This class was presented at Alkire Road's 1999 VBS.
I. Biographical Information.
A. Family. 1. Son of Jonah (Mt. 16:17). 2. Brother of Andrew (Jn. 1:40). 3. Was married (Mt. 18:14-15; 1 Cor. 9:5).
B. Before he became a follower of Christ. 1. Was a fisherman with his family and James and John (Luke 5:10). 2. It appears that he may have been wealthy or at least comfortable because James and John had hired servants (Mark 1:20). 3. He and his brother were disciples of John the Baptist (Jn. 1:36). 4. Andrew, his brother, introduced him to Christ (Jn. 1:40-42). a. At the time, it may not have seemed like he had done very much by bringing Peter to Christ. b. This just goes to show that you never know how much good you're doing when you introduce someone to Christ. c. Peter was later responsible for saving the souls of thousands of people (Mt. 16:26).
II. Peter's Introduction to Christ (Lk. 5:1-11).
A. Peter was willing to do Jesus' will even though it went against everything he had ever learned about fishing. 1. What a great characteristic this is to have! 2. How often are we willing to bow to Christ's will even though it may make no sense to us? a. In the plan of salvation. b. In worship. c. In the organization of the church. d. Colossians 3:17; Matthew 15:9.
B. Peter shows his humility once he realizes who Christ is (v.8). 1. What a need there is for us to realize that we too are sinful men (Rom. 3:23). 2. What a need there is for us to realize that we should fall to the knees of Christ also (Phil. 2:9-11; Eph. 3:20-21). 3. 1 John 1:9.
C. Peter was also willing to leave all to follow Christ (v. 11). 1. Christ taught a great deal on this very topic. a. Mt. 8:19-22. b. Mt.16:24-25. 2. How often are we willing to leave all to follow Christ? a. May require us to forsake family. b. May require us to quit a job. c. May have to give up a bad habit. d. May have to quit associating with certain people. e. If it became illegal to be a Christian, would you continue to be one?
III. Peter's life with Jesus.
A. Peter shared a special relationship with Jesus. 1. In all of the lists of the Apostles, his name appears first. 2. Peter, James, and John were very close with Christ. a. They were present when Jairus' daughter was raised (Mk. 5:22, 23, 35-43). b. They were present at the transfiguration (Mt. 17). c. They were present at Gethsemane (Mt. 26:37).
B. Walking on the water (Mt. 14:22-33). 1. The sea of Galilee is known for it sudden and fierce storms. 2. The disciples were out in the middle of the sea when one of these storms hit. 3. Jesus walks out on the water to them. 4. Peter asks the Lord to bid him to come. 5. Peter took the first steps. 6. We often criticize Peter for what happens next but please remember that he was the one who took that first step! 7. He took his eyes off of Christ (v.30). 8. He began to sink. 9. But he cried to Jesus to save him and that he did. 10. Applications to us: a. Do we have the courage to take the first step like Peter? b. Do we sometimes take our eyes off of Christ when the storms get fierce (Heb. 12:1-2)? c. Do we ask for Christ to save us when we begin to sink?
C. "Get thee behind me Satan." (Mt. 16:21-23) 1. In Matthew 16:16, Peter made a wonderful confession and is praised by the Savior for it. 2. However, just a few verses later we see Peter being rebuked by the Lord. 3. Peter presumed to know more about the Lord's business than the Lord himself. 4. We often fall into the same trap. a. Some say, "Church discipline won't work." b. Some say, "I know what the Bible says but it just makes more sense to do it this way..." c. Some say, "Singing just sounds better with instruments." d. Some simply disregard the words of Christ because they have been taught something different all of their lives.
D. Peter tries to use the wrong weapon (Jn. 18:10-11). 1. Once again, Peter tries to defy God's will. 2. He cuts off Malchus' ear. 3. This shows that Peter had: a. A wrong view of the kingdom (Jn. 18:36). b. A wrong view of its protection and its spread (Eph. 6:17). c. A wrong attitude toward his enemies (Mt. 5:44-47). 4. Many people today still hold these incorrect views.
E. The Enemy's Fire (Lk. 22:54-62). 1. Peter followed "afar off" (v. 54). 2. While around the enemy's fire, he denies the Lord three times. 3. Imagine the way that Peter felt when the Lord looked at him (v.61) 4. Earlier Peter had balked at the prediction that he would deny the Lord (Mt. 26:31-35). a. Peter was too sure of himself. b. 1 Corinthians 10:12. c. While none of us should expect to fall away, we must realize and guard against that possibility (1 Pet. 2:20-22; 1 Cor. 9:27). 5. Peter was hanging with the wrong crowd (1 Cor. 15:33). a. Peer pressure can be a very difficult thing to overcome. b. We must let nothing distance us from Christ.
IV. Peter After the Ascension of Christ.
A. Despite all of his faults, the Lord still wanted to use Peter. 1. Why? 2. Because Peter repented (Lk. 22:62). 3. The women who found the empty tomb were told to go and tell the news to Peter (Mk. 16:7). 4. Peter was also admonished three times by Christ to "feed my sheep" (Jn. 21:15-17). 5. Peter was also honored to preach the first recorded gospel sermon (Ac. 2). 6. He was also the first person to carry the gospel to the gentiles.
B. Peter as a soldier of the cross. 1. Peter was willing to face persecution for Christ (2 Tim. 2:3-4). 2. He was imprisoned with John in Acts 4. 3. He was imprisoned and beaten in Acts 5. 4. He was loyal to his leader (Ac. 4:19; 5:29). 5. He did not entangle himself in the affairs of the world. a. Look at his prayer after he was released from prison. b. He didn't ask for long life or revenge on those who had beaten him. c. He prayed for courage to preach God's word boldly. 6. Peter has many military expressions in his books. a. He encourages us to obey every ordinance of man and take punishment if it be for Christ (1 Pet. 2:13-21; 3:14-15). b. He admonishes us to be sober and vigilant (1 Pet. 4:7; 5:8) c. He tells us from whom we are to draw our strength (1 Pet. 5:10). d. He encourages us to always be ready (2 Pet. 3:11-12). e. He prepares the next generation of soldiers (2 Pet. 1:12-16).