The Big Fisherman

1 Peter

The Big Fisherman

June 26th, 1960 @ 10:50 AM

1 Peter 1:1-9

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
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Dr. W. A. Criswell

1 Peter 1:1-9

6-26-60     10:50 a.m.



On the radio you are listening to the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the eleven o’clock message entitled The Big Fisherman.  In our preaching through the Bible, last Sunday evening we closed with the last verses of the fifth, the last chapter of the Book of James.  And when we came to the Book of James, you remember I prepared a sermon on the brother of our Lord, the pastor of the church at Jerusalem, who wrote that epistle.  Now the next book in the Bible through which we are preaching, the immediately following book is the first epistle of Simon Peter.  And I have prepared for this hour an introductory message on Simon Peter. The first verse of the first chapter says:


Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ –

then his address –

to those who are elect according to the foreknowledge of God . . . who according to His mercy hath begotten us . . . to an inheritance incorruptible, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

[1 Peter 1:1-5]


  That’s going to be the sermon tonight, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God to an inheritance reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God" [1 Peter 1:1, 4-5].  Any good Baptist ought to preach a good sermon on that text, the election of God’s saints, and the foreknowledge of heaven, and the preservation of God’s people; we’re going to make it, we’re going to be there.  We may be battered and scarred and rent and torn, but we are not going to fail of the purposes of God; not according to the Book.  Well, that’s the message tonight: now the message this morning on Simon Peter, who wrote this epistle.

I have called him "the big fisherman" because that seems to be an epithet, a descriptive word that is current in today and especially made so by a very famous book and a very famous picture.  Most of the men it seems to me of this world that have shaped the destiny of time and life have been small in stature.  A fellow like Socrates, or little Napoleon, or almost diminutive John Wesley, evidently not being able to make their way by brawn and muscle, they made their way by their heads and their minds.  But Peter apparently was a big man.  The reason I think that is, for example, in the twenty-first chapter of the Book of John is described the big catch of the disciples after the Lord told them to put the net on the right side [John 21:6].  And in the eighth verse of that twenty-first chapter it says, "All those other disciples came, dragging the net with fishes" [John 21:8], apparently struggling to get the big catch up to the shore.  Then in the eleventh verse it says, "Then Simon Peter went up," and by himself, "drew the net to land full of great fishes" [John 21:11].  What all those other disciples were struggling to do to get the thing up there to the shore, Simon Peter went down there by himself and dragged it up.  Another intimation of that is in the third chapter of the Book of Acts when he said, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth stand up and walk" [Acts 3:6].  And the fellow didn’t stand up and walk; he had been born crippled, he had been that way all his life, forty years old and more, there he just sat.  So the Book says Simon Peter got him by the hand and just lifted him up [Acts 3:7].  Now if you’ve got a man that weighs a hundred fifty pounds even, to lift him up by one hand is a somewhat of a feat, somewhat more than at least I could do let’s say.  All of the intimations in the Bible are that Simon Peter was a big man physically.

Now he was an unusual man, a very unusual man.  Paul wrote in the first Corinthian letter, "There is a glory of the sun, and there is a glory of the moon, and there is a glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another in glory" [1 Corinthians 15:41].  It pleased God not to make everything alike.  All of His leaves are different; and think of how many leaves there are and have been.  All of His snowflakes are different; think of how many snowflakes there are and have been.  And all of His saints are different; and think how many saints there have been, and we pray now are, all of them different.  Divine grace is not a steamroller ironing out and mashing out all the wrinkles of our individuality; but divine grace rather magnifies the personality traits of His people.  For example, these beautiful stained-glass windows in this church, some of which are very beautiful and impressive, at night they all look alike:  you can stand in this auditorium and look around, they all look like just dark blotches.  But in the day time, such as this hour, when the sun of God’s glory shines through these panels and through these pieces of glass, every one is a different color, and each one adds to the glory of the pattern and the message that it bears.  That’s the way it is in God’s grace in the individual life and in your personality: nobody in the earth like you, nobody.  Let’s all bow our heads and be grateful and thank God; nobody in the world like you, nobody in the world like you, nobody in the world like me.  Each one of us is different; God made us that way.

