Jentezen Franklin - Your Failure Is Not Final
I want to talk to you for a few moments tonight on something a little bit different. For me, in a conference like this, I've done a lot of these, and our conference and other conferences like this, and I know what I'm supposed to do, but also know when God deals with me in an unusual way and He has about this service. I believe that the price for a full life is mistakes.
Mistakes are the price for a full life that you have to pay if you learn from them. I believe that hell wants to maim you and mock you with your mistakes, but heaven wants to make you and transform you by your mistakes. Failure should not become a prison house where you're held hostage the rest of your life by your mistakes. That's not God's voice. That's not God's will. That's not God's plan for you, and I'm not naïve.
My wife who is here whom I love more than anything in this world, my five children, my three grandchildren and growing... and I can't help but understand that the enemy wants us to think that our failure is final because I've seen us go through things where the enemy tried to take us out by a failure or a mistake or a terrible choice. I want you to understand that your mistakes, and this is what I'm preaching on. If you need a sermon title, this is it, "Your Mistakes Are Not Final". Your Failure Is Not Final. Rejoice not over me, all my enemies. For when I fall, I will rise again. When I sit in darkness, the light will come. Take a moment and praise God for that amazing truth.
I want somebody to hear me clearly. You might have made a mistake, but you're not one. You might have failed, but you're not a failure. You might be down, but down is not your destiny. There is a resurrection coming to your dream, to your life, to your call, to your purpose, and here's what I really feel like saying. I'm just going to go on and say it. Because the truth is sitting among us are young men and young women who were here last "Forward", and between now and then, you've fallen. You've messed up. You did something. You wanted it. You had to have it. You had to try it, and you did it.
You experimented with drugs and alcohol, and now you're addicted. You had to try, and now you've lost your purity or your virginity, and the enemy, if you could go back, you would give anything to go back and change that night or that place or that situation that changed everything in your life. I feel for this generation because when I was coming up, you know pretty much if we stayed away from sin, sin for the most part... I mean, we were always tempted. We were flesh. We had all. But it's different for your generation because if we stayed away from sin, sin basically didn't bother us.
I mean, if you wanted pornography, you had to go to a 7-11. You had to go to the guy at the counter. You had to tell him you want some porn in front of a bunch of people while they're all waiting in line. They would all look at you like you were a perv, and then he would go back to a back shelf that was only behind the counter, and he would get you a porno magazine, and then before he would give it to you, he would say, How old are you? But this generation doesn't have that. Sin has become brazen and bold. Sin is stalking you. Sin is after you.
I feel for you. I'm not here to throw stones. I'm not here to cut you down because the truth is 68% of all men, according to the latest statistic, look at porn at least once a week. 18% of all women look at porn once a week. One out of every five searches on the web is porn related. So, is that what we're going to talk about? No, that's not what we're going to talk about.
Righteousness is not permission to sin, but righteousness is permission to come back home. You might have fallen, and you might have failed, and you might have made a mistake, but you are not a mistake, and God will never define you by the worst mistake and choice you made in life. Critics will, attackers will, haters will, people will, but God will never define you by your worst mistake, and I need you to thank Him, that great is His mercy towards us. If you love Him, praise Him just a minute, I'll keep move.
I love the story of Simon Peter. I love the fact that God loved Him after He messed up. That's why when the angel appeared at the tomb, the angel said, Jesus wants me to specifically name one of the disciples by name. He said, Go tell my disciples and Simon Peter to meet me in the Upper Room. The same guy who denied Christ. The same guy who lied. The same guy who cut a man and got violent. The same guy who failed and failed miserably.
He said, You tell my disciples, and you tell Peter. He named him specifically, I believe, because He wanted His critics to hear, I do believe in my good disciples, but I also still believe in my fallen disciples, and I'm here to preach to some people who've messed up and the enemies told you your call is over, your dream is shredded, you don't have any hope, you don't have any future, but God brought you to this conference just to let you know that there is restoration available for you, and He still has His hand on your life. Take a praise break and thank Him. I'll keep moving.
