3-Week Series: Double Blessing


Summary: We all fail. In our failures we find that God is not content to leave us in them.


Part 3

Failures Don’t Have to Be Fatal

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pastor Brian Matherlee


Simon Peter was a leader among the 12 disciples. He was brash, outspoken, eager & headstrong. He had the kind of personality that would act and then think. If he was a teenager today he probably would be the one who would say, “Hey ya’ll watch this.”

Peter was close to Jesus. Out of the twelve disciples Jesus was included in a group of three who became more intimately acquainted with the Lord.

Peter had many great moments of faith:

• He left everything he had as a fisherman to follow Jesus Christ.

• When told by Jesus to cast a net on the opposite side of the boat, even after fishing there all night, he did and caught a great amount of fish that broke the nets.

• He stepped out of the boat to walk on the water and meet Jesus.

• He proclaimed what everyone else hesitated to state, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

Even in his intimate relationship with Jesus, Peter failed. All four Gospels record the failure of Peter to stand with Christ when Jesus was being tried & crucified.

Luke 22:32-34, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”


1. Jesus, in calling him by name twice, is seeking to warn Simon of the trouble ahead.

2. Satan had asked to sift Simon.

a. The word “sift” is used only one other time in the Bible. In Judges God “sifted” the men He wanted for Gideon to go into battle with. The men were given the opportunity to go home if they were afraid and 20,000 left. 9,700 were sent home because they weren’t alert while taking a drink of water. 300 remained that weren’t going to fail. 29,700 would have brought failure to Israel.

b. Here Satan is basically asking for the chance to prove to Jesus that Peter is going to be a failure—that he isn’t going to make it. He wanted to press him just like he had attacked Job. You think Satan would have learned his lesson.

c. We can buy into the lie that we won’t make it if we listen to Satan. He will tell us, we’ve sinned too greatly, we’ve failed too many times, we’re not strong enough, don’t have faith enough, and our besetting sin is too much for us. But look at what Jesus told Simon …

3. Grace is greater

a. Jesus was praying that Simon Peter’s faith wouldn’t fail. It wouldn’t fail because of grace.

b. Jesus knew the failures in Peter’s life could be used to strengthen others.

We all fail. In our failures we find that God is not content to leave us in them.

Proverbs 3:12 tells us, “the Lord disciplines those he loves.”

Key concept: The Lord’s discipline prevents failures from becoming fatal.

The loving discipline of the Lord has three stages:

1. Rebuke

a. Proverbs 3:11 says, “Do not despise his (the Lord’s) rebuke.

b. Peter was rebuked by Jesus in Mark 8:33, when Peter wanted to prevent the suffering of Jesus even though it was God’s plan.

c. God’s rebuke is awful. But it is necessary. God doesn’t want us to remain in a state of rebellion. He doesn’t want us to toy around with sin.

d. His rebuke may come through the Word. It may come through the Church. (Some people may think this is a spiritual gift—they’re mistaken—people who are confident this is their calling and revel in it are worth steering clear of).

When we have been rebuked by the Lord and we accept the truth and repent of our sin we are ready for the next step.

2. Refinement

a. Refinement is a process. Romans 12:1-2

i. Offer ourselves—only God can do the work that needs to be done

ii. Refusal to conform—eliminate the worldly & the evil from our lives

iii. Commitment to new ways—we think different, act different & see how new life is born!

b. Refinement is painful.

i. You don’t get put into fire without feeling the heat!

ii. I shared two Wednesday nights ago about how a silversmith refines the precious metal. He places it into the most intense part of the furnace and turns it to remove the dross. The impurities within come to the surface and drop off into the fire. If he holds it too long the precious metal can be ruined. The silversmith knows when to take the silver out of the fire when he can see his reflection in the molten metal.

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