Zac Poonen: The Purpose Of Failure
Copyright - Zac Poonen (2000)
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1. God’s Purpose In
God’s Perfect Plan For Those Who Have Failed
GOD’S PURPOSE IN MAN’S
(A message given at Christian Fellowship
on Sunday, April 9, 2000)
to Luke chapter 22 verse 31.
read of Jesus warning Peter of a danger that lay ahead of him. He told him "Simon,
Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have
prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you
have turned again, strengthen your brothers."
know that Peter denied the Lord three times that very night. In verse 34,
we read that Jesus told Peter, "I say to you, Peter, the cock will not
crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me."
want to share with you this morning is God’s purpose in man’s
failure. This will encourage all of us who feel frustrated and discouraged
because of our failures to have hope.
question first of all is : Does God allow failure? Does He permit it? Is
there a purpose in failure? Or is failure something that has no purpose at all
in God’s perfect will and something that God cannot use to further his
read this passage, we see that God did not prevent Peter from denying Him. Why
didn’t Jesus say "Simon I have prayed for you that you will not
deny Me even once." Why did the Lord pray only that Peter’s faith
may not fail, even if Peter himself fell?? Isn’t it
interesting that the Lord did not pray that Peter might not fall?
us would like the Lord to pray for us that we might never fall. We would like
the Lord to say to us "My son, my daughter, I have prayed for you that you
will never fall and never fail." But interestingly enough,
our Lord doesn’t pray such a prayer for us.
did Jesus pray for Simon? That when Satan tempted him, his faith would
not fail. He didn’t pray that Peter should not fall in temptation, but
that when he did fall, his faith in God’s perfect love would not fail him
- so that even when Peter reached the bottom of the pit of failure, he would
confess, "God still loves me".
faith – and that is the confession we must always have on our lips and in
our hearts - no matter how low we may have sunk or fallen - that God
still loves us, JUST AS WE ARE.
was the confession of the prodigal son. When he had reached so low that he
could not go any lower, he still believed that his father loved him. I
can’t imagine anyone reaching any lower than the prodigal son had reached
- eating what the pigs eat. That boy was at rock-bottom. But when he reached
rock-bottom, he remembered one thing: That his father still loved him. Otherwise
he would never have returned home. Supposing he’d heard that his father
had died and that his elder brother was now running the house, do you think he
would have come back home? No. He knew what his elder brother was like. And
knowing that, he would never have come back. He came back only because he knew
that his father loved him.
are sinners who never come to some churches because they sense that the pastor
or elders there are like that elder brother in the parable. You can’t
blame those sinners then for not coming. If however the elders of a church are
like that father, then the worst of sinners will come to that church
seeking salvation, just like they came to Jesus. Our church must have such an
image, that the worst of sinners feel free to come to us. If Jesus is really in
our midst, the worst of sinners will definitely come and find salvation in our
hope for all who’ve failed thoroughly, who’ve made a mess of their
lives, and who’ve reached rock bottom. From there the Lord can pick you
up and take you to the heights of glory. His prayer for us is that our faith
in God’s love should not fail at any time.
don’t need this message today, dear brother and sister, you’ll
certainly need it one day in the future - when you hit rock bottom. Remember
one thing in that day: that God still loves you, no matter where
you are, or how low you have fallen. May your faith in God’s love not
fail in that hour.
is basically believing that God still loves us. He
doesn’t love our sin, He doesn’t want us to continue in our sin.
He’s like a father who sees his child’s diseases and hates those
diseases, but loves his child. Think of a mother who sees her child full of
leprosy or tuberculosis. That mother loves her child so much, but hates those
diseases with all her heart. God loves sinners but He hates their sin.
God’s love for sinners and His hatred of sin on Calvary’s cross. His love for sinners is seen in
that He allowed Jesus to die on the cross for us. His hatred of sin is seen in
His turning His face away from Jesus when Jesus bore the sin of the world on
sometimes ask how a God of love can send people to Hell. What is Hell like?
Hell is a place that God has forsaken completely – a place where God
cannot be found. This earth has not been forsaken by God. That’s why
there’s still so much of goodness and beauty on this earth. Look at the
beauty of creation, for example. Look at the decency and goodness there is in
many human beings. Demons would like to possess ALL human beings,
but they’re unable to, because God has put a restraining wall around
people, so that demons can’t do what they like. It is God’s mercy
also that gives man health, prosperity and many other comforts. All these
blessings are bestowed by God on both good and evil people. All this proves
that God has not forsaken this world. But Hell is not like that. In Hell there
is no mercy at all – because Hell is a truly God-forsaken place.
is goodness in many unconverted people in this world, because the influences of
God are still over them. But once they go to Hell, those very same people will
become as evil as the devil himself – because the mercy of God will no
longer be over their lives.
Hell, people will experience for the first time what it is like to be totally
forsaken by God. That was what Jesus experienced on the cross. Jesus
experienced Hell on the cross for those three hours of darkness, when God
actually forsook Him. There we see how much God hates sin.
is the answer? Can a God of love send people to Hell? The answer to that lies
in the answer to this other question: Could a God of love allow His own Son to
face Hell on the cross, when the sin of the world was upon Him? If He could do
that, He can send people to Hell too. A God of love will turn His face away
from those who continue in sin, who say to God, "I am not
going to listen to you. I have chosen my own way and I will continue
along it forever."
Bible says in Proverbs 29:1 (paraphrased) "A man who is corrected many
times and refuses to accept correction will one day suddenly be
destroyed and he will not have another chance". If a man keeps on refusing
God’s loving invitations, he is in real danger.
don’t want any of you over-sensitive brothers and sisters to feel
condemned hearing that – because that verse was not written
for those who fall into sin, but to warn those who love to
sin and who want to continue in it. It was not written
for those who try to live in purity but keep falling. It was written for rebels,
who defy God and want to keep on sinning.
you know whether you are a rebel? That’s very easy to find out. Just ask
yourself whether you have a desire to repent and to turn back to
God? If there’s even the slightest desire within you to turn to God and
to love Him, then that proves that the Holy Spirit is still working in your
life and that God is seeking to draw you to Himself. You may be a failure,
but you’re not a rebel. There’s a vast difference between
one who is failing and one who is rebelling.
with a purpose that God allowed Peter to fail. That purpose was to sift Peter.
What Satan really wanted was to destroy Peter altogether, but God would not allow
him to do that. God does not allow us to be tested or tried beyond our ability.
So Satan was allowed to sift Peter. As a result of his failure, Peter
was cleansed of a whole lot of chaff in his life.
is the real purpose with which God allows us to fail too.
it a good thing for the chaff to be removed from our lives? Certainly. When a
farmer harvests the wheat, he has to sift it before he can use it. Only then
will the chaff be removed from it.
