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09 - A Concise Guide to Failure

Michael Dant
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Human beings are by nature failures--hopeless failures. We are born with a nature that is at "war with God." In this message we look at what that failure means to God and to us, in practical terms.


Michael Dant

Embedded Computer Science Teacher at Southern Adventist University. 



  • January 27, 2019
    7:30 AM
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This afternoon we're going to look at failure failure is a part of the Christian life whether we like it or not and it's important for us to understand something about failure and how it works and how we as Christians should relate to it on February 15th 1902 Jeffrey Dahmer was sentenced to 15 life sentences for killing 17 people and he didn't just kill them he did undescribable things to them Jeffrey Dahmer was a failure by any definition he was the lowest of the low he was Devil controlled he was devoid of love Jeffrey Dahmer was a failure by any measurement and yet my friends you and I would be just like that except for the Spirit of God working in us if it was not for the Holy Spirit working on us and working in us we all would be as bad or worse than Jeffrey Dahmer the Bible tells us that every good and perfect gift is from above coming down from the father of the heavenly lights who does not change like shifting the shadows everything good comes from God and that means that without God we are failures we should just get used to that by nature we are failures without God we are all Jeffrey Dahmer there is no distinction the Bible says For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God All of us like sheep have gone astray each of us has turned to his own way for we know that the last spiritual but I am of flesh sold into bondage to send the mindset in the flesh is hostile toward God for does not subject to sell to the law of God for is not even able to do so according to Scripture we are like that are not all failures if it were not for the Holy Spirit we would be like Jeffrey Dahmer or worse so that's kind of liberating in some ways knowing that we are failures right and the really wonderful thing about this whole. Concept of failure is that God knows that we are failures God knows that by nature we have failures God knows that we cannot be anything else but failures except by his power and God loves us failure in all that's the promise of God For God has shut up all in disobedience so that he may show mercy to all God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us that's the good news that's the good news of the Gospel we're failures we commit cannot be anything but failures but God loves us anyway most Christians believe that God exists most Christians believe that God loves us that he has the universe in the palm of his hand but it's a little bit harder to believe sometimes that God would really lift a finger on our account that we're just so insignificant we're just so sinful we're to so hopeless it's hard for some time to really believe that God would care enough about us even us the lowest of the low that he would. Be willing to help us that he be willing to be to work with us patiently and gently but God loves us God works with us even though we are failures you know when we are converted and we surrender our lives wholly to Jesus so as not by immediately I know that's bad news but when we surrender to Jesus self is taken off the throne of our life and this really gives the the lowest dungeons in our life but it keeps on calling out and we still see self working in our lives whether we like it or not when we give ourselves to God we don't immediately have the divine nature Peter says that we become partakers of the divine nature and we grow more and more in that divine nature as we are sanctified sense of occasion is the process of incorporating more and more of that divine nature into us so we need to ask this question what happens when I fail. You and I will fail it is inevitable it is our nature so what happens when I fail what happens to God when I fail and what happens to me when I fail these are important questions was important for occasions in our Christian life so to help us understand this these questions we need to look at 3 possible failure scenarios these recent Ariel's in compass all possible failures any failure made by anybody on this planet will fall into one of these 3 categories there is the person who commits sin there is the surrendered person who commits an intentional sin and then there is the surrendered person who commits intentional sin any sin any failure on the part of any human being on this planet will fall into one of those 3 categories so let's take a quick look at these 3 categories and what they tell us about failure 1st of all there's the un surrender of Christian they fail to a big God and that's not any surprise because without God it's impossible not to fail God is the only one good he's the only one that can produce anything good if we don't have that connection with God We're going to fail fail I was once in Jerusalem once when they were adding some tram somewhat to tram systems to the outskirts of Jerusalem and it's very hilly there and they have these these wires overhead like you see here and the the tram is connected to those wires and that's what powers it and as they go over these hills that that arm on the top actually goes up and down with it and so it always stays pressed against that wire so