Summary: How much of a risk taker for Jesus are you?
23-10-2011 Marshland St James
Sermon: If you want to walk on water, you better get out of the boat!
Let us open in prayer
Father, I pray that you will anoint my words this evening that they may be words for each of us from you. I ask what I say may be relevant in our Christian lives. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
As some of you will know Maddy and I moved from Leicestershire a year ago, where I had been running 16 churches.
Story: As we were taking the bedroom apart, I was surprised to find a small basket underneath our bed with three eggs and £1000.
I was a bit puzzled and so I called Maddy and asked her what this was all about.
She said: “Well I have to be honest with you. Every time you preached a bad sermon, I put an egg in the basket.”
I thought – well three bad sermons in 3 years – not bad going.
But I was still puzzled – “Well, what is the £1000 about”
She replied, as all vicar’s wives always do : “Every time I got a dozen, I sold them”.
I hope this evening won’t be an egg sermon!!
I would like to focus on two particular verses from our Gospel reading today.
They occur in the middle of the story of Jesus walking on the water.
The disciples have run into a storm on the middle of the Lake of Galilee – and Jesus comes out to them – walking of the water.
Peter sees Jesus and asks him if he can come out join him.
And Jesus replies: “Come”
Then Peter got out of the boat, walked on water and came towards Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and began to sink.” (Mt 14:29-30)
When people preach on this passage they almost always seem to focus on Peter’s lack of faith.
But I want to talk about Peter’s faith because I think Peter gets a bad press on this.
I’d like to look on Peter’s actions in a more positive light.
I know of ONLY two people who have walked on water – and one of them was Peter.
PETER WAS PREPARED TO GET OUT OF THE BOAT AND WALK ON WATER.
2. Peter’s Experience of Walking on the Water
When I think about it - what amazes me was that Peter had faith to get out of the boat IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!
Having been on the Lake of Galilee in a squall, I know I would not have wanted to get out the boat in a gale.
I know I wouldn’t have the guts – but Peter did.
NONE of the other disciples joined Peter on the Lake!
3. Are we prepared to get out of the boat?
The question I would like to ask today is:
If Jesus called you to walk on water in the storm, would you be prepared to get out of the boat.
Now for the Anglicans here – that’s what I call Apostolic Succession!!!!
John Ortberg wrote a book with the wonderfully intriguing title:
“If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat”
Story: On 28th August 1963, Martin Luther King gave his famous speech “I have a dream” at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.
Who then would have dared to dream that 50 years later we would have had an African American President.
Yet Martin Luther King’s dream, I believe, had much to do with Barak Obama becoming the 44th President of the United States.
We need people who are willing to swim countercurrent to the popular mood, when inspired by God.
We need those who dream of God’s Kingdom coming here on earth.
Quote: It was the American philosopher Henry David Thoreau, who wrote:
"If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away. "
Who is the drummer that WE are listening to?
Dreaming dreams is quite biblical actually
God often gave new directions as a result of dreams in the Bible.
Jacob had a dream after he has conned his older brother Esau out of his birthright and his blessing. He was on the run from Beersheba and is fleeing for his life towards Haran when he encounters God at Bethel (Gen. 28:10-22).
He is alone, travelling towards his mother’s relatives. But he has to stop to sleep, as it was sunset and he was exhausted.
In this condition, he is a good candidate for an intrusion from beyond.
It is at Bethel that he dreams of angels coming and going, messengers and promise-makers.