Jerry Locke
Series of 11 Short Studies
He Denied The Son Of God

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Series of 11 Short Studies by one of our
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FAMOUS FAILURES - Part 5 - Peter — Denied The Son Of God

Matthew 26

What is the one thing we all have in common? Failure. You know the truth is, all of the followers of Jesus are flawed! We are.

· "All we like sheep have gone astray..."

· "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God."

· "If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us..."

It was my preacher friend Darrell Sparks who told me of a man who felt a need to change the wording of his public prayer which had become so predictable. He had always prayed, "God forgive us of our short comings." One day he prayed in church, "God forgives us of our falling shorts."

In this study series so far we have looked at three Bible failures --- Adam, Moses and Jonah.

· How did Adam fail? He defied the command of God. God used a symbol—the coats of animals slain for his covering.

· How did Moses fail? He disregarded the plan of God. God used a sight - the burning bush.

· How did Jonah fail? He disobeyed the Word of God. And God used a storm to get his attention.

God wants us to profit from the experience of failure in the lives of others.

In this message we want to consider Peter, the apostle of the New Testament. Do you remember how Peter failed? In what way did he fail? You know, don't you? He denied the Son of God.

Spiritual failure is the result of a long process of spiritual mistakes. Its not an instant blowout, it's a slow leak!

Turn to Matthew 26:30-35.

1. Jesus Foretells it.

How did Jesus know this?

Because of His Sovereignty. Jesus was man of very man but at the same time God of very God. John 2:25 says He "needed not that any should testify of man; for he knew what was in man." Jesus knew beforehand of Judas' betrayal and Peter's denial because He was God.

Because of Our Sinfulness, Matthew 26:41. "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is…." What? "Weak." The possibility of evil lies sleeping in all of our hearts. It is like a coiled snake ready to strike at any moment. It is like dry kindling of a forest waiting for a spark to set it off. None of us can say that any kind of sin that others have committed is impossible for any of us.

A discussion was being made on sin in Sunday School on sins of commission and sins of omission. A boy's definition was, "Sins of commission are the ones we do and the sins of omission are the ones we didn't get around to."

There is in every heart the potential for any sin that everyone else has ever committed. And we are in our greatest danger when we think otherwise.

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

- Jealousy was in Cain's heart and he killed his brother, Abel.

- Lust was in David's heart and he committed adultery with Bathsehba.

- Greed was in Judas' heart and he betrayed our Lord for 30 pieces of silver.

I am disgusted and embarrassed by the sins of recent high-profile TV preachers. We react, "I'm not perfect, Lord, but I'll never do that." That's exactly what Peter said. I don't know how many times in counseling someone has said to me, "Preacher, I never thought I would ever do this!"

Peter couldn't believe this about himself. Peter could believe it about his disciple buddies, Matthew 26:33. Yet, Jesus said, "No, Peter. It will happen and it will happen before morning!" Matthew 26:34. Sin occurs too soon for all of us.

- Too soon after prayer. Peter was soon to be at the greatest prayer meeting of all Gethsemane yet he slept through it. Isn't it amazing that a man can get excited about even the dullest baseball game but can't stay awake in church for 10 minutes. Most failures are prayer failures.

- Too soon after attending church. They had just observed the Lord's Supper.

- Too soon after singing. Peter had just been singing and now he's sinning!

Peter declared he would rather die than deny His Lord, Matthew 26:35.

"Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the Lord I love."

Because of Satan. Jesus told Peter that he was was going to be running into Satan that night, Luke 22:31-32. "Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat." Satan is doing everything he can to shake us from Jesus. Peter was soon to be in the cross-hairs of the enemy. Let me give you some good news and some bad news.

* The good news is the devil can't lay a finger on you without God's permission. Amen! If we learn anything from Job's story it is that the power of evil is limited in time and scope.

* The bad news is the devil often gets God's permission to sift us! Oh me!

Peter did not know the forces that would be coming against him that night. He did not know how dark the darkness would be.

2. Peter Fulfills it. Matthew 26:51, 56b, 57, 69-75

Peter was among the original "red necks." He was a rough cut, hard living, take charge kind of guy. And even in the face of Jesus' prediction, Peter was living in absolute denial!

Yet, Peter did the very thing he said he would never do. The prediction of Jesus was sadly and tragically fulfilled that night.

This has happened to you, hasn't it? Just this week, maybe, you have said, "From now on . . . I'm never going to lose this feeling . . . We're not going to miss church any more." Then, a few says pass, "I've lost it."

Things got out of hand, quickly. Peter went from hero to zero, from peacock to feather-duster in one evening!

Psalm 1:1

* Peter walked with the enemy.

* Peter stood with the enemy.

* Peter sat with the enemy.

Peter's overconfidence exposed him into the very face of temptation. We often put ourselves in wrong places and with wrong people and then wonder why we fall.

What was Peter's failure? He denied the Son of God.

Denial # 1: Matthew 26:69-70. He denied his association with Jesus. He simply denied it. "No."

Denial # 2: Matthew 26:71-72. He denied his affection for Jesus. He denied it now with an oath. "I swear on a stack of Bibles."

Denial # 3: Matthew 26:73-74. He denied any association with or affection for this Jesus with a denial, an oath and swearing. This swearing was invoking of a curse upon one's self. "I'll be ****** if I know Him."

And what did God use to get Peter's attention?

* For Adam God used a symbol - a slain animal.

* For Moses God used a sight - the burning bush.

* For Jonah God used a storm to get his attention.

* For Peter God used a sound - the rooster crowed! What a powerful preacher that rooster was! Matthew 26:74b-75.

God was all over that chicken that morning!

· Peter's ears - He heard above the noise of the night.

· Peter's mind, v. 75. "Remembered." Mark 14:72 ‘Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said."

· Peter's eyes - Luke 22:61 "The Lord turned and looked upon Peter." The Lord sees us. And he saw the Lord.

· Peter's heart - Tears. "Wept bitterly." "If our eyes leak our heads won't swell."

· Peter's feet - "Went out." He left that crowd whose hearts were intent on crucifying His Lord.

Failure doesn't have to be final! Failing doesn't consist in fall down, but in staying down! There's always a second change; there' s another half to be played; there's another chapter in life to be written; victory can be snatched from the jaws of defeat. Remember, failure can become our friend when it drives us to Christ.

- Failure teaches us humility.

- Failure teaches us sympathy. More understanding, acceptance, less judgmental, condemning of others.

- Failure teaches us transparency. We're not "bullet proof." The man Jesus called "the Rock" crumbled under the pressure of temptation. All written in the gospels for our benefit.

The story of Simon Peter does not end in failure. Jesus personally met Peter after the resurrection in Galilee recalling his failure (3 questions for the 3 denials), but also rekindling his fire.

The very man who denied Jesus, 50 days later, was the very man who declared Jesus on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:41. 3,000 were saved and baptized!

In the first 12 chapters of Acts Peter is the leader of the apostolic band. He preaches, performs miracles, and is often thrown in prison --- but not once does he play the coward; not once does he run; not once does he deny the Lord.

* Peter the lamb-hearted became Peter the lionhearted.

* Our God specializes in restoring and reusing failures.

* Good news for every failure — our God is the God of the second chance.

"I need Thee, Oh, I need Thee, every hour I need Thee."

Peter's failure was not fatal. Nonetheless, Peter would advise you not to follow his path to failure.

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