TO THE BOTTOM AND BACK
Intro: It seems there was this wild duck, who with his
mates was flying in the springtime northward across
Europe. During the flight he came down in a Danish
barnyard where there were tame ducks. He enjoyed
some of their corn. He stayed for an hour, then for a
day, then for a week, then for a month, and finally,
because he relished the good fare and the safety of the
barnyard, he stayed all summer. But one autumn day
when the flock of wild ducks were winging their way
southward again, they passed over the barnyard, and
their mate heard their cries. He was stirred with a
strange thrill of joy and delight, and with a great flapping
of wings he rose in the air to join his old comrades in
But he found that his good fare had made him so
soft and heavy that he could rise no higher than the
eaves of the barn. So he dropped back again to the
barnyard, and said to himself, "Oh well, my life is safe
here and the food is good." Every spring and autumn
when he heard the wild ducks honking, his eyes would
gleam for a moment and he would begin to flap his
wings. But finally the day came when the wild ducks
flew over him and uttered their cry, but he paid not the
slightest attention to them. What a parable that is of
how the soul can forget its high ideals and standards
and be content with lower things!
Now, that is just a story. But, is it your story? Was
there a time when you soared higher with the Lord than
you are soaring now? We all go through periods when
we play the Prodigal, wandering from the Father's
House, but if you are genuinely saved, you will never be
satisfied to waddle around on the ground when you
were created to fly high above the world.
In our text, we are presented with a man who puts
the story of the complacent duck into human shoe
leather. This man's name is Simon Peter. Our text
finds him in the wrong place, doing the wrong things
with the wrong people. How did he wind up here?
Well, let me just say that it did not happen in an instant!
Backsliding, and that's what we see in the life of Peter,
is a process that develops over time. First one area,
then another begins to slip in a life and then before a
person knows what has happened, they are no longer
soaring high above the world, but they find themselves
surrounded by people who do not know how to fly and
do not care to find out.
Some, in this room, are just like Simon Peter. You
have allowed your heart to grow cold. Your love for
Jesus doesn't burn as brightly as it once did. The
things of God aren't as glorious as they used to be.
Maybe you wonder how it all happened and if there is
any hope for your restoration. Well, from this passage,
we can see how Peter wound up on the bottom and
how he got back up again. Let's follow the events that
lead to Peter's fall and restoration as we consider the
thought To The Bottom And Back.
I. PETER'S FAITH
A. Peter's Conversion - Luke 5:8; John 1:41-42 -
He had experienced a personal encounter with
the Lord Jesus Christ! That is what salvation is -
1 John 5:12; Acts 16:31 - a personal meeting
B. Peter's Confession - Matt. 16:16 - He was
settled on Who Jesus was. He knew, beyond all
doubts, that Jesus was everything He claimed to
be. This too is absolutely essential for salvation
- John 8:24.
C. Peter's Conclusion - John 6:68 - In this
passage, Peter took all he knew about Jesus
and said that Jesus alone was the Way to God,
the Truth from God and the Life of God. Peter
knew that everything began and ended in the
Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Again, this is
necessary to becoming a child of God - John
D. Peter's Consecration - Matt. 10:2 - Peter is
numbered, blessed and used among the 12
Apostles. He is in a place of honor! He is in a
place of power! He is a dedicated soldier. He
even tried to defend the life of Jesus, John
18:10. This man is no slouch!
(Ill. There is no doubt that we are dealing with a
saved man! Peter is born again! His name is
written in Heaven! He is a child of God! Yet, he still
winds up in the wrong place, doing the wrong things
with the wrong people! The lesson is this: Don't
think your spiritual walk ends with your being saved!
It doesn't end there, it merely begins there!
Salvation is a finished matter the instant you receive
Jesus as your Savior. However, salvation is also a
relationship that must be cultivated and nurtured if
there is to be blessing and power in the life of the
saved person. It isn't enough to claim you believe
the right things; you must also behave the right way!
The truth is, if you have been with Jesus, it will show
on you and in you, Acts 4:13. By the way, if you
don't work on your relationship with the Lord, that
will show too!)
I. Peter's Faith
II. PETER'S FALL
(Ill. There is no doubt that our friend Peter is a
saved man, but what is he doing in this place with
these people? Well, I believe the Gospels shed
much light on how Peter wound up where he was
that night. We've seen his faith, now let's look at
how he fell. There were three main areas of Peter's
life where he fell.)
