Today's Christian thought: Friday, September 19th, 2003
Every once I a while we run across a backsliding Christian. Some backslide a little, some a lot, some even go so far as to deny Jesus by saying things like "The New Testament doesn't mean anything to me." I ran across one such young man today. I listened as he told me that the New Testament no longer meant anything to him.
Almost two thousand years ago there was another backsliding young Christian. He too denied the Lord, not once, not twice, but three times. And all three times in a matter of three or four hours. His name? Peter.
Let's start with Peter first becoming a Born Again Christian.
And it came to pass, as Jesus was alone praying, His disciples were with Him: and He asked them, saying, "Whom say the people that I am?" They answering said, "John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again."
He said unto them, "But whom say ye that I am?" Peter answering said, "The Christ of God." (Luke 9:18-20)
We see, in Luke 9, Peter confessing that Jesus is the Christ of God.
Now, in Luke 9, Peter was under no pressure, there was no one around but the disciples of the Lord, kind of like being in church. But, as we will see in John chapter six, even when others were leaving the Lord in droves, Peter still hung in there, going even further in his profession of faith.
The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, "How can this Man (Jesus) give us His flesh to eat?
Then Jesus said unto them, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no Life (Salvation) in you. Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.
He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him.
As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me. This (Jesus) is that Bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this Bread shall live for ever. These things said He in the synagogue, as He taught in Capernaum.
Many therefore of His disciples, when they had heard this, said, "This is an hard saying; who can hear it?"
When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples murmured at it, He said unto them, "Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before?
It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are Life. But there are some of you that believe not." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray Him.
And He said, "Therefore said I unto you, 'that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father.'"
From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.
Then said Jesus unto the twelve, "Will ye also go away?" Then Simon Peter answered Jesus, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." (John 6:52-69)
In John 6, we see again that Peter is confessing Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Peter is Saved, no doubt about it, Peter is a Born Again Christian. A Messianic Jew. Yet Peter backslid, backslid big time as you will see as you read from John Chapter 18 below:
And they led Jesus away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door outside. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.
Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, "Art not thou also one of this Man's disciples?" He saith, "I am not." Once.
And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself. The high priest then asked Jesus of His disciples, and of His doctrine. Jesus answered him, "I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou Me? Ask them which heard Me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said."
And when Jesus had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, "Answerest Thou the high priest so?" Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou Me?"
Now Annas had sent Him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest. And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, "Art not thou also one of His disciples?" He denied it, and said, "I am not." That's twice.
One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, "Did not I see thee in the garden with Him (Jesus)?" Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew. That's three times. (John 18:13-27)
Yes, Peter denied the Lord three times, yes Peter was a major backslider. Yet, Peter came back and served the Lord, even dying, crucified upside down, for Him. You see, once you are Born Again, Saved, you have used your free will to give yourself and your will to the Lord. And even if you later backslide, you are still the Lord's. He will take a ton of grief from you, just like anyone who really loves you, only the Lord will give you even more rope, He just won't let you hang yourself. And one day, He will rein you back in. Just like He did Peter, just like He did me, and just like He has done to millions upon millions of other backsliding Christians throughout the years.
Have a good weekend, and instead of backsliding this weekend, why not do something for the Lord. Something just for Him.
All Scripture is quoted, in both sermons and daily thoughts, except when done by a guest, is from the ACP/authorized 1611 King James Version. The words in red are those quotes of God the Son, the Lord Jesus and the words in purple are those qoutes spoken directly by God the Father and the words in this sickly greenish color are of satan. But all of the Bible is spoken by God and should be viewed as God's handbook for us to run our lives by 2 Timothy 3:16.
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