Summary: A challenge to chruches to step out in faith bsed on thoughts from John Ortenberg's Book.
Becoming a Water Walker
(All my sermons use illustrations from www.sermoncentral.com and the scripture is NIV unless otherwise noted) (This sermon was based on John Ortenberg’s Book and credit was given to the author)
It takes great deal of FAITH to build God’s Church, especially when there has not been growth for a very long time. Becca and I have ministered to 4 churches on a full time basis and several part time as we attended school. For the most part, all the churches we’ve ministered to were small in number, and most had been through a split or problem of some sort. In most cases, the churches had seen times when the attendance was great and the workers were many, but through the years the attendance had died and the workers were few. Most of these churches had the disease of complacency, a type of cancer for small churches. Complacent churches are churches that are just going through the motions, members just attending each week, have a monthly business meeting to figure a way to make ends meet. It’s more like a social function that is only attended by the faithful few, they are at a place where they need an EXTREME CHURCH MAKE-OVER. I’m not talking about the building, I am talking about the people. In most cases, the reason complacent churches aren’t growing, is because they desperately need to be torn down and built back up. They need to STEP OUT and move, they need CHANGE. BUT, to use another analogy, many churches in this condition, find themselves like the people on the show “Clean House.” This is a show where the people have the messiest homes you have ever seen, they are full of clutter and things that are not really ever used. In one such show, the wife had so many unopened boxes of things she had purchased from QVC but she couldn’t even find her kitchen because of the mess. A crew comes in, willing to do the work to get rid of the mess, organize, and make the house livable. BUT they have to have a yard sale first, get rid of the junk, and help to pay for the improvements. BUT, do you know that some of the people do not want to get rid of the JUNK?
I think there are churches like that, they don’t have the faith to move in the direction they know God wants them to move in, simply because it means CHANGE.
They are NOT SURE about moving out, taking the steps they need to, because they have seen it ALL before, and in their heart they don’t believe things will ever change. OR perhaps, in the back of their mind, they know things will change, and that would even be worse for them.
This morning I want to share a story from God’s infallible and inerrant Word that all of you have heard before. The story of a water walker, the story of Peter found in Matthew 14. Years ago, I wrote a series of sermons based on John Ortenberg’s book entitled, “If You Want To Walk On Water, You Have To Get Out Of The Boat’” I then condensed them into one sermon, and today I have written a new sermon based on that book to share with you. There are several quotes from the book and so I want to be sure and give credit to the author.
If you have your Bibles with you this morning, please turn with me to Matthew 14, starting in verse 22. Matt 14:22-33 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." 28 "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." 29 "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."