Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

06/02/2019 P.M.

 

A God Of Second Chances

John 21.4-19

 

This morning… We spent our time examining Peter’s Denial of Jesus.

 

Tonight… We’ll take our lesson from Peter’s reinstatement on the shores of the Sea of Galilee near the City of Tiberius…Just west of Capernaum.

 

The first point I want to make is that we all fail…

But the good news is that our God is a God of second chances.

 

Think about Abraham and his failure to be honest with Pharaoh.

This lie allowed Pharaoh to sleep with Sarah… All done just to protect Abraham’s hide… You talk about chauvinism to a fault!!

 

Yet God keeps His promise to make Abraham the father of a great nation… Bringing world redemption through him because Jesus was born within his linage.

 

Then there’s Moses…

He killed a man… Committed at least Second Degree murder out of rage because of his perceived unfairness to toward an Israelite.

 

How about Jonah…

Commissioned by God to go preach salvation to the people of Nineveh… Yet God gave him a second chance after he attempted to run from this preaching commission.

 

David…

His sin failures included… Adultery…Lying… Even Murder… Just to cover-up his sin… But later… Scripture purports him to be a man after God’s own heart.

 

Peter denies Jesus…

 

Saul who would be Paul…Arrested and imprisoned Christians to be killed… Yet God called him to be a missionary to the Gentiles… And he writes a significant portion of our New Testament.

 

How about my failures… And yours??... What were they about?

• Have we…Like Peter… Wept bitterly over them?

• Has our weeping… This godly sorrow… Resulted in Biblical Repentance?

• Has our repentance resulted in a personal plea for restitution?

• Is our repentance evidenced in a recommitment to Kingdom Ministry?

• Is there a change in our life… Like that in the life of Peter?

 

How many of us here tonight can say that God has given us a second chance??… Possibly… A Third?… Fourth?… A dozen?… A Thousand?

 

We start our lesson by noting some things God has done for us… On our behalf.

What god is to each of us…

 

For instance… If we never made a mistake…
How would we know that God Forgives?

 

If we never felt pain…
Then how would we know that God is a Healer?

 

If we never went through difficulty…
How would we know that Jesus is a Deliverer?

 

If we never had a trial…
How could we know that… With His help… We can Overcome?

 

If we never felt sadness…
How could we know the Holy Spirit as our Comforter?

 

If we never were in trouble…
How would we know that Jesus came to Rescue?

 

If we were never broken…
Then how would we know that He came to make us Whole?

 

If we never suffered…
Then how could we know what Jesus went through on our Behalf?

 

If we never went through the fire…
How could we become pure?...

 

If God never corrected us…
How would we know that He loves us?

 

If we had all power…
How would we learn to depend upon Him
?

 

If our life was perfect,
Then why would we need a Savior God?

 

Indeed… Our lesson tonight is about failure…A failure so shocking that we’re still talking about it 2000 years later… Both lessons today are focused upon it.

 

There are really three parts to Peter’s story…

• His denial…

• His forgiveness…

• His restoration.

 

This narrative tells us that failure is an event… Not a destiny.

• Failure doesn’t mean we have blown everything.

• It simply means we have some hard lessons to learn.

• It doesn’t mean we are a permanent loser.

• It doesn’t mean we should give up.

• It means we need the Lord to show us the next step…. What to do after our sin failure.

• It doesn’t mean that God has abandoned us… It means that God has a better plan for us.

 

All who have failed will appreciate this narrative. 

If you have only failed in small things…Then you’ll not be deeply moved.

But… But… For those of us who have known the shame of a big-time failure… Denying Jesus by speech or behavior… Then this story is for us.

 

So… Go with me now to a quiet place along the Sea Shore…

The sun is just coming up…

All you can hear is the motion of the waves breaking over each other as they crawl up the sand.

 

Some one hundred yards out in the water…There’s a small fishing boat… Distant voices can be heard… But we can’t really make out what’s being said… Something about the dissatisfaction of fishing all night without any fish.

 

Back on shore… We smell a charcoal fire and fish roasting on a stick… Attended by a lone figure.

 

As the sun peaks over the Sea toward the Golan Heights… A new day dawns bringing unknown blessings… Especially for a man named Peter.

 

Let’s read the narrative together from John chapter twenty-one… Beginning with the verse numbered four… Early in the morning, Jesus stood alone on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

 

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

 

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It’s the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

 

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “You know that I love You.”Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

 

Before we get into the application…

I want to mention some interesting things from the narrative…

 

First…There’s the resurrected body Jesus.

Like Mary in the Garden… The disciples on the road to Emmaus… These Apostles didn’t recognize Jesus.

