Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Our past sins, mistakes, and failures are forgiven -- we shouldn’t let them keep us from following Jesus today and tomorrow and doin all that he’s called us to do (specifically applied to Mother’s Day)

May 9, 2004 — Fifth Sunday of Easter & Mother’s Day

Christ Lutheran Church, Columbia, MD

Pastor Jeff Samelson

John 21:15-19

Past Performance Is No Guarantee of Future Results

I. The Past Is Past

II. The Present Is Now

III. The Future Is Glorious

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Word of God for our study this Sunday is found in John 21:15-19:

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?"

"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?"

He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."

The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!" (NIV)

This is the Gospel of our Lord.

Dear Mothers — and their children and husbands — of all ages:

I’m sure many of you mothers out there today will soon be looking over information and prospectuses (prospecti?) from various mutual funds, stocks, and bonds and things. You’ll be trying to decide where to invest those thousands of dollars in cash you got for Mother’s Day … .

Well, anyway, even if it’s going to be years, if ever, before any of us seriously take a look at one of those brochures inviting us to invest in a particular fund or program, there’s a phrase we should all be familiar with. You see, the company that wants your money will be giving you all sorts of reasons why you should invest with them, and the thing they will tout most is how well their stocks or funds have performed over the years. But they can’t promise that the tremendous results they had before will continue in the future, so they always add — often in small print — some variation of this phrase: “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.”

Every one of us here today makes decisions everyday about investing — not money, but our energy, our emotions, our will, and our confidence. And because of those investments we make we want to remember that same phrase — “Past performance is no guarantee of future results”— only we apply it in reverse.

I. That’s what Jesus is doing, and saying, with Peter here. These verses follow immediately after those we discussed two weeks ago, when Jesus gave his disciples a miraculous catch of 153 life-changing fish and with that assured them he would take care of all of their needs as they went out as his fishers of men.

But Peter had a very specific and personal need. His past performance seemed set to guarantee future failure. Think of how far he had fallen: All through Jesus’ ministry, Peter had been the disciple unafraid to speak up and say what all the others were only thinking. He was the one who confessed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’ And he was the one who, around the table at the Last Supper, declared to Jesus, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will. I will never disown you. Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death — I will lay down my life for you!” [Matthew 26:33,35;Mark 14:29,31; Luke 22:33; John 13:37] That was Peter.

Peter had shown great potential and made solemn promises — but what happened? It didn’t take long for Peter to be proved a liar and a faithless friend. He denied his Lord three times, swearing that he didn’t even know Jesus. And all Peter’s potential and promises crashed down in failure. When Jesus looked at him across the courtyard, Peter saw what he had done, and was filled with grief. And there was a consequence even beyond his sorrow: he knew that he could never stand again as a leader or example among the faithful — he had proven himself faithless. His incredible guilt and colossal failure would have been a lifelong burden, holding him down and holding him back.

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