Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | August 16, 2018


John 21:1-6 “Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.”

Obviously the “right side of the ship” is simply the opposite of the left
side; however, in this case the left side was also the WRONG side. How did
Simon Peter and six followers ever get on the far, foolish, frustrating, and
fish-less side of the boat?

I believe that six of them were caused to stumble by Simon Peter- who had
determined to leave the ministry and to permanently go back to fishing. The
others were affected by Simon Peter. “For none of us liveth to himself, and
no man dieth to himself” (Rom.14:7). We affect one another- either for the
better, or for the worse. The six followed the leader.

Someone is following you. Don’t let them down. Don’t fall. If you fall, then
you might knock some down or you may pull some down.

We live in a day when many are falling. An evangelist said that he started
to keep a record, notes in his pocket calendar, about good men who had
fallen into sin and out of the ministry. At the end of the year, he had
accumulated sixty-seven names!

You and I CAN fall! We must avoid the pitfalls in the ministry. We must
learn why Simon Peter fell. These reasons are warnings to you and me:


In Luke 22:31-32, the Lord had warned him that he was going to be attacked.
Why would Peter be the personal target of this attack? Satan always attacks
the leader first. “Smite the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered” is a
truth that the evil one understands. Preacher, you’re going to be attacked!

In Viet Nam, the point man was a soldier who led a patrol. His job was to
guide and guard those who followed him. Unfortunately, he was usually the
first causality in a battle- not just because he was in front, but because
the enemy knew that his patrol would become confused and frightened by the
loss of their point man. So, the enemy trained their first shots on him. Be
sober and vigilant! You’re point-man! The enemy has focused his sights on
you. He wants to ambush you. Watch out!


Mat 26:37-40 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and
began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul
is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying,
O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not
as I will, but as thou wilt. 40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and
findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me
one hour?

Simon Peter had failed miserably. He swore that he’d never forsake Christ,
and then he denied him three times. He had been told to pray. He fell asleep
three times. He felt like such a failure. He rationalized that he was going
to go back to something he could do: fishing. However, now that the Lord had
called him to be a fisher of men, he couldn’t catch a fish out of the will
of God. You’ll never be a success at anything out of God’s will, either.

Listen. Failing does not make you a failure. Quitting does! In a little over
forty days, Simon Peter was going to be catching a hundred and fifty fish at
a time! Don’t quit!


Simon Peter slept when he should have been praying. Prayer is primary to the
ministry. Acts 6:4 tells us that later on Simon Peter learned its
importance. “We will give ourselves continually to prayer (first) and to the
ministry of the Word”.

Prayer must precede ministry. Ministry is powerless without prayer. Paul
agrees. Read I Tim. 2:1. Someone has said, “Prayer is faith taking hold of
the promises and the power of God”. You need this power to pray, to properly
divide the Word, to praise, to practice your ministry, to preach, to be
pure, and to prepare for His Return. If you are not praying- YOU ARE


I have observed six things that can cause the servant of God to put down his
cross, to stop denying himself, and to stop following the blessed Savior:
LUST, LUCRE, LEADERSHIP CONFLICT (In the Home and in the Church), LOSS OF
GREENER GRASS–i.e. A church to pastor that is larger, really appreciative
of their pastor, wealthy, and “truly spiritual”. Remember this about greener
grass: (1) It may be artificial grass like Astro-turf! (2) Even if it is
greener, YOU will just have more to mow! Finally, (3) we have a saying here
in West Virginia: “The grass is always greener right over the septic tank!”.


II Cor.10:12, “But they measuring themselves by themselves and comparing
themselves by themselves ARE NOT WISE”.

The worst thing that some preachers can do is to go to a pastors’
fellowship. A brother pastor comes up and says, “Well how is the Bishop of
(Any Town) doing”? “Just okay?

Brother we’ve been really blessed. We had seven saved…” Or, some brother
pastor will come over and state, “People just aren’t as spiritual as they
used to be, are they? I can’t get my people to do anything.” Have you ever
been to those type of fellowship meetings? It’s so depressing!

