Summary: What failure can do in the hand of God
INTRO: Here is the biography of a failure.
-A man who had less than three years of formal education.
-Failed in business in ’31, was defeated for the legislature in ’32.
-Failed in business in ’33, elected to the legislature in ’34.
-Defeated for the speaker in ’38, defeated for the elector in ’40.
-Defeated for congress in ’43, elected to Congress in ’46.
-Defeated in ’48, defeated for Senate in ’55. Defeated for the Vice Presidential nomination in
-Defeated for Senate in ’58.
*This man’s name is Abraham Lincoln (who historians consider the greatest president.)
TEXT: Jer. 20:14-15, 23:9
I. Failure brings: catalyst that causes us to act.
A. Pain: Think of failure, heartache, troubled feelings, words can’t described the feeling we get.
-Pain we feel when our loved ones are hurting, sick, somebody mistreating them.
Background: 17 when called, preach to southern kingdom (Jerusalem) naïve, excited, take on the world.
Nation: 10 times as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah, worshipping other gods, mistreating the
poor, leaders only worried about selves (starve flock).
Jeremiah alone: Family and friends think crazy, towns people try to kill him, homeland destroyed. Homeland wiped off face of earth. 40 years on project that failed, people’s hearts were too hard.
Jer. 20:14-15 – “Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed! Cursed be the man who brought my father the news who made him very glad saying a child is born to you – a son!”
Jer. 23:9 – “My heart is broken within me; all my bones tremble. I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome by wine, because of the Lord and His holy words.”
Thought: Lord gave Jeremiah some of the pain I believe God feels when He has to discipline His children.
Thought: One way to stop judging people is to ask God some of the pain they’re going through.
B. Failure brings discipline. Pain we feel in failure moves us up the rung of the ladder to disciple
(do anything not to feel the pain of failure.)
1. Most loved and hated words: Hate – Discipline, love the fruit it brings.
“Why are some people so great, someone asked? The heights by great people reached and kept
were not attained by sudden flight, but while their companions slept, they were toiling upwards
in the night.”
Ex. My example: being cut baseball (practice more)
Thought: The more you practice something the better you will become whether it is academics or sports. This is also true of spiritual things. We have the same ability to do the things the NT saints accomplished (Jesus Savior, HS empowers us, lacking is the dedication and commitment).
Thought: Saints, we are going to be good at something whether it’s positive (stated above) or you’ll be good
at something negative (gossip, cynical etc.)
C. Failure brings maturity: Means full development.
1. Failure helps bring maturity, can’t reach maturity without failing.
-Failure is a blessing because we were possibly going down the wrong road.
-ex. Parable of lost son – Luke 15:11-20 (READ)
-Son’s greed – Father give me my share, Jewish law 2/3 oldest, youngest 1/3, receives upon
death of father (attitude).
-Squandered wealth – spent money foolishly, drunken parties, prostitutes.
-Began to be in need – money ran out (so did his so-called friends), lived in a distant land (father
didn’t support his addiction).
Thought: We human beings usually mature when we feel the pain when we’re in need (not want).
-Began to starve, no one helped him out. Got a job feeding pigs – worst job in the world
(unclean to Jew).
At worse food than the pigs! (shows how low he sunk). Came to his senses – outlook on life
changed. Asked for forgiveness. Went back to his family. Happy ending!
TS – Failure not only brings things, but it also builds things.
II. Failure builds
A. Character – look at two persons who both had tremendous failures within their lives. One let is build his
character in a positive way and the other let it destroy his character.
1. Peter is our positive example:
a. Fisherman – hard demanding life, work from dawn to dusk.
1. I believe Peter called things the way he saw them (not afraid to speak his mind).
Yet the was an emotional man.
b. Jesus called him to be an apostle – Matt. 4 (one of the first ones called).
c. Protector – Matt. 16 – Jesus is predicting his death. Peter takes him aside “never Lord”.
(I’ll protect you” scenario)
1. Rebuke Peter. Discussion right before this, Peter is exated (Jesus asked “who am
I?” and Peter responds, “You are the Christ”). Peter learned this by prayer to
the Father (shows Peter is a devout man.)