Lord uses Satan to remove the chaff from our lives. Amazingly enough, God
accomplishes this purpose by allowing us to fail repeatedly!! God used Satan to
fulfil that purpose in Peter and He will use Satan to
fulfil that purpose in our lives too. There’s a
lot of chaff in all of us - the chaff of pride, self-confidence and self
righteousness. And God uses Satan to make us fail repeatedly, in order to
remove that chaff from us completely.
the Lord is succeeding in fulfilling this purpose in your life or not, you
alone know. But if the chaff is being removed, you will be humbler and less
self-righteous. You won’t look down on others who fail. You
won’t consider yourself better than anyone else.
said, God permits Satan to remove the chaff from us, by allowing us to
fail repeatedly. So don’t get discouraged if you fail. You are still in
God’s hand. There is a glorious purpose that’s being fulfilled
through your repeated failures. But your faith in God’s love for you must
not fail at such times. That wais what Jesus prayed for Peter and what He’s
praying for us today. He’s not praying that we may never fail, but
He’s praying that when we do reach rock-bottom, our confidence in
God’s love will still be unshaken.
through many experiences of failure do we finally reach a "zero
point", where we’re truly broken. It was when Peter reached that
point, that he had a second "conversion" (Lk.22:32 – KJV).
He turned around. The proof that Jesus’ prayer for Peter
was answered is seen in the fact that when Peter hit rock-bottom, he turned
around. He didn’t just lie down there discouraged. He
didn’t lose his faith. He got up. God had let him go on a long leash. But
when Peter reached the end of that rope, God pulled him back.
a wonderful thing to be a child of God. When God lays hold of us, He puts a
rope around us to protect us. There’s a lot of slack in that rope, and
you may slip up and fall many thousands of times and even drift away from the
Lord. But one day, you’ll reach the end of that rope. And then God will
pull you right back to Him.
you can decide at that point, to cut off the rope and run away. Or you can
choose to be broken by God’s kindness and mourn and return to Him.
That’s what Peter did. He wept and turned back to the Lord. But Judas
Iscariot didn’t do that. He cut away the rope - in rebellion against
God’s authority over his life - and was eternally lost. But I trust
you’ll do what Peter did.
then told Peter, "When you turn back and are strong once again, strengthen
your brothers ".
is only when we are broken that we can be strong enough to strengthen others.
only when Peter was weak and broken, that he became really strong - so strong
that he was able to strengthen his brothers and sisters. We could say that
Peter’s preparation for Spirit-filled service came through his experience
of failure. If he had been filled with the Holy Spirit, without
this experience of failure, he would have stood up on the day of Pentecost as a
proud man, as a man who had never failed, who could look down, despisingly, at the poor lost sinners in front of him. And
God would have become his enemy, for God resists the proud!!
the tragedy that has overtaken a lot of Christians today who were once filled
with the Holy Spirit. They were never broken. They were genuinely
filled with the Spirit perhaps, but they were never broken. And so, through
pride, they lost the anointing very soon.
own life, God taught me the truths of the way of cross and of brokenness, long
before He filled me with the Holy Spirit. That was good for me, because it
prevented me from going astray. God shattered my self-confidence and my self
righteousness through many years of failure – yes, it was years of
failure, day after day. If I were to draw a graph of the 60 years of my life,
it would be something like this: When I was born, I was way up there - innocent
and sweet, like all babies are, never having sinned. After I was born again
(when I was 19 years old), things went well for a period of time – in
fact for a number of years. The graph began going up slowly. But as God began
to bless my ministry and I became better known in Christian circles, pride got
into me and my graph started going down, without my even realizing it.
Outwardly I was still a well-known preacher. But my inner life and walk with
God had begun to deteriorate. I had become a backslider - inwardly. Finally, I
came to a point where I would say the graph of my life hit rock-bottom. That
was 26 years ago. At that point, I seriously thought of giving up the ministry
altogether - because I didn’t want to continue deceiving people by
preaching what I didn’t practise. At that
point, I deserved only judgment from God for my hypocrisy and my backsliding.
But instead of judging me and sending me to Hell, do you know what God did? He
filled me with the Holy Spirit.
He do that? Because God’s ways are not our ways. Let me use an
illustration for you to understand the wonder of that!
if you were an employee of a large multinational company, and you had been unfaithful
to the company, disobeying their orders, taking advantage of their goodness and
disgracing their name. One day, you do something terribly wrong. That’s
the last straw. The Chairman then comes to you, and instead of sacking you,
tells you, "We have decided to forgive you everything and to triple your
salary from today." Can you imagine such a thing happening? No? Well, that
just shows us that God’s ways are not man’s ways. Because
that’s a picture of what God did for me 25 years ago.
was the result of God treating me like that? Did it make me take advantage of
God’s kindness and make me sin even more from that day? No. On the
contrary, as it says in Romans 2:4, "the kindness of God led me to
repentance." It led me to mourning - and to brokenness. God’s
kindness broke me and gave me a longing to live a pure and holy life for Him
want to be honest with you here. The graph of my life has not steadily gone
up since that day. No. I still have my ups and downs, like other struggling
Christians. Like Paul, I still have "conflicts without and fears
within". I still need the help of my brothers "to be comforted
when I am depressed" (2 Cor.7:5,6). But I am seeking to press on to
to allow me to fall repeatedly into the pit of failure, before He could have
His way with me. And it took Him 16 years after I was born again, before He
could bring me to that zero-point. By that time I was 35 years old. Half my
life was over. It may not take that long for you, because you may not be as
stubborn as I was. But I wanted to give you my testimony, to encourage you, so
that you will never give up hope. If God could do that for me, He can do that
for any of you.
no-one who is beyond hope. Did you hear that? No-one is beyond hope.
There’s hope for everyone of you, as long as you’re alive. Hope is
lost only when you are dead.
had to come to such a zero-point too, before he could be what God wanted him to
have been to the bottom ourselves, we can never despise others who are still
there. We can never look down thereafter on sinners, or backslidden believers,
or even on Christian leaders who fall. We can never be proud of our victory
over sin, because we know what failures we ourselves were at one time.
why Peter himself warned other Christians saying, "Don’t ever
forget how you yourself were once cleansed from your sins"(2 Peter 1:9).
He warns them there that if they do forget that, they will become blind and
short-sighted. I don’t ever want to be blind or short-sighted. I want to
have a long-range vision - of heavenly values and eternal values - at all
the short-sighted ones? Those who value earthly things - the pleasures of sin,
material wealth and man’s honour and approval.
