Jan Mikael (6 Jan 2011)
"* SIFTED SAINTS * - by David Wilkerson."
If you as I, know that situation in your own life,
- then read our brother David's loving advice.
in the love from Jesus, - jms.
* SIFTED SAINTS * - by David Wilkerson, - December 13, 2010
Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that
he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith
fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren" (Luke
When Jesus walked the earth, he knew all too well
about the fierce powers of evil. Satan came with every weapon in hell
to sift Christ's disciples. And he came to tempt Jesus, too.
don't think any of us would ever be able to fathom the great conflict
that rages in the spirit realm. Nor could we realize how determined the
devil is to destroy disciples like Peter. He has painted a target on
the back of every believer whose heart is fixed firmly on following
You see, at some point in our Christian walk, we cross
over what I call the "obedience line." That's when we determine in our
hearts to go all the way with the Lord. We realize there is nothing in
this world that holds us, and we determine to obey God's Word in all
ways and at all costs.
The moment we cross that line - the
moment we enter into a life of obedience and dependence on Christ,
determined never to go back - we set off every alarm in hell. Why? We
have become a threat to the kingdom of darkness. Therefore we become a
target of every power and principality.
Afflictions, floods and trials will come as fiery tests of faith.
at one time you were a half-hearted follower of Christ. You loved him
but you weren't fully devoted to him. Perhaps you wanted to follow your
own ambitions. You had your own plans charted out instead of seeking to
follow his calling and direction for your life.
quite smoothly in your life then. The devil didn't bother or harass you
much because you simply didn't pose much of a threat to him. But things
changed. You became all business for God. The Word of the Lord came
alive to you, and you began to read it ravenously. You went to prayer
eagerly and wept easily for those who are lost. What a great
heart-change you experienced.
When you decided to give all to
the Lord, you began to make waves in the unseen world. That's precisely
the time you became a prime target of the enemy. Ever since then the
devil has desired to sift you, just as he did Peter.
Simon...Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat"
(Luke 22:31). It is here Jesus introduces the subject of how the enemy
seeks to sift God's people. Sifting means to be shaken and separated
like grain by sudden trials in life. It is to be shocked through the
agitation of events and situations that jolt our very foundations.
Christ's day, grain workers used a sieve just before they sacked the
harvested grain. First, they shoveled wheat into a square box covered
with netting. Then they turned the box upside down and shook it
violently. The grit and dirt would fall through the netting until only
the wheat kernels
Jesus was saying to Peter: "Satan
doesn't think your faith is real. He thinks when he puts you in the
sieve and shakes you, your faith is going to fall to the ground as
Peter's sifting came just after he received a revelation of great blessings to come.
Lord had just promised Peter he would have a fruitful ministry. "I
appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that
ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones
judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Luke 22:29-30).
word for "appoint" here is taken from a root word meaning "to channel."
Christ was making an incredible promise to his disciples. He told them,
in essence, "I am going to build my kingdom through you. Just as the
Father made me a vessel of his glory, so I will do with you."
of what Jesus was telling them. Not only would these men become vessels
of Christ's glory. They were going to be given a seat at the Lord's
table to enjoy intimacy with him! They would rule and reign as princes
near his seat of power.
Little did Peter know that while Jesus
was speaking these precious promises to him, Christ's heart was in
prayer for him. Our Lord can see clearly into the invisible spirit
world in a way we never could. And he saw Satan at the Father's
throne, accusing Peter and asking permission to get his hands on him.
The devil wanted to do with Peter as he had done with Job. His
accusation must have been something like this:
"Your Jesus calls
this man Peter a ORock.' He says he's going to build his church on the
kind of faith Peter has. He wants to make this man a foundation stone
of a body of new believers. I say this Peter is no rock. He's just the
opposite - chaff, unworthy to be a vessel of your glory. Let me shake
him, put him to the test. He won't last. His faith is going to fall!"
fact is, Satan cannot sift any true believer except by permission from
God. And he seeks to sift only those who threaten his work. So, why did
Satan desire to sift Peter now, at this point? Why was he so anxious to
test him? Here's why. For three years, Peter had been casting out
devils and healing the sick. Satan heard and knew what God had planned
for Peter. In fact, those past three years were
going to be nothing
compared to the greater works he and the other disciples would
eventually perform. Satan had heard Jesus promise them another baptism,
this time with Holy Ghost power. And that caused the devil to tremble.
fact is, Satan always goes after the tree with the most potential to
bear fruit. Somehow, the devil knew this man Peter was set apart to
bear much fruit. He knew that God was going to give him power and
authority that would be used greatly against his own kingdom of
darkness. Having already
pulled down Judas, Satan now thought he saw
a measure of corruption in Peter also - something he could build on to
make Peter's faith fail.
