Another Experiencing God moment

God is not glorified by making our plans succeed. He receives glory when His will is done in His way.

Understanding what God is about to do where I am is more important than telling God what I want to do for Him.

This part of submission is hard for me. I get these cool, big dreams and I want to do them for God, but that is not how it works. God will come to me. I need to relax and submit to God.

If the dreams are God’s dreams and He wants to work through me to do something I could never do than that is what is suppose to Happen. That is how God will work. He has His own wa and His own agenda! God will not adjust to me. I must adjust to Him.

Experiencing God moment

“We do not sit down and dream what we want to do for God and then call God in to help us accomplish it.” (From Experiencing God: Blackaby and King)

“It’s not a question of what you can do for me…what can I do for you, My King?” (Tree63)

I am guilty of these things. I will sometimes find myself dreaming of what I think God wants and then I will ask God for help doing it….

But it does not work that way. We must die to ourself and submit to God and what He is doing. We must die to ourself and let God do what He is going to do (not what we want to do or what we thing He is going to do) and then we must join Him in HIS work!

follow me

In His sermon this week, my pastor spoke about Jesus and the disciples. Jesus chose fisherman to be his disciples, regular fishermen. The fishermen “immediately” left their boats and followed. “immediately” left their father and their fishing business to follow a man whom they had just seen for the first time!

The Greek Word “euyewv” is used for straightway, forthwith, or best fitting for modern English “immediately.” aka- quickly, shortly, without hesitation, at once or soon, as soon as possible.

This hits home with me ,because the very first disciples laid down a pure example of what faith can look like. These men did not know Jesus well when they met him, when all he said was “follow me.” But they left all that they knew and followed.

Ever since the first disciples and even today, that is all it takes to follow Jesus. It is not necessary to know everything about Him in order to believe and to follow Him. I am not saying that people shouldn’t look into Jesus and learn about Him before they make any kind of decision. Please do the research, Jesus speaks for Himself and the more you know about Him the better.

But for the point of this post and just pure reflection, it is an interesting thought. The first disciples simply followed. There wasn’t any skepticism. My point really is that this still happens today. Look at my salvation story, for example: I was very young when I came to know Christ. At eight years of age, I only knew the basics…Jesus died for my sins. Sure I grew up in a Christian home, but I was not trained on epistemology, hermeneutics, and Christology, not as an eight year old. My mom asked me if I would follow Him. I kind of understood that I was a sinner. But I wanted whatever it was that my mom had and was talking about. So I followed Him. That is it! I was saved without knowing very much at all about Jesus.

Today as my faith has matured a lot, I enjoy studying those deeper things I referred to. And if you read the Gospels and then read Acts, you see how Peter and the disciples’ faith mature quite a bit too. They knew very little and then over time and in their relationship with God they began to understand more deeply.

It is really basic observation but truly amazing, Jesus is for everyone!

Bibliography and Appendix

Bibliography:

Allison Jr., Dale C.. Journal of Biblical Literature, Fall92, Vol. 111 Issue 3, p489, 7p

Alward, Joseph. 2004. Simon Peter and Cephas. http://sol.sci.uop.edu/~jfalward/Cephas.htm

Bing, Charles. THE MAKING OF A DISCIPLE. Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society.

Autumn 1992—Volume 5:2. Burleson, Texas

Camille, Alice. (“The Odd Couple”). U.S. Catholic; Jun2005, Vol. 70 Issue 6, p43-45, 3p, 1c

Camille, Alice. (“The Case for Peter”). U.S. Catholic; May2000, Vol. 65 Issue 5, p43, 3p

Carson, D.A. & Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. 2nd Ed. Grand Rapids,

MI: Zondervan, 2005.

Clarke, Adam. Commentary on the Bible. Public Domain. ~1800.

Ehrman, B. D. Journal of Biblical Literature 109(3, 1990)463-474.

Gill, John. John Gill exposition of the Bible. Public Domain. 1809.

Harrington, Daniel J.. America, 1/29/2007, Vol. 196 Issue 3, p38-38, 1p, 1

Henry, M. Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged in one

volume. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996.

Kerr, C. M.. “Jonas (2),” International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia. Edited by James Orr. Blue

Letter Bible. 1913. 5 May 2003. 24 Jun 2008.
<http://cf.blueletterbible.org/isbe/isbe.cfm?id=11766

>.

Lea D., Thomas and Black, Alan David. The New Testament, Its Background and Message (2nd

edition). Tennessee: Broadman & Homan Publishers, 2003.

