I Failed! Now What?
|John 21 (NKJV™)|
|15||So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs."|
|16||He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My sheep."|
|17||He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep.|
|18||"Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish."|
|19||This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me."|
New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.
One of life's harshest realities is failure. The very sound of the word seems harsh to our sensibilities. We even harbor the age-old axiom, "Failure is not an option!" But failure is an option; in fact, it's a certainty. But discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping-stones to victory. In a post-resurrection interview, Jesus restores Peter with a fresh commission. If you have failed in your spiritual experience (and who hasn't), these principles will inspire.
"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" John 20:31.
Believe:879 is an epic journey through the book of John led by Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary of Albuquerque. As we explore each of the 879 verses of this gospel, we'll grow in grace and in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. From His pre-incarnate existence, to His public ministry, through His death and His resurrection we'll traverse familiar territory and embark on new adventures of faith.
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Greek terms: ἀγαπάω; agapaó - love of total commitment; Φιλέω; phileó - regard with affection
Publications referenced: The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan
Figures referenced: Chuck Colson; C. H. Spurgeon; Eusibius
Cross references: Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 4:19; Matthew 10:38; Matthew 26:35; Acts 12:6; Luke 22:33; Luke 24:34; John 13:38; John 15:5; Acts 15; 1 Corinthians 15:5-6; James 3:2; 1 Peter 1:8
Keywords: Peter, restoration, failure, fail, love
Let's pray. Father, we do thank You that you have spoken clearly through the scriptures that we have seen to be trustworthy and come from You. Of all the people, Lord, in the Bible that we relate to and there are a lot of them, perhaps Peter is the number one candidate. We see so much of ourselves in Peter's words and his actions and I am so thankful for that brother, and one day we will be able to stroll the streets of glory with him and talk to him. But until then, we have the record of what he went through and how You, Lord, restored him. I pray, Father, that we would take great courage from it and encouragement in it. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Would you turn to the screen for just a moment? Let me show you a restored 1957 Chevy. See all the guys starting right now to salivate just a little bit. That is a classic. That's a 1957 Chevy Bel Air. It doesn't get anymore classic than that. Next is a restored 1942 Harley-Davidson Flathead that still runs -- all restored. Next is a 1955 restored human being. I don't know if it's a classic yet but maybe it's old enough to qualify.
You know, there's something wonderful about seeing an old car or an old bike that has been wrecked and worn and is in failure get restored. In fact, to see a restored vehicle is sometimes even better than a new car. To think where it has been, what it has seen, what it has gone through and once marginalized and put off to the sideline then rescued, restored, brought back to its original luster, maybe even greater than that. There's just something wonderful about that and inspiring about that. And people, like vehicles, can get wrecked and need to be restored because people like vehicles fail. We all do.
In fact, it's been said by researchers that one of human being's greatest fears in life is the fear of failure. And dream analysts tell us that the most common dream are anxiety dreams, where there is an event where failure is possible -- a job interview you're going to face, a speech you have to give, a test you have to take. And because you're facing that, there is anxiety that comes with it because you're afraid that you might fail and yet, failure has been a part of our lives since we were on this earth to begin with.
Think about it, the first time you learned how to walk, did you fall? Who didn't? You failed at that. The first time you plunged into a swimming pool, you perhaps almost drowned. You weren't perfect. The very first ball that was thrown your way that you had to hit, you probably didn't hit it. Did you ace every test you've ever took in life? Did you get straight A's in every class throughout your educational career? No, probably not. If you did, nobody liked you, right?
Have you ever let someone down -- a spouse, a boss, a teammate? And when failure happens, how do you feel? You feel pretty rotten, don't you? You feel broken inside. James said we all stumble in many ways and though the Bible says that we fail, it doesn't take the sting away. Now, for the apostle Peter who failed the Lord one night, three times, denying the Lord, he was at a low point. He is with a spiritual failure. He denied that he even knew Jesus Christ.
I struggled before with spiritual failure. I remember after my brother died on a motorcycle, I somehow felt that I failed the Lord and failed my brother that I didn't win him to Christ, that I didn't do enough, that I didn't say enough, that I didn't act enough and that haunted me for months afterwards. Now for Peter, his failure became the fulcrum of his victory. That is what he learns from failure, he goes on to become very, very victorious and successful. Peter is the one who preaches on Pentecost and thousands of people come forward.
