This morning we're going to be studying from Luke chapter 22. The context here is, they've just completed the last supper.
- Luke 22:31-33
Here the Lord talks about Peter being converted. We usually think of conversion as a process for the lost soul.
Lost souls must repent and be converted.
- Acts 3:19
He's talking here to those who have yet to be converted, and need to follow through with true conversion, of repenting, and turning to God.
Must be converted, and be as little children.
- Matthew 18:3
Conversion simply means to turn or turn around. Conversion is the change of action. The word implies "a turning from and a turning to"; corresponding to these are repentance and faith.
Consider Peter's case.
He was already a disciple of Jesus. His faith was real, but it needed prayer that it would fail not. After Satan had "sifted him as wheat", he would be converted. After that, he was to strengthen the brethren.
Many times, Christians suffer temptation after they are obedient to the gospel. We then need prayers of saints that our faith fails not. We need to recognize we, too will be "sifted." We need to be converted like Peter was. We need to grow so we can help others be strong.
The Conversion of Peter through being "Sifted"
To sift means to separate. It is often used by Christ and the disciples to refer to the testing of faith, a faith that is tried.
- Luke 22:31-34
Jesus was talking about Peter being overcome with temptation and denying the Lord three times. He began in confidence--"I am ready to go with thee both into prison and to death…"
- Luke 22:39-46
The situation was made worse by weariness, sorrow, and difficulty— they slept in sorrow, unable to bear the load. It is a trying time for Peter, and the other disciples as well. Put yourself in Peter's shoes for a moment.
- Matthew 26:37-45
Jesus spoke specifically to Peter— “What, could ye not watch with me for one hour?” (v.40) It's hard, late at night, to stay awake, to pray. Here, Peter is not able to stay awake, he's weary, he's tired. We become rundown, spiritually spent.
- Luke 22:47-48
Jesus (and His disciples, including Peter) are hurt by the betrayal of a friend. The actions of other people do affect us sometimes and Peter no doubt was shocked by what he has just witnessed. Imagine, how it felt, to see their friend, Judas, there betraying the Lord.
- Luke 22:49-53
In that moment of confusion, awaking from sleep, and a faced with a multitude and their friend at the front of the pack. Peter and the others lost track of their real purpose and sought violent resolution! According to John 18:10, it was Peter with the sword. But, Jesus healed the man!
Peter followed, afar off.
- Luke 22:54
Other accounts say the other disciples fled. Peter, while he didn't flee, follows from a distance. Peter gave into the fear and confusion. He began following afar off.
- Luke 22:55
When he came into the courtyard, he sought the company of others. But, he sought the wrong kind of company. These were soldiers and others, not his fellow disciples.
- Luke 22:56-60
When the great moment of testing came, Peter’s faith wavered. He denied the Lord three times.
He was physically worn out, emotionally spent, confused, separated from his fellow disciples, surrounded by worldly people and perhaps fearful for his own life.
I pray that I am never placed in a situation like Peter was. Would I pass the test? Would you?
- Luke 22:61-62
The very moment that he reached the depth of his sin, and lack of faith, the Lord turned and looked at him. Imagine how you would feel, if you were Peter. if at the moment you denied knowing the man at all, the eyes of the Lord turned to look upon him. Imagine what it would feel like if eveytime you sinned the eyes of the Lord turned to look at you. I wonder what His expression was, disgust… anger… sorrow… disappointment, pity?
Now realize that that is exactly what happens every time we deny Him! We deny Him when we sin! Everytime we deny him, everytime we sin, we put Him back on the cross.
Peter went out and wept bitter tears of remorse after he was forced to considered what he had done. It lead to sorrow. Godly sorrow leads to true repentance, 2 Corinthians 7:10.
We see his conversion:
- When he was converted...
- When he turned from this terrible mistaken way—
- When he repented and turned...
Never again did Peter have this kind of problem.
- John 21:18-19
He was told he would die for the faith. This, should actually be strengthening for him. To be told that you will remain faithful, until the point of your death. That should be strengthening to our faith. He did not back down when this time came, 2 Peter 1:14-15.
