the Life of Peter in 2 Periods

Peter’s life could be divided into two different periods of his life for the purpose of studying it…

Before Pentecost, with the pivotal point being found in John 21:15-19.

After Pentecost, which runs from Acts 2 through Acts 15.

A simplified outline of his life could be described in these few words.

He was…

A PASSIONATE and often impetuous man. He was an EYEWITNESS to the Life of Christ and heard God’s voice from Heaven. He was TESTED by Satan as seen in his denial of Christ.

Afterward he was EVANGELISTIC, even facing death for his preaching. He was a REPENTANT man as seen in his zeal to preach and his writings.

This bulletin will supplement our Sunday morning Bible study as we study the inspired letters of the Apostle Peter.

BEFORE PENTECOST.

And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona:” (John 1:42a)

We’re introduced to Peter at the SEA of Galilee (Matt 4:18). He is married as seen when Jesus heals his mother-in-law (Matt 8:14-15). He was still fishing when he is called to be a constant companion of Jesus (Matt 4:19-20). It’s after this second calling that he forsakes all to follow Jesus. He verbalizes this after his call to be an Apostle. “Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee” (Mark 10:28)

As he followed Christ, he was included in an INNER circle of 3 that witnessed certain key events, one of which is the transfiguration of Jesus (Mark 9:2-9; cf. 2Peter 1:17), where they hear the voice of God.

Because of his often impetuous and passionate personality, it was he that requested to MIRACULOUSLY walk on water with Jesus (Matt 14:28-31). It’s only when he takes his eyes off the Lord and looks at the storm that he begins to sink requiring the Lord to reach out to save. “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.”

It was Peter that took Jesus aside to rebuke Him and OBJECTED to His dying as the Lord was predicting (Matt 16:22). It was also Peter that OBJECTED to the washing of his feet by Jesus (John 13:8). “Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet.”

Then, at the lowest point of this period, he denied Jesus after His arrest saying, “I know NOT this man of whom ye speak.” (Matt 26:31-35; Mark 14:71; John 18:15-18; 25-27). What makes this especially difficult for Peter is that he and the Lord make direct eye contact upon his 3rd denial.

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” (Luke 22:61)

A pivotal point in this period of his life is his breakfast by the sea with Our Risen Lord (John 21:15-19). It’s here he learns that his life is about to change even more dramatically.

This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.”

AFTER PENTECOST.

thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.” (John 1:42b)

On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up with the COMPANY of the other eleven Apostles to deliver the first sermon in the New Testament age. They preached the gospel which is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus. He commands the believers, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:14-38).

Even though 3,000 souls were added to the church after that first sermon, the next day he is in the Temple continuing to EVANGELIZE. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). Through their efforts the church continued to grow in the first days (Acts 4:1-4).

It was Peter who was given the assignment to PREACH to the gentiles (Acts 10). Being summoned to the house of Cornelius, he PREACHES the gospel to them, giving them the same command he gave to the Jews. It was the same command given him by the Lord. “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized” (Acts 10:47; cf. Mark 16:15-16)?

As bold as he was, Peter is not without fault as seen in a moment of HYPOCRISY when he separated himself from the gentiles when those of the circumcision came to Antioch (Gal 2:11-14). But Peter is a man of HUMILTY and repentance. Holding no grudges, he acknowledges Paul’s teaching in his second letter (2Peter 3:15-16).

Another part of Peter’s story in Acts is during the persecution of Herod. Herod had killed James, and had imprisoned Peter. He escapes through ANGELIC help. The danger doesn’t deter him in the least. He goes to encourage the brethren and continues to preach the Gospel (Acts 12)

One of the last times we hear of Peter in Acts is in Acts 15. It was through his SPEECH along with that of Paul, Barnabas, and James that the church rejoiced with comfort (Acts 15:7-11, 31) knowing that the gentiles, along with the Jews, may be saved through the blood of Christ.

I hope this summary of the life of Peter aids us in our study of his inspired letters.

— spencer

Spencer is the evangelist for the Franklin and Juniper church of Christ in Borger, Texas.

WALK as other gentiles

Paul wrote in Ephesians four:

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”

This is one of the 7 WALKS found in Ephesians. Let’s break down this WALK of the other Gentiles to find what we may learn.

THE FUTILE WALK. Eph 4:17-19

The first thing that jumps out is verse 17, WALKING in the VANITY of their minds. This word vanity refers to our modern word ‘FUTILITY.’ Futile means; incapable of producing any result; ineffective; useless; not successful; trifling; frivolous; unimportant. Once you see that, you can immediately recognize this problem with so many of us. We focus on the minors, ignoring the majors. We know more about the celebrities of pop culture than we do of the heroes of faith (cf. Heb 11). Keeping up with the Kardashians will not help any go to heaven.

In one sense, everything is trivial when compared to an eternity in Heaven or Hell. If we elevate any activity above serving the Lord, it is WALKING IN FUTILITY. Politics, Pop Culture or even your Papa can become vanity when we view them as our savior.  Jesus said, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matt 10:37). Paul wrote, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” (Col 1:18)

The next glaring condition is, “being ALIENATED from the life of God.” Paul’s theme in the opening chapters of Ephesians are about ALIENS being reconciled to God. “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:” He finishes by saying, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” (Eph 2:11-13) being ALIENATED from God is a hopeless existence and to be greatly avoided.

Next, Paul describes the walk of the other gentiles as giving themselves over to “LASCIVIOUSNESS, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (4:19). This describes LEWD behavior coupled with greediness. Greed is exemplifying self.

Paul will write to the Galatians about the lust of the flesh, one of which is ‘selfish ambitions’ (emulations kjv). Look at the other lists in Romans 1:20-32; 1Corinthians 6:9-10; 2Timothy 3:1-9 et al. LEWD & GREED together opens the door to all kinds of debauchery in hedonism.

Lastly, intermixed with all of the above is that their understanding is darkened. Their KNOWLEDGE of God, His Love, His Promises, His Sacrifice is as blindness of the heart. He also calls it ‘ignorance.’ It’s one thing to be ignorant, this text suggests ignorance because they don’t want to know. Someone who will not see has no advantage over the one that cannot see.

The most common problem I notice when talking to folks is the complete lack of interest in the reading of God’s word. This among those who claim to love the Lord. They often refer to what they think the bible says, what their pastor said, what they think they know, but seldom do they actually know. “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).

The bible says this about the Word, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”