- Matthew 26:31–35: Preparation for the Cross - Warning the DisciplesAs they are traveling up the Mount of Olives after the Passover meal, Jesus warns His disciples that they will stumble before the night is over. He quotes a prophecy from Zechariah 13 that says this will happen, but Peter protests that there is no way he will deny Christ. Jesus tells him that he will deny Him 3 times before the crowing of the rooster. All the disciples protest. The Christian life is not an easy one and we must never become confident in ourselves, but must trust Christ and His sovereignty.sermons.faithlife.com
When You've Failed God
What do you do when you’ve messed up? You know, when you had good intentions to live a godly life, but you just can’t seem to keep up your end of the deal. You know what you should do, but there is something wrong with you and you just don’t do it! What then?
For most of us, myself included, it is precisely at this time that we beat ourselves up. We don’t really love God like we should. We don’t deserve to be called a Christian. We can’t even bring ourselves to open the Bible because we feel guilty or just not into it. And forget about church. That just makes us feel worse. We feel like we don’t belong there with all those holy people (or at least people who think they’re holy).
Now, right now, you’re probably reading this and thinking, “You’re the pastor! You never feel this way!” And, that’s where you’d be wrong. I am human just like everyone else. There are many times I fail to live as I ought. I could give you a book full of times I have failed in my role as a pastor, let alone in my life as a Christian.
This is why passages like Matthew 26:31-35 and the parallels in the rest of the gospels are really encouraging to me. I’m working on finishing up the sermon for tomorrow and I am struck by the way Jesus not only warns His disciples, but the way He encourages them in the midst of their impending failure. And, their failure was HUGE! All of them ran away at the first sign of trouble and Peter, who followed at a distance, was scared enough of a servant girl to curse while denying Christ 3 times. That’s some pretty huge failure.
Before that even happens, Jesus says two very important things that will ultimately help them on the road back to God and can help us as well. The first is mentioned in Luke 22:31-32, where he tells Peter that Satan wants to mess him up. Jesus’ response is that He had prayed for him that his faith won’t fail! The eternal Son of God prays for His followers! And the next phrase is just as important: “when you have returned…” Notice the definiteness in that. He doesn’t say “if you return”. He says, “when you have returned.”
The second thing He says is found in the sermon passage in Matthew 26. Right after proclaiming their coming failure, He says, “After I have been raised, I will go before you into Galilee”. There are two things important here both to the 11 disciples and to us. Jesus didn’t stay dead. He rose! He was victorious over death, which proved He was victorious over sin, including their impending sin of faithlessness. And then He promises to go before them. In other words, like a Shepherd goes before his flock and leads his sheep, Jesus will lead his disciples.
So, what does all of this have to do with us and our failures? Quite simply, Jesus isn’t surprised that we mess up. He’s not shocked that we are sometimes faithless. He died for that! And He rose again, proving that He conquered that. And He still loves us and leads us and cares for us and prays for us. He never gives up on us because He knows that He will bring us safely home!
So, even though you sometimes fail God, take heart. He never fails you. You can come to Him and confess the failure and He will continually forgive and restore you. You can open your Bible and find grace and forgiveness dripping from the pages. You can come to church and join a bunch of other failures experiencing the love and grace of God who did not spare His own Son but freely gave Him for us all. And you can recommit to follow Him as He leads us all together to our heavenly home.
And, we’ll try to put our arms around you and help you on the way. Because that’s what Peter was told to do by Jesus: “When you have returned, strengthen your brothers”. Sometimes we fail at this, too. But, the process of repentance, returning, restoration and re-commitment goes on. Join us in that process!
- The Lord's Supper is a very special ordinance which our Lord has given to us, His church, both to commemorate His death and to strengthen our faith in and communion with Him. In the celebration of the Lord's Supper, we represent His sacrifice with the elements of bread and the cup. Jesus tells us that these representations of His body and blood give us insight into the blessings we receive in the New Covenant. We, who were once enemies of God, are now His children. We, who were once dead in trespasses and sins, are now risen with Him to new life and forgiven of all our sins. We, who once were separated from each other by ethnic, cultural and social differences, are now united as one in Christ. And these blessings are given freely to all who repent and believe in Him! So what? Those are great theological concepts, but what does that have to do with us on a Monday when we are at work? And what do those things have to do with who we should be and how we should live? Good questions. I'm glad you asked! They have EVERYTHING to do with you at work and how you should live. Your position as a child of God means that no matter what happens at work, you know that you are never outside of the care of your Father. You are His and He loves you. Your union with other believers means that you are never alone as you strive to live godly in a godless age. There are other brothers and sisters here to pray with you and encourage you. And you are to be there for them as well. It also means that, though we often fail, we know that the payment has already been made. When we struggle with doubts and fears, come to the Table expectantly, knowing the Christ was sacrificed for you and will never leave you. When you are dealing with difficulties in life, come to the Table for strength, looking to Christ who gave Himself for you and will safely lead you home. When you feel you are all alone, come to the Table for fellowship both with God and with other believers. God will never leave you or forsake you. When you are struggling with sin, come to the Table repentantly, knowing the Christ's death was enough.
- Sermon from 6/30/19Matthew 26:26-30 - Preparation for the Cross: The Lord's SupperDuring the Passover meal, Jesus takes the bread and the 3rd cup of wine and changes the symbolism, showing the real meaning behing the Passover. He illustrates His impending death with the broken bread and the cup of wine. He says that His coming death brings about the forgiveness of sins. The disciples are told to celebrate this Supper often. After their celebration, they travel to the Mount of Olives, while singing a hymn.sermons.faithlife.com
- One of the things we need to be reminded of is that our mission is global as well as local. I am going to be encouraging us to pray for parts of the world for the sake of the Gospel each week. This week, I want us to be praying for India. Here is some information from Operation World about the nation of India.India | Operation WorldA further 121,000 sq km of Kashmir, a contested area, is administered by Pakistan and China. Geographically and politically, India dominates South Asia and the Indian Ocean. There are 28 Union States and 7 Union Territories.www.operationworld.org
Please pray.Remember to pray for Rob as he considers job opportunities.
- “May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, "God is great!"” Psalms 70:4 ESV Oh, how often I seek God only for His gifts. Here the Psalmist cries out that we might seek God and be glad, not in his gifts, but in Him! How can we separate these in our minds? How do we know what we are truly seeking?
- Sermon from 6/23/19Matthew 26:17-25 - Preparation for the Cross: The PassoverOn Thursday of Passion Week, Jesus sends two of His disciples into Jerusalem to prepare for their Passover celebration. He announces to all of His disciples that His "time is at hand". That evening, while eating the Passover meal, Jesus tells them He is going to be betrayed, just as the Old Testament had predicted, by one of them. Judas pretends not to know that it is him as Jesus confronts him. The rest of the disciples have no clue what is going on. This whole section shows us the plan of God unfolding exactly as He wants it to, from the specifics of the timing of the Passover to the person of the betrayer.sermons.faithlife.com
- Sermon from 6/19/19Matthew 26:1-16: Responses to Christ's DeathAs the Passover Feast draws near, Jesus once again predicts His betrayal and death. What follows are 3 vignettes showing responses to Christ: the power-hungry leaders who seek to kill him, the self-sacrificing woman who, out of love, seeks to serve Him, and the disciple who turns on Him and betrays Him.sermons.faithlife.com