Comparing ourselves with ourselves is not wise. It will result in one of
these three things: (1) Pride- “I’m doing more than most”. (2) Jealousy- “I
wish I had what so-and-so has”. Or, (3) Complacency-“I’m doing as much as
so-and-so. In fact, I’m so so. I’m right in there with the best of the worst
and the worst of the best. I’m average… I’m lukewarm”- which makes God

Peter pointed to John and asked, “What about him”? The Lord rebuked him by
saying, “What is that to thee?” In other words: It’s not your business! Just
worry about yourself. God has not called you to be successful- JUST
FAITHFUL! If you’re faithful, then you ARE successful! Success is never to
be measured by nickels and noses.


John 20:22 says that they had already received a filling of the Holy Spirit
and His power. However, they lost it. Power does not come by getting more of
the Holy Ghost. It comes by letting the Holy Ghost have more of us. The two
keys to this power are given in Romans 6: (1) Reckon yourself dead. (2)
Yield yourself to Christ. Let Christ live in you and through you. Remember
Gal. 2:20 says, “Not I, BUT Christ liveth in me.”


PASSIONLESS SERVICE. “Lovest thou me?” Leaving that first love is not just a
loss of a degree of love, but it is leaving a Person. God is love. Christ is
love. We leave close fellowship with Him because our love grows cold.

Perhaps, the Great Apostasy of these Last Days is not only a doctrinal
apostasy by infidels, BUT, tragically a devotional apostasy by believers.
The love of many has grown cold. So many of us have the right motions, BUT
lack the right emotion. We run on auto-pilot.

May I tell you how to return to an impassioned degree of service? Study the
Cross. Preach on the Cross.

Meditate on the Cross. It is this show of love that constrains us. It is not
my love for Him that will sustain me. Sadly, the degree of my love for Him
goes up and down. Love for people, love for preaching, love for praying, and
not even love for soul winning will sustain you.

It is His love for me that constrains and sustains me. No one ever cared for
me like Jesus! The hymn says, “I saw one hanging on a tree, In agony and
blood; He fixed His languid eyes on me, As near His Cross I stood. Oh! Can
it be, upon a tree- The Savior died FOR ME? My soul is thrilled- My heart is
filled, To think HE DIED FOR ME!”

A Barber moved to a new town. His shop was on the main street right across
from the Town Cemetery. He noticed that EVERY day a young woman came to the
cemetery shortly after twelve noon. She went to a certain grave, placed
fresh flowers on it, and quietly sat on a bench for a few minutes before she

One particularly slow day in the shop, the barber’s curiosity got the best
of him. He closed his shop and went to the cemetery just before noon.

“Pardon me Miss,” he said, “I’m the barber that runs the little shop across
the street. I have noticed that you come here everyday. Was he your father?”

“Oh, no he wasn’t my father. I’m not offended by your asking, though. I’d be
glad to tell you about this man.

When I was eight years old, I was sick, and my mother kept me home from
school. She had gone to our neighbor’s house to use their phone to call the
Doctor. While she was out of the house, the furnace blew up. Flames filled
the first floor of the house. I was trapped upstairs. Our Volunteer Fire
Department was called. This man lived near my house. He was first on the
scene. He saw me trapped upstairs and ran into our burning house, up the
stairs, and into my room. He had no sooner lowered me safely out of my
window to a neighbor below, when the floor gave way beneath him. He died in
the flames. He died for me. This is the least that I can do for him. The
barber understood and agreed.

Brethren, the Lord Jesus has saved us from worse than a house fire. He has
saved us from Hell fire. We ought to faithfully live for Him who loved us
and died for us. It is the least we can do.

Please, brother or sister, don’t quit! It’s ALWAYS too soon to quit. Don’t
fall, either. Avoid the pitfalls. No matter what- keep on keepin’ on!

Pastor Terry K. Hagedorn


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