Summary: We may live a life of Christian comfort with friends and fellow church members until one day God calls us from our everyday existance into His extra ordinary service.

Who Needs A Boat? - Mark Aarssen May 2004

My friends I want to talk today about stepping out.

I don’t mean out to dinner or out on the town but stepping out in faith.

Has there been a time when you were a witness to one of God’s miracles?

A time when you stood and watched in absolute amazement as God intervened?

Did that experience inspire you?

Maybe it was the birth of your first child or the miraculous healing of a friend or family member.

Maybe it was something very big in your life or someone who was close to you.

Chances are you have been a witness to such miracles such intervention.

We don’t talk much about miracles today we are so technologically advanced.

We see the miracles of modern science and medical science and are in wonder of just what can be accomplished today.

I want to leave science, medicine and technology aside for now and concentrate on the divine.

There is a heavenly miracle that is produced through divine inspiration.

It is what is known as a calling.

Jesus is calling us to be present and in some cases to be very much a participant during these miracles.

We have countless examples of such miracles in our bibles.

Obviously the greatest example is Jesus upon the cross, who demonstrates His faith through His sacrifice, saying “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.

With unrestrained love Jesus extends forgiveness to his executioners and to a fellow condemned man. Jesus did all this while being unjustly tried and convicted of our sins.

Just what was it that empowered Jesus to demonstrate such miraculous love?

It was His divine love for mankind and love for the Father to see the reunification of man with the Father made possible only through His selfless act.

So we learn that “Divine Love” is the power that equips us to demonstrate and exercise a miraculous faith that leads to answering a calling.

Do you remember when you were last moved by that power?

Maybe the Holy Spirit called you to witness to someone or visit someone.

Maybe you made a personal sacrifice of time or money or personal comfort.

Maybe you were so moved by a spiritual message that it called you to get out of your seat and step forward at a church service or retreat.

Maybe you have never been called by such miraculous faith as to be moved in any direction.

What does it take to call a person to this kind of miraculous faith?

Let’s see what scripture has to say.


14:24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.

Mat 14:25

And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.

Mat 14:26

And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.

Mat 14:27

But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.

Mat 14:28

And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

Mat 14:29

And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

What does it take to move a person to exercise this kind of miraculous faith?

We see that it takes Christ’s example and calling. It takes a love for God’s calling.

I love this story for I too have shared a walk on the water similar to Peter’s.

Yes it is true, it was many years ago and I was a much younger and more adventurous man. I didn’t do any walking that night but I did experience the boat ride.

I truly know what kind of fear Peter experienced that dark night so long ago. I was a young man on the police force and had gone on vacation with three other buddies. It was a typical spring fishing trip. We were out on an unfamiliar lake and got caught in a fierce storm. There was lightning, thunder and rain. There were also huge white capped waves tossing us like a cork in a bottle. We fought helplessly for about an hour and then destruction came. Our boat struck the rocky bottom and a massive hole broke through our craft. We sank into the icy water clinging to the submerged boat. By God’s grace we were discovered and saved.

Looking at Peter we find him in the company of his friends and fellow believers much the way we are gathered here today except that they were in a boat and not a building.

Well let’s put ourselves into a boat for a moment. We are all of the same mind, in that we are sinners in need of forgiveness and salvation.

We are all weak human beings who realize we need God to direct our lives for we do not always follow the proper course.

We are all called to this spiritual voyage together.

From time to time the winds and rain and bolts of lightening of our human existence test our skill at navigating our way. Sometimes we fear just where or what the trip will bring.

We fear that the storms of life will over take us.

So we rest in the comfort of one another along this trip and in the comfort of the knowledge that we are God’s and that he will provide a way for us to find safe passage.

We rest in faith. That is a good thing and a good place to rest. Good company to be in.

But once in awhile one of us in this group is called by Christ’s example to test that faith beyond the normal Christian experience.

Occasionally, we are witness to someone stepping out of the boat, stepping away from the apparent safety and comfort of our friends and normal direction of our course.

We watch in disbelief as they step out into the storm and sea to answer God’s call.

Such was the case for Peter in today’s scripture passage.

Peter was witness to Jesus divine power over the laws of nature. Peter was witness to Jesus unrestrained faith.

So often we Christians allow our circumstances or environment or situation to dictate the limitations of our faith.

We succumb to thinking like human beings instead of children of our heavenly Father. That’s O.K. after all we are living on planet earth with all its laws of nature. We are living amongst fallen men and women everywhere. We learn despite Jesus teachings to think more on the possible rather than the impossible. The divine possibilities are put aside as we deal with the daily reality.

We surrender to our situations and circumstances of life and accept the status quo rather than the divine status we share with Jesus as a child of God.

