Jerry Locke
Series of 11 Short Articles

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4445 Hodgkins Rd. Fort Worth, TX 76135
Series of 11 Short Articles by one of our
outstanding Independent Baptist
Preachers, Pastor Jerry Locke
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FAMOUS FAILURES - Part 1 - Introduction

Jeremiah 18:1-6

We love to hear and read about success stories. In a world of self– seeking, self-centeredness and self-glorification we all want to succeed. We would get more respect, more recognition, more rewards if we only succeeded.

The baseball players who bat .400 over an entire season are in a class of their own, but it still means they went hitless six out of ten times. Babe Ruth, the famed home run hitter, was also the strike out king.

Personally, I'd like to hear more stories about failures like me. The Bible is full of them. Most of the real heroes of the Bible are in many ways and on many occasions un-heroic, but they are still my heroes. I need some failures to look up to now and then.

1. Failure is a Reality.

There are several encouraging Scriptures which proclaim our victory: 1 John 4:4; Romans 8:37; 2 Corinthians 2:14; Philippians 4:13.

Reality? The path to ultimate victory may include an occasion bloody nose.

· We do not all have the same background.

· We are not all the same age. Two elderly men went shopping at the mall. After a while one of the men said, "Forgive me, but I've forgotten your name. Could you tell me?" The other man looked a little puzzled and replied, "Well, how soon do you need to know?"

· We are not all the same size.

· We do not all have the same interest.

The one thing we all have in common is failure!

All of us have a personal history of failure. We have failed. We have failed God ... our parents ... our spouses .. .our children ... our friends ... our church. As someone said, "In the game of life it is a good idea to have a few early losses, which relieves you of the pressure of trying to maintain an undefeated season." For most of us losses are a strategy—they're a reality!

Psalm 37:23-24.

· "Steps"

· "Fall"

Jacob Rabinow, an inventor who holds more than two hundred patents, teaches that we need three things in order to invent. First, we need information – a tremendous amount of information. Second, we need motivation – the motivation to work with the information, to play with the information, to take it apart and put it back together, to use what is there to create something entirely new. Third, we need a very large wastebasket! In order to invent we have to be prepared to produce a lot of trash. We need to be willing to fail over and over and over. Big Failure. And, with grace, Big Failure just might open the door to Big Success. Big Failure just might open the door to Living Large.

Thomas Edison conducted more than 10,000 experiments before he arrived at the invention of the light bulb – 10, 000 experiments! In the midst of those experiments, with no light bulb in sight, Mr. Edison was interviewed by a journalist, who asked him why he persisted, with nothing but failure to show for his efforts. Here is his response: "Young man, you don't understand. I have not failed at all. I have successfully identified 5,000 ways that will not work. That just puts me 5,000 ways closer to finding the way that will work."

Every one of us has experienced failure. In fact, there's only ever been one perfect person on the planet . . . and we killed Him.

2. Failure is Regrettable.

All of us have the painful heartache of failure. And, oh, how our failures hurt. Some hurt is just for a moment. Some of the heartache is for a lifetime. In each of us beats a heart that aches because of failure. We have read all the how-to-be-a-success books, attended the seminars, tried positive thinking

Some come to church feeling mighty low. They don't come to church because everything is right and have all the answers. They come to church because everything is wrong and they hope to resolve some of their questions.

In fact, some people show up at church with the idea that if something doesn't happen . . . soon . . . they are quitting.

Why does failure wear on us? "Failures take on a life of their own because the brain remembers incomplete tasks or failures longer than any success or completed activity . . . When a project or a thought is completed, the brain places it in a special memory. The brain no longer gives the project priority… But failures have no closure. The brain continues to spin the memory, trying to come up with ways to fix the mess." ~ Perry Buffington, psychologist and author in Forgive or Forget

Before you do something drastic, I want to share with you some good news.

3. Failure is Reversible.

Failure does not need to be final; it does not need to be fatal.

The good news is that our God is the God of the second chance! God specializes in restoring and reusing failures. In fact, those who experience the agony of defeat are often the very ones God uses to eventually to experience the thrill of victory.

Into our history and heartache we have hope!

· Will God truly forgive?

· Will there still be consequences to suffer?

· Can I find a positive way to look at my life when I've seen it damaged by so many negative things?

· Can my detour lead me back to the main road?

· Is it ever too late?

· Do I have to fail in order to succeed?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, no & yes, no!

Will God truly forgive? Yes. Erwin Lutzer says, "Since God had people like us in mind when Christ died, God's grace is adequate to make the best of any situation. Successful people are those who apply God's remedy for failure." 1 John 1:9 is absolutely and unalterably true.

Will there still be consequences to suffer? Yes. Although God freely and fully forgives our sins, He does not stop the consequences of our sins and mistakes.

- God will forgive us for being irresponsible stewards, but we will still have to pay the Visa bill.

- God will forgive us if we go out and get drunk and stick our hand through a glass door and get it cut off, but He won't sprout us a new arm.

- God will forgive you for your failure in marriage, but you will still have to pay child support until your kid is 18.

The law of sowing and reaping is not suspended by God's forgiveness. Many of us bear the scars of sins God has forgiven.

Can I find a positive way to look at my life when I've seen it damaged by so many negative things?


Here's a letter from a co-ed to her parents:

Dear Mom and Dad:

Just thought I'd drop you a note to clue you in on my plans. I've fallen in love with a guy called Jim. He quit high school after grade 11 to get married. About a year ago he got a divorce.

We've been seeing each other for a couple of months and we plan to get married this fall. Until then, I've decided to move into his apartment. I think I might be pregnant.

At any rate, I dropped out of school last week. I couldn't stand the distraction it was to our relationship. Maybe I'll go back to college someday.

On the next page, the letter continued. Mom and Dad, I just want you to know that everything I've written so far in this letter is false. NONE of it is true.

But, Mom and Dad, it IS true that I got a C – in French and flunked Math . . . It IS true that I'm going to need some more money for my tuition payments.

This girl made her point! Even bad news can sound like good news if it is seen from a different perspective. Success and failure are relative: their meaning depends on the standard of comparison we use. When you're flat on your face, a molehill really does look like a mountain.

Can my detour lead me back to the main road? Yes. The doorway of success is often entered through the hallway of failure. Our sins are powerful reminders of our need for God. The Prodigal Son came back to his father for good by way of a detour to a far country. Chuck Colson was sent to prison for his part in the Watergate scandal, but while is prison he came to know Christ and now heads a large ministry to prisoners.

Is it ever too late? No & yes. There us a "sin unto death," 1 John 5:16.

Do I have to fail in order to succeed? No. It means we must see our own sinfulness, our potential for failure, and yield ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Only those who see themselves as utterly destitute can fully appreciate the grace and power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:18-29.

A few noble, wise, and gifted are called. But they are the exceptions. God usually chooses the weak, the ordinary, and the despised.

Failure Focus. Before we begin our study of individuals who were famous failures, let's get our vision in focus first. What do we need to keep in mind as we look into these people and their shortcomings?


· 1 Corinthians 10:12 "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."


· Galatians 6:1 "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the gift of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."


· Proverbs 24:16 "The just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again."

· The Scottish preacher, Alexander Whyte, said of saints, "they fall down, they get up, they fall down, they get up...all the way to heaven."

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