Summary: Peter doubted Jesus when he was asked to put his nets into the deep water. It made no sense. It shouldn’t have worked. But in spite of his doubt, Jesus rewarded Peter. Why?
INTRO: As I was preparing for this month’s sermons on “Free Refills” I remembered an old Gospel hymn. If you know it, sing along if you want to:
“Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up Lord
Come and quench the thirsting of my soul
Bread of heaven fill me til I want no more
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.”
The Bible talks a lot about God “filling us”
We’re told He fills us with His love, His joy, His knowledge, His wisdom, and His understanding. And most important of all - He fills us with Himself/ with His Spirit.
He is the God who fills us… and “refills” us.
It’s kind of like going to your favorite restaurant and knowing the waitress will always refill you drink when it’s empty. But I recently went to a restaurant where that didn’t happen. I sat at my table for ½ an hour, my waitress didn’t even bother come over and ask what I wanted to drink… let alone give me a free refill. Can you imagine how frustrating that was???
The Bible tells us – that without God being there for us our cups will be empty.
There are people who live their entire lives never knowing the satisfaction of God filling their cup. Even “religious” – Sunday go to meeting folks – can end up feeling empty, primarily because they aren’t quite ready to take God at His word.
OPEN: Some time back I listened to another preacher tell of a Sunday School class at his congregation. It was filled with many of the “old faithful” members who’d been there for years. There was even an Elder and his wife in attendance. But as they read from the early part of Genesis where it spoke of certain people living 100s of years, one of the members spoke up and said they didn’t believe that. They felt that they must have measured years differently back then because it seemed so outlandish to believe someone could live that long. Several other members in the class agreed.
As if encouraged by this, another person in the class said they had always doubted that Jonah had actually been swallowed by a whale. They thought the story was a just a fable and wasn’t meant to be true. And a couple of the class said they thought that too.
The preacher who was telling me this was upset. How could these people who’d been in church for years question some very basic statements in the Bible?
As we talked I explained to him that these weren’t the first believers to question what they’d read in the Bible. One of the most extreme examples was Thomas Jefferson - who believed in God - but couldn’t accept the idea of miracles. So he rewrote the Gospels to remove all references to healings and miracles and people rising from the dead. Apparently he simply wanted his Jesus to teach, not do miracles.
Now there are many good people in churches across the land, who truly believe
• God exists
• That He listens to their prayers
• And that He sent His Son to die for their sins…
But they struggle with things in the Bible they couldn’t understand.
I mean – they’ve never known anyone who lived much over 100 years and here the Bible was asking them to believe someone had lived 100s of years.
Then there’s the story of Jonah and the whale. They’ve never heard of anyone surviving 3 days/nights inside a fish… so they find it a little hard to swallow (pun intended)
And I’ve even known of some Christians who have struggled with idea of someone being raised from dead. After all they’ve never known anyone who has come back from the grave. In fact, I’m not sure I’d want to meet anyone who came back from the grave.
Now, of course, the weakness in their thinking is that they are judging the things of God’s Word from their own point of view. If they haven’t seen it, experienced it, or read about it in Newspapers or on the Internet it can’t possibly have happened.
If it makes sense to them they’ll accept it.
If not – they push it off to one side.
Their faith is based upon what they can SEE. (repeat this phrase)
Now Paul says, that’s not how we should live our Christianity.
He wrote “We live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7
As Hebrews puts it “… faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we DO NOT SEE.” Heb 11:1
These folks don’t mean to upset God… they just struggle with things they don’t understand. They love God, and really do believe in Him but they can’t quite let Him all the way in. They can’t wrap their minds around what Bible says and so they compromise a little… so they end up with having their cup being empty… or only half full because they can’t quite believe God all they way.