The Cock Crew

Posted by on Jan 9, 2005

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

January 9, 2005

Sunday Morning

 

“The Cock Crew”

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:66-72

Scripture Text:     Mark 14:66-72

 

Introduction:

 

A.   Let me ask you a question.

1.    Have you ever failed the Lord?

2.    Have you ever…

let the Lord down?

disappointed Him?

broke His heart?

3.    Have you ever, how can I put it, really blew it with the Lord?

 

B.   I’m sure that if we will be honest this evening, all of us will have to answer, “Yes”.

1.    We may not have blew it the way Peter did.

2.    We may not have verbally denied the Lord the way Peter did.

3.    We may not have cursed and swore the way Peter did.

4.    But we have all failed the Lord in some way at one time or another since we became Christians. (Amen?)

5.    You are probably thinking of something right now that you did as a Christian, and after you did it and realized what you had done, you wept the way that Peter wept.

 

C.   Now let me ask you another question.

1.    Is failure final?

2.    In other words, when we fail the Lord, is that the end?

3.    Does it mean that…

-our Christian lives are over?

-we are no longer of any use to God?

-God has given up on us entirely?

4.    As far as living for God and serving God is concerned, is failure final?

 

D.   The reason I’m asking this question is because I have counseled with Christians before who thought that because of some sin they had committed, life was over for them, at least as a Christian.

1. They thought that because of their sin, God had written them off.

2.    That there was no way that God could ever use them or bless them again.

3.    Their sin had already devastated them as it was, but the thought that they could never regain God’s favor devastated them even more.

 

E.   If you get anything out of this sermon this morning I want you to get this – failure doesn’t have to be final.

1.    With many failure is final, but it doesn’t have to be.

2.    Peter is an excellent example of this.

3.    Few Christians have failed the Lord the way Peter did, yet God forgave Peter, restored him to fellowship, and later used him in a mighty way!

4.    Failure doesn’t have to be final!

 

F.    (Illus.- A story is told about the great inventor Thomas Edison. It seems that a reporter called on him one afternoon while he was trying to find a substitute for lead in the manufacture of storage batteries. The reporter asked him, “How is it going?” Edison replied, “I’ve made 1,000 experiments and not one of them has worked.” The reporter then asked, “Aren’t you discouraged by all of this wasted effort?” Edison quickly replied, “Wasted! Nothing’s wasted. Why I’ve discovered 1,000 things that don’t work.” Aren’t you glad that Edison didn’t live by the philosophy that failure is final? If he had, we might be meeting in the dark this evening.)

 

 

G.   (Illus.- If you know anything at all about the life of Abraham Lincoln, you know that he experienced his share of failures. For example, in…

-1831 he failed in business.

-1832 he was defeated for the legislature.

-1833 he failed in business again.

-1835 his sweetheart died.

-1836 he suffered a nervous breakdown.

-1838 he was defeated for speaker.

-1840 he was defeated for elector.

-1848 he was defeated for congress.

-1855 he was defeated for the senate.

-1856 he was defeated for vice-president

-1858 he was defeated for the senate again.

All of these defeats, yet in 1860 he was elected president of the United States. Aren’t you glad that Abraham Lincoln didn’t live by the philosophy that failure is final. If he had, we might be living in the Confederate States of America today.)

 

H.   (Illus.- The legendary Babe Ruth is still known as the home run king of all time. But did you know that during his career, Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times!)

 

I.    What am I saying?

1.    I’m simply saying that failure doesn’t have to be final!

2.    It’s true in the scientific world.

3.    It’s true in the political world.

4.    It’s true in the sports world.

5.    And it is equally true in the spiritual realm as well.

 

J.    In fact, failure is good for us!

1.    Now you say, “Preacher, you’ve gone too far now. To say that failure doesn’t have to be final is one thing, but to say that failure is good for us is something else!”

