You Can Come Back From A Shipwrecked Faith & Satanic Sifting

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses forty-seven through six thy-five of the twenty-second chapter. When you come to this particular portion of scripture you will everything that was written from the beginning of the chapter coming to a head. As you draw near and approach the language that is found in these verses you will find the events which Jesus Himself spike and prophesied of coming to pass, and doing so exactly as He spoke of and foretold. If you read that which is found within these verses you must read them through the lens that what you are reading was not only ordained by the living God, but it was also spoken of and foretold by the ancient Hebrew prophets. What’s more, is that the events which we find within this passage began unfolding and coming to pass just as Jesus the Christ Himself spoke of and foretold. I am convinced that we cannot and must not read the words which are found in this passage of scripture without and apart from understanding NV them in direct connection to that which Jesus the Christ spoke of earlier on within His ministry. Upon careful study of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find that not only did Jesus speak of and foretell the suffering He would face and experience, but you will also discover that Jesus spoke of the betrayal which would take place. What’s more, is that betrayal was but the door that opened the door to the activity of religion and the powers of darkness working together in order to bring about the death and destruction of Jesus the Christ. Even more than this. You will read the words found within this passage and understand that even within this passage Jesus spoke of what would take place on this night. It was in this chapter when Jesus Himself would once more speak of the betrayer who would betray Him unto the hands of His enemies and adversaries, and the one who would serve Him up to those who deliberately and intentionally sought to kill and destroy Him. Please don’t miss and lose sight of that which is found in the passage before us, for what we are reading is the direct fulfillment of that which Jesus Himself spoke of and foretold—not only concerning the one who would betray Him, but also the one who would deny Him.

As I sit here this morning and think about and consider that which is found and contained within it, I can’t help but read these words and consider the fact that they must be understood and recognized in terms of that which Jesus spoke of and foretold when speaking directly unto His disciples—even within this chapter. The words which we find written in this passage are the fulfillment of that which Jesus spoke concerning two of His disciples—namely, the apostle peter and Judas iscariot. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss out and lose sight of what is written and contained within this chapter for the words which are found within it directly apply to two of Jesus’ own disciples who had walked with and followed Him closely for three and a half years. It is within this chapter where we read of one disciples betrayal of Jesus the Christ, and another disciples denial of Jesus. Interestingly enough, we must recognize and understand what Jesus not only knew the nature of man and the nature of the human heart, but Jesus also knew the nature of His own disciples. What we read and what we find in this passage of scripture is a wonderful and powerful picture of how Jesus knows the nature of His disciples, and knows and understands the intimate details of their lives. What’s more, is that as you read the words found in these verses you will discover that Jesus even knew and was keenly aware of the activity and power of Saran within the lives of His own disciples. If you read this chapter from beginning to end you will notice the activity and presence of satan—not only in direct connection with Judas, but also in the life of the apostle Peter. There is no mention by Jesus of the activity of satan within the heart, mind and life of Judas, however, Jesus felt compelled to speak unto Simon also called peter and declare unto him the activity of satan within his life. There is no mention of Jesus confronting Judas concerning the activity of satan within his life, nor does Jesus ever speak unto Judas and declare unto him how satan was at the door and desired to have him. In the Old Testament book of genesis we discover how the Lord spoke unto Cain and declared unto him that sin was at the door, and his sin desired to have him, but how he must master and rule over it. As it pertains to Judas, however, we read no such words of Jesus speaking unto him and declaring the activity of Satan within his life. What we find and what we read are words which were spoken directly unto the apostle peter in order that he might undertake the activity of satan within his life.