 

Strange… They had spent three plus years with Him… 24/7… Yet didn’t know who He was. Jesus had changed… He had passed through death into a strange new world… And yet is somehow the same… But somehow vastly different… Interesting that He now had...

• A body that… Walked… Talked… And ate fish...

• A body that could walk through closed doors…

• A body that still had nail and sword scars…

• A body that was… At times… Recognizable and other times unrecognizable…

• A body that had no flesh and blood… Because flesh and blood cannot inherit eternal life… Flesh and blood can’t exist in Heaven.

• Jesus has a body that’s suitable for living forever.

 

And interestingly enough… Scripture firmly tells us that at our resurrection… We will join Him in this new likeness… That we will be like Him.

 

Secondly…None of them dared to ask who He was… They knew!… They knew!

 

Listen… If I were to die tonight… And next Sunday walked from that pew to my place here and began preaching… Would you ask who I was?

 

How their spines must have tingled…Their hearts must have raced… Here He is cooking fish on the beach… The one they witnessed hanging on a cross… Buried in a tomb… Is now alive… Alive!!...And inviting them to breakfast.

 

How did they know?... At first he was unrecognizable then recognizable… What made the difference… I think it was the fish thing…

 

The apostle John must have remembered another incident just like this one… Back in Luke chapter five… When Jesus said…Put out into the deep and let down the nets again... And they caught a great number of fish… So much so that the nets began to break…

Remembering this incident… John exclaimed… It’s the Lord!!... It’s Jesus!!

Upon hearing this… Peter jumps into the water.

 

The third interesting thing is the charcoal fire.

Wonder what the smell of charcoal… Said to Peter?... Did for Peter.

Only twice in the New Testament is the word charcoal or coal mentioned… Both are in Peter’s denial in the courtyard and here on the seashore.

Upon smelling the fire… Peter’s mind must have gone back to the shame and hurt of his denial…Probably thinking Jesus will chide me for that night… But of course He didn’t

 

Another interesting thing Jesus asked Peter to bring some of the fish to the fire.

A 153 fish… Enough for the whole Village of Tiberius.

 

The question becomes why?...Why ask Peter to bring some of the fish?... Jesus didn’t need them… He already had fish cooking before the disciples ever arrived.

 

I don’t have the answer… Just think it strange and interesting.

 

Now we go to the conversation between Jesus and Peter… If we looked at verse twenty… we find that Jesus and Peter are alone… Walking the beach together… John following at a distance.

 

Jesus asked Peter… Do you love me… Peter answers yes.

Three times the question… Three times Peter affirms his love… And note now… Three times Jesus gives Peter… A fresh challenge… A new commission… A different ministry…

• Feed My lambs…

• Look after My sheep…

• Shepard My flock.

 

Well…What can we learn from this exchange…

Three things needed for genuine discipleship…

Three things necessary for reinstatement when we fail as did Peter…

 

First…Love Jesus supremely… Love Me more than these.

Church… We can’t miss this point… Jesus asked it of Peter three times… Peter do you love me… agape Me… DO YOU REALLY.

Nothing has changed…

 

Deuteronomy 6.5… Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

 

From Mount Sinai…No other God’s before me.

 

From the lips of Jesus… The most important command is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.

 

Forgiveness…Reinstatement after a failure… Comes only when we love God supremely… Giving Him top-drawer in our life… Amen?

 

There must be a willingness to take up our cross and follow Jesus.

As Bible students we understand what Jesus is saying here… He is telling Peter…You will die for me… You will stretch out your hands in crucifixion… Be led where you don’t want to go.

 

We must know this church… Crosses are not for carrying… Crosses are instruments of death… Crosses are for dying!

 

When Jesus said… Take up your cross and follow Me… He meant just that… Take up your cross and… Die to self… die to the world… Come live for Me.

• If history is correct… Peter’s hands were stretched out in crucifixion.

• Paul is heard saying… I die daily!

We’ve gotta ask ourselves this sobering question… How much dying are we doing for Jesus?.

 

Thirdly…Jesus ends this discourse saying… Follow me.

It was this same Jesus who said… I am the way… The truth… The life… If you love me… You will keep My commands…

 

So church… Do we love Him… Do we really?

• Enough to die to self and the world…

• Enough to walk in His footsteps…

• Conform to His image…

• Obey His every command?

 

What do we need to do tonight to enjoy God’s second chance…

• Obey Him in faith…

• Change our life…

• Become like Him in repentance…

• Be born again in New Testament Baptism.

 

Maybe like Peter… We need…

Forgiveness…

• Reinstatment…

• Restoration…

• Rededication.

 

Why not come to Jesus… As we stand and sing this song together?