Summary: To experience the power of Christ in our lives, we must be willing to leave our comfort zone.
GET OUT OF THE BOAT
Years ago my wife and I were at a football game. Our team was losing, the man in front of us was bad mouthing our team for losing. She took it as long as she could, then she tapped the man on the shoulder and said:
“either suit up or shut up”.
Many in the church today are just spectators. Unfortunately, some are like the man sitting in front of us at the football game, they are openly criticizing the leaders of the church without getting into the battle themselves.
I wonder what those in the boat were saying about Peter as he began to step out of the boat? Why didn’t they get out of the boat ? Previously they had seen Jesus still the storm in chapter 8. Still they were afraid.
Before we are to tough on the rest of the disciples, think of the many times the Lord has show us his power, yet we fail to get out of the boat.
There are several factors we should consider as we think about our boat, our storms, and our obedience to Christ.
Courage might be described as the absence of fear. Matthew recorded that they were terrified and “cried out in fear”. Do you know that fear is the opposite of faith ?
Often soldiers are given metals for courage and bravery. Most of them will say at the time they were not afraid. Maybe they trusted in their own ability, but as Christians we should be courageous because we believe or have faith in The Lord’s ability.
Why don’t we get out of the boat ? It looks safer in the boat and we are afraid to leave the safety and comfort of the boat.
In the story of the 90 and 9 sheep, the Shepard had to leave them and his comfortable place, and go out into the wilderness and search for the one lost sheep.
Do you think there are times when we should leave the comfort of our church and our friends and look for the lost sheep ?
Why didn’t they recognize Jesus ? They thought He was a ghost.
Sometimes in the middle of our storm, tormented by waves of disappointment and doubt, we are no better at recognizing his presence than they were.
Are you afraid of the unknown ? Notice it was Jesus that sensed their fear and said to them “do not be afraid”. Do you know Jesus knows about your fears ?
Do you remember Jesus said “My Peace I give unto you”. We are afraid because we don’t know the future. But Jesus does, and He is saying to you
like the disciples, “Don’t be afraid”.
When we believe Him we are willing to try great things for God! The world will wonder where you got your courage.
“Peter said, Lord if it is you, command me”. Serving God always should start with His command. What has He already commanded us to do ?
IN THE BIBLE:
He said “ a new command I give unto you, that you love one another”.
He said “ Pray for Laborers for the harvest”
He also said “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel”
He said “Follow me and I will make you a fishers of men”
These plus many others sound like commandments to me.
In this passage, Jesus just said to Peter, “come”. If God would speak to you and ask you to do something scary, would you come ?
What is it meant leaving your home, what if it would cost you a large sum of money, what if it would be uncomfortable ? Would you go ?
John Ortberg wrote a book called “If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the Boat”. He has a chapter called “boat potatoes”. These are people who are letting life pass them by because they are afraid to get out of the boat.
We also call them couch potatoes. They have abilities and gifts that are never opened, sinful patterns of behavior that are never confronted and changed, Until weeks become months, and months become years.
One day they realize there are great prayers they never prayed, risks they never took, gifts they never offered, lives they never touched.
There they are sitting in a recliner with a shriveled soul, and forgotten dreams. (Elizabeth in Peru about her neighbors)
They realize the world is in desperate need, that God called them to be part of something big. They see the person they could have become, but did not. They never followed their calling, they never got out of the boat.
Greg Levoy said: “Jesus promised those who would follow Him only three things. That they would be absurdly happy, entirely fearless, and always in trouble”