Sunday, September 02, 2007

Peter's Second and Third Denials

25As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, "You are not one of his disciples, are you?"
He denied it, saying, "I am not."

26One of the high priest's servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, "Didn't I see you with him in the olive grove?" 27Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.
OK, let's pick up where we left off. It seems that I have been neglecting this study for a while. To restate my purpose for going through the Book of John, the fourth Gospel in the New Testament, I want to look at this book from the perspective of someone who is not a Christian and has decided to look into what it means to be a Christian. Many people are steered towards this book as a great place to start. I also think it is important to follow through the Bible in the order that God would have us read and try to get as much out of each book as we can. The other choice would be to find a message or theology we like and look through the Bible cherry picking verses out that agree with our already established conclusions. I prefer the first method, and I hope you do as well.

OK, this section is finishing up a story of Peter denying Christ. Christ has already predicted this, so it was no surprise to Him. The one that was shocked was Peter. After hearing a recent sermon and talking with many "Christians" about the idea of how to share their faith, this verse is taking on a whole new meaning for me. Peter was certainly a believer, and still denied Christ. What would cause this? Did he not love Christ? I doubt it. I'm sure he loved Christ.

I think the reason was that he was scared to offend others, or certainly scared of the consequences of being associated with Christ. It was easier to deny Him than face losing status, freedom, or possibly even his life.

How does that apply to us? Are many of the people in our churches believers? Do they love Christ? I'm sure of it. But, how do we deny Christ? Hey, we have t-shirts that say, "His Pain, Your Gain" on them, and we have a sticker on our car telling everyone that our kids got straight A's in a Christian school. Then, how are we denying Christ?

There is a big trend these days (though I'm sure it's not new) of "sharing your faith" by showing kindness to strangers. Now, I have no problem with sharing kindness, and certainly I believe that if you are not kind to everyone, you have no right to share your faith verbally.

But, how kind is it if all we do is feed and clothe people and never once share with them the saving Grace of Jesus Christ? If we do not let people know about their sin, and the coming day when God will judge them in righteousness, and the only way to reconcile themselves to this holy God, is to surrender before the sacrifice of His Son Jesus and be counted as righteous themselves on that day; if we do not let people know this as lovingly and as compassionately as we can, then all the food in the world only serves to glorify ourselves.

And THAT is how many of us deny Christ to this day. Hey, don't let the rooster crow before you actually share your faith. Don't be surprised as Peter that even though you are sure you are a believer, you are actually denying the very one that saved you.

The reason you are reading this is because somebody TOLD you about it. The reason you are considering it is because that person is hopefully kind and respectful to you. They go hand in hand. Go out today and do both.

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