All such people are short-sighted. We need to feel sorry for such believers. If
you see a man whose physical vision is so poor that he can’t see anything
more than 10 feet ahead of him, you don’t get angry with him. You feel
sorry for him. If you see a man who needs to keep a book 2 inches from his eyes
in order to read it, you don’t get angry with him. You feel sorry for
him, don’t you? If an eye-doctor asks a man wearing thick lenses whether
he can read the "eye-chart" and the man replies that he can just
about see the top letter but is not sure whether it is an "E or an
"S", what does the doctor do? Does he get angry with him? No. He
feels sorry for him.
when we see believers who are so short-sighted as to live for money and the
pleasure of sin and the approval of man, it’s no use rebuking them. We
must feel sorry for them, because they are so terribly shortsighted. They are
going to have tons of regret when they stand before the Lord one day.
are lots and lots of believers like that. And do you know how they became
blind? They forgot "their purification from their former sins" (2
Pet.1:9). They forgot the pit from which God pulled them out. They became
proud of the fact that God blessed them subsequently.
want to forget the pit from which God pulled me out. I know that all my sins
have been blotted out and that God does not remember even a single sin that
I have ever committed. I stand before God today, just as if I had never sinned
even once in the 60 years of my life - because I have "been justified
by Christ’s blood" (Rom.5:9). That’s how God sees me. But
I will never forget what I once was. God says to me "I will not
remember your sins any more" (Heb.8:12). But I will
always remember what I once was.
don’t remember my past in such a way as to allow Satan to condemn
me or depress me with the thought of my sins. No. Never. "There
is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom.8:1). When
the devil accuses me I tell him straight to his face that "the blood of
Jesus has cleansed me from ALL my sins". I overcome Satan "by
the blood of the Lamb" (Rev.12:11). But I’ll never forget
the pit in which I once was, when God met with me and filled me with His Holy
God once told Judah,
I too was like "an unwanted baby thrown out in the open field, and
pitied by no-one. When the Lord came by that way and saw me squirming in my
blood, He picked me up, bathed me, clothed me and made me perfect with His splendour" (Ezek.-16:5,6,9,10,14).
it with you my brother, my sister? I know that many of you have been filled
with the Holy Spirit. But I am not sure if God has succeeded in breaking you
and shattering your self-confidence and your pride. It’s very easy to
find out if that has happened. Just answer these two questions:
of all: Do you look down on others – perhaps those in other
disagree with many Christians on doctrinal matters, but we must never look down
on any of them. I can honestly say that I consider many Christians in other
denominations to be better men than I am myself. I am not able to work with
many of them, because of our doctrinal differences; but I don’t despise
any of them.
ever say, like the Pharisee, "God, I thank you that I am not like other
people" (Luke 18:11)? If so, then you are not a broken man, whatever
experience of the Holy Spirit you may have had.
then, a second question: Are you proud of your spiritual progress or of your
broken man recognizes that nothing good dwells in his flesh and so he is quick
to give the glory to God for any fruit that he sees in his life or his
these are the two marks of a broken man :
He does not look down on anyone – believer or unbeliever.
He does not glory in his spiritual growth or in his ministry.
is a classic example of a man whom God succeeded in breaking. He had two
meetings with God – one at Bethel
(Genesis 28) and the other at Peniel
Bethel means "the
house of God" (a type of the church) and Peniel
means "the face of God". We all need to go beyond entering
of God to seeing the face
At Bethel, it says that "the
sun set" (Gen.28:11) - only a geographical fact, but also indicative
of what was happening in Jacob’s life, because the next 20 years were a
period of deep darkness for him. Then at Peniel, it
says, "the sun rose" (Gen.32:31) - again a geographical fact,
but Jacob too had finally come into God’s light.
Peter’s two conversions, many believers who have walked with God
through the ages, have also had two meetings with God. The first was
when they entered the house of God (the church) through being born again. The second
was when they met God face to face and were filled with the Holy Spirit and
their lives were transformed.
At Bethel, Jacob dreamt of a
ladder set on earth whose top reached up to heaven. In John 1:51, Jesus
interpreted that ladder as referring to Himself – the Way from earth to
Heaven. So what Jacob saw was actually a prophetic vision of Jesus opening up
the way to Heaven. The Lord then promised Jacob many things in that dream. But
Jacob was so earthly minded that he could only think of earthly security,
physical health and financial prosperity. And so he said to God "Lord if
You take care of me on this trip and give me food and clothing and bring me
safely home, I’ll give you 10% of my earnings." Jacob treated God
like a watchman who was to take care of him. And if God did that, Jacob would
pay Him His wages – 10% of his income!!
exactly how many believers treat God today too. They desire only material
comforts from Him. And if the Lord gives them these things, they attend the
church-meetings faithfully and give some of their money for the Lord’s
work. Such believers are actually doing business with God, seeking their
own comfort and profit, just like any worldly businessman.
spent 20 years of his life grabbing earthly things. He tried to grab a
wife from Laban’s family and got two! He
didn’t want two, but he got two anyway!! Then he cheated Laban and grabbed his sheep and thus became a very
rich man. He had gone penniless to Laban’s
house, but ended up as a very rich man there. No doubt he attributed his
prosperity to God’s blessing – as many believers do today!!
what is the real mark of "God’s blessing"? Is it
prosperity? No. It is to be transformed into the likeness of Christ.
the use having a good job, a good house and many comforts, if your life is
still useless to God and to man?
hadn’t finished dealing with Jacob. He met him a second time at Peniel.
to say to you, my brothers and sisters, that many of you need a second
encounter with God - an encounter that will take place when you hit rock bottom
in your life - and when God, instead of judging you and sending you to Hell,
fills you with His Holy Spirit!
in Genesis 32 that Jacob was scared because he had just heard that Esau
(whom he had cheated of the birthright 20 years earlier) was coming out to meet
him. He was sure that Esau would kill him. It’s good for us when God allows
us to face certain situations that scare us. Because, when we are afraid
of what men might do to us, we will draw near to God.
At Peniel, Jacob was alone (Gen.32:24). God has to get
us alone first of all before he can meet with us. That’s why Satan has
ordered life in today’s world to be so rushed and busy (especially in the
cities) that even many believers have hardly any time to be alone with
God. Their lives have become so busy, that matters of low priority (like
God) have been crowded out of their timetable altogether! This is the
tragedy in today’s Christendom.
wrestled with Jacob for many long hours that night, but Jacob would not yield.