The prophets were so different.  Amos was a country preacher; the smell of a new turned soil was on him.  And when he spoke, he spoke in the language of a country man.  His illustrations, his similes, his metaphors, all were drawn from his life in the country.  Isaiah was a court preacher.  He was a city preacher.  He was polished and learned and magnificent in all of his gestures and in all of his perorations, and in the beautiful, glorious language that he used.  Jeremiah was a man all heart; weeping Jeremiah, lamenting Jeremiah.  Think what a man Elijah was, and John the Baptist.  How very different.  So it is with God’s messengers today. 

If I could just take a little, a little leaf out of the long book of the ministers of God, some that I heard when I was a youth; I heard the old man Gypsy Smith preach; how unusually different he was in his method, in his looks, in his message.  And then of course I heard Dr. Truett, the greatest Baptist preacher our people have produced, and then Dr. J. M. Grey, who was the head of the Moody Bible Institute, so quiet and so reserved and so very dignified.  Then I heard B. B. Krim, who was an old Texas cowpoke and one of the most colorful, and energetic, and emphatic, and forceful, and effective that I ever heard; preached out under a tent or out on a ranch somewhere.  You wonder how in the world those men so different, yet they preach the same gospel and love the same Lord.  Well, that’s the way it was with the apostles: Matthew so different, and Thomas so different, and John so different, and Simon so very different.

Wherever there is a list of the apostles in the New Testament, Simon will always head the group.  And what an unusual man he was.  He was very impulsive, and very impetuous, and very opinionated, and very decided.  He was no shrinking petunia, no blushing violet blooming in the backyard, hiding his sweetness on the desert air.  But Simon Peter was out there in front, seen as well as heard.  He was like a mountain stream rushing down to the valley:  he was quick on the trigger and the draw.  When he had an impulse, he was on his feet immediately.  He did what he did, and then he thought about it afterward.  And he was always in the extreme.  For example, when Jesus came up to him and wanted to wash his feet, he said, "Lord, You will never wash my feet."  That’s a very emphatic statement.  Then when Jesus said to him, "If I do not wash your feet, you have no part with [Me]," then he went clear to the other extreme:  "Lord, not my feet only, but my hands and my head, bathe me all over" [John 13:6-9].  Or take another typical instance of him when the soldiers came and the guard from the temple to arrest Jesus that night in Gethsemane, Simon Peter drew out a sword and pulled back his hand with that fierce instrument in it, and swung around to cut off that guy’s head that approached the Lord Jesus; that’s the reason that I know Simon is right handed because when that guy ducked away, why, he cut off his right ear.  Had he cut off his left ear he’d have cut off his head because Simon Peter was going down like that.  And also the reason I know that John wrote his Gospel when he was an old, old man, all of the other evangelists in telling that story do not name the men involved; but when John wrote the story, they’d all been dead so long, so long, that he says it was Simon Peter that did it, and he says Malchus was the name of the servant’s priest, whose right ear Simon Peter cut off [John 18:10].  Well, he was an unusual man, and had you looked at him, and had you watched him, and had you heard him cuss [Matthew 26:74], out there is a strobe on the sea with those nets, you would have thought, "That’s the last man in the earth to be chosen to be a great emissary of the gospel of the Son of God."  But it’ll surprise you how a rough man can turn.

