Radio Broadcast

Teach Them Failure is Never Final, Part 1

Scripture: John 3:16 - 3:18

Have you ever messed up big time? I mean major failure - the kind that even years later you cringe when you think about it. Chip shares how you can begin again - how you can be restored and rediscover the joy you once knew.

Message Notes more broadcasts from this series


It happened in the spring of the year, it was the time when kings go out to battle, David remained in Jerusalem. Then it happened one evening that as David arose from his bed and he walked out on the roof, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing. She was very beautiful. And David inquired, “Who is this woman?” And he was told, “Her name is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”

“Then David sent messengers and he took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her.” The writer of the Psalms, the spiritual leader, the warrior, the poet of Israel, the man that God would say, “This is a man after My own heart.” He’s got misplaced priorities. He’s done a major turnaround in the kingdom. Finally, there’s stability. The kingdom is set. He’s tired, he’s vulnerable, he’s not where he’s supposed to be, he can’t sleep. In a moment of vulnerability he walks out on the terrace and he is very attracted and he makes a decision that would cause a ripple effect that he would regret the rest of his life.

Like most of us, when you mess up, phase one is how do you cover it up? So he invites Uriah to come back from the battle and tries to figure out how he can get him to sleep with his wife so the baby, they’ll think, is his - as though Uriah can’t do math.

That doesn’t work so he invites him to a kingly banquet, gets him drunk, and thinks, “You know, a drunk guy who has been away from his wife for months, this will work.” And he finds him sleeping out on the steps. He has too much integrity. He says, “How could I go be with my wife when my comrades are out in battle, sleeping out in tents, in the cold?”

So cover up number one doesn’t work. Cover up number two doesn’t work. This isn’t a guy that makes just a bad mistake. This is now very premeditated. And his fear of being exposed is now greater than the sin itself.

And so he writes a note to his commander Joab, and he says, “Put Uriah up toward the front of the lines where the battle is fierce, and when it gets very fierce, withdraw from him so he’s killed.”

And a report later is that’s exactly what happens. He dies. Bathsheba mourns. And after the time of mourning, David sends for her and makes her his wife. And then in II Samuel chapter 11, there’s one very short, brief verse. It said, “And the Lord God was very displeased with David.”

When people mess up, we’re fascinated. When celebrities mess up, we’re really fascinated. In fact, we got a whole group of reality shows that just, we look at their mess-ups.

Well, David didn’t go into recovery. But I want you to notice that he’s a good man at a weak moment. Our temptation is when people mess up, especially when it’s someone else, see, they were a terrible person. I could never believe anything about them. But he was a good man. And big, big mistakes happen sometimes, not because they’re really bad people, but they’re really good people in a weak moment.

He was described as a mighty warrior, a righteous king, and a man after God’s own heart. Those are pretty high marks. And then added to his biography the words “murderer” and “adulterer” were added.

And what I want you to do is I want you to look, parents, whether your kids are two or three or twelve or twenty-two or thirty-two. Your children will all make some big mistakes sometime in their life. The question is how will they recover? How will they recover?

Now, this is hard for some of you. Some of us who have grown kids get this a little bit better. But some of you, I’m just going to mess with you just a little bit, just so that you get your heart and mind around where we’re going here. Some of you, those cute little two and three or four year olds, they’re going to get somebody pregnant or they’re going to get pregnant out of wedlock and you’re going to have a real disaster on your hands in about fifteen years.

For others, they’re going to go out and do something really, really stupid and come home either drunk or telling you about what they did that you’re going to think, “You gotta be kidding me. How could this ever happen in our home?” For some of you, fifteen or twenty years from now or ten years from now, if you have a pre-teen, you’re going to be going down to jail because your kid is going to be in jail or juvie hall.

For others, you’re going to discover as they’ve come back from school or from trade school or they have been out of the house two or three years, they have an addiction that they have had longer than you ever dreamed and you’re going to have something on your doorsteps, it’s going to be a big, big, big mistake.

And here’s what I want to tell you. This may be the most priceless gift of all. Teach them that failure isn’t final. Some of us that, at least, have messed up pretty good, you think your kids are immune to that? You think they’re just going to turn out wonderful?