That wrestling was symbolic of what had been going on in Jacob’s life for
the previous 20 years. And when God saw that Jacob was stubborn, He finally
dislocated his hip from its socket. Jacob was only about 40 years old at that
time, and he was a very strong man. His grandfather Abraham had lived up to
175. So, we could say that Jacob was in the prime of his youth, with 75% of his
life still ahead of him. To get a dislocated hip at such a young age would have
been the last thing he wanted – for it would have shattered all the plans
he had made for his future. To understand it in today’s terms, it would
be like a young man of 20 getting his hip dislocated, and having to use a
crutch for ever after!! That can be a shattering experience. Jacob would never
be able to walk without a crutch for the rest of his life.
tried in so many ways to break Jacob but He had not succeeded; and so He
finally gave him a permanent physical disability. That succeeded in breaking
do the same for us, if He finds that we need it. He disciplines only those He
loves, in order to save them from some greater catastrophe.
however God has stopped correcting you, then He may allow you, even as a
backslider, to live in good health and earn plenty of money and waste your
life. But who would want that? I would rather let God deal with me drastically
and discipline me and break me down (even physically if necessary) right now,
so that I can walk with Him and fulfil His purposes
the great apostle Paul needed a thorn in the flesh to keep him broken (2
Cor.12:7). Paul’s thorn in the flesh may have been some physical
disability that annoyed him continuously. He prayed to God again and again that
this "messenger of Satan" be taken away. But God said,
"No. Even though it is a messenger of Satan, I won’t take it away.
You need it to keep you humble - so that you can be useful to Me and to your
God had dislocated Jacob’s hip, He told him, "All right, I have done
My job. Now let Me go. You never wanted Me. You only wanted women and
money." But Jacob wouldn’t let go of God now. He had been changed
– at last! This man who had spent his life grabbing women and
property now grabs hold of God and says
" I won’t let You go unless You bless me". What a great
work was accomplished in Jacob’s heart when his hip was dislocated, so
that He now desired only God.
the old saying goes, "When you have nothing left but God, you will
find that God is more than enough"!! That’s true.
asks him, "What is your name?" And Jacob replies, "My name is
Jacob". "Jacob" means deceiver. Jacob admits at last that
he is a deceiver.
perhaps a deceiver too? Have you been fooling others around you that you are a
spiritual man? If so, will you be honest with God today and tell Him that
you’re a hypocrite?
years earlier, when his blind father Isaac had asked him his name, Jacob had
pretended that he was Esau. But now he was honest. And the Lord said to him
immediately, "You won’t be a deceiver (Jacob) any more" (v.28).
that an encouraging word?
hear it? "You won’t be a deceiver any more"
not that you won’t fall into sin anymore. But there won’t be
any deception in your life any more. There won’t be any guile in
your life anymore.
then God told Jacob, "Your name will henceforth be Israel (prince
of God), for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed". What
a transformation – from a deceiver to a prince of God. And it was all
accomplished only when Jacob was broken.
our calling too – to be seated with Christ on His throne, as a prince,
exercising spiritual authority over Satan, and releasing men and women from
Satan’s bondage. As members of the body of Christ, we are to have power
with God and with men and prevail. We’re called to be a blessing to all
men. But that can happen only when we’re broken. And we can be broken
only when we’re honest with God about out hypocrisy and our deception.
centuries later, when a descendant of Jacob, Nathaniel, met Jesus, the Lord
said of Him, "Here is a true Israel in whom there is no Jacob
(no guile)" (John 1:47)!! He then reminded Nathaniel of the ladder
that Jacob had seen at Bethel and told him that
he too was an "Israel"
- not because Nathaniel was perfect but because there was no guile or
deception in him.
here that Jacob named that place "Peniel"
for he had finally seen the face of God. At Bethel, he had been taken up with the house
of God. You may have been in the house of God for many years and yet
you may not have seen the face of God. Then you need a second encounter
with God - where you see His face.
says in excitement, "Now I see Your face O God and my life is
should have been thrown out of the company, but my salary has been
should have gone to Hell, but He filled me with the Holy Spirit instead!!
I know the reason now, why many believers are not filled with the Holy Spirit.
They’re trying to earn it. They’re trying to be worthy of
Him. Multitudes of sincere people in many religions too are seeking for the
forgiveness of their sins in the same way. Why don’t they get
forgiveness? Because they’re trying to earn it.
you receive the forgiveness of your sins? Did you earn it or deserve it? A day came
in your life when you realized that you would never deserve God’s
forgiveness. You came to Jesus then, not as a Christian, but as a sinner. And
your sins were forgiven immediately. We must come in the same way to receive
the fulness of the Spirit.
are many believers today who are fasting and praying and tarrying to receive
the fulness of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing
wrong with doing any of these things. They’re all good. But if you do any
of these things in order to make yourself worthy to receive the fulness of the Spirit, then you are on the wrong track.
you don’t receive the Spirit’s fulness,
you may even question God saying, "Lord, I have fasted and prayed and
waited. Why haven’t you filled me". But you can never earn or
deserve the Holy Spirit, even as you can never earn or deserve the
forgiveness of your sins. Both of these are God’s gifts. And you
can’t pay Him for either. You have to take them free - or you’ll
never get them.
gifts are all free. But man makes the mistake of trying to pay God for them and
so he does not receive any of them. If you try to make yourself worthy to
receive God’s gifts, you cannot receive them. This could perhaps be the
main reason why you have not yet been filled with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was on earth, the Pharisees thought they deserved the forgiveness of sins
more than anyone else. But they didn’t get it - and they went to Hell. On
the other hand, notorious sinners like Mary Magdalene received the forgiveness
of sins immediately. A thief who had lived a life of crime was forgiven in a
moment and went to Paradise the very night he
gives His best gifts to those who don’t deserve them. Those who came
to work in the vineyard at the eleventh hour, knew that they deserved
nothing and so got paid first. But those who had come earlier, who felt
they deserved their wages, ended up last.
story of the prodigal son, we read that the father had a ring on his hand. One
day, he took it off and gave it to his younger son who had wasted all his
money. Why didn’t he give it to his elder son? Because he was
self-righteous. In man’s eyes, it was the elder son who deserved that
ring. But the father gave it to his younger son.
God’s way. He does things like that to humble the pride of man, so that
no-one can ever boast in His presence. His ways are not our ways and His
thoughts are not our thoughts.
you’ve understood this truth that I am trying to emphasize, then
you’ve understood a fundamental principle of how God deals with man.
the kindness of God that first led me to repentance. And every
subsequent kindness that God ever showed me has only led me to greater
kindness of God lead you to repentance too. Don’t take advantage of His
goodness. God has been kind to us in many ways. But we shouldn’t imagine
that because He is kind to us, He is happy with us. No.
