Sermons

Summary: The generosity of God. He builds up our potential

When Jill and I began to think about names for our three children, we used a book by a man called Eric Partridge called "Name this Child". After reading it we called our first baby ANN, from the Hebrew word Chaanah which means or "grace" (A free gift from God"). That really summed up how we were feeling about her. It can also mean "beloved".

When our youngest was born we were careful to avoid names like Cecily! Who would want to be called Cecily Sellgren! So we called her CATHERINE, which means "pure", only later realising that this still made her Miss C.Sellgren! Actually we`d decided to call her Catherine Joanne, but when I met the local Roman Catholic Priest and told him she`d been born on the 17th of March, he said, "Oh, you must call her Patricia. The 17th of March is St. Patrick`s Day!), so she was registered as Catherine Joanne Patricia Sellgren!

When our son was born we called him DAVID, which means "beloved", but it can also mean "A Man after God`s own heart". But, when we looked to see how the name "DAVID" came to have that meaning, we were in for a shock! Of course, it was King David, the Old Testament King who was called "A Man after God`s own heart", and, at first glance it`s easy to see why. He was a great King - someone who had trusted God from the time he was a child, and, as the years went by, as David saw that God had supported him and brought him through some very hairy situations, his faith grew, so that, when Israel was threatened by the giant Goliath, David stood up for God, and for Israel, and slew the giant. So surely it`s easy to see why David became King of Israel, and why he was called "A Man after God`s own heart"?

But wait a minute, there`s another side to David, a very different side indeed. For instance, when David was King and saw a woman bathing on a roof top one day, a very beautiful married woman, he decided he wanted her, and he went to bed with her, and then had her husband killed so that he could have her as his wife! Yet THIS man, this adulterer, and murderer is called in the New Testament, "A Man after God`s own heart"(Acts 13.22). That should make you think!

And here`s another man with a name to make you think - PETER. St. John tells us that his name was really SIMON, and that it was Jesus who gave him the name PETER. Now the name PETER means "A ROCK", and that should make you think too It should make you think because Simon was a fisherman, not particularly well-educated. I doubt if he would have got through a selection board for entry to the Ministry today. You see, whilst he had some GOOD qualities (he was the first Disciple to realise who Jesus really was, (the CHRIST, the Son of the living God), he was also a brash loud-mouthed boaster who had a hard time living up to the things he claimed for himself. For instance, one day he told Jesus, "I`d be willing to die for you! Even if the others abandon you, I never will", yet, that very same night, when a slip of a girl challenged him about being a follower of Jesus, he cursed and swore and vowed that he didn`t know the man. THREE TIMES he denied Him, as Jesus had warned him that he would.........

Yet it was this man that Jesus called THE ROCK. It makes you think doesn`t it! It makes you think that EITHER God isn`t a very good judge of character when He calls an adulterer and a murderer "A Man after My own heart", and that the Son of God got it all wrong when He called this weak-kneed coward "A Rock"....... OR, perhaps there`s another explanation!

Let me ask you a question. "When did Peter BECOME the Rock that Jesus said he was?"

Was it on the very first day that Jesus called him?

Was it at Caesarea Philippi when Peter had that flash of inspiration, when Jesus commended him for seeing what nobody else had seen?

Was it at Pentecost when the Spirit of God fell on him?

Well, I`d like to make another suggestion for you to think about. I suggest that Peter ALWAYS WAS THE ROCK! I suggest that, when God laid out His Plan for the world at the very beginning of time, Peter (as well as King David) was written into that Plan. I think that God said something like this about him; "There will be a man called Peter who will be absolutely vital to the continuation of my Son`s work on earth. At his conception I will place within him the ROCK-LIKE qualities that will be a vital strength to the infant Church. My Son will recognise those qualities and draw them out from him. And, though Peter will have FLAWS (as will all the others who follow Jesus), my Son will COVER UP THOSE FLAWS WITH HIS LOVE, and with His forgiveness. He will reveal and build upon the POTENTIAL of this Rocklike flawed Disciple.

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