"(3) Peter in his repentance. Peter had denied the Lord three times before the Lord looked at him; that look of Jesus must have broken Peter’s heart. His look exposed the terrible sin that Peter had committed —the terrible failure that had come, the depth into which he had fallen, and “Peter went outside and wept bitterly.” Who can tell what that repentance must have been? During the following hours of that night and the next day, when he saw Christ crucified and buried, and the next day, the Sabbath— what hopeless despair and shame he must have experienced that day! “My Lord is gone, my hope is gone, and I denied Him! After that life of love, after the blessed fellowship we had for three years, I denied my Lord. God, have mercy upon me!” I don’t think it is possible to imagine into what depths of humiliation Peter sank. But that was the turning point and the change ; on the first day of the week Christ was seen by Peter, and in the evening He met him with the others. Later on at the Lake of Galilee He asked him, “Do you love me?” until Peter was saddened again by the thought that he had denied Him. He said in sorrow, but in honesty, “Lord, you know all"
Absolute Surrender by Murray, Andrew
"(2) Peter as he lived the life of self. He pleased himself, trusted himself, and sought honor for himself. Not unlike us before death to self. Just after Christ had said to Peter, “This was not revealed to you by man, but my Father in heaven,”Christ began to speak about His sufferings. Peter dared to say, “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!”Then Christ had to say, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”There was Peter in his self-will, trusting his own wisdom, and actually forbidding Christ to die. What prompted this? Peter trusted himself and his own thoughts about divine things.
We see later on, more than once, that when the disciples were questioning among themselves who should be the greatest, Peter was one of them. He thought he had a right to the very first place. He sought his own honor even above the others. The life of self was strong in Peter. When Christ had spoken to him about His sufferings and said, “Get behind me, Satan,”He followed it up by saying, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”No man can follow Him unless he does that. Self must be utterly denied. What does this mean? When Peter denied Christ, three times he said he didn’t know the man. In other words, “I have nothing to do with Him; He and I are not friends; I deny having any connection with Him.”Christ told Peter that he must deny himself. Self must be ignored and its every claim rejected. That is the root of true discipleship; but Peter did not understand it and could not obey it.
Consequently, when the last night came, Christ said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”But with what self-confidence Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”Peter truly meant it and really intended to do it; but Peter didn’t know himself. Perhaps we do not know ourselves so well either. Do we give place to our self-life? What have we done with our flesh, entirely under the power of sin? Deliverance from that is what we need. Peter did not understand this, and therefore in self-confidence he even denied his Lord. Notice how Christ used that word deny twice. He said to Peter the first time, Deny yourself; and the second time, You will deny me (disown, as some translations have it). It is either one or the other. There is no alternative; we must either deny self or deny Christ. There are two great powers fighting each other—the self-life in the power of sin, and Christ in the power of God. One of these must rule within us."
Absolute Surrender by Murray, Andrew
"(1) Peter the devoted disciple of Jesus. Christ called Peter to leave his fishing nets and follow Him. Peter did so at once and afterward could truthfully say, “We have forsaken all, and followed you.”Peter was a man of entire surrender; he surrendered all to follow Jesus. Peter was also a man of true obedience. You remember that Christ said to him, “Launch out into the deep, and let down the net.”Peter, an experienced fisherman, knew there were no fish there; they had been struggling all night and had caught nothing. But he said, “At your word I will let down the net.”He submitted to the word of Jesus. Further, he was a man of great faith. When he saw Christ walking on the water, he said, “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you”; and at the voice of Christ he stepped out of the boat and walked on the water. Peter was also a man of spiritual insight. When Christ asked the disciples, “Who do you say I am?”Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”And Christ said, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but my Father in heaven.”(See Matthew 16: 15–19.) Christ spoke of him as the “rock”and of his having the keys to the kingdom. Peter was a splendid friend and a devoted disciple of Jesus. And yet how much was still lacking"
Absolute Surrender by Murray, Andrew
"I thank God for the story of Peter. I know no other man in the Bible who gives greater comfort to the human frame. When we look at his character, so full of failures, and at what Christ made him by the power of the Holy Spirit, there is hope for every one of us. But remember, before Christ could fill Peter with the Holy Spirit and make a new creation of him, Peter had to acknowledge his frailty and his wrongdoing; he had to be humbled. To understand this, there are four points to consider: (1) Peter the devoted disciple of Jesus; (2) Peter as he lived the life of self; (3) Peter in his repentance; and (4) Peter’s deliverance from self."