And by the way, please don’t hear, “I think you’re going to have bad kids.” Really good kids, really obedient kids, really moral kids, kids that love you, kids that love God, in a weak moment some of them are going to do some really big, stupid, sinful things.

I mean, if it happened to David, a man after God’s own heart, who wrote the majority of the Psalms, you don’t think it can happen to one of your kids? In fact, let’s step back a little bit. Hasn’t it happened to most of us in this room?

You can’t teach your kids that failure is never final until you get a grip on that yourself and the only way to get a grip on that is you need to understand grace. You need to understand what the Bible teaches when it talks about grace, what it is and how it works.

And so let’s go over a theology of grace. Definition: Grace is the free, unmerited, unconditional love of God toward us. I mean, it’s radical, it’s crazy, it’s free, it’s unmerited so you don’t deserve it. It’s the love of God toward you.

I John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.” There is something that happens in the human heart when you are given when you so clearly know you do not deserve, and it’s lavished upon you, that the change is from the inside out instead of some external morality.

It’s called grace. It’s what separates Christianity from any worldview, from any religion. It’s just unheard of. So let’s look at it biblically. Grace is free to us but costly to God.

It’s absolutely free to us. You can’t earn it, you can’t merit it, you can’t get it on your own. But I Corinthians 6 verses 19 and 20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God? And that you’re not your own, you’ve been bought with a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.”

You were purchased. It’s free to us but the grace that you receive, I receive, and God wants your kids to get from you, it was purchased and the price tag was the blood and the death of Christ.  

Third, you’ll notice that the cross is God’s greatest act of grace. When you want to understand grace, there needs to be a picture, there’s an act, how did it work? In Romans chapter 5 verse 8 says, “But God demonstrates,” in other words, He proves, “He demonstrates what His love is like toward us, in that while we were still,” or, “yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

And the little word “for” is an interesting word in Greek. It means “as a substitute or in the place of.” God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were not trying to be better people, not trying to get on board, not living nice little lives, but while we were yet sinners, Christ died in our place. So the cross is the picture of grace.

Fourth, salvation is a free gift from God. I mean, you can’t earn it. Unlike how most of us grew up, at least.  You know, I didn’t grow up in the church, I didn’t grow up reading the Bible. But if you were American or if you’re just human, you sort of have this idea that if there is a God, that was my theory, if there is a God, He must have this big blackboard in heaven.

And then He puts a line down the middle of the blackboard. And on the left side of the blackboard it says, “Bad Deeds,” and on the right side of the blackboard it says, “Good Deeds.” And there are these angels that track everybody. You know, like, cosmic video cameras.

And bad thoughts or bad motives or bad deeds, you know, mark, mark, mark. “Oh! There’s five.” Mark, mark, mark, “There’s another five.” And somehow we get in this mindset that all these bad deeds versus all these good deeds… And you’re thinking, “You know what? I just hope I have, like, a hundred and one good deeds to a hundred bad deeds so I’m…”

I want you to know that that mindset about God, about life, about acceptance, about eternity, about heaven is completely, completely wrong and unbiblical.

We learned last week a theology of holiness. Do you know how many bad deeds or even bad thoughts or bad motives it takes to be separated from an absolutely pure and holy God? Not a hundred. Not ninety. Not five. Are you ready? One. God can tolerate zero sin.

So whether you’re in a sin that is, like, five feet deep or twenty feet deep or a hundred feet deep, you’re separated forever. But Romans 6 says this, “The wages of sin,” what you get for sin, crossing the barrier, missing the mark, doing your own thing, neglecting God, hurting others, “the wages of sin is death,” separation forever, “but the free gift, the free gift of God, is eternal life,” how? “through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Salvation is an absolutely free gift but it has to be received. I mean, if this morning, if this was, just pretend, let’s see, let’s just say you have, like, a seventeen year old. By seventeen, they like money. Have you noticed that? Like, for Christmas, you can give them a lot of stuff but money really works.

So let’s just imagine this is stacked, I mean, just with those hundred dollar bills that you can kind of smell them and they stack close together. Let’s pretend this is stacked with that.

And you say to your son or daughter who is seventeen years old, “I have a present for you.” And it’s filled with hundred dollar bills. “And it’s not because you’ve done anything, it is grace, I love you, I care for you, here it is.” And you put it at the bottom of their bed. I’m going to go on record to say unless they receive it and open the box, it does them no good.

