Satan desires to sift you as wheat sermon treats a powerful subject. I want to share a process that believers go through. It’s a God ordained thing. It is a good thing. As we look at this process that we all are in-it may make you a bit uncomfortable. But we you see the final result of the process, you will see that it really is to your best interest.
I want to talk about the sifting process. First, let me lay a small biblical foundation. The following verses speak highly of a spiritual process initiated by God to allow you to come to maturity. I want you to notice the end result. Trials sometimes come into our life and they cause us to grow. That is why James said in James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Note in this verse that maturity is the end result that God is looking for. God wants you to become a mature believer.
And so does Peter because he says in 1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
God’s values are not our values. Peter had to learn that by being sifted. He says here that your faith being proved is more important than even gold and silver.
Here is a strange thought: Satan desires to sift you as wheat sermon sounds strange but it is very biblical.
Luke 22:31-34 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” But he replied, “Lord I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus answered I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
I believe that believers go through various stages in their spiritual life. I want to call these stages growth stages. The first stage is preparation. When a believer is in the Word, when they are in a prayer, when they are fasting, God begins to do a work in their life. He is preparing them for something.
The second stage is what I call the harvest or the blessing stage. Everyone likes that stage. God uses you. God does things. God just starts showing up in wonderful ways. But God’s goal and our goals are sometimes different. We want comfort and blessing. He wants growth and maturity. So, what happens is that God sees within us some things that need to change. I have said many times: God accepts you like you are, but he loves you to much to leave you like you are. He will challenge you to grow and to change.
So, God allows you to go through another season or stage. The third stage is the period of sifting. We don’t know much about sifting. That is why Satan desires to sift you as wheat sermon is important. Sifting is a process where the chaff of wheat is removed. When you pick grains of wheat – it has little paper like chaff that is inedible around it. Sifting gets rid of that which is not useful. I believe that God allows us to go through a time of sifting so that things in our lives that need to change, be removed can be processed. It is a time of growing. It is a time when your faith is challenged. It is a time when things happen in your life that you do not have control over. You have to trust God. It seems you come under Satanic attack. It is a period within your life when you need a lot of prayer. You will stand or you will fall. The good news is that this stage will not last forever. This is a season.
After you pass through the season of sifting, you will enter another stage of spiritual growth. It is called the maturation stage. All of a sudden, you have the realization that God has grown you. You look back on things that were once an issue and they are not an issue anymore. You are mature. Many people preach about preparation, being blessed, and even maturity. But not many sermons are preached about getting sifted.
When you become a Christian, It is wonderful. Jesus is your Savior. An entire world opens up to you. Principles for living from the Word of God become yours! God does things in your life. But there is a common misconception that we as preachers have sometimes communicated:
Just because you are a Christian, you are not exempt from difficulties:
- flat tires.
- relational problems at work
- increased prices at the store
- the flu.
- car accidents
- their kids sometimes get rebellious
- their daughters sometimes get pregnant at age 16
- they face surgery.
- sometimes they get laid off
- in times of war – they may become refugees
JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN THAT DOES NOT EXEMPT YOU FROM THE TRIALS OF LIFE! But there is a difference in what happens in the life of a Christian and the life of a non-believer. That is that Christians are in a process. God doesn’t waste any hurt! Everything you go through in life, God takes and He will use it
- to refine you,
- to change you,
- to mold you,
- to chisel you,
- to transform you,
- to correct you,
- to chasten you
- to challenge you
- to grow you
Here is what God is doing, He is using all of those things to shape and form us into who we are. But it is true: God is changing me, molding me, making me more like Him. The moment you accept Christ – he puts you in this process. You will go through this process again and again and again until you come out on the other side as pure gold.
I want you to see the Big Picture today! GOD’S VALUES are not YOUR VALUES. His ways are much higher than your ways. The trying of your faith is more important to God than your comfort. What He thinks is important may not necessarily be what you think is important. The tests and challenges of life allow for us to grow to maturity removing the unwanted chaff from our hearts.
I have some good news that during this process, there are four things that are very real! We will see them in the life of Peter. We are going to look at in some detail today the person of Simon Peter. We are going to look closely at Luke 22. What was happening in Luke 22 had to be difficult for all the disciples. This was a trying time. It was a time in which their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ would be tested.