it has electricity that it needs. It's the same way in the Christian life you know when we are connected to the power we have victory and God works powerful in our lives but if we are disconnected even by just a little tiny gap what's going to happen we powerless completely powerless so this is normal and expected in the scenario if we are on surrendered and we fail that's normal and it's an expected Jesus says I am the vine you are the branches he who abides in me and I in Him He bears much fruit but apart from me you can do how much nothing if we are separated by just the smallest sin we are separated from God in the power that he gives us so let's look now at the surrendered unintentional sin here is the person who has given themselves wholly to God consecrated all the choice of the God truly surrendered but they make a mistake they do something that they realize afterwards is not God's will it was unintentional they didn't do it on purpose but they made a mistake or they had a they had an unwanted impulse of anger or pride or a shortcoming of some sort and this is. Also common in the Christian life this scenario is a common scenario. Under Christians holy consecrated to God and yet they commit this unintentional sin this unintentional failure because self a store live self is still fighting still battling still comes through at times we don't like self we don't want self we hate self but it's still alive in our lives and then there's the last scenario of the surrendered intentional sin. Here is where we knowingly reject God's plan for us we know what His will is and yet we consciously make a choice thing I want to go my own way on this even just a little choice that is turning our back at least temporarily on God that is walking out the relationship that is separating ourselves from the source of our power that is a bad thing that is abnormal that's not expected because Christian we expect victory that's what the Bible teaches us so when we don't get the victory we are abnormal submit therefore to God The Bible says resist the devil and he will flee from you so if we have that submission then we can resist the devil he will flee that's the expected that's the normal Ok intentional failure is so tragic because it is so unnecessary Therefore since Christ has suffered in the flesh Peter tells us arm yourselves also with the same purpose because he has suffered in the flesh that surrender has ceased from sin we are told that by yielding up your will to Christ you ally yourself with the power that is above all principalities and powers when the soul surrenders itself to Christ a new power takes possession of the new heart a changes wrought which man can never accomplish for himself a supernatural work bring the supernatural element into the human nature the Soul that is yielded to Christ becomes his own fortress which he holds in revolt and world and he intends that no authority shall be known in it but his own a soul thus kept in possession by the heavenly agencies is impregnable to the assault of Satan but unless we do yourself to the control of Christ we shall be dominated by the wicked one so those who give themselves over to the control of Christ are impregnable intentional failure by such a person is not normal that's not expected. It's tragic because we are essentially turning our back on God walking out of a relationship so here's the 3 possible scenarios either we are Unser injured and we fail or we are surrendered and we fail unintentionally or we are surrendered and we fail intentionally Now let me ask you a question in which one of these 3 scenarios does God stop loving us when we fail in which one of these 3 scenarios does God stop loving us when we fail not one not one in every single one of these failure scenarios God still loves us have you ever heard someone say God can't love me I've just been too bad Have you ever said that yourself even subconsciously when we say that we demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of this concept of love because our love is always conditional human love is conditional but God's love is not we have a hard time understanding that if we replace the word love with the word God in 1st Corinthians 13 we get something really amazing God is patient God is kind of not jealous God does not brag and not arrogant does not act unbecomingly God does not seek his own is not provoked God does not take do count wrong suffered God does not rejoice in unrighteousness we Joyce with the truth God bears all things God believes all things hopes all things got endures all things God never fails is not a wonderful picture of God It comes from 1st principles 13 because God is love the Bible doesn't say that God is just loving he's the Bible says that God is Love God is love as humans we have a difficult time understanding that that unconditional aspect of God's love. C.s. Lewis once wrote We must begin at the at the real beginning with love as the divine energy this primal love is gift love in God There is no hunger that needs to be filled only plenteous notice that desires to give God Love is the giving love it springs out of his very nature of love it's not based on anything it's not something we have to deserve it's not something we have to merit it is something that God does because that's the way he is so that's our key phrase this morning this afternoon in God There is no hunger that needs to be filled only plenty of this that desire to give us through that all out loud together in God There is no hunger that needs to be filled only plenteous