Summary: In this sermon we look at what happens to Peter, and what will happen to us when we follow the Lord from a distance
Following From A Distance
You look at the life of Peter, and you see a roller coaster experience. He is up and down more times than the Great American Scream Machine. He is at times is over-confidence, and half-cocked. At one point he’s ready to die for the Lord, and hours later, he deny’s even knowing who he is ! Is your relationship with the Lord much like Peter’s ? I can find many points on which I can relate to Peter. This morning I want us to look at Peter’s worst moments !
I. Peter Had A Problem With Distance. V.54
Though Peter followed the Lord, he is distant. Look back with me if you would to V33 "And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death."
Peter’s relationship with the Lord had more ups and downs than the Scream Machine ! In one instance, he’s walking on water, and in the next moment, he’s sinking beneath the waves. At one point he boldly confesses who he believes the Lord to be. Peter trys to rebuke the Lord after Jesus told them of his impending death. Jesus warns him that Satan is trying to sift him like wheat. And in these last days before the crucifixion, Peter boldly states that he will go to prison with the Lord, and even die for him. Yet in a short time, he falls asleep while the Lord is praying. As the Roman soldiers approach the Lord to arrest him, Peter shows remarkable courage by drawing a sword and cutting off the ear of one of the soldiers, but now as the Lord is led away we see Peter following at a distance....staying out of sight, staying in the shadows. Why was Peter keeping his distance ?
II. Peter Had A Problem With Discernment. V.55
Peter shows a real lack of discernment, and wisdom by what he does next. Having kept his distance as he followed the Lord and those who had arrested him, Peter now comes in, and plops himself right down next to the enemies of the Lord. He warms himself at the fire that they had kindled. Why would Peter do such a thing ? He wants to maintain some contact with the Lord. He wants to find out what happens, but he doesn’t want to be connected. He hopes that by sitting down among them that he will be counted among them. He hopes that he can mingle with them, and thus not stand out.
Folks, you better pay attention, and learn from Peter. You can’t sit with the enemy, and warm yourself by the enemies fire, and not be burned ! When you follow the Lord at a distance, when you lose your closeness to the Lord, you will soon find yourself camped out with the enemy !
III. Peter Had A Problem With Denial. Vs 56-62
It was easier for Peter earlier in his discipleship when the Lord asked who they believed that he was. Listen to his confident confession: Mat 16:16 Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And hadn’t he just hours earlier said that he would go to prison, and even die with him ? Yet now, having followed at a distance, and camped out by the enemy’s fire, he soons deny’s having known the Lord, and having been with him ! Peter, the stone, crumbles !
Folks....be careful what you say.....be careful where you stray......be careful with whom you stay ! You’ll soon find yourself talking just like them, and living just like them !
Why I would never.......you might say ! Have you not done so already ? By your own lack of activity, and involvement, have you not denied the Lord ? Think of those times that you had a opportunity to speak up for the Lord or witness for the Lord, and yet you chose to remain silent ! Does your silence not speak volumes ? Does it not say......I have not been with him ! I do not know who he is !
IV. Peter Had A Problem With Departing. John 21:1-3
Though the resurrected Lord had appeared to him, Peter had yet to be confronted with his denial. The rooster crowing is still fresh in his mind. Uncertain about what the future holds, Peter decides to depart, and return to his former occupation. V3. "I go a fishing....."
The word "I go" literally mean "I retire".
When our relationship with the Lord is distant, we lack discernment.
We will soon find ourselves in the wrong place, hanging with the wrong people. The next step is then denial or refusal, and from their we will not only find ourself distant from the Lord, but in danger of departing !