Peter is the one that opened the door to Cornelius, the Gentile and the Gospel goes into that realm. Peter is the one who helped superintend the spread of the Gospel north into Antioch of Syria. Peter is the one who enacts the 15 addresses at the council of Jerusalem. So for a guy who failed and denied the Lord, something happened to him to make him become very, very prominent in the Book of Acts. He learned from his failure.
Chuck Colson who went to heaven just a few days ago wrote these words, "The real legacy of my life was my biggest failure -- that I was an ex-convict. My greatest humiliation -- being sent to prison -- was the beginning of God's greatest use of my life. He chose the one experience in which I could not glory and used it for his glory." This is a message I'm calling, "I failed, now what?" And these are the elements of being restored. What does it mean to be restored with the Lord?
Peter denied the Lord over a fire. Jesus restores Peter over a fire that he built on the shores of Galilee. Now, what you and I are about to read is a conversation between two people, Jesus and Peter. They're the only ones doing the dialogue. They're the only ones engaging in the conversation and yet, there are other disciples around Peter looking over his shoulders so to speak and here we are. We get the advantage of being able to eavesdrop on a conversation peering over Peter's shoulder as it were and find out what happened and what now?
So we're going to look at three elements that Jesus restores us too if we have fallen. And the first is to love Christ supremely. That's what he would want to restore to us, our love for him. Verse 15, so when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord. You know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord. You know I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know all things and you know that I love you." And Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep."
Here's a question I have. Why did Jesus have this conversation with Peter as others were listening? Why not privately? This sounds like the kind of conversation you have with somebody one on one, not where people are watching or listening. Well, number one, we believe that it has already happened, that there has been a private meeting with Peter before this event. And that is because in Luke 24, the message was, "The Lord has risen indeed and has appeared to Peter." That happened before this event. And that became an established fact in the Church. So that when Paul writes to the Corinthians years later and he gives a synopsis of what we know, he said, "Jesus Christ died according to the scriptures, was buried and rose again according to the scriptures and has appeared to Peter and then to the 12."
So we believed that there was a private meeting between Peter and Jesus before this public meeting and probably, presumably, they hatched this out. So why does he bring it up again then or why does he deal with it publicly? Well here is the second reason. The first, it's already been done privately. The second is how did Peter deny Jesus? Publicly, he did it publicly. He did it as people were watching. So the Lord allows Peter to confess and be restored publicly.
Listen to this, Charles Spurgeon said, "A man's repentance must be as notorious as his sin." And since it was public denial, it requires public confession and public restoration. Now, you'll notice in Verse 15, 16 and 17, there are three questions or really the same question asked three times. And if you look a little more carefully, you'll notice there is three parts to each question. There is the question itself, followed by the reaction of Peter, followed by the commission of Jesus.
"Peter, do you love me?" "Yes." "Feed or tend my sheep or my lambs." Now, notice he calls him Simon, son of Jonah. He doesn't say Peter but Simon, son of Jonah. Now that itself must have hurt Peter because the word Simon is the old name before he met Jesus. Jesus changed his name to Peter which means a small stone, see he's a small stone. Now Peter spent his whole life trying to proof that he was a massive rock, a mountain of a man instead of a little pebble and that was part of Peter's problem. And to remind Peter of who he really was, he calls him Simon, son of Jonah.
You see, Peter needed to learn something that he hadn't learned until he failed and that was what Jesus said to the disciples, "Without me, you can do what? Nothing." I don't know how many here believe that. There are a few things I can do without him. I live my life everyday without him. That's part of the problem. You're so self-assured and so self-sufficient. And as somebody once said, "He who looks up and admires his own halo gets nothing more than a pain in the neck." And Peter could be a pain in the neck sometimes, always assuring the Lord that he was better than the others.
Now, look at the question. "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?" What does that mean? What are these? What is he referring to? Let me give you three options and I'll let you choose. Option number one, Jesus was looking around at the boats, the nets, the fish, the lake and saying, "Peter, do you love me more than these, this stuff, the fish, the boats, the nets, the lake, your profession, your chosen career? Are you willing to give it all up? Are you wiling to let it go and lose that? Do you really love me more than you love your occupation?" That's one possibility.