notice that desires to give Bible translators were once working in Africa and they were trying to learn the language so they could translate the Bible and they found that in this particular tribe every verb ended in either an eye and a or a u. and depending on that ending the verb meant different things and there was this one word love that was kind of interesting to the translators because as they were learning the language they could not find the you form divide I was the I form divide was the was the a form of love but there was no devote to so they called the Elders togetherness said hey we need to understand a little better we were for failing to understand your word for love can you help us out so the elder said fine so they asked him what does divine mean with the eye ending and that says all that means that they have been loved but are not loved anymore that's a past tense type of love Ok translator said so what is the ending mean well that means that they are loved because they are good husbands good wives the cook they farm the bring in the water whatever it is. Because they deserved it they earn it Ok translator said So what about the you form of Love Divine and all the elders laughed and said there is no such word that we're doesn't exist that form of the verb does not exist because there is no such thing that would mean that you would have to love for me no matter what and it just doesn't happen it's not possible and you know my friend that's true as humans we do not have a word for unconditional love because it is not a human thing it only comes from God And that's why it's so hard sometimes 1st to understand this unconditional love of God So let me ask you know the question about these 3 failure scenarios in which one of these failure scenarios does God do we stop deserving anything from God in which one of these 3 failure scenarios do we stop deserving God's grace Have you ever heard someone say I don't deserve to be happy I don't deserve to be saved I'm just been so bad if you heard somebody say that I've said it yourself maybe even subconsciously my friends when you say that we show a fundamental misunderstanding of grace because Grace is not about deserving meriting or deserving anything the prodigal son had this problem he thought that he deserved something and he went to his father and he said Father give me the share of the state that falls to me in the words Give me what I deserve. But after a while he squandered all that he deserved and he was feeding pigs and he thought to himself Wow I don't even deserve to be called my father son anymore and so he went to his father and he said Father I have sinned against heaven and in your sight I am no longer worthy I don't deserve to be called your son make me as one of your hired men and what if the father do he completely ignored the speech he threw a rope around him put a ring on his finger killed the fatted calf and had a party because his beloved son was back in the and eyes of their father wasn't about deserving or not deserving it was about he had his son back his beloved son and that's how God treats you and 9 Interestingly enough the prodigal sons brother had a problem with deserving as well because he was the one that was stateful he was the one that felt he deserved more than he was getting but my friends deserving has nothing to do with it there was once a time in my life where I did something terrible I failed God badly and I felt so bad I said to myself The Lord Lord I just don't deserve anything I don't deserve any of your love I don't deserve your forgiveness and you would pop into my head as I said that I said Mike if you say that you don't deserve God's love or his forgiveness because you've been so bad that's implying that there was a time when you didn't deserve it. For some reason you were good enough to deserve it and that never happened that wasn't a thing I had never deserved God's love I had never deserved his goodness in the anyway so when we say that oh I'm too bad I can't deserve God's love we're implying that there is a time when we could deserve and it's not possible to deserve God's love so that's the question I want to ask what happens to God when I fail and then we'll ask the question what happens to me when I fail after this what happens to God when I fail 1st of all we realize that God does not stop loving us we also realize that he does not consider us less deserving because loving love and deserving has nothing to do with it it's love but there is something else that happens to God there is something that does happen to God when we fail mark Piers once tells the story of when he overheard his children telling his younger son you better obey dad because if you don't he won't love you anymore and Mark called his younger son to himself and he said you know of some that's not really true and it's unsaid really you keep loving me even if I'm bad and Mark said yes the difference is when you when you are good I love you with a love that makes me glad but when you're bad I love you with the love that hurts me I love you with a love that hurts me that's what God does he there loves us with the love that makes him glad or he loves us with the love that hurts him but either way he loves us so that's what happens when I fail that's what happens to God when I fail he loves us with a love that hurts him period that's it that's what happens to God when I fail. God loves us regardless of the failure scenario so let me ask you something does God love Jeffrey Dahmer Does God love Jeffrey Dahmer could