Summary: This is part two of my series, Placebo Faaith - The Real Thing. In this message I review the story of Peter walking on the water and how his thinking caused him to step out of the boat, walk on the water but ultimately start sinking.
Placebo Faith – The Real Thing
This is part two of my series, “Placebo Faith – The Real Thing.” Last week I shared with you that that medically there are patients who, because they truly believe they have an illness, will show signs of that illness. The treating physician, understanding that the illness persists only within the patient’s mind, will treat them with a placebo. The patients, believing that they are being treated with “real” medicine, are often cured of their illness. I told you that a placebo treatment is any treatment that appears to be a "real" medical treatment - but isn't. It could be a pill, a shot, or some other type of "fake" treatment. Placebos are important to the development of actual medicines because clinical trials are designed to prove that the new medicine is better than doing nothing at all (placebo.) But what can happen during these clinical trials is that some patients will respond to the placebo pill as if they received the real medicine. When this happens it is called a placebo effect. The placebo effect is proof positive of what is captured in Scripture. I want to remind you this morning of what was recorded in Hebrews 11:1, 6 and Proverbs 23:7a.
Hebrews 11:1,6 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen….And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
Proverbs 23:7a says, “For as he thinks within himself, so is he.”
How many of you know the slogan for the United Negro College Fund? It’s “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Remember what I told you last week about stinking thinking? When our thinking stinks, we are literally wasting our minds. When we are focusing on the wrong things, we are wasting our minds. Maybe it would be better explained if I say we are wasting the true power of our minds. God has blessed us with an amazing combination of physical and a brain (organ) to help us think, plan, work and enjoy life. So God wants to bless, strengthen, renew, guard and bless our minds (spiritual) as we focus our thoughts and actions on Him. Remember I told you last week that the brain is the physical organ that controls our bodies, but our mind is spiritual and it makes us who we are. This is why our minds continue to exist after our bodies dies. This morning we will examine more of what the Bible says about the abilities of our minds. To establish the foundation this morning, please turn with me to Matthew 14:22-31.
“Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.’ Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ And He said, ‘Come!’ And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Matthew 14:22-31)
This is a very familiar story in the Bible so I will not dwell to long on it. I know that I have preached sermons with this story as a focal point, but have you ever sat down and meditated on what truly happened with Peter? Jesus had sent the disciples away as He went and prayed. Between 3 and 6 in the morning, Jesus finished praying and walked on the water towards the disciples. The waters were pretty rough and the boat was being battered on it. The disciples look out and saw a man walking towards them and they think it’s a ghost. Jesus speaks to them, identifies himself and tells them to not be afraid. Peter, hearing the voice of Jesus asks Jesus to prove it was Him by allowing Peter to walk out on the water. On the surface this was one of the most stupid thing he could have requested considering that the waters were rough and it was dark and he could not really “see” if it was Jesus or not. But, Peter heard the voice of Christ and he recognized Jesus voice just as Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” So Peter’s request was not stupid at all because he knew it was Jesus and because it was Jesus, he knew if Jesus told him to come out onto the water he would be able to walk on it. So Peter got up and stepped out of the boat and began walking towards Jesus. He walked until he took his eyes off Jesus and his mind told him that he would sink and drown. As soon as he accepted this new wave of thoughts, he began to sink. As he sunk he cried out to Jesus to save him. Jesus reached out his hand, saved Peter but asked him why did he doubt? Do you see this? Peter believed he could walk on the water and he did. However, when he looked at the waves and felt the wind, he believed he would sink and drown and he began to sink. His circumstances changed with his thinking. Our minds can change our circumstances if we change our minds!