Jesus’ Words Ring True Matthew 26:68-75

Matthew 26:69-75

The Bible isn’t about you and the gospels aren’t really focused on the disciples, but we read it that way all the time. 

There are definitely lessons to be learned;  for instance, two weeks ago we looked at different sins that may keep us from following our Lord Jesus.

But the central idea of the Bible is Jesus is the Savior.  If you believe in him, he is your savior.  And by his strength, his people serve, please, love, and glorify God.

  1. Let’s look at Peter’s Denial
    1. To be fair:  All the apostles abandoned Jesus, not just Peter
      1. Peter was focused in on b/c of his confidence at the Supper and Jesus’ words 33-35  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 said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.
      1. In John 18:15—John was with Peter
      1. No one else followed as closely as these two, but at the end no one is with Jesus.  Not in presence and not in profession.
    1. If the focus of this passage is on Peter we end up with the moral lesson:  “don’t deny Christ”
      1. Then we have to ask, What constitutes denial?
      1. Ultimately denial is any sin
        1. (I can’t go through all the possibilities) Let me give you an example
        1. Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain—as a believer you’ve been given Christ’s name.  Christian.  So, if you sin, you’ve vainly accepted the designation of Jesus’ name.  And then, while bearing that name, you’ve done something against it. 
        1. Effectively your sin denies Jesus.  His grace that saved you.  His claim on you as his reward for his work.
    1. What I’m saying is that if the focus is on Peter’s sin here—then the focus remains on us
      1. A Christian life that only looks at your sin will leave you paralyzed on some days and self-righteous on others
        1. Keller’s balloons
      1. If you are truly honest about what you are, what you think, what your motives are in the good things you do, you’ll end up being paralyzed with guilt
      1. Relentless self-examination without Christ’s work will lead you into what I’m calling the “slough of enough”
        1. Do you remember the slough of despond in Pilgrim’s Progress?
        1. Slough=swamp
        1. Left all alone, as Christian traveled toward the celestial city, he fell into the slough of despond.  Where he thought he had to get out by himself.
        1. It left him stuck in his own inability to escape and left him in despair.
      1. The slough of “enough” is like Pilgrim’s slough of despond.  It’s you asking yourself “have I done this enough?”
        1. Have I examined myself enough?
        1. Have I improved enough?
        1. Do I trust enough?
        1. Do I love Jesus enough?
        1. The slough of enough will leave you stuck in your own inability and ultimately leaves you in despair, because the answer is always no to each of those questions.  And for the believer, it turns you into a non-combatant in Jesus’ war “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”  Because you’re too busy thinking about what you can do for Jesus instead of realizing and claiming the reality of what he’s already done for you.
  2. Christ Focus—fortunately the Bible isn’t Aesop’s fables, or Buddha’s Tripitaka, or Muhammed’s Koran
    1. Unlike every other religion, we have a true savior who gives grace. 
      1. The other religions who do have a savior type figure you still have to earn favor or keep favor with that Savior to be saved. 
      1. Not so with Christ.
    1. It’s not about what Peter did or didn’t do
    1. It’s not about what you do or don’t do
    1. It’s about what Jesus did
      1. Just so we’re clear, once you’re saved you do have plenty to do in the kingdom, to serve and obey your savior king; but when you fail you’re not booted from the kingdom or even demoted.  Your place in the kingdom is absolutely sure, because you’re place is in Jesus the king himself.
    1. If you get the cart before horse you’re going to end up back in the slough of “enough”
      1. In this case the cart is you’re good works, your fruit.  And the horse is Jesus’ works for your salvation.
      1. V. 75  And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
      1. If Peter had stayed there, in that emotional place, what do you think he’d have done?
      1. Probably in a state of perpetual doubt asking himself, “have I loved Jesus enough to make up for denying him?”
      1. And then coming to the conclusion—how could I ever love Jesus enough considering the price he paid for my sin.
    1. But that question doesn’t matter.  Peter understood that.  You don’t ever have to ask if you’ve done enough, because with Christ you get GRACE.
      1. Absolute forgiveness for your sin
      1. One of the reasons to include Peter’s denials has to be Jesus’s own words in Matthew 10:26-33 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known… And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell… So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
      1. It’s kind of challenging to interpret Peter’s salvation in light of Jesus word’s, doesn’t it?
