Peter’s Conversion Luke 22 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
We often quote episodes in the life of Peter that demonstrate how carnal, fearful, brash and self-willed he was. Who will ever forget that he is the one who rashly walked on the water for a minute and then, because of his little faith, fell in, crying out, “Lord, save me?” Or who will ever forget that he is the one who boasted, “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended,” and then denied him three times?
Though we can recall these incidents in Peter’s life, we must remember that these happened early in his walk with the Lord, before his “conversion.” In other words, later in Peter’s life, after he had been converted, after he had grown spiritually, you don’t hear about these kinds of events. He had changed. He wasn’t the same man. And may I tell you something. Many of you have changed. You aren’t the same person today that made those gross mistakes many years ago. We need to remember that Peter finished his race a whole lot better than he started it. And we will, too.
Let’s look at some of the early chapters in Peter’s life and contrast them with some of the things he said in his epistles. You’re going to see an entirely different man in his epistles than you do in the gospels. And by God’s help, when you consider your own life, you will be encouraged to know that you aren’t now what you were back then and you’re not going to be down the road what you are today, if you grow like Peter grew.
Contrast the Carnal man and the Converted man – Matt 16:21-23; 1 Pet 5:8-9 and 1 Pet 4:12-14 – the carnal man was clueless about the influence of Satan and the sufferings of Christ – the converted man was both knowledgeable about the corruption of Satan’s temptations and the glory of Christ’s suffering – he was a changed man – and so are those of you who have been converted – Satan tried to ruin you, but thank God, Jesus saved you – and if you haven’t been converted, you can be today by trusting Jesus Christ and by yielding to the work of his righteousness in your life.
Contrast the Fearful man and the Faithful man – Matt 14:27-31; 1 Pet 1:5-9 – Jesus told Peter “be not afraid” and then he told him to “Come.” Faith in those words would have kept Peter walking on the water – but his faith was swamped by his fear – v. 30 says, “he was afraid” – and so he began to sink – later, after the trial of his faith, his faith was “found unto praise and honour and glory” – he wasn’t sinking then – likewise, you can look back on some of the faithless, fearful decisions you made – but you aren’t that person anymore [or you don’t have to be that person anymore] – your faith grows with trials and who you are today is not who you were yesterday!
Contrast the Haughty man and the Humble man – Matt 26:31-35; 1 Pet 5:5-6 – Peter was so sure that he stood above the crowd of those who could be offended that he boasted – yet it turned out that he was more offended than them all – he was proud – but you can see in his epistle that he learned the strength of humility – likewise, you have blundered in your pride – but why beat yourself up about that incident so long ago – you have humbled yourself today and in humility you would never make the same mistake – the answer to haughtiness is humility.
Contrast the Powerless man with the Powerful man – Matt 26:40-41; 1 Pet 4:7 – poor young Peter couldn’t stay awake for the most important prayer meeting of his life – his spirit was willing but his flesh was weak – of course, you can see the change in his epistle – once he had the Holy Spirit in him, he had the strength to do what he couldn’t do before – likewise the Holy Spirit is in you and you are not stuck in your old ways – you have his power in you to change.
Contrast the Willful man with the Willing man – Matt 26:51-52; 1 Pet 3:17 and 1 Pet 2:21-24 – all the way from the time that Peter rebuked the Lord for announcing that he would die until Jesus was captured in the garden, Peter was willfully determined that Jesus wasn’t going to die – but in his epistle you can see that he had completely changed and was now even willing to suffer like Jesus – that’s the beauty of conversion – we go from being willful, where God has to do everything the way we want it done , to being willing for God to do anything with us that he wants.
Contrast the Ashamed man with the Assured man – Matt 26:69-73; 1 Pet 3:13-16 – you may find that in your life you, like Peter, have been ashamed of Jesus – well, Peter certainly changed and so can you – there is no reason for you to deny him any longer – you aren’t what you were before – “sanctify the Lord in your hearts: and be ready to give an answer to every man”
Conclusion: You do not have to be what you are today if you will trust Christ and let him change you – if you have already trusted Christ, just remember that, when Satan calls you a loser for some of the bone headed things in your past, you are not what you were back then – and if your bone headed events are not in the distant past, don’t be discouraged – keep growing because you will not be what you are today – you are changing – and in the meantime, don’t be ashamed of Jesus… give men an answer – they need him.