Summary: Never let the sense of past failure defeat your next step with God.
"Failure: Learning What Not to Do"
INTRO: "The life of Jesus Christ was an absolute failure from every standpoint except God?s. But what seemed to be failure from man?s standpoint was a triumph from God?s standpoint, because God?s purpose is never the same as man?s purpose." (Oswald Chambers; My Utmost For His Highest: August 5)
God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
7Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
No matter how bad our circumstances may get, or what we ever we go through in this life, if we are saved we have these promises that God will never abandon us.
BODY: Matthew 14:22-32
"He who never makes a mistake never makes anything." Abraham Lincoln
1. Sometimes God will send us into a storm with the purpose of increasing our faith.
22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.
Note that Jesus made the disciples, not persuaded, or asked, or motivated, but made. All the while knowing He was sending them into a storm. Just prior to this Jesus had performed the miracle of feeding the five thousand, although it affected the disciples it was nothing compared to what they were about to experience.
When you recognize God as Creator you will admire Him.
When you recognize His wisdom you will learn from Him.
When you discover His strength you will rely on Him.
But only when He saves you, will you worship Him.
25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It?s a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
Up until this point the disciples had never seen Jesus walk on water. He didn?t walk on water while they road in the boat, and say; "hey guys check this out". So it makes sense that when they saw Jesus "in the night" walking on water for the first time that they would mistakenly think it was a ghost.
We must be careful, if were not looking for God we will miss Him. Remember the promise He will never leave us, nor forsake us.
29"Come," he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
It?s so easy to criticize Peter for his mistakes, but how many other people do you know of who walked on water? When Peter was walking on the water what were the other eleven disciples doing?
illustration: The #1 selling chair in America is "Lazy Boy". This is an icon of our culture we love to come home from a hard days work and just "veg-out" in front of the T.V. This is where our term couch potato came from, it means to do nothing. And that is exactly what the other eleven disciples were doing, they were "boat-potatoes". Could you imagine trying to market a chair called Risky Boy? Who would buy that? The point is that many times in our Christian life we must take risk for God to increase our faith.
Yes, it was when Peter took his eyes off Jesus that he began to sink. But what did he take his eyes off Jesus to look at? His circumstances! Was the wind blowing when he got out of the boat? Is God only powerful enough to hold us up on calm water (circumstances)? God is more concerned with changing us not our circumstances. He intentionally put the disciples in these adverse circumstances to build their faith.
32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."
After Jesus feed the five thousand they didn’t worship Him, but after He rescued them they couldn’t keep from worshipping Him. Through the storm they came to know the power of Jesus and whole new way they had never experienced before.
A storm is a small price to pay to see God more clearly.
2. Don?t let failure keep you from continuing with God.
32They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." 33He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34"My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch."
37Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon," he said to Peter, "are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."