Jubilee Weekly May 29, 2018

“Being Sifted”

1 Peter 1:3-9

Introduction

On the farm, we had a very important piece of equipment known as a “Fanning Mill”. It was used to sort out the good grain from unwanted contaminants such as bits of straw, chaff, stones and soil particles.

The machine had a series of sieves. The hopper on top was filled with the grain that was to be separated from the weed seeds and other undesirable issues. As you turned the crank, the grain began to make its way through the mill, and the unwanted issues were separated from the good grain.
In many ways we, as Christians, are being sifted to get the undesirable issues from our hearts and that heart and purity of life would emerge.

In verse 7, Peter wrote –
“That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

How would we ever learn to trust God if we never experienced a situation where only He could help us?

• Adversity is a bridge to a deeper relationship with God.
• God allows us to be tested by fire – just like gold – so that every impurity, doubt, anxiety, and frustration rises to the surface.
• When we cry out to God from our desperation and He answers, all of the hindrances to our trust in Him are swept away – and we are left with our purified trust in His Holy ways.
Luke 22:31-32, “And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon’. Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brothers.”

Note:
In this discussion, Jesus called Peter by his old name, “Simon”. We believe this was our Lord’s way of letting Peter know that he was in danger of returning to his old ways.
May 29 May 29 , 2018 , 2018 , 2018
• He used this name ‘Simon’ to get his attention.
• He was trying to warn Peter of something that lay ahead.
• What was the warning that lay ahead?
o “SIMON! SATAN HAS HIS SIGHTS SET ON YOU” (Pay attention, Be Alert)

Satan’s Goal:
1. For unbelievers to keep them from coming to faith in Christ.
2. For believers, his goal is to uproot their faith.
a. Variety of ways – guilt, failure, shame, despair, temptation.
b. He wants to derail the Christian and nullify any witness he/she may have.

The Bible describes Satan in the following ways:
1. He is an Accuser – Romans 12:10, “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah has come. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.”

2. He is like a roaring Lion – 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

3. He is a destroyer: – Job 1:11, “But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

Note: In this first chapter of the book of Job, we read how the angels appeared before their Creator and Satan was among them. The LORD put a question to Satan — “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”

The word “considered” is very important. It means, “to watch with evil in your heart.”
God is asking Satan if he had been stalking Job with malicious intent.

I gather that Satan had been studying Job, looking for a weakness –
• A chink in the armor
• A soft spot that he could exploit.

The Plot
Evidently Satan had been stalking Peter, looking for the soft spots where Peter was vulnerable – so that he could destroy him and he seems to think he has found them.
So – Satan went to God and “demanded permission to sift Peter, and God granted him that permission.

Note: Peter will enter an episode of spiritual and emotional agony that will tear at his heart. But there are two things to remember from this account.

1. Satan must have God’s permission to sift a believer.
• The Father is still in control even in those moments when it seems like the wheels are coming off and we are torn asunder. We must keep our focus squarely on God – not on the trial or enemy.

2. Satan may sift to destroy the wheat, but God allows the sifting in order to get rid of the chaff in our lives.
Note: What Satan intends for evil, God intends for good.
• What Satan seeks to do to bring us harm, God uses to produce purity.

Consider this:
In 1 Corinthians 10:13, the siftings are referred to as “testings”. They are seen as an inevitable part of life.
Paul wrote: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and GOD IS FAITHFUL, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide a way of escape also, so you will be able to endure it.”

Folks, we live in a fallen world – BUT GOD IS FAITHFUL.
• He can be trusted
• We can rely on Him
• He will not fail us, no matter how we might seriously fail
• And, because God is faithful, He provides a way of escape.
That Brings us to the Believer’s Security.
Luke 22:32, Jesus said to Peter – “But I have prayed for you, that your faith might not fail; and when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Note: Satan may petition God out of a desire to destroy, but Jesus petitions the Father in order to defend.
What a comfort it must have been to troubled Peter – “I have prayed for you.”

Here we have the mystery of God’s grace –
• Satan’s sifting is overwhelmed by Christ’s intercession.
• Child of God, Jesus is our intercessor as well. “He is at the right hand of the Father where He ever lives to make intercession for us.”

✓ It is important to not only know that Jesus prayed for us, but also how He prays for us.
• He does not pray for our trials to be removed.
• He does not pray for Peter to have extra strength to face the trials.
• He doesn’t even pray that Peter will understand the reason for the suffering.

He prays that “Your faith may not fail.”

Our ultimate spiritual security is rooted in Christ’s work for us – not our ability to endure.

Peter’s love would fail.

Peter’s strength, courage and commitment would fail.

BUT NOT HIS FAITH!
• He never stopped believing in Christ, even though he denied Him.

What a powerful statement this is for us!
We must never lose sight of the fact that we have an Advocate at the right hand of the Father interceding for us.

Listen to 1 John 2:1, “My little children, I am writing these things to you, so that you may not sin, and if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
He tests, protects, and prays that as we are being sifted, that the true wheat of our lives would be enduring faith.

Blessings, Pastor Leonard