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Moments With The Master Series
A TENDER MOMENT
Intro: There was a certain man who had been faithful in worshiping with other believers for many years. Then he became lax and stopped coming to the services. The pastor was burdened for his spiritual welfare, so one day he called in his home. The man invited him in and offered him a chair by the fire. The Pastor mentioned to the man how much missed seeing him in the worship services. The man replied that he was saved and saw no need to go to church. He felt that he could worship just fine at home.
For several long moments they sat in silence and watched the burning embers. Then, taking the tongs, the pastor removed a hot coal and laid it by itself on the hearthstone. As it began to cool, its red glow soon faded. The man, who had been expecting a verbal rebuke, quickly caught the message. He was at church for the next service!
This is a fact of life that I have become very familiar with over these last 21 years. There have been many occasions when I have failed the Lord and I seen the flame of love and devotion burn very low within my heart and life. When those times came around, I had to come before the Lord, confessing my sins and failures and seeking forgiveness and restoration. Each time I have come to Him for cleansing, I have found Him to be a faithful Friend to those who have fallen by the wayside.
Today, I would like to speak directly to those who aren’t as close to the Lord today as you should be. Maybe the things of God aren’t as sweet as they used to be. Maybe there isn’t a hot, burning love for the Lord, His house, His Word and His people like there used to be. Maybe even your church attendance has become a thing of drudgery and toil. My duty today is to tell you that it does not have to stay way! Jesus Christ is still the Friend of the fallen today.
In our text, we are told about a face to face encounter between the risen Lord Jesus and Simon Peter. It was Peter, you will remember, who denied the Lord 3 times. As we look into how the Lord handled Peter, I want you to know that He can and will do the same for you if you will respond in the correct manner. Its tough being out of the Lord’s will, but it is possible to make things right again! With that in mind, let’s take a few minutes to consider together A Tender Moment.
I. THE PURPOSE OF THIS TENDER MOMENT
A. To Confront Peter’s Failure - Matt. 26:69-75 (
1. The Place Of His Failure - Peter was in the wrong place altogether. In the beginning, Peter had made his boast that he would never forsake the Lord, Luke 22:33-34. Yet, when the time came and Jesus was arrested, Peter, like all the others forsook Jesus and fled, Matt. 26:56. However verse 58 tells us that Peter decided to follow the Lord and see what happened, but that he followed Jesus “afar off.” When Peter found himself surrounded by the Lord’s enemies, it became hard for him to stand by his earlier boast. Now, he takes the low road and denies that he even know the Lord Jesus, v. 69-74.
(Ill. Essentially, all backsliding begins in the same manner! Instead of staying as close to the Lord as we should, we begin to follow Him “afar off.” It may begin as simply missing a few services here and there. Maybe you just stop praying like you should. Maybe the Bible isn’t opened and read as frequently as it ought to be. Wherever and however it begins, it will eventually lead to the same place. It will eventually lead you into a backslidden and cold condition! Peter’s problem was that he found himself in the wrong place with the wrong people!
Dear friends, being just a clear as I can be with you, some of you are in the wrong place also! You aren’t as close to the Lord as you used to be. You need to rekindle that old flame and make things right with Him. Being in the wrong place is dangerous! Just ask David - 2 Sam. 11:1-17.)
2. The Pain Of His Failure - When Peter denied the Lord that night, the Bible tells us that he went out and “wept bitterly.” Peter was miserable in his new condition. He knew that he had wronged the Lord. He knew that he had violated something very precious and sacred. He was a miserable man!
is a thief and a robber! It steals youth
and beauty. It destroys innocence and
effectiveness. Sin has the ability to
make you into a very miserable person!
3. The Price Of His Failure - After Peter sinned, he felt a definite loss of fellowship, peace and joy. He knew that things were different.
B. To Confront Peter’s Foolishness – His foolishness is revealed in:
1. His Choices - After the resurrection, Peter must have assumed that his ministry was over. He had denied the Lord and so he decided to return to the old way of life. I am sure that he might have tried to justify it by saying, “Well, I have a family to support.” Whatever the motivation, Peter had been called to forsake all those things and to follow Jesus, Matt. 4:19. The Lord’s call had been a call to come and be a fisher of men!
2. His Companions - When Peter went back
to the old life, he took others with him.
These other Disciples weren’t as sold out to the Lord as they should
have been either! If they had been, they
would have been waiting for their marching orders. After all, Jesus had told them to go into
What a shame it is when we feel the need to drag others into the same foolish pit into which we have placed our self! What’s equally sad is the fact that there always seems to be those who are willing to follow the wayward child of God! Why are things this way? Because we like to surround ourselves with people who are on about the same level as we are. If we are right with God, we want to be around others who are right with God. If we are out of God’s will, we feel rebuked by the lives of those who are living for the Lord and seek out those who are like we are. Sadly, we will often try to reproduce our spiritual temperature in the lives of those who are close to us. This is merely an effort to make self more comfortable.)
