The Holy Ghost Makes the Difference

Tonight, I want us to take a little trip through the Word of God.  We will be looking at the life of a man named Peter.  You might ask, “Now who was Peter and why would we be interested in his life?”  Well, in a sense, Peter was every man.  He had characteristics of many of our next door neighbors…and maybe even of …us.

Peter was a fisherman by trade.  He was known by several names in the Bible, including Simon, Simon Peter and, in Matt. 16: 17, Simon Barjona or Simon, Son of Jon.  Most of us love the Apostle Peter because in him we can see someone that we know.  Some of us can see ourselves in some of his antics.  Let’s take a look at Peter.

1. Sometimes he was both very brave and on other occasions he was very afraid.  Stepping out on the water in Matthew 14:28-was a very brave act.  But a couple of scriptures later we saw him in a very fearful state.

28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
  

Thank God that Peter was not too proud to cry out for help when he needed it.

2.  At times he was inappropriate.  Jesus gave him the privilege of being present as He was transfigured and Peter’s mouth got him into trouble again.

Matthew 17:4-6 (KJV)

4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.

5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.

Peter actually got rebuked by God himself!

3.   At times he was a learned disciple and very outspoken– – –

Matthew 16:13-23 (KJV)
13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

4.  But just a few scriptures later, he messed up and got busted down. 

22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

5.  At times he was brash and tended towards violence.

John 18:10

Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.

6.  At times he was faithless and a liar.

John 18:7
Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”

He actually denied Christ three times, even after Jesus told him he would do it.  But I thank God that Jesus never gave up on him.  In spite of his foibles and his shortcomings; regardless of his messing up, Jesus loved him, strengthened him and encouraged him.

Now let’s take a look at another individual in the book of Acts.  This man was also bold, brave and outspoken.  This man spent some time in the upper room with 119 other people and something phenomenal happened.  They were all imbued with a power from on high.  The Holy Ghost had made his arrival on planet earth and 120 people were staggering about looking funny and acting weird.  Very devout men from every nation were in the area for the Passover Feast and accused them of being full of new wine.  But a man stood up in the middle of them and began to speak.  Instead of cussing them out or drawing his sword, he began to preach.  And who was this man?  The Bible says that his name was…Peter.  This was the same Peter, only after he was filled with the Holy Ghost.  The Holy Ghost made the difference.

Let’s read a portion of what Peter had to say

Acts 2:14-18 (KJV)
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

Peter went on to become one of the greatest of the Apostles, used of God to cause many to be saved and filled with the Holy Ghost.

Just as the Holy Ghost was able to change Simon Peter from a cussing, lying, brash young man into a bold, Holy Ghost-baptized man of God; he can do the same for you.  Jesus knew when he left here that we would need the power of the Holy Ghost in order to live as God told us to live.  Peter messed up so badly that He actually denied Christ before he was baptized with the Holy Ghost.  But after he received the infilling of the Holy Ghost, he was the solid rock that he was meant to be.

Jesus promised to send the Holy Ghost to earth before He left and He did just what He said He would do.

John 16:7-16 (KJV)
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;

10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.

The Holy Ghost is still present in the earth and He is here to help us, just as He has helped countless others.  The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of God.  He is the third member of the Godhead, along with the Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  When we receive the Holy Ghost, we can always depend on Him to lead, guide, protect and comfort us.  He’s here to help us to live a holy life.  The Holy Ghost was indeed sent to earth to help anyone who would receive Him.  The Bible, In Luke 11:9-13, tells us that all we have to do is ask for it.

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.                                                                   

For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that  knocketh it shall be opened.                                                                                                   

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or   if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?                                                                           

Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a   scorpion? 

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Acts 2:39 speaks of the promise of the Holy Ghost to all people:

For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 

The Holy Ghost has been received in different ways throughout the Bible.  One method was through the laying on of hands by a Holy Ghost-filled witness.  This was the case when the Apostle Paul received the Holy Ghost in Acts 9:17:

17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 

In Acts 10: 44, believers were filled with the Holy Ghost while simply listening to the Word of God.

While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

In all cases, when an individual is filled with the Holy Ghost, he will speak with new tongues.  The tongues are the evidence that the Holy Ghost has arrived.  Acts 2:4 speaks of the early disciples and that they spoke in other tongues when they received the Holy Ghost:

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

 Living a Life of Holiness.  What is holiness, and why are we told that living a life of holiness is necessary?  This is a question asked by many people.  To understand this concept, we must first realize that God is a holy God and that He requires that we, his children, must also be holy.  Several scriptures support this concept.  Psalms 99: 9 states:

Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.  

Leviticus 11: 44 also speaks of this concept:

For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall   be holy; for I am holy.

 Definition of HolinessAccording to Unger’s Bible Dictionary, p. 494, holiness is a general term that indicates sanctity, or separation from all that is sinful, or impure, or morally imperfect.  It means moral wholeness.  It is also one of the central attributes of God.  Man was made in the image of God, but, through his disobedience to God’s commands, he lost the most important feature of God-his holiness.  Sin absolutely destroyed holiness in man.  Jesus’ death and ascension to Heaven made it possible for us to regain a right relationship with God.  The Holy Ghost helps us to live for God.

Five Key Things that Jesus Did for Mankind:

1)  Jesus demonstrated that a holy life is possible because he lived a sinless life

2) He took away the curse of sin by dying for the sins of all men.  By doing this he reestablished a bridge between God and man that served as a pathway for man back to God.

3)  Jesus rose from the dead after defeating Satan.  In doing so He overcame death, hell and the grave.

4)  He ascended into heaven and now sits on the right hand of the father, acting as our intercessor.

5) Upon leaving earth He sent a comforter, the Holy Ghost, to act as our teacher and our guide.

My closing message is “seek for the infilling of the Holy Ghost”.  If Jesus did all that He did, why can’t we do our part?  The Lord will give the Holy Ghost to him who asks.  The Holy Ghost is for all of us.  We simply need to make our request known unto God.  Once an individual is saved and cleansed of all unrighteousness, that person needs the power of the Holy Ghost.  If the Holy Ghost was able to transform the life of Peter, whom I characterize as every man, it can transform anyone.  We need the Holy Ghost to get holy, stay holy, live according to God’s mandates and then make it into heaven when we leave this world.  The Holy Ghost makes the difference!  May God bless you.

3 Comments

  1. Peter was indeed a great man of God. He is an example of why we must remain humble – take the rebuke and keep on living for God. In this week’s Sunday School lesson, he was rebuked by Paul. According to Galatians 2:11-16, Paul did not agree with Peter’s separation from newly converted Gentiles when the Jewish leaders showed up. Paul reminds Peter that man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ. Yes, the Holy Ghost makes the difference!

  2. Thanks for the comments Keturah. Love the tie-in with the current SS lesson. I do agree that Peter still had some growing to do, even after he was initially filled with the Holy Ghost. The Apostle Paul “withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed” (Gal. 2: 2-11) because of his treatment (or mistreatment) of the Gentiles. The Bible does not record what his response was to Paul’s rebuke but we do have record of his stellar behavior from this point forward. (I and II Epistles of Peter).

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