WHEN THE ACTIVITY OF SATAN IS MANIFESTED IN THE CHURCH! WHEN THE ACTIVITY OF SATAN IS MANIFESTED IN THE CHURCH AS SPOKEN OF AND FORETOLD BT JESUS THE CHRIST! The events which unfolded at this point during the evening were events which directly correlated to that which Jesus spoke of this very night. ON THIS VERY NIGHT! Perhaps one of the most interesting realities surrounding that which unfolds before us within this passage of Scripture is that the events which took place were spoken of by Jesus the Christ on this very night. It was and it is true that Jesus spoke of His betrayal on more than one occasion, and it is true that Jesus spoke of His suffering and death on more than one occasion, however, what we find here in this chapter is a wonderful and powerful picture of Jesus knowing and understanding the nature of His disciples, and understanding that which would take place within their lives. It’s interesting and worth noting that despite the confidence of the apostle Peter concerning his own ability to follow Jesus the Christ to prison, and even to death—Jesus knew and understood that on this very night he would deny knowing Him not once, but three times. On this very night Jesus knew within Himself Satan’s desire to have the apostle Peter in order that he might sift him as wheat. Pause for a moment and consider this awesome and incredible reality concerning Simon, for not only did Jesus speak of and reveal the activity and desire of Satan, but Jesus also spoke of His response to the activity of Satan. If you read the words which Jesus spoke unto the apostle on this very night in the upper room, you will find that although Satan desired to have Simon also called Peter in order that he might sift him as wheat, Jesus prayed for him that his faith would not fail. What’s more, is that Jesus even went on to speak of his conversion, and that after he was converted, he would strengthen his brethren. What I happen to find so incredibly unique and challenging within Jesus’ words to the apostle is that there is no indication that Jesus didn’t authorize and didn’t give Satan permission to work within the life of the apostle—even on this very night. There is absolutely no indication that Jesus turned down the request of Satan concerning Simon Peter, and did not allow him to move within and interact within his life. In fact, I would dare say that the words which Jesus spoke unto the apostle clearly and readily reveal the awesome reality that Jesus did in fact permit Satan to traffic within the life of the apostle, and did in fact allow him to sift the apostle, but only in order that it might fulfill and accomplish the will and purposes of the Father who was in heaven. With this in mind, I am convinced that we must again turn our attention back to the Old Testament book of Job, for it is within this Old Testament book where we come face to face with Satan’s activity before the throne, and the One who sits upon the throne authorizing Satan to traffic within the life of one of His servants, and to do within his life what he will, so long as he did not touch his life. Consider if you will the words which are found within the first and second chapters of the Old Testament book of Job starting with that which is written and contained within the first chapter:

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? The Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord” (Job 1:6-12).

“Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? And he still holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:1-10).

Please don’t miss the significance of what is written within the first two chapters of the Old Testament book of Job, for within this chapter we find Satan coming into the presence of the Lord from walking to and fro upon the earth, and from up and down in it. There came two specific days when the sons of God came to appear before the throne of God, and to make themselves known before the living God, and Satan himself came among the sons of God who appeared before the throne. We don’t exactly know what Satan was doing as he walked to and fro in the earth, and from going up and down in it, but we do get somewhat of a glimpse of what he might very well have been doing in the words which Thea pestle Peter wrote in the first epistle which he wrote unto the diaspora. If you read the first epistle which the apostle Peter wrote unto the diaspora you will find specific language written concerning the activity of Satan within and upon the earth—a unique reality considering that Simon Peter himself experienced Satan desiring to have him in order that he might sift him as what. If you begin reading with from the fifth verse of the fifth chapter of this New Testament epistle you will find the following words written by the same apostle whom Jesus spoke to and revealed how Satan desired to have him in order that he might sift him as wheat. Consider if you will the words which the apostle Peter wrote in this particular chapter unto the saints of God who undoubtedly and most surely experienced suffering within their lives at that time:

“…yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he care the for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:5-11).