Let me ask you about your own life. Do
you feel you're in a type of sieve right now? Are you being shaken and
sifted? If so, ask yourself: Why you? And why now? Satan is sifting you
because you play an important part in God's church in these last days.
You have been set apart by him and prepared by
his own hand to be a
powerful witness to many. The greater your surrender to Jesus, the
greater your anointing will be. And the greater your potential for
God's kingdom is, the more severe your sifting will be.
Peter thought he was spiritually strong enough to die for Christ.
wasn't aware of any glaring weakness in himself. Here was his
testimony, in so many words: "Lord, I'm ready to go with you. I've had
three wonderful years of the best training in the Word possible. And
I've been around, I've got experience - you know that. I've seen demons
moved crowds toward the Father. I've grown so much. I'm
simply not the man I was three years ago. I'm ready to go all the way
Think about what's happening in this scene. For any
discerning believer, Jesus' warning would have been shocking. It would
have given them pause to reflect and take stock of their heart. Yet
Christ's warning here didn't shake Peter's self-confidence in the
least. The Lord was trying to wake him up to the danger just
ahead. But it's as if Peter didn't hear a word he said.
was in grave danger, only hours away from committing an awful sin. Yet
he went confidently on his way, boasting in essence, "I'm ready. I
won't fail. If anybody is going all the way with the Lord, it's me."
some who are reading this are like Peter right now. God has his hand on
you, you've grown in the Lord, and you love him with all your heart.
You always have a sure word for your struggling brothers and sisters.
And now Satan desires to sift you. You're about to be assaulted by the
enemy as you never have before. Peter is our example in this. And God
is seeking to drive out any spiritual pride in the hearts of his
servants in these last days.
May we heed these warnings from his
Word. You see, within just twenty-four hours of his boast to Jesus,
Peter became a moral cripple. He ended up cursing, carried away by
cowardice, denying Christ three times. What Peter did was so evil and
wicked he never could have thought it was possible.
incredible as Peter's fall would be, Jesus wasn't going to stop it. He
wanted to purge this headstrong disciple of a tendency that three years
of teaching from the Lord himself hadn't touched. Miracles, signs and
wonders hadn't touched it. Even Christ's warnings hadn't dug it out.
nothing left for Jesus to do but let Peter go into the fire - into Satan's hands and the overwhelming flood he would bring.
set the example for how to treat our brethren who fall during their
sifting. "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." As I behold
this wonderful example of Christ's love, I realize I know almost
nothing about how to love those who fall. Surely Jesus is the "friend
that sticketh closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24). He sees both the
good and the bad in us. And he concludes, "Satan
desires you, but I desire you all the more." Jesus knows you truly love him.
so the Lord said to his disciple, "Peter, I have prayed for you."
Notice he didn't say, "I will pray for you." In short, Christ had seen
this coming for a long time. He probably had spent many hours talking
about Peter to the Father - how he loved him, how needed he was in the
kingdom, how valued he was as a faithful friend.
As I read this,
my own prayer is: "Lord, give all of us that kind of love for each
other!" When we see someone heading for trouble or disaster, let us
love them enough to warn them as a caring friend. Let us be able to
say, "I have been praying for you. I am praying for you. And I will
pray for you. I am here for you, no matter what."
Let us take
those people to God's throne faithfully, pleading for them to come
through their sifting with their faith intact. Jesus didn't lecture
Peter. He didn't say, "Peter, if only you had listened. If only you had
stayed awake and prayed with me in the garden. If only you weren't so
proud." No, Jesus said simply, "I prayed for you."
said, "I have prayed for you," the Greek for "you" is plural - as in
"all of you." Jesus was speaking mainly to Peter, but also to all of
the disciples - and to us today: "I pray for them: I pray not for the
world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine....
Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given
me.... I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of
the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil" (John 17:9, 11, 15).
matter what you're going through, no matter what lies ahead of you - if
you have a heart full of love for Jesus, he's praying for you. Jesus
didn't pray that Peter would be spared from Satan's sifting. Rather, he
prayed only that his faith wouldn't fail.
