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A Rooster Crows
Scripture: Luke 22:54-62; 1 Timothy 1:15-16; Luke 2...
Track 5 of 7 in the Wild Goose Chase series
Running time: 57 minutes, 42 seconds.
Humans are very interesting. Even though many of us think we have our lives together, live freely to do what we want and are smart enough to figure almost any problem out, we are a lot more controlled than we think. Many of us arent free but are slaves to our circumstances. Jesus called us to be free and He promised that a relationship with Him will result in freedom. But why is it so many of us dont really feel free. In fact, many Christians are trapped in a life they really dont enjoy and that is too sad.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

A Rooster Crows

Humans are very interesting. Even though many of us think we have our lives together, live freely to do what we want and are smart enough to figure almost any problem out, we are a lot more controlled than we think. Many of us aren’t free but are slaves to our circumstances. Jesus called us to be free and He promised that a relationship with Him will result in freedom. But why is it so many of us don’t really feel free. In fact, many Christians are trapped in a life they really don’t enjoy and that is too sad.

Over the past few weeks we have studied the concept of living a life so free that nothing is capable of keeping us from freeing following after God in whatever direction he wants us to go. The reality is for many of us, we can’t follow after God the way we want because there are cages we find ourselves in. We looked at the cages of responsibility, routine and assumptions. Today we are going to look at a really serious cage, the cage of guilt.

Pavlov, a famous Russian scientist, discovered that humans have the ability or defect to become subconsciously conditioned. He discovered that not only can we be conditioned; our conditioning can affect our behavior throughout our entire lives. And for many humans, we can have several conditions that affect our behavior. Some of them are minor idiosyncrasies. Others become major personality traits. Some conditioned reflexes are natural and normal like a blush when we are embarrassed. Others are destructive as drinking to drown our sorrows. But whether they are little or big, natural or developed, harmless or harmful, all of us are more conditioned than we realize.

How many TV, radio or newspaper ads have you been exposed to over the course of your life? Do you think any of that has an effect on you?

Number of 30-second TV commercials seen in a year by an average child: 20,000
Number of TV commercials seen by the average person by age 65: 2 million
Percentage of survey participants (1993) who said that TV commercials
aimed at children make them too materialistic: 92

There is no question; we are being influenced every second by stimuli that are geared to control our behavior. And part of our spiritual growth is recognizing how we have been conditioned and allowing God to recondition the reflexes that need to change.

When we sin, there is a built in mechanism that God placed in us that triggers a holy reflex. Any idea what that reflex is? GUILT. Guilt is the reflex given by God that is designed to drive us to repentance. But some conditioned reflexes are like psychological straitjackets that paralyze us emotionally and spiritually. False guilt is a great example.

What is the difference between true guilt and false guilt?

True Guilt: A by-product of unconfessed sin.
False Guilt: A by-product of confessed sin.

No matter which one, both dull our spiritual sense of adventure. When we aren’t looking for spiritual adventure, the wild goose has no attraction.

Pavlov’s theory is interesting to consider especially when applying it to scripture. Our heroes in scripture were no different than us. They too had lives that were conditioned and they too had to deal with reflexes like guilt.

Luke 22:54-62 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62And he went outside and wept bitterly.

It is never said in scripture, but I wonder if Peter could ever hear a rooster crow after this event and not think back to this night? Do you feel he felt a twinge of guilt every time? Are there different stimuli that trigger certain memories in your mind? What are they? Knight in White Satin by Moody Blues

I wonder if hearing a rooster crow had the same affect on Peter; reminded him that he let Jesus down at a critical point? Too be honest, I bet Satan tried to use that to keep Peter down and out and reliving the guilt he felt that horrible night. Satan loves to inflict harm on the faithful and if using reminders of our greatest failures works, he will use it often and use it more. Satan desires for us to live a life as reactionaries, totally controlled by the stimuli he sends us. Jesus came to recondition our spiritual reflexes by using His grace. His grace frees us from the guilt and helps us to become revolutionaries for his cause.

The cage of guilt is very real. Satan wants you and in that cage. The longer we are in it the stronger that cage becomes and it will keep us in a dark spiritual hole as long as we allow it. Paul also faced the prospects of being in the cage of guilt.

1 Timothy 1:15-16 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

Paul wasn’t in a cage. He realized and experienced the saving grace of Jesus and the freedom that came with it. Paul didn’t feel guilty because the sin was totally removed thus the guilt with it.

True or False: It is easier to act like a Christian than it is to react like one.

