Matthew 26:30-35 & 69-75/John 21:15-19 ~ "Peter and Redemption"
Please turn with me in your Bibles to Matthew chapter 26. We are continuing our way through the text as last week we looked at Matthew chapter 26 and we considered from the text the amazing truth of Christ's offer to us of communion and our privilege that we have to be one with Christ in this and to celebrate that union with him through partaking of communion. Now, at some point as we are working our way through the text, it's not expect explicitly recorded for us here in the passage, but at some point Judas has left the room. He has left the group and he has gone to do his dirty deed of betraying Jesus. At some point this group transitions out of the upper room and begins to make their way to the Garden of Gethsemane. We are not actually sure which conversation happened prior to the departure of Judas, but we know there comes a moment in time in which it's obvious he's not there anymore. Other conversations are happening. This passage that we are looking at today that falls into most likely that category of texts in terms of the conversations that Christ is having with his disciples after Judas has departed and gone his own way. Before we jump in let's just pause for a moment and pray and ask God to help us as we dig into his word.
Father, would you please illuminate the passage before us this morning by your spirit. Lord, it is impossible for men to understand the deep truths of your word apart from your help and your power. We do come before you this morning and we ask that your spirit would just shine upon the text and you would so open our minds and our hearts that we would receive and believe all that is there for us today. We pray these things in Christ name, Amen.
I have read the biographies of Christians and have considered examples from the “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.” I've read about numerous and stories of individuals who were caught in difficult and impossible situations in which they stood up and they proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ. They offer forth the gospel, the good news that we could be forgiven and reconciled with God and yet that message of hope and that offer of grace was not received; it was met with hostility. As you read accounts, not only in the Bible, but the church historical accounts of men and women throughout the last two millennia who have come up against unbelievable persecution and hardship where for them to stand up and to proclaim the hope that we have in Christ and to offer forth the same individual and that we sang about this morning, “Come Awake,” that offer of good news and that offer of salvation was met with rejection hostility. They faced persecution and we have accounts throughout church history of individuals not simply being imprisoned, but tortured and even executed for their faith. Facing the real threat of persecution and facing the real threat of torture they were given an opportunity to denounce Christ and to reject Jesus; to say that they didn't really believe in him. We have all kinds of stories in church history of men and women who refused to deny Christ even in the face of horrific pain and torture and imprisonment. I've often wondered, and I'm sure you have too; if I were in that situation would I stand up for Jesus? If you're here this morning perhaps you've asked yourself that question. We are all incredibly fortunate and blessed by God to live in a country that to some measure celebrates religious freedom. At the very least we can worship and gather together here on Sunday morning relatively free from the fear of persecution. Nobody can come through the front doors a lock us all up and throw us into prison or worse. For the most part we can tell people that we meet in the grocery store about Jesus and we can share our faith. We will undoubtedly be made fun of and ridiculed, but what if the stakes were higher? What if we lived in a place, in a land, in a time where to be faithful to Christ would almost certainly require our torture, imprisonment or worse in watching our family suffer. Do you think that you have what it takes to be true to Jesus? Have you ever wondered that? Were looking this morning at a man, Peter and his 10 other companions, 11 apostles, and I really doubt there is anyone in this room who is more devoted or more committed to Christ than they were. Yet when the chips were down they all abandoned Jesus. And so as we get into the text this morning I want to begin with the statement “you alone in and of yourself do not have what it takes to be true to Christ. You do not have what is necessary to stay faithful to Jesus.”