Mackintosh, C. H. “Simon Peter – His life and its lessons.” STEM

Publishing. Retrieved from

http://www.stempublishing.com/authors/mackintosh/Bk3/SIMONPTR.html

Mantey, Julius. NEW TESTAMENT FACTS ABOUT THE APOSTLE PETER JETS 21/3

(September 1978) 211-212

Strong, James. The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville: Thomas

Nelson, 1995).

Thayer, Joseph H. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Peabody, MA:
Hendrickson Publishers, 2003).

Vincent, Marvin. Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament (4 Volumes). Public Domain.

New York 1887-91.

Vine, W.E. (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Nashville: Thomas
Nelson, 1996 reprint)

Wall, R. W. Source: Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 29(1987)79-90

Wesley, John. Wesley’s Notes on the Bible. Public Domain. 1755.

Wiki Media. “St. Peter.” http://christianity.wikia.com/wiki/Apostle_Peter

Zodhiates, Spiro. The Complete Word Study of New Testament. AMG Publishers, Chattanooga,

TN 37422; 199

Appendix A: Map

Your browser may not support display of this image.

(From: Asher, Jeff. 2000. Bible Talk. Retrieved June10th, 2008 from

http://www.bibletalk.net/books/classbooks.html_

)

Lesson Six – Spiritual Growth

Lesson Six – Spiritual Growth

Well class it has been quite the journey the past six weeks, hasn’t it? We have gone through a lot of material in Peter. And you have been an excellent class. Thanks you for your enthusiasm. In today’s lesson we will look back at Simon Peter briefly to see what spiritual shape he was in when he began his walk with the Lord. Then we will compare that shape to what kind of spiritual maturity we see that he is in near the end of his life by examining his letters and sermon.
I will discuss on some liberal theories that are amiss in our culture recently about these writings of Peter. Then we will finish this lesson and this series with Peter’s death. If we run out of time today then Peter’s death is yours to take home with you and to study on your own time.

Let me read to you Matthew 4: 17-20, this is the calling of Jesus’ disciples:From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He *said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. (Mat 4:17-20 NASB)

We see from the beginning that Peter was loyal. We see that right away he knew Jesus was worth pursuing. We see that Peter was just an average fisherman, with some education. He was trained by John the Baptist and knew of a coming Messiah. And right away he knew the Messiah was Jesus. We know he had faith. But we will see how he grows in not only divine faith but also in understanding and knowledge of our Lord as he matures in faith.

Please turn to Act 2:14-41 NASB. _____, would you read the first section? We will split this into three parts: 14-22. 23-36, 37-41:But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy. ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. ‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. ‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’

Here we see Peter has grown in his faith and maturity. First we see that he is willing to be used by the Holy Sprit. Second we see that he sees that faith is not just about him, but loving and telling others the good news. Peter becomes one of the first evangelists. And definitely he was one of the first evangelists to the Gentiles, although was a Jew and focused more on the Jews, in general. Also we see that Peter is quoting Old Testament Material here. This tells me that Peter has not only matured spiritually but has grown in his academic and Greek abilities. Picturing Peter preaching this sermon, we see a completely new and different Peter than we have seen in the Gospels. The Peter who seemed undisciplined, ignorant, and impulsive is now training others in deliberate discourse! Talk about maturity!

_______ Okay, will you take the next section?

“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know– this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. “For David says of Him, ‘I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE; FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. ‘THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED; MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE; BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY. ‘YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE; YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE.’ “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY. “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.”‘ “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ–this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Thanks, I will read the last part here:

Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

(Act 2:14-41 NASB)

One thing that really impresses me about Peter’s sermon and in his writings is that he refers back to the Old Testament quite a bit. In fact, “probably no other letter is said to rely so much on traditional material” as 1st Peter. 37 We see is 1 Peter chapter two verse seven, Peter not only quotes OT but refers t o a passage he heard Jesus himself teach on that we looked at earlier.

1Pe 2:7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,”
It is really cool, because we see that Peter made connection. He finally understands what Jesus was talking about. He realizes that Christ is the cornerstone, not him. This is one mark of spiritual maturity.

Finally, we learn that God blesses those who do the work of evangelism. That day, about three thousand were added to the kingdom that day. This is not to say that Peter felt prideful and was looking for this kind of success, but rather that the Lord glorified this occasion. Peter had submitted to the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit did all the work. Peter was just the vessel that he Holy Sprit worked through, yet God still glorified the occasion by adding three thousand to his number that day.