3. The Consequences - Peter and his cronies fished all the night long and did not catch a single fish! Most of these men had been professional fishermen before they met the Lord and this must have been a devastating thing to have to deal with. They toiled and labored all the night and produced nothing of value!
II. V. 4-17 THE PROVISION OF THIS TENDER MOMENT
A. V. 4-7 Jesus Found Peter - After the sin, after the return to the old life, after a long night of failure, Jesus stepped onto the scene and in a few minutes turned everything around and made things like they ought to be. What made the difference? There was a change in Peter. Notice three things that changed when Jesus came by:
1. V. 5 Peter
was forced to admit his failure - This is the first step in coming back
home. There must be an acknowledgment of sin and wrong doing, 1 John 1:9. (
2. V. 6 Peter started to obey Jesus again - He stopped doing things Peter’s way and started doing them the Lord’s way. This brought success where there had been only failure!
3. V. 7 Peter has a renewed desire to be near the
Lord - He wasn’t willing to wait for a more convenient time but went to
meet the Lord immediately. (
B. V. 9-14 Jesus Fed Peter - When Peter, and the other Disciples, reached the shore; they found that Jesus had a fire prepared with fish already cooking. They found there, with the Savior, all the things they needed after being out on that boat all night long. They found food, warmth and fellowship. They found a Savior who loved them and who had all the provisions in place that they needed. Everything they lacked out on that boat, they found when they came to Jesus!
This is illustrated very clearly in the parable of The Prodigal Son. When that boy, who had squandered the family fortune, disgraced the family name and allowed himself to wallow in the depths of sin, came home, he found a father who had everything waiting for him that he had lacked in the far country. He found:
1. V. 20 A Waiting Father
2. V. 20 Compassion
3. V. 20 Love
4. V. 20 Forgiveness
5. V. 22 Cleansing
6. V. 22 Total Restoration
7. V. 23 Food For His Hungry Soul
I am here to tell you today that if you will return to the Father today, you find all this and more waiting on you in the Lord Jesus. He loves you and desires to have close fellowship with you. Why not come home today and find out for yourself that there is a Friend for the fallen.
C. V. 15-17 Jesus Freed Peter - In these verses, we find the Lord Jesus re-commissioning Simon Peter for service. I am sure that Peter felt that his work and ministry was forever gone, but Jesus came to call him back into the fight! This was a time of unique fellowship and restoration between Jesus and Simon Peter. In these few verses, Jesus freed Peter from the bondage of his sin and failure and set him back about the business of serving the Lord and His church.
IV. V. 18-19 THE PROMISE OF THIS TENDER MOMENT
A. V. 18-19a The Promise Of Sacrifice - Peter would eventually give his life for the Lord who had saved him and who had restored Him. Peter’s call was literally to follow Jesus unto the death. Tradition states that Peter was eventually put to death by crucifixion and that at his own request; he was crucified upside down because he did not feel worthy to die like his Lord.
B. V. 19b The Promise Of Service - Peter is told that his life, from this moment forward, is to glorify the Lord! He is no longer to live for self, but in everything, he is to live for the glory of God.
(Ill. God’s plan is the same for every born again child of God! His will is that you and I live lives that are pleasing in His sight and that bring glory and honor to His wonderful Name, 1 Cor. 10:31. There are no doubt many who need to come today and repent of living for self, make a change and get up to live for Jesus!)
C. V. 19c The Promise Of Surrender - The last things Jesus does is to give Peter this command, “Follow Me!” The last call is the same as the first. When Jesus found Peter and called him the first time, this was His command, Matt. 4:19. When he re-commissions Peter, He issues the same call. This tells us that the Lord hasn’t changed His mind about Peter, or about Peter’s duty before the Lord.
(Ill. Regardless of how deep you may
have fallen into sin, please know today that the Lord hasn’t changed His mind
about you! You might want to repent and
come home to Him, but feel that if you do you will be some kind of second class
saint. That is just not true! God gives the same command to you today that
He gave to Peter then, “Follow me!” All Jesus wants from you is a surrendered
life; one that is lived for the glory of God; one that exalts Him and one that
is lived in His will and service. He
simply wants you to follow Him!) (
Conc: I would like to bring this message to a close by asking, “What does your future hold for you?” Does it hold chastisement, misery and difficulty? Or, does it hold joy, peace, blessing and glory for the Lord? The answer all depends on what you do right now.
Some of you, like Peter, may be toiling while Jesus stands calling out to you today. Please understand that you do not have to remain at a distance from Him today. If this message has found you lost and on your way to Hell, then I invite you to come to Jesus right now. He loves you and wants to save your soul. I know I have preached primarily to saved people, and what they will face if they do not repent is bad. But, dear lost friend, if you do not come to Jesus, you are eternally lost and are headed to Hell with no hope. Forever lost, forever doomed and forever damned. Do not let that happen to you. If this message found you backslidden, then I invite you to come back to the Father’s House right now. He stands ready to receive, to forgive and to restore, if you will only come back home.
I have delivered the message as it was delivered to me. Now, the final decision is yours. What will it be? Tough or tender, you decide!