“He Will Never Let You Go” (Mark 14:66-72

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I. Introduction. A. Orientation. Last time, we saw Jesus arrested And brought to the court of the high priest That He might be condemned.

Jesus was willing to take our place Not only in God’s court, But also in man’s, That He might set us free – As we also saw last Lord’s Day evening – Not just from the guilt of sin, But also from any temporal punishment That was due to us For our crimes against God. Jesus did it all! This morning, we see the results Of this forgiveness.

Jesus’ sacrifice for us Calls us, as His people, To stand up for Him.

2 But what happens When we fail to do this? Does the Lord condemn us? Will He cast you away forever If you go too far? No. He won’t Because He won’t let you go too far. He will grant you repentance. And when you repent He will forgive you. Jesus loses none of those The Father has given Him.

B. Preview. We now see this put to the test In the life of Peter.

You’ll remember Jesus told His disciples They would all fall away (14:27). The Shepherd would be struck And the sheep would be scattered – He would be arrested, And they would all desert Him.

3 Of course, they all objected: “We will die before we would ever do so” (v. 31). And Peter, in an even greater display of pride, Said, “Even though all may fall away, yet I will not” (v. 29).

But what happened? When Jesus was arrested, They did as He said they would: None stood with Him; None went off to die with Him; They all fled.

And what about Peter? Did he turn out to be the exception As he had hoped? No. He ran away as well (v. 50).

Afterwards, he followed Jesus – at a distance – Into the courtyard of the high priest. He sat with the officers – As though with them – Warming himself by the fire (v. 54), While Jesus was on trial.

But what he feared might happen, happened:

4 One of the servant-girls of the high priest Recognized him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Nazarene” (v. 67). Here was Peter’s chance to repent – To do what he should have done In the first place: To stand up for Jesus, To be willing to die for Him. But did he? No. He said, “I neither know nor understand what you are talking about” (v. 68). He not only forsook His Lord, he denied Him.

Trying to get away from her He went out on the porch, And at once a rooster crowed.

Again, a servant-girl saw him And tried to expose him: “This is one of them!” (v. 69). Again, he had the opportunity To stand with Jesus, But again he denied Him.

Finally, a little later, Those standing around

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Hearing his accent (Matt. 26:73), Said to him, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean too” (v. 69). At this point, Afraid for his life, Peter distanced himself from Jesus In the strongest possible way: He began to curse and swear – Which doesn’t mean He began using foul language – But that He swore an oath, Calling down a curse on himself If what he said wasn’t the absolute truth, “I do not know this man you are talking about!”

Immediately a rooster crowed a second time. And Peter, remembering what Jesus said, “Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times” (v. 72), Began to weep: He did the very thing He promised his Lord He would never do: He denied Him, Not once – but three times.

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Is it possible for a true believer – One who really loves Jesus – To sin against Him in this way? You might be surprised What the Bible says You are capable of doing: Almost anything an unbeliever can do.

But what will the Lord do to you if you sin? Will He disown you? Will you lose your salvation and need to be saved again? No. The Lord will grant you repentance. And when you repent, the Lord will forgive you.

Peter is a classic illustration Of this wonderful Gospel truth: That no one can snatch you Out of His or the Father’s hand (John 10:28-29).

This morning, I want us to consider two things: Being a Christian doesn’t mean you’re perfect: you can still sin. But even when you do, the Lord won’t condemn you or throw you out of His family: in His love, He will grant you repentance and forgives you when you do (repent). II. Sermon.

7 A. First, let’s consider that as a Christian, you’re not perfect: you will still sin. This is true of every believer. Why does this even need to be said? Because there are those who believe That as a believer, it’s possible to become perfect. Thankfully, there aren’t too many In the church today who say this. But there are some – Some who believe In Entire Sanctification.

Who believes this? John Wesley, And those influenced by him, Such as those in the Holiness movement: Some Pentecostal groups And the Church of the Nazarene. They don’t believe That all Christians reach this perfection, But they do believe it’s possible:

For example, the Church of the Nazarene In their articles of faith, chapter 10, state: “We believe that entire sanctification is that act of God, subsequent to [i.e., after] regeneration, by which He transforms believers into the likeness of Christ. It is

8 wrought by God’s grace through the Holy Spirit in initial sanctification, or regeneration (simultaneous with justification), entire sanctification, and the continued perfecting work of the Holy Spirit culminating in glorification. In glorification we are fully conformed to the image of the Son. We believe that entire sanctification is that act of God, subsequent to regeneration, by which believers are made free from original sin, or depravity, and brought into a state of entire devotement to God, and the holy obedience of love made perfect. It is wrought by the baptism with or infilling of the Holy Spirit, and comprehends in one experience the cleansing of the heart from sin and the abiding, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, empowering the believer for life and service. Entire sanctification is provided by the blood of Jesus, is wrought instantaneously by grace through faith, preceded by entire consecration; and to this work and state of grace the Holy Spirit bears witness.”

