Summary: Cause and effects - PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:

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• Incident #1:

• Cause of failure – Lack of Faith (vs 14-21).

• Incident #2:

• Cause of grief – Lack of Understanding (vs 22-23).

• Incident #3:

• Cause of amazement – Faith in Action (vs 24-26).



• Famous failures.

• You Tube video clip:

• (1). He wasn't able to speak until he was almost 4 years old and his teachers said he would "Never amount to much".

• Albert Einstein Physicist & Nobel Prize Winner.

• (2). Was demoted from her job as a news anchor because she "Wasn't fit for television".

• Host of a multi-award winning talk show & said to be 'The most influential woman in the world'.

• (3). Fired from a newspaper for "Lacking imagination" and "Having no original ideas".

• Walt Disney - creator of Mickey Mouse & winner of 22 Academy Awards.

• (4). At age 11 he was dropped from his team after being diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency, which made him smaller in stature than most kids his age.

• Lionel Messi - 3 times Fifa World Player of the Year.

• (5). At 30 years old he was left devastated and depressed after being unceremoniously removed from the company he started.

• Steve Jobs - Co-founder of Apple Inc. & Co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios.

• (6). Rejected by Decca Recording Studios, who said "We don't like their sound...they have no future in show business".

• The Beetles - The most commercially successful and critically acclaimed band in history.

• (7). His first book was rejected by 27 publishers.

• Dr Seuss - bestselling children author in history.

• (8). His finance died, he failed in business, he had a nervous breakdown and was defeated in 8 elections.

• Abraham Lincoln - 16th President of the U.S.A.

• TRANSITION: Everyone wants to be a success.

• I have never met anyone who purposely set out to be a failure.

• That may explain why so much has been written on the topic;

• The popularity of books on the topic of “How to be a Success” are big sellers.

• Quote: I think it was Theodore Roosevelt who said,

• “The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.”

• The simple reality is that failure is one of those ugly realities of life;

• It is a common experience to all of us to some degree.

• And the ability to handle failure in its various forms and degrees;

• Is a vital part of a Christian’s spiritual life and maturity.


• A study of the Bible soon reveals that most of the great figures of the book;

• Experienced failure at one time or another,

• Yet those failures did not keep them from effective service for God.

• i.e. Just think of Abraham, Moses, Elijah, David, and Peter.

• Though they failed at some point, and often in significant ways,

• They not only recovered from their failure, but they used it as a tool of growth;

• They learned from their failure, confessed it to God,

• And were often able to be used in even mightier ways.

• In this passage of Matthew’s gospel we have three short stories;

• We see the disciples fail; we see the disciples dejected and we see Peter flabbergasted!

• But their failure need not be a total disaster;

• They can use it as a tool of growth, helping them mature in their faith.

• And what is true for the disciples is true for all of us here today!

• In this passage we see the disciples fail twice;

• But the chapter does not end in failure because in the third incident;

• We see Peter getting it right!

Incident #1:

Cause of failure – Lack of Faith (vs 14-21).

14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 ‘Lord, have mercy on my son,’ he said. ‘He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.’

17 ‘You unbelieving and perverse generation,’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.’ 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’

20 He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’

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