INTRODUCTION: Peter a saved man, a man who walked for three years with Jesus,
a man taught and trained by the Lord Himself, a man who believed and was bold in faith, failed greatly in a time of difficulty and denied the Lord. How could that happen?
It is a fact...saved people at times and in different degrees
do fail their Lord and Savior. It would be wonderful it this
were not so....but it is so and we should address it and understand it thoroughly
that we might not fall at Satan's tempting.
I. THE BEGINNING OF THE FALL.
Satan wants to devastate us to destroy us. The
believer is open to attack by all the forces of Hell and we must be aware
of it. We must be on guard and be totally committed to doing
all we can to be faithful to the Lord that we not fail.
Peter was a good candidate for failure. He was
bold and outspoken. He deeply loved the Lord and wanted to do right.
He was one of the outstanding of the disciple along with John, James
which made up the inter circle of Christ's disciples. It was in a
position of leadership.
Satan laid devious plans to destroy him spiritually and render
him a failure, and thus branding Christ's message and ministry a failure.
Let us look at him this morning and let us understand clearly
a shocking truth. If Peter could suffer such a tragic fall, so could
Let no one here who is saved by God's Grace, say "I am safe."
Let us understand what Peter meant in his First Epistle
Chapter 5:8, "...The devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone
to devour." Peter knew that truth first hand!
This should be a stern warning to each of us!
A. Satan had long been lying in wait ready to perpetrate Peter's
fail. He had be watching and stalking Peter for some time prior
to Peter's fall.
II. PETER'S SECOND CONTRIBUTION TO HIS FAILURE AND DENIAL OF CHRIST HAPPENED
IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMENE. Matthew 26:36-46.
1. No one falls in a moment. There must
be preparation. There are always steps that lead to failure.
There are many small failures that precede a great failure such as Peter
B. Spiritual growth is always the result of a conscious cooperation
2. It must be understood that Peter's failure
was brought on him by himself.
Though Satan was behind working to defeat Peter, to have been
successful Peter must have been a collaborator.
3. Man is not made like a puppet in which various
forces act and produce certain results.
A believer does not grow and mature or backslide
as a passive pawn.
A believer does not grow in the Lord and mature
into a spiritual Christian able to be used of the Lord by having a passive
"Passiveness means submissive."
1. God wanted Peter to growth spiritually, to
live a purposeful life of accomplishing many things for Christ.
C. Peter should have borne in mind that Satan sought to destroy
him. Christ had warned him.
2. But the enemy of the children of God, the
enemy of God, Satan is inflamed by the sight of spiritual growth.....and
with increased rage he launched a brutal attack against Peter.
"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired
to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee,
that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."
D. In this atmosphere, of spiritual blessing Peter made his
first contribution to the Devil's attack.
1. Jesus also prayed for Peter. Yet Peter
2. Did you note Luke 22:32? Peter had
a task, to strengthen and be an example to the others. Satan was well
aware of Christ's purposes to use Peter.
3. Peter had walked with the Lord. Hours
earlier had spent a blessed time in the Upper room with Christ Jesus at the
But these experiences with Christ did not make
him invulnerable to Satan's attacks!
4. We should never say, "Because I have reached
this place in my spiritual life and understand many spiritual truths....I
am no longer afraid of temptation!"
On the contrary....they exposed him to the possibility
of new dangers.
Folks that is Satan's prime moment! He
waits for one to develop such and unhealthy attitude.
1. It was the spirit of spiritual pride and self
confidence that led to his fall.
E. Do you see what Peter was doing?
2. When Jesus that evening warned that
they would be tempted Peter's ego took over and he proclaimed, "Never me,
Lord." He even went so far as to say, "Lord the other disciples may
fail you, but never me!" [Matt. 26:31-35]
1. Peter was comparing himself with the other
disciples and judging himself superior!
E. The clear principle was must live by as a child of God is
expressed by Paul, "When I am weak, then I am strong." II Cor. 12:10
2. Folks this is a fatal error. There is
only one standard of comparison for the believer! That comparison
is with Jesus Christ. There is not other!!
3. Do not think you are something because you
are not as bad as someone else. The correct standard and questions
is this: "Am I like Christ Jesus my Savior."
To much the world is deceived by Satan today
to accept a different standard that the Bible gives.
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed
to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
4. It is well to note that only Peter of the
eleven disciples denied the Lord Jesus.
5. Peter separated himself from the others and
thought himself greater spiritually that they.