Now walk with me; you are there in the upper room and most likely Judas is gone. Jesus and the other apostles, after having celebrated communion, went off to the Mount of Olives. Most certainly Judas is not with them. Jesus says “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered. But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee. Peter answered him, though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away. Jesus said to him, Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter is saying to Jesus “look, even of those other 10 guys may betray you and deny you not me! I'm better than that. I'm more faithful than the other 10 and I will not deny you even if I have to die.” But, notice what Jesus bases this truth upon. This is a quote from Zechariah chapter 13:7, “Strike the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.” Jesus' statement to the 11 apostles is that he's already told them “my time is at hand,” he's already made it very clear what is about to happen and he is telling them that this is imminent. They clearly know what is happening and now he says “you're going to fall away from me.” Now, jump down to verse 32 “But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Jesus, on multiple occasions has said “I'm going to be crucified, they're going to do to the Son of Man whatever they will and after three days I'm going to come back from the grave.” He said over and over again. Even now on the night that it is about to happen, on the night that it all is about to unfold, he makes a statement “after I'm raised up I will see you in Galilee.” Now they hear Jesus says you're going to betray me and you are all going to fall away as it's been written in the Scriptures. He quotes from Zechariah I will “Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter.” But after I am raised up I will see you in Galilee. To which they don't say “wow that's incredible! You can come back from the dead?” No, they say we're not going to deny you. We are not going to betray you. Then Peter steps forward and he says “even if these other guys may do it, but I won't. I am not going to betray you. I am going to die alongside you if that's was necessary.” They are utterly confident that they have what it takes to stand true to Jesus. They have reason to feel good about themselves. These 11 guys have walked away from families and promising fishing careers, they walked away from their homes and they've followed Jesus and travelled with him when Jesus said “come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” They heard the call, they received the invitation and in large part they walked away from everything that they have ever known and understood. They committed themselves to the task of following Christ and for at least three years they have been with Jesus and have been following Christ. They have seen him do all sorts of miracles. They have been a part of unbelievable events such as the feeding of the 5000, seen people raised from the dead and they have reason to suspect that they have within themselves what is necessary to stay true to Jesus. Jesus says you're not going to stick with me even though you think you are. You are all going to fall away. It's already been foretold and Jesus makes a statement quoting from Zachariah “I will strike the Shepherd and the sheep was will scatter.” Notice that verse. In that particular prophecy God is speaking through the prophet Zachariah and he says “I will strike the Shepherd.” The execution of Jesus happens on two levels. It is surely wicked men who have come together and they are conspiring to kill Christ, but at the same time the sovereignty of God has acknowledged that even though it has been perpetrated by evil men God is in control of the whole situation and his statement is that He, God the father, will strike the Shepherd. He is going to be the one that puts Jesus on the cross and it is going to be done through the hands of lawless and wicked and evil men, but ultimately the individual responsible is God. The father he is putting Jesus on the cross and Jesus is voluntarily going to the cross and willingly submitting to the hands of lawless men. God is in total control. The passage says “I will strike the Shepherd and the sheep will scatter.” Now if you've any knowledge or any understanding of sheep you know that there's a natural tendency to them for them to flock together. Sheep flock together. Even without a shepherd sheep will still stick together. Sure you've got the one that's prone to wandering or drifting off, but for the most part they have a strong flocking nature and they'll stick together. Shepherd's can leave the sheep and the flock will stick together. The shepherd will walk and the flock will largely follow the shepherd. You really only need a handful of sheep, maybe even one individual sheep, who is attached to that shepherd and he'll follow that shepherd and the other sheep will just go because the one sheep is going. It's unbelievable how close together sheep will stick. The shepherd is only necessary to keep the sheep together and get that one oddball that will try to drift away off course. The shepherd has to try and corral those individuals back to the flock, but for the most part sheep will stay together unless there is a predator. That's the real function of the shepherd; to protect the flock from danger. When God says I am going to strike the shepherd, Jesus is going to be struck absolutely, but as the shepherd of these men he is the one keeping them safe and not just from physical harm. The real threat here is not physical. The real danger here is spiritual. How do I know that? Peter makes the statement that even if everyone abandons you and bails on you, I will stay with you even if it cost me my life. Now to some measure Peter is sincere when he says that. Look a little bit further down with me look at Matthew 26: 47 “While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people.” They are armed. Now, we know from the Gospel of Luke that the apostles were also armed. Of the 11 of them they have two swords between them. Now, the betrayer had given them a sign saying “the one I will kiss is the man.” Judas came up to Jesus at once and said “Greetings, Rabbi!” Judas kissed Jesus and He said to him “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then the armed mob came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. One of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword. We know that this is Peter. Peter stands up and he draws out his sword in the face of an overwhelming force of armed soldiers and regular peasant Jews. They've all come out with