Living the Power of the Gospel
Practical lessons from the life of Peter
September 27, 2010 - The Gospel isn’t just the Good News that we don’t have to suffer the eternal consequences of our sin. It is the Good News that we can live an abundant life here on Earth, walking in His power from day to day. Peter, a disciple who lived a life of ups and downs, shows a clear picture of this.
By Joy Allmond
What does the Gospel mean to us between now and the time we go to Heaven? We are delivered from the strongholds of sin and experience the power of transformation in our lives. Let’s examine the life of the Peter the disciple, or Simon Peter, one of the first and most well-known converts of Christ Jesus.
In the first chapter of John, we can see that Jesus changed Peter’s name from Simon as he became a Christ follower. Nothing is really said in this passage about the power of the Gospel in Peter’s life at this point, but this tells us that he did, indeed, choose to follow Christ. That is what we must first do in order to experience the power of the Gospel in our daily lives.
Before we look further into the life of Peter, let’s look at the word, “power,” as it is used in several instances in the New Testament.
The original Greek word for “power,” is dunamis, pronounced doo-nam-is. This means “able, capable of.” Although the English word, “dynamite,” was taken from the word, it doesn’t mean an explosive sort of power. It refers to an unleashed, reserved power – the kind that requires someone to utilize in order to be active. A power ready be tapped into.
Let’s see how Peter did that.
Power in Victory Despite Our Doubt
In Luke 5, we read the account of the disciples’ call. In this passage, Jesus began teaching them from the boat in the lake after disappointing results from a fishing trip. In verse 4, Jesus instructs Peter to let his net down in the water for a catch.
Skeptically, he did so. But, he was also respectful about it. Let’s look at verse 5 how he responds to Jesus’ instruction:
“And Simon answered and said, ‘Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but at Your bidding I will let down the nets’.”
Notice that he was doubtful. He didn’t say, “Yes, Lord…let’s try that again.” His tone was more skeptical. He may as well have said, “Well, here goes nothing!”
Doubt. Skepticism. Complacency. They are all a part of the human condition. Even as believers in Christ, we sometimes choose to live in defeat. However, the difference between those of us who live in the defeat of doubt and those who tap into the power of the Gospel in our lives, like Simon Peter, is submission.
Notice that Simon Peter referred to Jesus as “Master,” acknowledging Christ for Who He is. He was also “real” with Jesus. In other words, he didn’t put up any pretenses. He was not too prideful to voice his weakness, that is, his doubt, to Jesus. However, he did so respectfully, and he yielded to Jesus’ command by letting down the nets.
And what happened once Peter got over himself and obeyed despite his doubt? He saw divine power unleashed in his life and in the lives of the others. Verses 6 and 7 tell us that they not only caught fish, they caught more than the boat could handle. Power…at work.
In verse 8, Peter was so overtaken with awe and repentance at the same time, that he fell at Jesus’ feet.
When was the last time you experienced the power of the Gospel in such a way that you fell before the Lord (either literally or figuratively)? If you know Jesus personally, you have access to that power. It’s time to tap into it!
Power to Redeem Despite Our Sin
Perhaps one of the most ominous stories in the New Testament is that of Peter’s denial of Jesus shortly before His crucifixion. Like many of us, Peter thought he wasn’t capable of such a sin. In the fourteenth chapter of Mark, Jesus warned him that he would deny Him three times. But Peter insisted he wouldn’t, saying, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!”
Read the account of the denial in Mark 14: 66-72. The last sentence conveys the conviction upon Simon Peter: “And he began to weep.”
Pause for a moment and let his feeling of remorse set in. How grieved must he have felt? If you have known Jesus personally, then chances are, you have felt that way – grieved over your sin.
Peter’s grief over his sin says something about the power of the Gospel – that it has the power to convict. While the records of Peter’s life throughout Scripture tell us he was quite imperfect and certainly fallible, it also tells us he loved his Lord. The Gospel does not bring guilt, but rather brings conviction.
The difference? Guilt is what we feel when we’ve been caught and we're concerned about what it does to ourselves; Conviction is what we experience when we know we’ve offended a holy God. Feeling, versus experience.
For the believer, the power of redemption is available if we make the choices to act on that conviction.
One of the sweetest passages of restoration throughout Scripture is John 21:15-17. Post-resurrection Jesus showed at the Sea of Galilee, where the disciples were fishing. He repeated the fishing miracle discussed earlier so that He could reveal Himself to them.
A bit later in the morning, Jesus asked Simon Peter not once, but three times, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter had denied His Lord three times; now, he had the opportunity to proclaim his love for Him three times.
Once Peter was restored, he was then charged to feed the flock, and had an active role in the early church. He had the privilege of preaching the sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-36) and ministered in the name of Jesus before his death. Peter did not let past failures keep him from experiencing the power of the Gospel in his life.
Don’t believe the lie that you cannot be used because of your past, or even your present. There is an endless Source of power, waiting to be tapped into. We just have to make the choice to experience it through submission and restoration.
Now Is the Time
The Gospel, or “Good News” is at work in our lives now. “Good News” isn’t limited to salvation from hell, but extends into every area of our lives. It is Good News that we can experience forgiveness, freedom from the shackles of sin and a spiritually abundant life. Take hold of the power made available to you through Jesus.
If you are a believer in Christ, you can have assurance that “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
*All Scripture references are taken from the New American Standard Bible.
Read more about the life-changing aspects of the power of the Gospel here.