God’s love is steadfast and unfailing. Even if you have been following Jesus from a distance, He loves you. Even if you have a horrible failure in your life, He stands with compassion, ready to forgive. Peter denied Jesus three times, but was later used in powerful ways to spread the gospel. Wherever you are right now in your spiritual walk, whatever you may have done in your past, God invites you to follow Him closely, and He wants to use your life in amazing ways.

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I know even though you’ve been messing

up and doing it over and over and over

again I know in your heart you want to

follow me and you love me you just don’t

have any consistency and you’re

following me from a distance if you have

your Bibles I’d like for you to open

them with me for just a few moments

today and I want us to look one more

time at the resurrection story but maybe

in a way that we can all relate to more

than we realize

I want you to go to Luke chapter 5 and

this particular verse verses of

Scripture that I’m going to read are not

about the resurrection but they’re

headed to it and I want you to see pre

crucifixion resurrection moments

particularly in the life of Simon Peter

they were standing fishing he was a

professional Fisher and in verse 4 when

he had stopped speaking he said to Simon

launch out into the deep and let your

nets out for the catch no didn’t have

time to read it but they had fished all

night and caught nothing and they were

washing their nets and now Jesus says

launch out into the deep and when they

had done this well actually says in

verse 5 but Simon answered and said to

him master we’ve taught all night caught

nothing nevertheless at your word I’ll

let down the net when they’ve done this

a great number of fish came into the net

and the net was breaking they had to

summon for their partners to come and

help them both boats were about to sink

because they were catching so much and

when Simon Peter saw this verse a he

fell down at Jesus knees saying depart

from me for I am a sinful man O Lord

this is a very huge moment in the Bible

this is Simon Peter for the first time

in countering Jesus Christ personally

and he says I am so ashamed of Who I am

the life I’ve lived apart from me

you’re too holy and I’m I’m a wicked


verse nine and he and all who are with

him were astonished at the catch of the

fish that was taken so James and John

the sons of Zebedee were the partners

with Simon listen and Jesus said to

Simon Peter do not be afraid from now on

you will catch him in so they that had

brought their boats to the land when

they brought them to them forsook all

listen to these words and followed him

and it says in the Matthew four that

Jesus said to them he gives you a little

bit more insight it says he said to them

same setting but from another writers

opinion of the moment follow me he said

those words to Peter everybody say

follow me so this is the first encounter

the first time those words are used to

follow me now while you have your Bible

I want you to look with me I want to go

quickly to the book of Matthew chapter

26 Matthew chapter 26 he’s following

Jesus we’re gonna fast-forward three

years and we picked the story up now in

verse 31 and this is what it says then

jesus said to all of them all of the

disciples are there and he said to all

of them you will be made to stumble

because of me this night for it is

written I will strike the Shepherd and

the flock was scattering send the Bible

that this is going to happen he was

referring to a prophecy this is gonna

happen all of you are gonna forsake me

because the Bible prophesied that you

would in the Old Testament verse 33 and

Peter answered and said to him even if

all are made to stumble because of you I

will never be made to stumble jesus said

to him sure idli i say to you that this

night before the rooster crows you will

deny me three times

Peter said to him even if I have to die

with you listen to this I’m gonna tell

you where I will not mess

and he gets very specific I will not

deny you and so said all the disciples

but then it really gets sad I want you

to see it he says he says I’m never

gonna deny you I’m not gonna do it

I will not there’s some things I will

not do I promise you I’m not gonna do it

I will not do it and then he says I’ll

tell you specifically what I will not do

I will never deny you the area that I

will not do it in this is the area I

will not specifically deny you and we’re

not here to to look down and and and you

know beat up on Simon Peter because I

want you to understand that you relate

to him more than you realize how many of

you have told the Lord in some weak area

of your life I will never do it again

wait keep your hands down I know I know

I’m not even finished with a question

yet in the hands are going up how many

of you have said in a weak area of your

life I will never do it again

and you did it again let me see your

hand it’s a hundred percent so how many

of you would agree with this little

sermon that we can relate to Simon

Teeter because there’s things I snubber

one I said I’d never do and I did them

and then there’s things that I said I’d

never do again and I’ve done them again

and what’s amazing is when you start

reading the story now look in Matthew 26

and verse 69 the Bible says that they

arrest Jesus same night take him to the

courtyard verse 69 now Peter said

outside the courtyard and a servant girl

came to him saying you’re with those of

Jesus of Galilee verse 70 here goes now

but he denied it before them all saying

I do not

