a very warm PastorGrace welcome to You!

On the night that the Lord Jesus Christ was handed over to his enemies to be tortured and then killed on a cross, He warned His disciples that they would face a new kind of temptation.

Backsliding: perhaps the most subtle temptation of them all!

8 - Recklessness

Matthew 26: 69 Peter was sitting in the courtyard. A female servant came to him and said, "You, too, were with Jesus the Galilean."
70 But Peter denied it in front of them all by saying, "I don't know what you're talking about."
71 As he went to the entrance, another female servant saw him.
She told those who were there, "This man was with Jesus from Nazareth."
72 Again Peter denied it and swore with an oath, "I don't know the man!"
73 After a little while the men standing there approached Peter and said, "It's obvious you're also one of them. Your accent gives you away!"
74 Then Peter began to curse and swear with an oath, "I don't know the man!"
Just then a rooster crowed.
75 Peter remembered what Jesus had said: "Before a rooster crows, you will say three times that you don't know me."
Then Peter went outside and cried bitterly.
(God's Word)

Peter had taken six steps down the ladder of backsliding and now he had arrived at the final step:
Not only had he denied twice that he knew Jesus, but now when the third accusation was made that Peter was indeed a follower of Jesus, Peter began to curse and swear.

He became reckless!
He threw away his faith in God and his reverence for God and he went back to the profane language he used to use as a fisherman. He went back to expressing himself in the way he used to, before Jesus had caused him to see his life from God's point of view.

When Peter had understood on the inside who God had called him to be, the profanity - and all that went with it - had dropped out of his vocabulary and conversation.

But now that he had denied knowing Jesus once and then a second time, he felt on the third occasion that he had to use his old expressions of cursing and swearing for emphasis, to get himself out of this potentially dangerous situation.
After all, Peter knew he was not yet ready to die, and if he acknowledged being a follower of Jesus, he might be killed!

Then the worse thing of all happened:
the rooster crowed!

And Peter remembered that Jesus had told him that this would happen! Peter was now completely ashamed of himself on every level. He went out from the judgement hall courtyard and wept in shame and sorrow.

Father, like Peter, I have often made a mess of things, even though in my heart I do love You.
Forgive my lack of trust in Your ability to keep me, when acknowledging my faith puts me in any kind of danger.
Teach me how to be diligent in renewing my mind with Your Word, so that I will come to know deep on the inside that You will make it up to me for every loss I might suffer, because I acknowledge my faith in You.
Keep me when in this kind of situation, fear threatens to overwhelm me, as it did Peter, in Jesus' name,

Hope we can get together again tomorrow, God willing.
Meanwhile, have a great day walking with the Lord!

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