He’s kind to all men. His kindness is only meant to lead us to
repentance. And when we turn to Him without any guile, He will put His ring on
our hands too. He has kept that ring especially for sinners like us.
once told the Pharisees sarcastically, "You are all healthy; you
don’t need a doctor. It’s the sick people who need a doctor and I
came for them." (Matt.9:12). He used sarcasm in love – to
wake them up. But they didn’t wake up.
has not come to call those who consider themselves righteous, but those
who acknowledge that they are sinners. It is quite possible that many of you
sitting here this morning may be as sick as those Pharisees were, without even
realizing it - sick with hypocrisy, pride and self righteousness. These
diseases are more serious than AIDS and cancer - and they can destroy you!
Compared to these sins, other sins like murder and adultery are only like
having a cold and a fever. You may think that the murderer and the adulterer
are sick. But you could be sicker than both of them!!
wants to give us His life, His power and His authority. That’s why He
allows us to fail again and again, until we’re finally broken.
story of Job, we see how God brought him to rock bottom by allowing him to lose
his property, his children, and his health. In a sense he even lost his wife
(who nagged him constantly) and his three good friends (who misunderstood him
and criticized him). His friends turned out to be self-righteous preachers who
took delight in "kicking him when he was down". They kept on
"kicking" him, until God in His mercy put an end to it. In the midst
of all these pressures, Job justified himself repeatedly. When the Lord finally
spoke to him, Job saw the corruption of his self-righteousness - and he
repented. He was a righteous man. That was good. But he was proud of his
righteousness. That was bad. But after God dealt with him, he was a broken man.
From then on, he would glory only in God. Thus God’s purpose for Job was
Job was broken, notice what he said to God, "Up until now, I had only
heard about you from all these preachers. But now I see you face to
face" (Job 42:5). That was Job’s Peniel!
He too saw the face of God and his life was preserved. And what was the result?
He repented in dust and ashes (v.6). What those four preachers could not
accomplish even after days of preaching, God accomplished in Job, in a moment,
by a revelation of His kindness. It was God’s kindness that broke Job and
led him to repentance.
us hear about God from preachers in the meetings. What we need is a
face-to-face encounter with God, where we see His kindness toward us and are
broken by it. That’s what happened to Peter too. Do you remember what was
the very next thing that happened after Peter had denied the Lord and the cock
had crowed twice? He saw the Lord’s face. Peter had his Peniel too! We read that "the Lord turned
and looked at Peter" (Luke 22:61). And what was the result: "Peter
went out and wept bitterly" (v.62).
look of kindness and forgiveness from Jesus broke that rugged fisherman’s
the old covenant, God had promised health, wealth and many material blessings
But there was one blessing which was the greatest of them all – the one
described in Numbers 6:22 to 26. There we read that Aaron was commanded
to bless the people thus: "May the Lord make His face to shine
on you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you
it a pity that many believers today seek for the inferior blessings of
health and wealth (which unbelievers also get without prayer) and for emotional
experiences (many of which are spurious) – instead of seeking for the
greatest blessing of all that can transform their lives totally – a face
to face encounter with God?
we never become rich, and are never healed, if we see the Lord’s face,
that will meet all our needs.
boils all over his body when he met with God, but he didn’t ask God for
healing. He said, "I have seen the Lord’s face and that’s
enough for me". The three preachers who pretended to have
"discernment" and "a word from God" had told Job that he was
being punished for some secret sins in his life. There are self-appointed
prophets like that today too with their false "Thus saith
the Lord" messages, who bring God’s people under condemnation.
But God didn’t threaten Job with judgment like those three preachers did.
didn’t talk to Job about his failures or even remind him of the
complaints he had made (against God) when he was under pressure. God just
revealed His kindness to Job – His kindness seen in the beautiful
universe He had created for man’s enjoyment and in the animals He had
created to be subject to man. It was that revelation of God’s kindness
that led Job to repentance. Many take advantage of God’s kindness and
abuse it. But with Job, it led him to repentance. And then the Lord blessed Job
with double of what he had in the beginning.
final purpose of God in breaking us is to bless us abundantly - as we read in James
5:11. The goal that the Lord had in mind for Job was to shatter his self-
righteousness and his pride and make him a broken man - so that the Lord could
show him His face and bless him abundantly. Even the material and physical
blessings that God gives us can ruin us by driving us away from Him, if we do
not see His face behind them all. How many believers there are today, who have
drifted away from God through material prosperity.
vision of the Lord’s face can deliver us from longing after all that this
world can offer:
"Show me Thy face - one transient gleam of loveliness
And I shall never think or dream of other love save Thine.
All lesser light will darken quite, all lower glories wane.
The beautiful of earth will ne’er seem beautiful again."
saw the Lord’s face and he wept bitterly. We may now imagine that Peter
was finally broken. But no. The Lord had to lead him through one more
experience of failure before he was ready for his Peniel.
21:3, we read of Peter telling His fellow-apostles, "I am going
fishing". He didn’t mean that he was going to fish just that
evening. What he meant was that he was quitting being an apostle - because he
had been a failure at that - and was going back to fishing permanently!
had given up his fishing business some years earlier when the Lord called him.
He had forsaken everything and sincerely followed the Lord, the best he knew
how. But he had failed. He now felt that this business of being an apostle was
not for him. After 3½ years of listening to the most wonderful messages
ever preached, by the greatest preacher who ever lived, he had denied the Lord
outright – and that too, not just once, but thrice. He had had enough of
trying to be an apostle.
there was one thing he could still do well - fishing. He had done that since he
was a boy and he was an expert at it. So he decided to be a fisherman once
again. Some of the other apostles felt the same way too. They too had forsaken
the Lord in His hour of need and run away. So they would go back to fishing
too, because they had failed at being "apostles"!!
were sincere men. They had appreciated Jesus’ messages and their hearts
had burned within them, when listening to Him. They had wanted to be His
wholehearted disciples. But they had failed.
experience may be like theirs too. You may have heard powerful messages and
been stirred by them. You heart may have burned within you when you heard
God’s Word. You may have forsaken all and sincerely sought to follow
after the Lord. Perhaps you too have made "decisions" time and
again, after listening to powerful messages. Perhaps after repeated failures,
you may have said to yourself at times, "This time I am really going to
make it". But you have gone out and failed again. As you look back today,
perhaps all you can see behind you is failure piled upon failure, a thousand
times over. Maybe some of you are so discouraged today that you are thinking,
"It is no use. I might as well give up. This gospel may work for others.