Jesus knew that he would soon be gone. He was about to go to the cross. And His goal in their development was that they would stand. Hear me, the disciples would have never been able to withstand all the persecution, the opposition, the trials that they faced including martyrdom had they not learned how to stand. Jesus was about ready to go to the cross. The disciples did not understand why. They would have chosen for Jesus to remain with them and to set up an earthly kingdom. But God’s values were different. Jesus mission on earth at that time was to die. And there was no one who felt stronger about that than Peter
In Matthew 16:21-23 “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
And when Peter heard Jesus say that, he couldn’t stand that idea. Peter took Jesus aside to straighten Jesus out. He said, “Never! Not going to happen! This will never happen to you Lord!” And we know that Jesus had to rebuke Peter. Jesus used some very strong words. He said, “Get behind me! Satan!” This was a difficult thing for Peter. It was a huge test of his faith!
Satan has desired to sift you as wheat sermon key thoughts:
The first thing we must realize in the sifting process is that…
- JESUS UNDERSTANDS OUR WEAKNESSES
The timing of this verse in Luke 21 is that Jesus is about to go to the cross. And because he knew this would be difficult, Jesus began to warn Peter. “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.” I believe we can see the compassion and the love that our Lord had for Peter. That warning did not come sharply. It did not come in the form of a rebuke as it had earlier. But it began ever so gently in his own way reminding Peter of his own weakness. Jesus began by gently saying his name.
I want you to note the name he used. He said, Simon, Simon. Have you ever wondered why Jesus used the name Simon rather than Peter? The answer to that is found all the way back in John 1 where Andrew had found Jesus and recognized him as the Messiah. The very first thing that he did was to go and get his brother Simon and bring him to Jesus. And when Jesus saw him he said, “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas or Peter.”
Simon means reed and Cephas means rock. Peter’s weakness was that he was like a reed, which meant that he was easily swayed. His name was Simon which meant reed. But Jesus had said, “You will be like a Rock. I will call you Peter.” When Jesus began to warn Peter by saying Simon, Simon. He was saying. Peter, I know who you are, have the tendency to be like a reed! And I understand those weaknesses.
All of us reading this article have weaknesses. All of us have areas in our lives that need to be improved. God is going to test us to see if we will stand. So, when Jesus said, Simon, Simon, Peter knew he had the potential to be as fickle as the breeze. Then Jesus went on with the warning. He said, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. Here is another reality
- SATAN HAS TO ASK PERMISSION OF GOD TO BE ABLE TO SIFT YOU
This is perhaps one of the most comforting things that ever was written in Scripture. Basically, this is saying, “Those that belong to Jesus Christ are under his protection.” I am telling you that Satan cannot does not REIGN in your life. Jesus REIGNS in your life. We sing it. We declare it! God is in control. Satan has to go and ask permission before he is able to test you.
We see the same thing happening in the book of Job. Satan comes into the presence of God and says, “God, Job just serves you because you are protecting him. There is a hedge around him. I can’t get to him. You have blessed him with wealth. Can I have permission to take his wealth from him?” Then he had to come back again and ask permission again. Can I make Job sick in his physical body?
God doesn’t just allow Satan to try us, attack us, test us, any time he gets an urge to. Only by permission of God. We are God’s children. God loved Job. Jesus loved Peter just like you and I love our children. I would not give you permission to test my kids beyond what they could handle. If you came to me when my child was seven and said, I am going to test him. I am going to let him go out on Katy freeway and I am going to see how well he can drive. I would say, you are not going to test my kid that way! Why? He isn’t ready!
Testing in life is necessary! Our kids get tested at school. Why? Is it because the teachers are mean? No! It is so that they can see by their own grade that they are making progress. But if the teacher gives your first grader a test on Calculus and then laughs at him because he didn’t get it. You would have the right to be upset.
Even so, God is not going to give the Devil permission to try and test us if HE DOES NOT THINK THAT WE ARE READY FOR IT. If you came to Church today and you said, “Boy, Satan is really fighting me this week. Man, I just feel under attack.” It might be true. But you should look at it this way: You should be saying this:
“GOD THINKS ENOUGH OF ME THAT HE THINKS I AM STRONG ENOUGH TO PASS THE TEST. HE IS ALLOWING SATAN TO COME AGAINST ME! GOD KNOWS THAT I HAVE THE CAPABILITY TO STAND! I HAVE THE SPIRITUAL CAPACITY TO PASS THIS TEST! I CAN WIN. GOD SAYS SO AND I WOULDN’T BE IN THIS IF I COULD NOT WIN”
Wow! How many of you know that makes all the difference! The next time that you are at work – and that one person who drives you up the wall comes into your office and you feel your temperature rising. Stop yourself, breathe deep and say, “God thinks I can handle this. I choose to agree with his belief of me. I can handle this. He will not test me beyond what I can bear!”
