Failure Doesn’t Disqualify You

This is the manuscript of a message I delivered as part of a series on Romans 8:1.  I pray that you will be encouraged.  Note: Please excuse the occasional contrations and font emphasis that I use as personal reminders during delivery of the message.

No Condemnation… A Case Study (Ro 8:1; Lk 22:31-34)

Probably everyone here has an event happen that they would just as soon forget. But it pops back up often along with the guilt & shame you associate with it.  It haunts you years to decades later…

By the same token, you probably have a memory that is on the opposite end of the emotional scale.  Something that took place that you also cannot forget… even if you did want to.  Something that was so significant you love to reminisce about it.

No CondemnationThen… ever so often those two events come together.  Not that they happen simultaneously, but they become one event under the power of God.  God uses Satan to bring about His will in us so that we become more like Christ and mature in the faith.  The event that brought grief is the event that strengthens us as Christians.

You remember Peter?  He was most sure of his love & devotion to Jesus.  When Christ told the Apostles that he would die in Jerusalem, Peter was probably tapping the sword he carried determined that he would not let it happen.  Everyone else might abandon Jesus… but not him!  He was willing to fight to the death if necessary.  Listen to Luke 22:31-34…

Simon… Satan demanded to… sift you like wheat,  32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison & to death.” 34 Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”

At Jesus’ arrest, Peter attacked Malchus by trying to cut his head off… but Malchus ducked so that Peter only got his ear (Jn 18:10).  Jesus scolded Peter, “Those who live by the sword will die by it.” Then he healed Malchus.  Peter followed Jesus at a distance… to the place where he was to be tried.

(Mt 26:69-75) One person… then another… identified Peter as a follower of Jesus.  Both times he denied it.  Then a third time he was identified… & Peter went off.  English miss it.  Peter didn’t just swear, he did what would convince people he was NOT a follower… he cursed Jesus!

In Lk 22:61 it is written that as Peter was cursing Jesus… the rooster began to crow… & Christ turned at look at him.  THEN he remembered Jesus’ words… he went out & wept bitterly.  Three days later when the angle heralded Jesus’ resurrection it is recorded in Mk 16:6-7

Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee.  There you will see him, just as he told you.

The angel made a special point of saying… “Tell his disciples AND PETER.” Why? Because of all the Apostles… Peter (Who was their leader) needed encouragement.  HE needed to be reaffirmed.  Excluding Judas who was never a believer to begin with, Peter had fallen the hardest.

(Aside)  Turn to 1 Peter. In a moment I want to show you a few things from Peter’s Epistle…

(Jn 21:15-17) The third time Jesus appeared to the Apostles… Jesus asked Peter a question… three times… “Do you love me?” Now Peter isn’t bold… he’s humble.  Failure has a way of destroying a person’s pride and bringing humility

Peter answers… “Lord you know everything…” (Remembering his failure?).  Now he knows his heart & faith were not as strong as he thought. But after each affirmation, Jesus charged Peter to do after each question… “Feed my sheep!”  (Aside: With enough pressure, any of us can fail!)

Jesus restored Peter.  For each denial, Jesus redeemed him.  AND commissioned him to THE most important task any man can have… to care for the very ones Jesus died for.  Because of Peter’s failure, he was qualified to shepherd… pastor… care for… & lead God’s people!

Do you get that?! It was Peter’s FAILURE that made him the kind of man who could most effectively… & humbly… care for God’s people.  His failure did not DIS-qualify him… THAT IS THE THING THAT MADE HIM AN ABLE PASTOR!

God chose Peter to deliver the message at Pentecost, the inauguration of the church!

From that time, Peter had all his ducks in a row… never again did he stray, trip up, or blow it.  He had learned his lesson.  Not quite… in Gal 2:11-14 Paul called him down in front of the church because he was a hypocrite & leading others astray.  When Jews came to Antioch, Peter shunned the Gentile believers because he feared what they would think of him.  He failed again, & was restored…

What then did Peter learn?  I call it the power of Ro 8:1. Look at 1 Peter 1:22…

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again…

2:17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

3:8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, & a humble mind. 9  Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

4:8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9  Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Peter is pleading with his hearers to learn from him.  Don’t make his mistakes.  Don’t do the things that cause others to stumble.  He strongly encourages Christians to LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

Look at 4:8 in light of Peter’s failures… “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

“Keep on loving one another earnestly…” He wrote that because he had been loved that way & knew love’s redemptive power.  (Pause) And what phrase comes after that?  “Since love covers a multitude of sins…”  LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS…

Jesus’ love forgave being cursed by Peter.  Jesus love restored Peter to a leadership position.  Peter learned to love those who made mistakes.  Thus Peter encouraged love strongly!

That is what WE need!  That is what MBC needs desperately!  To KEEP ON loving each other!

Now for two applications.  The first is for MBC.  Next time something happens in your family… at work… the beauty shop… or church meetings you don’t like & you start feeling anger, resentment, & are tempted respond, remember: Keep on loving that person earnestly!

When somebody says something that rubs you the wrong way… hurts you… gets your dander up… or generally angers you, remember: Love covers a multitude of sin. LOVE THEM!

Next time you sense animosity, dissension, anger, or bitterness in someone directed toward you, determine to “have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, & a humble mind. 9  Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing (1 Pet 3:8-9).  Regardless… YOU do what is right!

Second. Understand the depth of God’s love for you!  Jesus’ love covers ALL your sin… past, present, & future?  Jesus had ALREADY forgiven Peter BEFORE he ever cursed him!  When you come to Christ… in the same way… ALL (!!) your sin is forgiven!

Come to Jesus… repent & be forgiven… escape God’s wrath by trusting in Christ!

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