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Peters Denials

(John 18:15-27)

I. Introduction.
A. Orientation.
This morning,
We saw that after Jesus was arrested and bound,
He was led away first to Annas,
Then to Caiaphas, where He was put on trial.

The high priest first


Tried to get Jesus to incriminate Himself
Jesus responded that he shouldnt ask Him,
But those who heard to bear witness
Because His ministry had been public.

The high priest next tried to find false witnesses


Who would be willing to testify against Him
But none of them seemed to agree
The Lord was thwarting their efforts
To sin against Him by trumping up false charges.

Finally, the high priest,


Invoking the authority that was his
According to Gods Law,
Required Jesus to testify to who He was:

And Jesus told him the truth:


He was the Messiah,
The Son of God,
For which they also condemned Him.

B. Preview.
This evening, we see
That while Jesus was busy
Righteously defending Himself
Against these three unrighteous attacks,
Peter was sadly busy in the court outside
Unrighteously denying three times
That he even knew Jesus.

This teaches us that even true believers sin;


But when they do, they turn from those sins
And continue to obey their Lord,
Because their Lord prays for them.

Lets look at three things:


1. First, that Peter followed Jesus: he was genuinely concerned for Him.
2. Second, that Peter denied Jesus: to save his own life.
3. And third, what we should learn from this.
II. Sermon.
A. First we see that Peter followed Jesus.

We read in verse 15, Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another
disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus
into the court of the high priest.
The disciples had fled, as Jesus said they would.
But Peter and another disciple followed Jesus,
Matthew tells us, from a distance (Matt. 26:58).

One mark of a true child of God,


Is that he or she follows his Shepherd
Because they love Him.
Now its true that the disciples had run away
When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus
They werent willing at that time
Openly to acknowledge Him
But that doesnt mean
They werent concerned for Him:
Peter was, and so he followed.

This other disciple, as I mentioned earlier in this series,


Is thought by many to be John.
John frequently refers to himself in his Gospel
Without mentioning his name,
And Peter and John were often together.

Some, though, raise the issue of how John

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Being a fisherman
Knew the high priest,
While his brother James apparently did not.
They argue that there were other disciples besides the twelve.
Maybe this was Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea.

Whoever he was, he was known to the high priest,


And so he was able to enter with Jesus into the court.

Realizing that Peter didnt have this same freedom,


And knowing how desperately Peter wanted to know
How things were progressing with his Lord,
This disciple graciously used his relationship with the high priest,
To allow Peter to enter.
We read in verse 16, But Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other
disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the
doorkeeper, and brought Peter in.

Now Peter would be close


To what was happening with Jesus;
But now he would also be in a place
Where his faithfulness would be tested.

B. Next we see that Peter denies Jesus three times.


1. First, he denied Jesus to the doorkeeper.
We read in verse 17, Then the slave-girl who kept the door said to Peter, You
are not also one of this mans disciples, are you? He said, I am not.

Were not really told whether the door-keeper recognized Peter,


Or only suspected that he might be one of Jesus disciples
By the way he was acting.
Either way, she asked, and He denied.

2. Second, Peter denied Jesus before the slaves and officers.


We read in verses 18, Now the slaves and the officers were standing there,
having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves;
and Peter was also with them, standing and warming himself.
Peter stood with the slaves and officers because he was cold.
Its also possible that after what the gatekeeper said
He was trying to blend in, so he wouldnt be singled out:
Sometimes the safest place to hide is in plain sight.

But on this occasion, it didnt work:


They asked him the same question in verse 25, Now Simon Peter was standing
and warming himself. So they said to him, You are not also one of His
disciples, are you? He denied it, and said, I am not.
Matthew Henry sees a spiritual analogy in this, where he writes, Those that
warm themselves with evil doers grow cold towards good people and good
things, and those that are fond of the devils fire-side are in danger of the devils
fire.
The more your heart warms towards the things that are against Gods will,
The colder it will be to His will.

Another thing Henry notes is


That Satan doubles his attacks when he sees that we give ground.
Peter compromised first with the doorkeeper,

And now he finds himself in a worse situation.

The Bible says the fear of man brings a snare.


Jesus said, Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul;
but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt.
10:28).
Peter feared man and not God,
And so he denied his Lord a second time.

