Mark

Mark 14:27-72 – God’s restoring grace

GOD’S RESTORING GRACE.

 

Mark 14:27-72.

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

How many of you have ever been let down by a friend?

Someone you were really close to and trusted and then he/she let you down!

Maybe you were going through a very rough time and needed support but when you looked for it, it wasn’t there.

 

We have all been let down by friends and/or loved ones.

 

However, maybe there is something worse than being let down by a friend – and that is being the friend who causes the disappointment or breaks the trust.

 

ILLUS. I remember as a child when I had done something wrong my mother would come and sit on my bed and talk to me. Sometimes she spanked me but mostly she talked. That was worse than a spanking.  I would feel terrible – WHY? Yes because I had done something wrong but mostly because I had let down my Dad and Mom.

 

Every one of us has let God down!

The Bible tells us that we are all sinners and that we have broken God’s heart. BUT instead of turning is back on us and punishing us God loves us – that is why we have the cross – that is why Jesus died. To show us how much he loves us and so we can come to God and be forgiven.

 

I want to talk about Peter this morning. Peter was a disciple of Jesus who let him down very badly.

So I am talking mainly to Christians but the principles apply to all. Whether we are coming to God for the first time or coming the 101st time we still come by way of the cross of Jesus.

 

We have a fairly detailed account of Peter’s actions around the time of the arrest and trial of Jesus. Peter was on of Jesus’ closest disciples – he was one of the inner circle and he seemed to be the leader of that circle as we usually read about Peter, James and John. But at this point in his life Peter fails miserably. WHY? The simple answer is “Because he is human” but what lead up to this dreadful failure

 

 

 

  1. 1.     WHAT CAUSES US TO FALL AWAY?

                                  (to fail spiritually)

 

Let’s look briefly at what led to Peter denying three times that he even knew Jesus.

 

1.1.         Over-Confidence

“Even if all fall away, I will not” v.29.

 

Peter was very cocksure of himself. Jesus was trying to warn his disciples that they would all retreat when he was arrested. But Peter had confidence in his own abilities – he was a strong man – he wasn’t going to run away – Mark 14:31

31 But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” … (NIV)

 

One of the greatest mistakes we humans make is that we think we are big enough to handle life and all its problems.

We have all heard people say, “It is only the weak who need the crutch of religion!”

Like Peter we all need to learn that over confidence in myself will only ever lead to trouble.

 

1.2.         Laziness

Mark 14:37             37 Then he [Jesus] returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? (NIV)

One of the major reasons why the Christian life often becomes boring and meaningless and why Christians fail spiritually it not because of some gross immoral sin. More often than not it is down to sheer laziness.

Like Peter we can’t be bothered to pray – sleep is more appealing – or the Match of the Day or my favourite Soap.

I want to have my needs met – I want to be entertained —

But you see prayer – like Jesus asked Peter to do – is hard work. Prayer is spiritual warfare. It is a battle and if Satan can keep us from that then he has won.

It is not just prayer – laziness can effect every area of life.

 

1.3.         Fear of Disapproval

Mark 14:54 a Peter followed him at a distance, …….. (NIV)

 

How are we following Jesus? With enthusiasm? Are we excited and proud to belong to Jesus?

Or are we like Peter?  He didn’t want to be seen with Jesus.

At school or in the office – Are we comfortable letting people know that we are Christians and go to Church?

 

ILLUS. What do you do on Sunday?

Well I went to a meeting.

What was the meeting for?

O you know just some friends and …

You mean Church?

Well yes!!

 

Let’s face it, being a Christian and going to Church is not ‘cool’.

It doesn’t have a lot of street cred!! Sometimes / often we are embarrassed.

Deep down we want to follow Jesus because we know it is the right thing to do but not to closely – we want to be like Peter and follow at a distance.

Being more concerned about what other people think of us rather than what God thinks of us leads to spiritual failure!