I read for example not long ago about Mary A. Livermore, who was a great exponent for woman’s suffrage.  And a long, long time ago when it was most unpopular to present the idea of woman’s suffrage, she went to Boston Commons to make a speech one night.  And she appeared on the Commons to make a speech in behalf of woman’s suffrage, when a group of angry men gathered a mob around her to see to it that she didn’t speak on that most unpopular and offensive subject.  And there was a fellow leading the mob, a rough looking guy.  And her friends came to her and pled with her to desist because, in the presence of that threatening mob, they feared for her life.  And when she said, "But my heart is in it, and I’m going to be heard," why, some of her friends said, "Listen, there’s not a policeman in sight to protect you in this menacing mob.  It endangers your life."  And she said, "I am not unprotected."  She said, "That gentleman there will protect me and see to it that I get to be heard and make my speech."  And the gentleman she so called, she pointed out, was the rough leader of the mob, raising the gang against her.  Well, it just shows you how you don’t know.  When she pointed him out and said, "That gentleman," so called, "that gentleman will protect me and see to it that I make a speech," that gentleman turned around and got all of that bunch by the nape of the neck and said, "Now be quiet, now be still, now get up there and make your speech," and he protected her while she made her speech in Boston Commons. 

Now you didn’t know that happened there in that town.  That’s the reason it pays you to come to the First Baptist Church: you’ll learn something if you do.  That’s the way with Jesus: you would never in the earth have thought that as He passed by and listened to the man cuss, and looked at the roughness of his life and the jagged points on all of the edges of the rock out of which he was made, you’d never guess he would have been a marvelous preacher of the gospel of the Son of God.

Now there is strength in a man like that.  You can’t deny it.  A man that can make up his mind, and a man that doesn’t dillydally, and doesn’t equate, and doesn’t philosophize, and he doesn’t discuss things, he’s a man that can immediately come to a decision.  That’s the kind of a man you need to lead your army.  Out there on the field as the tide comes and goes and the battle ebbs and flows, you need a man who can make a decision at the snap of the finger, who can follow up any advantage.  That’s the kind of a man you need in business.  That’s the kind of man you need in the market.  That’s the kind of a man you need in presence of danger.  There is always an advantage that a man has that can immediately make up his mind and do it without reservation.  And Simon Peter was that kind of a man.  When Jesus came by and saw him at his net fishing, He called him to follow Him, "Heretofore you have been bringing fish to the market, now you are called to bring men to God.  Follow Me" [Matthew 4:19].

"Well," Simon Peter said, "now listen here:  I’ve got investments to consider, and I’ve got other things to consider.  Give me ten days to think it over, or in two weeks from now I’ll consider it and have an answer for You."  No sir.  The Book says when Jesus called him, he forsook his fish, and his net, and his business, and immediately he followed the Lord all of the way, that’s Simon Peter [Matthew 4:20; Mark 1:18].

Take another instance: when they were at the fountain of the Jordan River – you call it in the New Testament Philippi, Caesarea Philippi; in the Old Testament, it’s called Dan – up there at the head of the Jordan River, right at the base of Mt. Hermon where the water flows out in the stream to make that great river Jordan, while the Lord is up there having taken His disciples aside He says to them, "Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?  Whom do men say that I am?"  And some of them said, "Well, some of them say You are John the Baptist.  And some of them say that You are Elijah.  And some of them say that You are Jeremiah.  And some say You are one of the other prophets."  Then the Lord says, "But ye, whom do ye say that I am?"  Well, the other disciples they were quite in a quandary about it; it was about six of one and half a dozen the other to them.  It was a fifty-fifty chance He could be John the Baptist raised from the dead, He might be Elijah, He might be Jeremiah, He might be one of the other prophets.  Well, what did Simon Peter say?  He broke in and said, "Lord, I know who You are.  Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" [Matthew 16:13-16].  Isn’t that just like old rugged Martin Luther, who stood in the presence of the court and said, "Here I stand, so help me God.  I can do no other."  Simon Peter was ready to base everything that he had and possessed, his life, on that great avowal and affirmation: "Thou art the Christ.  I know who You are."