As a writer, Peter is thought to be involved in the writings of the two Peter letters (1st and 2nd) and as we discussed in an earlier session scholars believe that Peter was involved in the writing of the Gospel of Mark, because mark was a close disciple of Peter and wrote down the stories he told him. But of course there are several liberal theories about his writings and I want to know about some of them.

Some contemporary scholars question if 1st Peter was written by Peter because Peter does not mention certain information about Paul and “Paul’s territory.” Also the theology in 1st Peter seems to be “too much like Paul.” Also Peter’s education level and knowledge and skill of writing Greek is put into question. This is particularly questioned in the writing of 2nd Peter.

All of these arguments put together still are not strong and very inconclusive. The truth is Peter and Paul’s issues of conflict are exaggerated. Peter and Paul were actually “beloved friends” despite the fact they did not always understand each other or agree with everything. It is very likely that they worked the same territory, Peter with the Jews and Paul with the Gentiles. Peter’s writing skills along with more advanced theology could be explained with two possible theories. Possibly Peter had an amanuensis (skilled slave used for hand writing)38. Or slightly less likely but a possibility nonetheless, Peter increased in his knowledge and skill of Greek during the thirty years between Christ’s resurrection and his own death.

While, according to Carson, 1st Peter has some of the strongest external evidence for authorship of Peter, 2nd peter on the other hand, has some of the strongest claims against Peter authorship!39 2nd Peter is overwhelmingly thought to be pseudonymous, that is falsely written in Peter’s name, by someone else. Still all of their arguments, which I do not have time here to get into can be refuted or at least denied full authority. The best conclusion is a quote from L.R. Doneslson, “No one ever seems to have accepted a document as religiously and philosophically prescriptive which was known to be forged. I do not know of a single instance.”40 In other words, we can and should trust and have faith in the early church, as they carefully chose 2nd Peter as canonical material.

Leading up to Peter’s death, there is speculation as to how exactly Peter makes it to Rome, but we do know that Peter died in Rome under Nero. He was martyred on a cross upside-down at the same time Paul also was martyred. The interesting fact is that we do not hear of Peter’s being in Rome, except once, in 1 Peter 5:13, “Babylon.” Even this reference is questionable. Most scholars do believe that this is in fact Rome, not actually Babylon.41

If so why didn’t Peter mention that he was near Paul? One theory is that Peter’s disciple and writing of the Gospel (Mark), John Mark lived in Rome. Therefore Peter spent at least some time in Rome with John Mark.

There is further speculation about Peter in Rome, evolves around Paul. Paul probably left Rome for mission trips from 60-62 AD. This would have given Peter ample time to come into the city and writ 1st Peter. And this might actually explain why Peter’s writing seems so much like Paul’s Romans letter. As Peter might have become more acquainted with the letter during his stay in Rome. In the end Peter and Paul end up together in Rome sometime around 64-65AD and both die there under Nero.42 Between 62-64, leaves Peter some time to write 2nd Peter.

Class, I thank you for your time, effort, and participation. It has been a pleasure teaching you about Simon Peter. I hope you learned a lot. I did. Thank you!

Lesson Five – Gun-Hoe Spontaneity

Lesson Five – Gun-Hoe Spontaneity

Class. I wanted to say thank you for putting up with my long-windedness, today we will do more discussion. As you can tell I like to talk. But I hope the Lord has been good to you as he has been good to me. I have been learning a lot from Peter, as I hope you have too. The lord has been dealing with me and it is good. Your homework from last week, we too look at Peter and Paul’s conflict in Gal. 2. I want to briefly go over this as we have great stuff to cover today about Peter. We will see Peter’s “Gun-hoe spontaneity.” He truly was the leader among the twelve. His passion for Christ was spectacular.

Discussion: Would someone please summarize what happened in these passages? Thanks _____. That is correct. Paul reproofs Peter for being hypocritical.
What does Paul correct Peter for? Peter’s offense was public, so he publicly reproved him for it: He said unto him before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? Let’s see the AMP translation:” If you, though born a Jew, can live [as you have been living] like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how do you dare now to urge and practically force the Gentiles to [comply with the ritual of Judaism and] live like Jews?”
What is this dispute about? hypocrisy. Does it matter? How important is it? It was important that Paul pointed this out. As Christians we can give off bad signals and turn away non-believers by our hypocrisy. This scenario was appropriate for Paul to reproof Peter. And we see that the situation was well taken by Peter. And they left the situation as friends and not divided. Peter agreed that he was wrong.

