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Summary: Don’t doubt that God can use you! Yes you!

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KEEP ON WALKING

or

Step! Stop! Sink!

7/8/2007 A.M.

SERMON TEXT

NIV Matthew 14:22 Immediately [following the feeding of the five-thousand] Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It’s a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid." 28 "Lord, if it’s you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." 29 "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.

DIVISIONS IN THE TEXT

THE DISMISSALS (22) – Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side while he dismissed the crowd.

A. Of the Disciples

B. Of the Crowd

THE DEPARTURE (23) – After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone…

THE DANGER (24) – …but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

THE DISTORTION (25-26) - 25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It’s a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.

THE DECLARATIONS (27-29a) - 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid." 28 "Lord, if it’s you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." 29 "Come," he said.

Jesus - “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (27).

Peter – “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water” 28).

Jesus – “Come” (29a).

THE DEED (29) – “Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.”

THE DREAD (30) – “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

THE DOUBT (31-32) – Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

THE DELIVERANCE (32) - And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.

MANUSCRIPT

Peter’s story is one of…

• distance and

• danger and

• distortion and

• declarations,

• daring deeds,

• declining faith,

• doubt,

• dread and

• deliverance.

It is a story of multiple battles experienced in the midst of obedience. It is both a witness and a warning.

Matthew, Mark and John record this event and they all inform us that the disciples were caught in a dangerous storm, the severity of which is seen in the fact that even though these experienced mariners had rowed for nearly 12 hours, they had only traveled a little more than three miles (John. 6:19). That comes to one mile every four hours.

Mark tells us that although it was a dark stormy night, Jesus, from his place on land “saw the disciples straining at the oars” (6:48). Mark continues with, “about the fourth watch of the night He went out to them, walking on the lake” (6:48).

Matthew and Mark note that the disciples mistook Jesus for…

• a ghost,

• an apparition,

• a ghoul or

• a phantom.

Matthew says the boat of terrified disciples “cried out in fear” (14:26). Simply put, they did the same thing you and I would do when facing the unexplainable in the middle of a dark stormy night, gripped by extreme fear they yelled and screamed and shrieked. It’s what you did this week, when in the middle of one adversity another problem fell on you.

To dispel their terror, Jesus identified Himself saying, “It is I, don’t be afraid” (14:27). It is here that Peter declares, “Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water” (14:28), to which Jesus replies, “Come” (14:29). Anyone can say, “Come,” so, can I see some identification, please?

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