Why Peter Did Not Fail When He Fell
I. Introduction (Luke 22:31-34; 54-62)
A. Christians have the opportunity to do something impossible…
B. When we fail God, and fall while trying to do the right things, we actually can Get back Up and Press On following Jesus!
C. Remember our main Scripture verses for the year? (Philippians 3:13,14)
1. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do
2. Forgetting those things which are behind
3. And reaching forth unto those things which are before
4. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
5. It is that pressing forward that takes a lot of effort
6. Especially when we are having to deal with our own failures along the way
D. Everyone fails in life
1. I gave you last week a long list of “failures” whom you probably only know as success stories (Walt Disney, Sylvester Stallone, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, etc…
2. Most every person who has ever “succeeded” at anything, first failed at almost everything!
3. That goes morally failing as well – all have sinned and come SHORT…
E. Yet, failure has a way of doing strange things to Christians:
1. Darkening Christians – no light coming from their lives anymore
2. Depressing Christians – Failure is the cause of much depression in Christianity – and it shouldn’t be!
3. Hardening Christians
4. Ultimately Ruining Christians
5. That is not right!
a) We are more than conquerors
b) We have already overcome this world just because of Jesus Christ’s perfect efforts on our behalf!
F. So, this month we are learning about failing as Christians – OUR failures
G. Seven Big Areas We All Fail In:
2. Raising our Children
3. Our Career Choices
4. Our Worship and our relationship with God
5. Our Friendships
6. Our Finances
7. And No Purpose in Life
8. Failing at ANY ONE of those usually ruins your life for good
H. Last week, we took a hard look at king David’s sins and failures as a father, as a husband, as a believer, as a leader – the list is pretty long
1. It was not just Bathsheba that was a moral failure
2. It was his handling of his sons Amnon, and Absalom
3. And it was his flawed leadership decisions when he was running from king Saul
4. We learned that God took all those failures and instead of throwing David away, God confronted David, and made it possible for David to still press on and finish his course with joy, when it could have only been full of regret!
I. This morning let’s focus on another person who failed in huge ways, and yet God did not let him stay a failure…
J. Simon Peter
A. Simon Peter, “the Prince of the Apostles”
1. Peter was an apostle, specially called, qualified and equipped by Jesus to do amazing things – even miracles
a) Matthew 10:1,2 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
2. Peter was given the ability to do impossible miracles – right along side Jesus
a) Matthew 10:7,8 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
b) Heal the sick – heal easy diseases, cold’s flu
c) Cleanse the lepers – heal the impossible diseases
d) Raise the dead – even more impossible
e) Cast out devils – defeat every satanic stronghold
B. Peter often fell – failed – sinned – messed-up as a Christian, a Christ-follower
1. Did not grossly sin like David did
a) Adultery with Bathsheba
b) And the murder and cover-up of his adultery
2. But Peter committed life-changing sins against Jesus Christ
3. Some of Peter’s Failures:
a) Walking on water, only to DOUBT and fall like a rock down into the stormy deep waters – should have been left to drown!
b) Peter did NOT believe Jesus was alive at the resurrection
1) On Sunday morning, three days after the crucifixion, several women came and told all the disciples, including Peter that Jesus was alive again
2) John ran ahead of Peter and even went into the empty tomb, and believed
3) But Peter just stood outside the tomb and looking in, decided to turn around and head back to the upper room – not believing it to be possible!
c) Peter was Impulsive
1) In the Garden of Gethsemane Peter swung a sword at a man’s head in anger and missed, but cutting off the ear
2) On the mount of transfiguration, when Peter saw Jesus with Moses and Elijah, Peter offered to build three big tents so that they could just stay up on the mountain as long as they wanted – which was not the plan!
d) Peter wasn’t committed to God’s Calling – Jesus had to call Peter THREE times before peter finally committed to preaching the Gospel!
1) Initially agreed in Matthew 4:18-20 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
2) But in Luke 5:1-11, Jesus has to call Peter AGAIN because he went back fishing
3) In John 1:40-42 Andrew has to go and get his brother Peter to again start following Jesus
4) Even a week after the resurrection, in John 21:15-22 Peter struggled with whether to go back fishing – and that was when Jesus showed up and asked him three times, Do you love me? And then told him…
(a) John 21:18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
(b) John 21:19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
(c) John 21:20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
(d) John 21:21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
(e) John 21:22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
e) Peter often had wrong Doctrine
1) Paul had to rebuke Peter in Galatians 2 for holding onto works to be saved
2) Paul was furious with Peter!
f) And ultimately Peter’s worst failure was when he turned his back on Jesus, and denying even knowing who Jesus was, allowing the Pharisees and the Roman government to brutally abuse Jesus with no opposition! Only wanted a Messiah that was prosperous and successful
1) These were SINS – not just mistakes, or failures, or accidents
2) They were fiascos, spiritual catastrophes – times when Peter fell off the wagon!
