HE LOVES ME STILL
Excerpts of Pastor Idowu Iluyomade's Message on Sunday, November 27, 2016
Bible Text: Luke 22:31-34
In Luke 22:31, the LORD said “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.” This is a warning from Jesus Christ to Peter and it implies that your chief adversary is Satan.
The word adversary means to oppose, foe, opponent, competitor, antagonist, attacker. God will disgrace all your adversaries today in Jesus Mighty Name.
Whether you like it or not, you have a chief adversary, who goes about looking for whom He may devour (I Peter 5:8). Jesus told Peter that Satan made a request to sift him as wheat. Jesus implied that Satan had a plan to violently shake Peter; to deal with him. It should be noted that this is not the first time Satan would make such a request. In Job 1:11, Satan made a request to God to stop protecting and providing for Job, and see whether Job would not curse Him to His face. Revelation 12:10 says Satan accuses the brethren day and night. Satan is a revealer of all your secret sins. Satan is the father of sin - he has the dossier of sin. If God wants to bless you now, Satan would stand before God and accuse you, giving reasons why you should not be blessed. We thank God for what the Bible says in Luke 21:15 [AMP], "for I will give you skillful words and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute." Jeremiah 30:16 also says "Therefore all they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey." All those who are opposing what God wants to do in your life, before the end of this year, they will go into captivity in Jesus Name.
In verse 32, Jesus told Peter "...But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not..." Jesus can keep all adversaries away, and can stop their operation in your life, but sometimes, He allows them to persecute us with the assurance that we shall overcome. Psalm 34:19 says many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him from them all. Hebrews 7:25 tells us that one of the reasons Jesus Christ rose from the dead is so that He can continue to intercede for us. We have a LORD who is our advocate, and His Father is the Judge. Jesus foresaw what would happen to Peter and had already prayed for Peter even before He had the conversation with him. We have a God who goes ahead of us; He makes crooked places straight, He knows what would happen and knows every plan of the enemy to bring shame, tears, and sorrow into your life. If Jesus prayed for Peter, then know that He is praying for you also.
Reasons Jesus Allowed Peter To Be Sifted By Satan
Jesus could have stopped Satan from sifting Peter but he allowed him to go through it because there were some character flaws manifesting in the life of Peter that needed to be corrected in order to make him fit for the Masters use. Peter needed to be broken.
1. Peter Was Proud: Peter had pride, he said even if other disciples struggle and fail Jesus, he would not but he was ready to go with Jesus, both into prison, and to death. This he said in spite of the fact that Jesus had prophesied that he would deny him 3 times before the cock crowed (see John 13:37, Matthew 26:33 and Luke 22:33). You might be struggling with the spirit of pride, which might be the reason why God has allowed some shaking in your life. When God allows attacks, most times, there is a reason. If you are not humble, then you are proud. 1 Corinthians 10:12 says "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
2. Peter Was Prayerless: In Luke 22:45-46, Peter was caught sleeping instead of praying with Jesus. Jesus admonished Peter and the other disciples to pray or else they would fall into trials, testings and temptations.
3. Peter Was Impulsive: He was easily angered. In John 18:10 when they came to arrest Jesus, he hastily drew his sword and cut off the ear of one of the high priest’s servant, Malchus. Jesus had to rebuke him that the impulsive action was a clog in the progress of God’s redemptive plan.
4. Peter Was Fearful: He had an issue with fear. When Jesus was taken away, he did not walk closely with Jesus as he had earlier promised. How distant are you from Christ? How far can you go with Him? How loyal are you? Peter sat far away and watched in fear (Matthew 26:69-70). Because of fear, when Peter was asked whether he was one of Jesus' disciples, he cursed and swore that he never knew who Jesus was (Matthew 26:74-75). As a child of God, you have no cause to fear because 2 Timothy 1:7 says "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
As Peter manifested all these character flaws, Jesus looked at him, Peter saw the look and he wept (Luke 22:61-62). Peter denied Jesus three times, he fell, and he failed Jesus. For a moment in Peter's life, it looked like Satan had won; he came to steal kill and destroy. In our lives, Satan comes to steal our joy, our finances, break up families and relationships, destroy dreams and hopes, and to take away your honour, freedom and peace. Peter must have felt bad when he exhibited all these character flaws, because he knew Jesus would have seen and known all about his frailties. How about you? Have you failed or fallen before? Jesus sees, hears and knows.
Samson is another Biblical example of someone who failed. He was chosen by God to have a great destiny and begin to deliver the children of Israel from their enemies. God had great plans for him (see Judges 13:1-15), but Samson was weak in the flesh. He broke all the rules and vows (Judges 16:21-31). Samson became an object of mockery and ridicule. He who had killed thousands of Philistines, turned to someone who was grinding pepper in the enemy’s prison house (Judges 16:21). Sin turned Samson into a clown and he brought dishonour to God's name. 1 Timothy 6:1 says "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed." People mocked Samson because as a servant of God, he failed.
