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.

7. Escalating denials

3 times others addressed Peter’s relationship with Jesus; 3 times he denied it. To admit he was a follower of Christ would have been to risk his own life, and Peter would not go there. In fact, his denials escalated to the point that he was angry, swearing he had no relationship with Jesus. Those in the midst of a fall often convince themselves that loud continual denials somehow change reality.For Peter, the process of falling occurred rapidly. Sometimes the process happens so imperceptibly that people are in a disaster before they know it.

That’s why you must know these warning signals and guard your heart!

 There are many things that will lead to backsliding.

 Regardless of what contributed to your fall, if you have fallen you know it!

Here are a few questions for you?

a) Are you a close to God as you once were?

b) Or have you grown cold and indifferent.

c) Do you lack that joy that you once possessed?

d) Is your life filled with anxiety and lacking peace?

If so, you my friend are the one God is speaking to today! This leads us to the second thought I would like to consider:

II. Fallen Disciples: The Result

Matthew 26:73 and after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. 74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.

Notice the phrase in verse 75 “Wept Bitterly” Let’s take a moment and look at the Greek translation of these 2 words:

Wept – (klah'-yo) {G} - to wail aloud.

Bitterly – (pikrōs - pik-roce') - violently

Literally Peter went out and wailed violently! He was heartbroken! He was devastated! He was in ANGUISH over his sin! It is not recorded what he said but Peter was truly repentant of his sin!

If you have truly been saved you will be convicted when you sin. If you are backslidden you know it because the Holy Spirit has revealed it to you!

Notice what the Bible says in Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives." 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.

If you feel no conviction for your sin, If you are fine living a life that is contrary to the work, word & will of God, if you can do these things without consequence…according to this text, YOU ARE NOT SAVED!!

What are the “Results” of backsliding:

1) Lack of peace

2) Absence of joy

3) Overwhelming guilt

4) A broken heart

5) Increased sinfulness

6) Strained relationships

7) Damaged witness

8) Chastisement

As mentioned earlier, Peter’s story happened in rapid succession.

He failed …Faced conviction …Repented & was restored in a relatively short amount of time.

Though Peter’s story happened rapidly, your story may be different. We have a great example of this in the life of King David. David was away from God for an extended period of time. Eventually he was confronted by the prophet Nathan. After he was hit between the eyes with his sin he then repented.

I think it would be beneficial to look at the prayer he prayed for a moment. -Psalm51:1 Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. 2 Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.3 For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. 5 For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.6 But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there. 7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.8 Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me— now let me rejoice.9 Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt.10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.11 Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you…. 17 the sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart…

Through proper study of the Word of God we find that



After REPENTANCE others were RESTORED!


Concerning Fallen Disciples we have seen The Reason & The Result… Now I would like to consider:

III. Fallen Disciples: The Restoration

Mark 16:5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.

Peter needed to know that Jesus still loved him He needed to know that even though he had forsaken Christ, Jesus had kept His vow

i. The Vow - Mark 14:28 But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.

ii. The Fulfillment Of The Vow - Mark 16:7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.

Aren’t you glad Jesus is better at keeping promises than we are!Some of you are here today and you have made a commitment to Jesus. Somewhere along the way you have failed to keep that commitment.

The devil would like nothing more than for you to feel worthless and full of guilt. He would have you to believe that there is no hope for restoration. There is hope! You can be restored today!

If you are here and you are backslidden you know it! You don’t need me to tell you! Do you realize that even before you turned away from Christ He knew it would happen? Jesus sent word especially for Peter even after he had denied Him in the most difficult hour!

I don’t know what you have done but if you have truly been saved you can be restored today!

A. Fallen Disciple, YOU ARE NOT FORSAKEN!

B. Fallen Disciple, YOU CAN BE FORGIVEN!

C. Fallen Disciple, YOU HAVE A FUTURE!

The Lord used Peter in a mighty way - Acts 2:14 ¶But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

Next week we are going to look at “Faithful Disciples” in that sermon we are going to look at the only disciple who was present at the cross as Christ was crucified. Wouldn’t you think that he would be the one that would be used to preach such an important sermon?

Who did the Lord use? Peter! If you continue to look at the rest of his story, you will see that God used him to accomplish MANY important tasks. What an encouragement! Friend, you are no different that Peter. If you have fallen YOU CAN BE RESTORED!!!

The bible proves this in 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

We have seen the reasons

We have seen the result

We have seen the restoration

You don’t have to remain in your backslidden condition, like Peter, you can be restored today.