Now I’m not a name it and claim it kind of guy, sorry but I just don’t have that kind of faith. I just don’t see why God should grant me every single thing I put before him. I know I don’t do that for my children. I think a good parent sets limitations and sets parameters. A good parent also sets goals.

In that situation I’m restrained by the fact that my motives are not always pure, are not always Godly, and are not always in line with what God wants for my life. But what I do have is a belief that on occasion I can exercise unrestrained faith just like Peter.

How can I exercise such faith you might say, when moved by God such as Peter was. Or, when witness to an ordinary believer such as Peter being called the seemingly impossible. Peter witnessed Jesus defy the laws of gravity. Peter witnessed Jesus do the impossible and this moved Peter to desire the same experience, to know what it would be like to exercise faith despite all the rules and laws around him that said Peter what you want to do is impossible.

My friends, I rejoice to tell you today this miraculous faith is the calling of Jesus Christ. Men and women and children who stepped out of the boat and into the sea have demonstrated it towards us countless times. People called to a desire to experience something more than this everyday faith we share people who have been called to missions, witness, service of every kind in every field of human endeavor and every field of divine service.

This is the crux of the matter. God touches us and gets hold of us and demonstrates to us how we can escape the boat and walk with Him in a way and with a power few will experience. Would you like to be one of the few the proud the called?

If so then keep your eyes and ears fixed on Jesus.

But how do you know, how can you know if what calls you out of the safety of the boat is what God wants for you?

Well let’s return to our scripture passage and see.

Mat 14:26

And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.

Mat 14:27

But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.

Mat 14:28

And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

We can know that God wants us to answer HIS call when we see God demonstrate it first. We see God move in a country or a leader or a mission work we witness the evidence of His presence at work. We are witness to a miraculous event that is out of the ordinary. An event that has God’s signature upon it.

Then while we are watching we ask “is this your work Father?” If so, then validate it by calling me to you demonstrate by moving me to the same place. Equip me with an unrestrained faith that lifts me beyond my human limitations and empowers me with divine abilities to walk where Jesus walks.

The great difficulty of this test of faith is that we live in a very physical world filled with very real limitations, rules, laws and problems to overcome. Those problems don’t exist when we keep our eyes on Christ.

Just like in the movie the Matrix the normal code of our human existence falls to the floor and surrenders. The key is the power of God and following a divine call to fulfill His purpose. The key is to embrace God’s call and accept the fact that the rules, laws, restrictions no longer apply while stepping out in unrestrained faith and divine love.

Yes that’s a big step. Christopher Columbus took a big step. Neil Armstrong took a big step. The apostle Peter took the biggest step.

What is so inspiring is that we who sit in the boat have seen this time and time again yet we so often remain in the boat as spectators rather than active participants. Oh for a faith unrestrained, for a faith that will not let me go.

Yes, there is more to this story for we know that Peter takes his eyes off the Lord and looks instead at the waves and the wind and the boat being tossed and then Peter begins to sink. Jesus asks why, why do you exercise such little faith even when I am in your midst?

Why church do we do this?

Who amongst you sees Jesus doing something miraculous outside of the boat?

Who amongst you has inquired to know if it is God’s work?

Who amongst you has called out to Jesus to ask, call me if it’s you Lord?

Who amongst you will defy the laws of this world, the restrictions of this existence and will venture over the side of the boat?

What is it your feet will rest upon?

Will it be visiting the sick, will it be adopting a child, will it be supporting a mission work, and will it be training for a mission field? What will your feet rest upon, what seemingly impossible thing will God call you to do?

Will it be to forgive someone who has wronged you deeply and who in your mind does not deserve forgiveness. The executioners of Jesus did not deserve forgiveness but Christ gave it. The executioners of Stephen did not deserve forgiveness but Stephen begged for it on their behalf. The executioners and persecutors of the Christian church are also in that company. Search your heart, whom have you wronged, who have you offended.

Step out of the boat.

What will your feet rest upon?

I say let them rest upon the solid rock, let them rest upon the corner stone, let them rest upon the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Step out today, meet Jesus halfway, do not let the winds and waves in your life limit you to a seat on the boat. Get your feet wet, stand tall despite the depth of the water, despite the strength of the wind, despite the height of the waves.

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal saviour today, I want to invite you to step out of the boat and step forward today, I want you to reach for God’s hand, listen to His voice, and hear His call. He will hold you up, He will equip you and empower you to overcome the world. Seek Jesus today, seek His will for your life, look over the rail of the boat, do you see Him walking? Come now if you would like to let Jesus into your heart. Come now and we will pray with you. Just as you are come, for you will not remain the same. Step out.