESS - Mark 14:54
- We now find Peter sitting with the servants of the High Priest and warming himself by the fire. Ashamed to be seen with Christ, it becomes easy to mingle with those of the world and enjoy their comforts.
- But one cannot be "comforted by the fire" of the world, and not be "burned"!
* Close contact with that which can harm has its effects! - Prov 6:27-29. So it is we cannot "flirt with the world" and walk away untouched! - 1Cor 15:33
- By the time we become "friends with the world", it is only a short time before we take the next and final step of backsliding.
E. DENIAL - Mark 14:66-71
- Away from Christ, at comfort with those in the world, Peter finds himself denying His Lord and Savior! In so doing, he has put himself in grave danger - Mat 10:32-33
-Though we may never actually deny Jesus in "words", we can easily backslide to the point of denying Him in "action".
a. We are called to worship Him...but make excuses why we cannot
b. We are called to serve Him...but render little or no service
c. We are called to stand by His side and suffer for His name...but stand afar off in the safety of the world's comfort
-When we deny the Lord, our backsliding is complete; unless we repent, the only thing left is to one day face the Lord, where we will fully realize the error of our ways!
-For Peter, he fully realized his sin when the Lord turned and looked at him there in the courtyard (Luk 22:60-62). Imagine the feeling in Peter's heart as those eyes of His Savior pierced his soul! Like Judas, Peter wept bitterly over his sin.
-Unlike Judas, Peter had "godly sorrow" that results in true repentance ( 2Cor 7:10-11). And years later, we find Peter writing the sort of things that would prevent us from making the same mistake he did.
II. THE EXHORTATION FROM THE LIFE OF A BACKSLIDER
A. TO GUARD AGAINST "PRIDE".
- Peter enjoins "humility" - 1Pet 5:5-6. Indeed, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble"
B. TO WARD AGAINST "LAZINESS".
- Peter commands "diligence" - 1Pet 5:8-9. Note especially his words in his second epistle - 2Pet 1:5,10; 3:14