Beaux Williams Ordination Service

SERMON MANUSCRIPT: Suffering and Glory

This morning as we recognize the calling that God has placed on Beaux’s life to be a shepherd, I want us to consider some important words by another shepherd. Most of you are well acquainted with the Peter. One day Jesus stepped onto Peter’s boat. And that was a day that forever changed Peter’s life. Up until this point he had been and ordinary fisherman. When Jesus got onto Peter’s boat there was a huge crowd behind, wanting to hear a word from him. And so there he was, sitting on Peter’s boat—just a little off the shore—and he was teaching the crowds.

 But when he finished, he turned to Peter and told him to cast his nets into the water. Now, you have to know Peter had been fishing all night and he hadn’t caught a thing. He figured it would be a waste of time. But he did as Jesus said. And when he lifted the nets out, they were breaking because of all the fish he had caught.

 Peter’s response was to fall to his knees and say, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8). You see, Peter’s journey of faith began with a deep sense of his own sinfulness—the fact that he was unworthy to stand in the presence of Jesus Christ the Lord. And it was that recognition which led to Peter’s decision to drop his nets, leave everything, and follow Jesus. That day changed his life forever. And as we’ve listened to Beaux’s testimony this morning, it is clear that his life has also been changed forever because of Jesus.

 Just like everyone who comes to know the Lord, there’s a gradual progression of our faith. The road is sometimes uneven. There’s setbacks and trials. But it is the faithful hand of God that moves us along the path of Christ-likeness. If you know anything about Peter, he was part of the inner circle. And at times he seemed to really have it together. Jesus once asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” And it was Peter who quickly said, and rightly, said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15–16). But there were also times when Peter completely misunderstood Jesus. One time he rebuked Jesus, as if he knew better (Matthew 16:22). And of course there was that critical moment when he completely failed. He denied Jesus three times.

 But that wasn’t the end of his story. Peter grew from that. Peter experienced restoration. And what Jesus said about him came true. After Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Son of the living God, Jesus had said to him, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.” Well, that brings us to 1 Peter 5. In this letter to the churches, Peter is now writing to Christians who are exiles. And when he gets to chapter 5 he’s writing as an elder to his fellow elders. He’s writing as a shepherd to fellow shepherds.