Summary: The Christian life does not end when we say, "Yes."
“He Lifts Me Up”
By: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN
As you know, we lost a dear saint this past week—Emmett Hart.
About 6 weeks ago or so, and I think it was the last Sunday Emmett was able to make it to church...
…a seemingly healthy Emmett walked into my office before Sunday morning worship.
“I’m going to come forward at the end of the service today,” Emmett informed me, “I feel its time to re-commit my life to Christ.”
I would imagine that Emmett gave his life to Jesus Christ many years ago.
So what was he doing, at 90 years of age, re-committing his life to Christ?
One thing about dedicating our lives to Christ is, it’s not a one-time thing.
Now, I’m not talking about losing one’s salvation here…
…I’m saying that as a part of our on-going life of faith…
…as we come to know more and more of God, we become aware of a whole lot of stuff we need to change in our lives.
It’s kind of like, well, for myself at least…
…when I first gave my life to Jesus I suddenly felt as if I had all the answers to every question in the world!
I also thought that the Mountain Peak of faith and excitement I was enjoying would just stay that way forever.
Little, very little did I know.
As Billy Graham used to say, “The mountain peaks are great, but it is in the valleys that we grow!”
I think that sometimes we think that when we are first born again we have somehow “graduated.”
We’ve made it!
But it is only an early step (not to say that it is not the most important step) in a lifelong journey.
And how couldn’t it be?
We have no idea what the future will hold.
And there will be times when our lives will feel disoriented and we will have to turn to Jesus again.
Just look at the Apostle Peter!
Early on, Peter left his nets and followed Jesus.
And it was a very real and a very expensive commitment!!!
But Peter had to make his commitments over and over again.
He tried to walk on water but lost his faith.
At Caesarea Philippi, he got the answer to the first question right: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
But he failed the second half of the test and wound up being called “Satan.”
And on the last night of Jesus’ life, Peter made an impossible commitment: “I will never run away and leave you.”
But only hours later, Peter shouted, “I told you, I don’t even know him. Leave me alone!”
Peter had to struggle and grow, and make new commitments to Jesus over and over.
In our Scripture lesson for this evening, we come upon a very defeated Peter.
Christ had died, Christ had risen…
…but Peter understood none of this.
He was literally at the end of his rope.
He felt that he was back where he had started, before Jesus had first come to him, and said, “Follow me.”
Had it all been in vain?
What had the last 3 years been about anyway?
Peter was in a haze and Peter was in a funk.
So what does he do?
“I’m going to fish,” he told the other disciples.
Which basically means, “I’m going back to my old way of life.”
But, we see that the great fisherman, Peter, no longer belonged in that world.
Just as we can never really “go back.”
He and the other disciples fish all night, but they don’t catch a thing!
It’s all a wash!
Everything is a wash!!!
But just when rock bottom is about to come crashing down on them completely…
…Jesus shows up!!!
And then they caught so many fish, perhaps more than they ever had…that they were shocked that the net was not torn!
It’s awesome to note that as soon as Peter realized it was Jesus on the shore, he jumped right into the water and swam toward Him as fast as he could!
That’s how excited he was to see Him!
Had Peter let Christ down?
Had Peter faltered in his faith?
Had Peter ever stopped loving Jesus?
And I would imagine many of us can relate.
Christian rock band, Audio Adrenaline has a cool song called “Get Down.”
Some of the lyrics go like this:
“I get down and He lifts me up
I get down and He lifts me up
I get down and He lifts me up
I get down
All I need’s another day
Where I can’t seem to get away
From the many things that drag me down,