The words which we find written in this particular portion of the epistle which the apostle Peter wrote are absolutely and incredibly intriguing and challenging, for they were written by one who himself had not only known how Satan desired to have him in order that he might sift him as wheat, but also experienced that sifting first hand within his life. I find it absolutely captivating that the apostle Peter would and could write these words concerning the activity and desire to of Satan knowing full well that it was Jesus Himself who had spoken unto him years earlier declaring unto him how Satan desired to have him that he might sift him as wheat. The apostle Peter knew first hand how Satan desired to have the saints of God in order that he might sift them as wheat, and the apostle Peter was keenly aware of the activity and movement of Satan within the earth. When Satan came to appear before the throne of God among the sons of God, he spoke of and declared concerning himself that he came from walking to and fro upon the earth, and from walking up and down in it. While we aren’t given any type of clue or indication within either of the passages in the book of Job what Satan was doing while walking to and fro upon the earth, and from walking up and down in it, the apostle Peter seems to shed and shine some light on to that which Satan does as he walks to and fro within the earth, and up and down in it. The apostle Peter wrote how Satan the adversary is as a roaring lion, and walks about seeking whom he may devour. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this incredible and tremendous reality, for it brings us face to face with the activity of Satan within the earth, for Satan walks to and fro upon the earth, and up and down in it in order that he might devour and destroy the saints of God. We would be incredibly naïve to think and consider—even for a moment—that Satan does not walk to and fro upon the earth, and walk up and down within it seeking whom he may devour and whom he might destroy. It was Jesus Himself who spoke unto the apostle Peter in the upper room that Satan desired to have him, and asked that he might have him in order that he might sift him as wheat. There is absolutely no mistake about that which Jesus spoke unto the apostle Peter, and if I am the apostle Peter I can’t help but wonder why Satan would target me specifically. We know from reading the four gospels that Satan came to Jesus while in the wilderness in order that he might tempt Him, but now we are beginning to see the activity of Satan outside of and apart from Christ Himself, and within the lives of His disciples. Eventually there came a point when the activity of Satan transitioned from beyond Jesus Christ Himself, and into the lives of certain of His disciples and apostles. It’s interesting and worth noting that we don’t read of the activity of Satan in the lives of any of the other apostles during that time—only the apostle Peter, and Judas Iscariot. Of course this isn’t to say that Satan would not target each of the apostles later on within their lives here on the earth, but at this time we discover only how Satan targeted two of the apostles of Jesus Christ—namely, Simon also called Peter, and Judas Iscariot.

If you read the twenty-second chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke you will not only find the activity and work of Satan within the life of Judas Iscariot, but you will also find the activity and desire of Satan within the life of the apostle Peter as well. If you begin reading with and from the first verse of this chapter you will quickly discover and come face to face with the reality that Satan desired to move within the life of Judas Iscariot, and even entered him in order that he might bring about the death and destruction of Jesus the Christ. Beginning to read with the third verse of this chapter you will find that Satan entered into Judas, being of the number of the twelve, and how Judas went his way and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Jesus Christ unto them. The sixth verse concludes with Judas promised unto the chief priests and captains that he would seek for an opportunity to betray Jesus into their hands absent the crowd and absent the multitude—a deliberate and intentional act which could only be accomplished by the direct working of Satan within his life. What’s more, is that if you turn your attention to the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John you will find it first mentioned that the devil put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of Israel, and how even with these thoughts within the heart of Judas, he still partook of the Passover meal with Jesus the Christ, and even allowed Jesus to wash his feet. If you continue reading within this thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John you will find it written how as soon as Jesus gave the sop to Judas, and as soon as Judas partook of the sop, Satan entered into him. Undoubtedly Jesus was aware of the activity and presence of Satan there in the upper room, for as soon as Satan entered into Judas, Jesus immediately speaks and declares unto him that what he was about to do, he must do quickly. Of course Scripture reveals how the other eleven apostles had no knowledge or understanding of what Jesus meant when He spoke these words unto Judas, but Jesus and Judas knew exactly what He meant. Both Jesus and Judas were very much aware of what he was about to do, and Jesus was very much aware of the activity of Satan in the upper room on that night while they partook of the Passover supper. What I can’t help but ask myself and wonder is at what point did Satan ask that he might have Simon also called Peter. Is it possible that on this very night in the upper room—perhaps even before Satan entered into Judas that he asked that he might have Simon Peter that he might sift him as wheat? Is it possible that on this very night as the disciples partook of the Passover meal with Jesus that Satan asked to have Simon Peter that he might sift him as wheat, and upon gaining permission to sift Simon as wheat, he entered into Judas in order that he might betray the Son of man into the hands of His enemies and adversaries? We aren’t given any clue or indication as to when Satan asked to have Simon called Peter that he might sift him as wheat, but we do know that there came a point when he asked that he might have Simon Peter in order that he might sift him as wheat.

