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Welcome to Refinery Life Australia.

This week we continue our series titled “Personal portraits of Peter”.

These messages will contain lessons that can help each of us daily.

Today we are talking about Misplaced Concern.

Text

John 21:20-22 (AMP)

20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His chest at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray You?” 

21 So when Peter saw him, he asked Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man [what is in his future]?” 

22 Jesus said to him, “If I want him to stay alive until I come [again], what is that to you? You follow Me!”

Scripture Reading.

John 21:20-22

Introduction 

Have you ever been embarrassed by asking a question to which the proper reply should have been, “None of your business”?

Todays Scripture presents us with such a case from the impressionable Simon Peter.

Jesus had forgiven Peter for his denials and had restored him, commanding , “Feed my sheep” and “follow Me.”

He had told Peter that Peter would die a martyr’s death by crucifixion.

Then Peter, turning around, had seen John and asked Jesus in, John 21:21-22 (AMP)

21 So when Peter saw him, he asked Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man [what is in his future]?” 

22 Jesus said to him, “If I want him to stay alive until I come [again], what is that to you? You follow Me!”

  1. This question is characteristic of Peter.

Peter was impulsive and impetuous.

He often tried the patience of others by rash and bold utterances.

As the popular saying goes, he had foot in mouth disease.

The illustrations are abundant.

For example, at Caesarea Philippi after confessing Jesus to be the Christ, Peter had allowed satan to use him as a mouthpiece to suggest that Jesus not go to the cross.

On the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter had said to Jesus, Luke 9:33 (AMP)

33 And as these [men, Moses and Elijah] were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is delightful and good for us to be here; we should make three [sacred] tents; one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not realizing what he was saying.

2. The answer is characteristic of Jesus.

  1. He answered in love.
  1. Jesus answered questions.

Christianity is the gospel of an open mind.

When Andrew and John first sought an audience with Jesus, He replied, “Come and see” in John 1:39.

When Nicodemus sought the answer to problems he didn’t know how to ask about, Jesus spoke with him about the birth from above.

The disciples seemed to have a speculative rather than a personal interest in the man born blind.

They asked, John 9:2 (AMP)

2 His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi (Teacher), who [a]sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?”

Jesus corrected their theology and then gave their question a practical answer by His reply, John 9:4 (AMP)

4 We must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work.

2. Even when people asked questions to test Him and trap Him as opposed from a desire of truth, as in Matthew 22:15 and 35, Jesus answered in love.

B. He gave a practical turn to speculative questions.

Luke 13:23-24 (AMP)

23 And someone asked Him, “Lord, will only a few be saved [from the penalties of the last judgment]?” And He said to them, 

24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door [force aside unbelief and the attractions of sin]; for many, I tell you, will try to enter [by their own works] and will not be able.

When Peter inquired about John, “Lord what about him?”

Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

John’s future was between him and the Lord.

Peter’s responsibility would not be changed by what happened to John.

His practical responsibility was to follow Jesus.

3. Follow Christ’s example.

A. Answer in love.

Even if we are asked a question just to provoke a discussion, it is possible that we can use the occasion as a witness to the truth.

B. Welcome questions.

A thinking person will never be able to answer all questions that are asked.

It is not surprising that finite people cannot understand nor explain God and His purposes.

Do not be afraid to say, “I don’t know.”

After diligent search for the truth, you may be able to add, “I don’t think any person living knows.”

Jesus does not demand that His disciples comprehend Him, but that they believe on Him and follow Him.

C. Follow Jesus even if you lack answers to the big questions.

Problems do not begin with Christianity.

They begin to end there.

Unbelief has even graver problems than belief.

  1. Some speculative problems that lie outside revelation are;
  1. The problem of evil.

Revelation did not create this problem, it found it existing.

It is not our business to solve the problem of evil but to escape the ravages of sin.

Jesus did not argue about the problem of evil, He gave Himself to the practical task of providing salvation.

When the building is burning, try to put out the fire.

The inquest can be held later.

b. The anomalies of God’s providence, the seeming prosperity of the wicked and the adversity of the righteous.

Job and his friends wrestled with this question and left it right where they found it, in God’s hands.

Faith believes that when God finally balances His books, we will see that He has worked all things for good to them that love Him.

2. Some mysteries spring out of revelation, such as 

  1. The nature of the trinity
  2. The person of Christ
  3. The problem of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will
  4. The nature of the future life.

Will we recognise people in heaven?

Due to our human limitations, God cannot give a full answer to this question.

As an adult cannot explain some things to a child because the child does not have the capacity to receive it, so our finiteness limits us.

3. There are other problems we cannot settle because of lack of knowledge.

One’s understanding of Christ’s return is a case in point.

Intelligent people may take the premileenial, post millennial, or millennial view or may just admit ignorance.

If the Lord had wanted us to know , He would have made it plain.

Christians arguing over speculative problems are like cooks arguing about whether there will be six or eight guests when preparation has not been made for any.

Conclusion.

We know in part, but we know enough.

The way to be saved and the obedience that our Lord desires are plain enough.

Some matters the heavenly Father has kept to Himself.

Peter did not need to know whether John would live until Jesus comes again.

What foolishness if he should fail to follow Jesus because of his lack of knowledge on that point.

What God does with John is God’s problem.

What John does with Jesus is John’s problem.

Neither should keep Peter from following Jesus.

The essence of faith is to act on the light you have.

Obedience to your own light will bring added light.

John 7:17 (AMP)

17 If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know whether the teaching is of God or whether I speak on My own accord and by My own authority.

Peter’s brother, Andrew, set a good example when he brought the Greeks to Jesus in John 12:20-22.

He acted on the good principle that whatever the problem or difficulty, take it to Jesus, rather than allow the problem to drive someone away from Jesus.

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us

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