January 26, 2020
This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, The Dawning of a New Day.
Was there ever a time when you loved Jesus Christ more than you love Him today? Is He a shining reality in your heart? Or someone you only think about from time to time? Do you serve God half-heartedly? Your prayers are hurried; you don’t take time to be quiet before Him. Maybe you’re cold and indifferent. Is that you?
You need an overhaul in your walk with Jesus.
There’s no such thing in Jesus as just holding steady. If we’re not growing, we’re going backward. But you don’t have to fall into this. Simon Peter, one of three disciples in Jesus’ inner circle, at one time grew cold. In Luke 22:31-34, we see him needing an overhaul.
And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”
Can we get to the same place? Here’s how it came about.
Jesus had told the disciples over and over about His coming crucifixion and death. But Peter wouldn’t accept it. “Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying,“Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” (Matthew 16:22).
But Peter wouldn’t accept it, even when the Lord Himself told him. Think about that! Arguing with Jesus! Jesus then had to say, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me…” (Matthew 16:23).
Hearing His Word, do you put your own spin on it, watering it down?
“Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death” (Luke 22:33).
Jesus, knowing the future, replies,“I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me” Peter thought, “That’s something I’ll never do.” But he did.
Here’s Peter, naturally bold and aggressive—the one who jumped out of the boat to walk on water, drawing his sword in Gethsemane thinking he could protect the Lord—boasting when he should have been depending on God, not his own strength. Oswald Chambers said, “An unguarded strength is a double weakness.”
Are you depending on your ability? Do you look around at others, saying, “Thank God, I’m not like them”?
Agonizing in prayer in Gethsemane, Jesus found His disciples sleeping. “Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation” (Luke 22:46).
Are you sleeping when you should be seeking Him in prayer? Do the things that break the heart of Jesus break yours? Or do you yawn in the face of God? Jesus taught us to pray every morning, not only for daily bread, but for daily protection: “And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13). Do you put on the armor of God every morning, asking, “In the name of Jesus, protect me and keep me”?
Prayerlessness reveals a pride that says, “I’m quite capable of handling this myself.” Whispering a little prayer, off you go, then spiritually fall flat on your face.
When he took up a sword against the high priest’s servant, Peter had the wrong enemy.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
The devil loves to get people fighting people. Those who hate Christians aren’t the enemy. They’re victims of the real enemy—Satan.
Jesus told Peter to put his sword away. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4).
Our battle is against the powers of darkness. Nothing but divine power can overcome them. Our weapons are faith, prayer, surrender, obedience, revival; the devil cannot stand against those.
He’d not been praying. He awakened in the energy of the flesh, filled with misguided zeal.
Have you been boasting when you ought to be depending? Sleeping when you ought to be praying? Fighting in the energy of the flesh, rather than walking in the Spirit?
“for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). You can have holy indignation over sin, but beware of misguided, unbridled anger.
Peter failed miserably, but God wasn’t through with him.
No matter how badly you’ve failed, God isn’t finished with you, either. Failure need not be final.
When the rooster crowed, a new day dawned for Peter. God will give your heart an overhaul, too, and restore the joy of Jesus if you surrender.
With Jesus’ arrest, Peter thought things were out of control. How could He be the Messiah? Why doesn’t He do something? Doubt led to discouragement. Discouragement led to denial. He wasn’t listening, praying, or understanding. At this precise moment, the rooster crowed.
Immediately, Peter remembered what Jesus said. Of all the roosters in Jerusalem that night, not one crowed until that exact moment. Jesus is in sovereign control even over the beasts of the field and fish of the sea (Psalm 8).
You’ve had serious doubts. Your child became sick and didn’t recover. You asked God for a job and not yet gotten one. You prayed for a prodigal child, but he hasn’t come back. You say, “It’s not working out. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.”
No matter what has happened, how much sorrow or seemingly unanswered prayers, Jesus is in control. If it doesn’t make sense to you, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense. If you can’t see God working, it doesn’t mean God isn’t working.
I was on a ship not long ago, going south and north at the same time. Impossible? No, the ship was headed north, but I was walking from the front of the ship to the back, walking south as the ship traveled north. Where did I end up? Farther south? No, farther north! You see, God is moving us to His purpose. Peter couldn’t comprehend, but God was in sovereign control.
“And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter” (Luke 22:61). On His way to the cross, Jesus looked at backslidden Peter. He never stopped loving him. God doesn’t change us so He can love us. God loves us so He can change us. Maybe like Peter you’ve turned away from Him. But I’m telling you on the authority of the Word of God: He loves you just as you are, but He loves you too much to let you stay that way.
“Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord…” (Luke 22:61). Earlier in Luke 22 Jesus says, “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail” (Luke 22:32). Even “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). Jesus will never let you go. (Hebrews 13:5).
Satan can do nothing outside what God allows. Satan is always on a leash. Ron Dunn, in one of the greatest sermons I’ve ever heard, said
Satan heard Peter boasting. “That braggart,” Satan thought. “I’d like to sift him.” Jesus says, “Sounds like a good idea to me.” You sift wheat to get out the impurities. Satan wants to get those impurities (sins in our lives) so he can accuse us. Jesus wants them out so He can cleanse us. He allowed the sifting.
Satan accuses to bring fear and despondency. The Holy Spirit convicts to bring repentance, cleansing, and victory.
You can refuse the overhaul if you want, but God wants to give you a fresh beginning. The Savior is in Heaven praying for you. “He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
If you’ve failed, a new day can dawn for you. But you can refuse his overhaul. Now it’s really up to you.
Now it’s really up to you, whether you want revival or you want to go on being sifted.
Make this your prayer:
Dear Lord, revive me. Forgive my indifference, carelessness, coldness, boastfulness, prayerlessness. Lord, in the name of Jesus, move in my life today. May Your Holy Spirit work mightily. In Jesus’ name, Amen.