Are You a Simon Peter or a Simon Pyrite? ~ Three Truths to Remember When Your Faith Feels Worthless
Enjoy the following excerpt of a post I wrote for www.InspireAFire.com. The link to the rest of the message is hereand at the end of the post.
All That Glitters . . .
I saw the
glittering rock in the water and knew my life was about to take a rich, golden
my bright future home to Mom, she studied the rock and the gold that glimmered
through it. “Oh, how wonderful,” she said. “You’ve found a beautiful piece of
pyrite. You know, they call it ‘fool’s gold’ because people often mistake it
for real gold.”
My pride and shining future crumbled under the pyrite’s worthlessness.
I wonder if this is how Jesus’ disciple Simon felt.
When Jesus first called him to become a disciple, the apostle John tell us Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter) (John 1:42, ESV).
Cephas means Peter, and Peter means rock.
Simon Peter vs Simon Pyrite
Simon often looked less like Simon Peter — he who would become a rock — and more like Simon Pyrite — he who glints of gold but is worthless. Keep reading . . .
Resurrection Sunday: Three Wonderful Assurances From Jesus’ Resurrection
Today is Resurrection Sunday. ~ He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
For our final video in the Easter series, let’s consider how Jesus’ Resurrection gives us three wonderful assurances:
1. Assurance that Jesus’ sacrifice was accepted by God and sufficient to cover our sin.
He [Jesus] was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. ~ Romans 4:25
How would we ever know that Jesus did indeed pay for our sins if He didn’t rise again?
His resurrection gives us the peace that God accepted His sacrifice as the payment for our sins.
2. Assurance that we who’ve trusted in Jesus will be resurrected in the last days
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. ~ Matthew 27:50-53
Jesus wasn’t the only one to be resurrected at that time. Who knew? Okay, everyone who’s read the book of Matthew, but it’s still amazing.
God raised many saints back to life, pointing forward to the last days when Jesus will return for His church.
We who’ve trusted in Jesus can look forward with assurance that we’ll be raised up in the twinkling of an eye.
Our resurrected bodies will never die and never sin. Can I get an AMEN to that?!
Behold! I tell you a mystery.
We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
~ 1 Corinthians 15:51-57
3. Assurance that no matter what we’ve done, we can be restored into a right and welcome relationship with Christ
The last words Jesus may have heard from Peter before His death were, “I do not know the man!”
How could Peter expect that Jesus would ever forgive or accept him after he’d denied knowing Jesus three times?
Why should we expect Jesus to accept us after what we’ve done?
We don’t deserve grace — no one does — and yet, Jesus freely gave it to Peter. Jesus’ embracing Peter back into a right and close relationship with Him was the assurance we need that He will also accept us if we turn away from our sin and turn toward Him and surrender.
Let’s be like Peter and jump out of the boat and swim to Jesus. He’s waiting.
And He is Risen. He is risen indeed!
If you missed any of the other videos, here they are:
Easter Saturday: Jesus Gone. Veil Torn. What Does is it Mean?
Today is Easter Saturday — the day between when Christ died on the cross and He rose again.
In our video today, though, I start back on Good Friday and pick up where we left off — at the moment right after Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit (John 19:30).
The Veil was Torn
At the very moment that Jesus died, the veil that separated the Most Holy Place from the rest of the temple ripped in two from top to bottom.
The veil separated man from the earthly dwelling place of God’s holy presence. It kept man safe because sinful man cannot stand in the presence of a holy God. Not safely. Our sins separate us from Him.
The only one who could go in was the high priest, and he could only go in once a year — on the Day of Atonement. And he’d better not enter without the blood of the lamb.
The rest of the year, daily sacrifices were given to God to satisfy for the moment God’s rightful wrath for sin. But the blood of lambs and goats couldn’t cover all sin for all time. They pointed to the One who could — Jesus.
When Jesus paid the perfect price of His sinless life for our sins, all debt was paid for all time. He opened the way — the only way — to God. The veil was no longer needed. The temple was no longer needed. The Jewish religious system was fulfilled in Christ and no longer needed.
So God tore the veil.
The veil was around 60 feet tall and may have been around 4-inches thick. No man could rip it. Nor would they have dared.
Jesus was Buried
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary watched as the rich man Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus buried Jesus in Joseph’s own tomb.
And then they rested because it was the Sabbath — the day of rest for the Jews.
Where were the disciples?
They were hiding in fear and anguish. Their hearts were not at rest.
Jesus was gone. And with him all their hopes and dreams. Confusion and despair no doubt washed over them.
If they had believed and remembered what Jesus told them, what the prophets pointed to, and what Jesus taught them at Lazarus’ grave, they would’ve been preparing for a Resurrection Viewing Party.
Oh, for faith to believe Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” ~ John 11:25-26
Do you believe?
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” ~ John 14:6
If you missed any of the other videos, here they are:
Easter Thursday: Truth Stands Strong While Lies Crumple and Destroy
Truth stands strong while lies crumple and destroy.
Standing on the truth doesn’t mean we’ll be spared pain or trouble. Sometimes standing on the truth invites trouble. Jesus invited trouble from His enemies by not only standing on truth but for being the Truth.
The truth interfered with their plans. Jesus interfered with their plans. So they interfered with Jesus. Or at least they tried.
Their lies actually played straight into Jesus’ hands and into God’s plan that had been set out since the beginning of time.
Truth stood strong.
Meanwhile, lies, lies, and more lies crumpled Peter and Judas.
Listen to what Matthew tells us in Matthew 26:57-75.
Easter Wednesday: God is in Control. Always.
God is in control. Always.
If we’ll believe and remember this, it will transform the way we respond to everything that touches our lives.
Today we picked up where we left off yesterday in Matthew 26.
Starting in verse 36, we see Jesus and the disciples enter the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.
Except the disciples can’t stay awake. Jesus found them sleeping.
Let’s think through this discovery.
God is in control. Always.
Since we’ve already seen how intricately God had orchestrated every event of the week thus far, we can be certain He’s didn’t suddenly become clueless.
Is it then even remotely possible for us to believe Jesus didn’t know the disciples would fall asleep? That he found them asleep and was surprised? Not at all.
If you’re like, me, it makes you stop and wonder what was His purpose. So we look to see what He did after He found them.
He asked a question of Peter — the disciple who’d just boasted he’d never deny Jesus.
First of all, Jesus never asks questions because He needs information. He knows everything. The question was for Peter’s benefit. And the others. And ours.
In His next statement, He gave Peter (and us) the key to standing against temptation. Watch and pray.
Watch and Pray
Be on guard and pray. Our natural selves crumble under intense pressure unless we stay on guard with the truth and pray to the One who is our strength.
God remained in control while the disciples slept. And when Judas arrived with the soldiers to arrest Him.
Some would look at all that was happening to Jesus and say, “Satan was attacking Him.”
So often, when life gets hard, our first thought is to blame everything bad on Satan, because he’s always up to evil.
We know from Scripture that Satan entered Judas, but that’s not why all this happened. It happened because God ordained the events in order to achieve His purposes.
Yes, Satan is active and as evil as ever. He’s eviler than we even imagine. And more active than we realize. But never has he ever pulled one over on God.
The next time you go through struggles, don’t look for Satan. Watch for God, who’s always at work. And pray.