Isn't it something that it was Simon Peter who preached on the day of Pentecost. He didn't choose the other 11. He chose the one who messed up. There's a guy in Acts 20 called Eutychus, and while he was preaching, this guy was in the third balcony, and he was sitting in the window, and he had, in other words, straddling the window, and he had one foot outside and one foot in the church, and he fell asleep and fell out of the church and fell down three stories, and everybody said, He's dead. They sent some ushers to scrape his body up and go bury him, but I love the story of the apostle Paul. The Bible said he left the church service where he was preaching and ran to that man named Eutychus.
Do you know why his name was Eutychus? Cause you'd cuss too if you'd have fallen all the way out of the window. You'd cuss over, but he fell all the way down, and they were ready to scrape him up and throw him away and say he's worthless. He was in church. Serves him well. He shouldn't have been half in and half out. Let's just mark him off. He knew better. He got it. Listen, you might have got what you wanted, but you don't have to keep what you've got. You serve a God who says, I make all things new. Come on and shout with me. Just a minute. Praise Him just a minute. I feel something stirring in here. Just praise Him just a minute.
I love what Paul said. The Bible said Paul fell on him. A guy who was in church but fell out. A guy who was on the praise team, but he fell out. A guy who had it all together and was doing amazing things and had a heart for God, but he fell out of the church into the world, but Paul ran to him, and the Bible said he fell on him, and he held him, and he said these words, There's still life in him. And that's what I've come to prophesy and preach to tonight that some of you have fallen. Some of you did it. Some of you messed up, but the Lord sent me to tell you there's still life in your dream. There's still life in your call. There's still life in your purpose. There's still life in what God has called you to do.
His name is Steve Wynn. He is a billionaire, according to Forbes magazine. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, and he has made just billions of dollars off casinos that he owns and hotels. He's most famous as a builder, but I want to tell you something that happened to him that I think speaks to your life tonight. In 2001, he's a lover of art, and he bought a painting for $50 million. This paint is called La Reve which in French is the dream, and that's a picture of it. He paid $50 million because it was painted in 1932 by a man by the name of Pablo Picasso, and he paid $50 million for that painting.
$50 million, y'all. Not because he's just an art collector. He loved that painting because it was called The Dream, and it meant something emotionally to him because he said when I started I had nothing but a dream to build and to do something with my life, and that painting, I've always wanted to own it, and when he got it, he bought it for $50 million. He held onto it for five years. He would put it in the lobbies of his expensive hotels in Vegas, and the customers and the people who were there gambling or going to shows or just traveling and doing stuff, they would get to see The Dream in person by Picasso. And something happened.
Just five years later, even though he loved The Dream, he had a chance to get two other paintings that he had always wanted to own, and a man from New York City who was an investment banker named Cohen, Mr. Cohen, called him and said I want to own the dream, and I will buy it from you, and they got to negotiating, and he said I'll buy it for $139 million. Five years later, he made, what is that, 80-something million dollars, $89 million off of this painting.
And so, Steve Wynn because he so was emotionally attached to this painting, Steve Wynn said I'm going to have a party before they take The Dream to New York City from Las Vegas. I'm going to throw a big party, and I'm going to invite the wealthy. I'm going to invite movie stars. I'm going to invite rock stars. They're going to fly in from all over the world. The Who's Who, some of the most famous people in the world were there. This is all a fact. You can check it out. And they all came to the hotel where he was throwing this big party, and everybody's having a good time.
True story. Steve Wynn gets up, and he has an eye disease, and he has problems seeing. So, he can't really measure distance well. And that night to celebrate The Dream, he had it on an easel beside him, this painting, and he got to talking, and he moves his arms a lot, and as he was talking in front of some of the most famous and wealthy people in the world, he accidentally lost his equilibrium. He began to stumble, and when he did, he fell back and to catch himself, his arm went against the painting that was on the easel, and he ripped his arm right through $139 million dream, and The Dream was torn. The Dream was ripped. The Dream was destroyed.
People could not believe their eyes. He got on the phone, and he called the man in New York City, and he said, I am so sorry. The Dream has been destroyed. I had an accident. I don't know how I could have done it. I don't know it could be how I fell. I don't understand. I couldn't catch myself, and I messed The Dream up as I was falling. But he said to that New York investor, Don't worry. I want to buy it back from you. I will pay you what you paid me, $139 million. That must not get in anybody's hands, and you can't just take it now and because it's been damaged and put it in some back closet somewhere.
