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From Regret To Restoration Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
August 10, 2022 1:00 am

From Regret To Restoration Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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August 10, 2022 1:00 am

Sometimes we are drowning in shame because we cannot change the deep failures of our past. That’s where Jesus found Peter after he vehemently denied even knowing Jesus. In this message, we listen to Jesus’ three restorative questions. In Christ, we have lasting incentives to be restored to Christ and His service.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Sometimes, we fail so deeply that life seems to come to a complete halt.

Drowning in shame, we just want to quit. That's where Jesus found Peter, after Peter vehemently denied even knowing Jesus. In grace, the master restored his servant.

From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, in our series on Peter, we're pausing to watch him deny Christ and then hear the rooster crow. In Luke 22, we see him hit bottom. Only later, through the grace of Christ, will he be restored. And you know, Dave, the reason that Peter took it so hard is because he loved Christ. And those of us who love Christ, we often have denied him, haven't we? And so Peter is in despair.

He volunteered to be a hero, but that didn't work out very well. Let me ask you a question. Is there someone you know who needs this series of messages? We want to make these messages available in permanent form so that you can listen to them again and again. For a gift of any amount, we're very glad to send them to you. Here's what you can do.

Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the series of messages chiseled by the Master's hand, because there is so much that we can learn through the life of Peter, and certainly his restoration touches all of our hearts. I want you to know today that you walking away from Christ, you turning your back on him and saying, I can't face him again hurts him more than returning to receive his grace, his love, his forgiveness, and his acceptance. So don't turn away from him.

Turn to him, because he understands you. Third, Jesus prays for us. Jesus understands us. Jesus has compassion for us. Jesus reached out and touched Peter in a very special way.

Let me tell you about it. Jesus Christ is crucified on the cross. He is put into a tomb, and he is buried.

And he lies there. And then on the third day, he comes forth from the tomb. What's Peter doing during these three remorseful days of tears and regret? Peter feels, I've blown it so badly. I'm not a member of the 12 disciples anymore.

I no longer belong, because after all, I have had an opportunity to be able to witness for Christ, and I deny in the presence of a servant girl that I even knew him. And the regret seems to wash over his spirit, and it is absolutely overwhelming. Jesus knows that. So it says in the 16th chapter of Mark that after Jesus was raised, there was an angel that was sitting there at the tomb. And the angel talks to the people that come, and then the angel says this, go tell his disciples and Peter that Christ has been raised. Why and Peter? Because Peter thought that he was no longer a part of those disciples.

And just to make sure that he is not overlooked, just so that he doesn't run, as it were, with his tail between his legs and be banished off in shame and regret and be washed with depression and remorse, Jesus says and Peter. Actually, it wasn't Jesus. It was an angel that says and Peter.

The angels knew all about what had happened. They were watching when Peter denied Jesus. And God makes sure that Peter is included.

Today, Jesus looks into your eyes and says and so and so and Peter and Paul and May and whatever your name is, Jesus looks at you and says you're included. Now, I want you to notice that in the 15th chapter of First Corinthians, we won't take time to turn to the passage, but it says that at the resurrection appearance, Jesus appeared. Jesus appeared to Peter first. He was the first witness to the resurrection.

It says that Jesus appeared to Cephas, that is Peter, and then the other apostles, and then nearly 500 brethren. What is Christ trying to say? He's trying to say, Peter, let me put my arms around you. You've fallen, but you're not down. You've sinned, but you're forgiven.

Peter, you've denied me, but I want you to know that I love you, Peter. Let's put the past behind us and let's get on with restoration. Christ has compassion for you. There's a fourth lesson that we can learn that gives us an incentive to come back to the Savior and that is that Christ restores us. He restores us. The passage, of course, we're thinking of is John chapter 21. The resurrection has taken place and you can turn to that passage if you have a copy of the New Testament with you. The 21st chapter of the Gospel of John. Peter is out on the boat and he is fishing again thinking maybe that that's all that he can do. He tried Christ and then he denied Christ and he still, even though he knows of the resurrection, he still feels very sheepish and ashamed in Christ's presence. So Jesus says to the disciples who thought that they had to go back to this profession because of their failure, he says, come on, let's eat together.

It says in verse 15, so when they had finished breakfast and there were some fish there on the lake, we don't know on the side of the lake on the shore, we don't know where Jesus got them from, but they came and they ate breakfast and so when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love me with a fervent love? Now, have you ever had this problem happen where you know that there has to be reconciliation, you know that there are some things that need to be talked about and there's this feeling that let's just get this meal over with because there does have to be reconciliation. You can't leave things hanging. I don't know how it is in your family, but in our family we simply do not exist without reconciliation and talking things through. There may be hard feelings and there often are. There are misunderstandings and we just don't let them pass and pretend that they do not exist. I feel sorry for families where the whole beginning of the day to the end is one long charade of pretending.

If there's been misunderstanding, if there's been hurt, if there has been failure on my part or on the part of our children, we always talk it through. And you get this feeling here with regard to Christ. He says, Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these? And we don't know what Jesus meant, more than these fish or more than these disciples.

