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The Fathers Love Letter To You
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Luke 22:31-34

HELP FOR SIFTED SAINTS

Intro: A shipwrecked man managed to reach an uninhabited island. There, to protect himself against the elements and to safeguard the few possessions he had salvaged, he painstakingly built a little hut from which he constantly and prayerfully scanned the horizon for the approach of a ship. Returning one evening after a search for food, he was terrified to find the hut completely enveloped in flames. Yet by divine mercy this hard affliction was changed into a mighty advantage. Early the following morning he awoke to find a ship anchored off the island. When the captain stepped ashore, he explained, "We saw your smoke signal and came." Everything the marooned man owned had to be destroyed before he could be rescued.

The trials and adversities of life are never pleasant, but it in them that we learn the secrets of dependence, of grace, of hope and of His presence. None of us wishes for trials or adversity, but it is through them that God refines the metal of our lives and molds us into His image. Just as metal is placed in a furnace and heated to a white hot state so the dross can be removed, God allows us to enter the furnace of affliction so that He might refine and purify our lives.

Of course, the most difficult of the adversities we face is that which comes from sin and the attack of the devil. When we are forced to enter that furnace, the potential for pain is greatest.

In our text, Simon Peter is made to understand the fact that he is about to be tested. He is encouraged in this revelation by the fact that the Lord Himself will take an active part in his trail. I know I am speaking to a group of people who are going through adversity. I know that you face battles and trials that I cannot imagine. However, I know there is hope for you! This passage lets us know that we do not have to fail in the attacks of life. We do not have to crawl away in defeat, never to be heard from again. I want to show you that anyone can endure the trials, tests and adversities of life. I want to show you that even if you have failed, you can still rise from the ashes and salvage what Satan has attempted to destroy. I want to share, from this passage, some Help For Sifted Saints. Allow me to point out a few nuggets which contain much Help For Sifted Saints.

I. V. 31 A DETERMINED FOE

"Satan Is Determined To Destroy Your Life!"

A. Ill. Context. Jesus is telling Peter that Satan has made a request to have "all" the disciples to test the reality of their faith. The word "desired" means "to demand, to ask for oneself." The word "you" is plural in nature. It is a request for all the disciples. His demand is that he might "sift" them. This is an agricultural term that refers to the savage process of separating the husk of the wheat from the grain. The wheat was crushed under foot, then it was agitated, or thrown into the air. The chaff, or husk, was blown away by the wind and all that was left behind was the good grain. Satan wanted to tear the heart of God by proving that there was no reality to the faith of the disciples. Satan believed that he could crush them, sift them and that nothing would be left but a lost heart. He had already done this with Judas! He believed that he could do it to the rest.

B. We battle a determined enemy this morning. He wants nothing more than to cut the heart of God by sifting your life and mine. He wants to prove that we are phonies. He wants to show God and the world that there is nothing to our professions of faith. He wants to destroy everything of value in your life, 1 Pet. 5:8. He wants to ruin your testimony. He wants to destroy your home. He wants to wreck your influence. He wants to take away everything of value in your life and leave you with nothing but a devastated shell of what you had! (Note: If he can get you to believe a false profession, he will. If he can got your eyes off Jesus, he will. If he can drive a wedge between you and the members of your family, he will. If he can drive a wedge between you and the members of your church, he will. He will do everything he can to cut the heart of God and ruin your life! He will use whatever tactic he deems necessary to get you to fall, Ill. Gen. 3:1-6. He will never stop until you fall, or you die!)

C. If the devil gets his way in your life and you succumb to his attacks, remember this: "No One Sins In A Vacuum!" Your sin doesn't just affect you, it affects everyone around you! It is the absolute height of selfishness to live just to please yourself, while having no regard to what your sin is doing to your family, your church and to others in your sphere of influence! Adam's fall touched us all - Rom. 5:12! David's sin with Bathsheba, 2 Sam. 11, affected him, Bathsheba, their baby, Bathsheba's husband, and the house of David for years to come! You never walk away clean when you choose to walk away in sin!



II. V. 32 A DILIGENT FRIEND

"The Saints Have A Powerful Ally In Their Corner!"

A. While all the disciples were in Satan's sights, Peter received the promise of intercession. (Note: "you", v. 31 is plural, but "thee", v. 32 is singular!) I am sure that Jesus was praying for them all, but He spoke especially to Peter, because He knew that Peter was about to take the biggest fall, v. 34. You see, sin isn't a maybe in our lives, it is a given, 1 John 1:8-10! All the disciples failed the Lord that night, Mark 14:50, but Peter went beyond simple failure into the realm of outright denial of any relationship to Jesus, Luke 22:54-62.