God love somebody who had destroyed his creatures and hurt them so badly could God love him even him. Jeffrey Dahmer went to prison for 17 life sentences and while he was in print prison he got a Bible and he was converted could Jeffrey Dahmer be in heaven do even want Jeffrey Dahmer to be in heaven is there even further for him to be in heaven and yet God loves him and start about deserving or not deserving it's about his love and if Jeffrey repented truly repentant of his sins Jeffrey will be in heaven is now incredible Doesn't that just blow your mind somebody as bad as him there are 7 wonderful things that you and I as Christians should know about God and how he treats us one he loves us more than we can possibly imagine to his patience with us is supernatural patience 3 he is actively using all of those wisdom and power to bless you and I as much as he can right now for he never gets tired he never gets discouraged and my personal favorite he does not make mistakes God does not make mistakes ever number 7 God will succeed in blessing us even us even mean if we let him these 7 things are so important for us to realize about God God will succeed if we let Him God never stops loving us God never looks sort of looks at us as less deserving because of our actions so let's ask ourselves now what happens to me when I fail we seen that when what happens to God when I fail he loves us he still loves us but with the love that hurts him but what happens to me when I fail Well that depends on the scenario if I am unsure and or and I fail then I will probably receive physical mental emotional and social consequences of that failure because going contrary to God's will always has ramifications always have. Results and are not usually good results we are disconnected from juices we are separated from him and the only thing we can do is repent and reconnect. And we can and the gun and God is eager for us to do that he helps us to do that he helps us to repent and get back to him so that's what happens to us when we fail in the surrendered scenario what happens to us in scenario 2 where we are fully consecrated to Him but we commit an unintentional sin well. We may or may not suffer those temporal consequences just like the un surrendered person but it will also do some things to us it will cause us to mourn Plus there are those who weak the Bible says and it will it will drive us to repentance and it will help us to grow in our dependence on our love for God God can cause all things to work together for good even our failure if we let him there are those who have known the pardoning love of Christ and who really desire to be children of God yet they realize that their character is imperfect their life faulty and they have there ready to doubt whether their hearts have been renewed by the Holy Spirit to such I would say do not draw back in despair we shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes but we are not to be discouraged even if we are overcome by the enemy we are not cast off not for sake and reject of God So yes we do fill even as fully consecrated Christians we do fail unintentionally we have these mistakes we have the shortcomings we have these character flaws but what should we do when that happens we should praise God We should conflict remember what he has done for us and what he is doing for us and what he will do for us we should remember all the times that God has given us the victory we should remember all the time for God has forgiven us we should actually realize more than we ever realized before that God is good that he loves us more than you can possibly imagine and that he is willing and able and eager to bring us back to him as rendered Christian pleases God you know that. Every person who has consecrated their life wholly to God pleases God not because of what they can do not because of their power or their goodness or anything he's not pleased because of what they can do he's pleased because of what he is allowed to do in them because of our surrender God is pleased with you if you are consecrated holy to him not because of your goodness but because of what he is able to do in through you that's important for us to remember so that's the scenario to get about from Ariel 3 where we are surrendered and we commit an intentional sin we fail intentionally Well again we will probably suffer the temporal consequences the physical mental emotional social consequences of going against God's will but we also do something that is become totally tragic and that is we will separate ourselves from that surrender relationship surrender means that we have consecrated all over choices to God when we take back one of those choices we're no longer surrendered surrender is all or nothing and that is tragic for if after they have escaped the defilements of the world Peter tells us by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ if they are again in tangled in them and are overcome the last state has become worse for them than the 1st in other words if we are holy consecrated to God and we walk out of that's right relationship and we fail intentionally that hurts us we are worse off than we have been before and that's something that we should take seriously the good news is the good news is that God still doesn't give up with us God is still willing to bring us back to that to him that's right a relationship with him just like the prodigal son the prodigal son knew what he was doing his was an intentional failure he intentionally walked away from his father and he walked