You’ve Fallen…But You CAN Get Up!
Did you hear about the guy who ate his contact lenses? He was rinsing them off in his mouth when he accidentally swallowed. He told his wife.
“Oh no,” she said. “I wonder if you will pass them?”
“I don’t know dear, but until then, hindsight is 2020!”
I’m sorry…no I’m not!
We’ve been through a lot this year, but we’ve been faithful! Until last week, we met in person every single Sunday, even if it was in our cars for a while. And Lord willing, next Sunday, we can return to our building. I’m glad we have been careful. We may have prevented an outbreak. Being careful is good, but I want to be careful to be faithful. And I’m not asking you for anything I won’t do myself. There have been 52 Sundays this year, and today is #52. I have been present for all of them. I have preached all of them. I don’t begrudge anyone a vacation. This is my first year EVER not taking one myself. But may we be characterized by faithfulness.
There’s two major things 2020 has taught us in our church. One is that when a people have a mind to be faithful nothing can hold them down. The second thing is this: If a person is looking for an excuse not to come…one is just as good as another. Again, I’m glad we have taken this time off. I prayed, and God led. Now He’s led again. May we continue to follow Him in the new year. And we continue to support you when you feel led to be careful. [wear a mask / spread out / stay home]
At the end of this video message it will give you a link to what I preached the first Sunday this year: “20/20 Foresight” One of you pointed out just how amazingly prophetic it was of the year we have had. I want you to click on it and watch, whether today or save it for later. All the way through God told us things we need more now than we realized we did on that day a year ago.
Today is another God-led message for such a time as this. Please turn to Luke 22. Caesar named the month January after the Roman god Janus, who had 2 faces, one looking back, and one looking forward. Today, we can do like Peter in the Bible, and take a look back with some hindsight, but mostly a look forward. [read vv. 54-62]
Faith Healer: on platform at coliseum, said, I have faith that 2 people will be healed…where are you? A man ran down the aisle, named Harry [w/ lisp]. Asked what his ailment was, he replied, I can’t talk wite [right]. He was instructed to go behind a curtain. Another man hobbled down on crutches, named Frank. He said, I haven’t walked in 20 years w/out crutches. He was told to go behind the curtain w/ Harry…then the healer said Frank, you’ve been healed, slide those crutches out under curtain one at a time. They appeared, and the place came unglued. The healer held up those crutches and broke them over his knee…all cheered! Then he declared Harry to be healed and said: “Harry, the next sentence you speak will be the first you’ve ever said normally…usher, take him a mic. What would you like to say? Then everyone heard the words, “Fwank fell down!”
Have you ever fallen down spiritually while running this race / been tripped up by the devil?
You’re not a failure because you fall…only if you don’t get back up If you get up just once more than you fall then you’re a success!
For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
What would you think of a preacher who would curse and swear in front of one of the teenagers?
Peter did just that…and denied the Lord, but in spite of it all, God gave Him a new start and Peter learned how to fail forward!
We can learn from failures and sins! God has a way of bringing good out of bad!
Some have low self esteem and think God sees them as a composite of all their failures…but not so!
Ill.--My dad doesn’t introduce me as Jerry, my son who drained the transmission fluid and filled up the oil…though I did! Or…
Jerry, my son who…stole truck and went to Iowa [at 15!]
…rode motorcycle w/ no shirt and hit bumblebee at 50 mph! [Yes, that stings!]
My earthly father has no need for such memories…and my heavenly father has no need for such either!
When God forgives, He forgets [as far as east from west!]
Not to say there’s no consequences, but from a judgmental perspective...God doesn’t hold them against us!
Peter’s greatest strength was his courage!
We criticize Peter for taking his eyes off the Lord on the sea of Galilee and beginning to sink…but at least he got out of the boat!
When they came to arrest Jesus, Peter pulled out his sword to defend him/tried to take off one of their heads!
This big, burly fisherman, however, cowered down before a teenage girl…in the area of his greatest strength!
Bible says he was the meekest among men [meekness: strength under control] But what did he do? He lost control of his emotions and killed an Egyptian/later smote rock twice!
He is called the father of faith…but he left Canaan and went into Egypt, and lied about Sarah his wife, because he didn’t have enough faith that God would protect him…he failed in his area of strength!
A picture of purity/apple of God’s eye/man after God’s own heart…but he committed adultery/failed in his area of strength!
None of these failed in their weakness, but in their strength…because we all have a tendency to leave our strengths unguarded!
An unguarded strength is a double weakness! Ask Trump!
Paul said (II Cor. 12:10), when I am weak, them am I strong! [for then I’m depending on the Lord, and not myself!]