But it doesn’t seem to work for me. I am too far gone. I can never make
feeling like that today? Have you decided that you are never going to try
again, because it’s no use trying. Have you decided to go back to the
world to seek a fortune or some empty pleasure there? Do you feel that it would
have been better for you to have been a thoroughly worldly person who made no
pretence of being a Christian rather than claiming to be a disciple of the Lord
that was exactly how those apostles felt when they decided to go back to
fishing. And the Lord permitted them to go, saying, as it were, "Go ahead.
Try fishing and see if you can succeed there." So Peter and his friends
tried all night to catch fish – and failed miserably. They had
never had such a bad night in their entire lives.
God has called you to be His, He won’t let you go. He will make sure that
you fail at fishing and at anything else you try! You can try as much as
you like, but you will fail. God’s love won’t permit you to waste
your life on trivialities. So, if you try to run away from Him, you will be a
failure at everything you try wherever you go - until you come back to Him.
this doesn’t apply to those whom the Lord has not called.
There are many crooked businessmen and politicians who’ve made a lot of `black’
money, who still live in good health - without God. Why does God permit
that? Because they’re not His children. But I’m not talking
about them now. I’m talking to you whom God has called from before the
foundation of the world to be His very own.
there were lots of fish in the lake
of Galilee, and I’m
sure the other fishermen caught plenty of them that night. Those fish went near
all those other boats. But God kept them away from Peter’s, so that not
even one fish came near his. Those other fishermen may even have come by
Peter’s boat and told him what a good catch they had. And that must have
made Peter and his friends wonder all the more why they were not catching
you ever wondered why you’ve never been able to make money in the
stock-market, like others around you have done? Do you wonder why your business
does not seem to rake in "millions" like that of others? People
around you seem to be getting wealthier, but prosperity doesn’t seem to
come your way at all. That’s because God’s call is upon your
life, and He wants you to have something better than what those worldly people
was turning away from the calling of God upon his life and God had to break him
once again by making him fail. Those apostles had started fishing at about 6
o’clock in the evening. But Jesus didn’t come to them until about 5
o’clock the next morning. The Lord knew that Peter was not going to get
any fish that night. Why then didn’t He come earlier - as soon as they
went out - so that they wouldn’t waste their time? Why didn’t He
come to them at least by 9 o’clock that night? Why did He wait till 5
o’clock the next morning? Why did He wait until they were exhausted,
after having struggled for 11 hours and failed?
answer to that question we will discover God’s design in allowing us to
fail. There we will see God’s purpose in man’s failure. There we
will understand why He never came to help us in the past, when we were
struggling, despite of our repeated cries for help, and why some of our earnest
still remain unanswered.
Peter and his friends went out to fish that evening at 6 pm, they were not failures.
They were brimming with hope. By 9 pm they hadn’t caught any fish, and
were perhaps a bit discouraged. But their outing could not still be written off
as a "failure". By midnight they may have been quite
depressed. By 4 am the next morning, they had begun to lose all hope. But they
had still to become total failures. For that to happen, they had
to fail some more. The graph of their self-confidence was going down. But it
had to go all the way down to zero - to rock bottom. And that occurred only at
5 am. Then they were ready to give up. Then they must have said,
"It’s no use trying any more. Let’s go home".
when the Lord appeared. That is God’s way. And the Lord filled their net
to overflowing. They had never caught such a good catch on any single day of
their lives. That morning they caught 153 large fish. They had probably
caught 20 or 30 fish on good days in the past. But this was a real miracle.
No-one had ever caught so many fish in one day in that lake. This catch would
go down in the record-books of Galilee! They
would remember forever that the Lord did a miracle for them, just when they
had given up all hope!
at your "wits end" today, not knowing which way to
turn, or what to do next, because everywhere you have turned you have
experienced only disappointment and failure. Then you are probably very close
to the place where the Lord is going to appear to you. Don’t give up. He
is only waiting for your self-confidence to reach a zero-point. If He
hasn’t come to you as yet, it only means that the graph of your
self-confidence has not reached a zero-point as yet. He still sees some
strength of Self left in you, which also has to go. Lazarus had to die and be
buried, before the Lord came!
Jesus finally came to the lakeside that morning, what did He ask them? He knew
that they had no fish. Yet He asked them, "Boys, do you have any
fish?" Perhaps none of them answered at first. Maybe He had to ask them
that a second time. Then they answered, "No". They admitted that they
were failures. They were honest – like Jacob and Job before them. That
was all that the Lord wanted them to admit – that they were failures.
the greatest joys in my life has been to discover this glorious truth: That
the main thing God requires from us, at any point in our lives, is honesty.
Then He can do a miracle for us.
you got any fish?" "No". "Cast your net on the right
side". And lo a miracle occurs!!
is your name?" "Deceiver". "Your name will no longer
be Deceiver, but Prince of God". And lo, another miracle occurs.
God’s way, my brothers and sisters.
that God requires from us is honesty.
you be honest with Him today?
church is like a hospital. We are all patients here. We are not specialists or
experts. Some of us have been in this hospital longer than others. But we are
all patients. There is only one Doctor – and that is Jesus Himself. We
have no consultants in our midst. Specialists and consultants are found among
the self-righteous people in the cults, and not in the church of the living
God. All are welcome to our hospital. The more serious your sickness, the more
you need to be in our midst, to find healing. Our message is just this that, "Christ
Jesus came into the world to save sinners – among whom we are the
meets with those who don’t deserve anything. The tax-collector prayed
saying "God be merciful to me THE sinner." (Luke 18:13-NASB). He
called himself, "THE sinner". What he meant was that he
felt that everyone around him was a saint compared to him! In his eyes, he was THE
ONLY SINNER on the face of the earth! Jesus said that that man went
home justified. It is only such people whom God justifies.
share something with you about what this word "justify" really
means. It is a beautiful word and a liberating word (Lk.18:14).
the pages of a book. Do you see how the right hand margin on every page is
straight, just like the left hand margin? In computer-language this is called "justification"!