We all can play the part and have at times. But our reactions reveal the true person we really are. Jesus in His teachings focused a lot on reconditioning reflexes. He gave his listeners examples on how to react like a child of God and not just act like one.

Can you give me any examples?

Pray for those who persecute you
Love your enemies
Bless those who curse you
If someone forces you to walk one mile, go with him two
If someone strikes you on your cheek, turn to him the other also

What is considered a natural reaction to an event, Jesus asks us to react in supernatural ways. Basically he asks that we absorb the sinful energy of others and convert it into a righteous response.

If we were able to do that on a regular basis, what affect would that have on others? What affect would that have on us? Any idea how Jesus was able to forgive Peter for his betrayal? Was it because he was God and had the supernatural ability to do so? How did he do that?

Luke 22:31-32 “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.”

Praying to forgive others doesn’t just make you feel better about them; it keeps you on your path to spiritual adventure.

When Jesus went out and taught and encountered people, what was his plan, what was his strategy for getting people to follow him? How did he act around people? His mode of operation was to love people when they least expected it and least deserved it.

What did that look like? What are examples from scripture? The woman caught in adultery.

John 8:3-11 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Levitical law said what? She was to be stoned. What was the woman feeling at the moment? Can you imagine her humiliation and shame? Can you imagine her fear?

Jesus did what he does best, he loved this woman when she least expected it and least deserved it. What is ironic, the only person left, the only person who met the qualifications He had established, was Jesus Himself. And Jesus said to the woman, Go now and leave your life of sin?

Do you think that statement Jesus gave the woman worked? What happened to her? Did she remain faithful to Jesus and quit her life of sin?

What is fascinating, there are a number of these situations in the Gospels that end the same way:

• What happened to the paralyzed man whose 4 friends lowered him through a roof?
• What happened to the daughter of Jarius who was raised from the dead?
• What happened to the little boy who gave the 5 loaves and 2 fishes?
• Or the man who had a legion of demons cast out of him?

These people walk right off the pages of scripture and there is no more information about them.

What do you think happened to them? Do you think their encounter with Jesus had an effect? Why do you think that way? What if we told someone to stop their life of sin, would that work? Why?

If you want to impact someone’s life, love them when they least expect it. When people blow it, we have an opportunity to impact their lives forever. We might think they don’t deserve it. But isn’t that the point? Do we deserve our grace from God?

Does loving someone who committed a sin and forgiving them anyways send a wrong signal to others? Aren’t we letting them off the hook? Aren’t we saying that we in some way approve of their actions?

All of us have made mistakes and all of us deserve death because of it. But God loves us more than the discipline we deserve. Too many of us who fail and fail badly fall out of the chase or refuse to get in the chase after the wild goose because we feel we are not worthy. But that something Satan wants us to believe. That is also something Satan wants the whole church to believe. How many awesome servants for God are on the sideline because the church put them there due to a mistake? For many, they are locked in the cage of guilt. What they need is to discover a new dimension of God’s grace.

Peter really messed up and so did Judas. Judas took himself out of the game by committing suicide. Satan truly won on that score. But Peter was different. There was something that happened right after Peter made his final mistake that terrible night.

Luke 22:60-61 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.

What kind of look do you think Jesus sent to Peter when he looked at him?

This was the moment of Peter’s greatest vulnerability. It was this time that Jesus made eye contact with Peter. Why, because the act of making eye contact establishes a relational connection. Jesus knew Peter was at his greatest spiritual danger and he knew Peter would beat himself up over it. There were no evil eyes that night looking back at Peter. Jesus wasn’t about to give up on Peter but Jesus knew Peter might give up on Peter. Jesus didn’t need to say a word. Saying something might have exposed Peter and he too might have been arrested. The look Jesus gave was a look of grace and forgiveness. Too bad that Jesus don’t have the opportunity to have the same eye contact with Judas.

Later, on the other side of the cross, Jesus and Peter meet up again by the sea. I find it interesting that the time when they met was also the time when the roosters would be crowing. I doubt that hearing a rooster again would bring up guilty thoughts to Peter. It was at this time that Jesus shared with Peter reconciliation. This reconciliation on Jesus part produced something Peter wrote a lot about, gratitude. Think of it this way:

Sin – Grace = Guilt
Sin + Grace = Gratitude

The grace of God is the difference between drowning in guilt and swimming in gratitude. When our spiritual reflexes have been reconditioned by grace, it frees us up to come out of our cage and chase after the wild goose.