3. The third time, Peter was confronted by an eyewitness:


We read in verse 26, One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the
one whose ear Peter cut off, said, Did I not see you in the garden with Him?
Its not surprising
That someone related to the man Peter attacked
Would be in the court of the high priest,
Since the man he attacked was one of Caiaphas servants.
Apparently, this relative was in the garden as well
And saw who cut off his kinsmans ear.

But we read in verse 27, Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster
crowed.

Jesus had earlier told Peter


That he would deny Him three times that very night
Before a rooster crowed twice (Mark 14:30).
Peter insisted that even if he had to die with Him,
He would never deny Jesus (v. 31).

Jesus was right; Peter was wrong.

While Jesus was inside bearing witness to the truth


Before those whose one goal was to kill Him,
Peter was outside lying to save his own skin
Something that he would be ashamed of
For the rest of his life.

C. What should we learn from this?


1. We should learn first, that even true believers sin.
Peters denial wasnt recorded to excuse our sin,
Or to give us an excuse to sin;
But to show us
That even when we commit terrible sins,
The Lord, in His love and mercy,
Will still forgive us.

a. Peter, though he was flawed in many ways,


Showed himself to be a true believer.
He had followed Jesus for the past three and a half years,
Because he believed Jesus was Gods Messiah,
And because he loved Him.
Even after he ran away at Jesus arrest,
He followed at a distance

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And went into the enemys camp,
Because he was concerned about
What would happen to his Lord.

When he denied his Lord,


He didnt justify what he had done,
But wept, because he knew how horribly
He had failed Him
And that in light of his recent promise
That he would rather die than do so.

b. But even though he loved Jesus,


He still denied Him.
Why?
Because he was afraid of dying
Its true that on one of these occasions,
He denied Jesus before a servant-girl.
But remember,
All she had to do was to point the finger at him,
And all the servants and officers warming themselves by the fire
Would have been on him.

c. But why was he so afraid?


And why did all these things go against him?

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Its because of what Jesus said earlier in Lukes Gospel, 22:31, Simon,
Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat.
The devil was the one who provoked these questions,
And intensified Peters fear.
Peter didnt yet have the strength
To stand against this kind temptation
Because he was not yet filled with the Spirit.
And so he fell into this terrible sin.

d. Considering what Jesus had done for Peter,


What He called Peter to do,
And what Jesus had said about those who deny Him,
All Peter could reasonably expect
Was that Jesus would deny him.
Jesus said earlier, Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will
also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me
before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven (Matt.
10:32-33).
That is what Peter deserved.
This is likely what Satan was first to point out.

Its so easy to justify sin when were under temptation


Thats the nature of sin its deceitful.
But once the sin is committed,
The tempter turns into the accuser
And uses our failure to drive us away from God.

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This, among other reasons, is why Peter wept.

2. But second, we should also learn how great a love the Savior has for His own.
Jesus had not only told Peter about Satans desire to sift him,
He also told him what He had done to help and protect him:
We read in Luke 22:32, But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail;
and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.
Notice, Jesus didnt pray that Peter would be kept from this temptation.
He didnt pray that he would stand in it.
He prayed that after it was all over
And Peter had fallen as He knew he would
That his faith would not fail
And when he had turned again
When he had repented
That he would be used again to strengthen his brothers in Christ.
This lesson was one that Peter
Would undoubtedly draw on for years to come.

The difference between a believer


Who falters and sins against his Lord
And an unbeliever that does the same
Is that the believer repents
He doesnt want to live that kind of life:
He wants to please his Lord
The unbeliever doesnt

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He justifies his sin.

The reason the believer repents


Is because Jesus prays for him.
Thats exactly what Jesus did in John 17
He prayed that the Father would keep us safe,
Even as He had done while on earth:
I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I
come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have
given Me, that they may be one even as We are. While I was with them, I was
keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and
not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be
fulfilled (John 17:11-12).

As Christians, we fail, we sin


Even after Pentecost,
As Peter also did on other occasions
But we dont continue in sin
We repent,
We fight to overcome our sins
And put them to death
Because we love the Lord.
And the reason we repent,
And will continue to do so
Until we finally arrive in heaven
Is because the Lord loves us

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And prays for us.

If you love Him


If youre following Him this evening
This is what He does for you.

If you dont love Him,


If youre not following Him,
Then pray and ask that He would put that love in your heart
That He would have mercy on you,
Give you His Spirit,
And pray for you,
So that you will make it to heaven as well.

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