B. The times of testing and failure will come in your life and mine, but in the midst of them, let us take courage in the fact that we have Someone pleading our case, taking our part, praying for us in Heaven, Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1. (Note: Notice the word "but". Satan may have his devices and his schemes to tempt us and try us, but he doesn't have the last word! In the midst of his scheming and planning, Jesus "butts" in to stand by our side until the trial has passed! He will never leave us, regardless of the task or trial, Heb. 13:5.)

C. Just because a temptation is offered to you, that does not mean that you have to fall into sin. Jesus can equipped us with all the resources we will ever need to be able to withstand anything the devil throws at us, 1 Cor. 10:13; Heb. 2:18; James 4:7.

III. V. 32 A DISTINGUISHED FUTURE

"No Failure Should Ever Be Considered Final!"

A. Jesus makes it clear that Peter will fall, "when thou art converted", means "when you have repented, or come back to me", but that his fall will not be the final statement of his life. He was going to be restored and he was going to be used of the Lord in a great way. Ill. Pentecost, and the great acts of faith of his life. (Note: I am speaking to people who may come under this kind of attack someday and you may fall into sin. I am speaking to some who have fallen and have already come back. I am speaking to others who have fallen and are still in that fallen state today. I want you to know that your fall does not have to define your life!)

B. God has made provision for the cleansing and the restoration of those who fall into sin. Those provisions include Confession, Repentance and Forgiveness. When we come clean about our sins and turn from them, the Lord will forgive and restore the fallen one to a place of service and blessing, 1 John 1:9; Pro. 28:13. (Note: This truth is illustrated in the life of the Prodigal Son and what happened when he returned to his father, Luke 15:11-24.)

C. When a person walks away from the things of the Lord and goes into sin and stays there, it means that one of two things is true. 1.) They were never really saved, 1 John 2:19. 2.) They are in open rebellion and are subject to the wrath and chastisement o the Lord, Heb. 12:6-12; Rev. 3:19. You see, genuine faith will falter, but it will never utterly fail! Peter came back because he was saved. When he was sifted, it was proven that his profession was genuine. There was some chaff, but there was a grain of real faith too!

D. When a believer falls into sin, those who genuinely love them will seek to restore them, Gal. 6:1-2. They will not condone or support their sinful actions, but they will not abandon them completely either!

IV. V. 33-34 A DEFINITE FOOLISHNESS

"Never Say Never!"

A. When Peter hears this prediction he, in typical Peter style, boasts of his love and devotion to the Lord. He vows to go to prison or even to death to prove his allegiance to Jesus. Peter forgot a very important principle of life, "Never Say Never!" No one in this room is above falling into the snare of the enemy. Only when you are in his sifter can you know exactly what you will do! It is a dangerous thing to rely upon yourself and your ability to withstand temptation and testing, 1 Cor. 10:12. We've all seen someone act in certain ways and we have said, "I would never do that!" Be careful!

B. You see, you are weakest in the area of your greatest strength! That may sound like a contradiction or a paradox, but it is true nonetheless! When you some to think you have an area of your life absolutely conquered and that sin cannot possibly occur there, you will tend to let your guard down. When that happens you can be sure that the enemy will target you for sifting! (Ill. Pro. 28:26; Pro. 16:18; Jer. 17:9.)

C. If you have the feeling that "It can't happen to me!", you are in danger of falling today!



Conc: The way an Eskimo kills a wolf is grizzly, yet it offers fresh insight into the consuming, self-destructive nature of sin. First the Eskimo coats his knife blade with animal blood and allows it to freeze. Then he adds another layer of blood, and another, until the blade is completely concealed by frozen blood. Next, the hunter fixes his knife in the ground with the blade up. When a wolf follows his sensitive nose to the source of the scent and discovers the bait, he licks it, tasting the fresh frozen blood. He begins to lick faster, more and more vigorously, lapping the blade until the keen edge is bare. Feverishly now, harder and harder, the wolf licks the blade in the Arctic night. So great becomes the craving for blood that the wolf does not notice the razor sharp sting of the naked blade on his own tongue nor does he recognize the instant at which his insatiable thirst is being satisfied by his own warm blood. His carnivorous appetite just craves more--until the dawn finds him dead in the snow!

Such is the power sin has to destroy our lives. Thankfully, it does not have to be that way. Jesus has done everything necessary to provide a plan of salvation that will work for all people. He has promised to pray for us and to see us through the times of temptation and sifting. He has promised to receive, forgive and restore us when we do fail. There is no need for anyone to allow sin to devastate you or your life. If you want help as you face the times of sifting in life, you will find it Jesus and in Him alone!



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