Peter was bold in his testimony for Christ.
He was steadfast....yet he was the one who fell.
Peter could whisper to each of us, "Be careful, my brother-my
sister, for that's how I started to that evening. I started with a
boast about my spiritual strength, and suddenly I found myself denying by
Master and Lord!"
A. All the disciples had come to the garden together except
Judas who was busy arranging the betrayal.
III. THE THIRD STEP TOOK PLACE ON THE ROAD TO THE HIGH PRIEST'S HOUSE WHERE
THEY TOOK JESUS.
1. Jesus then selected three of the men and went to a remote corner of the garden. Peter was among them.
B. The believer who does not follow the Lord's command and
example is in grave danger.
2. They were the closest to the Lord. In Christ's hour of great need as He agonized over the coming Cross, he asked them to be with Him.
3. He prayed in earnest to the Father, as they slept.
He was kind and understanding. He said, "the spirit is willing but
the flesh is weak."
1. The flesh is weak, yet Christ had told them
to pray. They gave in the flesh and went to sleep. Folks our
physical bodies can lead us to fail. It can happen when we are tried.
When we are under pressure. When some hurts us.
C. We can neglect prayer, the study of God's word, a time of
worship, obedience in faithfulness we will most likely live a defeated and
2. Would Jesus have ask them something that was
beyond their ability to do? Surely not!
3. They could have but did not. Peter needed
prayer, Jesus knew it and told him...but Peter refused.
4. In a few short hours Peter would need the
strength that prayer would have given him, yet when the hour came Peter was
1. We can proclaim, but I am a child of God...God
will protect me!!
2. But dear friend, the way God protects is in
giving us prayer, His word, principles to life by. Strength comes
in doing, in following, in experiencing and by this learning and receiving
the strength of God.
3. You must appropriate the power of God.
If you do not do as Christ says the power is not available to you
4. Too many professing Christians put everything
before the Lord. Colossians 1:18 says that in all things Christ might
have the preeminence....yet for many serving the Lord is a matter of
Sunday is the Lord's day for Christians to worship, but like
rebellious Israel many often cannot take the time to give the Lord one day of the
seven He gives us. Israel had a rebellious heart and would not obey
the Lord. One symptom was they would not keep the Sabbatical
years. God said to set aside the land every seven years. He
said in the six year the harvest would be bountiful and enough for the seven
year. Israel could not see it. There was money to be made, there
were things to do, they could not obey the Lord. Can we not see that
this was a test of their truth faithfulness to the Lord. They failed
and spent 70 years in captivity because of it.
What is the price of our unfaithfulness?
What is the result in our lives of putting things before God? Failure
to live righteous lives....which simply means doing what is right and best
pays bitter dues. Failure is no fun dear friend.
A. Peter started out unprepared. Pride, lack of prayer,
lack of faithfulness and commitment to the Lord set the stage for Peter's
denial of Christ and for his great fall.
IV. THE FOURTH STEP, THE FAILURE ITSELF, WHICH WAS ALMOST UNAVOIDABLE.
1. Matt. 26:58, states that Peter follow the
Lord, but at a distance.
ILLUS: When we built the church at Beaver, Pastor Shahn Wilburn, of Riverview Baptist Church in Ripplemead, Virginia brought 16
men to helps us. I visited the church later and most of the men greeted us and we had a great reunion. However, one man was missing. He had worked hard and we had become friends. He outwardly appeared to be a strong Christian. I has where he was and could tell there was a problem. The Pastor told me he have begun
to unfaithful to church. Then slowly more and more things happened
and he finally quit attending. His friends all prayed for him, but he continued
to withdraw. In two years he was divorced, his family in a mess and
he was in sin and his life in shambles.
How many believers follow the Lord at a distance?
Would it not be better to be by His side? Yet, often
when difficulty comes we back off in a lack of faith.
2. This was the same man who proclaimed, "others
may deny you but I never will." Peter had said that he would
follow the Lord even to death, I will not be absent from you side.
Paul speaking to the Galatians said, "Ye did run well; who
did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?" Do
you note that the verse says the once were faithful and doing well, but now
they were not obeying the truth. That is the way is always happens.
3. Yet, here Peter was following, but at a distance.
4. How sad so many believers, choose to follow
Jesus "at a distance". No they do not leave Christ, they can not break
the relationship, yet they take precautions to maintain a safe distance,
least they be called on to sacrificially serve the Lord.
