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Sermon outlines
by Edward Thomason
What Now?
text: Matt. 26:31-35

Source: written by Edward E.Thomason Ė Preach
Date _______  place: Church of Christ
Objective: Supportive
Sermon Plan Theme
Our Daily Walk - Expository

What Now?
text: Matt. 26:31-35


Those of you who followed the Bush/Gore elections witnessed one of the most amazing roller coaster elections in history. Each side had moments of exhilaration and then sudden nose dives when it appeared that they had lost only to have their hopes revived again and again. At one point Fla. was declared a win for Gore by the networks only later this had to be recanted and Fla. was declared "too close to call." Later then networks declared that Bush had won Fla. and declared that Bush was in fact the 43rd President -- and just as Gore was about to make a concession speech... word came that again the race was too close to call. It was said that there was only a 600 vote margin... so the concession was recanted and the night drug on into the long days that followed. Both sides experienced moments of joy and triumph and then agony and defeat.

1. I use that only as an illustration of how life often is. All of us have experienced moments of shear joy and then sudden loss. We can be upbeat and positive one moment and down in the dumps the next. Sometimes we are "down" because of the circumstances of life... But sometimes we are "down" because of our own fault.

2. People can mess things up... it is a simple fact of life played out every day. (Wrong decisions/ poor judgment calls -these things weigh on our minds as we second guess ourselves or look back using hindsight.)  It has been said, "to err is human..." and that being the case, most of the time our humanity is showing.

3. Let me share with you a story about someone in the Bible that messed things up... and found himself down in the dumps as he reflected upon his mistakes.
-- His name was Peter....
We will start the story in Matt 26:31-35 (read text)

 Peter certainly appeared "self-confident" - he was "up" for whatever might come his way (or so he thought) We have to admire Peterís courage and conviction. "Come what may" - he would always stand up for his Lord... (what a powerful example) Of course, his courage and convictions had not yet been put to the test!

Jesus knew that good intentions and convincing speeches are often just that... When it comes to the actually following thru on our promises...  When it comes to actually doing what we say we will do... Humans are often weak and compromising.

But One of Peterís greatest mistakes was that he believed in himself more than he did in Jesus and the words that Jesus was telling him. It is a harsh lesson in life when we disappoint others who believe in us, but it can be devastating when we disappoint ourselves.

And that is what Peter did. (Just as the Lord predicted, Peter denied his Lord 3 times before the next morning.) Matt 26:69-75 (read text) NOTE: "he wept bitterly." (he was down... really down!)

4. The question that must have entered his mind is the question we all ask when we have messed up our lives by doing things we never would have imagined ourselves doing. When we have disappointed the Lord, disappointed others, and disappointed ourselves. WE ASK: WHAT NOW? When all the tears have been shed and the reality of our actions really sink in -- we ask What now Peter? What now? What will the future hold?

5. Letís think about this and learn the lessons Peter learned.

I. First, When we have messed up our lives, we need to know that the future can bring FORGIVENESS.

A. How could Peter have messed up more than what he did? His Loyalty, his Love, his Leadership was not dependable. He had lied, he had denied, he had survived at the expense of his integrity and at the expense of his soul.

B. Failure because of sin requires forgiveness - and Peter desperately needed it. 

1. I think it is interesting that when an angel first appeared to the women in Mark 16:7, they were told to go and tell of the resurrection to the disciples and Peter. (Peter was specifically mentioned.) Ever wonder why?

2. In fact, we learn from Luke 24:34 that before the Lord appeared to the rest of the disciples, he had already appeared to Simon Peter.

3. There is no doubt that Peter was down... down on himself, ashamed of himself, needing his Lordís forgiveness more than at any other time in his life.

a. Sure he had messed up before... he had been impulsive, he had been wrong at times.. but this was the worst of the worst.

b. He needed forgiveness and Jesus knew it... and he came to him first...

C. Illus: Sometimes in taking with people we ask, "How are things going." Often the reply is "Well things seem to be looking up." In other words, "Iím not as down in the dumps as I was."

1. The truth is, "things begin to look up only when we begin to look up."

2. As we turn our eyes toward heaven and focus on Jesus Christ our Lord, our Savior, our hope... rather than our own depressing human weaknesses.
-- The joy can return and we can be lifted up out of our depression, out of our despair, out of our dumps....

D. Application: Peter found his forgiveness in Jesus... and so do we.... Yes, "so do we!" 

But Peter must have thought... What now? What now Peter? What does the future hold? And this brings us to our second point in this lesson:

II. Second, When we have messed up our lives, we need to know that the future not only can bring FORGIVENESS, but it can also bring FULFILLMENT and FRUITFULNESS

A. You see, soon after these events, Peter turned his energy back toward his previous profession of fishing. We wonder, Why? What was going on in the mind of Peter?

1. Was it because, although he was forgiven, he no longer felt worthy or qualified to serve the Lord?

2. How many of us have been there? We mess up our lives, we seek forgiveness but we just know that we have lost all of our influence and effectiveness for good. 

3.Who would ever trust us again, how can I ever serve or lead others when I have shown myself so unworthy of trust?
-- So we resolve to simply warm pews rather than try to fill the pews around us.

4. Peter was such a man.

B. But in John 21, Jesus came to Peter and the other disciples who were fishing and as a result of his presence they were able to catch an abundance of fish. (A reminder to them of an earlier calling when Jesus had told Peter that he would be a fisher of men (Luke 5)

1. As they sat eating together on this later occasion, Jesus asked Peter three times (the same number of times that he had denied him) "Do you love me..."

2. Peter affirmed his love three times. But each time he did, Jesus told him "Feed my sheep."

3. Peter had a future of service yet to be fulfilled. There was to be fruitfulness in his life.

C. Illus: We know from Acts that he later preached the first gospel sermon and feed the Lordís sheep... but what if he had chosen to remain on the sidelines, wallowing in his shame, regret and self-defeat? What then?

1. We know that his remorse and repentance paved the way for his forgiveness but what paved the way for the fruitfulness of his life?

2. That passage in John 21 gives us the simple answer....

a. It is the only thing that will cause any of us to move on with our lives and find fulfillment and fruitfulness in serving Christ after we have messed things up in our lives.

b. The simple answer IS LOVE for Jesus!

3. Peter loved Jesus more than he loved anything else in his life... including his self-pity or pride.

D. Application: When we love the Lord we too will find a future of FORGIVENESS, FULFILLMENT, AND FRUITFULNESS.


1. What about you?
2. Have there been unfaithful moments in your past that you regret?

-- Sure there have! But a life of regret does not have to become a way of life.

3. We may have messed things up but they donít have to remain that way.
4. We. like Peter, can choose to have a brighter future in service to our Lord.
5. We, like Peter, can be faithful and rededicated to our Lord... but it all begins with forgiveness.
6. So what about you? Will forgiveness be a part of your future?

*Note: I used a number of misc. sources to put this sermon together but most of the content is original.


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