No matter what comes into your life, relationally, economically, socially, with your kids, with your mom and dad, you need to recognize that it is all a test. Satan is saying you can’t possibly handle this. God says, I believe in you and I will take you to a higher level. And you just watch Satan, my children, they are going to stand.
God is incredible in his capacity to believe in us! We have a Heavenly Father who is all wise and all knowing and who loves us with an everlasting love. He would never allow anything to come my way that I cannot handle or could not deal with. When you take that attitude. It is easy to say, “I count it all joy when trials come my way- because I know it is producing in me a maturity!”
The saddest thing in the world is when a parent is so overprotective of their child they don’t let them out in the real world. A few years ago in Ohio they discovered some kids locked in a house for years, they were so socially behind, they could not even talk. Their maturity has been stunted for life because their parents kept a hedge around them. God will not do that to you. He wants us to be mature!
The third spiritual reality is that
- JESUS CHRIST IS PRAYING FOR US
Jesus told Peter, “I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.” You see in everything you go through, Satan has an objective and God has an objective. Satan’s objective is that your faith would fail – that you would be destroyed. God’s goal is that you stand strong
God’s goal is that you might become strong in Him.
I declare to you this morning on the authority of God’s word that JESUS is praying for you today. If Jesus prayed for Peter when he was being sifted, we can be assured he is praying for us.
Romans 8:34 “…Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”
Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”
Our Lord is alive and once Satan has been given permission to try us, he doesn’t just leave us on our own, but he is praying and he intercedes for you and for me. Do you know how he prays? He doesn’t pray that the test will be removed, but he prays that our faith will not fail! Many times we pray, “Lord Deliver me!” When we should pray. God give us the faith to stand!
In John 17 he prayed for his disciples, John 17:15 “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”
Paul wouldn’t pray for the tests to be removed for Ephesus. These are his words…Ephesians 6:10-14 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
Even as you read this you fell as thou your shield of faith is heavy with the fiery darts of the enemy! If that is so, it means you are winning! Let me illustrate with this story from history. When the star-spangled banner was written the author had seen our flag flying through the battle. Remember these words, “the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night, our flag was still there,”
Sometimes it is like that for us. The devil hates it when through the light of his fiery darts and through the midst of the glare of the battle, he sees we are still standing. Dave Reover was on fire for God – he was known among his army platoon as Preacher Dave. He stood for God. Until one day, a grenade went off just a few feet from him burning most of his body, disfiguring him for life. I am telling you that at that moment there was a mighty intercessor who was praying for him that his faith would not fail and Dave Reover stood to his feet and declared God, I still believe in you. He has touched millions with his message.
I know that in many of the tests and trials of my own life, God has allowed even the enemies attacks to purify me and remove that which was not pleasing. Have you ever came to the place of being sifted? Let me tell you, it is not any fun! There is only one thing that really helps someone during the sifting process and that is prayer. We are to pray one for another just as Jesus prayed for us. It helps an individual more to pray for them than to go and talk to them.
One of the greatest mysteries that will be revealed is the powerful effect of prayer. Colossians 4:12 tells the effect of just one prayer warrior in the Kingdom of God. “Epaphrus, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.”
It is great to have people praying for you. It is a great comfort to know that Jesus is interceding for you. It gives us strength to know that Satan has to ask permission to test us.
- YOU WILL BE ABLE TO STRENGTHEN OTHERS
Jesus said to Peter, even knowing he would initially fail the test, “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” You will never be able to strengthen others until you have been sifted. If your heart’s desire is to be in the ministry and you really have a heart to be effective for God and to know God, you will not only experience the power of his resurrection but also the joy and fellowship of his sufferings.
Until you have learned how to stand- How do you instruct others? That is why 12 step programs like Celebrate Recovery are so effective. The man who has been dry for 2 years knows how to help the one who is just now struggling. When you have had marital difficulty – and you worked it out- guess what – you can help someone else.
Many times we go through something and we say, why? Why of all the people in my circle of friends do I have to be the one to go through this? And you go down life’s road and all of a sudden it becomes apparent. Everyone you meet is in the valley you just passed through.
God just keeps bringing them into your life. And so as the words flow out of your heart imparting strength and hope and joy to that hurting friend, You look back over your shoulder and say, I have been sifted to strengthen others.
Satan desires to sift you as wheat sermon.