Another possibility is the word "these" refers to the disciples and it could be stated, "Peter, do you love me more than you love these friends of yours?" No, I don't think he meant that. Because loving the other disciples more than Jesus was never a problem for Peter. There has never a time where Peter said, "Do I love Thomas more or Jesus more?" I mean these guys argued a lot, am I right? So he probably didn't mean when he said "these" that, "Do you love me more than you love these?
Here's the third option and I leaned to this personally. "Peter, do you love me more than these others love me? Is your love for me greater than the love of all of these other guys for me?" And the reason I believed that is what it means is because that is exactly what Peter bragged about. That he loved Jesus more than these guys because when our Lord promised that everyone of his disciples were going to fail that night and were going to flounder and flee away, Peter said basically, "Well they might but I won't. All of these maybe made to stumble because of thee but surely not I." "I'm willing," he said, to go to prison even to death. And in fact, he is saying, "I love you more than they do."
So three times he says, "Peter do you love me?" "Yes Lord." "Peter do you love me?" "Yes Lord." "Peter do you love me?" Why three times? Because Jesus was denied by Peter how many times? Three times as Jesus predicted. You're going to deny me three times this night. So the Lord was so gracious to allow Peter three times just like he denied him to affirm his love for him. Listen, anybody can fail. Everybody will fail. The issue becomes what do you do now that you have failed? Once yo have fallen, where do you go from here? I failed, so now what? What do you learn from it? How will you use that as a spring board rather than an anchor?
I have always loved the story about the little boy who fancied himself a baseball player and he went to the backyard one day and -- do you remember this guy where you just -- it's you and yourself and you throw the ball up and you try to hit it? So he got out there with his baseball and his bat and he stood there and he announced. Nobody was there to listen to him but he announced, "I'm the greatest batter in the world." He threw up the ball and swung and missed it and said, "Strike one." He then reached down and got some dirt and spit on his hand like the pro's do. He grabbed the ball again and tried it the second time and he shouted, "I'm the greatest batter in the world." Threw it up, swung, missed it and said, "Strike two."
Well he knew he had one more chance so, he took his time on this last one and announced again with a great confidence, "I am the greatest batter in the world." Threw up the ball, swung, strike three, then he paused for a moment and he got a big smile on his face and he said, "Well, what do you know, I am the greatest pitcher in the world." It's a good way to look at it. I can't hit the side of a barn door, I must be great pitcher. I've denied the Lord three times and I come to that point of failure. So what is next?
Now, notice the question is not, "Peter, do you know me?" Because he denied that he even knew the Lord but that's not the question. It's not, "Peter, do you have the right intellectual doctrinal theological stands about who I am?" That's not the question. Neither did he say, "Peter, will you work hard for me?" The issue is the issue of love. The issue is being honest about how much you love the Lord because that's where you begin. The Lord wants your heart before he wants anything else. Once the Lord has your heart, he will have your mind, he will have your hands, he will have the rest of you but he is always after your heart. That's why the Bible says, "Keep your heart with all diligence for out of your heart proceed the very issues of life."
So he says, "Do you love me?" Notice the reaction. "Yes Lord, you know that I love you." Now, there are some interesting word play that you do not get from reading this in English that I need to tell you about that's in the original language. In Greek, there are several words for love. Two of them are used here. There is the word "agape" or "agapao" and when Jesus asked the question, "Peter, do you love me?" He uses that word "agapao," agape love. That's the highest form of love. That's the love of the will. That's the love of total commitment. Let's call that for today's sermon's sake, 100% love, super duper love. "Peter, do you 100% super duper love me?" That's the question. And Peter answered him and said, "Yes Lord, you know that I love you."
Now when Peter used the word love, he used a totally different word. And this is what you have to realize. The word wasn't "agapao," it was "phileo" which means I have a fondness for you, I have an affection for you, I have a friendship for you. So this is how it goes, "Peter, do you with a total commitment, 100%, super duper love, love me?" And Peter said, "Well, Lord, you know I like you a lot." And he is being very honest. He can't say, "Of course Lord, you know that I agape you. I love you with a super duper love." because that would be a lie. He just proved by his actions and his denial that he didn't. "Lord, do you know that I am fond of you?"
So that happens twice, "Do you agape me?" "I phileo you." "Do you agape me?" "I phileo you." Now look at the third question, Verse 17, Simon, son of Jonah, now there's a change in vocabulary. Jesus does not use the highest form of love agapao, he now descends to Peter's word, phileo. And he says in the fact, "Peter or Simon, son of Jonah, are you fond of me? Do you like me? Is there an affection for me?" I mean even the safe kind of love that you are now claiming is even that true and I think that broke Peter's heart because he wasn't sure.
