Blessing Out Of Failure
God can bring accomplishment and blessing out of failure. Get right with God and people and do what you can. He can make up for the hard times.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? You doing Alright? Well, I trust so, bless your heart. Some days are not as good as others, and some days are better than others; I know that. And a lot of times my feelings depend on the weather and the barometric pressure or the circumstances around me, so that you can’t always guarantee that you’re gonna wake up shouting, “Hallelujah.” At the same time, you can have that abiding peace and joy in your heart that is not dependent upon feeling or circumstances. Oh, this is the most precious realization I have any given day. No matter how I feel when I wake up, or no matter how I feel when the pressures of the day are upon me, I can have peace and joy and hope. “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost,” Paul says in Romans 15. You can have that every day, aren’t you glad that’s so? You don’t have to depend upon how you feel, or how other people feel, or how the weather is. “The peace of God that passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Praise God for that.
Well, anyhow, I feel pretty good today, I hope you do too. And Alright, some school teacher said, “You feel pretty well.” Alright, I’ll say it right, “I feel well,” but I also feel good. [laughter] Okay, so much for that.
Now, we have been looking at the 14th Chapter of Mark, the sad story of Peter’s denial of Christ. You remember our Lord Jesus said, “Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation.” The four temptations that are listed in that passage are the temptation to take it easy and sleep in time of important crisis. Second, the temptation to lash out in some drastic, self-willed action without the blessing of God and the power of the Spirit of God. And the third, the temptation to run away and disassociate yourself from the event. And fourth, the temptation not to be noticed, to be anonymous in a world that would otherwise identify you as belonging to the Lord Jesus.
And then, this is all a review, but we just touch base on it. There are three bases of identification listed there in the closing verses of Mark Chapter 14. The lady said to Peter, “You were with Jesus.” This is similar to the verse you find in Acts 4, “They took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus.” When He touches your life you are forever different, and people know that. Then it says, “You are one of them.” That’s the next basis in Verse 69: You are one of them. That is to say, when you make the Lord Jesus Christ Lord of your life you become one of a family; your relationship with believers is settled the moment you open your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Think about that the next time you wanna snub somebody who’s a Christian or criticize bitterly someone who claims to serve the Lord. You are one of them.
And Paul points out in Corinthians that we are part of a body, and if one member suffer, all the members suffer with us. We’ve had that experience recently in the various types of scandal that have rocked the evangelical world. We’ve all been hurt, haven’t we? Over the pain and suffering that has ensued over some people’s failure. Which leads me to say this, beloved, you can’t fail privately. When you fail God it hurts other believers, and on the obverse side of that coin, you can’t succeed privately; when you succeed in God’s service, all other believers are affected beneficially. You are one of them, that was the second base of identification. And the third is you sound like Him, “Your speech agreeth thereto,” it says in Verse 70. You sound like Jesus. I wish that that could be true of you and me more often, don’t you? I think too often I sound like Bob Cook. [chuckle] And of course a person’s voice is a kind of a trademark, isn’t it?
I went into a Howard Johnson some two, three years ago, whenever it was, because I was coffee thirsty, I wanted a cup of coffee, and I thought, “Oh, I’m gonna stop and have a cup of coffee.” Now, this was in New Jersey, and so I pulled the car into this particular Howard Johnson restaurant and came in, sat down at the counter. By and by the lady came over and said, “May I help you?” And I said, “Oh, I just want a cup of coffee.” She looked at me and she said, “You’re Dr. Cook.” [laughter] I said, “How did you know?” She said, “Oh, your voice, your voice.” Well, there you are [chuckle] But beyond the tone of the voice, beloved, if you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, what you say and the way you say it reflects His touch upon your life. Oh, I pray every day that my voice as it comes to you on these broadcasts may be full of the love of God, full of the power of the Holy Spirit, full of the presence of the living Lord. I wanna sound like my Lord, oh, yes, I do.
Well, that’s the identification mark, you were with Him, you’re one of them, you belong to the body, in other words, you sound like Jesus. Well, when Peter remembered that our Savior had foretold his denial, it said, “When he thought thereon, he wept.” Give Simon Peter credit for caring enough to cry over having failed his Lord. I find so many people who don’t care; they blithely go through life self-centered and self-willed, neglecting the Lord and His will, and they don’t seem to care. So I think it’s to Peter’s credit that he really cared enough to cry over his failure. Another Gospel record said he went out and wept bitterly; it wasn’t just a couple of random tears, he broke down and felt bad about it. As well he might, for he is immortalized in history as the one who claimed not to know the one who was most precious to him.
