Summary: Our lives are placed through a sifter. With each new day, the crank is turned and a few more of our rough edges disappear as the finer parts of our new man and the coarse parts of our sinful, fleshly nature are revealed so that these character flaws can be discarded.
I bring out a sifter with flour, rocks and stick mixed together and set it on the table, next to a pile of un-sifted flour.
I can remember not too many years ago when we used an old hand operated flour sifter. It was a simple little contraption that consisted of a little tin can with a screen in the bottom and a crank that turned a wire against that screen. Flour wasn’t as fine in those days as it is now and it always needed sifting to get rid of the lumps.
The fine particles that made it through were used in the baking process but there was always some rock-hard pieces left over that were useless and were cast away.
Our lives are placed through a sifter. With each new day, the crank is turned and a few more of our rough edges disappear as the finer parts of our new man and the coarse parts of our sinful, fleshly nature are revealed so that these character flaws can be discarded.
The word “you” in verse 31 looks singular, in our English translations.
But when you look at it in the Greek, we find it to be plural.
My friend from New York would say “You guys” but here in the south we say “Y’all”
This was not meant for Peter, alone. This warning was for the rest of the disciples…the new Church…you/me.
We often wonder where God went when we are going through tough times. We focus on the issues and can’t seem to see the mighty hand of God at work around us.
Listen to what Jesus told Peter in v. 31...NASB “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;”
Satan demanded permission to sift.
When some people would sift wheat they would toss it in the air, on a windy day, and allow the breeze to blow away the trash, while the wheat would fall back on the threshing floor.
[Suzanne’s parakeet’s food bowl would look full of chaff but Suzanne would take the food bowl to the trash can and blow over the top of the bowl. The chaff would rise up and fall into the trash. She would put the food bowl back in the cage and tell the bird to eat it]
Satan wants to prove to God that we are not what we claim to be…the sad reality is that sometimes he’s right…
He wants to prove to God that, if given enough time, he [Satan] can make us cry “Uncle”
“God if you give me [name] I’ll show You who they really are…”
“God if you give me Elim Bible Church, I’ll show You they don’t mean business…I can break them…”
I don’t believe that Satan can sift you/me…this Church or any other Church, without permission.
I believe that if God is allowing us to be sifted that He must see something in us that needs to come out and that we can make it through…LOOK AT v32
“but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Jesus didn’t say “I WILL Pray”… “When I get a chance”… “If I don’t forget”… I’ll put you on the church prayer list”
HE SAID “I HAVE ALREADY PRAYED” Before we go through the struggles HE IS already there on our behalf…Before Satan can touch you Jesus has already prayed for you…
Let me show you 3 reasons why we are allowed be sifted.
1. Sifting brings out what really on the inside:
What do you get when you squeeze a lemon? wait for answers
When you squeeze a lemon you get what’s on the inside…juice…seed…pulp…
Sifting reveal who you really are…the real me comes out when the pressure in on…
What you believe about prayer is revealed…what you believe about God’s ability to help comes out.
We can talk a big talk when things going our way but when the squeeze is put on us, who we really are comes out.
God allows this to happen so that we might see our weaknesses and His strength.
We hear reports of cruise ship captains who are the first one off the ship, leaving the passengers to fend for themselves.
I read about an airline crash some time back. There was a midair collision…the pilot of one plane was able to bring his plane down, with no wings.
He stayed on board the plane helping get the passengers and crew off, safely.
When he was about ready to leave the plane, he heard someone crying out for help in the front of the plane.
He ran back in and the plane exploded, killing both the passenger and the pilot.
When you get squeezed, you’ll run…some will run from the crash…some will run into the crash…