know what you’re talking about so here

comes a girl same night that he said I

won’t do it here comes a girl saying

you’re one of them and he instantly in

the very area he said he wouldn’t do it

said I’ll never deny aren’t you one of

them I deny that I am NOT one of them it

gets it gets worse what’s this verse 71

and when he had gone out to the Gateway

another girl everybody say another girl

saw him and said hey you’re one of those

you’re one of those fellows that hangs

out with Jesus of Nazareth for 72 but he

again denied watch he goes deeper with

an oath before he just denied it have

you ever noticed that he denied with an

oath when an oath is a reference to

legal term it would be the equivalent or

a lot like when you go to court and they

put a Bible and say you know put your

hand on the Bible do you swear to tell

the truth nothing but the truth so help

you God

so when he was denying it he was saying

I’m willing to I’m willing to not just

deny Jesus I’ll swear an oath to it that

I don’t know him that’s – well for 73 a

little later those who stood by King up

and said to Peter he’s having a bad

night said said to Peter surely you’re

one of them your be your speech betrays

you verse 74 then he began to curse and

swear saying I do not know that man I

mean he’s gone from denying to denying

with an oath now he’s going to cursing I

don’t know the blankety-blank man I

don’t load a blanket he blinked blankly

I don’t know him and he’s denying and

cursing three times and then notice what

happens in verse 74 and immediately this

is such a sad Scripture immediately the

rooster crowed notice verse 75 and Peter

remembered the words to Jesus who said

to him before the rooster crows you

would deny me three times so he went out

and wept bitterly I I think we need to

remember this because so many of us

start out eagerly when the Lord calls us

and yes I’ll follow you maybe it was

when you were a child you said I’ll

follow you and you loved the Lord and

you followed the Lord but there’s an

interesting verse in in Matthew 26 it

said he followed him in verse 58 Peter

followed him at a distance this is huge

he starts out following him in Luke

chapter 5 you remember when we started

this story follow me and he’s following

him but then something happened through

the years where he’s following him from

a distance he used to be close he used

to be tight he used to be right on him

and under him he forsook everything he

was the main thing in his life and he

loved him with all of his heart but now

the years have worn away the

relationship between Simon Peter and

Christ and now the Bible says he’s still

following him and he still loves him but

he’s following him from a distance he

said there’s a lot of people that will

come to free chapel and they love me and

they decided to follow me maybe when

they were a child maybe they gave their

heart to the Lord when they were 20 or

30 or whatever but the years have

brought a lot of distance and they’re

following me from a distance and things

that they said they would never do they

do them again and again and again but

they still love me they still in their

heart want to follow me and I want you

to tell them I love them I want you to

tell them that I I’ve made a way for

them I want you to tell them I’m not

angry or

mad at them I know that we were close

and now they follow me from a distance

and tell him that a missile your Bible

said that Peter decided in John 21 he

said I think it’s the third verse I’m

going I’m going back to fishing when he

said I’m going fishing he’s saying I’m

going back to who I used to be before I

met Christ I’ve blown it I’ve messed up

I failed I’m going back to who I used to

be because he wouldn’t want me I looked

in his eyes then I denied him who could

ever get over a moment like a failure

like I’ve had so I’m just going back I

was a fisherman before he ever called me

and he said follow me and and I’m just

going back to who I used to be and

that’s Who I am I tried that stuff and I

couldn’t live it and I’m going back he

went back to that boat I love this story

and they listened and in John 21 the

Bible said that while they were on the

boat fishing listen it’s the same

miracle Jesus is about to set up the

same miracle have you ever noticed this

it’s the same miracle it happens twice

they fished all night and they’re coming

in and I love it because the scripture

said that Jesus appeared in his

resurrected body after the crucifixion

on the beach and they were about a

hundred yards out is still dark there’s

some fog they see a figure on the beach

they can’t make out who it is and the

voice screams out over the water hey did

you did you catch anything to eat have

you had anything to eat listen to these

words in the morning to come verse four

he stood on the shore and Jesus said to

them children have you had any food they

didn’t know who they were talking to

they shouted back no we fished all night

does it sound for me we fished all night

and we didn’t catch anything

and the voice says back cast your net on

the other side that is DejaVu what one

of them turns that wait a minute we’ve

heard this before we’ve been here before

and they threw the net on the other side

and the Bible said they call it a

hundred and fifty four large fish and

the boat begin to sink because the fish

were so big and suddenly John the

Apostle whom Jesus loved turned to Peter

and he said you know who that is you

remember the first time this happened

and he looks and turns around for Peter

and the Bible said Peter had dove in the

water and he’s swimming a hundred yards

back to Jesus he comes up out of the