Christian perfection is something That must come after regeneration. They believe it’s the baptism of the Holy Spirit, That frees a believer from original sin – The corrupt desires in the heart – Enabling you to devote himself entirely to God. It’s accomplished instantly, by the Holy Spirit, But is preceded by entire consecration – The giving of oneself entirely to God.

Oddly enough, this perfection Doesn’t protect you from sinning. It merely returns you To the state Adam was in In the garden:

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He had a sinless heart, Yet he fell away from God.

In their view, A believer can reach this perfection, But then fall entirely away from God And perish in hell forever. Again, they state in their articles of faith, chapter 7, “We believe that all persons, though in the possession of the experience of regeneration and entire sanctification, may fall from grace and apostatize and, unless they repent of their sins, be hopelessly and eternally lost.” http://nazarene.org/ministries/administration/visitorcenter/articles/ http://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/entire.htm Now why do they believe in entire sanctification? Because of such passages as these: 1 John 1:7, 9, “If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. . . . If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 4:17-18, “By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” And 1 John 3:3, “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

We don’t have time to examine these And the other passages they use –

10 Except to say they’re confusing what we are in Christ, With what we are in ourselves – But let’s consider a couple passages they don’t, Such as 1 John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Notice the present tense, “If we say we have no sin”: If we say we have no indwelling sin, Or actual sin, What is true of us? We’re entirely sanctified? No. We’re deceiving ourselves. The truth is not in us. We’re not converted.

Paul tells us that our experience as believers Will be one of constant warfare with the sin in our hearts: “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Gal. 5:17); And that we must be fighting against the flesh If we are true believers, “For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom. 8:13).

What does this mean for us? It means that even though

11 We are called to make a stand for the Lord, We will sometimes fail – perhaps often. We can’t do anything perfectly.

Peter’s example shows us That it’s even possible for Christians Even to deny Christ!

This isn’t an excuse to sin – We should never use the sins of God’s people To excuse our sin –

But we can use it To make sense of our own experience And to comfort ourselves and others When we fall into sin. It’s possible to do so And still be a Christian.

Sadly, after we’re converted, We’re still human, And so capable of doing Just about anything an unbeliever can do – The one exception being That we can’t deny Jesus

12 With our whole heart And fall away from Him. You’ve probably heard this before: Being a Christian doesn’t mean you’re perfect, Only that you’re forgiven. There is mercy and grace At the throne of grace, If you’re trusting Jesus As your Lord and Savior.

B. But there is something else here That is very encouraging: Even when you sin, the Lord doesn’t condemn you or throw you out of His family: in His love, He grants you repentance and forgives you when you do.

You need to realize Nothing takes your Lord by surprise. When He saved you He not only knew every sin You had committed, He knew every sin You had yet to commit.

Jesus knew Peter was going To deny Him three times –

13 He told him as much (Mark 14:30).

But Jesus didn’t say, “Peter, I know you’re going to deny Me, And when you do, I’m throwing you out! I hope you repent again, And come back to Me.” No. He said, “Satan has desired to sift you like wheat, You will deny Me, But I have prayed for you, And when you turn again, Strengthen the brethren” (Luke 22:31-32). Jesus not only intercedes for you When you sin, But knowing you’re going to sin, He intercedes for you before you do That the Father might grant repentance And that you might return to Him.

And not only that you might return, But that you might become stronger. Peter was not only going to return – Because of Jesus’ intercession –

14 But he was going to be used by Him To strengthen the brethren, Perhaps by using his own experience To encourage them.

Jesus even forgives premeditated sin. Sometimes we’re tempted to think That if we know something is wrong And still do it, That the Lord won’t forgive us. Peter knew to deny Jesus was sin; He told the Lord he would die Before he would ever do this; Jesus even told him he would in fact deny Him, And when he finally did, He did it three times, The third time even swearing He didn’t know him By calling down a curse on himself If what he said wasn’t true. He could hardly have sinned More openly than this. And yet the Lord forgave him: He granted him repentance;

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Peter repented – as seen by his weeping – And the Lord forgave him.

This isn’t a work you do, But one He does in you, If you are trusting Him.

Will the Lord forgive your sins? Will He forgive you Even if you knew something was wrong But still did it?

Yes, there is forgiveness For all of your sins in Jesus Christ. He died for all of them. Never be afraid that He will reject you When you’ve done what you shouldn’t. He will never lose One He loves so much. If you’re trusting Him, He won’t give you up!

For those of you Who haven’t yet trusted Him this morning. Know that He stand ready

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To receive you and forgive you as well, Of all your sins – of all your crimes against Him – If you will only look to Him in faith; If you will only turn from your sins And set your heart to follow Him. May the Lord use this example Of Peter’s fall, of his repentance, And the fact that he was restored, To encourage you That there is mercy and grace At the throne of grace, If you will only come and receive it. Amen. http://www.graceopcmodesto.org

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