You gave it, it’s available. See, grace is a gift but it’s a gift that has to be opened and received by faith. Ephesians 2:8 and 9 says this, “For by grace you are saved,” but notice the instrumental, our part, “For by grace you are saved through faith. And that’s not of yourselves, it’s not a result of your good works; it’s the gift of God, lest any man should boast.” So it’s free.

Next, grace produces self-control, upright, and godly living. Now some people get nervous when you start talking about grace and you quote the Bible and it’s free and you don’t have to do anything. People start getting nervous like, “Well, if it’s just all this grace, can’t you just take the grace and live any old way, and people won’t obey all these things, and they won’t live holy lives.” That’s not what the Bible teaches.

In fact, on this one, are you ready? I’m going to put you to work. In your Bible, open to Titus and for some of you, if you’re like me, you didn’t grow up in the church, it’s like, “Man, it’s one of those small books. Might be hard to find.”

So look for Timothy towards the end. II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Timothy, II Timothy, Titus is close. Or better yet, like, open your phone, tell me you won’t text later, and just punch that little app where you have the translation.

I want you to feel it and see it because verse 11 says, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It,” this grace, “it teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age.”

And notice then it’s hooked on to this eager expectation. It’s, “While we wait for the blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us,” why? “to buy us back,” literally that’s what the word “redeem” means. “To buy us back and redeem us from all wickedness, to purify for Himself a people,” it’s about relationship, “that are His very own, that are eager to do what is good.”

And what I want to do now is I want to live in such a way that lives up to being that loved. I’m a debtor to grace. I want to care. I want to love. I want to be that kind of person.

When you experience biblical grace it teaches you to say no to ungodliness and to selfishness and to “me-ism.” And it creates this “want to.” It says, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” and then it gives us the reason in Philippians 2, “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work unto His good pleasure.” Grace creates this desire to live in love for Him and love for others.

Notice there are biblical roots in the Old Testament – Genesis 3:21 – the very first time after our original parents sinned, turned away from God. It says that God shed blood of some animals and He clothed them. It was a picture of the blood that would be shed for you and for me later, and that just as they are covered, we are covered by the blood of Christ.

When the world got crazy and violent in chapter 6 it says Noah found what in the eyes of the Lord? Grace. Favor. The Old Testament pictures, I mean, if you just want someone in the Old Testament and someone in the New that you say, “I gotta get my arms around this. What’s this really look like?”

It looks like David, who was an adulterer and a murderer, greatly used of God, and he’s the gold standard of kings. See, we tend to think of God looking at us always through the lens of history instead of through trajectory and through the issues of our heart.

When God forgives, as far as the east is from the west, He removes your sin from you. Grace is He not only forgives and takes away, but then He justifies you and reckons you as righteous and He looks at you as a new son or daughter through the lens of the blood of Christ and you are valued.

He’s not always looking at what you did and how you did it and that you don’t measure up. Grace gives a whole new beginning.

In the New Testament you have Peter. I mean, he denies Christ. He swears, “Everyone else may go down, but Jesus, it’s You and me, baby. I got the sword.” Three different times, he’s, literally the word is “he swore.” This wasn’t like an oath.

There was a little servant girl that says to Peter, Mr. Macho Man, with the big mouth that, “I’ll never deny You,” “Did you know Him?” You know what Peter said? “I don’t even know the blankety-blank guy.”

That’s what it’s saying. He said, he totally denied Him and swore! He abandoned Him. Remember? And he went out and he wept bitter tears.

And Peter thought, “I’m done. I’m going back to fishing. I’ve betrayed. Everything I’ve said, everything I’ve purposed to do…” He’s covered with shame. And in John 21 he gets restored.

And he’s not just forgiven, but David is probably used by God more than anyone in the Old Testament and Peter is used by God more than anyone in the New Testament, save Paul. Oh, that’s right, he’s a murderer. He doesn’t qualify. Are you starting to get that your kids are going to make some big mistakes and the issue in their life is how they’re restored.

And the issue of how they are restored is how you deal with it. And the issue of how you deal with it is going to be how you deal with your big mistakes. And if you deal with them by performance orientation, and “get over it,” and push it down, and you’ll pass that on to your kids. Or you can experience grace.