Well, thank God he was restored. Aren’t you glad that’s so? The Lord Jesus looked him up after the resurrection and spoke with him and commissioned him to be the leader of the apostles. How often God brings blessing and victory and leadership out of failure. Oh, I’m glad that’s so. Aren’t you? Simon Peter was the spokesman and who failed at the trial of Christ. He later, when filled with the Spirit of God, became the spokesman for the new church, and now boldly declaring his loyalty to the Lord Jesus, he epitomized for all of them the strength of a commitment to Christ that would not flinch.
God can bring leadership and blessing and accomplishment out of failure. “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world,” he failed. But Mark, Mark, John Mark, who left the missionary group and went back to Jerusalem and in so doing caused Paul the apostle to say, “Fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice, shame on me. I’m not gonna take you on the second trip.” You remember that story? What did Barnabas do? Barnabas said, “Well, come on, we’ll go back over the territory,” and he took him right back over the same territory which had so terrified the young man before, made him face his own fears and made something of him. So that years later, Paul the apostle could say, “Take Mark and bring him with thee for he is profitable to me for the ministry.”
So the John Marks and the Simon Peters and the King Davids who failed God, God can bring blessing out of human failure. You believe that? I want you to believe it, because it’s true. And I’m talking to somebody who thinks bitterly, “Yeah, he doesn’t know; Cook doesn’t know. I’ve blown it, I’ve failed. No chance for me; it’s all over for me.” No, it’s not all over. God is in the process of doing something in your life. Number one, make sure you’re right with God. Number two, get right with people in so far as you can. There are some things that you’ll carry with you to your grave; you won’t be able to reverse them. I know that. But get right with people insofar as you can.
First, get right with God. Second, get right with people insofar as you can. Third, do what you can do for God at this moment. Start serving your Lord the best you can within the parameters of the restrictions, let us say, on your life. You are not able, perhaps, to do what you did before because of your own failure, but you can do something. As long as there’s any breath left in you, you can do something. You can love God with all your heart. You can be right with God; you can get right with people, and you can start to serve God where you are. Do it, because I serve a God who not only forgives but restores. He says, “I will restore unto you the years that the locust hath eaten.” What does he mean? Have there been dry, barren, famine-filled years in your life, beloved? Oh, yes. He says, “I’ll make up for that.” And He does. Thank God that’s so.
Well, somebody needed that, and that’s why I said it, I guess. Now we go on into Chapter 15 of the Gospel of Mark and, frankly, I don’t know how to deal with this heart-breaking story of the trial and crucifixion of our Lord. We all know about it, and as I read it again today, I read the whole rest of Mark and looked at it, and thought over it, and prayed over it, my own eyes just watered and I began to cry, because Jesus died for me. I can’t ever get over that. I suppose I don’t want to. The precious truth that the Lord Jesus Christ, the crown jewel of heaven, the Lord of Glory, came and went through all of this, took all of this for me. What they did to Him, I suppose, is entirely secondary to what He assumed voluntarily. He became sin for us, “He who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
But what they did to Him was horrible enough. I’m going back in Chapter 14 now, “They began to spit on him and cover His face and buffet Him and say, ‘Prophecy’; and the servants did strike Him.” This was unusual. A servant, it’s our word slave, they had slavery in those days, they weren’t allowed to do anything on their own, but they got brave enough to come up and hit the Lord Jesus. And now they bring Him bound to Pilate, Governor Pilate, and the trial begins, a travesty, really, of a trial, but it begins. “Pilate asked Him, said ‘Aren’t thou the King of the Jews?’ And He answering and said, ‘Thou sayest it.'” An affirmative answer. It’s not that He was shunting it off onto Pilate, it was an affirmative answer. In other words, He was saying “yes.” We’re gonna leave this at this point, but I want you to think on the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ was going through all of this for you. Let it break your heart with love and gratitude once again as you think of it. We’ll come back the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, make us grateful, really grateful for the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. I ask in His name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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