“He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” John 21:17, KJV
Perhaps no man fell farther than the Apostle Peter. I mean, he denied Jesus three times, even after publically declaring his willingness to die for Him! After the third time denying Jesus, Luke records for us, “And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter.” (Luke 22:61, KJV)
What do you think that look was? Sadness? Anger? A desire for revenge? I don’t think any of these apply. I believe that Jesus looked upon Peter with love. You see, Jesus knew Peter would fail, yet He loved him anyway. Luke continues, “And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:61-62, KJV).
I bring all this up because I wish to honor a friend of mine. He is probably one of the most honest people I know. I have known him for years, having attended church with him, even having the privilege of ministering with him. And in a day when men of God are afraid to admit sins or failures, he is an example of humility. His name? Joe Dallas.
Joe has a blog over at joedallas.com. If you haven’t read his blog, you should. It is an encouragement to all who have failed. Joe is brutally honest about his struggles and failures. And to see how God has restored him is truly an encouragement to all who believe that their failures have disqualified them from being used once again.
Of course, Joe correctly credits Jesus Christ with drawing him back to Him and restoring him to Christian Service, even beyond where he was before he fell away. But that’s just how our God works. That’s one reason why grace is so amazing.
Jesus made an amazing statement to Peter, before he denied Him: “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.” (Luke 22:31-32, KJV)
Jesus prayed for Peter…and Joe…and you. And that is truly amazing…grace.
Think about it…
“The true minister of Christ feels impelled to preach the whole truth, because it and it alone can meet the wants of man. What evils has this world seen through a distorted, mangled, man-molded gospel! What mischiefs have been done to the souls of men by men who have preached only one part and not all the counsel of God!.
I have seen the young believer, just saved from sin, happy in his early Christian career, and walking humbly with his God. But evil has crept in, disguised in the mantle of truth. The finger of partial blindness was laid upon their eyes, and but one doctrine could be seen. Sovereignty was seen, but not responsibility… I could point you to innumerable instances where harping upon any one peculiar doctrine has driven men to excess of bigotry and bitterness… There is a necessity that the whole gospel should be preached, or else the spirits, even of Christians, will become marred and maimed… The believer in Christ, if he is to be kept pure, simple, holy, charitable, Christlike, is only to be kept so by a preaching of the whole truth as it is in Jesus.
And as for the salvation of sinners, ah, my hearers, we can never expect God to bless our ministry for the conversion of sinners unless we preach the gospel as a whole. Let me get but one part of the truth, and always dwell upon it, to the exclusion of every other, and I cannot expect my Master’s blessing. If I preach as he would have me preach, he will certainly own the word; he will never leave it without his own living witness. But let me imagine that I can improve the gospel, that I can make it consistent, that I can dress it up and make it look finer, I shall find that my Master is departed and that Ichabod is written on the walls of the sanctuary. How many there are kept in bondage through neglect of gospel invitations.”
C. H. Spurgeon, quoted in Iain H. Murray, Spurgeon verses Hyper-Calvinism (Edinburgh, 1995), pages 155-157
“And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” Luke 17:12-19, KJV
Jesus misses our giving of thanks. We have so much to be thankful for, not just for today, but for everyday. No matter what our circumstance or situation, we have so much to be thankful for.
Think about it…
“Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.” Corrie Ten Boom
“Faith, mighty faith the promise sees and rests on that alone: Laughs at impossibilities, And says it shall be done.” Charles Wesley
“Remember it is the very time for faith to work when sight ceases. The greater the difficulties, the easier for faith; as long as there remain certain natural prospects, faith does not get on even as easily as where natural prospects fail.” George Mueller
“Real true faith is man’s weakness leaning on God’s strength.” D.L. Moody
“Faith is believing in advance what can only be understood in reverse.” Chuck Swindoll
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1, KJV
The time is coming when all men shall stand before God and give an account for their lives. C.S. Lewis wrote, “The ancient man approached God (or even gods) as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man the rolls are reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock.”1
Modern man has put God on trial, when, point in fact, it is man who is on trial. When one is accused it seems to me one would want the best lawyer (or advocate) one could obtain. Accordingly, God has provided an Advocate, Jesus Christ His Son, for all who call upon him. Or, one could stand before God and represent himself.
It is said that the man who has himself for lawyer has a fool for a client. The question is, “Are you that fool?”
1. C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock, Essays on Theology and Ethics, page 11
“What I tell you in the darkness, speak ye in the light” Matthew 10:27, KJV
“Our Lord is constantly taking us into the dark, that He may tell us things. Into the dark of the shadowed home, where bereavement has drawn the blinds; into the dark of the lonely, desolate life, where some infirmity closes us in from the light and stir of life; into the dark of some crushing sorrow and disappointment.
Then He tells us His secrets, great and wonderful, eternal and infinite; He causes the eye which has become dazzled by the glare of earth to behold the heavenly constellations; and the ear to detect the undertones of His voice, which is often drowned amid the tumult of earth’s strident cries.
But such revelations always imply a corresponding responsibility– ‘that speak ye in the light–that proclaim upon the housetops.’
We are not meant to always linger in the dark, or stay in the closet; presently we shall be summoned to take our place in the rush and storm of life; and when that moment comes, we are to speak and proclaim what we have learned.
This gives a new meaning to suffering, the saddest element in which is often its apparent aimlessness. ‘How useless I am!’ ‘What am I doing for the betterment of men?’ ‘Wherefore this waste of the precious spikenard of my soul?’
Such are the desperate laments of the sufferer. But God has a purpose in it all. He has withdrawn His child to the higher altitudes of fellowship, that he may hear God speaking face to face, and bear the message to his fellows at the mountain foot.
Were the forty days wasted that Moses spent on the Mount, or the period spent at Horeb by Elijah, or the years spent in Arabia by Paul?
There is no short cut to the life of faith, which is the all-vital condition of a holy and victorious life. We must have periods of lonely meditation and fellowship with God. That our souls should have their mountains of fellowship, their valley of quiet rest beneath the shadow of a great rock, their nights beneath the stars, when darkness has veiled the material and silenced the stir of human life, and has opened the view of the infinite and eternal, is as indispensable as that our bodies should have food.
Thus alone can the sense of God’s presence become the fixed possession of the soul, enabling it to say repeatedly, with the Psalmist, ‘Thou art near, O God.’”
“Some hearts, like evening primroses, open more beautifully in the shadows of life.”