Faith or Failure

Text: “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Luke 22:32

Physically a heart failure is a catastrophe. Spiritually the failure of faith would be devastating.
Physically we must look after our hearts, but in today’s message we shall see that in spiritual things our faith looks after us. It protects us.

Key Points:

1. The Trial Of Faith
“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat…” Luke 22:31
Peter wrote about the trial of faith in his epistle:
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 1 Peter 1:7
Faith is not our own creation. It is God’s gift to us.
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3
Peter’s denial was not the trial Christ referred to in our text.
If it had been the failure of denial, then Peter did fail, and Christ’s prayer was not answered, which would be unthinkable.
Peter’s trial must have been after the act of denial. When he went out of the courtyard weeping bitterly, it must have been at that moment when he began to face the onslought of Satan.
There is a time of vulnerability that comes after failure. Here is a paradox: After we fail is the moment when we can fail! And that is the time when we most need support. It is at that moment that we fail, or succeed. It is then that we come through or we go back.

2. The Tower Of Faith
“But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Luke 22:32
Our faith succeeds, it sees us through – or our faith fails.
We should expect Peter himself to write something on this subject seeing this was his experience. And indeed he does. He tells us that we
“…Are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:5
That is why I am calling faith our tower. It keeps us. It is like the keep in an ancient castle. Faith is our guard. Paul speaks about the shield of faith:
“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” Ephesians 6:16
Now, this is interesting. Christ was going to pray that Peter’s faith would stand firm against Satan’s attack. For if Peter’s faith failed at that moment, the enemy could succeed.
Saving Grace was Christ’s work on the cross. Keeping grace is Christ’s present ministry.
“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25
There is no other way to God other by Him, the Scripture assures us. However, this is a secondary benefit of coming to God via Christ: “He is able to save them to the uttermost!”
“To save to the uttermost” means to keep saved. To save forever.

3. The Triumph Of Faith
“But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Luke 22:32
Peter’s subsequent ministry was to be the strengthening of his brethren.
So who were referred to as his brethren? It is often argued that his brethren refers to the other apostles. And that argument would lead us to accept that he was the chief apostle. The bishop.
However, after the resurrection, in the last chapter of John’s Gospel, we may see the three-fold commission of Peter to feed Christ’s sheep.
Jesus was sent to the sheep of the lost house of Israel. Israel was His sheep! Of course He had other sheep that were not of that fold.
Peter’s first epistle begins with this greeting:
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia…” 1 Peter 1:1
This word scattered is Diaspora.
It refers to Jews resident in Gentile countries.
Paul makes it quite clear that Peter was the Apostle to the Jews:
“(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)” Galatians 2:8
Only the intercession of Jesus could make this transformation possible. Can you see Peter cowering by the fireside? Trembling. Fearful. Watch him as he walks away into the darkness, tears streaking his face. Vulnerable. Listen as the enemy of our souls accuses this fallen apostle. But watch the amazing transformation as Peter stands in Jerusalem and declares that this Jesus is both Lord and Christ. Bold. Victorious. That is the triumph of faith!