And here's what I love about Peter, he appeals to Jesus' knowledge. He says, "Lord, you know, you know. I can't pull the wool over your eyes. You know that I like you." In the second time, "You know that I like you." And then the third time, grieved in his heart because Jesus said, "Are you fond of me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things and you know that I'm fond of you." This signifies a real change in Peter, a good change. "You know me, I'll be honest." You know why that's a change? Because before, in a fact, Peter was saying to Jesus, "You really don't know me." Because when our Lord announced, "You are all going to be made to stumble tonight because of me. Peter said, "Oh no, they might but I will not. I will die for you."
So, what was he saying to Jesus effectively? He was saying "Jesus, you don't know me because if you really knew me you wouldn't say that about me." He is not saying that anymore. He is saying, "You know all things and you know that I like you. You know that I am fond of you. So I'll be honest." And that's what God wants. God wants for us to make an honest evaluation of ourselves before God. I think if God were to ask you "Do you love me?" You would have to honestly say, "I like you, a lot. I'm fond of you. Because as I look at that course of my life and my thought and my actions and my commitment, it doesn't show that I have a 100% super duper love for you. So, I'll admit I like you a lot."
And Jesus might even say "Really? Is that even true? Are you fond of me?" But whatever it is, he wants us to honestly -- and we're not really good at honesty. We're especially not good with each other. In fact, I think the church is the worst place. You get out of your car in the parking lot you see someone, "How are you?" And they say, "Great." It might not be true. You see somebody else walking in "How are you doing?" "Fine." It may not be true. You sit next to somebody "How are you doing?" "Great, awesome." Maybe a lie.
The reality might be she has three kids at home. She's just struggling everyday to get by, this is so hard. The reality might be he just lost his job. He has no idea how his going to make the payment this month. The reality might be that person feels so far from God, so removed, so isolated, so lonely but we say "Doing great". There's one place where honesty should prevail a bit more. It got to be around God's people.
Listen, the church is not a museum for Saints it's a hospital for sinners. There are people saying, "I'm pretty beat up today. Would you just pray for me or give me a word of encouragement?" That's honesty and Peter has to learn that. And so, Jesus gives him a commission three times. This is the beauty of it. Peter is honest, "I sure like you a lot." You know what? Jesus didn't say "Well Peter, if it's not a 100% then I'm done with you. Thomas, come here let's try you now."
It's as if he says, "I can deal with just that 75% love. You like me, you're fond me, great. I have a job for you to do. Tend, feed my flock." That's so -- what encouragement to a fallen leader to hear these words "I'm not done with you". In fact, "Peter, you love me a lot less than you thought you did? Okay, now you're honest. Now I'm going to entrust to you what is most valuable and precious to me and that is my flock for whom I shed my blood and I want you to pastor them, to shepherd them, feed them and tend them."
And I'll tell what that would do for Peter like for any of us. It would birth within us and within him a love for Christ supremely. His love for Jesus would grow and if you're ever wondering, did Peter ever make it to that 100% of agape love? Yes, he did. Read his two letters in the New Testament. In one verse in particular where he said concerning Jesus whom having not seen yet we agape, love fervently.
So on number one, he would restore us to this, love Christ supremely. Number two, serve Christ unswervingly. Look at Verse 18. "Most assuredly" Jesus said, every time he says that it's like "Listen up this is reality for you. Most assuredly I say to you when you were younger, you girded yourself that is you got dressed and you walked where you wish. You did whatever you wanted. But when you're old, you Peter will stretch out your hands and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish."
Now, Jesus has spent a few verses talking about Peter's life. Now, he addresses Peter's death, his martyrdom. And the term for stretch out was a common Greek phrase that meant crucifixion to be stretched out the hands and the feet to be crucified on a cross. In fact, Jesus is predicting Peter's death by crucifixion. I think you're sort of stretching that verbally? No, look at the next verse, Verse 19. This he spoke signifying by what death he would glorify God.
According to history and in particular the church historian Eusebius tells us that Peter lived his life and in the end he was bound, girded, they took him to Rome to be crucified. They stretched him out on a cross and before he died he said, "I have last request and that is that you crucify me upside down. I am not worthy to be crucified like my Lord". And that is how he died.
