Summary: Taking a look at how we should respond to times of spiritual failure...a look at Peter.

“How to Fail Successfully”

Matthew 14:25-33

MT 14:25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It’s a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid." 28 "Lord, if it’s you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." 29 "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."


• The past couple of weeks, especially last week, we have set some goals and have committed some significant things to the Lord.

• What often stops us in our tracks is the setbacks we have along the way…the times that we fail.

Basketball Analogy

• A rebound in basketball is a crucial part of the game…it’s a response to a failure to make a basket.

• If a team doesn’t know how to rebound, they can’t hope to succeed as a team.

• Similarly, if we don’t learn to rebound from our personal failures, we cannot hope to succeed as Christians.

Abraham Lincoln

Consider the life of a certain man. In ‘16, his family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them as a young boy. In ‘32 he ran for State Legislature. He lost the election, then his job. In ‘33 he borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next seventeen years of his life paying off the debt. In ‘35 he became engaged to be married, but his sweetheart died. His heart was broken and he never got over it. In ‘36 he had a nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months. In ‘38 he sought to become Speaker of the State Legislature and was defeated. In ‘40 he sought to become an Elector and he was defeated. In ‘43 he ran for Congress and lost. In ‘54 he ran for the Senate of the United States; he lost. In ‘56 he sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention and he got less than 100 votes. In 1860 he was finally elected President of the United States. Abraham Lincoln didn’t park by his setbacks

• Let’s take a closer look at Peter’s failure here and find out how to lose successfully:

I. WHEN Peter failed {vs 25-29}

1. In the midst of a SUCCESS (29)

• Let’s cut Peter some slack first of all…he DID walk on the water!

• Folks, we must become spiritually alert when we see times of spiritual success…distractions will come our way

2. In the midst of a STAND (28)

• Peter took a very public stand in front of Jesus and all of the other disciples

• How many times have we seen people make public declarations and then experience public devastation

3. In the midst of a STORM (see verses before text)

• Storms come in order to cause us to be distracted from our walk with the Lord

• How many Christians are just a flat tire away from failing spiritually?

II. WHERE Peter failed {vs 30}

1. In front of his family

• Peter’s bother, Andrew, was in the boat watching the whole thing take place.

• It can be very difficult for us to rebound from the times we fail in front of our own family members.

• There may be some in here today who need to seek forgiveness and some who need to give forgiveness.

2. In front of other believers

• Peter failed in front of other people who followed Jesus

• Have you isolated yourself from the rest of the body because of a mistake you have made?

• Are you justifying a bad decision you made in the past?

3. In front of Jesus

• He really failed the Lord.

• How many times have I seen people fall from the Lord because they felt there was no grace left for them because they have failed in the past?

• Thankfully, there is a source of help for you today!

III. WINNING when you fail {vs 30-33}

• Here’s what Peter didn’t do:

Try to handle things on his own

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