Peter: Coward to Courageous

 

 

Peter: Coward to Courageous

 

 

“Salvation is found in no one else,
for there is no other name under heaven given to men
by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4: 12

This is essentially the message preached by Peter at Pentecost. It was used by the Holy Spirit working through Peter and it brought 3000 souls into the Kingdom!

Through the power of the Holy spirit, Peter begins to fulfill the prophesy by Jesus in Acts 1:8.  Peter received the Holy Spirit and he became an immediate witness in Jerusalem.

Cowardly Peter – the before-Holy-Spirit-Peter — had denied Jesus three times. But through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, he has become courageous Peter. And the result is clear: 3000 souls redeemed!

How very interesting that all those people who gathered at Pentecost that day were there for a harvest celebration.  Jewish believers traveled to Jerusalem to worship and bring first fruits from the wheat harvest.

Sometimes when we hear the word Pentecost or Pentecostal we are distracted and we think about speaking in tongues.  Yes, there were different languages heard that day and the gospel was heard in all these different languages, but Pentecost, the reason they were coming, was to celebrate the harvest provided by God.  They were celebrating God’s provision, but as they came to wave their sheath of wheat and to celebrate God’s provision, look at the greater harvest that is taking place.  When we hear the word Pentecost, we should think harvest and we should think 3,000 souls.  We should celebrate the harvest of souls and the lives changed with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Acts Chapter 2 is only the beginning.  On that day 3,000 lives were changed — unmistakable evidence of the moving and working and power of the Holy Spirit.  As the book of Acts unfolds, the gospel continues to spread through the world.

We celebrate those 3000 and we also celebrate the change in Peter’s life.

You know it is so easy to pledge our faithfulness and loyalty to Jesus, and yet it is so difficult to remain loyal and committed when situations arise that could cost us something.

As we study Peter’s life and we celebrate the cowardly Peter that became courageous Peter, it offers opportunity for self examination.

We can ask ourselves, “Am I loyal to Jesus at Bible study,  but am I a traitor to Him at work or at Wal-Mart?

“Do I readily speak out in Sunday School but remain strangely quiet at the family reunion?”

“Do I allow that Facebook post that degrades Christ or His followers to go unanswered?”

The circumstances that unfolded with Peter’s betrayal did not surprise Jesus.  In fact, He predicted it.  It also did not disqualify Peter from future service.  Aren’t we glad?

I am so grateful for the grace that comes with knowing Jesus and that there is a place for everyone to serve in his kingdom regardless of what we have done in our past.  Perhaps He delights especially in using the most unlikely because it ensures that He gets all the glory for the work that is done — and look at the work done by Peter in Acts 2.

He addresses the crowd with boldness and power.  The rough fisherman has a smooth and powerful delivery.  His message is not only well articulated and logical, it is effective.  Three thousand people come to know Jesus that day.

Peter the betrayer becomes Peter the bold.

Peter the denier is Peter the disciple of Jesus, delivering a message that draws 3,000 into the kingdom.

The transformation in Peter’s life is all Jesus.  It is the Holy Spirit.  Peter has been with Jesus, but in Acts 2 he has Jesus indwelling and enabling him through the power of the Holy Spirit.  What an amazing transformation.

What might God accomplish in and through you and me as we are empowered by the Holy Spirit and as we yield to the Holy Spirit?

Like Peter we are rough around the edges.  We don’t get it, and at the first sign of danger we often take whatever steps necessary to protect our hides or our reputation.  We may have long since given up on ourselves, but God never gives up on us.  There is nothing that you and I can do that disqualifies us from serving Him.  God enables and equips us to make Him known.

I pray that He would recycle whatever experiences from our past that bring shame and disqualification – – that he would transform our messes into our message.  That He would use us and give us new fresh opportunities to connect those dots in our lives and to speak up boldly, lovingly and powerfully to those around our “campfire”in our hometown…because

The woman of God is courageous. 

You can listen to the complete teaching lecture for Acts Lesson 3 here: http://fbcsiloam.podbean.com/e/acts-lesson-3-laura-macfarlan/

 

Laura Macfarlan