So what Jesus was in the fact saying is, "Petter, when you were young you did whatever you wanted but when you're old they're going to take you out like they did to me and they're going to kill you by crucifixion." I know, some of you are thinking "You call this a restoration? What are the good parts here? That sound so depressing to tell somebody not only they're going to die but how they're going to die."
Well, if you think that, you misunderstand this. This was not depressing for Peter. This would be encouraging for Peter. You go "How would it be encouraging?" Well number one, because Peter once bragged that he would die for Jesus. "I will go to prison and even death for you". "Really? Because when the pressure was on Peter you couldn't live for me, let alone die for me." And after that failure, I bet Peter thought, "Lord, if I could only get a second chance." And Jesus said, "You'll not only get a second chance, you'll be successful. You'll be victorious. You will stand for me when the heat is on and be victorious".
Number two, it proves something else. It proves that Peter isn't going to die when he's young. He's going to live a life until he's old. Notice he says, "When you are old." In the book Acts Chapter 12, it's a fascinating -- you don't have to turn there -- it's a fascinating story about Peter. He is arrested. James, his buddy is arrested and they cut James' head off. They behead him. Herod sees that it pleases the Jews so he plans to kill Peter but what is odd about the text it says, "So Peter at that night was fast asleep chained between two soldiers."
You know why that's weird? Is if you knew you were going to die the next day probably the last thing you would be able to do is sleep. I mean some of you can't sleep when you know you're going to live the next day. If you think my head's on the line, I'm going to die tomorrow, you're going to be awake. Not Peter, he is sleeping probably snoring. He is fast asleep, chained between two soldiers.
Question. How do you fall asleep thinking you're going to die? Peter didn't think he was going to die. Jesus made a promise, "When you are old." So Peter went to sleep that night thinking, "I have years to live. I'm going to get out of this somehow." Jesus said, "When I'm old this is going to happen and I'm still young." And history shows that for the next three decades Peter served the Lord faithfully. And really that's the idea here. "Peter you're going to die for me which means, you would have lived for me faithfully, unswervingly which will cause you to get arrested and will cause you to have to die for me."
So for Peter this was very encouraging because though he knew he was facing crucifixion one day when he's older. He knew that he would never deny the Lord again like he had once before and that brought great hope to him.
I've told you before about Pilgrim's Progress and that it's a book that I recommend everybody to read at least once. I started to read it again a couple of weeks back. There's a scene in the book where Christian the main character comes to the house of somebody called "Interpreter". And Interpreter takes him inside and shows him a fire burning against the wall, really in a fireplace that serves two rooms. One in each side, open on both sides. And the fire is burning, a wall is separating the two rooms and on one side in one room is a man with a picture water, pouring water on the fire and always pouring water on the fire. The fire of the flames gets brighter and hotter and bigger. And Christian doesn't know what it means to the Interpreter says, "This man with the water is the devil. Now let me show you why the fire doesn't go out."
And he took him to the next room on the other of that wall and there was a man secretly pouring oil on the fire. And Interpreter said to Christian, "That man is Christ and with the oil of the Holy Spirit he continually maintains the work already began in the hearts of his people."
So here's the truth. When you come to Jesus in love and you love him at whatever level you are honestly before him and you're saying, "I love you this much," when you're honest about it and you love him. He'll give you the strength and the power to serve him. That's what he does for Peter. There's a truth I want to just touch on before we go to the third and closing point.
When you come to Christ, you do something that isn't often discussed. You surrender your life. When you come to Christ you are saying I surrender my own control and I am willing to be controlled by an alien will. That's commitment. And Jesus said, "He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me." So that potentially you surrendering your life to Christ may cause you to have to pay the ultimate price. Perhaps not in this country but I will say this, persecution isn't just coming, it's here and it's going to be increasing.
Have you ever thought about the Great Commission? You know what the Great Commission is, right? "Go into all the world." Did you notice that Jesus never said anything about returning? He just said, "Go". He didn't say, "Go and then you'll come back and be furloughed and you'll retire." He just said, "Go. Go." That's the commission. And actually here's what I want to get across.
Actually, when a person settles the issue of death, he's ready to live. You see if you know and you live with this, I know that when I die I know unequivocally I'm going to be in God's presence. I'll be in heaven forever. Boy, it caused you to live a little more courageously, a little more boldly, a little more without fear because if you know after this is heaven you'll live differently.