[Prov. 16:18 says that pride goes before destruction / The NT echoes in I Cor. 10:12, “let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall]
v. 33 “I’m willing to go to prison or to death with thee!”
We can admire Peter’s statement at first glance, but there’s a difference between saying I can do all things thru Christ, or just I can do all things!
*The boastful man is tempting the devil to tempt him.
Before we sin, he says, go ahead, no one will know, you can get away w/ it…
…afterward he says, you’ll never get away w/ it/you’ve blown it…you might as well not even try to serve God!
Satan’s goal is not only for you to fall, but for you to stay down…so let’s learn how to fail forward!
I. Even when we fail, God is still sovereign
Sovereign means “in control”.
(Luke 22:60) The rooster crowing is a testimony that God was still in control/the Lord shut the beaks of hundreds of roosters until the precise moment of the 3rd denial!
v. 61 right now Peter is at his worst/lowest/failing/falling/out of control, but he’s got a message from the Lord, “I’m still in control!”
II Timothy 2:13 “If we believe not yet he abideth faithful…”
We often fail God, but He never fails us/often I’m not faithful to Him, but Great is His Faithfulness!/I’m not so great…but “How Great Thou Art!”
To learn to fail forward, we must remember that even when we despair and feel out of control, God is still in control…He’s still sovereign!
And when Rom. 8:28 says all things work together for good…that includes our failures, and even a bad year of our life!
“Pick up the broken pieces, and bring them to the Lord/trust in His holy Word/He will put them back together and make your life complete/just place the broken pieces at the Savior’s feet!”
You may feel like you’ve blown it, and maybe you have!…but no matter what you’ve done…God still has a wonderful plan for your life! How do I know that? You’re still breathing!
II. When we fail, God is sympathetic (Luke 22:61)
The moment Peter denied, he turned and saw the Lord, and their eyes met!
It wasn’t a look of disappointment or anger…it was a look of love!
*God is not changing us so He can love us; He
loves us and, therefore, He is changing us.
*God does not love us because we are valuable; we are valuable because He loves us!
GOD LOVES YOU JUST AS YOU ARE – AND HE LOVES YOU TOO MUCH TO LEAVE YOU THAT WAY!
[unconditional love we should also have to OUR children, and thus we train and discipline them. A pastor who truly loves you will challenge you to be more than you are!]
Psalms 103:14 “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”
[that’s unconditional love]
His grace is not a license to sin…and anyone who views it that way is not truly saved! But it’s so good to know that when we fall…He is sympathetic…He is sovereign…
Ill.—couple named the York’s/Parker and Flossie/up in years, Flossie got Alzheimer’s, gradually, but eventually she was completely incoherent…nothing she said made sense/Mr. York later recounted how he had to do everything for her: feed, bathe, diaper, etc./one day, sitting in their living room, she miraculously stepped out of her illness for a moment and looked at him and said, “Do you want me?”
He said “it broke my heart! I ran to her and said, O, of course I want you…the greatest privilege of my life is caring for you!” Then she smiled…and just as quickly as she stepped out of her illness she slipped back in…
I think that sometimes we feel that way after failing God/we’re almost embarrassed to go to Him in prayer/ask for forgiveness for that same old sin again!/and the devil causes us to look to heaven and wonder, God, do you even want me?
Good news: He wants you! He’s there all the time, waiting patiently in line! He’s sovereign and can make lemonade out of lemons like us…and when we fail, He’s sympathetic!
Aren’t you glad your salvation doesn’t depend upon YOU? If you’ve been born again, you are forever changed…You are safe and secure in His Mighty Hands!
Explain the sifting process: chaff remains in sifter, wheat falls thru/Satan, the accuser, wanted Peter to fall, so he could throw the chaff in God’s face!
[“desired” to have you=asked permission…Satan has to ask! Job]
Satan wanted to sift Peter to condemn him…Jesus allowed the sifting in order to cleanse Peter.
Jesus also knew there was some chaff/and that Peter would never deal w/ it until he became aware of it…so He allowed it!
Satan had a malevolent motive/Jesus a benevolent!
So, Jesus used the devil’s tool--to help Peter!
[Just like David used Goliath’s own sword to cut off his head!]
Jesus isn’t concentrating on the chaff in your life…He sees the wheat…and He wants to cleanse you!
3 things Jesus knew about Peter:
Peter, you’ve blown it big time, but I’m gonna help you up, and you’re gonna be stronger for it…and believe it or not, you’re gonna preach and 3,000 get saved…you’re gonna write part of the Bible, you’re gonna voluntarily be crucified for me upside down!
Maybe you’ve failed…who hasn’t? Or fallen? Get back up…just don’t fail to be saved!
Christians: can you see the sovereign Lord behind your struggles? He’s sympathetic…and you’re secure!
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