Summary: In this Easter series, we look at 4 people and how they responded to their encounters with Christ.
Living in Denial
Illus. Did you see the “Deal or no Deal” where the girl was an avid NY Jets fan?
•More than that, she loved Curtis Martin. He was her hero.
•As a result of being on the show, she not only got to meet Curtis, but was invited to the stadium where she met many of the guys on the team.
•It was an incredible, unforgetful moment that changed her life.
Illus. Have you ever met someone who greatly impacted your life?
•Maybe it was a chance encounter. Maybe it was a once in a lifetime meeting.
•That moment, that encounter, forever changed your life.
Better yet, have you personally encountered Jesus Christ and has He changed your life?
Today, we begin a new series called “Easter Encounters”.
We’re going to look at various people who encountered Jesus during His earthly ministry and how that encounter changed their lives.
We begin with perhaps the most memorable person – Peter.
While Peter had an incredible 3 year encounter with Christ, today’s account was one he truly wished to forget. Please turn again to Mt. 26:29-75.
Obviously, Peter’s encounter with Jesus transformed his life forever.
•But I believe it’s his denial that truly shaped his future ministry and impact.
•My prayer is that this will also impact and shape our future walk with Christ.
Peter’s denial hits us all especially hard.
Illus. Did you ever watch a suspense movie where the most unsuspecting person is the criminal?
Peter is the last person we would think of who would deny Jesus.
•It was Peter who got out of the boat and walked on water.
•It was Peter who declared, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
•It was Peter who said, “I will die with You and never deny You.”
•It was Peter who drew his sword and cut off the servant’s ear in Gethsemane.
Remember, Jesus Himself had just warned Peter last night that he would deny Him.
How could Peter, of all people, deny Christ? The simple answer is fear.
Peter was bold and brash when he was around Jesus.
•But when Jesus was arrested, Peter became a coward.
Illus. Like a cat hiding behind your legs and reaching out to attack.
Peter had spent the last 3 years with the Son of God.
Now everything was changed. His confusion and misunderstanding gave way to fear.
•Fear that he had been deceived and deserted.
•Fear that his hopes and dreams had been crushed.
•Fear that he, too, would be caught and punished and possibly killed.
What’s even scarier is that if Peter could deny Christ, what does that say about us?
There is not a person here today who has never denied Christ.
•Oh, we may not have pulled a doozy like Peter did.
•But how often are we guilty of denying Him in other ways?
There are actually several ways we can deny Christ.
I. HOW DO WE DENY CHRIST?
A. Our speech
Peter directly denied knowing Christ 3 times.
Mt. 26:74 THEN HE BEGAN TO CALL DOWN CURSES ON HIMSELF AND HE SWORE TO THEM, “I DON’T KNOW THE MAN!”
Illus. When I was about 11 or 12, I told my friends I was going to be a pastor.
•But in my later teen years, I fell away and gave in to peer pressure.
•One day, someone reminded me of my previous pastoral intent.
•I still remember cursing him to his face. I can relate to Peter’s experience.
There are other less obvious ways we can deny Christ by our speech.
Have you ever told a crude joke or laughed at others’ crude jokes?
Have you ever cursed or taken the Lord’s Name in vain?
Has your speech ever contradicted your faith in Christ?
Col. 3:17 WHATEVER YOU DO, WHETHER IN WORD OR DEED, DO IT ALL IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS, GIVING THANKS TO GOD THE FATHER THROUGH HIM.
When we don’t do that, we in effect deny our relationship with Christ.
B. Our show (Our actions, our behavior, the things we do)
Titus 1:16 THEY CLAIM TO KNOW GOD, BUT BY THEIR ACTIONS THEY DENY HIM.
1 Tim. 5:8 IF ANYONE DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR HIS RELATIVES, AND ESPECIALLY FOR HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY, (faith in action) HE HAS DENIED THE FAITH AND IS WORSE THAN AN UNBELIEVER.
Illus. Numerous polls have been taken regarding Christians and their behavior.
•The overwhelming conclusion is that there is no difference between how believers in America live and how unbelievers live.
•We watch the same shows, go to the same parties, do the same things.
It’s no wonder that Christianity in America is dying when believers deny Christ by their actions.
C. Our selfishness
Our pride, our greed, our desire for more only tells God He’s not enough for us.