What I can’t get over when reading the words found within this single chapter is the activity and presence of Satan among the disciples of Jesus the Christ, for not only do we read of Satan entering into Judas, but we also read of Satan desiring to have Simon called Peter in order that he might sift him as wheat. One single chapter, and yet within this chapter we read of the activity of Satan as he not only entered into one of the disciples, but he also desired to have another in order that he might sift him as wheat. We know and understand that this concept of sifting indicates and speaks of a violent shaking, which brings us face to face with the reality of just how severe Satan desired this sifting to be within the life of the apostle Peter. On the same night in the upper room—not only do we find and read concerning Satan entering into one of the disciples of Jesus the Christ in order that he might betray the Son of God into the hands of His enemies and adversaries, but we also read of Satan’s desire to have another disciples in order that he might sift him as wheat. In fact, if you continue reading this chapter beginning with the forty-seventh verse, you will quickly and undoubtedly come face to face with the reality of Satan’s handiwork within the inner circle of the disciples of Jesus. What you read beginning with the forty-seventh verse of this particular chapter is in fact the direct manifestation—not only of that which Jesus the Christ spoke concerning two of His disciples, but also of the direct activity of Satan within the he lives of two of these disciples of Jesus the Christ. I am convinced that if we read the words of Judas’ betrayal and Simon Peter’s denial, we must read them through the lens of that which Jesus spoke concerning each of these disciples of Jesus the Christ. Verses forty-seven through fifty-three of this chapter point to and reveal the reality of Judas’ betrayal, while verses fifty-four through sixty-one speak to and reveal the denial of Simon also called Peter on this very night. The betrayal of one would take place in the garden, while the denial of another would take place within the house of the high priest as Simon also called Peter warmed himself among the servants. Consider if you will each of these two passages beginning first with the betrayal of Judas, and secondly the denial of Simon called Peter:

“And while He yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword? And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And He touched his ear, and healed him. Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? When Is as daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness” (Luke 22:47-53).

“Then took they him, and led Him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. And he denied Him, saying, Woman, I know Him not. And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. And about the space of one hour another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for He is a Galilaean And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:54-62).

It’s interesting and worth noting that what we find and what we read within this passage of Scripture is indeed a manifestation—not only of the words which Jesus Himself spoke of concerning His betrayal and suffering, but also a manifestation of the activity of Satan in the lives of two of Jesus’ own disciples. What we find within this passage of Scripture is indeed a wonderful and powerful picture of the activity of Satan within the lives of two of Jesus’ own disciples, as Satan entered into one of Jesus’ disciples in order that he might incite him to betray Jesus into the hands of those who hated Him, and seeking to shipwreck the faith of another disciple. In all reality, I can’t help but see a direct connection between the life of the apostle Peter and the life of the Old Testament character Job, for while in the presence of the sons of God before the throne of God, Satan declared unto the living God that if He stretched forth His hand and touched all that He had, he would curse Him to His face. What’s so incredibly interesting and unique about this particular reality and concept is that Satan didn’t just make this accusation and assumption concerning Job once, but he actually made it twice. If you read the first chapter of this Old Testament book you will find Satan declaring unto the Lord that if He stretched forth His hand and touched all that Job had, Job would curse Him to His face. Of course we know that the Lord granted Satan permission to touch all that Job had, and yet despite the fact that the Lord had granted permission to Satan to touch all that Job had, he neither sinned with his mouth, nor did he curse God to his face. As you continue reading this Old Testament book you will find that Satan again appeared before the throne of God among the sons and in response to the Lord’s words concerning Job, again accused Job by saying that if the Lord stretched forth His hand and touched the flesh and body of Job, he would surely curse God to his face. The Lord was indeed willing to allow Satan to touch the physical person and flesh of Job, and we read how Satan struck him with sore boils from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. What is absolutely remarkable, however, is that even when his own wife asked him if and why he still retained his integrity, and even when his own wife told him to curse God and die, he responded to her by asking whether or not we should receive good at the hand of God, and not also receive evil. It’s worth noting and point out that in all of this Job did not sin with his lips, nor did he sin with his mouth but remained pure and righteous before the Lord of heaven and earth.

