Far Off Following? John 18:15-27

 Text: “Then took they Him (Jesus), and led Him, and brought Him into the high priest’s house.  And Peter followed afar off.”

Luke 22:54.

          “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.  Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

James 4:8.

Good morning, far off following Christian!  Once you walked close to the Living Lord Jesus, but now you seem content to follow afar off.  Once you possessed the greatest wealth of joy a human heart could desire; now you blunder through each day, obsessed by career, or accumulation of finances, or the gathering up of mere material things. 

What a sad case you have become!  There is none as sad a case as the true Spirit-born Christian who is following Christ afar off.  Repent!

‘Far off following‘, if one is seeking to live in Christian reality, is nothing less than backsliding.  Such backsliding in the Christian’s experience commences with the first daily Bible-reading missed; the first morning started without prayer to God; the first sin left without confession to God. 

“If we say we that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him (the Lord God) a liar, and His Word is not in us.”  (1 John 1:8-10)

It is a well known and personally experienced fact that, when we allow sin to come into our Christian lives - we begin to exclude true joy from them.  Sin will separate us from the Lord’s fellowship every time. There is no true joy for the Christian without close fellowship with the risen Christ Jesus.  We can have sin, or we can have joy - but we cannot have both at the same time.  Christian, take heed!  Unconfessed sin will hinder your fellowship with God.

“Behold (Look!), the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.”  (Isa. 59:1-2)

When we have non-confessed sin in our lives, our fellowship with our Holy Lord God of wrath against all sin is immediately broken.  Almighty God will not listen to the prayers of a hypocrite.

“If I regard iniquity in my heart (harbour, and try to cover up and ignore my sins), the Lord will not hear me.”  (Psalm 66:18)

Peter had, in fact, contradicted the Lord Jesus, just a little earlier in Luke’s account of the events of the night of Christ’s betrayal.  Pride had rushed in to the hearts of the disciples, including Peter, as they argued among themselves, ‘…which of them should be the greatest…’  (Luke 22:21-30)

The Lord Jesus had openly told Peter that Satan wanted to ‘…sift you as wheat…’ (Luke 22:31)  But Peter’s pride made him lean on his own understanding and, no doubt, with some indignation Peter declared, ‘…Lord, I am ready to go with Thee, both into prison, and to death.’ (Luke 22:33)  Peter thus revealed the unbelief of his heart - pride was the sin that threatened his close fellowship with the Lord Jesus. Peter really thought he knew himself better than the Lord knew him! Pride often comes just before a fall.        (Proverbs 16:18) (Proverbs 3:5-7)

One sin always leads to another sin, and yet another sin - and sin will separate the Christian from the Christ every time. Christian beware!  There’s no joy in following afar off!

Peter ’…stood at the door without…’, among Christ‘s enemies.(V.16)  Peter lied to the maid. (V.17)   Peter lied to the man. (V.25)  Peter lied to yet another man. (V.26-27)  "And immediately the cock crew."  Peter had denied his Lord God - "…and Peter went out and wept bitterly." (Luke 22:62)  Sin always causes great grief to the Christian soul.

Come, sincere but somewhat backslidden Christian, repentance is our passport back to full fellowship with the Lord of our Salvation, Jesus Christ.  Far off fields look green but there is no real joy in them.  Come back now!

“If we say we that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (1 John 1: 8-9)

The Lord knows our every fault and weakness - come, let us return to Christ in prayer?  “Dear Lord Jesus, I have failed You, but now I repent.  Please hear my prayer and cleanse me afresh from my sin.  Amen.”  It is done.

Thought: Coals that fall away from God’s Fire - always grow cold.  Rekindle now.

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