pitchforks and this is the armed mob, but they're not just an angry mob they have organized military attachment that is with them. These are guys are dressed in full Roman armour, they are soldiers that are trained, they're disciplined in combat, this is a whole crew of people and they've come with one singular purpose. They have come to arrest Jesus. In any military anywhere in the world if you as a soldier or a Marine come up against armed opposition keeping you from achieving your mission, do you know what it is you are trained to do? Remove the threat. Peter rises up with a sword in the face of a trained group of professional and deadly soldiers. He is not ashamed, he is not shy, he raises that sword up and he swings for the fences. His aim could be improved upon a little because he misses the soldiers head and only nicks the guy's ear. Give him some credit as he's a fisherman not a trained soldier. Now, he meant to kill the man but he missed. In that moment do you know what those Roman soldiers in any other situation would have done? It would be second nature to kill Peter, but Jesus intercedes. Matthew 26: 52 “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” Verse 55 “At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples left him and fled.” We know from the other accounts that Jesus healed the man's ear, but in this account he stands in the midst of the conflict and says “Peter, stop and put your sword away.” He rebukes Peter and he begins to interact with the group. In that moment if you're Roman soldier you are thinking “okay this guys going to rabble-rouse? That's fine.” Then you draw your sword and run him through, but Jesus stops the whole group. In this moment Peter sees the armed group and he's ready to die for Jesus. He raises his sword and he is ready to do battle, but in just another hour or so look what happens: Matthew 26:69, the group arrests Jesus and they make their way to the high priest's house. Jesus is now standing before the religious establishment subjected to a mock trial in the middle of the night. He is standing there in this kangaroo court before Caiaphas and Peter is outside of the high priest's house kind of waiting and watching and trying to see was going to happen. There are no more soldiers; there is no more armed mob with pitchforks because the danger has moved inside now. Jesus is in the high priest's house and whatever is happening is taking place in that house. As per Matthew 26:69, Peter was standing outside in the courtyard. Notice it's not a Roman legionnaire, it is not some sort of special forces soldier of the Roman empire, it is not some deadly assassin that trips Peter up; it's a servant girl, a young handmaiden, somebody who is obviously employed in the high priest's house and undoubtedly doing trivial labour and not skilled in the art of war, not lethal, not deadly. You have to understand that Peter as a fisherman and he's lived his life on the Sea of Galilee. He is skilled in pulling in fish making this a job that requires a strong man and he undoubtedly has a barrel chest, he's a burly guy, he's used to working with his hands and hauling in fish all day so when a little girl questions him on knowing Jesus, it is odd that he denied it saying “I do not know what you mean.” There are no more soldiers, no more armed mob, just a little girl and he states “I don't know what you're talking about.” It continues when he went off to the entrance and another servant girl says “hey, you knew Jesus” and Peter responds “I don't know what you're talking about.” He denied it with an oath! Matthew 26: 72 hints at the fact that he employed some sort of an oath or promise, “I swear I don't know the man.” Verse 73 “After a little while the bystanders came up to Peter and said, (it's a group of other individuals that come to him) certainly you too are one of them, for your acts accent betrays you.” They didn't see him with Jesus necessarily, they just said you have the same accent that he has; therefore, you are from up north aren’t you? Verse 74 “Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, I do not know the man.” The word for curse in the Greek is anathema and it literally means damned to hell. To translate this for you, for Peter did something along the lines of looking up to heaven and saying “God if it is true that I know Jesus then you can curse my soul to hell.” Now, what's the problem with this? Peter does know him and God knows that Peter knows him. In this moment Peter, out of fear of two servant girls and a small mob of unarmed, non-agitated bystanders breaks like a snap of your finger. What is the real difficulty in staying true to Christ? It is not physical harm. Don't misunderstand me. Physical harm is a powerful threat. The real problem for us is not the physical threat, but the spiritual threat. When Jesus surrenders to the armed mob, when they take Christ away, the shepherd has effectively been removed and this means that the predators are now free to hunt. On this night that Jesus is captured, on this night of all nights, you know all the powers and forces of darkness were hard at work seeking his ultimate destruction and if they are out to get Jesus you know they are coming for his disciples. The moment that Jesus surrenders himself, as the Scripture says, the shepherd will be struck down and invariably the sheep are going to scatter. If you stop and you look and you study these 11 apostles apart from Judas Iscariot, all come from the same part of Israel, they're all from the north, they are all from Galilee and many of them actually have the same occupation involved in fishing. These are men that know each other and that have lived together for the last 4 years. They are to some extent best friends. If you are in trouble you flock to the people you know and you stick together with your crowd, but in the moment in which Jesus is struck down, it says “I will strike down the shepherd and the flock will scatter. They didn't think Judas would do this and do this he has. Immediately in that moment the spiritual persecution is so strong that they're looking at each other thinking “I am out of here.” They do not stick together, they don't hang out with each other, they fly, they go away. But, the real battle comes from Peter as he approaches the high priests courthouse. He no longer has any confidence in anything. He doesn't understand what's happening even though Jesus has been very clear in telling him what's about to happen. Because of this, when a servant girl comes up to him even though just moments before he was willing to stand up to an armed mob, he fails in the face of a servant girl.