 

1.4.         Convenience

Mark 14:54 b ….. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire. (NIV)

This reminds me of the people who Jesus called in Luke 9 and they responded by saying “Well yes Lord, BUT … first let me wait until my father dies …. First let me get my family’s approval ..”

“Lord I will follow you if it is convenient / comfortable”

“I would like to do what you want but actually it is nice and warm here by the fire.”

“Lord, I will do want you ask as long as nothing more exciting / enjoyable comes along – please don’t expect me to sacrifice my comfort!!”

 

When these are our attitudes is it any wonder we fail spiritually!! And fall away.

And when we do, then like Peter, we end up denying the Lord we claim to follow. Maybe not in the outspoken way Peter did – but by neglect cold-heartedness.

 

GOD’S RESPONSE: GRACE

Romans 8:1

1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, (NIV) or (who belong to Christ Jesus)

 

If God responded to us as we usually respond to others he would turn his back on us and go off in a huff.

More than that he would destroy us – BUT rather we can receive his grace. We deserve to be punished, instead he shows us his love.

My Lord, what love is this that pays so dearly:

that I, the guilty one may go free!

 

Amazing love, oh what sacrifice, the Son of God given for me!

My debt he pays and my death he dies that I might live,…

 

  1. 2.     WHY DOESN’T GOD REJECT US WHEN WE SIN?

 

2.1.         Because His love is unconditional

Lamentations 3:22   God’s compassion never ends. It is only his mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. (LB)

We love because of something that attracts us to the object –

ILLUS.: If we had a box full of cute Labrador puppies many of us would be ‘Oohing’ and ‘Aahing’ over them. If we had a crippled, smelly, mangy mutt walk in most of us would be saying, ‘Yuck, get that horrible dog out of here’. {expect maybe Jane Richards!!}

 

We usually love someone because there is something nice about that person – something that attracts us to him or her.

ILLUS. Ever been at a party or in a pub – Who turns heads? The ordinary looking or not so attractive? Of course not!!

 

God loves us. Not because we are cute, or good looking or clever – in fact we are dirty and sinful and decidedly unattractive BUT he chooses to love us because he wants to. Jesus dying on the cross for us is the greatest demonstration of how much God loves us.

 

2.2.         Because salvation isn’t based on my performance

Titus 3:5 5 he saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. (NLT)

With most things in this life we have to do something to be recognised and accepted.

 

ILLUS.: At school if we want to get onto the netball or football team we must practise earn our place – we must perform well.

If you wish to go to university you have to work hard and earn your place.

 

So we often think that when it comes to God loving us we must ‘do something’ to make him love us.

Parents make the mistake of teaching their children that ‘all good children go to heaven’. NO! We won’t get to heaven by being good BUT because Jesus loved us and died on the cross to rescue us.

Yes he does want us to be good but that is to show that we love him for first rescuing us from our sin.

 

2.3.         Because Jesus has already taken my punishment

1 John 2:2 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (NIV)

1 John 2:2 2 When Jesus served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for God – and not only for us but also for the sins of the whole world. (Message)

 

Naturally we are all sinners and deserve God’s punishment. When we do our own thing and ignore God’s way – when we reject God we should be punished!

But when Jesus died on the cross he took the punishment for my sin and your sin.

 

2.4.         Because Jesus understands my human weaknesses

Hebrews 4:15 15 (He) understands our weaknesses, for he faced all the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin”. (NLT)

 

ILLUS.: Many of you know my brother Leigh – nearly 23 years ago Leigh’s first wife Esther and our sister Jayne were killed in a car crash. Over the years Leigh has been able to help many people whose Loved Ones have died.

One of the reasons is because he understands what they are going through because he has faced it himself.

That is true of many people who have had an alcohol problem, or been through divorce, or been made redundant etc.

 

You know why Jesus doesn’t reject us when we mess up – he knows what it is like to be human – to be weak. He never sinned but he did face all the same kind of temptations and problems that we face.

