Summary: We think of the plan of salvation and the steps a man takes toward God. But there are also equally clear steps by which one may go away from God.
BACKSLIDING MADE EASY
Mark 14:26-31; 66-72
INTRO: We think of the plan of salvation and the steps a man takes toward God. But there are also equally clear steps by which one may go away from God.
The experience of Peter the night Jesus was arrested demonstrates this very clearly. That evening after the meal he wanted Jesus to wash his hands and his head that he might be completely his. He was sure that all the others would deny Jesus, but he wouldn’t. Yet by dawn the next day he was cursing and swearing that he never knew Jesus.
I. THE STEPS AWAY FROM CHRIST.
1. Self-confidence (v. 29).
Although warned by Jesus, and knowing himself that others were weak, Peter was quite sure of himself.
The Christian is in danger when he reaches the point at which he feels that he does not have to cling to God because he is strong and will not fall into temptation.
2. Asleep at the Hour of Prayer (v. 37).
Jesus asked the three to pray with him. This shows the importance of prayer. Perhaps because Peter was so confident in himself, he did not pray. There is nothing wrong with self-confidence so long as we realize that we are always dependent upon God. Misguided self-confidence will cause us to fall.
All Christians meet the temptation to prayerlessness, and yielding is a long step away from God.
3. An Act of Service Without Divine Guidance (v. 47).
When Peter saw the servants of the High Priest lay hands on Jesus, he did not ask for direction, but did the thing that came natural to him.
Too much of our service to Christ is not Spirit led. We want to serve him, but not the way he wants. We must be sure we are following His leadership, and not our own.
4. Following Afar Off (v. 54).
Jesus rebuked him, but he still followed—far off. He wanted to be a part of what was taking place, but he lacked commitment to get involved.
Many church members count themselves as followers of Jesus, yet they are completely out of touch with him and his work.
6. Warming Himself by the Enemies’ Fires (v. 67).
Separated from Jesus, yet not united to anyone else, Peter got cold. The servants of the High Priest built a fire and gathered around. So Peter joined them.
Too many Christians are seeking their social and spiritual warmth at the devil’s fires. Ordinarily people will find warmth somewhere, and if they don’t seek and find it in the church, they will seek and find it somewhere else.
7. Open Denial (v. 71).
The servant girl was surprised to find a follower of Jesus (Peter) in the company. But he denied that he was a follower of Jesus. When she insisted, he cursed and swore.
II. THE WAY BACK.
Two things are mentioned as reminding Peter and turning him back.
1. A Rooster Crowed (v. 72).
It was a reminder because of something that Jesus had said.
Many a person has been reminded of Christ by something which turned him back to an earlier loyalty to Jesus.
2. Jesus Turned and Looked on Him (Luke 22:61).
In the eyes of Jesus there must have been compassion, understanding, love, and concern. It was really Jesus who brought Peter back and not anything else.
CONC: Let us be warned of the danger in which all of us stand of going away from our Lord. And let us be encouraged that he does not despair, but is ever trying to bring us back.