Take another instance: when they were fishing out there on the Sea of Galilee in the gray mist of the early dawn, Jesus, resurrected, stood on the shore, told them to cast on the right side and they would catch [John 21:1-6].  And that is when they got that big school of fish; and the disciple standing there by John, by Peter, John, John said to Simon Peter, "Simon, you know who that is?  That is the Lord" [John 21:6-7].  And some of the other disciples were speculating who it might be, and some of them were saying, "Isn’t it great to have Him, and in our discouragement and despair, isn’t it marvelous to have the Lord close by?"  Not so Simon Peter, when John the sainted one that Jesus loved, when John said to Simon Peter, "That is the Lord," you remember what Simon did?  He jumped in the sea and swam to the shore to be the first to greet the Lord Jesus [John 21:7], raised from the dead and toward the rendezvous, the appointed mountain in Galilee [Matthew 26:32, 28:16].  That’s Simon Peter.

And in these days, in these days when men are flabby in their thinking, and they’re wishy-washy in all of their decisions, and they’re pusillanimous in all of their purposes, and there’s not one man out of a hundred thousand that’ll stand up and be counted in any kind of a great decisive movement, isn’t it refreshing to find a man who knows his mind and who stands up and who gives himself to what he believes?  Seems to me most of this world, they equate, and they philosophize, and they balance; and it may be this, and it might be that, and it’s not white and it’s not black, it’s kind of gray to me; and we don’t know where the truth lies.  Isn’t it wonderful to find a man who says, "This is the truth, and by the grace of God, I have found it and I stand on it.  Here I am."  You know wisdom is knowing what to do.  Skill is knowing how to do it.  Virtue is doing it.  You can talk and discuss about the kingdom of God and the church and the Lord forever; but he that enters in is he that doeth the will of God.

Now there are also weaknesses with a man like that.  You can’t deny it, there are.  A man who makes up his mind, and he does it soon, and he does it vigorously, and he gives himself to it, that kind of a man has weaknesses.  Simon Peter had tremendous weaknesses.  Look at him.  When the Lord says, "All of you will forsake Me this night," Simon Peter says, "Now the rest of them may forsake You, but I will not.  I will stand by You, Lord."  And when the Lord says, "It will come to pass what the Scripture says, The Shepherd is to be smitten, and the sheep are going to be scattered abroad," Simon Peter says, "But I won’t.  I’ll stand by You, Lord."  And when the Lord says, "And all of you will deny Me."

"No," says Simon Peter, "though the whole world deny You, yet I will not deny You."  Then the Lord turns to Simon and He says, "Simon, before the cock crow thrice, before the cock crow twice thou shalt deny Me thrice" [Mark 14:27-31].  What He meant by that was this: the cock usually will crow at midnight, and the cock will crow at dawn; before the cock crow twice, that is, before dawn, "Before the dawn of this night, Simon, thou shalt thrice deny that you even know Me."

Well, take one other instance, the weakness of a man like that.  In the tenth and the eleventh chapters of the Book of Acts, Simon Peter is chosen of the Lord to introduce the gospel message to the Gentiles [Acts 10:19-43]; and they have a Gentile Pentecost at Caesarea [Acts 10:44-48].  And Simon Peter defends that before the church at Jerusalem, that he had gone in with uncircumcised men, had eaten with them, had broken bread with them, had preached the gospel to them, and that they had been saved.  He defends that magnificently in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Acts [Acts 11:2-18].  Then in the fifteenth chapter of the Book of Acts [Acts 15:4-11] and in the second chapter of the Book of the Galatians, you find out that when Simon Peter is at Antioch, he’s mingling with the Gentiles and he’s eating with the Gentiles, and they are altogether there as Simon Peter preaches the gospel of Christ to the Gentiles; then there come down certain self-appointed committee men from the church at Jerusalem who say, "We are from the pastor James," and they say, "You must not, you must not break these Mosaic laws and these customs and habits of clean and unclean, and eating with Gentiles."  And when they did so, Simon Peter withdrew.  And there it is in the second chapter of the Book of Galatians when Paul says:


And I confronted Simon Peter to his face, and I said, You are a hypocrite, Simon; you are a hypocrite.  You do not do what you say, and you are not following what you preach.  For heretofore you have opened the door of faith to the Gentiles and have welcomed them in, and now because of these brethren that say they come from James in Jerusalem, you dissimulate, and you go away, and you break this great message of faith that you have delivered to these people who have trusted in the Lord.


