THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 11-23-03

LESSON TITLE: GOD'S CHOSEN AND INSPIRED WRITERS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: "THE APOSTLE PETER"

WELCOME

The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want! Who is your shepherd on this wondrous Lord's day? We hope and pray that it is God and that you've joined us today as His child - to worship before His throne.

As followers of God, how blessed we are to have opportunities like this to praise our God and to do those things according to that which He has asked of us through His will. Are you willing to do your part this morning to make this time successful in the service of God? Let's each do our part to give this time completely to Him.

Now, as we begin our offering to God, will you bow with me in prayer!

(PRAYER)

On these cold winter days, there is nothing nicer than sitting down near a window and feeling the great warmth of the Sun. It is amazing the way the sun can warm us to our very core and help us to feel all toasty inside. Well, our first song of the morning reminds us of another great "Sunlight," which will not only warm us physically but spiritually. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing, "Heavenly Sunlight."

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

Have you ever considered why it seems that sometimes God isn't listening. Maybe you have been praying and praying, yet things just aren't going right in your life.

It is amazing to me today how the religious world seems to think that it doesn't matter what we believe, what we practice or what we do - God accepts us anyway. The reality is, this couldn't be further from the truth. The fact is God expects us to do what He says, and the way He says it, if we are to be pleasing in His sight.

The Bible has many verses that would help us to understand this doctrine. Consider the Words of Jesus Himself in Luke 6:46, there we read, "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?" It isn't enough to know God and call His name. Nor is it enough to do what we want or choose to in the name of the Lord. It is only right when we do God's commands. Jesus confirmed this even better in Matthew 7:21, where the Bible says, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven."

Brethren and friends, when will man every learn that serving God is not about us, our wants, our needs and our desires. Serving God is all about putting God first, by knowing His Will, obeying His commands and doing only that which is according to His Will.

So who does God hear and who does God respond to? The Bible says, those who are striving to be found faithful according to His Will. Just as Hosea concluded long ago, "Let us know, (and) Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; (then) He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth." If we want our God to be there for us and to do what He has promised, then we have to be willing to do our part! Are you willing to completely submit to the will of God? Are you willing to seek His Kingdom first and put Him before everything else in this life? Well, the reality is, God expects nothing less! Today we will be continuing our series on "God's Chosen and Inspired Writers Of The New Testament!" Our next lesson in the series will deal with the, "The Apostle Peter!" So stay with us and after our next song together, I will be leading us in the main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "I Need Thee Every Hour."

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ to the pilgrims of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bethenia. He left, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father in sanctification of the Spirit for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. Grace to you and peace be multiplied." These are the words found in 1 Peter chapter 1, verses 1 & 2 and Peter is the topic of the day as we have been looking together at the writers of the New Testament. I might remind you again that those chosen of God and those inspired men of God, God breathing through them and using individuals to be able to reveal His Word, the message that was His to give to mankind, the saving message of the gospel, and Peter was another man who was chosen for that unique responsibility. This massive responsibility that again who was worthy before God to be used in His service. I think we have so many things to learn from Peter and about Peter this morning and so we want to get right into our lesson as we study about Peter together.

It would be good if we start first of all over in the book of John, 1 John, because in 1 John we are first introduced to several of the apostles as the Lord chose them and they're found in John chapter 1, if you would look down with me around verse 35. We see that it was John the Baptist who had been sent by God Himself to prepare the way for Jesus that he himself had been making disciples, in other words, disciples that would know God through him. There in verse 35, it says, "The next day that John stood with two of his disciples , two people who were following John because John was preaching and proclaiming the gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ that He soon would come and in the very near future that the Lord was at hand and He would be with them." Well this time evidently, He was there and present because in verse 36 and following it says, "And looking at Jesus as He walked, He said, 'Behold the lamb of God.'" The scene is John is there. He's with several of the disciples. Jesus is passing by. And who does he refer to Him as? Not just another man. Not just another prophet. Not just a good, godly man. Not just an apostle. Not just a chosen one. But he says, "the lamb of God." That one whom the terminology would clearly show that this was the Messiah. This was the Christ. Now, "the two disciples," it says in verse 37, "heard him speak and they followed Jesus."

