Summary: This sermon deals with personal and church wide failure as well as failure when trying to do a work for God.
Epic Fail or Godly Success
Some time back it became popular on Facebook and other social media sites to post pictures with the title “epic fail”.
There are even some sites dedicated to “epic fail” pictures. I find the church signs especially amusing.
The hard truth is that we all fail from time to time. From Adam and Eve in the garden up to this very moment, men and women are failing.
Sin is a fail, failure to measure up to God’s law, God’s will.
In fact, our failure was so utterly complete that God had to step in and do something on our behalf.
When we look at the life of Jesus and his fulfillment of all of the prophecies from the Old Testament, we are struck with one awesome truth…
Not one of God’s promises or prophecies have ever failed.
However, according to Romans 3:23, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, all of us who have reached the age of accountability have failed. As Christians, we know and acknowledge this.
Further, failure is an ongoing part of everyday life. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t fail in some way, whether in thought or deed.
How we deal with our failures will define who we are and how we serve God.
Failure takes many forms in the life of the believer.
There are personal failures. Some of us have failed at school. I had an A-B average in college, but my senior year I got an F in Numerical Analysis. No matter how hard I tried, it just didn’t seem to make a difference.
There are many who have attempted to start their own business, pouring their life’s blood into it, and yet they fail.
According to statistics, half of all marriages end in failure.
I’ve never performed one single marriage where the bride and groom told me up front that they expected the marriage to fail. No one sets out to fail at their marriage, yet it happens.
There are also ethical failures. When you are in school, there is always a temptation to take a short cut, better known as cheating.
It’s been my experience that if you will cheat on the little things, you will cheat on the big things as well; cheating on your taxes, cheating to get ahead at work.
Then there are moral failures. When we think about the life of a believer, we don’t expect to see moral failures, but that just isn’t the case.
As long as we are in this body and subject to the sinful desires of the flesh, we must be constantly on guard against moral failures.
Christians, just as non-believers, get involved in alcohol abuse, drug abuse, sexual sin, pornography addiction, and infidelity.
All of us are familiar with these types of failures and most, if not all, Christians know God’s opinion of these activities.
But what about when you fail while trying to do a work for God?
How many outreach programs, revivals, Bible studies, and VBS programs have you been a part of that you felt, in your heart, were a failure?
These types of failures tend to cause us to question our faith or the motives of the activity.
We are all familiar with the old saying, “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
I would say the same for failures, if we do not learn from them, we are doomed to repeat them, as an individual and as a Church.
The world is replete with examples of epic fails. We can look to God’s word to teach us how to deal with failures as well as understand the consequences of failure.
When we fail personally, or as a Church, it is important for us to determine the cause.
Look with me in your Bibles at Joshua 7:2-6. Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, “Go up and spy out the country.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. 3 And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few.” 4 So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai. 5 And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water.
6 Then Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.