away and enjoyed the pleasures of life for a season until he realized how wretched miserable and poor blind to make it he was and he came back to his father's I don't deserve and his father says is not about deserving I love you I welcome you back we can repent we can recommit our lives to God and God will accept us. But we should also do one more thing after we repent and come back to God we should look at our life and find out how we failed what was it how did the devil trick us how the devil trap us how do we stumble What was it that caused us to fail then we should plead with God to make sure that never happens again we should make it into a learning experience Moses knew about God's forgiveness he said Pardon I prayed iniquity of this people according to the greatness of your loving kindness just as you also have forgiven this people from Egypt until now the people of Israel work Hans to failing spectacularly constantly failing and yet Moses realized that from Egypt until now God had been forgiving them that's the God we serve Jeremiah also recognize God's forgiveness we wrote this about the children of visual they refused to listen and did not remember your wondrous deeds which you had performed among them so they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt but you are a god of forgiveness gracious and compassionate slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness and you did not for sake them and then he goes on even when they made for themselves a calf of molten metal and said This is your God who brought your from Egypt and committed great blasphemies you in a great compassion did not for sake them in the wilderness and then incredible. What they did and how God responded just blows our mind and it doesn't stop there he says the pillar of cloud did not leave them by day to guide them on their way nor the pillar of fire by night to life for them the way in which they were to go even though they constantly sinned even though they continually failed even though they were continually testing God God did not desert them the pillar of fire was still there at night in the cloud by day isn't that wonderful is that wonderfully reassuring if God can do that for them you can do that and he will do that also for us to see the loving patience of God We need to look no further than the story of Jonah Jonah was a prophet of God He had a closer relationship than many humans can boast close to God as one of his prophets and yet at one point God asked him to do something and Jonah said no he turned his back and he walked away he ran away from God to God for sake of no he worked events in such a way that he was swallowed by a big fish gave Jonah some time to think about what had happened gave Jonah some time to repent and when he repented he brought him back and he used them powerfully to preach to the people of Noah that is what God can do for us that same thing that wonderful grace that forgiveness but I'd like to to share with you real quickly a little warning here because it's easy for us to say that where sin increase Grace abounded all the more and so it's easy for us to say well you know the worse we are the more grace we we see and so let's just be used bad as possible or let's just be bad or not worry about or let's just push God and test his grace yes it's true when sin increased grace about it all the more but don't forget what shall we say then are we to continue in sin so the Grace me increased never be how shall we who died in sin still live in it right. That's the thing we as Christians as fully surrendered consecrated Christians should be asking ourselves How show we who died to stay in still live in it Jesus came to give us the victory he will give us the victory if we let him and if we fail no matter what the fails tell your son scenario he will let us repent and he will bring us back into full connection with him if we fail we need to find out why and need to plead with God to keep us from failing again we are all failures and yet God loves us anyway regardless of the failure scenario but my friends by far the best failure scenario is the surrendered failure scenario because God is our safety net God is our safety line when we fall we fall into the arms of Jesus we are filled by nature but how we fail that's our choice we can fail in the un surrendered scenario or we can fail in the surrender scenario or we can fail intentionally in this rendered scenario how we fail is our choice is the choice of whether we're going to surrender and station rendered or not so that's the good news we're all failures and God loves us anyway and God is willing and able and eager to come into our lives to be king of our lives and to give us victory over failure let's pray Heavenly Father God thank you so much for your goodness for your indescribable. Impossible to understand love thank you have the father that we can't deserve even the least of your goodness but that you lavish upon us anyway not because we deserve it but because you love us Father God thank You that no matter how we fail you still love us and work with us and our are willing and eager to bring us back to yourself. I pray that we will surrender our lives to you be holy consecrated to you that we will let you be almighty god that you will let us give us to that you we will let you give us the victory. So that we won't fail. You can do that we thank you for Jesus. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermons pleaded visit w w w audio verse or.


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