Well as the story goes on, we find that later in the day as evening came, that in verse 40, one of the two who heard John and who had now seen Jesus, actually goes and wants to do something. His first concern, that is Andrew, is for bringing someone else with him. And verse 40 says that "Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, first went and found his brother," as it goes on to clarify in verse 41. He finds Simon Peter and notice what it is that Andrew says to his brother. He says there, he says, "I have found the Messiah," which is translated "the Christ." Andrew here no doubt clearly understood from what John said, from now what he has seen himself from Jesus, as a disciple himself of John, that this was the Messiah. So what did he do? He immediately goes and runs and finds his brother, Peter, Simon Peter, and he tells Peter what he had learned and he says, "Come and meet the Messiah. Come and meet the Lord." Oh, it is exciting to see how that unfolds and how that these men begin to follow Christ and do those things that they were asked to do.

Now, just how did they respond? Well, I think if we go over to another of the gospel accounts that we've been looking at over the past several weeks together, over in the book of Matthew, we again find this beautiful example, this example of these men who now were chosen specifically of God and how they responded to the great call from Jesus that they should come and follow Him and be His special servants.

I want you to look with me if you will in the book of Matthew and we're going to look together at chapter 4 around verse 18 because here "Jesus was walking by the sea..." In fact, it says, "the sea of Galilee," and it goes on to say, "He saw two brothers." Who were those brothers? First, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother. What were they doing? They were casting their nets into the sea as they were fishermen. Here we find two men that Jesus sees on the Sea of Galilee as He is going along the shore and He sees Simon Peter and He sees Andrew. They were fishermen. So we begin now to see unfold who this Peter was. He was a fisherman. He was one who evidently had knowledge of Judaism of, of the old law, and must have had somewhat of respect for the things that were said there and now that he learns about the Messiah, he seems to have a similar respect, a similar desire to know that this be the Messiah and we know that because after it says who they are, Jesus says to them in verse 19, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men." Now, what did they do in verse 20? They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

Now it goes on in verse 21 and following to tell us the story of two more brothers. It says there, James, the son of Zebedee and John, his brother." James and John Zebedee, the Zebedee boys so to speak. And here these men also fishermen were called of Jesus and immediately, as well, followed Him. But in all of this, we find out so much about Peter, a man evidently who was ready to respond to the call, who had enough of the foundation necessary to know who Christ was and want to know more about Christ and hear a man who was in the occupation of fishing and working there on the Sea of Galilee to obtain the money that was necessary to sustain life.

Now although we know that it seems that the Bible tells us in John chapter 1 that they were from the area of Bethsaida, it probably was more common that they were actually living in the area of Caperneum which was near Galilee as we see that they were fishing in the sea there, and we believe that because in John chapter 1 and verse 44 that it talks about how that they were from Capernaum. So here we have the man again, Peter, his brother Andrew, the family, the Zebedee family living there. We see there that they were fishing with the family, the family's occupation. We see that they were in Caperneum and as they lived there and they were fishermen on the Sea of Galilee that God comes to them in the flesh, Jesus, and says, "I want to make you now a different type of fisherman. I want to make you fishers of men." And they immediately follow Him. They immediately are excited and they know that they have found the Christ and they respond to the beautiful call that Jesus gave to them.

So as we now know a little bit about who this man was, now we want to begin to look a bit deeper and find out what we can know more about him. We found out a little bit so far about where he is from and his family and where he lived, but what else can we find out about this man? Well, one thing we can clarify is something we've already read in 1 Peter chapter 1 and verse 1 where Peter himself began by saying, "Peter and apostle." Peter was clearly calling himself an apostle. And why? Because he himself was chosen of Jesus. In fact, if we go Matthew and other gospel accounts and read those disciples, the twelve that were chosen, guess who is there. Peter. Peter was a specially chosen disciple. He was a special apostle of Jesus Christ and so we can clearly see that the claim that he makes to be an apostle is not something that is strange but is something that is very real because even Jesus Himself in the gospel accounts confirms in His own words that Peter, Simon Peter that is, was an apostle, one of His apostles.

