Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How God Uses Failure and Helplessness

Scripture: Romans 8.28-39; Matt. 14.22-33; Luke 8.22-25; Luke 22.28-35; John 21.15-19; 2 Cor. 12.7b-10
Translation: Romans 8.28And we know that for the people who love God, He is working everything out for good, for the people who really are called according to plan. 29[We know] that the people He had a relationship with before time, He also destined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the Firstborn of many brothers. 30And the people He destined, these same people He also called. And the people He called, these same people He also made righteous. And the people He made righteous, these same people He also glorified! 31So, what will we say faced with these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32The One who didn’t even spare His own Son, but instead gave Him up for all of us, how will He not grace everything to us with Him? 33Who will bring charges against God’s chosen ones? God is the One who makes righteous! 34Who is the person who will condemn? Christ Jesus the One Who died, but moreover Who was raised, Who also is at God’s right hand, Who also is interceding for us! 35What will separate us from Christ’s Love? Suffering, or stress, or persecution, or hunger, or nakedness, or danger, or swords? 36Just like it’s surely written that “because of You we’re being put to death all day long! We’re thought of like sheep marked for slaughter!” 37But in all these things we take absolute victory through the One who loves us! 38You see, I’m convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor demons nor the present nor the future nor powers 39nor height nor depth nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Matt. 14.22And immediately urged the disciples to get in a boat and go ahead of him to the other side, until He had dismissed the crowds. 23And after He dismissed the crowds, He went up into the mountain by Himself to pray. And when it became evening He was there alone. 24Meanwhile, the boat was already many stades away from land being tormented by the waves, because there was a hostile wind. 25And during the fourth watch of the night, He came towards them walking on the sea. 26And the disciples, watching Him walking on the sea, freaked out, saying that it was a ghost. And they screamed out of fear! 27And immediately He spoke to them saying, “Get a hold of yourselves. It’s Me. don’t be scared.” 28And in response Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it’s you, command me to come to You on the waters!” 29And He said, “Come!” And getting out of the boat Peter walked on the waters and came towards Jesus. 30But seeing the wind he got scared, and as he began to drown, he screamed saying, “Lord, save me!” 31And immediately Jesus reached out His hand and grabbed on to him and was saying to him, “Man of little faith, for what purpose did you doubt?” 32And when they got in the boat, the wind stopped. 33And the people in the boat worshiped Him saying, “Truly You are God’s Son!”
Luke 8.22And it happened on one of the days that He got in a boat with His followers and said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out. 23And while they were sailing, He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down towards the lake and they were being swamped and were facing danger. 24And they came over and were trying to wake Him up, saying, “Master! Master! We’re dying!” And after He woke up, He rebuked the wind and the waves. And they stopped and became calm. 25And He said to them, “Where’s your faith?!” And terrified they were amazed, saying to one another, “So Who is This Guy, that He even rebukes the winds and the water, and they obey Him?!”
Luke 22.28And you are the ones who will actually stay with Me during my tests. 29And I’m arranging for you, just like My Father arranged a kingdom for Me, so that you will eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel. 31Simon, Simon, look, Satan was demanding to sift all of you like flour. 32But I prayed for you [Peter], so that your faith would not fail. And you, after you have repented, strengthen your brothers.” 33And he said to Him, “Lord, I’m ready to go with you both to prison and to death!” 34And He said, “I’m telling you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you deny knowing Me three times!”
John 21.1After these things, Jesus show Himself to the disciples again at the Tiberian Sea. And He showed up in this way. 2Simon Peter and Thomas, called Twin, and Nathanael from Cana in Galilee and the Zebedee brothers and two other of His disciples. 3Simon Peter was saying to them, “I’m going fishing.” They were saying to him, “We’re coming with you too.” They left and got in a boat, and during that night they caught nothing. 4And when it was already early in the morning Jesus stood on the shore, although the disciples didn’t know that it was Jesus. 5So, Jesus was saying to them, “Dear children, don’t you have anything to eat?” They responded to Him, “No.” 6And He said to them, “Throw the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they threw the net, and they were not strong enough anymore to pull it in because of the huge number of fish! 7So, that disciple that Jesus loved was saying to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” So, Simon Peter, when He heard that it was the Lord, tied his outer clothes around his waist, because he was naked, and threw himself into the sea. 8And the other disciples came in the small boat, because there were not far from land, but about 200 cubits away, dragging the net full of fish. 9So, as they moved out towards the land they saw a charcoal fire set up and fish set on it and bread. 10Jesus was saying to them, “Bring some of the fish that you caught now. 11So, Simon Peter got up and pulled in the net to land full of 153 huge fish. And even though there were so many huge fish, the net didn’t break. 12Jesus was saying to them, “Come on, eat breakfast.” And none of the disciples dared to ask Him, “Who are You?” because they knew that it was the Lord. 13Jesus was coming and taking the bread and giving it to them, and the fish in the same way. 14This was already the third time Jesus showed Himself to the disciples, after rising from the dead.
 15So, when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus was saying to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He was saying to Him, “Yes Lord, You know that I love You!” He was saying to him, “Feed My lambs.” 16He was saying to him again, a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He was saying to Him, “Yes Lord, you know that I love You!” He was saying to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17He was saying to him a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was hurt that He said to him three times “Do you love Me?” so He was saying to Him, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You!” He was saying to him, “Feed My sheep. 18Amen, Amen I’m telling you, When you were younger, you were dressing yourself and walking wherever you wanted. But when you are old, you will hold out your hands and someone else will dress you and will bring you where you don’t want. 19And He said this, signaling the kind of death that He would glorify God by. And having said this, He was telling him, “Follow Me!”
2 Cor. 12.7bBecause this, so that I wouldn’t get cocky, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, specifically a messenger/angel of Satan, so that he could torment me, so that I wouldn’t get cocky. 8I urged the Lord three times about this, that He might take it away from me. 9And He was actually telling me, “My grace is enough for you, because My power is best experienced in weaknesses!” So, unexpectedly, I will brag the most happily in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ will dwell on me! 10Because of this, I will celebrate in weaknesses, in insults, in obligations, in persecutions and troubles, for Christ. You see, whenever I’m weak, it’s at that point I am powerful.

