Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Evening Sermon Notes -

Part III: Getting Peter To Forsake Himself To Follow Jesus At The Same Time
D. Productivity In Christian Leadership In Simultaneously Forsaking Self To Follow Jesus
(Acts 1:15-26; 10:1-11:18)
  1. Introduction
    1. Once the believer forsakes himself to follow Christ, he becomes very productive on an individual basis.
    2. However, believers function in a group known as the "Church," the body of Christ, and there they are to minister to meet the needs of other Christians, cf. 1 Corinthians 12:7 NIV.
    3. We note how Christ had discipled Peter to function productively in leadership as he worked to help the group, the Church, in simultaneously forsaking himself to follow Jesus. Viewing his productive function in that role offers us great lessons in Church leadership development and ministry (as follows):
  2. Productivity In Christian Leadership In Simultaneously Forsaking Self To Follow Jesus.
    1. Peter focused on obeying God's personal commands to him regarding his role in the Church:
      1. After His resurrection, Jesus had repeatedly told Peter to feed and shepherd His flock, John 21:15-17.
      2. Accordingly, Peter focused on doing what he could to shepherd fellow believers as follows:
        1. In Acts 1:15-22, while waiting for the coming of the empowering Holy Spirit, Peter suggested the vacant office of the traitorous disciple, Judas be filled with a qualified replacement. The rest of the group consented to this matter as it fit the Biblical prediction of Psalm 69:25; 109:8, so they put forth lots to discern God's will of the replacement among the qualified candidates, cf. Prov. 16:33.
        2. In Acts 10:1-11:18, Peter was led of God to see the need to include believing Gentiles in the Church as they were filled with the Holy Spirit upon trusting in Christ as Savior, cf. esp. Acts 11:1-18.
    2. Peter relied on past personal lessons learned to make new decisions regarding shepherding others:
      1. When God gave Peter the same vision exactly three times to convince him to eat unclean animals as well as to associate with formerly "off-limits" Gentiles (Acts 10:9-16, 19-20), it reminded him of his threefold commission by the risen Christ to shepherd and feed God's people, John 21:15-17.
      2. In turn, this threefold commission recalled Peter's threefold denial, cf. John 21:17; Mt.. 26:73-75.
      3. Thus, when the vision was administered three times, Peter knew it came from the Lord and was important for HIM to heed based on the PRECEDENTS of the Lord's leading of him in the past!
      4. If we look closer at the Acts 10 context, we see the vision that directed Peter to eat unclean animals was itself based on the precedent that Peter had already stayed with Simon a tanner, one who dealt with the pelts of dead and hence ceremonially contaminating animals, Acts 10:6 with Lev. 11:40! Thus, it was fitting that the Lord give Peter this vision that directed him to meet with "unclean" Gentiles after having let Peter stay in a home where he was already ceremonially unclean!
    3. Peter relied on the authority of Scripture to make leadership decisions, Acts 1:16-22:
      1. In appealing to the 120 (Acts 1:14-15) re: the filling of the apostolic vacancy by Judas Iscariot, Peter relied on Psalm 69:25 and 109:8 as the basis of his appeal, Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, ftn. to Acts 1:20 .
      2. Indeed, even his great sermons on the Day of Pentecost at Acts 2:16-21, 25-28, 34-35 and at Acts 3:18, 22-24 were laced with Old Testament Scriptures for the authority of his messages.
    4. Peter developed other believers in Christian service by including their services whenever it was fitting, Acts 1:21-26: this passage reveals he looked to the other gathered believers of men and women to select which qualified candidate would fill Judas' vacant office. Peter would have consented to accept Matthias when the group had cast its lots, meaning he involved the others where it was fitting before the Lord!
Lesson: Upon simultaneously forsaking himself to follow Jesus, Peter not only became productive on an individual basis, but in his role as a LEADER in the Church, he functioned effectively as follows: (1) he aimed to obey God's commands to himself in his role to feed and shepherd God's flock where he saw the need; (2) he relied on God's past leading in his personal life for insight in what to do to shepherd other believers; (3) he relied on the authority of Scripture for his leadership decisions and (4) he involved the ministries of other believers wherever it was fitting in the Lord.

Application: May we heed Peter's example for effective Church leadership function and development!