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Overcoming Spiritual Distractions

by Rev. Kirby Williams

Learning to identify and avoid distractions that divert us from following Jesus.

Text: John 21:20-23
Date: 10/11/2020, the Combined service.
Series: "John: Encountering Love" Part 197

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John brings the action of his Gospel to a close with the culmination of the discussion of Peter's calling. Jesus has just commissioned Peter to shepherd His flock and revealed the grizzly way he will die-- thereby commanding Peter to follow Him in life and in death. Rather than keeping his focus on this dramatic calling, Peter's mind immediately strays and is distracted by his curiosity over what will happen to John. Jesus rebukes Peter and repeats even more emphatically that in the years to come Peter's focus must remain fixed on Him. We will analyze why Peter gets distracted and then apply the lessons he is being taught to ourselves. Ultimately we will realize the importance of following Jesus to the exclusion of all other endeavors as we learn to identify and overcome spiritual distractions.

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I. Introduction
II. Exposition of the text, John 21:20-23.
A. Context
B. Teaching Peter to avoid distractions.
1. Peter's distraction, vs. 20.
a. Recognizing the tendency for distraction, John 20:21, 21:3.
b. The walk down the beach.
i. The Beloved disciple.
ii. Why was John following?
c. John's self-description.
i. Insight into Peter's personality.
• Missing the forest for the trees.
• An unhealthy concern in others.
ii. John's intimacy with Peter.
iii. John's intimacy with Jesus.
2. Peter's distracted question, vs. 21.
3. Jesus' rebuke, vs. 22.
a. A statement of authority.
b. The eschatological hint, John 5:24-25, 28-29, 6:39-40, 14:2-3.
c. The emphatic command.
4. The clarification, vs. 23.
a. Dispelling the skeptics.
b. Identifying "the brothers", Acts 4:32, 2:42.
c. Dispelling the error.
i. Clearing up the misconception.
ii. A potential reason for the misconception.
• An errant eschatology.
• A bad reflection on the Gospel.
III. Application
A. Keeping division out of the brotherhood.
B. Eliminating the distractions.
1. Defining distractions in general.
2. The confusion of distractions.
3. Some specific categories of distractions.
C. Focusing on following Jesus.
1. Follow Him into forgiveness and salvation.
2. Follow Him in radical discipleship on earth.
a. The conviction to be a follower.
b. Knowing the distractions of the enemy.
3. Follow Him into glory.
4. Follow Him into eternity.
IV. Conclusion

The Preaching Ministry of Kirby Williams

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