Even though the number of letters in each line is different, yet the computer
makes the right hand edge to be perfectly straight. Now if you were to write
something on your computer without "justifying" it, you will find
that the right hand edge is jagged. That was how our pages used to come out in
the old days when we used manual typewriters. It was impossible to write even a
single page in such a way that each line was of equal length. But now we see
the miracle of "justification" – and this is not done by
just hyphenating the word that comes at the end of each line. No. If you look
at the pages in a book, you will find that there are usually no hyphens at all
- because that would look ugly too. The computer adjusts the spaces between the
words in each line so that every line is neatly "justified".
you have already written 30 lines of a page with jagged edges, you can now
command the computer to justify all that you have already written – and
lo and behold, by the pressing of a single key, all the lines are immediately justified!!
does exactly the same thing with us, when He justifies us. Maybe you
have made a mess of your life, and each day of your past life has ended with a
jagged edge. But if you come to Christ, God JUSTIFIES you in a
moment! Every line in your past life is made perfect – just
as if you had never sinned even once in your entire life – no jagged
edges, only a perfectly straight edge.
amazing isn’t it? What the computer does for our pages, God does for our
lives. There we see a 20th-century illustration of the word "justified".
tell you something further. Once we have commanded the computer to "justify",
every line that we write thereafter will also be justified automatically
and come out in perfect alignment with the other lines. Justification applies
just as much to our future as it does to our past. This is an
amazing gospel indeed!
sees us in Christ. We have no righteousness of our own to boast about, any
longer. Christ Himself is our righteousness
God justifies us, it will be as though we had never committed a single sin or
made a single mistake in our entire lives. And we are continuously justified
by the blood of Christ - because as we walk in the light, the blood of Christ
continuously cleanses us from all our sins – both conscious and
the greatest mistakes we can make when reading the Scriptures is to use the
logical way of thinking that we use when working out a mathematical problem. We
cannot understand God’s mind that way, because God doesn’t work
according to mathematical logic!! So we cannot use logic when trying to figure
out whether we can still fulfil God’s perfect
plan for our lives, after having made so many mistakes in the past. According
to arithmetical logic, that is impossible - because in an arithmetic sum, even
if one step is wrong somewhere, the final answer will always be wrong.
were to use that logic, you’d have to say that if you missed God’s
will somewhere in the past (whether that was when you were 2 years old or when
you were 52 doesn’t really matter), you could never fulfil
God’s perfect will now, no matter how hard you tried and no matter how
much you repented - because it doesn’t matter at what stage you make a
mistake in an arithmetic problem (whether at step 2 or step 52), your final
answer will still be wrong!!
says "My ways are not your ways." (Isa.55:8,9).
God that His plan for our lives doesn’t work according to mathematical
logic. If it did, then not a single human being (not even the apostle Paul)
would have been able to fulfil God’s perfect
plan. For all of us have failed at some time or the other. We have even failed
after becoming believers – so many times. We have sinned deliberately
too, after becoming believers. All who are honest will acknowledge that
readily. But the amazing truth is that there is still hope for every one of
unsparingly condemns all who make the slightest error. No allowance is
made for even a small mistake. 2 + 2 does not equal 3.99999999. It has to be
exactly 4, no more and no less.
God’s plans don’t work like mathematics. In His plan, failure
is necessary. There is no way by which any of us can be broken, except
through failure. And so we could say, that failure is an essential part of the
syllabus in our spiritual education.
was the only One Who lived without ever failing. But the rest of us
(even the best among us) have all had to be broken by God through failure. Even
Peter and Paul had to be broken through repeated failure.
rejoice in the message of the gospel and may the kindness of God lead you to
repentance. Let it lead you into a life of joy and perfect rest in God –
a rest that comes through knowing that God has "accepted you (permanently)
in His Beloved Son" (Eph.1:6 – KJV).
we make so many mistakes. We slip and fall into sin – even if only
accidentally or unconsciously. At times, the pressures on us may be so great,
that we get depressed and discouraged - and then we are tempted to sin even
more. God understands our pressures and He is compassionate. He will not allow
us to be tempted beyond our ability, but will make a way of escape for us. He
can straighten out everything in each of our lives.
Christian life does not work according to human logic. It works according to
the miracle-working power, the perfect wisdom and the perfect love of a
can ever type out his life with perfect lines and produce a perfectly straight
edge. It is God Who justifies each of us – even the best of us. No man
can ever boast before God.
be merciful then toward others, who have struggled and failed in life’s
battles, for we have all failed ourselves too, and we have all received much
mercy from God.
say this final word to you, in Jesus’ Name: YOU CAN START FROM
WHEREVER YOU ARE AT, RIGHT NOW, AND STILL FULFIL GOD’S PERFECT PLAN FOR
you fail tomorrow, go to God immediately in repentance and He will justify you
ever say that this gospel won’t work for you. If you are tempted to say
that, it is because you have listened too long to false teachers, to legalistic
preachers and to the devil. Stop listening to them, stop reading their books
and listen to God and to His Word from now on. Confess what God’s Word
your faith not fail in the moment of testing.
pray for one another, as our Lord does for us.
God’s Perfect Plan For Those Who
are many brothers and sisters who feel that because they have sinned and failed
God at some time in their past lives, therefore they cannot fulfil
God’s perfect plan for their lives now.
look at what the Scriptures have to say on this matter, and not lean on our own
understanding or our sense of logic.
first of all how the Bible begins.
the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). The heavens and
the earth must have been perfect when God created them, for nothing imperfect
or incomplete can ever come forth from His hand.
some of the angels whom He had created fell away, and this is described for us
in Isaiah 14:11-15 and Ezekiel 28:13-18. It was then that the
earth came into the condition described in Genesis 1:2, "formless,
empty and dark".
rest of Genesis 1 describes how God worked on that shapeless, empty, dark
mass and made something so beautiful out of it that He Himself declared it to
be "very good" (Gen. 1:31). We read in Genesis 1:2,3 that
the Spirit of God moved over the earth, and God spoke His Word - and this was
what made the difference.
the message in that for us today?
this that no matter how much we may have failed or made a mess of our lives,
God can still make something glorious out of our lives through His Spirit and
a perfect plan for the heavens and the earth when he created them. But this
plan had to be set aside because of Lucifer’s failure. But God remade the
heavens and the earth and still produced something "very good’
out of the chaos.
consider what happened next.
made Adam and Eve and started all over again. God must have had a perfect plan
for them too, which obviously did not include their sinning, by eating of the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But they did eat of the forbidden tree
and frustrated God’s original plan for them - whatever that plan might
would now tell us that they could not fulfil
God’s perfect plan any longer. Yet we see that when God came to
meet them in the garden, He does not tell them that they would now have to live
only on His second best for the rest of their lives. No. He promises
them in Genesis 3:15 that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of
the serpent. That was a promise of Christ’s dying for the sins of the
world and overcoming Satan on Calvary.
consider this fact and see if you can reason it out.
that Christ’s death was part of God’s perfect plan from all
eternity. "The Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world"
(Rev. 13:8). Yet we also know that Christ died only because Adam and Eve
sinned and failed God. So logically, we could say that God’s perfect
plan to send Christ to die for the sins of the world was fulfilled, not despite
Adam’s failure, but because of Adam’s
failure! We would not have known God’s love shown on Calvary’s
cross, were it not for Adam’s sin.
baffles our logic and that is why the Scriptures say that we should "not
lean on our own understanding" (Prov. 3:5).
worked according to mathematical logic, then we would have to say that
Christ’s coming to the earth was God’s second best plan. But
it would be blasphemous to say so. It was part of God’s perfect plan for
man. God makes no mistakes. But since God is almighty and eternal, and since He
knows the end from the beginning, and since He is always silently planning for
us in love, human reasoning fails when we try to explain His dealings with us.
ways are not our ways and His thoughts not our thoughts. The difference
between them is as great as the distance between heaven and earth (Isa. 55:8,9). So it is good for us to set aside our
clever reasonings and logic when trying to understand
then is the message that God is trying to get through to us, right from the
opening pages of the Bible? Just this that He can take a man who has failed and
make something glorious out of him and still make him fulfil
God’s perfect plan for his life.