First Baptist Church you do not have in yourself what it takes to stay true to Christ. If Peter couldn't do it, you can't do it either. The reason for this is because of how good Satan is. Satan is so clever and he is so skilled at the art of deception, at pulling a fast one on us and leading us down the path of destruction that he could go over to the Kamloops Blazers hockey team when they are at the beautiful Interior Saving Centre and convince them that instead of playing the hockey games there at this beautiful arena on the nice sheet of ice to all go down the street to the Kamloops Curling Club and have the hockey game in the curling rink. Satan is so clever and so smart and so skilled at his deception that he could actually get a group of hockey players thinking that is a great idea. Let's go do that. You say “that's a stupid illustration preacher.” I can see it in your eyes; you're looking at me like “That is ridiculous. There is no way you're going to convince a group of grown men who've been skating on the ice their whole lives to give up their wonderful Interior Saving Centre and to go over to the Kamloops Curling Club, that's ridiculous!” Is it now? I would like to draw to you to your attention Genesis chapter 3; a man and a woman are living in paradise, they know nothing of sin, they are totally innocent, they walk with God, they have daily face-to-face interactions with him and all of a sudden there's a talking snake. Remember God said to Adam and Eve “You're in charge. All of creation is under your Dominion. Go forth, be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth.” There's a talking snake “Hey, you know that tree that God who created you said not to eat and that's going to kill you if you eat it? Yeah. Hey let's go eat it.” They were like “Man, that sounds like a great idea. Let's go do that.” To put it in perspective, it would be like me standing up here, taking out a yellow plastic jug that has the word poison written across the top of it with little skull and cross bones and asks “Who is thirsty?” You would say something like “Wait a minute, it is poison!” Then I would say to you “But it has a yellow tub. Isn't that pretty?” and you would agree and want to try it. That's not an exaggeration church. You think that's ludicrous because it is ludicrous. It is so absurd that it is a testimony to the skill of the tempter. Satan is so strong that I can give you the most ridiculous illustrations of deception and subterfuge and you think that is unbelievable, but if you stop to think about it that's what has happened. Satan is good at what he does, he is skilled in the art of deception and he knows how to trick you into swallowing a glass of poison with your full knowledge and understanding of what it is that you're doing. So, when Peter says I am going to stick with you Jesus, I am not going to abandon you even if I have to die; not for one second do I think that Peter was miss informed or somehow overestimating his own abilities. I think he was serious. I think Peter had in his mind to die with Jesus is better than to live without him. I am absolutely convinced that Peter was totally convinced that he would rather die for Christ, stand up for him, even in the face of his own imminent death and yet the tempter is so good. He faces down the mob and he says” I can handle this” and in his mind he's probably thinking if I do this I'm probably going to die, but he is prepared for that. The he faces down a servant girl, but this time Jesus has been taken out of the equation. The spiritual protection that has been offered by the light of the world has been dimmed and where there is no light the darkness rushes in. He can handle the physical threat, but he is no match at all, not even a little bit, for the spiritual threat that Satan poses.
