Here’s an outline based on the calling, collapse and restoration of Simon Peter for a Night of Worship our church did following Easter in 2018. If you’re able to use it, that’s great. If not, I hope it inspires you.
Opening Worship Set
Welcome and Transition
(If you are taking an offering, this is the place to do it)
Initial Prayer for the Evening
SECTION ONE – ILLUMINATION
Tonight we’re going to be following the ups and downs of Peter’s calling and ministry with Jesus. Peter was a fisherman that God used to be a fisher of men. Listen to Luke’s account of how Peter became a disciple of Jesus.
One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on Him to listen to the word of God. 2 He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3 Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So He sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.
4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” 5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” 6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
8 When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” 9 For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him.10 His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.
Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” 11 And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
- Main point – Peter was an ordinary man, but Jesus wanted to use him to do extraordinary things. In fact, in Matthew 16, Jesus called Peter The Rock, meaning that he would be instrumental in establishing His church. However, when Peter first encountered Jesus, he was humbled, but when Jesus called, he dropped everything and followed after Jesus.
- God also wants us to be fishers of men. We are just that when we give up our own agenda and follow after Him.
Prayer – Thanking God for calling us to follow after Him. Asking Him to help us be faithful as we work together to fish after men.
Song – About following/being faithful to Jesus – Suggestion is The Stand – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kV5iZBTNYrk
SECTION TWO – CONFESSION
Spoken – Peter followed after the Lord and also became one of Jesus’ inner circle. He was a natural born leader and was the first of the disciples to confess that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
- It was Peter who showed enough faith to leave the boat to walk on the water to Jesus. But it was also Peter who quickly took his eyes off of Jesus and began to sink. (Matthew 14:28-29)
- It was Peter who took Jesus aside to rebuke Him for speaking of His death. It was also Peter who was swiftly corrected by Jesus for doing so. (Matthew 16:22-23)
- It was Peter who drew his sword and attacked the servant of the high priest as Jesus was being arrested. But it was also Peter who was immediately told to sheath his weapon (John 18:10-11)
- It was Peter who boasted that he would never forsake the Lord, even if everyone else did, and it was this same Peter who later denied three times that he even knew Jesus. (Matthew 26:33, 70-74)
Listen to what Luke writes about Peter’s denial:
Luke 22:31-34, 54-62
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
33 Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.” 34 But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
54 So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. 55 The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there. 56 A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!” 57 But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!”
58 After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!” “No, man, I’m not!” Peter retorted.
59 About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
61 At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
62 And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.
Question: Have you ever messed up royally while trying to serve Jesus? I know I have. At this point in Peter’s life, it must have looked like everything was over. However, Jesus had just said to him, “when you have repented and turned to me again” which may have given him reason for hope, if he remembered Jesus’ words in that moment.
When we mess up while trying to serve the Lord, when we fall short of His calling on our lives, and when we even find ourselves denying Him, we need to follow the words Jesus said to Peter – we need to repent and turn to Him again.
What do you need to repent to the Lord tonight? In what ways have you denied Him? Let’s all take time and confess our sins to the Lord right now. You may want to kneel. You may want to stand and lift your hands to the Lord. You may want to sit and make a list of your shortcomings. Or you may just want to pray quietly. Do that now as the music plays.
(Give the people 1-2 minutes of confession time with the Lord)
Pastoral Prayer – Lead the people in corporate prayer, asking the Lord to forgive us of our sins.
Song – About confessing our sins to the Lord, or about His forgiveness. One suggested song is Lord, I Need You by Matt Maher – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuvfMDhTyMA
SECTION THREE – RESTORATION
Spoken – Because we’ve read the Bible and heard the stories, we know that Jesus was raised from the dead. We know that Jesus appeared to His disciples many times before His ascension and that Peter was there. But, do you ever think that it must have been a weird time for Peter, knowing that he had denied the Lord, right in front of Him. Jesus understood this, and had a plan to restore Peter. The Apostle John writes of this in John 21.
John 21:1, 15-17
1 Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee…15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
Spoken: It was at this point that Jesus confirmed with Peter that he was forgiven. Through his actions and words, the Lord reaffirmed Peter, who understood once again that he would be instrumental in establishing the Church of Jesus. This can clearly be seen because:
- First, Peter was the main speaker to the crowd in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost when about 3,000 confessed their faith in Jesus. (Acts 2)
- Second, Peter was present when the Samaritan believers received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8)
- Finally, Peter was summoned to the home of the Roman centurion Cornelius, who also believed in the Lord (Acts 10).
In these instances, God used Peter to unlock Christianity to the world as he presented the Gospel to the Jews, the Samaritans, and the Gentiles. God certainly used Peter to be a fisher of men.
Question – Have you ever come to a point in your spiritual walk when you realized you needed to re-commit your life to the Lord? You realized your prayer life was cold and you weren’t living for Him or really even communicating with Him? Jesus restored Peter and He can restore you as well.
Prayer: Lead people to recommit themselves to the Lord, asking Him to renew their passion for Him and to restore them fully to the purposes He has for them.
Suggested Song: Do It Again – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOBIPb-6PTc
SECTION FOUR – CELEBRATION
The Lord continued to use Peter in mighty ways. One that is most celebrated is seen in Acts 2 where the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. It was Peter who stood before the crowds and preached boldly to them about Jesus, proclaiming that they should repent of their sins and be baptized. The Bible says, “Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day – about 3,000 in all.”
God had restored Peter, the Rock, and He used him to present the Gospel to a lost and dying world. In a similar fashion, God used the people of this church this past weekend to help bring the Gospel to a lost and dying world. As we celebrated His resurrection, God used parkers, greeters, and ushers to help people know where to sit and where to bring their children. Others helped by making and serving coffee and by keeping the facilities clean. Others taught and cared for children and young people, teaching them about the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord. Many of our folks invited their friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors to our services. Others worked tirelessly stuffing and preparing our worship guides, while others prepared music and technical presentations. Countless of others worked backstage or behind the scenes, preparing the way for the Gospel to be presented.
Optional Time for sharing of stats and stories from Easter
Every single one of you is a fisher of men. Thank you so much for all of your work over Easter and for all that you do on a regular basis. We appreciate it and we know that God is pleased.
Sharing and Prayer in Groups – Lead the people to circle up and to share with one another what God has done for them recently and overall. Instruct them to pray and thank God for all He’s done.
Upbeat Prayer – Thanking God for all that happened over Easter weekend and for all of His people who gave of themselves to make it possible.
Let’s all give praise to God right now for all that He is and for all that He’s done over this past week.
Upbeat Song – Song Suggestion – “Lion and The Lamb” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9ujBoud26k
Transition to Closing