And that is Satan's
prime target: our faith. In the span of just a few short hours, the
devil brought circumstances into Peter's life that severely tested his
faith and love for Jesus.
There are trials and then there is sifting: an all-out onslaught meant to overthrow our faith.
is usually compressed into a short but very intense period of time. For
Jesus, it was forty days and forty nights. Satan came at him with every
deception of darkness. For Peter, it was but a few days. But those days
would be the most faith-shaking, shocking and remorseful of his life.
Are you even now enduring such an intense sifting in your life?
are we to overcome this onslaught? Again, Jesus has set the example.
When he was confronted with the devil's schemes, he overcame them with
God's Word: "It is written." "It is written, Man shall not live by
bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God"
(Matthew 4:4). "It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy
God" (4:7). "It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and
him only shalt thou serve" (4:10).
Today, because of the Cross,
we have yet another "It is written." It is this: "I have prayed for
thee, that thy faith fail not." We can say to Satan, "You may have
gotten permission to sift me, devil. You may attempt to tear down my
faith. But you need to know this: My Jesus is praying for me."
faith was tested, shaken - and because of his self-reliance he
stumbled. But in answer to the Master's prayer, the roots of Peter's
faith hadn't been destroyed. Therefore, in the end, his faith didn't
fail, just as Jesus had prayed. Likewise, the Lord is praying for you
in your sifting time.
In one moment, all can seem lost. Satan
can rejoice over our doubting. He can point to us and say, "I have
brought down another anointed one into the pit of despair." Then, with
just one look into the eyes of Jesus, we melt. "The Lord turned, and
looked upon Peter.... And Peter went out, and wept
22:61-62). The phrase "wept bitterly" here in Greek actually means "a
piercing, violent cry." "Peter remembered the Lord's words, how he had
said unto him...thou shalt deny me thrice" (Luke 22:61).
picture the disciple walking toward the Judean hills, falling on his
face with hands outstretched and crying, "Jesus was so right. I didn't
listen! He warned me that Satan would attempt to destroy my faith. I
see now I'm not ready to die. Die for Jesus? I couldn't even stand up
to a young handmaiden. Forgive me, Lord - I love you. To whom shall I
I believe that Peter's faith then took hold of something
that Jesus had given him in his warning. Christ ended it with these
hopeful words: "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren"
(22:32). How many times did Peter play this over in his mind and heart?
How often did he ponder, "Jesus used the word converted.' That means
brought back.' Didn't he say I would still have a ministry? I just
can't see it right now. After what I did, how will I ever be able to
The Father answered his Son's prayer for Peter.
can picture Peter rising up from the ground with the Spirit of God
flowing through him. I see him raise his arms to the sky and cry,
"Satan, be gone. I failed my Lord. But I still love him! He promised -
in fact, he prophesied - I would come back and be a comfort to others.
I would be a rock for many. I'm going back now to my brothers and
Peter was with the other ten disciples (Judas was now
gone) when Jesus appeared in their midst. And he was there worshiping
when Jesus ascended into to glory. He was the first disciple to run to
the tomb when it was told Christ had risen. It was Peter who, just
weeks later, stood at Pentecost as God's spokesman - and what a sermon
In the last days, there is coming a flood of new converts - Jews and Gentiles alike, as well as many
believers. Where will they find strength in the troubled times we're
facing? It will come from "converted" saints who have been sifted and
have come through with a tested faith. These will say with authority,
"I do not trust in myself. I don't rely on my own strength. Jesus has
everything we need to see us through."
Beloved, you don't
have to fail as Peter did. As we read his story, we are to be warned by
it. But if you've failed - if you've grieved the Lord - run into
the arms of Jesus and remember that he is praying for you. Repent,
return and share your experience with others who are being sifted.
Jesus didn't say to Peter, "If you are converted." He said, "When you
I want to be able to look any weeping, broken
brother or sister in the eye and say with hope and confidence: "When
this sifting is over - when you come back, and your faith is stronger -
God is going to use you. He has a purpose in this. He has overseen this
Do not give up on your own faith. And don't give up
on others who fall. Satan would never have come against you unless he
had seen a glimpse of threat. You are the Lord's through everything in
this life. Rest in his unconditional love for you!
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