Summary: In 51 days, Peter visited 3 fires that were to transform his life & make him the man God wanted him to be. God wants us to visit those 3 fires too!
THE 3 FIRES OF PETER’S PERFECTING
1. A social worker from Dallas recently transferred to the mountains of Arkansas and was on the first day of her new territory when she came upon the tiniest cabin she had ever seen in her life.
2. Intrigued, she went up and knocked on the door. “Anybody home?” she asked. “Yep” came a kid’s voice through the door.
3. “Is your father there?” asked the social worker. “Pa? Nope, he left afore Ma came in.” “Well is your mother there?” she persisted. “Ma? No, she left just before I got here” said the kid.
4. “But” protested the social worker, “Aren’t you ever together as a family?”
5. “Sure, but not in here” said the kid through the door. “This is the outhouse!” (Government workers are so smart!)
B. PETER: A CHRISTIAN HEAVY WEIGHT
A MAN MIGHTILY USED OF GOD
a. Preached & 3,000 Saved – Acts 2:41
b. His shadow would heal the sick – Acts 5:15
2. BUT PETER HAD NOT ALWAYS BEEN SO USEFUL TO GOD
Before, he had been a doubter.
, One who would curse and swear,
, & even deny he knew the Lord Jesus.
3. WHAT BROUGHT ABOUT THIS TRANSFORMATION IN PETER’S LIFE?
4. GOD SENT 3 FIRES INTO PETER’S LIFE. We all know the power of fire. FIRE HAS POWER TO:
a. To purify or consume
b. To forge or develop (manufacturing)
c. To Empower (electricity – from coal, natural gas, & nuclear).
5. In 51 days, Peter visited 3 fires that were to transform his life & make him the man God wanted him to be. God wants us to visit those 3 fires too!
6. So let’s read about the “3 Fires of Peter’s Perfecting.”
I. FIRST: THE FIRE OF “PURGING”
“Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.” Lk. 22:54-62
B. DEVOTION TESTED
1. Peter had been in ministry with the Lord Jesus for 3 years. He probably thought he knew it all – that he had arrived.
2. But it had been easy to serve the Lord in those days – because Jesus was popular. But the situation all changed with the arrest of the Master,
3. As Peter stood and warmed himself (Jn. 18:18) at the fire of the enemies of Christ, he found, possibly for the first time, that it was unpopular to be a Christian.
4. What would Peter do? Would he stand up for Jesus and boldly declare his allegiance? Or would he cower and deny Him?
5. Sadly, Peter wavered, cratered to peer pressure, and denied he even knew the Lord. (Don’t get down on Peter; in the same situation we might have done worse).
6. But for Peter, it exposed his true nature and character – his pride, selfishness, and fear.
7. Peter was forced to evaluate which he loved more – Christ or the world. Many of you have not faced that decision – but you will. You can’t straddle the fence. 1 Jn. 2:15, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” You must choose one or the other.
C. PURGING OF THE OLD LIFE
1. “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Mark 8:34-36
2. You can’t hold onto the world and also hold onto eternal life. Choose which one you want more.
3. Before this fire, Peter was trying to hold onto both this world & God’s kingdom. After this fire, he let go of this world. It caused the death of the old Peter and the beginning of the new Peter. Has that happened to you?