        1. Jesus doesn’t go back on his word.
        1. But the grace of God in Jesus is such that even the most reprehensible of your sins is forgiven.  Even a moment of denying the one who became sin so that you would become the righteousness of God.
        1. The threat of Jesus denying you is for anyone who lives their life in a continual state of denial.
      1. For Peter and the disciples, Jesus shows them grace, and through that grace—he gives them strength to do better and to serve. He doesn’t strengthen them, he gives them his strength and his salvation.
    1. The Bible is focused on Christ and his people should be too
      1. He is our answer
      1. We can’t do enough, but Jesus already has
      1. The grace of God given to us through Jesus
  3. Christ and His Word
    1. At that final denial, Peter remembers Jesus’ words and falls away weeping.  He hadn’t done enough.
    1. This shows us that Jesus’ words are true.  As Peter denies Jesus for the third time, Jesus’ words ring true in the apostle’s ears.   Just like all the OT fulfilment passages came true in Jesus, so too did Jesus’ words come true through Peter’s sin.  Even sin and evil obey the will of God the Son.
    1. The Bible is more than just the parts that condemn our sin
      1. All of it is true
      1. Isaiah 60:  Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you.
      1. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation, or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.
      1. The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.
      1. Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended.
      1. Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified.
      1. The least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation; I am the LORD; in its time I will hasten it.
    1. Isaiah prophesied to Israel before the exile.  He prophesied that their punishment was coming soon and it would be worse than anything they could imagine.  It begins with military defeat, and continues with destruction, pillaging, slavery, being carried away from the Promised Land into Assyria.  But this vision in Isaiah 60 was given by God to convey HOPE.
      1. First the hope of Jesus’ birth—the first light, “arise, shine, for your light is come” refers to Jesus’ birth, John 1:5  The light shines in the darkness, Is. 9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
      1. But like most, if not all, biblical prophecy it looks forward finally and ultimately to Jesus’ Return—when the “The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.
    1. I’m not suggesting Peter had this prophecy in mind when Jesus assured him of his forgiveness.  But I am saying Peter lived in the reality of what Isaiah promises.
    1. For us the truth is the same as it was for Peter:  We need all of what the Bible says.
      1. Yes, we need to be convicted of our sin.
      1. But we also need to be assured that our sin is covered, cleaned, and taken away.
    1. We need all of the immeasurable riches of Jesus, all of what has been given to us in Jesus’ work that was confirmed to be effective and true by his resurrection
      1. Be confident that God’s rich blessings are yours in Jesus.
        1. As confident as you are Jesus is coming back you should be confident that the power of God in Christ has been given to you.
        1. To defeat the devil.  To heal the wounds of sin and darkness.  To see the reality that even though this world is broken, our King has a plan in it and for it, and his people are the key to his plan.
      1. Ask for the blessings of Christ
        1. Jesus said, “my peace I give to you”—ask for peace if that’s what you lack, and you can do more than ask for it, you can tell God Jesus earned it for you
        1. Comfort—the Spirit was earned by Jesus too, and part of his role is to comfort Jesus’ people.
    1. As a believer, You will grow in grace and power in the Lord through a mystical work in you.
      1. The Spirit will work—a mutual work within you.  The Holy Spirit works with your spirit to confirm in your heart of hearts that what you really and truly need is Jesus
      1. The Holy Spirit will remind you of the truths of the Bible
      1. The Holy Spirit will sanctify your imagination, and your conscience, and your reasoning so that you will even grow in understanding how God’s truth applies to the world around you.
    1. For you to grow in grace, and for you to be confident in Jesus’ blessings—you need to take your eyes of yourself and put them on your Savior again and again.  Trust him, when you realize that you can’t do enough—before you say “I’ll do better next time” say “Jesus did enough already”.
    1. When Peter let that final denial cross his lips and Jesus’ last disciple left him to die alone, nothing changed about anyone’s place in God’s family and that’s because Jesus always does exactly what we need him to.  Jesus did enough already—trust in that.

Nicene Creed

203 Hark! The herald angels sing

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to the gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that has now been disclosed to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.