2.    Now I didn’t say that it is good to fail, but rather that failure is good for us. (There’s a difference.)

3.    I can PROVE that failure is good for us.

4.    How many of you know what Romans 8:28 says?

5.    Listen as I read it, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

6.    What does “all things” mean?

7.    Does that even include failure?

8.    If that verse is true, then even failure works together for our ultimate good.

 

K.   This morning, I would like for to notice three ways that failure works for our good. First of all, failure….

 

I.       Teaches Us Humility.

 

 

A.   If you have ever studied the life of Peter, you know that one of his biggest problems was his pride.

1.    He suffered from an overdose of overconfidence.

2.    This can be seen in his statements in Matthew 26:33 & 35.

3.    Jesus had just told His disciples the time would come when they would ALL be offended because of Him.

4.    When Jesus said that, Peter spoke up and said, “Thou all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.”

5.    Notice that he did not say,…

-“By God’s grace I’ll never be offended.”

-“With God as my help I’ll never be offended.”

-“With God’s strength I’ll never be offended.”

6.    He simply said, “I will never be offended.”

7.    I would say that Peter suffered from overconfidence, wouldn’t you?

 

B.   But you say, “Preacher, I don’t have a problem with pride. Peter may have had a problem with it, but I don’t.”

1.    Okay, let’s see.

2.    Let me give you a test.

3.    Have you ever made the statement (or even thought it in your mind), “Why I would never do .”?

4.    Perhaps you had just heard about a brother or a sister who had committed a very hideous sin, and you at least thought to yourself, “Why, I would never do anything like that!”

5.    If that is the way you think (if that reflects the attitude of your heart, then you are just as guilty of pride as Peter was!

 

C.   What you had better say is,…

By God’s grace I will never do any thing like that.

With God as my helper, I will never do anything like that.

With God’s strength, I will never do anything like that.

1.     If you think that you can do it on your own, then you are in for a fall just like Peter’s!

2.    The day will probably come when you will have to eat your egotistical words.

 

D.   But let me get back to my original point.

1.    While it was not good that Peter failed, the fact that he did fail worked for his good.

2.    How? It…

-punctured his pride!

-dented his ego!

-cut him down a notch or two!

4.    It made him keenly aware that while his spirit was willing, his flesh was weak.

5.    It made him realize that he needed to trust in the Lord more, and in himself less!

 

E.   I don’t know of anything that will humble a person any quicker than for that person to fall flat on your face!

(Amen?)

1.    You’ve probably experienced that before in your own life.

2.    I know that I have!

3.    When that happens, it is good for us.

4.    You might say that it brings us down to reality.

 

F.    (Illus.- Every now and then someone will come along in the world of sports who possesses a really inflated ego. Boxers especially have a problem with this. I have heard boxers before a big fight bragging about how they are going to knock out their opponent in the first round, then go out and get knocked out themselves in the first round. I’ll tell you what, after the fight is over, they aren’t bragging any more! Their ego has been damaged.)

 

G.   Did you realize that, in one sense, our failures are of more value to us than our victories?

1.    Know why that is true?

2.    Because we learn more from our failures than we do our victories.

3.    In victory, we tend to celebrate.

4.    But in failure, we tend to evaluate.

5.    It is when we evaluate that we really learn.

 

H.   And so, first of all, failure teaches us humility. Failure also…

 

II.     Teaches Us Sympathy.

 

 

A.   Let me ask you something.

1.    When you see a brother or sister in Christ fall into some sin, what is your first tendency, as far as the flesh is concerned?

2.    If you are like me, and I’m sure you are, your first tendency is to be critical! (Amen?)

3.    Your first tendency is to…

-condemn,

-pass judgment,

-look down your pious nose at them and say, “Why, you rascal, you! How could you have done such an awful thing?”

