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Summary: Abraham Lincoln suffered a string of failures before he was elected to the presidency. His country store went out of business. As a young lawyer he had trouble getting clients. He was defeated in his campaigns for the state legislature, the House of Repre

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FREE TO FAIL

Matthew 25:24-25; Philippians 4:13

Abraham Lincoln suffered a string of failures before he was elected to the presidency. His country store went out of business. As a young lawyer he had trouble getting clients. He was defeated in his campaigns for the state legislature, the House of Representatives, the Senate and the Vice Presidency. Yet very few, if any, Americans have had more impact on our history than he.

No one learns to make right decisions without being free to make wrong ones.

Introduction

Matthew 25:24&25 24“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

and Philippians 4:1313I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

are two very different statements. One was made by a man who was afraid to fail and did nothing. The other was made by a man who was free to fail and did everything.

As far as the biblical record is concerned, some of the greatest achievements in the history of God’s kingdom have come from very ordinary, imperfect people who have overcome failure to be used of God in a significant way. Their lives model some biblical principles for overcoming failure.

I. Do not try to hide or conceal your failures.

A. Some people spend their lives trying to cover-up their mistakes.

1. They become “prisoners of pretense,” retreating into fabrication and delusion.

2. Their entire lives become a charade, a great hypocrisy.

B. The first step in overcoming our failures is to admit them.

1. We must be willing to honestly confess them before God and seek his forgiveness and restoration

(1 John 1:8-9).8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

2. If there is any place where we should be able to admit our failures, it is the church. Christians are not perfect, just forgiven.

II. Do not be discouraged by your failures.

A. When you fail in life, you are in good company. Sir Walter Scott, Thomas Edison, Richard Byrd, Walt Disney all were considered failures before they went on to their greatest achievements.

B. In the Bible, too, we read of failures whom God took and used to accomplish great things in his service.

1. He took a slave hiding as a fugitive from justice and used him to deliver an entire nation from bondage.

2. He took a woman who failed in marriage seven times and used her to win a city to the Savior.

3. He took a crooked tax collector and made him into an apostle and a biographer of the Christ.

4. He took a man who failed Christ in his darkest hour, denying Him three times, and used him to open the doors to the kingdom of God.

C. He can do the same thing in our lives. God does not easily give up on His children. Like the tireless potter bending over the spoiled clay, He yet desires to make something good and noble of our lives


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