One last note that I found interesting in research is about the personalities of Paul and Peter. The two could not have been much more different. Camille suggests that conflict issues between the two might have had something to do with this mismatch in background and personality. Camille says they were “a match made in purgatory.”34 In short Peter was a humble, local fisherman who never strayed too far from the Sea of Galilee. He was a warm-hearted, conservative with a little education that everyone knew and liked, even Jesus. Paul on the other hand was more liberal, well-educated, a world-traveler who never got a chance to met Jesus. Peter merely betrayed Jesus, as Paul persecuted and killed Christians.

Peter might be most well-known for his enthusiasm and gun-hoe spontaneity in the passages that we look at today. We learn a lot about faith and loyalty in these two key passages: Jesus walking on water (Mat 14:22-33 NASB) and Peter with a sword in Gethsemane (John 18:1-13 NASB).

_______ would you open us open in the Mat 14 passage? Thanks.

Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”

(Mat 14:22-33 NASB)

Men have imperfect faith. Notice Jesus does not say “no faith,” but “little faith.”

We see in this passage, despite Peter’s willingness to follow and his love and affection for the Lord, he is first off not willing to go unless commanded, (although this is more initiation than the other eleven.) And then despite the fact hat Peter does go somewhat spontaneously, somewhat in fear, we see his faith and fear collide.

Notice that he was afraid; although it is likely he was a good swimmer, being a fisherman. 35 And also he was afraid despite the fact, he saw Jesus walking with his own eyes!

Adam Clarke brings it all together for real life application: “Every moment we stand in need of Christ: while we stand – we are upheld by his power only; and when we are falling, or have fallen, we can be saved only by his mercy. Let us always take care that we do not consider so much the danger to which we are exposed, as the power of Christ by which we are to be upheld; and then our mountain is likely to stand strong.36”

Let us take faith, strong faith in the Lord on a daily basis.

____ would you please read John 18:1-13? Thanks.
When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples. Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples. Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, *came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and *said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He *said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground. Therefore He again asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus the Nazarene.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way,” to fulfill the word which He spoke, “Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.” Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him, and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.

(John 18:1-13 NASB)

In Luke 22:49 When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”- Some of the other disciples ask the Lord if they should attack, then out of no where, Peter smites his sword and slices Malchus’ ear off. This is just a reflection of Peter. He does not wait, stop to think, or hear what Jesus says, he just cuts off the ear!

And again, Peter is the one of the disciples who takes action out of loyalty for Jesus as the other disciples are slow to action. This time the others are at least thinking about taking action, as we see in the question that they ask.

Discussion Questions:
What can we learn from Peter and his gun-hoe attitude?
we learn to think before we speak. We learn to have Peter’s faith – when we are on Jesus Christ’s errands, there is no time to stand up for ourselves. We should set all of our inhibitions aside and follow, as Peter did better than the other disciples.
What are the pros and cons of this type of behavior for Peter?
For Peter, his loyalty got him into Jesus’ inner circle of friends. His gun-hoe attitude also brought him some humility and embarrassment.
What are the pros and cons of this type of behavior in your daily life?
In our daily lives, in our culture this attitude is looked at as extremism. People say “‘wow’ you are one of those Jesus freaks, weirdo.” It is a good thing in the sense that people know where you stand and what you believe, (if they actually do actually know what the tenants of Christianity are.) But the negative side is that people might look down on you, not really understand what you believe because of stereotypes, or people might think that you sold out to Christianity. Other might think you are radical in your faith. The point is that having this much devotion to the Lord sometimes scares people away or turns them off, mostly because they do not understand. We as Christians should be fully devoted to the Lord but we have to communicate love and Christ, grace and peace. We have to explain what we are to others clearly.
Have there been moments in your life recently where you had a strong desire to live for the Lord, but the realities of fear and temptation caused you t o wimp out of fail in your desire to “die for Christ?” Anyone willing to share a moment with us?

Tonight we looked at Peter and Paul and their conflict. Then we examined more about Peter and his famous incidents: walking on water and playing with a sword. Peter displayed lots of loyalty and a little faith. The Lord calls us to follow with the same amount of loyalty and even greater faith…Are you up for the challenge? Take some time this week to examine where your faith is lacking. The Holy Spirit will sure guide you if you ask him to.

Okay, thanks class for another great night. You are always open to talk and share insights and experiences that really enhance these lessons and our small group. I appreciate all of your own thoughts, the time and energy you are putting into studying God’s Word and making this small group better. In my appreciation there are no reading assignments for next week. I will tell you what we will be looking at, in case you over-achievers need some thing to read for next week. Next week we will be looking into the writings of Peter. His Sermon in acts 2, 1st and 2nd Peter, and the Gospel of Mark (indirectly). Thanks, see you next week!