Listen to me church. We need to understand that apart from Christ, without the protection of Jesus, none of us have any chance or withstanding the threat of the enemy, the real enemy. You say “Why are you telling us this preacher? To discourage us? To make us feel afraid?” To a certain extent, yes. Absolutely. You need to be wary of your adversary. You need to be humbled before the threat that you face and you need to recognize that it is real and that in and of yourself you do not have what it takes to withstand the enemy. The same guy who was absolutely convinced of his ability to withstand years later writes a letter and in that letter he makes a statement “humble yourselves, be sober minded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” What is the lesson this guy, that was willing to take on the armed mob, but quaked and cowered in front of a servant girl, take away from this situation? Be humble and do not overestimate your ability to stand up in the face of the enemy. Do not think that you have what it takes. He says to be sober minded because that is to think with a real assessment. You can't take on Satan. You don't have what it takes; watch out for him. Know he is out there and be wary of him. Know that he is coming for you like a roaring, hungry, angry lion. This is the council of man who was really willing to die for Christ. We know from his life that he did in fact die for Christ. This lesson is meant to inform us and to instruct us. I think that if they had listened carefully to Christ's second statement and if they had placed their hope in what Jesus said they would have been better equipped to withstand the pressures of the enemy. Why does Peter deny Jesus in front of a servant girl? Because he has got the enemy whispering in his ear “Hate this servant girl. If she finds out you are follower of Jesus she's going to kill you.” So, a grown man is absolutely terrified of a little girl because the enemy is whispering lies into his ear and he believes these lies. What if he had stopped and said what did Jesus say? What was the promise that he gave? He told me I would deny him okay, but what else did he say? Go back to Matthew chapter 26 verse 32 “But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter didn't fully believe in Jesus’ promise that he is coming back from the dead so when Jesus got captured Peter was caught by surprise and he was not sure what to make of the situation. If he had believed in that word then he would've also believed in the word that they were going to betray him. He would've known what was to happen and in the midst of that then he would have been able to receive, wholeheartedly, the promise that Jesus offered. When I am raised up I will meet you in Galilee. So, if you are Peter and you are facing down this servant girl and she says “you're a follower of Jesus,” you do not absolutely go berserk and start calling God to invoke curses down upon you by saying “If I know this man strike me dead right now.” If you recognize that Jesus, who has been totally right about everything up until this point, is also saying I will see you in Galilee after I am raised from the dead on the third day then you're not afraid that this servant girl can kill you. If Jesus has just promised you that in a few days time you're going to see him face-to-face in Galilee you accept that maybe you get locked into jail, maybe bad things happen, but there would be no doubt. If Peter had stopped and said “Okay, he was right about that and now I'm in trouble and afraid and denying him left and right, but Jesus said I would see him in a few days time in Galilee which means that even now when every fiber of my being is telling me that I should be absolutely terrified of this little servant girl right now, whatever harm she may be able to do to me, I still have this promise that I'm going to see Jesus in a few days time. Whatever can happen in the midst of this courtyard I'm not going to die, at least not yet. He didn't hope in the first part of Christ promise so he couldn't see his way to the second part either. You know what all of this tells me? You and I are incredibly gifted at looking at anything and everything else for reassurance rather than the word of Jesus. You and I are incredibly gifted at trying to justify all manner of behaviour by looking to all sorts of data points beyond with the simple word of God. Do you know what else this tells me? Jesus knows that this conversation happens right after communion. Jesus is celebrating the Passover. He knows what is about to happen. He knows that they're about to all betray him. These guys who are his best friends, his travelling companions for the last three years, he knows that they're about to betray him and he knows that Peter is going to call the curse from heaven if it's true that he knows him. Jesus knows he's not going to answer that prayer request from Peter and he says “take, eat, this bread is my body broken for you.” He takes a cup and he says “take, drink, this cup is the new covenant in my blood given for you.”
Understand church, you get into trouble when you do not listen to Jesus and instead listen to the lies of the enemy. But, even when you do get into trouble know that Jesus foresaw it and he is already forgiven it. He still holds forth his grace and his mercy for you to partake. I draw so many incredible promises from this passage. Number one, if I will always look to God's word even though the world ridicules me and makes fun of me I can never go wrong if I just do what the Bible says. It is so simple. I preach that message more or less every single week, but we still get in trouble even though we've heard it. Just follow the Scriptures, do what the Bible says and don't worry too much about the world. Don't worry what the world can do to you; fear God. Do what Jesus says, that's lesson number one. Lesson number two, he knows you and though we encourage each other and we exhort each other to give each other the best efforts that we do, all we can to follow Jesus as faithfully as we can. He knows you and he loves you. All the forgiveness and all the grace that you need is there for you on the cross. I don't know how I would react or how I would respond if I were in a situation where my life was being threatened and I was being offered the opportunity of escape if I would just deny Christ. I don't know how I would respond. I can tell you this, how I respond depends on what I'm looking at. The real question is not “what will I do?” The real question is “where will I focus?”
American Thanksgiving it's a tradition for Texans because it's the first sort of cold snap of the year. By cold I mean it's gone from 40°C down to about 30°C. It is not a Canadian understanding of cold, but it's cold to the native Texan. We do bonfires. We go out and we make a huge fire and it's not even that cold, and we are still wearing shorts, but were all gathered around the bonfire in our shorts like it is winter. It's ridiculous I know, but this is Texas culture.
