“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.” (II Peter 3:17).
Any Christian can fall. “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” (Proverbs 24:16). So, a just man can fall! “Beware lest ye fall.” (II Peter 3:17). James 1:2 speaks about when ye fall into temptation. Hebrews 4:11 says, “…lest ye fall…” I Peter 3:7 says, “…lest he fall…” The list of men in the Bible who fell is like a Hall of Heroes or a Hall of Fame.
David, a man after God’s own heart fell. Peter, the best Christian of his day the man chosen by Jesus to be listed first in the list of all the Apostles fell. There is no list where Peter is not listed first. He is the spokesman for the Apostles.
When the three of the inner circle were chosen it was not John, Peter, and James or John, James, and Peter. It was always Peter, James, and John. Peter was the best Christian in his day and yet he fell.
Noah fell and he was the man who had enough faith to build a boat when it had never rained yet on the face of the earth. The man who spent 120 years building that boat preparing for a rain that had never happened before fell.
Lot fell and he was the one who grew up in the best home in the world in the world at the time. He had the best mother and father of anybody in the entire world and yet Lot fell.
Abraham fell and he was the father of the faithful. He was the man who had such faith that he left the Ur of the Chaldees not knowing where he was going just looking for a city which had foundation whose builder and ruler is God and he fell.
Samson fell and it is said of him more than any one else in the Bible that the Spirit of the Lord God came upon him. Samson was a great Christian and at the time when he became a judge he may have been the most powerful man in the whole world but Samson fell.
Thomas fell and he was the one who gave his life as a martyr on the mission field of India. What a great man of God he became and yet he fell.
Jeremiah, the weeping prophet who was the man who no doubt was more like Jesus than any other man in the entire Bible fell. There are more things in common in his life that would seem to be types of Jesus than any other man in the entire Bible and yet Jeremiah fell.
Hezekiah, who was one of the three best kings that ever sat on the throne of Judah fell! Balaam, the greatest preacher of his day and the most famous prophet of his time fell!
Jonah, who preached the greatest revival known to mankind, fell! Billy Sunday had never preached a revival as successful as Jonah preached. D. L. Moody never preached a revival as successful as Jonah preached and yet Jonah fell.
John Mark, who stood beside the Apostle Paul in his last days in jail and who was chosen by God to be the human pen for one of the four Gospels fell!
Jacob, who was later to become Israel and become a prince with God and after whom the entire nation was named fell! Saul, the greatest man in the entire kingdom at the time of his anointing fell!
He stood physically, morally, and spiritually head and shoulders above all the people of Israel and yet he fell! It was said of Saul numbers of times that the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and yet King Saul fell!
Solomon, the wisest man in the entire world fell. Solomon who was known for his wisdom around the world fell.
There is not a week that goes by that I do not hear of some good Christian, a preacher, a deacon, a staff member, or a Sunday school teacher who shocks us because they have fallen. Falling is a possibility for every single child of God!
A long time before a fall comes there is something that comes first and that is a slide. “Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine iniquity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide.” (Psalm 26:1).
David mentions the word and possibility of a “slide”. “The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.” (Psalm 37:31). David again speaks about his steps sliding. No one all of a sudden goes into sin. You slide and then the last step is the fall.
“Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.” (Jeremiah 8:5). Jerusalem was sliding back by perpetual “back sliding” so before Jerusalem fell she was sliding.
“For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place.” (Hosea 4:16).
“Their foot shall slide in due time.” (Deuteronomy 32:35).
Apparently along time before a man falls something else happens and that something is a slide. The fall is the last part of the slide. Please consider this if you don’t slide you will not fall. If you keep a sure footing you will not fall. Then if you do not want to fall then do not slide.
Notice the Apostle Peter’s slide into sin before his fall. The fall means you go to the bottom but you do not go to the bottom without a slide first.
Jesus said that someone is going to betray me and Peter replied, “Not me! I’m ready to go to prison and to death for you!” The minute you say it can’t happen to you that is when it will happen to you because you have now put your guard down. Every one of us ought to be running scared all the time. Thus, slide number one is when Peter said, “It can’t happen to me!”
Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and while He was praying Peter was sound asleep. Jesus came back and said, “Could ye not pray for one hour?”
When we stop our prayer life we are all headed for a fall. It is that precious time when it is just you and the Saviour of our soul that is essential to preventing a slide. That special time when you shut everything else out and just allow Jesus and you to commune! That time when you some times really don’t have any thing to say except to love on the Lord.
One of the first things to cause any one to lose their sure footing and to walk on slippery ground is when we quit our prayer life. God wants to fellowship with us and we need to fellowship with Him.
Whatever time you told God that you would meet with Him He is still showing up right on time and is broken hearted when the one He died for fails to show. Place your quiet time on top of your list of to do’s! Put the newspaper aside, put the sports section aside, put Good Morning America aside, and put God back into your prayer life.
How did Peter fall? First, he slid and left his sure footing because before his fall came a slide from a slippery place.
Peter then followed afar off! He sat in the balcony on the very last row when there were seats down front. He sat hid in the back row of the sections on the lower floor.