The reason I mention the account of the Old Testament character Job is because in the Old Testament Satan declared unto the Lord that if He stretched forth His hand and first touched all that he had, and second touched his physical person and flesh, he would curse God to His face. It’s worth noting and pointing out that when Satan desired to have Simon Peter in order that he might sift him as wheat, it undoubtedly pertained to the words which Jesus spoke unto him concerning his denial of Him—not once, but three times. In the Old Testament account of Job it was about Job cursing God to His face, and in the New Testament it was about Simon also called Peter denying Jesus not once, not twice, but three times. In the New Testament we find Satan desiring to have Simon also called Peter in order that he might sift him as wheat, and we learn and discover that it was in direct connection and relation to his denying the Lord three times on the same night in which He was betrayed by Judas Iscariot. I can’t help but wonder when the apostle Peter was writing his first epistle unto those which were scattered if he did not look back on his own life and how he denied the Lord three times, but also looked back upon the account and example of Job in the Old Testament, and how Job suffered a great deal at the hand of Satan as he was given permission and authority within his life to perhaps even sift him as wheat. The entire suffering of Job centered around one central theme and one singular reality, and that was whether or not Job would curse God to His face. Of course we know that despite all that Job had being touched, and despite Job’s physical body being touched with sore boils, he neither cursed God to His face, nor did he sin with his lips. When we think about and consider the life of the apostle Peter, we must understand that what we read concerning him was not cursing God to His face, but actually denying the Lord three times. I am convinced that it was within this act of denying the Lord Jesus Christ three times before the rooster crowed that Satan desired to sift Simon as wheat. There is not a doubt in my mind that it was in the denying of Jesus the Christ that Satan desired to sift Simon as wheat, and it was in the words which Jesus the Christ spoke unto Satan concerning the activity and desire of Satan that we find the activity of Satan manifested and evidenced within the life of the apostle. In the Old Testament it was about Job cursing God to His face, while in the New Testament it was about Simon denying Jesus three times in a single night as different individuals declared concerning him that he was one of Jesus’ disciples. In the New Testament it was about Simon Peter denying Jesus three times that we encounter the activity of Satan within his life, and how undoubtedly Satan desired to sift Simon as wheat—not only in the matter of his self-confidence and self-assurance, but also in his very denial of the Lord Jesus Christ. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss this single point, for to do so would be to miss the activity of Satan and the schemes of the devil—namely, to shipwreck our faith in what we perceive as our failures. Undoubtedly Simon faced a crucial moment in his life after he denied Jesus three times, for that particular event within his life would either shipwreck his faith and utterly and completely destroy him, or it would wonderfully and powerfully transform him into an instrument in the hands of the living God. Of course we know and understand that not only did Jesus pray for Simon called Peter that his faith would not fail, but we also read how even after Jesus rose from death to life, He sought to restore Simon Peter unto Himself, and even restore him from what could have utterly and completely destroyed his faith. As we will see within the gospels which were written concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, Simon did in fact come back from what might very well have been a shipwreck of his faith, and the Lord did in fact restore his faith. What’s more, is that not only did the Lord restore the faith of Simon, and not only was Simon restored from this potential moment of shipwreck within his life, but Simon also received the Holy Spirit as he was one of the one-hundred and twenty in the upper room.

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