[Galatians 2:11-14]


Well, that’s Simon Peter; that’s Simon Peter.  And men like that are like that.  They go to extremes; they swing.  It’s like a pendulum:  it never stays right there; if it swings over here, as surely as you live it’s going to swing over there.  It’s like a fellow carrying a pan of water:  as he carries it, if it tips over on this side and sloshes out on this side, in trying to correct it, most of the times he’ll turn it too far, and it’ll slosh out on that side.  That’s Simon Peter.  He never struck just quite in the middle, in the norm, in the media; he was always striking twelve at one great high glorious noontime, or else he was striking twelve in the nadir of some dark midnight.  It was never to Simon Peter nine o’clock in the morning or three o’clock in the afternoon.  It was one or the other.

Now what can God do, what could Jesus do with a man like that, with a temperament like that, put together like that, made like that?  Now may I pause here, just to turn aside for a minute, and say something to you and to me and to us?  Let me tell you, take people as they are, and begin from that.  Take your children as they are, and begin with that.  The child may be very volatile.  Well, God made him that way; and remember, in that effusiveness, and in that responsiveness, and in that quickness, and in that triggerness you have an incalculable amount of energy to be directed and a forcefulness to be used for God.  Sometimes the child may be phlegmatic, may be mediative, may be monastic, may be reserved, may be retiring; God made him that way.  All of us are made in these different ways.  Now let’s take Simon Peter as an example of what God can do, what Jesus can do with a man like that.  The Lord could have put him aside, could have refused him, could not have enrolled him, could not have called him.  But the Lord did call him.  Now what could He do with a man like that?  For one thing, a man like that has in him infinite capacities and great teachableness.

For example, when he saw the great miracle the Lord did, when – out there in his boat [Luke 5:3] – when he caught so many fish; you know, when the Lord said at the beginning of His ministry, "Go out into the deep," and [Peter] says, "Master, we have fished all night long and have not caught anything."

"Well, you go out there in the deep and let down."

And when he saw the great number of fish he caught, it so overwhelmed this fisherman of experience that he knelt down at the feet of Jesus and said, "Lord, depart from me, for I am sinful man.  Lord, depart from me.  I am not worthy to stand in Your presence.  I am a rough, cussing, vile sinner of a man.  Lord, depart from me" [Luke 5:4-8].  Then the Lord takes him.  And a little later on in the ministry of our Savior, after He had delivered that sermon at Capernaum on the bread of life [John 6:26-59], the disciples, all of that multitude following, every one of them left, they all left, and nobody left but just those twelve, and even they, according to the Greek tense even they were contemplating leaving, and the Master said, "Are ye also going away?"  And Simon Peter replied, "Lord, Lord, Thou hast the truth of life, and we are staying by You until death" [John 6:60-69].  That’s the kind of a man, that’s the kind of a man.

What can the Lord do with a man like that?  This is it:  "And He looked at Simon Peter and He said, Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for you, I have prayed for you: And when thou art converted," that is, "and when you turn, when you come back, strengthen your brethren" [Luke 22:31-32].  And when Satan got through with him, Simon Peter was sure down, just as low as any man could ever get; and he went out, the Book says, and wept bitterly [Luke 22:54-62].  Then when the Lord arose He said, "Go quickly and tell His disciples, and Peter, and Peter" [Mark 16:7].