I want that in my hands because I'm not just an art collector, Steve Wynn said, I am an art lover, and I must have it, and I will lose $89 million if you will let me take the damaged Dream. True story. Took it. The guy, Mr. Cohen, said, You're crazy, but I'll give you the torn painting. You just lost tens of millions of dollars. True story.
Steve Wynn because of his love for that painting began to search the whole world to find what's called an art surgeon or an art restorer and when he found it, he found a man in Europe. He flew him over, and the man began to look. He looked at the torn Dream. He looked at the painting that had been destroyed called The Dream, and he made this final analysis. He said, I can fix it. As a matter of fact, when I get through with it from the front nobody will be able to even tell that it's ever been damaged before because I see it. I see how I can do it. It's going to take me at least a year. It's going to take some time. It's not going to be instant. It's not going to be quick.
The word restoration doesn't just have restore in it. It has rest in it because if God is really going to restore your life after your dreams have been torn to pieces, you've got to give Him a little time. You've got to give Him moments like you're giving Him this weekend, and little by little, He begins to piece your life back together, and you may not be all that you want to be yet, but you just wait... If you put what you've got left into the nail-scarred hands of Jesus... Don't put it in anybody's hands. Put the broken, torn dream in Jesus's hands.
And he said, now from the front, and sure enough one year later he brought it back and even the greatest art inspectors in the world came and looked at the painting called The Dream after it had been restored, and they all agreed it's perfect. Absolutely. So, if you looked at it, what everybody saw out front looked like it had never been through what it had been through, but he did tell Steve Wynn, however, if you turn it around, it's going to be ugly. It's going to have repair work and restoration work, and people will see this, but those who know the real story will know that the reason it looks like this out front is because it's been restored on the inside, from the inside out.
I don't know who I'm preaching to tonight, but I feel like the Lord is saying when I get through with you, you're not going to look like what you've been through. You're not going to look like abuse. You're not going to look like a failure. You're not going to look like a mistake. You're not going to look like a bad choice.
There's a lot of us in ministry. People look at my family. I've got a gorgeous wife, I've got beautiful children, and this is what you see when we stand up here, but if you want to see the real picture of the Franklin family, there it is, but out of the mistakes comes ministry, and out of the pain comes anointing, and out of the ashes comes beauty. Don't say you want God to use you if you're not willing to go through this, you ought to see the scars on Jesus's body.
Oh, His name is beautiful. Oh, this is beautiful, but you ought to see what He paid and what He went through so we can have this. But, "He was wounded for your transgressions. He was bruised for you inequities. The chastisement of your peace was upon Him, and by His stripes you are healed". You are whole. You are restored. God is saying I still have plans for your life, and they'll see this, but because of what you've been through, you'll learn to praise me in your pain.
Anybody can praise Him when you're on top of everything. Anybody can praise Him when everything is perfect, but when you learn to praise God when your life looks like this, I promise you, He'll turn your weeping into dancing, and He'll restore the dream, and here's the best part of this little sermon. I'm done, but this is it. You're not going to believe this, so check it out when the service is over not while I'm preaching.
The same guy in New York City called Steve Wynn a year later, and he said, I've seen and I've heard and I want that painting. I told you I'd pay $139 million, but that was before it was torn, but now that it's been restored, I'm willing to go to $155 million. It's worth more after it's been through the tearing and after it's been through the pain and after it's been through the mistakes and after it's been through the failure. After the dream has been torn, if it comes back, if it will get back up, if it will let Jesus restore it, it will only increase, not decrease, in value. Wow! Do you understand what I'm telling you?
Let me close with this verse. It's in Proverbs. A righteous man, a righteous woman. Here's the definition of righteousness. A righteous man falls seven times a day. Turn to somebody and say I had not idea how holy and righteous you were, my God, he just described you. A righteous man or woman falls seven times a day. Righteousness is not determined by how many times you fall. The rest of the verse goes on and says but rises again. Righteousness is determined after you had the failure, do you get back up, do you turn it into praise, do you turn your pain into praise? Because if you will, He will restore you, and out of your ashes will come beauty again. I promise you. I don't know when. It might take a little time, but out of the ugly thing will come beauty.