Summary: A look at what happens when Christ's followers fail.

Disciples Of Christ

Sermon # 3 - Fallen Disciples Of Christ

Matthew 26:31 ¶Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. 33 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. 34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee.

Today is sermon #3 in a series of 5 sermons about Disciples of Christ. Two weeks ago we examined the life and tragic end of a man named Judas. In his story we saw a picture of “False Disciples” Last week we look at the story of a man named Joseph of Arimathaea who was described as a “secret disciple” in a sermon about “Fearful Disciples” oday we will look at Simon Peter and his denial of Christ and preach on the subject of “Fallen Disciples Of Christ”

Peter’s story is one of abandonment, conviction, bitter sorrow, repentance & restoration. His is a story with a rocky beginning and a solid ending. Join me as we consider the thought “Fallen Disciples Of Christ”

We will see 3 things about Fallen Disciples

1. The Reason

2. The Result

3. The Restoration

Let us begin with:

I. Fallen Disciples: The Reason

At the point of his fall, Peter wasn’t perfect but he had accomplished many things for the cause of Christ.

He has left his family, his home, his business and followed Christ.

He has been trained by Christ for the task at hand.

He has witnessed many miracles

He was present on the Mount Of Transfiguration

He even stepped out of a boat and walked on water.

Peter was not a heathen, He wasn’t a hypocritical Pharisee… he was a man devoted to the Lord Jesus! But in a moment when things became exceedingly difficult… HE FAILED! He denied Christ … 3 times in fact!

There are many people today who have followed the scriptures, They have denied themselves, taken up their cross and followed Jesus. But somewhere along the way something happened, the going got rough and they failed. They are now what we are referring to as a “Fallen Disciple” A more common description is the word “Backslidden”

Backslider - (sûg – soog) {H} - to go back, literally (to retreat) to turn away.

Thomas Ranier has submitted 7 things that lead to backsliding. I would like to take a moment and consider these warning signs:

1. Being overconfident

Jesus told Peter the Enemy would sift him, but Peter strongly affirmed his commitment to go to prison or to death for Jesus.

I believe that Peter meant what he said when he said it. Remember that he cut off a soldier’s ear in the Garden of Gethsemane in order to defend Christ. Within hours, though, he would deny knowing Jesus. Peter was overconfident and didn’t know it Saying “I will never forsake Christ” is a huge warning sign.

2. Emotional and physical fatigue

The disciples were to watch and pray in the garden, but instead they slept. Exhaustion increased their vulnerability to the Enemy’s attack. Carrying too many burdens and getting too little rest can lead to serious consequences.

3. Failing to pray

Jesus commanded the disciples to pray in the garden. Even if they wanted to, still sleep came easier than prayer. Prayerlessness reflects self-dependence rather than dependence on God. Anytime we’re not praying, we are susceptible to a fall.

4. Growing distanced from Jesus

After Jesus’ arrest, Peter followed from a distance. That distance was obviously geographical, but his heart would quickly grow distant from Jesus too. He who had said he would die for Him wouldn’t stand for Him when challenged. Our distance from Jesus may be marked more by less Bible reading and fewer prayers than public denials, but any distance can set us up for a fall.

5. Trying to hide in public

Peter did not hide well, of course, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t try. He warmed himself at the same fire that warmed the enemies of Jesus. Surely he hoped no one would see anything unusual in his presence. If you’re tempted to hide something about your faith you are moving in the wrong direction.

6. Lying

A servant girl looked intently at Peter and accused him of being a follower of Jesus. ter lied to her. She challenged him with the truth of who he was, and he denied it. You know a fall is at full throttle if you lie when confronted with the truth of what you’re doing.

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