water in Jesus has fish on the fire and

bread and cooking a meal of restoration

saying come on I’ve been waiting on you

you don’t have to bring anything I’ve

got it all done it’s finished it’s


why did Jesus do the same miracle

because he was saying it’s okay I knew

you were gonna mess up and I’m giving

you an opportunity to go back and start

all over again the reason he did the

same miracle as he wanted to he wanted

him to start all over again I’m giving

you a chance to recommit your life I’m

giving you a shot at total forgiveness

and restoration and then he asked Peter

do you love me he denied him three times

and he asked him three times in a row do

you love me Lord you know I love you do

you know me yes I love you do you love

me yes I love you Lord you know all

things you know I love you the reason

that Jesus kept asking him is not to

convince Jesus that Peter loved him he

was saying I want you to listen to what

you’re telling me I know you love me

but you think because you’ve messed up

that you don’t love me I know even

though you’ve been messing up and doing

it over and over and over again I know

in your heart you want to follow me and

you love me you just don’t have any

consistency and you’re following me

listen from a distance you’re following

me from a distance I think that

describes so many people who come to

church on Easter and that’s about it

they love the Lord they’ve said yes to

the Lord somewhere but they follow him

from a distance and they’re in a cycle

of of I just can’t live it Jesus went on

to tell him in John 21 listen to these

words he said you’re gonna die there’s

coming today when you’re an old man

they’re gonna take you and prepare you

for a crucifixion and you’re gonna be

crucified just like me and verse 19 then

he spoke signifying by what death he

would glorify God and when he had spoken

this he said to him look at these words

follow me in other words he’s saying I

know many years ago

the first time I asked you to follow me

you said I’ll follow you and you meant


but you fell behind and you followed me

from a distance and you had a horrible

sinful failure in your life and I threw

my death and my resurrection have

provided another invitation to you to

say recommit I’m saying the exact same

word set up the same miracle so you

could start all over again

I don’t care about your past because by

the way you’re the very one the same

voice mouth and tongue that denied me

three times is the same voice I’m going

to use on the day of Pentecost to birth

the church it’s the same voice in Acts

chapter three that’s going to say to a

lame man silver and gold have I none but

such as I have give I unto you in the

name of Jesus of Nazareth rise up and

walk and he leaping stood and ran

through the temple it’s the same voice

that’s gonna stand after they threatened

him not to use the name and he’s gonna

say neither in acts for is there any

other name whereby men can be saved but

the name of Jesus he’s the same one the

one who denied me three times and looked

into my eyes and the enemy told you that

wrote the rooster crowing told you every

morning you’ll only live in shame and

condemnation but you’re the same one in

Acts chapter 5 that they’re gonna take

the sick people and lay them out on the

streets and they in hopes that you under

such an anointing will walk by and your

shadow will touch the sick and the sick

will be healed

what I’m saying to you today is when I

gave my heart to the Lord when I was 16

I said I’ll never deny you and I didn’t

in have it with my words but I have with

my works I have with my deeds and there

have been times when I said I will never

do it again and I have done it again

and you have too and the rooster crows

and says God can’t use you and you’re

not good enough and even while we were

praising the Lord some of you because

you’ve been following from a distance

you love the Lord you you wouldn’t be

here you wouldn’t come you wouldn’t show

up but something in you may be living in

sin right now but something in you says

I really do love you I know I’m distant

from you and I don’t like this but but

but I messed up but I do love you and

the power of what I’m preaching right

now is what Peter could not live when he

first met Jesus then he met the

resurrected Jesus the resurrection made

the difference the death the burial and

the resurrection of Jesus Christ says I

through my grace will empower you and

you still struggle and you’ll still have

sin and you’ll still deny me some and do

things you shouldn’t do but you won’t be

happy and content to be distant from me

so a matter of fact the closer you get

to him I can see my shadow that’s why

the Bible said he that dwells under

under the shadow of the most high god

will abide under the shadow of the

Almighty in the secret place he doesn’t

want you at a distance because when

you’re in a distance your your your the

crowing of the rooster will defeat you

and some of you tried to praise God this

morning you heard a little

what you’ve been doing why hadn’t you

been here all year

you hadn’t been living for God much but

you loved him and you said I’ll follow

you and you following him from a

distance or you wouldn’t have come back

to church this morning and we’re not

here to beat up on you we’re here to say

I can relate what I’m saying to you is

you don’t have to live with the crowing

of the rooster when there’s a

resurrected Lord who’s saying you can

start over today and here’s what I felt

here’s what I felt at every campus

here’s what I felt Oh some of you have

been needing is a chance to recommit