We can never say to Jesus, “But Lord you don’t understand” [Well we can say it – but it is not true – and he understands that too].

 

2.5.         Because God doesn’t hold grudges

Psalm 103:9-13

9 He will not constantly accuse us, nor will he remain angry forever;

10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve…….. 13 He is like a father to his children, tender and compassion to those who fear him; (NLT)

 

ILLUS.: A group of friends at school – one of them does something we don’t like. “Well if that what she wants to be like then I’ll never talk to her again”

 

It is not just children who play those games – adults are also very good at dishing up ‘cold shoulder’ and ‘hot tongue’.

God doesn’t have piles of chips on his shoulders – God isn’t waiting to get even and to make our lives miserable. In fact, just the opposite! He wants us to know that he is tender and compassionate. Yes he is angry when we sin – BUT that anger changes to tender loving care when we ask for forgiveness.

God is not a miser – he doesn’t give us just tiny morsels of love – the Bible tells us that God “lavishes his love on us”. God is not grudging and he doesn’t hold grudges.

 

  1. 3.     WHAT SHOULD I DO? Turn / Return to God!

 

The Bible tells us that when Peter heard the rooster crow and realised that he had denied his Lord he “went out and wept bitterly”.

He knew he had let Jesus down. The hours and days that followed as Jesus was crucified and buried must have been the longest days of Peter’s life. That is why when the women brought the news of Jesus resurrection on the Sunday morning Peter was the first to run and see.

 

There was someone else who also let Jesus down very badly – Judas Iscariot – and he was also sorry BUT he was more sorry for himself than that he had let Jesus down. And he killed himself.

 

Peter’s great desire was to be reunited to Jesus and have the close relationship he had known before.

 

If you are in a place this morning where you are out of sorts with God. Maybe you have never come to him before – I want you to know this morning that for all the reason we have seen God loves you and wants to forgive you and accept you into his kingdom – why not turn to him.

 

Perhaps you are a Christian who through over-confidence, laziness, fear of disapproval or convenience have drifted away from God – you too, need to know that God loves you and wants to forgive you. He wants you to return to Him.

 

Isaiah 1:19 No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. (LB)

 

Isaiah 54:7 With great compassion I will take you back. (LB)

 

Jeremiah 15:19 If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me (NLT)

 

GOD’S RESTORING GRACE.

 

 

Mark 14:27-72.

 

 

1.WHAT CAUSES US TO FALL AWAY?

                                  (to fail spiritually)

 

1.1. Over-Confidence

“Even if all fall away, I will not” v.29. (NIV)

 

1.2. Laziness

Mark 14:37  Then he [Jesus] returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? (NIV)

 

1.3. Fear of Disapproval

Mark 14:54 a Peter followed him at a distance, …….. (NIV)

 

1.4. Convenience

Mark 14:54 b …There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire. (NIV)

 

GOD’S RESPONSE: GRACE

Romans 8:1  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.WHY DOESN’T GOD REJECT US

                WHEN WE SIN?

 

2.1. Because His love is unconditional

Lamentations 3:22   God’s compassion never ends. It is only his mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. (LB)

 

2.2. Because salvation isn’t based on my performance

Titus 3:5  He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. (NLT)

 

2.3. Because Jesus has already taken my punishment

1 John 2:2  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (NIV)

 

2.4. Because Jesus understands my human weaknesses

Hebrews 4:15 15 (He) understands our weaknesses, for he faced all the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin”. (NLT)

 

2.5. Because God doesn’t hold grudges

Psalm 103:9-13           He will not constantly accuse us, nor will he remain  angry for ever;  he does not treat us as our sins deserve……… He is like a father to his children, tender and compassion to those who fear him; (NLT)

 

  1. 3.       WHAT SHOULD I DO?

               Turn / Return to God!

 

Isaiah 1:19 No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. (LB)

 

Isaiah 54:7 With great compassion I will take you back. (LB)

 

Jeremiah 15:19 If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me (NLT)

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