Well, there he is, a coward; when Jesus faces the cross, laughed out of his Christian commitment by a little servant girl [Mark 14:66-72], he looks to be the last man in the world to head the list of the apostles of the Son of God.  But you’re not done yet.  You’re not through reading the Book yet.  Turn the page, turn the page.  And look at the rest of the story.  And over here it says, "And when they saw the boldness of Peter [Acts 4:13],"  So the Lord comes by and says, "Simon, your name is going to be a rock, petros, rock.  This is rock" [Matthew 16:18].  I can imagine a whole lot of folks laughing, "Well, there’s not much Gibraltar in him," a rock, a rock.  But Jesus was walking by faith and not by sight.  It’s amazing what’s in a man.  And it’s amazing what God can see in a man.  Call his name, petros, "rock," and then let him live up to it.

You know, it’s the great sculptor that can see the angel in the rough marble quarried.  It’s the great artist that can see the picture on the vacant and empty canvas.  It’s a marvelous architect that can see the building arise before even the foundation is laid.  And it’s the Son of God that can look into fellows like us, and people like you and me, and see in us what God can do with us.  It’s a marvelous, wonderful, God-blessed thing.  And that’s Peter, "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the Diaspora" [1 Peter 1:1].

Now in just a little second, I want to point out to you some of the things in the book that reflect the glory of the experience of his life before the Lord.  I’m going to start at the [back] and go up to the front.  Here’s the first one:  he says to them, "Be clothed with humility, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, because your adversary the devil is a roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour" [1 Peter 5:5-8].  Where’d he ever learn that?  "To humble yourself unto the hand of God because the devil, your adversary, is a roaring lion, walketh about.  Humble yourself."  That’s the last thing in the world you’d ever expect from that man.  But in the days of his pride and his boastfulness, "All the others may forsake You, but I will not" [Mark 14:27-31], and then after that experience look how different he is:  "Humble yourself under the hand of God, because your adversary," [1 Peter 5:6].

Well, let’s take it again.  In the second chapter of the Book of Simon Peter, he says to the Gentiles, "In time past you were not a people, but are now the people of God:  which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy" [1 Peter 2:10].  That’s the experience of his carrying the message to the Gentiles, and of his pulling away from them after God had used him to deliver the message of open door in faith to them, and when Paul called him to repentance concerning what he’s doing [Galatians 2:11-14].  Then he writes to the Gentiles, "In time past you were not a people, but now are the people of God, which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy" [1 Peter 2:10]. 

Or take again, in that same second chapter, "You, as living stone, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, into the temple of God, chosen and precious" [1 Peter 2:4].  When they say that the church is built upon Simon Peter, that’s an exegesis I could never understand if I studied it a thousand million years.  Nor does Simon Peter avow it.  Simon Peter says here, talking about that thing that Jesus said in the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Matthew, "And upon this rock, petra, upon this affirmation that Jesus is the Son of God, I will build My church, and thou art petros, one of those stones, a stone.  On this petra, the great foundation rock," and I imagine Jesus referred to that great rock mountain there before Him, "On this rock, this affirmation that Jesus is the Son of God, on this petra I will build My church; and thou art petros, a stone" [Matthew 16:18].  And he says here, "As stones, living, quickened, we are built up the spiritual house unto God" [1 Peter 2:5].

And then take it again, in the first chapter here, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . who hath begotten us unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead" [1 Peter 1:3].  That goes back to the day when Simon Peter despaired.  Every hope he’d ever had nailed to the cross, and he saw Jesus die.  "Oh, blessed be God who hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead" [1 Peter 1:3]. 

And then this other: in the first chapter he says, "The fiery trial of your faith is precious . . . though it be tried by fire that it might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of our Lord Jesus" [1 Peter 1:7].  What is he referring to there?  To this:  in the twenty-first chapter of the Book of John, this addendum, this appendix by which John closed his book, the Lord said to Simon Peter, "Simon, When you were young, when you were young, you got up, you girded yourself, you clothed yourself, you walked anywhere you will; when you were young you were free: but when ye are old, another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldst not," and spoke to him another, in this word,


Verily, I say unto you, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.  This spake He signifying by what death he should glorify God;

