Jerry McNamara’s September 20 message, “Not Defined By Our Failures” is now available.
This sermon was offered during our Sunday worship service at Fishers Of Men Lutheran, one of the growing churches of Sugar Land, and was part two of our series Love DOES.
09/20/15 SUMMARY: God does not see us as the selfish, sinful people we are. God does not treat us as our sins deserve. God decides that we will be defined not by our failures but by His Love. When we receive that grace and DO it–live it out toward others–then God starts doing the most amazing things through us!
Fishers Of Men Lutheran Church Sugar Land shares these audio sermon files through our website and our Fishers Sugar Land Church iTunes podcast in grateful response to our Savior Jesus who shares His all, and with the hope that they encourage those who listen.
Worship with us any Sunday at 830am (traditional Lutheran, liturgical), 11am (blended praise style). Learn more about our worship services at our FOM Worship page.
‘Going Deeper’ Study Questions
1. Read Luke 5:1-11. What is Peter’s reaction to Jesus’ kindness? Though somewhat surprising, why is Peter’s reaction not difficult for us to understand? When Jesus says to Peter, “Don’t be afraid” (Luke 5:10) what do you think Jesus means? How can you relate to Peter’s sense of identity–that he doesn’t deserve anything good from God?
2. Read Psalm 103:8-13. Either journal or share with someone: How hard is it for you to see God as He is described here? What would help you to see God being compassionate, patient and forgiving toward you? Does knowing that God see you as one of His loved children (Psalm 103:13) “feel” true to you? What gets in the way of you receiving the great love God has for you (Psalm 103:11)? What gets in the way of you living “loved”? What keeps you from loving other people more? To what degree is it hard because you don’t think any of it–love toward you from God or love from you toward others– is deserved? What does Psalm 103:10 say about that?
3. Read Romans 5:8. Does God demonstrate His love to the deserving or the un-deserving? Think of one un-deserving person in your life, and share (journal or to another person) what you think would happen if you demonstrated love or even just kindness to them? What change would you hope for? What might you ask God in prayer to do in that other person’s life through your action of love?
4. The arc of Peter’s story. Check out these verses and journal your thoughts or share with someone (friend, spouse, small group, etc.)
a. Read Matthew 26:69-75. Imagine being Jesus and knowing that Peter was going to deny You: how hard would it be to still love Peter? To forgive Peter? Do you think it is hard for Jesus to love and forgive you? As you reflect on this story and your own sin, what do you think is stronger–your sin or Jesus’ love?
b. As you turn now to Luke 22:61-62, and read that Jesus looked at Peter, do you think it was a look of wrath or of patient compassion? What kind of look do you think is more likely to have caused Peter to run out and weep bitterly? When have you been amazed at the kindness of God toward you–even when you’ve sinned? Glance at Romans 2:4 and share a time when God’s kindness led you to repent and change. Have you ever taken in God’s kindness but then still not changed?
c. Turn to Mark 16:6-7. In his sermon Jerry suggested that Peter might have heard these words as proof that he had sinned or failed too badly to be forgiven. Have you ever felt that way? What stopped you from thinking God that God had given up on you?
d. Last one! Look at John 21:1-17. Peter has given up, but Jesus hasn’t given up on Peter! Peter had failed–denying Jesus and failing to catch any fish (again!), but Jesus was still kind to him. If Jesus was face to face with you after your failure or sin and asked you if you love Him, what would you answer? Are you ready to admit you don’t deserve His love, but still receive it anyway? Who else might need that, too?
5. Closing. There is someone in your life that doesn’t deserve kind treatment. Be kind anyway! Love them anyway! Pray about who you will demonstrate love or kindess to. Then meet him or her where they are–like Jesus met Peter and just like Jesus did with you. Meet people where they are with love and they will be changed and become better versions of themselves! That’s what love does!