After he turned, he was a strength and help to others.
What Can We Learn from this Conversion for Our Lives Today?
- Temptation takes many forms.
- James 1:13-15
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
We cannot inherit kingdom with these.
- 2 John 1:9-11
We will be held accountable for following false doctrine. We must know the truth, and follow the truth.
- Hebrews 10:35-39
Discouragement can cause us to quit without winning the crown.
Temptation takes on many forms.
We cannot know how we will withstand the test until we are tested. Peter felt confident his faith would not fail! We won't know how we will stand the test until tested.
We may not fully understand the battle we must fight. It is a spiritual battle in which physical strength has no real value at all. The only real strength we have is when we depend on God and determine to obey him by faith all the time.
- 1 Corinthians 10:11-12
Even the great Peter, the one who made the great confession, "thou are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." failed the test.
We may face difficulty because of weariness or sorrow. We're more easily discouraged during these times. Either one makes us think less clearly. We are more easily discouraged then than at any other time. We may not spend the needed time in prayer at this time.
Sometimes, in weariness we leave God instead of drawing closer to him. Sometimes, we blame God when we are in sorrow instead of growing closer to him where our spiritual strength lies.
We may look around and see terrible things that people are doing and let it get us down. Peter saw the betrayal of Judas against the Lord, seeing his very friend doing this.
Sometimes we may feel, “isn’t anyone trying to live right?" At these times, more than ever, we need one another to encourage us.
There are people trying to live right! REmember when Elijah was discouraged, and God said there were 7000 who had not bowed a knee to Baal.
We also may be confused about what our mission is. Some think our mission should be to feed all hungry people. Others, think our mission is that the church should be a social institution where people meet just to have a good time. Many confuse our US Constitution with the will of God.
Some think our mission is useless and worthless – “Why preach the gospel if no one is listening?” Such confusion auses us to turn from the work God has required of all Christians in this age.
We may begin to "follow afar off" when we are missing several services per month because we were too tired or needed to sleep late or "had company." Or, perhaps we're following afar off when we are praying less often in our closet, or, spending less time in Bible study, dreading to come to worship services, neglecting any attempt to live our faith each day.
This leads us to spend our time with the wrong crowd. Peter warmed himself at the fire of unbelievers. In that company he wouldn't speak up and say he believed in Christ as he had before! When it was just the disciples, when asked, he declared that He was "the Son of the Living God." When we're around others of like mind, it's easier to confess our faith. Who are we keeping company with?
- 2 Corinthians 7:10
The company we keep will often change what we will say and do. Do we seek the company of believers or the worldly? Whose company do we enjoy most? Hopefully we will come to a time of godly sorrow in all this.
If all we have is sorrow of the world, then we will surely die in our sins.
Godly sorrow is a painful thing.
- 1 John 1:9-10
Some people don't want to go through that, so they deny they have sinned. Some say they "have not sinned." They try to say that God is a liar. Do we want to be void of his word?
If we do come to a godly sorrow, then there is hope. We can turn from error and neglect and sin and denial of Christ. We can be converted but we must choose to turn away from sin and turn back to God's way.
Probably every Christian is going to go through some type of trial like this, maybe many such trials in life. Satan is going to try these tricks on you. He's going to try to sift you. Just as he did with Peter.
- 1 Peter 5:8
What if he devours you? It is not easy to overcome sin, but we must if we want to go to Heaven.
Consider your own life. Do you recognize yourself in anything we have seen in this lesson? Don't be surprised if it is so!
Let's learn from this and know what to do to be right with God. If you need to turn right now, why not today?
If you aren't today, in a right relationship with God, we've talked about what you must do, repent, believe, confess Jesus as the Son of God, and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins. And, live a faithful life.
If you are a CHristian who hasn't been living faithfully, you can, like Peter, repent, and be converted once again to living that faithful life.
If we can assist you in learning how to be converted, to turn toward God, we ask that you contact us as soon as possible.