It's just a problem. We don't know. Jesus just asked that question and someday when we get to heaven I'll say, Lord, you know back at Moody Church I was preaching on John chapter 21 verse 15 and what did you really mean? More than what, Lord? And so he'll clarify it and he'll add a good footnote to this sermon and I might add that when it ends you may feel it needs a good footnote. Now, notice he said to him, yes, Lord, you know that I love you with brotherly affection. He said, tend my lambs. I'm changing the meaning of the word love here a little bit because there are two Greek words that are happening here in the text for love.

One is agape and the other is phileo. He said to him a second time, Simon, son of John, do you love me with fervency? And he said, Lord, you know that I love you with a brotherly love. He said to him the third time, Simon, son of John, do you love me with a brotherly love? Jesus now changes to use the word that Peter was using. And Peter says to him, yes, Lord, you know that I love you with a brotherly love. And he says, you know that I love you. And so Jesus says, tend my sheep. What's going on here?

I'll tell you what is. Jesus is saying Peter three times, you denied me to the servant girl. Man, I don't know him. The Bible even says that Peter began to swear. Whenever you're under pressure, you have a tendency to go back to sins that used to ensnare you. And swearing apparently was a problem for Peter before his conversion. He swore and denied it and says, I don't, I've never met this guy called Jesus. This was the mighty Peter. Jesus says three times, Peter, you denied that you knew me. I'm giving you three opportunities to confess to me and the presence of the other disciples that you love me.

Three times Peter says, I love you and I fervently love you. And Jesus says, Peter, I want you to know that this is not the end of the line. Tend my lambs, shepherd my sheep and Peter is going to be a mighty man of God. Please come to Moody Church next week because next week I'm going to turn to the book of Acts and show you what a transform Peter, the Holy Spirit brought about and how the transformation that Peter experienced is one that we can experience too through the strength of the Spirit. So what Jesus is saying is, Peter, you are going to be a mighty leader.

You're going to be the one opening the doors of the kingdom. So Peter, there's hope for you. Of course you've failed, but I restore you.

Craig Nimel, the pilot that I talked to you about a few moments ago, ended up being accepted by Wycliffe Bible Translators and he was a mechanic again because they knew that he was a good one. There is such a thing as restoration. Now you say, well, Pastor Lutzer, but I've blown it so badly.

There can be no restoration because I'm speaking to people whose marriages forever have been ruined and there's no way that you can go back to make things straight. But listen to me carefully. What you ought to do is to grieve over the past that cannot be changed. You ought to shed tears over that past. And then what you need to do is to say, God, give me a new ministry.

Give me a new thing to do. Let me once again hear your blessed voice. And then Lord Jesus, show me where I fit into your kingdom, into your family, and into your work. Because Jesus wants you to be a productive member of his kingdom regardless of the past. He says, I want to restore you.

You can still prove that you love me and you can still serve me. Now isn't it interesting that three people were tested that night, that fateful night in Gethsemane? First of all, there was Jesus that was tested by the devil and he went through great agony and drops of blood, as it were, came from his body as he anticipated the agony and the terror of the cross.

Jesus was found to be pure wheat, no chaff. There was somebody else who was tested on that fateful night and his name is Judas. Judas came and betrayed Jesus with a kiss and said, here, master. And actually what he wanted was to be able to identify Christ to receive 30 pieces of silver. Judas loved money.

And a kiss is no big deal if you can get 30 pieces of silver for it. So he did that. And Judas later on having the silver and thinking to himself, I love silver and I've got it, he was the happiest man that ever lived. After all, he had silver, right? Well, you know that I'm speaking sarcastically because awash with regret, the Bible says he went and he committed suicide because of the depression, the regret, the guilt was too much for him to bear.

The very thing that he wanted he had, but somehow after he got it, it meant nothing. I'll tell you something, there is nothing in this world that is as valuable as a clear conscience. It is worth a hundred billion dollars. Oh, what good is a hundred billion if you can't sleep at night because of the guilt and the regret and the depression.

All right. So Judas was sifted, pure chaff. Jesus, pure wheat.

Judas, pure chaff. And Peter, just like you and me, a mixture, some chaff, some wheat. And what happened was that great wind of adversity blew across Peter's life. And despite his failure, it actually purified him and it made him better whole wheat because some chaff was blown away. And that's what sifting does to us. Mark it well, the fact that Jesus prayed for Peter did not mean that Peter was not sifted.

Peter was sifted and Peter failed in the sifting. But what it meant was that there would be restoration and because of the restoration, Peter would be a blessing strengthening his brothers, giving us the books of 1 and 2 Peter and a remarkable preacher and pioneer all throughout the book of Acts. I'm saying to those of you who know Christ as savior, first of all, and your heart has grown cold and cynical and you're following at a distance and usually it's because you've been disappointed with other people and therefore you are disappointed with God and your heart is hard and you say, I'm going to do my own thing. Would you come to Jesus today to be restored? Would you let Jesus love you? Would you let Jesus put his arm around you and say, please come back because I'm missing you.

