Sermons

Summary: THIS IS THE LAST IN A SERIES ON CHOICES WE MUST MAKE AS CHRISTIANS. WE MUST CHOOSE TO STAND FOR THE LORD IN A NON-CHRISTIAN WORLD, AND IN A WORLD WHERE MANY CHURCHES ARE WALKING AWAY FROM THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH OF THE WORD.

I CHOOSE TO STAND

MATTHEW 26:24-35; 69-75

THE LAST CHOICE WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT IN THIS SERIES IS THE MOST IMPORTANT NEXT TO ACCEPTING CHRIST. THE CALL MUST GO FORTH FROM CHURCHES TO BOLDLY PROCLAIM AND LIVE OUR FAITH IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. TODAY WE ARE CALLED AS JOSHUA DID, TO STAND FOR THE FAITH.

JOSHUA 24:15: BUT IF SERVING THE LORD SEEMS UNDESIRABLE TO YOU, THEN CHOOSE FOR YOURSELVES THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE, WHETHER THE GODS YOUR ANCESTORS SERVED BEYOND THE EUPHRATES, OR THE GODS OF THE AMORITES, IN WHOSE LAND YOU ARE LIVING. BUT AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSEHOLD, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.”

JAMES MacDONALD WRITES:

“THE FINAL CHOICE THAT SEALS OUR FUTURE AND KEEPS US GOING FORWARD INTO ALL THE BLESSINGS THAT THESE INCREDIBLE CHOICES CAN BRING IS THE CHOICE TO STAND. I’M NOT GOING BACK, I’M NOT CAVING IN, AND I’M NOT GOING TO REGRESS, RETREAT, OR REGRET THE CHOICES I’VE MADE. I’M GOING TO STAND.”

THE CHOICE TO STAND IS NOT ALWAYS POPULAR IN TODAY’S WORLD. SECULAR SOCIETY HAS ATTACKED THE CHURCH IN RECENT YEARS, BUT THE ATTACK NOW ALSO COMES FROM CHURCHES WHO NO LONGER STAND FOR THE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE FAITH.

TODAY I WANT TO CHALLENGE YOU TO MAKE ONE MORE CRITICAL CHOICE FOR GOD. I WANT TO CHALLENGE YOU TO STAND FOR CHRIST.

POINT ONE: PETER’S EXAMPLE

THE PASSAGE WE READ TAKES PLACE ON THE LAST NIGHT OF JESUS’ LIFE. THE LAST SUPPER IS OVER, JUDAS HAS GONE ON HIS MISSION TO BETRAY CHRIST. THE CONVERSATION THAT FOLLOWS BETWEEN JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES IS EXTREMELY SAD AND HEARTBREAKING.

JESUS TOLD THEM:

MATTHEW 26:31: THEN JESUS TOLD THEM, “THIS VERY NIGHT YOU WILL ALL FALL AWAY ON ACCOUNT OF ME, FOR IT IS WRITTEN: “ ‘I WILL STRIKE THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP OF THE FLOCK WILL BE SCATTERED.’

THESE WORDS MUST HAVE STUNNED THE DISCIPLES. WHAT WOULD BE SO HORRIFIC, SO GHASTLY, THAT COULD MAKE THEM ALL LEAVE THE LEADER THEY LOVED AND FOLLOWED FOR THREE YEARS? WHAT DID HE KNOW THAT THEY DIDN’T?

JESUS KNEW THAT THE PAIN AND TORTURE OF THE CROSS AND THE EVENTS LEADING UP TO IT WERE AHEAD OF HIM. HE KNEW THE CROWD WOULD TURN AGAINST HIM. HE KNEW THAT ALL THIS HAD TO HAPPEN TO FULFILL PROPHECY AND ESTABLISH THE PLAN OF SALVATION. JESUS KNEW HE WOULD HAVE TO STAND, AND STAND ALONE, TO CONCLUDE HIS MINISTRY ON EARTH.

JESUS’ WORDS WERE CHALLENGED BY HIS DISCIPLES AND FOR JUST REASON. FOR THREE YEARS JESUS HAD SUCCESSFULLY MET ALL THE CHALLENGES THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS DIRECTED TO HIM. QUITE POSSIBLY THEY DEVELOPED A FEELING OF SUPERIORITY OVER THE LEADERS.

THIS FEELING OF SUPERIORITY THOUGH WAS BECAUSE OF JESUS. HE WAS THE ONE WHO FACED THE CHALLENGES OF THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS WHILE THEY STOOD IN THE BACKGROUND. HE WAS THE ONE WHO FACED THE DEMANDING CROWDS. THE DISCIPLES DIDN’T HAVE TO STAND FOR THEIR FAITH, BUT INSTEAD HID BEHIND JESUS.

IT WAS IN THIS FEELING OF SUPERIORITY THAT PETER HAD HIS DISCUSSION WITH JESUS. PETER’S RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS WAS IMMATURE AND TURBULENT. ONE MOMENT HE IS FULL OF FAITH AND WALKS ON THE WATER. THE NEXT HE TAKES HIS EYES OFF CHRIST AND SINKS.

THIS SAME ATTITUDE RISES HERE. PETER HAS NO IDEA AS TO WHAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN. LARGE ANGRY CROWDS AND RELIGIOUS LEADERS THAT WOULD NOW HAVE THE UPPER HAND ARE NEW CIRCUMSTANCES FOR PETER TO DEAL WITH.

PETER’S IMPULSIVE REACTION “I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU” WAS NATURAL AS HE PROBABLY FELT THAT SOMEHOW JESUS WOULD STILL FIND A WAY TO ESCAPE. THE VIOLENCE OF JESUS’ ARREST AND TRIAL, AND HIS CRUCIFIXION HAD ALL THE DISCIPLES ASKING “COULD THIS HAPPEN TO US?” FEAR THEN SET IN AND THAT FEAR LED TO PETER’S DENIALS OF A RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST.

WHAT WOULD HAUNT PETER MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE WAS THE FACT THAT BEFORE THIS, JESUS PREDICTED THAT HE WOULD DENY CHRIST THREE TIMES THAT NIGHT. THE ROOSTER CROWED JUST A FEW HOURS LATER, AND IT LEFT PETER IN A STATE OF DEPRESSION AND HOELESSNESS AT HIS REFUSAL TO STAND FOR HIS LORD.

I WONDER HOW MANY TIMES WE HAVE WALKED IN PETER’S SHOES. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE WE BEEN ASKED ABOUT OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST ONLY TO DENY WE HAD ONE: 1. IN ORDER TO FIT IN

2. AVOID RIDICULE

3. ESCAPE PERSECUTION

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE WE FACED THE INNER DISAPPOINTMENT OF SAYING “NO. I DON’T KNOW HIM.”

TO STAND FOR CHRIST IS TO STAND FOR THE WORLD TO SEE. IT IS TO VOLUNTARILY CHOOSE TO LIVE IN A GLASS HOUSE, UNDER THE SCRUTINY OF ALL. MAKE NO MISTAKE, CHRISTIANITY IS A SECRET SOCIETY. THOSE WHO KNOW US BEST SHOULD HAVE NO DOUBT AS TO OUR STAND WITH THE LORD.

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