Sermons

Summary: Peter dared to do what the others never dreamed of doing. Safety first was their motto. But Peter was an impulsive risk taker, and his impulse in this very unusual setting was to step out onto the water.

Back in 1959 Ford Motor Company admitted they made a big

mistake in making the Edsel. It cost 250 million to bring it to market,

and they lost 200 million during the 2 and 1/2 years they produced it.

It was the number one lemon in the history of the U. S. auto industry.

But smart owners turned their lemons into lemonade. They formed

an Edsel owners club in all 50 states; they published a quality

magazine and had annual conventions, and they made their Edsels

collectors cars worth much more than they were new.

The point is, mistakes can be costly, but they can also be

profitable. The whole idea involved in Rom. 8:28 that God works in

all things for the good of those who love him is this very point. God

will even work with us in our mistakes to make them profitable and

learning experiences. This means we do not need to fear failure so

much that we refuse to take a chance and do what is of some risk.

Our very failure could be the stepping stone to success. This is not

some kind of mystical religious principle, but it is the wisdom of very

practical minded men. Years ago a writer interviewed IBM

president Thomas J. Watson, and this is what he said:

"It's not exactly my line," Watson said, "But would you like me

to give you a formula for writing success? It's quite simple, really.

Double your rate of failure." "You're making a common mistake.

You're thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't at all.

Failure is a teacher-a harsh one perhaps, but the best. You say you

have a desk full of rejected manuscripts? That's great! Everyone of

those manuscripts was rejected for a reason. Have you pulled them

to pieces looking for that reason? "You can be discouraged by

failure-or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes.

Make all you can. Because, remember that's where you'll find

success. On the far side of failure."

There are numerous illustrations of this in the secular world, and

there are volumes that deal with the subject. But the best illustration

of this in the New Testament is the life of Peter. We have more

recorded mistakes and blunders of Peter than all the rest of the 12

put together. He was the master of mistakes, and yet Jesus chose him

to be the leader of the 12. There is no list of the Apostles where Peter

is not first. Is there any connection between all of his mistakes and

his being the number one man in leadership? Yes there is, and the

mistake we want to examine is a prime example.

Peter was the only man Jesus ever rebuked for lacking the faith

needed to stay on top of water. Why would Jesus make this man he

had to rebuke more than all the others the leader of the others? He

did so because Peter was the only one of the 12 willing to take the

chance. Yes, he sank while all the rest were safely in the boat. But

that is because he was the only one willing to take the chance of

leaping out of the boat. The risk taker fails more because they do

more. You can criticize Peter and be justified in doing so, for Jesus

rebuked him for his little faith that led him to doubt and then sink.

Peter did fail here, and needed to be rescued, but look at the whole

picture.

The only reason Peter failed is because he took a chance, and he

was the only one who did. We focus on his failure and neglect the fact

that Peter was the only man besides Jesus whoever succeeded in

walking on water. His faith weakened in the storm, but the text tells

us clearly in verse 29, "Then Peter got down out of the boat and

walked on the water to Jesus." Peter was the greatest success in the

world at walking on water. That took tremendous faith. But what we

see here is that faith can be very flimsy, and confidence can collapse

very rapidly in a fearful situation.

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, said at a press

conference in July of 1970, "I particularly remember the elation of

finding out that we indeed weren't going to sink into the surface, and

we could continue with all the other planned activities." These were

among the coolest men on the planet, and yet they had their fears as

they set foot on the moon. How much more so for Peter who set foot

on the lake where there was no mystery about it? He knew that

sinking in water was inevitable. Had the water been as still and calm

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