He is missing you. Some of you don't know Christ as savior at all and you've never believed on him. I want you to know that his death on the cross was a sacrifice for sinners so that we could be saved so that we could belong to him forever and ever. Many years ago, I was out in the state of California and saw those huge redwoods that go up into the sky hundreds of feet high and I noticed that there was one redwood that had fallen many, many years ago and was lying horizontal there in the forest. It was not fulfilling the purpose for which it was created.

It was created to be upright, to go to the heavens with incredible straightness, like the straightness of an arrow. No, somebody had sawed it down. It was either sawed down or else wind had blown it down. I'm not sure exactly which it was. Totally ruined.

Or was it ruined? Out of that stump, out of that long tree trunk that was lying there, a brand new tree was beginning to grow and as that tree was growing, bless its heart, growing into the heavens, it was using the old tree as a foundation and using much of that wood as part of its root system as it was growing up to heaven. Have you fallen? Are you not fulfilling the purpose for which you were created? Is it because you're involved in an immoral relationship? Is it because you've made enough failures and you've botched up so badly that your family is never going to be together again? I want to invite you today to Jesus who can take the mess. He takes that life that lies there with all of its failure and he uses it as a foundation to build a new life and says, if you come to me, I will use what you give me. Come to me, receive me, receive my forgiveness, live differently, become a part of the family, and then there's hope for you. You can move from regret to restoration because Jesus has his arms outstretched to you and said, come on, you've been away from home too long. Some of you say, Pastor Luther, I'd love to come back, but the way is long.

If you knew all the things that I'd have to get right in my life if I took Jesus seriously, you'd understand that you're asking for an awful lot. I know I am, but I'll tell you what, Jesus is there to help you every single step of the way. If you want to return to him, let me help you. In a moment I'm going to pray and after I've prayed, I want you to pray a prayer to God of restoration.

If you need to cry, cry, just pour your heart out to the Lord and say, Jesus, I come to you at this moment. I do love you. I do love you and I need to be restored. Let's pray. Now Father, you know the pain and you know all the things that have turned people off to you and to your word and some of us probably have been stumbling blocks to others, but Jesus, in this congregation and in the lives of thousands who are listening by radio, there is pain and hurt and regret. Would you restore your people at this moment?

Restore the backsliders and save those who have never been a part of your family. Now here's the prayer I want you to pray. Lord Jesus, I thank you that you love me.

I thank you that you know me by name. You know all the hurt and the pain that I've caused to others. You know my mistakes and my sins, but at this moment, I'm coming home. You ask me, Jesus, do I love you? I do love you. Forgive me. Restore me.

Just love me. Amen. Oh my friend, all of us of course think of the story of the prodigal son, ran away from home, squandered his dad's money, comes back home, doesn't know how he's going to be accepted, but the father was waiting for him, looking down the road. And God looks for you today.

If you've wandered far off the trail, begin the way back. You know, I'm so glad that we have the opportunity to share the ministry of running to win. And we believe that we are giving resources to people that will really help them in the Christian life. Would you like to have this series of messages in permanent form so that you can listen to them again and again, share them with your friends? For a gift of any amount, we are making them available.

Here's what you do. Go to That's or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And let me thank you in advance for helping us because we believe that a message of hope, the message of hope through the gospel of Jesus Christ, should be spread as widely as possible.

Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Thanks so much for holding our hands because together as the Running to Win family, we are making a difference. Time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. The future may be dark as oppression against Christians increases.

Carl listens to Running to Win on the Moody Broadcasting Network and has this question. Recently I heard Dr. Lutzer on Midday Connection say that in the light of the trends of our nation and the world, we should be preparing our children for the possibility of martyrdom. Pastor Lutzer, how should we do that? Carl, I don't remember the exact context in which I said that, but I do know that I was quoting a former Muslim, a man who converted from Islam to Christianity, who gave a lecture on what it would be like if Muslim law were implemented in the United States. Now afterwards I had a cup of coffee with him and I asked him, what could we do about this? And we talked for a while and I said, there's going to be a future generation that will have to be prepared for martyrdom.

And he agreed and he said, yes. Now that's the context of the remarks, but I need to say that you and I will probably have been long gone in heaven by the time that becomes necessary. Certainly that happens in many Muslim countries today where Christians are giving their lives, thousands of them, by the way, we don't hear about all of them, but I can assure you that there are many places where there is repression and where there is martyrdom. And these kinds of Christians have to train their children to be able to accept martyrdom. And that's what I was referring to.

Hopefully that won't come to our nation anytime soon, but we can't see the future, possibly someday in another generation it will. Thank you, Pastor Lutzer. If you'd like to hear your question answered about the Bible or the Christian life, go to our website at and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer. Or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337.

You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. The master artist is nearly finished refining Peter, a man chiseled by the master's hand. The change in Peter from fisherman to fearless preacher is a testimony to the power of God to remake a man. The difference between the raw material and the finished product is startling, as we'll see in our next message on The New Peter. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-13 13:24:24 / 2023-03-13 13:33:02 / 9

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