This morning I reversed field rather abruptly at the close to my message about discipleship, defined by me this way: mutual investing by Word and Spirit for growth in Christ-likeness to the glory of God. You can listen to the audio of “A Restoration like Many Others (Part Three)” here.
Battling the clock, as always, I opted to omit a devotional piece by John Piper from Desiring God with which originally I intended to finish. As promised, here it is on the blog:
Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31–32)
What about the other ten apostles (not counting Judas)?
Satan was going to sift them too. Did Jesus pray for them?
Yes he did. But he did not ask the Father to guard their faith in the very same way he guarded Peter’s.
God broke the back of Peter’s pride and self-reliance that night in the agony of Satan’s sieve. But he did not let him go. He turned him around and forgave him and restored him and strengthened his faith. And now it was Peter’s mission to strengthen the other ten.
Jesus provided for the ten by providing for Peter. The strengthened becomes the strengthener.
There is a great lesson here for us. Sometimes God will deal with you directly, strengthening your faith alone in the wee hours of the morning. But most of the time (we might say ten-elevenths of the time) God strengthens our faith through another person.
God sends us some Simon Peter who brings just the word of grace we need to keep on in the faith: some testimony about how “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
Eternal security is a community project. Whenever God encourages your heart with the promise that in Satan’s sifting your faith will not fail, then take that encouragement and double your joy by using it to strengthen your brothers and sisters.
This pastor calls that discipleship – our priority obligation – if we love Jesus more than life itself.