God’s message to man - and we must never forget it: God can take a
man who has failed repeatedly, and still make him fulfil
His perfect plan - not God’s second best, but God’s best plan.
because even the failure may have been part of God’s perfect plan to
teach him a few unforgettable lessons. This is impossible for human logic to
grasp, because we know God so very little.
only broken men and women whom God can use. And one way He breaks us is through
the biggest problems that God has with us is to bless us in such a way that the
blessing does not puff us up with pride. To get victory over anger and then to
be proud of it, is to fall into a far deeper pit than the one we were in! God
has to keep us humble in victory.
victory over sin is always accompanied by the deepest humility. This is where
repeated failures have a part to play in destroying our self-confidence so that
we are convinced that victory over sin is not possible apart from God’s
enabling grace. Then, when we do get victory, we can never boast about it.
when we have failed repeatedly ourselves, we can never despise another who
fails. We can sympathise with those who fall, because
we have come to know the weakness of our own flesh, through our own innumerable
falls. We can "deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since we
ourselves are beset with weakness" (Heb. 5:3).
such a message, the logically minded man, can then say, "Then let us
sin all the more so that good may come!"
3:7,8 (LB) answers such a man with these words: "You say, ‘My
dishonesty brought God glory by pointing up His honesty’. If you follow
through with that idea you come to this: The worse we are, the better God likes
it! But the damnation of those who say such things is just".
do not preach that we should sin so that good may come. Neither do we say that
we can take advantage of God’s grace and keep on disobeying God deliberately
and defiantly, and still avoid reaping what we have sown. No.
do say that human logic cannot grasp the grace of God to fallen men. Nothing is
impossible for God - not even to bring us into His perfect will, after we have
failed miserably and repeatedly. Only our unbelief can hinder Him.
say, "But I have messed up things so many times. It is impossible for God
now to bring me into His perfect plan", then it will be impossible
for God, because YOU cannot believe in what He can do for you. But Jesus
said that nothing is impossible for God to do for us - if only we believe.
it be done to you according to your faith", is God’s
law in all matters (Matt. 9:29). We will get what we have faith for.
If we believe that something is impossible for God to do for us, then it
will not be fulfilled in our lives.
other hand you will discover at the judgment seat of Christ that another
believer who had made a greater mess of his life than you, nevertheless
fulfilled God’s perfect plan for his life - just because he
believed that God could pick up the broken pieces of his life and make
something "very good" out of it.
regret there will be in your life in that day, when you discover that it was
not your failures (however many they may have been) that frustrated
God’s plan in your life, but your unbelief!
story of the prodigal son, who wasted so many years, shows that God gives His
best even to failures. The father said, "Quickly bring out the best robe",
for one who had let him down so badly. This is the message of the gospel -
a new beginning, not just once, but again and again - because God
never gives up on anyone.
parable of the estate-owner who went out hiring labourers
(Matt.20:1-16) also teaches the same thing. People who were hired at the
eleventh hour were the ones to be rewarded first. In other words, those who had
wasted 90% (11/12th) of their lives, doing nothing of eternal value, could
still do something glorious for God with the remaining 10% of their lives. This
is a tremendous encouragement to all who have failed.
reason the Son of God was manifested was to undo (dissolve) the works the devil
has done (1 Jn. 3:8 Amplified Bible).
verse actually means that Jesus came" to untie all the knots that the
devil has tied" in our lives. Picture it like this: When we were born,
we could say that God gave each of us a perfectly rolled ball of string. As we
began living each day, we began to unroll that ball of string and we began
tying knots into it (sinning). Today after many years of unrolling the string,
we despair, as we see the thousands of knots that we see in it. But Jesus has
come to "untie the knots the devil has tied". So there is hope
even for those with the most knotted strings. The Lord can untie every knot
and give you a perfect ball of string in your hands once again. This is the
message of the gospel: You can make a new beginning.
say, "That is impossible!". Well then, it will be done to you
according to your faith. It will be impossible in your case. But
I hear someone else whose life is worse than yours, saying, "Yes, I
believe that God will do that in me". To him too it will be according
to his faith. In his life, God’s perfect plan will be
18:1-6, God spoke His word to Jeremiah through a practical illustration.
Jeremiah was asked to go to a potter’s house, and there he saw the potter
trying to make a vessel. But the vessel "was spoiled in the hand of the
potter". So what did the potter do? "He remade it into another
vessel, as it pleased the potter to make".
came the application: "Can I not, O ............... deal with you as
this potter does?", was the Lord’s question (v. 6). (Fill
in your name in those dotted lines, and that would be God’s question to
there is a godly sorrow in your life for all your failures, then even if your
sins are like scarlet or red like crimson, not only will your heart be made as
white as snow - as promised under the old covenant (Isa.
1:18) - but God promises even more under the new covenant: "I will
not remember your sins any more" (Heb. 8:12).
your blunders or failures, you can make a new beginning with God. And even if
you have made a thousand new beginnings in the past and have come to failure,
you can still make the 1001st new beginning today. God can still make something
glorious out of your life. While there is life, there is hope.
never fail to trust God. He cannot do many mighty works for many of His
children, not because they have failed Him in the past, but because they
will not trust Him now.
then "give glory to God by being strong in faith" (Rom. 4:20), trusting
Him in the days to come for the things which we considered impossible up until
people - young and old - can have hope, no matter how much they may have failed
in the past, if only they will acknowledge their failures, be humble and trust
can all learn from our failures and go on to fulfil
God’s perfect plan for our lives.
the ages to come, He can show us forth to others as examples of what He could
do with those whose lives were total failures.
day He will show what He could do in us, through the "surpassing riches
of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:7).
Copyright - Zac Poonen (2000)
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