If one looks at the hall of faith in Hebrews Chapter 11, one would see that most of men and women we now read about had at one time or the other in their lives had bouts of failure. But God restored them and still used them for His glory. Abraham lied about his wife, Sarah mocked God's promises and lied that she did not laugh. Isaac lied that his wife, Rebekah was his sister. David committed adultery and tried to cover it up with murder. While Joshua exhibited pride after the victory over Jericho, by not seeking the face of God in respect of the battle with a smaller city, Ai. Rahab was a prostitute. Don't let your sin drive you away from God because God is the only One that can restore.
Peter wept and repented, but he never thought he could be relevant, used, or loved again. In John 21:3, he gathered all the other disciples and said they should go back to their old ways (fishing) because they had failed Jesus. He admitted that he was the chief failure when he denied Jesus three times in one night. We however thank our God who is a God of plan and purpose. Jesus knew that Peter would fall, so He had written into his destiny that he would be restored. In Luke 22:32, Jesus said "...and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."
It does not matter what is going on in your life right now, even if you are shaken by challenges, God's eyes are still on you because Amos 9:9 [AMP] says "For behold, I am commanding, and I shall shake and sift the house of Israel among all nations and cause it to tremble like grain is shaken in a sieve removing the chaff, but not a kernel of the faithful remnant shall fall to the ground and be lost from My sight." God always makes a way of escape so that He can help you to protect your testimony, and in spite of it all, His name will be glorified (1 Corinthians 10:13). If you have failed or fallen before, be assured that God still has a perfect plan for you.
HE LOVES ME, STILL
When Jesus rose from the dead, He sent a customised message to Peter by telling Mary and her friends to tell His disciples to meet Him in Galilee. He ended the message by saying “tell Peter also”. (Mark 16:7). When Peter got the message he was amazed that Jesus loved him still, in spite of what he had done. Just as Jesus singled Peter out, Jesus is reaching out to you; He loves you still. We have a God who the Bible says: "having loved his own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end" (John 13:1). When Peter finally met with Jesus, Jesus did not mention his past failures (John 21:15). Jesus is not interested in your past but in your future - in what you can become. When Jesus loves, He loves to the uttermost. Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him because He still had an assignment for him – He said “feed My lambs and take care of My sheep”. Jesus then restored His original plan for Peter. God can restore your dreams and your joy. You will not be defined by your past or by your sins because God has a brand new thing for you in Jesus Mighty name.
The End Of The Lord
The end of the Lord is always good. 1st Peter 5:10 says after we have suffered a little while, God will make you perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. After God allowed Satan sift Job, God increased him and made sure that his latter end was greater than his former. This is the same thing that happened to Samson; he repented, prayed to God to remember him and use him again for His glory (Judges 16:28). Having despised the name of God and God's calling upon his life, Samson's hair began to grow again (Judges 16:22). He must have been encouraged and say: wow! You mean He loves me still? In spite of all that Samson did, he still fulfilled destiny. He had killed 1030 Philistines before he was incarcerated, but in death, he killed 3,000 Philistines (Judges 16:30). Today, God will restore your destiny, your joy, your health, your wealth, your wasted years, and your dreams in Jesus Mighty name - because He loves you still.
God is a Restorer. Jonah had failed before but Jonah 3:1 says the Word of the LORD came to him a second time. This tells us that God is ready to give you a second chance. As you repent today, all your lost opportunities will be restored in Jesus Mighty name (Psalm 51:11-12). God knows what to do to restore your joy, your destiny, your relationship, your wasted years and your broken dreams.
Proverbs 24:16 says "For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again..." Most of the examples in Hebrews 11 that failed and fell, rose again. I prophesy that you will rise again, and God will restore the time you have spent living contrary to the truth. Have you done something in the past that you are ashamed of? There is forgiveness with God. Don't let that sin keep you away; be honest about it, examine your life. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." Also, Psalm 32:1-5 says "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin."
Have you lost time? Do you feel God can't use you for His glory again? Do you have broken dreams? Have you lost your joy or peace? Jesus didn't come for the righteous, He came for sinners. God wants you to repent, He wants to restore you to your perfect position, and He wants to do great exploits through you. The worst thing that can happen to a man is not to fulfil his destiny. Do you have secret sins? Don't let that sin make a mockery of you and keep you away from Jesus. If you are willing to repent and surrender your life to Jesus Christ, then pray this prayer right now: LORD Jesus, please forgive me my sins. I know I am a sinner; I believe that it is because of me that You came to this world. Father, I thank You for Jesus, I accept Jesus as the LORD of my life, I believe He died for my sins, He took away my sins. Take away my problems also, do something brand new in my life, and write my name in the Book of Life in Jesus name.