Must Satan ask before he can sift? Yes and he’s limited to what he can sift. In Simon Peter’s situation the siftings of Satan were limited to sifting Simon’s faith. Satan’s on a leash and allowed only to touch in specific areas. The devil is God’s devil. Satan is God’s Satan. God created him (Gen 3:1), named him (Rev 12:9), and sets Satan’s operating and sifting parameters.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 22

Siftings of Satan – Simon, Simon (Luke 22:31-38)

By Pastor Delbert Young

Siftings of Satan – Simon, Simon (Luke 22:31-38)

Scriptures: Luke 22:28-30, Luke 22:31-34, Matthew 26:31-35, 1 Corinthians 10:12, Proverbs 16:18, Job 1:12, Job 2:6, Job 42:5, Luke 22:35-37, Luke 22:38

Would you raise your hand if you’re perfect and never messed up so badly and did something so dumb you’ll likely regret for the rest of your life? Great! We’re safe. Only we mess-ups are here today. No perfect people are here so we can talk freely.

In our study, Jesus was experiencing the last Passover and first Communion knowing before the next sundown he would be arrested, tried, crucified and buried. He’d thanked the eleven disciples for standing with him and said this.

Luke 22:28-30 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Thrones! Great! They were feeling pretty good about themselves. They were at the top. They were special. Then Jesus looked at mess-up Simon Peter and said,

Luke 22:31-34 “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.” But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny THREE TIMES that you know me.”

Notice Jesus said Simon three times and then Peter. None, no one, is immune to the siftings of Satan, but I did note something. There seems times when we “encourage” God to allow Satan to sift us. “What are you talking about Delbert? Not me!”

Matthew 26:31-35 Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown meTHREE TIMES.” But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” AND ALL THE OTHER DISCIPLES SAID THE SAME.

They had been arguing about who was the greatest apostle of all (Luk 22:24). Then they strutted about their commitment and their thrones. It’s as if Jesus said, “You need to learn a lesson” and Satan was allowed to sift.

1 Corinthians 10:12 So, if you think you are standing firm, BE CAREFUL that you don’t fall!

Proverbs 16:18 PRIDE goes before destruction, a HAUGHTY SPIRIT before a fall.

Have you ever felt you had it made and sort of gotten a little prideful then the bottom fell out? Ever feel a little “untouchable,” but found you were not as you went through a bad time? You encouraged a sifting of Satan. Be careful!

Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter (Rocky to his friends) (Mat 16:18), but Jesus only called him Peter once and it was in this conversation (v 34). Jesus said, “Simon, Simon…” Put your name there. For me it’s “Delbert, Delbert.” What do you sense? Was Jesus expressing frustration with Simon Peter? Or, was it concern, compassion, and love? If you’re a church person you know how this worked out. Simon Peter did mess-up and deny he knew Jesus on three occasions. You will mess-up, but you can avoid some.

The point we need to see is Jesus knew Peter would mess-up. Jesus wasn’t frustrated and angry with Peter. Jesus saying, “Simon, Simon” or “Delbert, Delbert” or “You, You,” is his expressing compassion and love for Peter and us. Jesus knows we are going to mess-up before we mess-up. He knows when and where we will mess-up and how many times we will mess-up. Though Jesus knew, he continued to love Peter and was intent on working with and using Peter. Our mess-ups do not take Jesus by surprise. We are shocked by how badly we mess-up. I do and say things that shock me. I get like Peter. “Not me! I’m your man! I’m the most awesome of all.” The Lord shows me I’m not, but already knew how badly and how many times I will mess-up and knew before he even asked me to follow him.

“Yes, but God I can’t believe I did it again!” He says, “I knew.” “Yes, but it’s been 30 years. I should have beaten this by now.” He says, “Keep working on it. Continue to follow me. Repent, get up, and turn back again and again. It might require a few more siftings of satan, but we’ll get there.” Knowing this doesn’t justify my mess-ups and sins, but it does show me God loves me, God loves you, how we should love one another, and how intent he is on using all us mess-ups.

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

Must Satan ask before he can sift? Yes and he’s limited to what he can sift. In Simon Peter’s situation, Satan was limited to sifting Simon’s faith. We learn this from Job.

Job 1:12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

Job 2:6 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”

Satan’s on a leash and allowed only to touch Job in specific areas. The devil is God’s devil. Satan is God’s Satan. God created him (Gen 3:1), named him (Rev 12:9), and sets Satan’s operating/sifting parameters.