A number of years ago when my wife went to the University of Texas A&M they had a tradition. Here at Texas A&M right before the Thanksgiving football game right and before the week of Thanksgiving they would build this enormous bonfire. The thing stands about 70 feet tall, it looks like a layered wedding cake, it's got 18 foot logs on the bottom in a huge bundle, there is another group of 18 foot logs stacked on top of that and then there's another smaller group of logs on top of that like a layered wedding cake. There's a centre pole that holds this whole thing up-right.
In November 1999 one of my friends Jeremy Frampton, who was 4 years ahead of me when I was in grade 12, was what you'd call a brown paw. He was part of the student body at the University Of Texas A&M and his job was to supervise the construction of this enormous stack of logs. That stack fell that night and 12 students were killed. Jeremy Frampton, my friend who I went to school with, died that night. I had gone to church with Jeremy and I knew that he loved the Lord. He was absolutely passionate in his devotion to Jesus Christ. In the investigation that came up several months later it was revealed that the reason that the stack fell was as a result of faulty construction. They had missed weighted the stack and it was leaning too far to one side as they had put the heavier logs on the wrong side. The reason that it fell that night specifically was because the direction that was being given by one Jeremy Frampton was flawed. It was revealed that his blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. Immediately the newspapers began to publish stories excoriating my friend. I went to high school with this guy. He never drank a drop in high school. I went to church with this guy and he was not the guy that went to parties, he was not the guy who ran with the wrong crowd. He was a follower of Jesus Christ. He went off to university and he was active in church in university and he served in the local AWANA program in that church and he was a mentor to dozens of young men. The only thing that small town of Dripping Springs that I'm from of remembers of Jeremy Frampton is that he died in shame and disgrace. The headline from the Dripping Springs Dispatch on that day is one I will never forget “Local ‘Christian’ kid kills 12.” Christian in scare quotes. We grieved, we buried him and I went on to university and served in the United States Marine Corps. When I was discharged from the Marine Corps I came back to the University Of A&M as my wife was finishing up her degree there. I attended the same church that Jeremy attended while he was in university and on the last Sunday that we were there, five young men came forward to give their lives to Christ. The pastor had a practice that I have followed to this day myself; he asked them as they were sharing their testimony “who is the person most instrumental in you coming to faith?” These five young men were very involved in the AWANA program and they said “Jeremy Frampton.” Immediately the church was trying to remember who this guy was. The name was familiar, but in the four years since the stack fell and the bonfire came tumbling down he had already faded from their memory. But, he hadn't faded from the memory of those five students.
The mom of Jeremy Frampton, Melissa Frampton, had gone to the University Of Texas A&M and had tracked down these five students and given them the journal that Jeremy kept. He had recorded in this journal the prayers that he prayed for these young men. They had read those prayers, they continued to go to church and they eventually got saved as a result of his influence on their life. Now we were all listening with rapt attention and this is the point that I want to make. You will be beset by temptations over the course of your life that are so powerful and so overwhelming that in your own strength you have no hope of withstanding the enemy. It is entirely possible, even likely, that for a handful of us in this room we will fail. We will give in to the peer pressure and we will succumb to the temptation just like Peter, but Jesus will always forgive all of those who've given their hope in him. Even beyond the grave, whatever contribution you have made, whatever sacrifice you have given to the cause of Christ, Jesus will use it to glorify His name.
Church as we walk away from this text this morning always look to God's word, always do what the Bible says, but even when you fail know that you are not strong enough to break Christ's hold on you.
Let's pray. Father, we thank you for your word this morning. We thank you so much Lord for the gift that we have been given in the life of the apostle Peter. I pray Lord that as we bring our time to a conclusion this morning if there are any here who are giving their lives to anything else besides simple faith in you, in obedience to what you say, I pray God that you convict them of the dangers and that they would recognize there is an enemy who is out to destroy them. I pray that you call them back from the brink of that destruction. I thank you so much God, that you've given us all the grace and all the forgiveness and all of the mercy that you will ever need by sending your son Jesus to die on the cross. Father, give us grace to follow you and give us the strength to resist the enemy. We pray in Christ name, Amen.
The Gospel of Matthew is a story about a once and coming King. Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of David, the long awaited for Messiah. He has come once, and Matthew tells the story of His arrival, ministry, sacrificial atoning work on the cross, and His promise to return soon.