Where did the summer go? We spent Labor Day Weekend with family. As we were all sitting down having dinner, I began to share the message that I had preached on Sunday with them. Our church is doing a Bible series on when God calls a person’s name twice like Abram, Abram or Saul, Saul. When God calls many of us don’t hear Him simply because we aren’t paying attention or we don’t realize that it’s Him who’s calling us. I thought of the Verizon Television Commercial as my title, “Can You Hear Me Now.” I went on to explain how I used their slogan to segue right into my message. My brother-in-law immediately chimed in, “That’s a great introduction. It really speaks volumes to your message. Why stop there? You could of gone even further and said, “God Doesn’t Call Collect” because He’s already paid the price.” He was so right! My next sermon was going to be on the Apostle Peter from Luke 22:31. Peter was also known as Simon before Jesus gave him the name Peter. Names given to people in the Bible were of great importance and would often define their character; if not their purpose or who and they would become. God knows you by name.
GOD KNOWS YOU BY NAME.
God knows you by name and when God calls you, “God does not call collect.” He calls you direct. I’m here to tell you God paid the price through the precious shed blood of His Son Jesus. Yes! Jesus paid the cost so that you and I can come boldly before the throne of mercy in the hour of our need. Simon, AKA Peter, and the other apostles walked with Jesus and had direct access to God in the flesh. Yet like us they still faced the same struggles with sin. Trials will come, but Jesus never leaves us or puts on us more than we can bare. Listen closely and see how Jesus deals with Peter during a very weak time in Peter’s life.
TRIALS WILL COME
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
God knows us and calls us by name. He doesn’t call collect. His Son Jesus paid the price for us. When Jesus called “Simon! Simon!” instead of Peter, it was to get his attention and to prepare him for something great … something monumental. God was about to bring a monumental change that would impact Peter for the rest of his life … those around him … and even the world as they knew it.
I believe that Simon represented Peter’s old nature and Peter represent God’s new born again nature. Satan had asked to sift Simon as wheat, why would Satan ask to do that? To see what Simon’s faith was made of. But Jesus had prayed specifically for Simon’s faith not to fail. Jesus could relate to being tempted.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.
Jesus realizes that our mouths often write checks that our heart’s cannot cash. But even still the Lord deals with us ever so gently. He know that these earthen jars of clay are fragile and ever so weak. It is for this reason that God sent his son as a living sacrifice for our sins. It was sin that separated us from God in the first place. And it was His love that provided the way to bring us back to Him. God’s redeeming power of Calvary’s Cross paid it all and through faith is Jesus we receive redemption.
Why faith, without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not by works , so that no one can boast. The prayer of faith is crucial to the Christian faith.
Jesus prayed for Simon’s faith not to fail, knowing full well that God, the father, would answer His prayer for Simon.
When Peter recognized the error of his ways, he sorrowfully wept. And when God restore him he became a pillar of faith that strengthen others by the same way he was strengthen, in the saving grace of Jesus who now sits at the right hand on God the Father interceding for us in prayer.
So if we confess our sins, God is always faithful to forgive us because He only sees the precious shed blood of his son. Peter is a witness of God’s salvation for the sinner who learns to trust in God. So when the Lord speaks be still and know He is God. Speak Lord your servant is listening. Amen