This podcast covers Lesson 5 of Radical Acts Bible Study by Melanie Newton.
The Adventure of a Life Transformed, Part 2
What a difference Christ made in the lives of the Apostles! In the gospels, they bickered over who was going to be the greatest in the kingdom. In Acts, they were one in heart, mind, and soul. Jesus had chided them for wanting to send people away to find food. In Acts, they willingly shared everything they had. At Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, they deserted Him and fled. In Acts, they are bold and confrontational to those who killed Jesus. Knowing Jesus and experiencing the Holy Spirit’s transforming power made the difference.
Peter “before” Pentecost
Unlike Paul, where you have to piece together his “before Christ” life, we get glimpses of Peter's character from the gospels. He was not a highly trained academic but was just an ordinary guy, a blue-collar worker and business owner.
In John chapter 1, when Andrew first brought his brother Simon to Jesus, he seemed anything but a promising spiritual leader. But, Jesus immediately gave him a new name—Peter, meaning rock or rock-man. Jesus named him not for what he was but by God's grace what he would become.
You see that Peter was open-hearted, loyal, and verbally gifted.
When asked by Jesus, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter's testimony to Jesus' identity was the clearest given to that point in the Lord's life. Verbally gifted.
When Jesus emphasized the trouble His followers would encounter, many fell away. Peter responded, "Lord, to whom shall we go. You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God." Loyal. Open-hearted.
In the Upper Room, after Jesus warned of his upcoming trouble and that they would desert him, Peter bragged, "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will." Loyal.
Peter was impulsive, weak-willed, and fearful.
When Peter saw Jesus walking on water, he asked if he could do the same. Jesus said yes so Peter leapt out of the boat then became fearful and began to sink.
After witnessing Jesus’ glory on the mountain, Peter’s impulsive response was to build three tabernacles right there. God’s response was for him to listen to Jesus.
After his great confession of Jesus as the Christ, Peter proceeds to tell Jesus what to do to avoid His death. Jesus gave him the most severe rebuke that He gave anyone except Judas and the Pharisees.
At Jesus’ arrest, Peter impulsively cuts off the servant’s ear.
After Jesus’ arrest, Peter folded when the pressure was on and denied the Lord whom he loved. Weak-willed and fearful.
Peter “after” Pentecost
The change that came into Peter's life did not eliminate his temperament, but modified it. After the filling of the Holy Spirit, the dynamic, lovable, magnetic characteristics of Peter are still evident. But, the weaknesses are transformed.
At Pentecost, verbally-gifted Peter preached a masterpiece of a sermon. It was the message of God through the instrument of Peter, a classic example of the way God wants to use men and women today.
Peter was flexible and available to do whatever the Holy Spirit would have him do.
Peter boldly answered the charges of the respected religious authorities by acknowledging Jesus and giving all glory to Him. Acts 4:1; Acts 5:29
Peter's rejoiced at being severely beaten by the Sanhedrin officials because he "had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the name."
Prepare by instruction, learn by experience
God’s method of teaching seems to be this: 1) prepare by instruction and 2) learn by experience. Prepare by instruction is what we learn from His Word. Learn by experience is the test to see if you understood what you learned.
God taught Peter something new in a vision. Nothing was unclean any longer. And, by the way, that includes people, especially the Gentiles who trust in Christ. Peter got the test by way of an invitation from a Gentile who wanted to hear the gospel message in his own house. Peter obediently shared the gospel with the group who all believed.
Peter passed the test. Peter learned the lesson. The Holy Spirit had transformed Peter’s life. And, God’s plan moved forward in more amazing ways and more rapidly than anyone could have ever imagined. It was an ordinary life transformed by God.
An ordinary life transformed
Peter’s seemingly ordinary life and see that it was very valuable to God. He was an ordinary man who knew his weaknesses and yielded to the Spirit’s transforming power to do whatever Jesus wanted him to do and be.
It’s okay to be an ordinary woman who lets the Spirit transform us into someone who accomplishes the purposes of God for us.
Let Jesus satisfy your heart with His Spirit’s transforming power. And say yes to a life of adventure with Him!
Until next time, I’m Melanie Newton. And, this is Series 7 of Satisfied.
Joyful Walk Bible Studies by Melanie Newton are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.