*This was a recent sermon. Many of the sermonic elements have remained in place.
In Acts 4 Peter and John embody discipleship and mission. Jesus changed them and they changed the world by proclaiming the message of Jesus. Yet, they were unschooled, ordinary men. The only explanation – these men had been with Jesus. Imagine if this church was filled with such people? As we reflect on Acts 4 we will discuss four dangerous prayers. These are dangerous prayers … because God answers them. What is the most dangerous prayer you’ve ever voiced? I believe many of us play it safe when it comes to our prayer life.
Lord, Break Me! This is a dangerous prayer because brokenness is not easy. Are there things in your life God wants to remove? Are there things that God wants to add to your life? Pray “Lord. Break me!” and find out. This may seem like an odd prayer to voice but I find it to be a needed prayer. After praying “Lord, use me!” and “Lord, disrupt me!” a lot of sin, unfaithfulness, and stubbornness will be exposed and that sin must be broken down.
I love the passage of Jeremiah 18 where God is described as a Potter. As the Potter, God takes the clay in his hands and molds it. He shapes and forms it. Yet, if the clay is marred, he breaks it down and begins work again. He breaks it down so he can use it for his purpose. God kneads and presses, pushes and pulls. God doesn’t give up. God doesn’t throw away what is marred. Rather, he works with it.
The Lord had to break Peter many times. There is the scene in Mark 8 where Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ. Jesus then let the disciples know that the authorities will kill him and he will rise three days later. Peter then pulls Jesus aside and rebukes him. Jesus replies, “Get behind me Satan.” Peter needed some breaking. There is also the scene in Mark 14 when Peter claimed he would follow Jesus even if everyone else falls away. Jesus responded saying, “You will deny me three times.” Peter did deny Jesus three times and he hung his head and wept. Peter needed some breaking.
Peter who rebuked Jesus and was called Satan to show for it …
Peter who denied Jesus three times and cried like a baby …
This same Peter is the man who boldly proclaims the gospel in Acts 4.
Sometimes we have committed to following Jesus but we still try to do things our way. Like the old Frank Sinatra song, “I did it my way.” Sinatra boasted about doing things his way. But this should not be the lifestyle or attitude of the follower of Christ.
I read the story once of a man in his backyard with his lawnmower tipped on its side attempting tying to remove the blade in order to sharpen it. He has his biggest wrench attached to the bolt but the thing won’t budge. So he goes to the garage and gets a four-foot length of pipe and slips it over the wrench to give him some leverage. The bolt still will not budge. In frustration, he then proceeds to find a large rock and begins to bang on the pipe. Still no movement. This commotion draws the attention of a neighbor. The neighbor walks over and looks at the lawnmower and lets the man know that he once owned the same model. If the neighbor remembers correctly, the threads on the bolts go in the opposite direction. The frustrated and exhausted man reverses his exertion and the bolt turns easily.
Sometimes we need to be broken of trying to do things “my way.”
God is the potter. You are the clay. Allow him to break you down so he can form you for his purpose. Doing it your way gets you nowhere. Allowing God to break you down gets you to where God want you to be.
When was the last time God broke you of something?
What does God need to break you of at this very moment?