4.    It is our nature to do that!

5.    We all have that tendency.

 

B.   But you say, “Preacher, not me! I’ve never been guilty of that. I’ve never passed judgment on anyone.”

1.    Maybe you have not knowingly done it, but I’m sure you have at least unknowingly done it.

2.    I can prove it.

3.    Let me ask you this question.

4.    Have you ever thought less of someone because of some failure on their part? (Now be honest!)

5     If you have, then you too have been guilty of what I am talking about.

6.    The truth is, we all have a tendency to at least think less of people when they fail in some way.

 

C.   Do you know what will cure that?

1.    Do you know what will make you less critical and more understanding?

2.    Do you know what will make you less judgmental and more sympathetic?

3.    Do you know what will make you less condemning and more compassionate

toward people who fail?

4.    It is for you yourself to fail!

5.    It is amazing how that changes the way we look at other people’s failures.

 

D.   This is why Paul wrote what he did in Gal. 6:1, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual (look down on him in the spirit of criticism – no, that’s not what it says) restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

1.    Notice he said, “…considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

2.    In other words, when we see our brother fall, we are to try to put ourselves in their shoes (see things from their perspective) and treat them the way we would want to be treated if the situation were reversed.

3.    If we have experienced a similar failure in our own lives, it helps us to be even more understanding toward them.

 

E.   Failure is good for us because it makes us more loving, more compassionate, more understanding human beings.

1.   It helps us to identify with others in their failures.

2.    It helps us to understand what they are feeling and what they are going through.

3.    It helps us to be able to reach out to them and to minister to them in their time of need.

 

F.    I’m not saying that we should go out and fail on purpose.

1.    That’s not what I mean at all.

2.    But what I am saying is that if you do fail, you will be able to better understand the failures of others.

3.    And that is good!

 

G.   And so, failure teaches us sympathy.

1.    I’m sure that after Peter’s fall and recovery, he was a lot more understanding of the faults and failures of others.

2.    Why? Because he had been there!

3.    Failure also…

 

III.    Teaches Us The Greatness Of God’s Grace.

 

 

A.   You know, I’m so thankful that our God is a God of grace. (Amen?)

1.    One of my favorite verses in God’s Word is Psa. 86:5 which says, “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.”

2.    I’m so thankful that God is a God of mercy and grace.

 

B.   But do you know when I am the most thankful for God’s grace?

1.    When I sin.

2.    When I fail.

3.    When I blow it! Why?

4.    Because it is then that I become really aware of the greatness of God’s grace.

 

C.   I’m sure that Peter always knew that Christ loved him.

1.    The very first time that Jesus met Peter He expressed confidence in him by telling him he would become a rock of strength and stability.

2.    Later, Jesus called him to be one of His twelve apostles.

3.    Then for a period of three years Jesus taught him in all kinds of situations.

4.    I’m sure that Peter knew from the very beginning that Christ loved him.

 

D.   But I don’t think that he understood the depths of God’s love and forgiveness until after he had denied Him.

1.    It was then that he discovered just how much Jesus really loved him.

2.    It was then that he discovered just how merciful God really was.

3.    It was then that he discovered the greatness of God’s wonderful grace.

 

E.   If failure teaches us anything, it teaches us that God’s love for us is unconditional, and no matter how bad we mess up, He still loves us and is ready to forgive us and to restore us to fellowship with Him.

 

Conclusion:

 

A.   I’m so glad that the story of Simon Peter does not end in failure.

1.    Though he did fail, his failure was not final.

2.    The Bible tells us that after Peter denied the Lord, he went out and “wept bitterly“.

3.    That was the beginning of his recovery and return.

4.    Peter went on to become the “rock” that Jesus had predicted he would become.

 

B.   No, failure doesn’t have to be final.

1.    If we will repent of our sin and sincerely seek God’s forgiveness, He will forgive us and restore us to fellowship with Him.

2.    And we can learn from our failure!

3.    We can learn…

humility.

sympathy.

the greatness of God’s grace.

4.    While we should try not to fail, we should realize that failure doesn’t have to be final.

 

C.   (Prayer & Invitation)