1.      Themes
a.       Failure
b.      Helplessness
c.       Problems
d.      God’s Sovereignty
e.       Repentance
f.       Restoration
g.      God’s plan
h.      Goodness/beneficialness

1.      Outline
a.       God uses failure for your good
                                                              i.      He uses your own failures for your good (Romans 8.28-39)
1.      Examples
a.       Luke 8.22-25: The Storm at Sea
b.      Matt. 14.22-33: Peter tries to walk on water
c.       Luke 22.28-34: Jesus tells Peter he will deny Him three times, but also tells Peter to later strengthen his brothers
d.      John 21.15-19: Peter is reinstated
2.      Implications
a.       Don’t let a fear of failure keep you from living for Christ
b.      Don’t give up on living for Christ after a failure, even a major failure
c.       Failure will sometimes be unavoidable, because God has planned to use Your failure
                                                                                                                                      i.      in other words, sometimes God will refuse to keep you from failing on some level because He has a plan that includes failure
d.      Don’t lose your failure; Use your failure to glorify God and strengthen others
                                                                                                                                      i.      When you fail, repent from it, and use the growth that God gives you through the failure to serve God and help others
                                                            ii.      He uses other people’s failures for your good
1.      Examples
a.       Gal. 2.11-21: Peter gets rebuked by Paul
b.      Gen.37-47 : Joseph’s Life-story
c.       Christ on the Cross
2.      Implications
a.       Sometimes God will expose the failures of others to prevent us from falling into those same failures
b.      Sometimes the failures of others will be part of a grand plan for your own growth, for your own good, and even for the good of many people
                                                                                                                                      i.      This means that sometimes you will not see the purpose for your own failures and the failures of others for a long time. in fact many years may pass by before you see how God worked it all out for good, and you know what sometimes you might even have to die before you see why.
c.       Sometimes the failure of others is required for us to receive true blessings
b.      God uses helplessness for your good (2 Cor. 12.7b-10)
                                                              i.      To humble you
                                                            ii.      To deepen your faith
                                                          iii.      To reveal His Glory and Power

1.      It’s like saying, “hey I failed the last quiz, so I’m not even going to study for this quiz.”
2.      A person who caves in and smokes pot, and then thinks, “o well, I’ve done drugs now, so there’s no reason not to try crack.” So the person tries some crack, and thinks “O well, I’ve tried crack, why not try heroin?”—Why not?! Have you lost your mind? It’s heroin! That’s exactly why not!

3.      In my own life, I was an addict to a particular sin when I was in junior high/high school. No one ever knew, and no one would have ever suspected. But I remember being trapped in it. I would try to overcome the addiction every single day, day in and day out. But literally for years I experienced almost no victory. It got so bad, I started questioning, “Am I even really a Christian? Because all I seem to do is give in to this sin, even when I don’t want to, and even when I fight against the urge to sin hardcore!” But one think I did do was keep fighting. I kept fighting day in and day out for years. And I failed way more times than I would ever like to admit. I didn’t understand. I couldn’t see any good coming out of it. And you know what? I didn’t. not for a long time. but somewhat recently, somehow the topic of all that failure came up in my conversations with God. And the Spirit told me, “Anthony, I was training you to pursue Me day in and day out, with desperation, with passion, with hope, with faith, with love. I used your failure to give you a thriving relationship with Me that will last for eternity!” And I was like, “Mind blown. Whoaaa!” I am the pastor—no, I am the Christian I am today, because like 10+ yrs ago, God refused to answer my prayers for victory in the way I expected. God basically said, “I’ll see your one-time win, and raise you a life-time of wins.” God’s just bawler like that!

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