A. Peter Fell In His Words
1. He Rebuked Christ's Words - Matt. 16:22.
2. He Rejected Christ's Words - Matt. 26:33-35
(Ill. In both of these instances, Peter heard what
the Lord Jesus said, yet he rejected it as truth
and went about to establish his own truth. When
he opened his mouth, the rebellion that was in
his heart came out! By the way, when your heart
is not where it should be with the Lord, it will
eventually reveal itself through your words, Matt.
12:34. That's right! A rebellious, wayward heart
will cause the mouth the mouth to reveal its true
character. It will make you mean! You will hurt
other people with your tongue. You will talk
about them behind their backs. You will have a
bad, negative attitude about everything! That is
a sign of a heart that has taken the words of
Jesus and said, "I hear what you're saying
Lord, but I have a better way to live my life
than Your's." Friends, an attitude like that is
nothing but pride! If your heart doesn't stay
close to Jesus and remain tender, you will fall in
B. Peter Fell In His Walk
1. He Fell Asleep - Matt. 26:40
2. He Followed Afar Off - Matt. 26:58
3. He Fellowshipped Around The Wrong Fire
- Matt. 26:69-74
(Ill. Peter found out the hard way that you cannot
hide sin's presence when it is in your life! Do
you see what he did? At an hour when the Lord
needed him the most, Peter fell asleep on Jesus.
He couldn't even stay awake one hour to pray
with the Lord! After that shameful event, Peter is
seen following Jesus to judgment, but he is not
near His precious side any longer. Now, he is
far off. Then this sad chapter in Peter's life
concludes with his sitting in fellowship with the
enemies of the Lord Jesus, enjoying their fire
and speaking their language, while he denies the
very Lord Who bought his soul and saved him
from Hell! How is must have grieved the Lord's
heart! Can you imagine how much this hurt
But, haven't we seen this same thing
repeated over and over down through the years?
Why, aren't there some of you who are in this
same shape this morning? There was a time
when you walked with the Lord! His Word was
precious. Minutes spent with Him were like
valuable pearls. Yet, there came a day when it
became easier to sleep than to pray. There
came a time when slumber was preferred over
study. There came a day when a little "folding
of the hands" was preferred over time spent in
His presence, in His Word and in His House.
When that happened, you couldn't feel Him as
you once did. He just didn't seem as real as He
had before. Now, instead of walking close
beside Him, you are walking far off. Maybe you
have even found yourself in a place like Peter
found himself. You are fellowshipping around
the wrong fire. Enjoying the company of the
wrong people. Spending your time doing the
wrong things. Oh, make no mistake about it, if
there is sin in your life and it is allowed to grow
and live there, you will not be able to disguise it's
presence forever! It will begin to show on you!
It will put you in the wrong place, doing the
wrong things with the wrong people!
Please understand me, you do not have to
commit murder, commit adultery, steal, lie, get
drunk, etc, to be in sin. All you have to do is
grow cold on God and do nothing about it. All
you have to do is let a little slackness and
coldness reside in your heart and you are there!
It won't be many days until you have gotten so
far away from God, that you will wonder how you
ever got where you are and you may feel that
there is no way back!)
C. Peter Fell In His Ways
1. He Forsook His Personal Savior - Matt.
2. He Forsook His Place Of Service - John
(Ill. Peter's sin reached a point where he simply
ran away and deserted the Lord Jesus. Then,
after a while, he simply went back to his old way
of life. He abandoned his post as if it were the
easiest thing he had ever done. But, that is the
power sin has! It makes men think their wrong
actions are right! It blinds us to the truth of who
we are, where we are and what we are doing!
Surely, Peter felt as though everything was all
right between him and God.
Have you followed in Peter's footsteps this
morning? Most would quickly say, "I haven't
abandoned the Lord! Why I'm saved!" Well
my friends, if there has ever been a time when
you were closer to the Lord than you are today,
you have forsaken Him. Someone walked away
and it wasn't Him! If there was ever a time when
you served Him with more fervor and passion
than you do today, then you have forsaken Him.
Someone walked away, and I'll repeat what I
said a moment ago, it wasn't Him, Heb. 13:5!
Just get real honest for a moment if you will.
Was there a time when you were closer to God
than you are now? Was there a time when His
House, His Word and His presence meant more
to you than they do now? Was there a time
when you lived closer to Him than you do now?
Was there a time when He meant more to you
than He does now? If the honest answer to any
of those questions is "yes", then you are
warming yourself beside a strange fire and you
need to return to the Lord this morning!
You see, many have forsaken the Lord just
like Peter did! How do I know? Well, the easiest
and most honest answer is that I have been
there myself! The other answer is that it is plain
to see! When you stop serving God in positions
you agreed to fulfill, your heart is not right.