it’s gonna reignite the fire you know

this is where your family ought to be

every Sunday you know this is right you

know you’re doing what’s right your soul

is being fed right now you feed your

mind you feed your body you got cars you

got stuff but something in your soul is

craving and starving for what you’re in

right now and the father is not mad at

you Jesus is looking at you not saying

do you love me too convinced himself he

knows your heart he’s wanting you to

realize you do love me and because

you’ve made a mistake it doesn’t mean I

have canceled my plans and my assignment

in my dream over you and your family as

a matter of fact I have provided a

miracle that you’re back again so you

can recommit to my invitation to follow

me again

I believe that wherever you are today

Jesus is saying follow me and now it’s

time for you to respond it’s time for

you to do what you can do and God will

do what you can’t do that’s why he sent

His Son Jesus he’s saying this is that

moment that you respond and you take up

your cross and you follow me

I have a plan for your life I love you I

know where you are I know what you’re

going through his eyes are on you today

so right where you are just say Lord

Jesus I receive you today just say those

words I receive you today I believe in

you today and I choose to follow you the

Lord of my life thank you for the cross

thank you for the blood you shed it

cleanses me and it blesses me in Jesus

name Amen

we would love to hear from you if you

prayed that prayer if you just gave your

heart to Jesus it’s a miracle and you

need to tell somebody about that you can

go online you can dial the number that’s

on the screen either way whatever is

easiest and most convenient but it’s

very important that you say to someone I

made a decision to follow Jesus will

help you and get you a lot of resources

that points you in the right direction

of how you can go even deeper in

following Jesus today and our closing

moments I want to share with you an

incredible opportunity that we hear a

kingdom connection have I recently met

with our friend pastor Matthew Barnett

at the dream Center in Los Angeles and

he began to tell me about the needs of

hundreds of veterans there in the city

of Los Angeles of how that after giving

many years of their lives and service to

our country many of our military

veterans are literally walking around

with wounds emotionally and many of them

are in bad bad places the suicide rate

is off the charts for vets and it’s

almost like an epidemic and as he began

to share the need how many were homeless

and how many were addicted and how many

had bondages in their life and even

suicidal and they needed a center for

healing the more he talked the

I felt God saying to me I want you to

partner with him so now we’re partnering

with the Dream Center to bring hope and

healing to the veterans and specifically

we’re going to reach out to female

veterans there’s already a meant immense

Veterans Center there that is built and

done but our ministry is underwriting

the whole Freedom House Women’s Veterans

Center at the dream Center a place just

for female veterans a place for them to

find health and hope and healing and all

that they need and I’m asking you today

boldly to help us help our most

vulnerable vets if these women get in

this program and it’ll this large house

we’ll be able to hold up to 30 of them

at one time also some of them have

children and there’s space for the

children too sometimes they just need a

chance to get their life together I

talked with one of them there that that

said that at one time she was living in

her car she was in an abusive

relationship after serving our nation in

the military and she didn’t have she

said if I could have just had somewhere

to go for a month or two or three months

and get my life together

and get some hope and some restoration

we need to experience recovery and

restoration through God’s love and I

believe these vets are going to

experience just that because of you and

I partnering together my announcer is

about to tell you about some special

thank-you gifts for those who partner

with us on this important project no

matter how big or small your gift is

today help us make the dream come true

for these women who have sacrificed so

much for our country

pray about what God would have you do I

need your help it’s gonna cost us

hundreds of thousands of dollars to do

this project but God is going to speak

to people just like you God is calling

us a kingdom connection to do everything

possible to help heal what has broken

sadly thousands of American military

veterans are living with deep wounds

after years of service often suffering

with unspeakable pain and trauma that is

why we are partnering with the Dream

Center to build the Freedom House

Women’s Veterans Home in the heart of

Los Angeles and that is why we are

asking you to join hands with us today

in this incredible outreach of

compassion every gift makes a difference

when you make a gift today of 50 dollars

or more to help change the life of these

precious veterans we will send you

Jenson Franklin’s just release book love

like you’ve never been hurt when you

make a very special one-time gift of

$1,000 or more your name will be

inscribed on the memorial wall at the

Freedom House women’s Veterans Home

as a lasting testimony of your love and

generosity to these women who have

already given so much you will also

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flag for you to proudly display in your

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