Summary: This sermon teaches us the importance of allowing our faith to be stretched.
Have you done anything in your faith walk recently that stretched you? We use the term “stretch” to refer to growth, development and learning. I must admit, it goes against human nature to be stretched.
There is a popular story that illustrates our reluctance to be stretched.
Ill- A man was being chased by a tiger. He ran as hard as he could until he was at the edge of a cliff with the tiger in hot pursuit. The man looked over the edge of the cliff and saw a branch growing out of the side of the cliff a few feet down. He jumped down and grabbed the branch just as the tiger reached the cliff. The tiger growled viciously as the man sighed a great sigh of relief.
Just then a mouse came out from a crevice and began to chew on the branch. The man looked down to what was a drop of a thousand feet and sure death and looked to the heavens and yelled out, "Dear God, if you are there, please help. I will do anything you ask but please help."
Suddenly a voice came booming down from heaven, "You will do anything I ask?" it questioned.
The man shocked to hear a reply to his plea yelled back, "I will gladly do anything you ask, but please save me."
The voice from heaven then replied, "There is one way to save you but it will take courage and faith."
The branch began to weaken from the mouse and the tiger was still growling a few feet above the man, "Please, Lord, tell me what I must do and I will do it. Your will is my will."
The voice from heaven then said, "All right then, let go of the branch."
The man looked down to a fall of a thousand feet and certain death. He looked up at the hungry tiger a few feet away and he looked at the mouse still chewing on the branch. Then he looked up at the heavens and yelled, "Is there anyone else up there?" (Contributed to Sermon Central by Danny Thomas) It is not always easy to allow your faith to be stretched.
Stretching comes in many forms.
-We are stretched when we take a step to publicly confess Jesus as Lord and to live for Him.
-We are stretched when we follow Jesus in believers baptism.
-We are stretched when we determine to have a daily quiet time consisting of Bible reading and prayer.
-We are stretched when we decide to tithe 1/10 of our income.
-We are stretched when we decide to share our faith with other people.
I want to look at a passage of scripture in which one of Jesus disciples was stretched. We can learn much from this scripture that will encourage us to allow our faith to be stretched. The scripture is found in Matthew 14. I want to read verses 28-32.
“And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.‘’ So He said, ‘Come.‘’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!‘’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?‘’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.” NKJV Getting out of that boat was a stretch to Peter’s faith. However, we must give him credit, he did get out.
I want to share a message entitled “Get Out of the Boat.” The purpose of this message is to encourage you to stretch your faith to new horizons. As we handle this text I want to discuss two questions. Why would we be reluctant to get out of the boat? A second question is: Why should we get out of the boat? Why should we stretch our faith?
1. Why would we be reluctant to get out of the boat? In this text we find three reasons why a person (Peter) would be reluctant to get out of the boat.
A. We are reluctant to get out of the boat because the boat represents a comfort zone. All of us have comfort zones. All of us have security zones. We do not want to leave those zones.
Ill- The comic character, Linus, had a security blanket. Even so, each of us have security blankets to which we cling.
Ill- A few days ago I watched with interest as a baby took its first steps. That baby was reluctant to leave the comfort zone. It was reluctant to let go. However, all of us know that a baby must let go if it is to walk.