Summary: A sermon examining the difference in a God called man and a false prophet.
The Credentials Of The Apostle Peter
I was ordained into the ministry 10 years ago. Before the ordination service I met with what is called either the "Presbytery" or the "ordination council". This was a group of ordained men who had the opportunity to share words of encouragement or to question my beliefs. After the question and answer time was over the men took a vote and recommended me for ordination. One question that I was asked stands out in my mind. A fellow pastor asked me "if we take this vote and you are not recommended for ordination what will you do?" I responded by stating that regardless of their decision I was going to continue to preach the Gospel because Jesus called me to do so. Considering the fact that I am your pastor... you know how the vote turned out. If you go into my study you will see hanging on the wall a "Certificate of Ordination" as well as a "License Into The Gospel Ministry". Those papers are a constant reminder to me that Mt. Olive Baptist Church as well as a group of ordained ministers had confidence in me as a minister of the Gospel. Even more special to me is the fact that Jesus Christ personally called me and commissioned me to preach His Word.
Unfortunately there are many people today filling pulpits, Pastoring churches and running religious organizations who were never called by Him.... I am afraid in many cases they do not really even know Him! There is no shortage of heresy being propagated in our day. You do not have to look very far to find a false prophet. But this is not a new phenomenon. Peter dealt with this in his day. In the closing verses of chapter one and the entirety of chapter 2 Peter defends the authenticity of his ministry and calls out the actions of false prophets. I would like to close chapter one by examining "The Credentials of The Apostle Peter".
Credentials are defined as "an achievement, personal quality, or aspect of a person's background, used to indicate that they are qualified for something". - If there was ever a man qualified to share the good news of Jesus it was Simon Peter. He was a man who lived an amazing life and knew through first hand experience that Jesus really was Who He said He was. Peter had some moments of failure, but he recovered and was restored. There is an amazing transformation that took place after Peter saw the resurrected Christ. In fact if you compare his life before and after the resurrection you see two different men. Peter spent the remainder of his life sharing the message of Jesus. In fact he eventually died for the cause of Christ.
As we look at his experience and qualifications we will see a stark contrast to the false prophets who as described in chapter 2. So look with me to v16-18 as we examine:
I. The Ministry Of The Apostle Peter - These days anyone can start a so called "ministry". There are hundreds of thousands of ministries here in America. But just because you call an organization or a church that doesn't mean that Jesus is in it! In fact many "ministries" that wear the name "Christian" are anything but that! This was not the case for Peter. When you examine his ministry you see that:
A. It Was An Appointed Ministry - Peter was called personally by Jesus and He was commissioned by Him. Looking back on his life we see that:
1) He Was Appointed To Evangelize - And (Jesus said) unto (him), Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19)
Up until this point in his life Peter spent his days attempting to catch fish. When he met Jesus everything changed. From that day forward he was prepared to reach lost men and women for Jesus. Not only was he called to evangelize...
2) He Was Appointed To Encourage - Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Jesus told Peter that Satan desired to have him so that he could "sift him as wheat". He also revealed that Peter would deny Him 3 times before the rooster crowed. But Jesus also told him that He had prayed for him. Furthermore, Jesus told Peter that when he was restored it was his duty to strengthen the rest of the disciples. If you notice, after the resurrection Peter was the apparent leader of the Apostles. Along with evangelism and encouragement, we see that:
3) He Was Appointed To Edify - 3 times in John 21:15-17 Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep and lambs. Jesus commissioned Peter to deliver His message not only to the lost, but to teach, train and edify those who were "in the fold". The message we are reading here in II Peter is a result of Peters obedience to his call in to the ministry that had been appointed unto him.