Summary: Between where we are now and where the Lord intends to take us, Between us and that Higher Plane of Living, Stands Some Sea of Challenge that Must be Crossed! The only way to get to the Capernaum of Excellence from the Bethsaida of Mediocrity is by way of
I need not pause to suggest how delighted I am to be in your midst. In the midst of erudite scholars like yourselves, I felt I ought to at least have an interesting introduction that sounded impressive with some big words. So I, like Al Louis Patterson who pastors the Corinth Church in Houston, thought of two. I am Hippopotamus glad and Elephant proud to be here.
We Need To Talk! The headline I want to highlite in our little chat is this: “It Happened At Night” The Text I have tagged and targeted for teaching is John 6:16-21.
I submit to us that The Lord intends to lead us to a Higher Level of Living (Living Life in the Presence of God-Matthew 6:1-34); to a Deeper Depth of Understanding (Understanding the Operations of His Providence); to a Higher Stratus of Commitment-c/f vs 66-68) to even a Higher Plateau of Ministry (other than simply being Transporter and Distributers of Fragments of Loaves). I submit the Lord intends to do a New Thing in our lives!
However, Between where we are now and where the Lord intends to take us, Between us and that Higher Plane of Living, Stands Some Sea of Challenge that Must be Crossed! The only way to get to the Capernaum of Excellence from the Bethsaida of Mediocrity is by way of Some Galilean Sea of Challenge. So says John in verses 16 and 17a of our Text (read).
Sometimes, to reach Excellence, we must leave the Safety and Shore of Land and hazard the Perils of Travel by Sea. Sometimes, to get from where we are now to where the Lord intends to take us, we have to board ships we never traveled on before, and take hazardous routes previously unknown to us. Being a disciple of Jesus means Venturing By Faith; so subsequently, we are forced to face Some Sea of Provocation and board Some Ship of Destiny in order to reach our Capernaum of Excellence. So John says in verses 16 and 17 a of our Text (read).
Now I submit that if you and I have not yet experienced our Capernaum of Excellence, it is because we are still living on the shores of our Bethsaida of Mediocrity. And if we want to reach the other side, we have to face our Sea of Provocation, board our Ship of Destiny, and cross over to the other side. For if we would Cross the Sea, we would experience the Capernaum of Excellence! If we would Cross, we would Excel; and
we’re not Excelling because we haven’t Crossed!
And so, because Some Sea of Challenge stands between where we are now and where the Lord intends to take us, I thought it would be helpful to open this matter up for mental investigation, spiritual scrutiny and theological dialogue to see if we could discover for ourselves-
I. WHY DO WE HAVE SEAS IN OUR LIFE?
Why do you have Seas in your life? You love the Lord, try to live right, bring your tithes and offerings, sing in the choir, serve as an usher, active in the curriculum and activities of your church, and even try to treat everybody right - so Why do you have a challenging and provocative sea?
Why must you face the darkness of depression?
Why do you at times feel Jesusless?
Why do you have hard trials on every hand?
Why do you have heartaches and pains?
Why do you seem to toil and toil and get no where?
The question is: Why do you have Seas in your life?
Well, there are Two Possible Reasons for the Sea of Challenge in your life. I wanted to suggest that the First Reason we have Some Sea in our life is quite possibly TO TEST THE SINCERITY OF OUR DESIRE. What I mean is this. You really don’t mind serving in your present capacity, but you really prefer something more challenging and exciting. Passing out loaves and fish is needful, but you really long for something more. Passing the basket and collecting the fragments is necessary, but you really long to do something else. Transporting 12 baskets filled with fragmented pieces of bread to the hungry and homeless is honorable, but you really long for something more significant. So, the Lord says, If you want a promotion or rise to another level in ministry, then Here is a Sea: Cross it and then we’ll discuss your promotion!
Let’s face it. Everyone who talks about ministry doesn’t really want to minister! Oh yeah, they want the Title but don’t want to take the Towel of Service and wash someone else’s feet. They want the Position but not the Preparation; but there is always the Evening of Preparatory Crossing. In order to get to the other side, we are going to have to be prepared to go down to the sea and get into the ship! Oh yeah, folk want the Prestige but not the Pressure. They want the Office without the Offence, the Wages but not the Work, they want the Crown without the Cross! So Jesus Tests the Sincerity of our Desires by giving us Some Sea of Challenge to Cross. For sometimes we ask for things we really don’t want because at Evening Time, we aren’t willing to pay the price: we don’t want to Cross Over the Sea of Challenge. But, you’ll never see Higher Service if you don’t Cross the Sea of Sincerity! The Sea of Sincerity leads to the Plateau of Higher Service!