We also have seen not only in the book of John, but also we can see in Matthew as well as in other places throughout the Bible that these men were men who were in a godly family. We see the activities that their mother was involved in as she cared a lot about them and as she was there even at a time that Jesus died in caring for him. We see the father again and the involvement of the Zebedee family. We see that the family seemed to be interested somewhat in God. We don't know the great details about it but we do seem to know that they had that and that makes a big difference when they heard and saw Jesus, they immediately both, Andrew and Peter, rose up and followed him. So this tells us a lot about their upbringing and about the lives that they lived.

I want you to also turn with me to the book of Mark because I think in the book of Mark, we haven't looked at Mark yet, but Mark talking somewhat about the apostles tells us something new I think about Peter and shows us something about Peter that really maybe many are not aware of and many of the other apostles and disciples we generally don't understand this to be the case, but it seems to be that Peter was a married man. Why do we think that? Because if you go to Mark chapter 1 and you go down to verse 29, we see a story there and it says specifically in verse 29, "Now as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John." There's those four fishermen that had been called by the Lord. They entered the house. But notice in verse 30, "But Simon's wife's mother lay sick with fever and they told Him about her at once." You see, Simon Peter's mother-in-law, his mother-in-law was laying sick unto death and they told Christ what was happening. Jesus here clarifies for us through these great writers of the Bible that Peter was a married man.

We further know that not only was he a married man, but we find if we go back over to one of his letters in 1 Peter chapter 5, we find further that this man evidently would have had children. Why do we know that to be the case? Because in 1 Peter chapter 5 and verse 1, he greets the elders there and speaks to the elders in which he says, "Of who I am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed. Shepherd the flock," he says. He addresses the elders here as a fellow shepherd, a fellow overseer, a fellow bishop in the church and as he talks about this, he evidently had to be married because you and I well know the qualifications given in Timothy as well as Titus. An elder or a bishop that was chosen and appointed to do the good work had to have believing children, had to be a married man, had to have believing children, without reproach. That's a whole other lesson, but the qualifications of an elder which show that this man had to know how to rule his own household. Therefore, he had to have a household. We know he was married and we know as well he would have had children.

But what also made this man so special? He was special because it seems like he was in the inner circle around Christ. Not just among the disciples, but special in many ways. A bold man. A man that was willing many times to stand up and to say, "It won't be me, Lord, I won't deny you. I won't do it." A man who was always really willing to show himself to be bold and courageous for Christ. One whose name always stood out. In fact, in most of the list is the first name, Simon Peter. One who even in Matthew chapter 16 and verse 18 is mentioned to be the rock, the small rock, there the concept there of Peter being translated, the small rock that someday would make known the great rock that Jesus Christ was the son of God. Here again, Peter, such a significant character who in 1 and 2 Peter, the two books that he wrote, wrote to a variety of people who were followers of God as we saw in 1 Peter 1:1 to people who were Christians in many areas throughout the Roman province and wrote to them so that they might know that when they suffer, God is there. When they have hardships, God is there. When they need to know that they can make it through tomorrow, God is there. Then even in the 2nd letter being told that they can know all things pertaining to life and godliness. Why? Because chapter 1 and verse 3 tells us that "God has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness." Verses 20 and 21 of the same chapter go on to say, "the inspires holy men." Holy men like Peter, like Paul, like Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. That's the purpose of these men, to make known the great and manifold gospel, the precious methods of Jesus Christ, that is saving those who respond to it. So the question comes to each of us. Are we responding to the message of Jesus Christ? Have we heard and opened our eyes and ears to know about these men and others who wrote in the New Testament who revealed to us the complete gospel, the complete revelation that Jesus required for us to know and to obey if we are to be called His children and then as His children you and I well know that we are heirs of the promise not only of the blessings of this life, but heirs of the promise that someday we'll have that eternal reward in heaven. So let's look to men like Peter and others. Let's look to them and find out what God has to say through them and put it into practice in our lives to be the best servants that we can be to the glory of God and to praise His precious name.

(SONG # 3 - "It Is Well With My Soul!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

What a blessing it has been to join together in the things of God this morning. Thank you for doing your part in making all these things to be according to His Will. As always, we invite you back every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!

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Oh, the great lessons we can learn from good men like Peter. And How thankful we should be that he was a fitting servant of God, and thus used to help us know God's Word more perfectly.

(Program closing)