I may here remark that there are two things to which almost every fall can be traced. One is spiritual indolence, and the other self-confidence.
David is an example of one, and Peter of the other. It was the time “when kings go forth to battle”; why then was David tarrying at Jerusalem? a pernicious indolence clogged his footsteps, and you know the consequences. No doubt the palace royal was more congenial to flesh and blood than the battle-field, but tarrying there threw David into temptation he would never have had if with purpose of heart he had been acting as a king. If the Lord has called you to any service and you neglect it, you are sure to get into trouble. You may shrink from the troubles of faith, but if you shirk them you will have the troubles of sin, which are much worse to bear. If you look back to see where you have dishonored the Lord, I think you will see that it was when you had been neglecting the Word of God and private prayer, and your heart was not going diligently after the things of the Lord.
In Peter we see self-confidence. He loved the Lord, and he was confident in the strength of his love, and he needed to learn what a bruised reed he was. He did learn it, as we know, in a most humiliating way, and bitter was the lesson to his soul. Who can tell what scalding tears coursed down his cheeks! and what bitter self-reproaches he heaped upon himself!
But was he forgotten by the Lord? Nay! Mark 16:7 reveals a precious touch of grace: “tell his disciples and Peter”. Why should Peter be specially mentioned? Would it not have been enough to have said “his disciples?” Ah! Peter might have said, I cannot call myself a disciple any longer. I have denied Him. Such a name is not for me. So it must needs be that Peter has special mention.
If there is a Peter here tonight — one who has failed, and dishonored the Lord — I can tell you that that dishonored Lord loves you still, and it would give His heart great joy to remove the soil from your conscience and to make you happy in His love. Is there a shadow between your heart and Himself? Has something been allowed to get in, so that instead of being happy with the Lord you are ill at ease? You feel that there is a reserve, and you are reluctant to go straight to Him and to have it all out. The Lord would have that reserve to be banished from your heart, and this is the great object of His present dealings with you. He makes you conscious of your sin, but He does not fail to assure your heart of the constancy of His love.