Sermon Illustrations

When Things Are Just Working Out! (10.26.05--Making It!--Judges 18:27)

IF life is going well and I am in all things successful, does that me that God is pleased with me? That’s a good question! If I am successful in the things that I do, does that necessarily mean that God is behind that success? When things go well it is nice to believe that, isn’t it? I must be doing something right if failure is a stranger and success is my daily companion. Why else would it be that life is moving along and things are just working out?

When things are going well it is tempting to place that success right on God’s doorstep. But, if you stop to think about it, there are quite a few unbelievers that seem to be basking in the warmth of money, fame and popularity these days. That being the case, how can we be sure that our successes are from God? And, what about my failures?

Among Jesus’s apostles, the one absolutely stunning success was Judas, and the one thoroughly groveling failure was Peter. Judas was a success in the ways that most impress us: he was successful both financially and politically. He cleverly arranged to control the money of the apostolic band; he skillfully manipulated the political forces of the day to accomplish his goal. And Peter was a failure in ways that we most dread: he was impotent in a crisis and socially inept. At the arrest of Jesus he collapsed, a hapless, blustering coward; in the most critical situations of his life with Jesus, the confession on the road to Caesarea Philippi and the vision on the Mount of transfiguration, he said the most embarrassingly inappropriate things. He was not the companion we would want with us in time of danger, and he was not the kind of person we would feel comfortable with at a social occasion. Time, of course, has reversed our judgments on the two men. Judas is now a byword for betrayal, and Peter is one of the most honored names in the church and in the world. Judas is a villain; Peter is a saint. Yet the world continues to chase after the successes of Judas, financial wealth and political power, and to defend itself against the failures of...

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