Summary: God is calling us to go deeper into His love, His Word and relationships with one another. He is calling us to grow strong. And He is calling us to bear fruit in our lives – the fruit of the Spirit, the harvest, and ministry and service.
GO DEEP, GROW STRONG, AND BEAR FRUIT #2
VISION FOR 2012:
THE BIG IDEA: God is calling us to go deeper into His love, His Word and relationships with one another. He is calling us to grow strong. And He is calling us to bear fruit in our lives – the fruit of the Spirit, the harvest, and ministry and service.
Today, let’s look at the life of one of the disciples of Jesus who failed in all three areas: Peter.
THE CALL OF SIMON PETER:
“And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." They immediately left their nets and followed Him.” (Matthew 4:18-20).
• Peter was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, and a part of the inner three w/ James & John.
• Jesus sent Peter and the disciples out to preach the Gospel and heal the sick.
• In Matthew 14:28-33, Peter walked on water with Jesus.
• Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter which means rock.
A NIGHT IN THE LIFE OF PETER:
“30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: 'I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' 32 But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee." 33 Peter answered and said to Him, "Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble." 34 Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." 35 Peter said to Him, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" And so said all the disciples.” (Matthew 26:30-35).
• Peter declared boldly that he would never deny Jesus.
• After this story, Jesus took Peter, James and John into the garden with him and while Jesus prayed, they fell asleep (v. 36-41).
• Later that night when soldiers came to arrest Jesus, Peter cut a man’s ear off (v. 51).
• Then, Peter followed Jesus at a distance (v. 58) and denied him three times (v. 69-74).
• “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly.” (v. 75).
• After Jesus’ death on the Cross, Peter returned to being a fisherman (John 21:3).
• Here was a disciple who wasn’t going deep, growing strong, or bearing fruit.
• However, after a radical encounter with the resurrected Jesus, Peter turned his life around and became a fruitful disciple. Let’s take a look at his life some more…
1. GO DEEP:
“For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:25).
• At one point, Peter had followed Jesus at a distance. There was no fire or passion.
• After Jesus’ resurrection, Peter returned to Jesus and began following Him closely.
• Peter later wrote: “Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious.” (1 Peter 2:7).
• If we want to be strong and bear fruit, we need roots that go deep. Deep into what?
A. GO DEEP INTO GOD’S LOVE: (worship/prayer)
Peter said: “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever.” (2 Peter 3:18).
Last week: “And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love.” (Eph. 3:17, NLT).
• We need to press in for a deeper relationship with Jesus.
B. GO DEEP INTO GOD’S WORD: (discipleship)
Peter said: “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” (1 Peter 2:1-3).
• I want to challenge you to go deeper in the Word this year – take the 5 minute challenge!
C. GO DEEP INTO OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH ONE ANOTHER: (fellowship).
Peter said: “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous.” (1 Peter 3:8).
“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins." Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.” (1 Peter 4:8-9).