Storytellers: Peter

Storytellers: Peter 



Opening Illustration:
Let’s be honest, there is a lot to be afraid of in this world.  Lots.  Just open up any brand of social media and you will be confronted with lots of people who are afraid.  Fear is real and fear is powerful.  Jesus spends quite a bit of time in His sermon on the mount just discussing the reality of fear and anxiety.  

Perhaps one of the most famous verses in the Bible dealing with fear and our ability to overcome it comes from 2 Timothy 1:7.

2 Timothy 1:7 ERV
The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control.

Here is an interesting Bible fact.  Did you know that the phrase “fear not” is used 80 times in the Bible?  It’s true.  Then the phrase “do not be afraid”, “do not fear” and “be not afraid” are used more than 30 times throughout Scripture.  That’s a lot right?

Fear is powerful.  Fear can do generally one or two things to us.  Fear can freeze us.  It can paralyze us into inaction.  Have you ever been so afraid that you felt you could not move?  You were just stuck in place.  Then fear can make us fly.  That’s right, when we are afraid, we run.  We run fast.  

Illustration:
I heard the story of two men who went hiking.  While hiking they encounter a large hungry grizzly bear.  When they happened upon the animal, both men froze. They looked at each other briefly and then make a break for it.  As they were running one man suddenly stops to change his shoes.  He was quickly putting on his running shoes trading out his hiking boots.  His friend commented “hey, you know that you cannot outrun that bear”.  His friend replied, “I don’t have to outrun the bear, I have to outrun you”.

Fear will make us run and run fast.

Illustration
Fear can motivate us.  Fear can make us fight as well. Although it is rare.  We see it from time to time in sports.  Buster Douglas beats Mike Tyson. What about last week.  The Patriots were dead in the water, yet fear of losing on such a huge state motivated the entire team to stun the Falcons.  

Fear.  

Point:
This morning we are reading from the book of Acts.  It chronicles the birth of the early church.  It also tells the story of Peter.  In just a moment I will give you the context of today’s Scripture, but for now, I want you to know that God took Peter from frightened to fearless.  

God Took Peter From Frightened To Fearless!

Question:
So, why do you think that most Christians never tell anyone about Jesus?  Think about it for just a second.  Why do believers never give one witness about their Savior and Lord Jesus Christ?

In an article by Outreach Magazine entitled “5 Reasons Christians Struggle With Evangelism” I found out that the number one reason that most people never tell anyone about Jesus is FEAR!  Fear keeps our mouths shut.  

Sharing your faith is a scary prospect. You can lose face and friends as a result of communicating this “narrow-minded” message of the Gospel, even when you do so in love.

When choosing between being accepted by others and sharing the good news with others, too often Christians choose silence. Fear is the biggest culprit that keeps most Christians from evangelizing.”

Background of Text
Today we will look at excerpts from Acts 2.  Let me catch up to speed.  Jesus has resurrected and is now ascended to heaven to be with His Father.  The disciples are back in Jerusalem awaiting the arrival of the Holy Spirit.  Remember, Peter has been given a new task of feeding Jesus’ sheep.  He is not totally clear as to what this means.  No doubt the disciples, including Peter are feeling a bit uneasy about what is to take place next.  What do you do when you are fearful of your future?  I pray.  Most people do.  That’s exactly what the disciples, including Peter are doing.  They are praying.  In the midst of their prayers, the Holy Spirit shows up and completely transforms the fearful disciples into fearless followers of Jesus.  This is where we are now.  

Peter has moved from fearful praying to fearless proselytizing.  He began to tell the story of Jesus.  Let’s listen to his words this morning captured in Acts 2.  

Acts 2:22-24 ESV
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 

Follow Peter’s Example of Storytelling!

I. Peter Spoke With Authority vs. 22
Acts 2:22 ESV
Men of Israel, hear these words…

Illustrations:
Peladophobia: fear of baldness and bald people.
Aerophobia: fear of drafts.
Porphyrophobia: fear of the color purple.
Chaetophobia: fear of hairy people.
Levophobia: fear of objects on the left side of the body.
Dextrophobia: fear of objects on the right side of the body.
Auroraphobia: fear of the northern lights.
Calyprophobia: fear of obscure meanings.
Thalassophobia: fear of being seated.
Stabisbasiphobia: fear of standing and walking.
Odontophobia: fear of teeth.
Graphophobia: fear of writing in public.
Phobophobia: fear of being afraid.

There is lots to be afraid of in this world.  Lots.  However, Peter showed no fear in sharing Jesus with the people of Israel.  

Point:
Have you ever been in a debate with someone and you knew the other person didn’t really believe in what they were talking about it?  You knew that they were not confident in what they were saying.  They tried to speak with authority but really what they were saying was just not very genuine.  I have been there before.  I have spoke to atheist who claimed that they did not really believe in God yet I could hear the trembling in their voice that they did not really believe in what they were saying.  Ultimately they hoped that God was not real so that they could have ownership of their own life.  

Let me tell you something about Peter.  Peter, in speaking about Jesus, spoke with authority.  This is a man who had walked with Jesus for 3 years.  This was a man who had seen with his own eyes the miracles that Jesus had done.  This was a man who was called out of the boat and walked on water to Jesus.  Peter knew Jesus.  He was an authority on the subject.  

Point:
Friends, the first step into overcoming fear about speaking about Jesus is to really know Jesus.  Become familiar with Him.  Understand Him.  Walk with Him.  Experience Him.  Trust me, when you truly know Jesus, there should be no fear in sharing Jesus.  