Sift is siniazo {sin-ee-ad’-zo} – to sift, shake in a sieve (strainer or colander). Ever felt you were in the sieve being forced through a strainer? You were. We call it a satanic attack. No. It’s a satanic sifting. Jesus gave us a picture of what Satan is allowed to do. Wheat was sifted by first violently shaking it in a basket to lose and separate the husks/chaff from the usable wheat then tossing it up allowing the wind to blow away the husks. Sometimes it took several siftings of Satan, maybe “three times?”As badly as we hate it, the sifting has a purpose. We all have husks. So, when was your last sifting? In what area were you sifted? How’d you do? Did it get rid of the husks or could another sifting be coming?

The prayer of Jesus was “that your faith may not fail.” Any satanic sifting will assault our faith. We’ve all been through this process. One of the first things we thought was “Is God real? Is Jesus who he said he is? If God was real and Jesus was who he said, I wouldn’t be going through this!” We, like Peter, begin denying we even know him. Realize your faith will be assaulted when sifted by Satan.

Jesus told Peter, “When you have turned back, strengthen you brothers.” Peter would mess-up. Jesus knew he would, but also knew Peter would turn back with less husks and better than ever. The sifting would be used to strengthen Peter and others. Peter was the leader of the apostles. He was their spokesman and after Pentecost was the primary preacher and key figure in the first eleven chapters of the Book of Acts. It was Peter who brought the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles at Cornelius’ house in Acts 10. Siftings of Satan have a purpose. They’re not so God could beat up on and punish neither Simon nor us. They’re to help us be the best we can be. Jesus called him “Simon…” three times (v 31-32 – there would be three siftings of Satan). Then Jesus called him “Peter” in verse 34. To become Peter siftings of Satan were required. Siftings of Satan change us into the best we can be.

After Job’s sifting he said,

Job 42:5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.

God was superficial prior to Job’s siftings of Satan. The siftings made God real to Job. Job saw and knew God through the siftings of Satan as never before.

There is one more point I want to make and then we’ll move on.

Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. BUT I HAVE PRAYED FOR YOU, Simon…

What a precious truth! Did you put your name there? Satan must ask to sift you. When, not if, he is permitted realize Jesus has already prayed for you before the sifting begins. As badly as we hate the siftings of Satan, knowing Jesus has already prayed for me tells me I not only will be fine, I’ll be better than ever.

Luke 22:35-37 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered. He said to them, “BUT NOW if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is WRITTEN ABOUT MEis reaching its fulfillment.”

There was now new, more severe, warfare. Jesus sent the twelve out in Luke 9 and seventy-two in Luke 10. Everything they needed was provided – money, food, clothing, safety, etc. They could preach the kingdom of God, heal, and deliver, etc with no resistance. Even devils were subject to them (Luk 10:17). But now things would come against them they never anticipated. Now be prepared for all hell to come against you. Have some money in your purse (wallet). Have supplies in yourbag. Sell your cloak and buy a sword. A cloak was an essential for survival. It was a blanket from the cold and sun block during the day.

Luke 22:38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are TWO SWORDS.” “That is enough,” he replied.

We see Jesus again used a hyperbole (purposeful exaggeration). Two swords are not enough to overthrow Rome, Judaism, or even stop the arrest of Jesus. Two swords in the supernatural areenoughsword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17) and double edged sword of the Word of God (Heb 4:12; Rev 1:16). We know Jesus wasn’t talking about using a literal sword. Shortly Peter will cut off a man’s ear with a sword as Jesus was arrested (Joh 18:10). Jesus will tell them to put the swords away. He said “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Mat 26:52). Jesus was telling them and us to be prepared for spiritual warfare. He expressed the warfare would become intense. The reason was thefulfillment of what was written about him as he was numbered with the transgressors (Isa 53:12 which Jesus said was written about him) was about to become reality.

Question: How prepared are most Christians for spiritual warfare? How prepared are you? Is spiritual warfare just a myth? How functional are most Christians with the Word of God and the things of the Spirit of God? And we wonder why so many Christians live defeated lives. Jesus let us and them know there is a war. We must be prepared. Are you prepared?

No one is immune to the siftings of Satan, but we can help minimize them by having some understanding. Don’t encourage siftings by being haughty and prideful. Siftings reveal areas in our lives containing unusable husks. Allow the siftings to work and get as many husks out as possible to prevent future siftings. You are in a war. Are you prepared with your two swords?

Other Related Sermons:

You and the Tomb – Easter sermon

Easter Nonsense – sermon video audio notes

I SEE GRACE pt 2 – Easter sermon video audio notes