C. How is that possible? That one of Jesus’ most committed followers would fail so spectacularly?
1. Here is a good dose of “Biblical Reality”
a) You see, no matter who you study, unless they are Jesus Christ, they will all have spots, blemishes, flaws, a past, a tendency, an old nature
1) Whether it is Moses, David, Elijah, Sarah, Ruth, Mary, or Simon Peter…
2) Eccl 7:20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
b) Peter was a man of like passions as all of us
1) Acts 14:15 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:
2) James 5:17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
c) Peter had all the same struggles that you and I do still today
d) Peter battled temptations with sin, just like we all do
1) 1Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
e) AND struggled with the temptation to quit because of his sins!
1) Any one of his sins should have ruined Peter
2) But amazingly, Peter wasn’t able to quit!
2. And Peter wasn’t the only one… Peter is not the only failure in the midst of the apostles:
a) James and John once wanted to burn up all the Samaritans in a village because the Samaritans were threatening Jesus for not doing any miracles in their town
b) Thomas constantly wanted to quit and give up at the sign of defeat
c) Only HALF of the apostles do anything spiritual during Jesus’ 3 ½ year full time teaching and preaching ministry
d) And one of Jesus’ disciples, Judas Iscariot, turns out to be His biggest enemy!
e) So, don’t be too hard on Peter
D. The question is, WHAT made the difference?
1. What made it so that in the end, Peter is NOT a wasted life?
2. The fact that Peter was so close to Jesus – worked hard at trying to BE close, to pay attention, to learn from, and become like Him
3. Peter was one of the three closest apostles – ON PURPOSE!
III. Message (Luke 22:31-34)
A. Satan’s Trap for Peter
1. “Satan desires to have, own, enslave you again Peter!”
2. “Seeks to make a meal out of you” – like when you sift wheat to grind into powder and make bread from
3. 1Peter 5:8,9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
4. And Satan is very capable of destroying you
a) He took down king David didn’t he?
b) Tripped up Samson
c) Used Eve to trap Adam
d) Ruined Solomon
e) And now Satan was after Peter! And he didn’t have a chance
f) Or at least, that is what Satan thought!
5. What does Satan end up using to trip up Peter?
a) Frustration with Jesus Christ’s decisions and actions – not making sense
b) Fear of persecution for a lost cause
c) Not being allowed to act impulsively like he was used to
d) Then using Guilt like a knife – overwhelming guilt – as you will see
6. Satan planned to ruin Peter’s future, his ministry, his joy, his potential
B. Jesus’ Promise to Peter (Luke 22:32)
1. Jesus did NOT promise to keep Peter from sinning and from falling – it is a necessary part of life folks
a) Falling off a bike
b) Falling out of a tree
c) Spraining or breaking your leg
d) Failing an exam at school, or making a poor grade
e) NOT making it onto a team
f) May God help us to allow people to FAIL!
2. But Jesus promises to never let us fall all the way down (Jude 1:24) Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.
3. And He keeps us by:
a) Interceding for us – Mediator
1) 1Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
2) Jesus ever lives to intercede! A stand-in between two enemies, reconciling them
3) Jesus is our advocate (1John 2:1,2) My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
4) Jesus defends us against the accuser of the brethren, Satan
5) Jesus’s blood has paid for all the sins I will ever commit
6) It takes all of God’s wrath away!
b) Protecting us – not allowing the devil to win
1) He is our SAVIOUR
2) Our rescuer
3) Our deliverer
4) Our fortress and defence
c) Faithfully working in us – transforming us through the failures (Philp 1:6)
d) Continually calling us forward (Hebrews 11:2), never backwards
And best of all, Encouraging
us – that the future was not like the past – reach forth.
Jesus encourages Peter BEFORE his great fall
1) Told Peter the upcoming obstacles, failings, sins, and mess-ups would not ruin him
2) But that because Jesus was on His side IN PRAYER – speaking for him on Peter’s behalf…
3) That Peter would be a different man – a better man after the sin
4) Peter would be transformed into a strengthening help to all the other apostles, and disciples and Christians!
5) What a thought, that God can take a failure in the eyes of the world, and even in the eyes of other Christians, and can and does use them more than he does those that never seem to do anything wrong!
4. All because Peter KNEW Christ
a) Peter didn’t just know ABOUT Jesus
b) But he knew Him, and walked with Him, and loved Him, and wanted to be like Him
C. Peter’s Job Through All This – not passive…
1. Sorrow (Luke 22:60-62) – a wonderful word
a) How Peter probably Viewed His Failure (Luke 22:62)
1) As permanent – FAILURE with a big ‘F’
2) As the worst thing he could have ever done
3) As the end of his spiritual life
4) As reason to not even try again!
