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Rooster Sermon Concluded

October 1, 2007

Peter at last learned the lesson.  He broke down, threw himself on the ground and wept. What a horrible, terrifying time Peter must have had until Easter morning.   Can you imagine the guilt, the fear?  He must have felt eternally accursed by his own rash oath.  I do want you to leave here humbled, incited to remember the words of the Lord and consider deeply your own weakness and sin and shame.  But I don’t want you to leave feeling accursed.  So let’s fast forward to Easter morning.  Turn the page and look at chapter 16.  The women go to the tomb intending to anoint the body of Jesus, and they find the stone rolled back and inside sits an angel.  And listen to the words of the angel in verses 6-7 “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.  7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”  Isn’t that wonderful?  He mentions Peter by name.  Perhaps Peter wouldn’t have come if he hadn’t been assured of that personal invitation.  Perhaps Peter was tempted to hang himself like Judas had, but God’s grace welcomed him and drew him back.

I believe in the restoration of fallen brothers, even of fallen apostles.  You remember that when Peter went and found Jesus again in Galilee, that Jesus made him breakfast.  Then he took him aside and asked him three times, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”  Why three times?  Because Peter had denied him three times and Jesus was giving him a chance to undo what he had done.  To renounce his curse.  And Peter replied, “Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you.”  And Jesus charged him three times, “Feed my sheep”

And so Peter became a faithful elder and undershepherd of the flock of God, who in his epistle would write as movingly as anyone of the grace of humility and would charge fellow elders not to be domineering over those in their charge, but to be examples to the flock. 

Four sets of concluding applications.  To those who are now walking with Jesus, this passage exhorts you to watch and pray.  If you think you are standing firm, be careful lest ye fall.  Walk in humility before God and your brothers and sisters. 

Pride is a very subtle thing, it takes many forms.  When we think we have it mortified in one area, it crops up in another.  We are proud in ways that we don’t see, and to add to the confusion, oftentimes our conscience condemns us of pride when it really isn’t there.

But there is at least one reliable indicator of pride in your life and that is prayerlessness.  If you’re not praying for fresh supplies of spiritual strength to resist temptation, you’re proud.  Humble people ask for help.  Walk humbly with your God.

To those who are drifting away and about to fall I urge you to listen for the rooster.  Stop what you’re doing and get quiet and listen and remember the words of God.  Pray for ears to hear and for the grace of repentance. 

To those who have fallen and have already wept over your sin, I hold out to you the invitation to draw near again to the risen Lord and receive his forgiveness and a recommissioning to your calling.  He hasn’t given up on you, he isn’t done with you.  He will work all things, even the sin you so deeply regret, together for your good, to make you a humble servant who knows that Christ’s grace is sufficient for you and shines forth through your weakness.  

And to those who do not yet know the Lord I say that you will never meet a kinder, more gracious, more forgiving Lord than the Lord Jesus, you will never find a deeper love than the love of Christ.  Right now you are living for yourself, and that’s a terrible bondage that will never let you rest.  But if you will come and follow Jesus and love him and love other people in his name more than you love yourself, then he will satisfy you in ways you can’t imagine now. 

Not only did Jesus forgive Peter, he went to the cross and died for him.  He suffered for Peter even while Peter was denying Him.   God’s forgiveness is not just an overlooking of sin and sweeping it under the rug.  No, God is just and that means that sin must be punished.  So Jesus went to the cross to suffer the punishment that we deserved, to be our substitute sacrifice that atoned for our sins.  He didn’t just choose to overlook our sin, he died on the cross to atone for it, that’s how much he loves us. 

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