Always stay close to the action. Your physical presence is a picture of your spiritual presence! If there is a seat in front of you that’s available and you purposely don’t take it there is something wrong. The position of the body is the position of the soul!
There is not a child of God that does not need preaching! That is why a preacher will stop once in a while and holler “Wake up! Listen to me!” The reason is that every one needs preaching. “…It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (I Corinthians 1:20).
That Scripture is not speaking of unsaved people: “…preaching to save them that believe”. It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching (not foolish preaching) to save your life.
Save it from being wrecked, keep you straight, keep those of you called to preach from a life of failure, from letting your hormones ruin your future, to keep you on the narrow path of life, to keep you from sliding, and from an unsure footing that precedes a fall. God is speaking here of saving saved people from sliding.
I am always amused when I hear some young person say that they “fell in love” with someone. That could be construed as a fall too! Maybe what you should do is decide to love on purpose.
Most young ladies who “fall in love” usually choose a bum. Most young men who “fell in love” usually choose a “bumess”. Ha! I know it’s not a word but it is funny!
When you attempt to get as far away from preaching as you can you are saying, “Preaching really doesn’t interest me, church doesn’t interest me, the Scriptures don’t interest me, godly music doesn’t interest me, and the invitation really doesn’t interest me.”
Peter sat down with the enemy. He had lunch with the critics of their church. He sat with them and listened to them run down the Lord. He sat with those who also hated the Lord, His local church, the Scriptures, the children of God, and aggressive soul winning.
There is no need to converse with those who are opposed to the things of God. You are not going to sway them but they will affect you! You do not catch wellness you always catch the sickness! You cannot catch spirituality but you can catch carnality!
We find Peter not only sitting with the enemy but also warming himself with the enemy and their fire. There is no reason for God’s people to be in fellowship with the enemy. To be cordial is one thing to be accommodating with compromise is another thing altogether. This is a dangerous thing for believers to offer conciliation with those who are not reconciled to the things of God. Liberalism is a dangerous thing but it can only be caught by fellowshipping with the liberal who espouses liberalism. To know what you believe is one thing but to stand for what you believe is an entirely different thing. It does not take courage to believe what is right but it takes courage’s to stand for what is right.
It is difficult for some one who believes something to compete with those who believe nothing but compromise. It is so hard for the fundamentalists to compete with the liberal. The liberals are too nice and accommodating.
Peter no longer gained warmth from God’s Word or God’s people he was warmed by the enemy and their fire. Satan’s words provide comfort also. Go with me to the Garden of Eden and observed how sly and smooth the words of Satan are in his slander of God’s Word. He had warmth both in presence and in words!
Peter now does the unthinkable! He denies the Lord Himself! Unbelievable but true! He followed afar off and eventually became like those he did not want to be like when he was right with the Lord.
Can you imagine the heartache of God the Father when one of the ones His own Son died for becomes so cold of heart that he turns on His Son, the one who saved that one from death in Hell? Jesus, who dipped His soul into a devil’s Hell, who suffered our Hell, who died, who was separated from His Father, and who paid the awful penalty of Hell-fire is being cursed and denied by very one who was the recipient of such great sacrifice!
I have wondered about something for years? You would not be able to leave early when the invitation begins, at the end of the service, if you had a convert down the aisle would you?
Peter now denies his church! Please hold your head up high when your churches name is mentioned. If your church is a Bible believing, soul winning, spirit-filled, Hell-fire and damnation preaching, separated, mission-minded, and pastor led church then you smile and be willing to be identified with your church.
The only reason you would begin to deny your church is because your life does not reflect what is being preached and others will begin to wonder about you and your church. We are to be ambassadors for Christ embarrassments for Christ!
Peter now begins to curse and swear! He did not want to be identified with His Lord and he wanted to be identified with the enemy. How sad! How did he do it? He curses and swears!
“But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh cometh of evil.” (Matthew 5:37).
“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” (I Corinthians 15:33).
“A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” (Galatians 5:9).
“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (I Thessalonians 5:22).
“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account therefore in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37).
Peter now goes back to the old life! He decides to go back. In so doing others decide to go and do the same thing. No man lives to himself! No man is an island! When you go back to the old life others will follow you into the old life.
No man lives to himself and no man dies to himself! What a shame to ignore the power of influence just for selfish reasons. There is more to this thing called life than just your own selfish goals for your life. Little eyes are watching! Eyes of admiration are watching! Minds of loved ones are wondering what’s going on? Those who are on the verge of doubt and despair are in need of encouragement not discouragement!
Peter takes his clothes off when he returned to the old life! The old life is fueled by sensuality and carnality! There is not one thought of spiritual things when you arrive to this point. In fact it is with deliberation that Peter goes naked just like he and the other fishermen used to do. Amazing how quickly Peter returns to the weak and beggarly elements of the old life.
If there is a gigantic lesson in all of this it is how quickly a child of God can via peer pressure in conjunction with the fleshly desires be persuaded to damage not only the life of the child of God, but the work of God without as much as a second thought! Amazing creatures of contradiction we are and yet without excuse!