Absolute Surrender by Murray, Andrew, Chapter 6
(Due to difficulties with the internet in India, the blog on Spiritual Gifts will be continued at a later date)
I want to start this series with the most basic, but critical principle, that spiritual gifts are given by God, not produced by man. No amount of human education, status or position in any organization confers a spiritual gift to anyone. Paul says in Romans 12:6 that “gifts differ according to the grace given to us”. It is the grace of God that has given each of us a gift(s) and they will differ from one person to another. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 clearly shows that the Holy Spirit is the source of spiritual gifts given in the body of Christ.
In Ephesians 4:11, Paul gives a little different perspective on the gifts. They are given by Christ, the one who descended and “ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things. And He gave,….” and then lists five specific gifts (4:10-11). In my mind’s imagination, I think of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit planning before the foundations of the world each person who will be brought into the church through Christ and the specific gift they will need to fulfill their call and purpose.
How do you look at your gift? Do you see it as a divine gift for a divine purpose to bring glory to God, now and for eternity? Are you using your gift so that Christ is “filling all things” in your life and in those you ministry to?
“You are either laying up treasure in Heaven or upon earth. Everything you have [on earth] you must ultimately lose. Everything you invest in the souls of men, you will save.”
Smith, Oswald J., The Challenge of Missions, page 76.
“How delightful are God’s ways and the goings forth of His will! Not by might nor by power, neither by native ability nor by training are men made apostles, but by God’s effectual calling. So it is with every office (role) within the church. Men are permitted to recognize the call and make public acknowledgment before the congregation, but never are they permitted themselves to make the choice. But where divine ways and the ways of men mix and mingle there is confusion and failure continually. Good men who are yet not called of God may, and often do, take upon them the sacred work of the ministry. Worse still is it when men who belong yet to the old world and have not been renewed by the miracle of regeneration try to carry on God’s holy work. How sad is the sight and how tragic the consequences, for the ways of man and the ways of God are forever contrary one to the other.”
Tozer, A. W., The Pursuit of Man – The Divine Conquest of the Human Heart, Christian Publications, 1950, page 36.
If forgiving one another becomes part of our DNA in the body of Christ (yesterday’s blog), there should be no problem with the instructions James gives us; “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16). Note carefully the purpose of confessing our sins. It is in view of healing; first spiritual healing, and if the Lord will, it may include physical healing. Specifically as to confession, we must remember the distinction Paul makes between “godly grief” and “worldly grief”, “for godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret” (2 Corinthians 7:10).
The combination of confessing our sins one another with godly grief (sorrow) and “the prayer of faith…for one another” by a “righteous person” brings about the forgiveness and healing. We must not leave out one of these elements lest we lower “serving one another” to a ritual that leaves out the active presence and power of God through the Holy Spirit and genuine character on our part.
As each of these “one another” principles are put into practice, the body of Christ is strengthened and made to mature. I trust you have gained from these six blogs. Pass on to others what you are learning and you will grow yourself.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:12–14).
These are three packed verses, not so much because they contain a huge amount of information, but because their exhortation and teaching confronts the usual way we conduct ourselves. I will only ask a few questions and let the Holy Spirit speak through these verses to your heart.
· Do you look at others who are going through difficult times, with compassion or criticism?
· Do you show kindness selectively or with favoritism?
· Is your humility, meekness and patience genuine, or just a put-on for the moment?
· How difficult is it for you to “bear – endure patiently with” someone else when they fail or come short of your expectations.
· How ready are you to forgive others? (How much has God forgiven you?)
· Is your forgiveness conditional or unconditional?
How about “submitting to one another” (Ephesians 5:21)? We would rarely put that in the same category as “serving”, but serving others must be done with genuine submission, and that requires humility. Paul says “in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
If we are going to serve one another effectively, submission and humility must become part of our inner fabric. This is not to be confused with submitting to error which Paul did not do (Galatians 2:5). Where there is a ‘body building, strengthening, encouraging’ mindset, there will be no room for undercurrents, gossip or divisive activity. Serving one another through submission and humility will also promote maturity (Ephesians 4:11-16).
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