[John 21:18-19]


that is, Simon Peter should die by the stretching out of the hands; he should die by crucifixion.  And in the book that he writes, the terrible persecution has already begun.  And the fiery, the fiery opposition of Nero has already begun to flame; and those Christians are facing awful, awful discouragement, and confiscation of property, and persecution, and death.  And the purpose of his writing the epistle is that they might stand the flame to the honor and praise of God [1 Peter 5:8-11].  And as Simon Peter hears from the voice of Jesus the prophecy that he himself should die on the cross, "Jesus spake thus signifying what death Simon Peter should glorify God" [John 21:19].  The death, the martyrdom of Simon is hid in the mystery that we cannot penetrate until we see him in glory.  All I know is that Jesus said that Simon Peter would glorify God in crucifixion [John 21:19].  And somewhere in this earth there is a place known to God where Simon Peter was lifted between the earth and the sky, and he sealed his testimony with his life, a man of great extremes, of a volatile nature, a man of great weaknesses, like most of us, but a man that God could use and did, as God can use you, ah, bless us in the way.

Now while we sing this appeal, somebody in this balcony to give his life in faith and in testimony to Jesus; on this lower floor, somebody you coming into the fellowship of this church, as the Spirit of God shall say the word and lead the way, would you make it this morning?  Would you make it now?  At the eight-fifteen o’clock service we had a marvelous harvest, a wonderful harvest.  It was blessed.  Could it be that through you God would do it again?  Coming down these aisle, trusting Jesus as Savior, coming down these stairways, putting your life in the church, families, young people, children:  as the Spirit of God shall open the door, shall make the appeal, shall lead the way, would you make it this morning?  Make it now.  On the first note of the first stanza, "Here I come, here I am.  Preacher, I give you my hand; I give my heart to God."  Would you so, while we stand and while we sing?


Dr. W.
A. Criswell

1 Peter



I.          Introduction

A.  The
big fisherman(John 21:11, Acts 3:7)

B.  We’re
not all alike – we differ in every category(1
Corinthians 15:41)

Divine grace not a steamroller to crush individuality

2.  Same
sun shining through stained-glass windows

3.  The
prophets (Amos 3:8, 7:14-15, Isaiah 2:3-4,
Jeremiah 9:1)

Preachers I heard as a youth

5.  The

C.  Simon

1.  No
shrinking petunia – he is going to be heard

2.  Impetuousness
exhibited in story of his life(John 13:4-9, 18:1-10)

a. Mrs. Mary A.


II.         There is strength in that type of a

A.  The
story of his call(Luke 6:10-11, Matthew 4:18-22,
Mark 1:18)

The great avowal – "You are the Christ…" (Matthew

C.  Jumping
in the water to Jesus(John 21:6-7)

That spirit is needed today


III.        There is weakness in that type of a

A.  Like
the swing of a pendulum

1.  Peter’s
claim never to deny Christ(Matthew 26:33-35,
69-75, Mark 14:27-31, 66-72)

2.  Simon
Peter dissimulated(Acts 10:28, 11:17-18,
Galatians 2:11-14)

B.  Strange
combination of courage and cowardice


IV.       What the Lord can do with such a man

A.  He
is teachable(Luke 5:4-8, John 6:60-69)

B.  He
will turn(Luke 22:31-33, 54-62, Matthew
26:69-75, Mark 14:71, 16:7)

C.  The
man Jesus called rock (Matthew 16:18, Mark 6:7,
John 21:15-17, Acts 4:12-13)

Like a sculptor or an artist sees the finished product before it is created, Jesus
sees in us what is our finest and best

His life in his letter

1.  Pride,
humility (1 Peter 5:6-8, Mark 14:27-31)

2.  The
Gentiles accepted (1 Peter 2:10, Galatians

Church is built upon the rock (1 Peter 2:4-5,
Matthew 16:18)

4.  Despair
and hope in Christ’s crucifixion (1 Peter 1:3)

5.  Fiery
trial (1 Peter 1:7, 5:8-11, John 21:18-19)