Illustration:
Grandparents, you know what I am talking about.  We have a lot of grandparents in the room this morning.  How many of you have pictures in your wallets and purses of your grandchildren?  How many of you have pictures on your grandchildren on your phones?  How many of you talked about you grandchildren this week either on Facebook or in person with someone else? 

Pretty much all of you.  

You see, you didn’t mind sharing the news of your grandchildren with people because you know your grandchildren.  You are familiar with them.  You love them and you are proud of them.  You are experts on your grandkids and you can speak authoritatively about them with just about anyone.  

Friends, this is the first step to sharing Jesus, you must know Him.  You must be an authority on Him.  You must be able to share what Jesus has done in your life and how Jesus has changed your life.  No, this does not mean that you have to memorize a commentary, know Greek and Hebrew and have written a dissertation to be an authority.  Being an authority on Jesus is knowing what Jesus has done in your life much in the same way that Peter knew what Jesus had done in his. 

Point:
Perhaps the most important miracle that Peter could share is not the moment that he walked on water.  Perhaps the most important miracle that Peter could share was the moment that Jesus forgave him and gave him a new purpose.  

Jesus has forgiven you and me as well.  You may not know all the Scripture, doctrine, and theology, but you do know that if Peter can be forgiven for turning his back on Jesus, Jesus can forgive you and me as well.  That’s a great place to start.  

Forgiveness!

I John 1:9 ESV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Follow Peter’s Example of Storytelling!

I. Peter Spoke With Authority vs. 22
II. Peter Spoke With Ability vs. 25-26 
Acts 2:25-26 ESV
For David says concerning him,“‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope.

Point:
Peter spoke with authority.  This is clearly true.  The man knew Jesus. However, he spoke to the Israelites in a different way as well.  Remember, not everyone knew Jesus, but most people were familiar with Scripture.  In the Scripture above, Peter reminds the hearers about David’s word.  He literally quotes David, from Scripture, concerning Jesus.  

Peter, though the power of the Holy Spirit, recalls Scripture that he had previously memorized to support his claims about Jesus.  

Why is this important? It is important because the Word of God is living and active.  The Word has power to change lives and Peter knew it.  Peter used the Word of God to speak to people, to transform people, and add credibility to the words he was communicating.  

How Was Peter So Prepared?

A. Know Scripture By Memorizing It

Peter memorized Scripture.  This is obvious.  Look at the ease with which he spoke it.  He was ready for this day and the Spirit gave him clarity of mind and courage to share it.  Do you know God’s Word.  Sadly many Christians cannot get beyond John 3:16.  They have not hidden the treasures of God’s Word in their hearts and it is the lack of knowledge that frightens them from sharing God’s Word with those that need to hear it.  

Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said this about Biblical illiteracy.  

Researchers George Gallup and Jim Castelli put the problem squarely: 

“Americans revere the Bible–but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.” How bad is it? Researchers tell us that it’s worse than most could imagine.

Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels. Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples. According to data from the Barna Research Group, 60 percent of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments. “No wonder people break the Ten Commandments all the time. They don’t know what they are,” said George Barna, president of the firm. The bottom line? “Increasingly, America is biblically illiterate.”

I Peter 3:15 NLT
Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.

B. Deploy Scripture With The Holy Spirit Magnetizing It

Lastly, when you know God’s Word, the Holy Spirit can pull it forth when you need it the most.  It is like a golfer who is facing a par 5.  He does not want to reach into his bag and pull out a sand wedge.  He wants to reach into the bag and pull out the driver.  He does not want to reach the green in two shots to pull out a 5 iron.  He needs the putter.  Sadly, we have a lot of Christians who are either swinging with the wrong clubs or they don’t have clubs at all.  They are unprepared for the moment when they might need to give a witness for Christ.  Trust me, start memorizing God’s Word and you will be surprised how the Holy Spirit gives you the right words to say in the right moments.  

Peter spoke with authority. 

Peter spoke with ability because he knew God’s Word and He trusted the Holy Spirit to guide him to the right piece of Scripture.  

Luke 12:11-12 ESV
And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

Follow Peter’s Example of Storytelling!

I. Peter Spoke With Authority vs. 22
II. Peter Spoke With Ability vs. 25-26 
III. Peter Spoke With Accuracy vs. 38
Acts 2:38 ESV
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

Point:
Over the past several weeks, we have been talking about Storytelling.  Telling your story is so important.  However, imagine that you got so busy telling your story that you never got to Jesus.  How tragic.  How sad.  Eventually, we have to get to Jesus.  Eventually we have to make our way to the only one who can actually save souls and deliver people from sin.  

Well, Peter gets to the point pretty quick.  The people ask Peter, what must we do?  Peter tells them that they must repent.  They have to hear the voice of God calling them, turn from their ways and take the first step in discipleship which is surrendering themselves to believers baptism.  If you want to be a disciple of Jesus, if you want salvation, we must obey Him.  He is the boss.  He is the boss because He has beaten death and revealed Himself to be the Lord Almighty.  

He pulls no punches.  

He does not sugar coat it.  

He lays it all out there for them to hear.  

“Hey, you want to be saved, repent!”

Pretty simple stuff right.  Good basic theology.  

Friend if we extract Jesus, His blood, His death, His resurrection, and his reigning, we are not using good theology, we are using horrible heresy and leading people to hell.  Eventually, we have to get to Jesus.  The sooner the better. 

Peter understood the fundamental core tenants of the Christian faith and it all revolved around Jesus.  We must get to Jesus.  

I Corinthians 15:3 NLT
I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said.


Follow Peter’s Example and Tell Jesus’ Story

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