5) That’s good – because he was supposed to have guilt
(a) GUILT is good – makes us realize we have sinned against God
(b) Only good until it has no answer – no antidote – no way out
(c) That is when it kills people’s lives
6) I guarantee you that Peter walked away dead on the inside
b) How should every Christian see their sin
1) As something to agree was wrong to do
2) As wicked and wrong
(a) Peter knew it was the worst thing he could have ever done
(b) By not standing up for Jesus, Peter was actually complicit with those that abused Jesus
(c) When we sin, we are not just messing up, and falling – we are breaking GOD’S laws as if we smashed the most beautiful priceless vases in a Brown Thomas shop ON PURPOSE!
3) As without excuse
(a) As something to quickly accept responsibility for
(b) Adam tried excusing his sin by pointing to his wife
(c) Eve tried excusing HER disobedience by pointing to the devil
(d) We have no excuse
(e) Peter had no excuse for lying and abandoning Jesus!
4) As letting Jesus down
(a) Jesus was hurt by Peter’s denial
(b) We do grieve the Holy Spirit of God when we sin
(c) And we have given the devil an advantage
5) But, after Peter became overwhelmed by his guiltiness
(a) His heart was finally humbled – no more confidence in himself
(b) It finally broke into a million pieces
(c) And he was full of only sorrow for what he had done against Christ
(e) Because that is NOT where it ends for the Christian!
2. Confession (Luke 22:32) – this was necessary!
a) Agreeing with God’s assessment
b) After guilt needs to come confession to a merciful Saviour
1) Agreeing that Jesus was right about him
2) We don’t like that
3) We love it when OTHER people apologise
4) But when it is US, it is very hard to just be honestly sorry
c) Up to this point, Peter would NEVER have imagined he had done wrong, and failed in so many ways
d) AND, you never would have convinced him he was about to fail so spectacularly in just a few hours and deny Jesus
1) Mar 14:27 And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.
2) Mar 14:28 But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.
3) Mar 14:29 But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.
4) Mar 14:30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.
5) Mar 14:31 But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.
e) The best thing to do when you fail (sin) is OWN it!
f) 1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
3. Continuous Conversion (Luke 22:32)
a) Believing God intends to use even my failures for good
b) Not to be converted AGAIN to salvation – that is a once off, done deal
1) Peter already believed, and was a follower of Jesus as the Saving Messiah
c) But he needed to still be converted – changed more
1) Some of you are saved
2) But your wallet is not converted, and your eyes need converting, and your MOUTH
4. Keep Going – Keep Following Jesus - Pressing On
a) You cannot fail, unless you quit
b) Jesus wastes no training. Peter was trained and prepared for a life of service. The worst thing would be to throw it away. To QUIT
c) But do you know what?
d) If you ARE saved, you won’t really be able to quit – not for very long, before you get chastened and brought back in line with the will of God
e) That’s what Good Shepherds do to their sheep – bring them back!
D. You will only be able to get back up and go forward if you start seeing your sin as it really is, and seeing it like God sees it
1. As already paid for – what a thought! Name me a sin Jesus did not die for and pay in full for?
2. You are no longer just ‘a sinner’ - but as a son! If you have been BORN again (John 3)
a) Eph 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God
b) Joh 1:11,12 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
c) That means God does not condemn or punish His children
d) He Chastens, Corrects them! (Hebrews 12:5-8)
1) Heb 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
2) Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
3) Heb 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
4) Heb 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
3. See your sins as something that should never be forgotten by you
a) Forget what other people have done against YOU
b) But never forget what you have done to others
4. As something to put under the power of Jesus’ blood’s atonement – did you know that the blood of Christ can even cleanse the memories of our sinning?
5. As free to serve again
a) God sees all our sins already – already sees all your future sins – and because of Jesus Christ, He treats you like you haven’t sinned at all – justified!
b) Isa 38:17 Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.
c) Isa 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
d) Psa 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
e) After the resurrection, God made sure Peter knew he was still wanted – still useable
1) Mar 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him...
2) Mar 16:5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
3) Mar 16:6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
4) Mar 16:7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
6. AND, God sees us one day, sin-less – without sin – like Jesus! Never again going our own way, and rebelling against God, and arguing and fighting with the Holy Spirit
7. And then when the promise of the Father came on the day of Pentecost, Peter was the first to act on that opportunity – stepping out onto the balcony and PREACHING
8. He NEVER backed down again when faced with fears, persecutions, or when feeling guilty
A. Why Did Peter Not Fail When He Fell? WHAT made the difference?
B. What made it possible for Peter to constantly get back up and keep going?
1. Was it Stubbornness?
2. Just sheer determination – mind over matter?
4. It was Jesus
a) His call on Peter’s life
b) His forgiveness in spite of the worst of sins
c) And the filling of the Holy Spirit in Peter’s life
C. Ask God to make it so that you CAN’T quit!
D. What if you are not a true Christian? Only in name?
1. Fear the coming wrath of God
2. Turn to Christ – fall on your knees and face before God Almighty, and claim Jesus’ name to save you
3. You have no hope without Christ on your side!