When you stop supporting the church with you
prayers, you giving and your attendance, your
heart is not right. When there is no passion and
burden for lost sinners, your heart is not right!
Friends, that is a hard thing to come to terms
with, but before there can be restoration, there
must first be a realization of just exactly where
the heart is in relationship to the Lord. You need
to see yourself just like you really are, before
there will be a desire to become like you should
I. Peter's Faith
II. Peter's Fall
III. PETER'S FORGIVENESS
(Ill. I am glad the story of Peter doesn't end with him
failing beside a Roman fire! That night, as he sat
there, he received a wake up call from a strange
source, Matt. 26:74. Just as Jesus had predicted,
a rooster crowed to announce to Peter that he was
in the wrong place, doing the wrong things with the
wrong people, Matt. 26:34. When this happened,
Peter began the process of coming back. What
happened in his life needs to happen in the lives of
some of God's children this morning. Let's look in
A. Peter's Repentance - Matt. 26:75 - When Peter
heard the crowing of that rooster, the Bible says
he "went out, and wept bitterly". When he
realized where he was spiritually and what he
had done to the Lord Jesus Christ, it literally
broke his heart and he sought to make it right
with the Lord.
(Ill. Do you understand today that your sin
affects more than you? Sin in your life and mine
has an impact on the family, the community and
the church. Besides all that, it grieves the Lord
Jesus Christ. Sin, and I am referring to all
depths and degrees of sin, is a negative force
anywhere it is found. Oh, how we need to see
some tears of repentance wetting the cheeks of
God's cold people. How we need to ask the
Holy Spirit to shine to spotlight of the Word of
God into the deepest recesses of our souls and
expose our sins to us. My how we need to get
humble and honest before the Lord. My friends,
this is the only way God will bless us! It is the
only way we can have real, life changing revival.
It is the only way the power of God can rest upon
us once again! We will see this in the life of
Does your sin trouble you? Does you lack of
desire for the spiritual cause you pain of heart?
Maybe someone is in this room, and they know
what I am saying is the truth. Friend, your heart
is breaking because there is distance between
you and Jesus today! Listen to me, if you will
come before Him, confess your sins and turn
from them, He will instantly forgive you and
restore you the place of blessing and glory, 1
John 1:9; Ill. The Prodigal Son, Luke 15:11-24. Where are the saints who will be honest
about their sins? Where are the saints who will
confess the coldness and pride of their hearts?
Where are they today? We must get it right with
Jesus if we want His blessing and power!
B. His Restoration - John 21:15-17 - After Peter's
fall and repentance, he was met by Jesus early
one morning beside the seashore. There Jesus
reminded Peter of His love for Peter, and there
Jesus renewed His call on Peter's life. In other
words, Jesus took Peter's failure and put it
behind him forever and restored him to the place
That is what he wants to do to you today!
You see, sin creates a gulf between the sinner
and God, Isa. 59:2. It stands like an umbrella
over your life preventing the blessings of God
from falling upon you in a great way.
Repentance removes that gulf! Repentance
restores you to the place of blessing, honor and
You may feel that you have wandered away
from the Lord and now you can't get beck. That
is the devil's lie to keep you in bondage. If you
will get serious and repent of your sins, Jesus
will receive you. He will restore you and He will
bless you once again!
C. Peter's Revival - Acts 2:14-40 - Not many days
after these events, Simon Peter, this man who
had failed the Lord so greatly was used by the
Lord as no other man in history had been until
that time! He stood in the power of the Holy
Spirit and preached the Word of God and 3,000
souls were saved by God's grace! What made
this possible? Three things: Honesty,
repentance and the power of God!
Friend, I am trying to get you to see that you
do not have to walk afar off from Jesus this
morning! If you will identify those areas in your
life that are not as God would have them be, get
honest about them and repent of them, the Lord
will put His power and His glory into your soul!
Don't you want that? Listen, the place of
personal revival is reached by our walking down
the path of personal repentance!
Conc: Most of us in this room needed to hear this
message today. Now we need to heed it! Can you see
where you have allowed sin to creep into your life? Can
you see where you have grown cold on the Lord? Can
you see where the things of God don't mean as much
to you now as they once did? Can you see you need
for help? If so, this altar is open! Jesus is waiting! But,
He cannot help you until you get honest about where
you are. Peter found the way back and he took it. Will
Others know that you aren't even saved. You have
no relationship with the Lord. You don't need a revival,
you need a resurrection! You need to be saved this
morning. You need to come before the Lord Jesus,
confess yourself a sinner and receive the Lord Jesus
into your heart and life.
Where has God found you this morning? Please
don't let this service close without you getting exactly
where you need to be today!