5. To follow Christ puts the believer at many
times in opposition to the sinful world around them. The world hates
Jesus. They hate truth. They do not look favorable on those who
would live for Christ and stand for truth.
Christians know this......thus many want the blessing of eternal
life....but are not comfortable getting to close to the Lord.
They cannot seem to surrender to Him completely and for what ever reasons
will not get too close.
The reasons they do not want Him too close is because it exposes
their unfaithfulness to the Lord. Their sins come between them
and the Lord and therefore the are most miserable of people. Not comfortable
in the world, not comfortable close to the Savior.
6. Mark 14:54 says that Peter warmed himself
at the fire in the court yard. How that is a picture of so many
today. Making themselves comfortable while the evil world judges
Christ and tries to destroy Him.
Many to a degree remain close to the world and they are looking
back at it not wanting to lose all its worldly and destructive pleasures.
A. Peter made his final contribution to his denial of Christ
by telling a lie.
1. One part of the lie was he told the servant
girl who if he was a not a disciple of Christ. He was!
B. Inside the Son of Man was being judged by sinful and
wicked men, outside in the court yard, a terrorized voice could loudly be
heard swearing that he did not even know who Jesus was.
2. Peter's second lie was being outside by the
fire he was with the enemies of the Lord, and he tried as best he could to
act as if what was going on inside did not matter to him. It did!
1. Peter had cooperated with Satan so well, so
diligently that he made his own fall almost unavoidable!
2. Soon the rooster crowed and it was over.
He had denied the one who loved him and would soon died for his sins.
3. As the first maid asked him if he was
with Christ he could have stopped, he could have repented and been the faithful
servant of God he had claimed to be....but he did not.
4. The second maid asks him the same question
and again he has a chance to turn from his sin....yet he does not.
The third time, Peter angrily cursed and swore denying that
he knew Christ. Those there knew the truth....they said his speech
betrayed him. You can not live with the Son of God three years and
not have a change in your speech.
Luke 22:61 states that at the moment that Peter denied the
Lord, Jesus turned and looked at him. Peter then went outside and wept bitterly.
The awful hurt and bitterness that he felt as he fully realized
what he had done.
1. Peter's tears were tears of repentance. Peter knew
how terrible he had failed... He did not try to hide it, or deny it...he
was guilty and he repented for his great sin.
I'm happy this message does not end here! I'm happy
the story is not over because failure need not be the end for the believer
who would repent.
I am amazed at the love of God. We fail Him, yet His
love for us is not swayed and He remains true to us. Even when we
give up He never does. He remains faithful and will not forsake us.
He stands ready with open arms, with scolding, ready to forgive and
restore us to a close relationship with Himself. That is our Almighty
God and Savior.....what a wonder He is!
2. Is it not interesting that after Jesus arose from
the Grave, He visited Peter. Yet, even this visit did not keep Peter
3. A second time Christ came to Peter, as Peter again had failed
and gone back to fishing. (John 21:14-19).
Jesus appeared to Peter and three times instructed him, Feed
by lambs, Feed my sheep. (John 21:14) Why did he tell Peter
to go and feed His sheep? Peter was a failure wasn't he. He
certainly deserved no ministry from the Lord. Yet, Christ told him...feed
4. God forgave Peter the most serious and great denial.
He loved Peter and mighty used Peter. He had a will for Peter's life.
In Peter's great failure....Christ was magnified. Peter's first
sermon, 3000 souls were saved.
Later, God used him to heal the sick. and He continued from
then on faithful to the Lord. Peter did die and he was
martyred being hung on a cross upside down. With God's help
Peter overcame the problems and was faithful to the Lord even to death.
5. This morning my friend....where are you? Is it possible
that you are by the way you are living setting yourself up for a great fall.
Is there pride in you heart...do you think you are above failure...do
you consider yourself spiritual.
Do you fail to pray and spend time with Him...oh if so you
are on a precarious road that may end in a great failure.
Do you think more highly of yourself that you ought to?
Do you look at others and see yourself as more spiritual and deserving than
Do you follow Christ a far off?? Not close enough to
be by his side. Are you not fully committed to Him.
You may have already fallen...you may have denied your Lord.
Folks God will forgive. Turn this day, the moment from
your course set for you by Satan who would destroy you in a second.
Will you? God awaits your answer. He waits
to see your tears of repentance.
If you liked the message and would like to see sermons posted regularly would you let be know? I would like to hear from you. Please click the button below. Thanks
Return to Sermons Page
Return to Bible Truth Home Page