So, you want to get ready to live? Be ready to die. And so Peter is now ready to live because Jesus said, "Here's the end game and it looks pretty good. So now he's ready to live."
So love Christ supremely, serve Christ unswervingly and third in this restoration, follow Christ continually. Verse 19, that's the last verse we'll cover today. This he spoke signifying by what death he would glorify God and when he had spoken this, he said to him, "Follow me." Now I can just see a little smile appearing on Peter's face when Jesus said, "Follow me."
This is a memory trigger. You know what a memory trigger is, right? You heard a song and you're immediately transported back to the first time you heard that song, where you were, what you were doing, right? Or you smell something cooking and that transports you back to your mother's kitchen for good or bad. Those are memory triggers. This was one of the earliest things Peter ever heard Jesus say to him at the shores of the same lake Jesus said to Peter and the other disciples, "Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men."
And now Jesus in the fact says the same thing "Follow me. I will make you become shepherd of sheep, tend my sheep, feed my lambs. Peter, you're going to start all over again follow me. You fell down. I'm going to take you right back to where we began, follow me. Be my disciple." And the word follow is in the present tense. It means continually, actively, perpetually follow me. Don't start, stop, start, stop, rededicate, stop, rededicate, stop. Just follow me perpetually, continually. That's what I want to restore you to. Well Peter, it's like it was before. "I want to give you a new start.
So to sum up this wonderful passage, Peter denied Jesus in the big City of Jerusalem. Jesus restores Peter where he started at the lake in the countryside. Peter denied Jesus at night, Jesus restored Peter during the day. Three times Jesus was denied by Peter three times. Three times Jesus is now affirmed by Peter for this new start. He failed, he has fallen, he got up. You have fallen? You can get up. You have failed. I have failed. We can learn from it and get up. You say, "Yeah but I feel so far from God." Well guess who moved? God didn't. And if you've moved from him then turn back toward him.
There is a man who visited his friend in a large American city. What impressed the man visiting was that in the center of the town was an impressive park filled with trees, grass, fountains and lots of people on benches. That was impressive enough. He said he'd never seen a park quite like it but what impressed him even more is his friend who live there said, "Did you know that at one time this was the city dump? But the fathers of this town had to foresight and the energy to pump money into it and to reclaim this land and restore it. Here it is. Beautiful. Better than it was before". That's the business God is in.
Jesus took a weak, failed apostle and made him one of his greatest ambassadors and he wants to do the same for you if you let him.
Let's pray. Lord, we admit that honesty is not always our strong suit. We go through emotions, but when it comes to really loving you supremely with that total 100% commitment, we have to admit we don't. And that there are steps below that where we just have to say, "I sort of like you God." And even with that, do you want us to come? And even with that you will restore and you will use and you will bring us into a place where we can be your instruments once again.
I pray that we would let you do for us what you did for Peter and that is to restore. I know Lord that I am addressing people today, some of which never have made a commitment to Christ. They've been religious. They thought about God but they have never come to a place where they have turned around and committed their lives to you. I'm speaking to others who have tried that and that failed. Their sporadic experiences of coming to church now and then, bringing a bible now and then, praying now and then and yet how you love and how you are willing to entrust all of us with your gracious work.
I pray we'd let you, I pray for men and women who have gathered here today who need to come to you for the first time or come back to you maybe for the second or third or fourth time. Thank you for the chances. If you're here this morning and you have never personally met Christ, you've never honestly given you life to Jesus, repented of your sin and turned to him as your saviour. Or if you've had some experience in the past where it was good and you felt good and life was good for a few weeks but then it sort of passed away and you need restoration or you've just flat fail the Lord and you need to be restored.
If you'd be honest enough to admit that I'd love to pray for you this morning. So I'm going to ask you if that described any of you to just raise your hand up and say, "I want to give my life to Jesus. I'm ready to surrender my will to him. Even in the broken state I am I will just surrendered to him." If so, raise your hand up. Raise it high enough so I can see it and I'll acknowledge you. God bless you and you on my right side toward the back. Anyone else?Our Father, we pray for those whose hands have gone up and we pray that their lives would be different after today. We all stumble in many things, Lord, restore these back to a place of usefulness, of discipleship and of love for you, in Jesus name, Amen.