Summary: Peter, the greatest of the 12, a man of faith & power, took 7 backward steps that nearly ruined his ministry. But God's love & grace was greater than his sin. He was restored and again became God's prime mover. Look for these 7 steps in your life.
THE 7 BACKWARD STEPS OF PETER
1. A college student went into a large pet supply store and approached the pet food counter, “Hi! I would like to order 30,000 cockroaches to be picked up tomorrow, please.”
2. The astonished clerk said, “What in the world would you do with 30,000 cockroaches? I can’t think of any animals that could eat that many!”
3. The college student replied, “My apartment complex manager is not renewing my lease, so I have to move out tomorrow. And one of the stipulations of the lease is that I must leave the apartment in exactly the same condition that I found it!”
30 Jesus said to [Peter], “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” 31 But he spoke more vehemently, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” 32 Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane…33 And He took Peter, James, and John with Him…34 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.” 37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”….43 And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.”…46 Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. 47 And [Peter] drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 50 Then they all forsook Him and fled. 53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest; and with him were assembled all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes. 54 But Peter followed Him at a distance [KJV – “afar off”], right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he sat with the servants and warmed himself at the fire. 66 Now as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came. 67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are saying.” And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed. 69 And the servant girl saw him again, and began to say to those who stood by, “This is one of them.” 70 But he denied it again. And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, “Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.” 71 Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this Man of whom you speak!” 72 A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And when he thought about it, he wept. Mk. 14:30-34, 37-38, 43-47, 50, 53-54, 66-72.
1. The man Peter was, by his faith and actions, the greatest of the Apostles. Jesus changed his name from Simon ("reed") to Peter ("rock"), because He saw the possibilities in Peter.
2. Peter is the one who made the Great Confession that Jesus is the Christ; Caught the fish with money in its mouth; he was the only disciple to walk on water, and was in the inner circle of 3 disciples. The Lord Jesus saw him as a trusted friend.
3. Yet his loyalty to Jesus disintegrated to the point where he denied the Lord. How could that happen? We have an enemy named Satan who wants to ruin or destroy us. All believers can be vulnerable to attack by the forces of Hell and we must be on our guard.
4. No one falls in a moment; there must be preparation. There are many small failures that precede a great failure such as Peter experienced.
5. It must be understood that Peter's failure was brought on him by himself. Satan was working behind the scenes, but he couldn’t have been successful unless Peter cooperated.
6. So we’re looking at “The 7 Backward Steps of Peter.”
I. 1ST STEP – PRIDE
A. WARNED OF COMING TEMPTATION
1. At the Last Supper Jesus warned Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, to sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for you that your faith fail not…” Lk. 22:31-32. The Lord was very aware of the enemy’s focus.