Summary: Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus: Sifted But Sustained Because Jesus is Praying for Us!
Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus:
Sifted But Sustained Because Jesus is Praying for Us!
June 20, 10
I remember the most difficult time in my life, sifted like wheat. I felt like my life was caving in and I was in the bottom of a cup and could not even reach the lip to pull myself up. In that times I had all kinds of crazy, irrational, and scary thoughts went through my mind seeking to escape the pain I was in. I was being sifted and in that sifting I was getting bruised up pretty badly yet I did not fall through the sifters sieve.
WE- We will all go through trials/temptations that can be insignificant to ginormous in our lives, or at least it feels that way. It is Gods design in those times to sanctify us and strengthen us; it is Satan’s’ design to deceive, defeat, and destroy us.
GOD - The encouragement and hope that I want to give you today from God's Word is that, if you love God, if you are his child, if you are called according to his purpose, and you are despairing of your own resources and looking to Christ for hope, then to you belongs a wonderful promise: Jesus prays for you, and he will never let Satan destroy your faith and bring you to ruin.
Big idea – Sifting will come in our lives for our good and when it does Jesus promises to sustain us.
First thing we see is that Satan does nothing outside Gods will. Satan had to get permission to sift Peter and the rest of the disciples (you is plural) just like he had to get permission to sift Job. There are two implications we can draw from this. The first is that Satan is a real and powerful foe in this world, Jesus calls him the "prince" or "ruler of this world" (John 16:11), Paul calls him the "god of this age" (2 Corinthians 4:4), and the "ruler of the authority of the air" (Ephesians 2:2). He blinds the minds of nonbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4) and holds them in his snare until God releases them through the gospel (2 Timothy 2:25, 26). He can take life, as he did with Job's children; ruin health, as with Job's body (see also Luke 13:16); torment with demons (Luke 11:18); provoke people to do evil (Luke 22:3); and he can cause natural disasters (Job 1:19). The fact that Satan has such power in the world should give us a kind of soberness and seriousness to our lives which nonbelievers don't have. It should not make us fearful, but it should make us sober and serious in our praying and ever conscious of our need for God’s power and grace in our lives. When the enemy is supernatural, so must our weapons be.
The second implication is that Satan's power is by permission from God (see Job 1:9-12). There are not two ultimate powers in the universe; there is only one and that is God. When Satan wants to have the disciples, he must go to God first. When things get worse in the world, we need to remember these words: "Satan demanded to have you," and their meaning: Satan cannot hurt us any more than God permits. This raises a hard question. Why would God grant to his archenemy any of his demands? Or why does God tolerate any of the activity of Satan? In Revelation 20:2-3 we are told that at the end of the age, when Christ returns, he seizes and binds Satan for a thousand years so that he might not deceive the nations any longer. Then in the final victory he will be thrown into the lake of fire for eternity (20:10). God has the right and the power to put Satan out of commission and in our finite minds we ask why doesn’t he? But why does he permit it for centuries? I think it is important to understand this because it will encourage you and strengthen your faith. The reason God permits sifting is that in the end it will good for the church. The whole New Testament is clear that God intends to bring the bride of Christ to perfection through suffering, affliction, and temptation (1 Peter 1:6, 3:17). We must suffer with Christ if we would are to be glorified with Him (Rom 8:17). In our suffering we rely more heavily on God, we experience a greater depth of intimacy with Him, and we cherish his grace more strongly. So Satan has a role in shaping us then God will bring him under complete judgment. Not only does the ongoing work of Satan ultimately do good for the church, but it also will bring more glory to God. God is orchestrating history in such a way that will bring him most glory for his magnificent, purposeful, strategic, purpose and plan. Instead of steam rolling over the enemy all at once, he combines strategic advances and retreats that allow the enemy some illusion of success and brings out all his arrogance and hate for God, so that it can be seen for what it is. In his wisdom God knows when the end should come. He will give way for a time to allow the enemy to rage in defiance, and then when sin is seen for all that it is, he will close in and destroy the enemy in such a way that none can doubt the wisdom and glory and power of God. So Satan has power, but it is all by permission, and it is never out of control. We must be deliberate and serious in our prayers, fight the good fight of faith, and anticipate the victory of God at the perfect time.