"ON THE HORNS OF A DILEMMA"
Speaking of Horns - I like what I heard one preacher says, "A lot of preaching is Long Horn preaching". A couple of points with a lot of bull in between. I hope my message this morning will not fall into that category.
We need to see the definition of the word "DELEMMA". The dictionary says, "A situation necessitating a choice between two disagreeable alternatives.
The disciples in this story were facing a Dilemma. It is easy to trust the Lord when we are sailing on the smooth sea of life and there are no clouds in view and the sun is shining and the birds are singing. But what about the storm?
B. I see on TV that one of the Oil Companies advertises their product as "TROUBLE FREE DRIVING". It just ain’t so.
I have a better one: "TROUBLE FREE LIVING" The only problem is that just is not so either.
C. I hear preachers that say, "When a person become a child of God, He or she never encounters any trouble thereafter or never faces a storm on the sea of life? IT IS A LIE - IT JUST IS NOT TRUE.
Psa 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
D. God never promised us we would miss the storms of life only that he would get us safely through to the other side.
T/S This passage give us a clear picture of how we are to respond when we face a dilemma. There are 8 tremendous facts about the DILEMMA the DISCIPLES FACED IN THIS PASSAGE OF SCRIPTURE.
I. THEY WERE RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WILL OF GOD WHEN THIS DELEMA CAME.
V-22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
A. Notice the word "Constrained". That means that Jesus COMPELLED them to get in that boat and go to the other side. They were doing exactly what Jesus told (actually insisted) them to do when the Crisis came. Jesus sent them into the storm.
B. I don’t believe they wanted to go. They had just witnessed the feeding of the 5,000. Each Apostle had a basket of food (No preacher wants to leave when there is food around). That place had seen a miracle and the glory of God was all over the place and they didn’t want to leave and go anywhere.
However, while they were doing just what Jesus had told them to do - they hit a storm.
C. The Apostle Paul is a great example of this. When he was in Galatia - things was going great. People were being saved. Churches was being established. Everyone was saying, "Boy, Paul is the most wonderful preacher in the world.". Then Paul had the Macedonian Vision. Surly they will be waiting on the shore with signs "Please share the gospel with us - we need to be saved."
They dragged him outside the city and stoned him.
D. THE WINDS WERE CONTRARY. It was coming right in their face. There was strong opposition to them going and doing what Jesus had told them to do. (A REAL LESSON IN LIFE). If you go to where Jesus has told you to go there will be opposition.
The reason some people don’t have any opposition in their life is they are going the same way the devil is going.
SO THEY WERE RIGHT IN THE CENTER OF THE WILL OF GOD WHEN THE CRISIS CAME.
II. THERE DILEMMA LASTED FOR SOME TIME.
A. It was about 1 pm when Jesus put them on the boat and it was aprox. 3-4 am the next morning when he came to them walking on the water. That means that spent about 12 hours in the storm before He came and calmed it.
B. Have you ever spent 12 hours on an angry sea? First, you are afraid you might die - then you are afraid you won’t die.
My wife and I love to cruise. We have taken several cruises. Some of the folks in our church got interested in going on a cruise with us. So, . . . we put together and 7 day cruise down to Mexico. There were some of our members who said, "We are afraid to go out to sea because it will get sea sick." I told them, "Those cruise ship are so big that if you did not look out – you would think you were sitting in your living room. You can hardly feel them move."
Well, they signed up and the first night out of port, we hit a storm. People were getting sick all over the ship. Some of them said, "You lying preacher". Thank God, after the first night it was smooth sailing all the rest of the trip.
It is bad to be caught on a stormy sea.
C. I don’t know why Jesus waited so long before He came. I don’t know why he allowed them to stay in the storm 12 or 13 hours? Have you ever prayed - Lord please come and you though He would never deliver you from the Dilemma you are facing?
Aaron Wilbur wrote that great song, "When He is 4 days late - He is right on time."
D. If you are walking with Jesus and are in a storm - I can’t tell you when, or how Jesus will come walking on the water to deliver you but I am telling you to just hang on because he is coming. His promise is sure.
III. JESUS WAS PRAYING FOR THEM WHILE THEY WERE FACING THEIR DILEMMA.
A. He was in the mount with God the Father in intercessory prayer. Mark’s gospel said, "He saw them toiling and rowing." Don’t ever think that He is not aware of the storm you are in or that He is not concerned about your well being while in the storm.
B. Our Lord’s ministry today is a ministry of Prayer. Do you really believe that Jesus is praying for you? That should come as a great comfort. I will pray for you but sometime I might pray the wrong thing (even with the best of intentions) but Jesus will always pray for what is best and God the Father will always answer His prayer just the way He prays it. Isn’t that wonderful??
Most of the time we simply don’t know how to pray:
Rom 8:26-28 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
IV. WE SHOULD ALSO LEARN THAT THEY FAILED TO RECOGNIZE JESUS IN THE DILEMMA.
Mat 14:25-26 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
A. They thought they had seen a ghost. I am sympathetic toward their feelings. I admit that I would have reacted like the disciples did. I would be like the fellow that said, "I didn’t believe in ghost either until I saw one". Smile
B. In most of the dilemma’s in our lives we will see everything in it but Jesus. However, He is there.
C. If you are like me, you have a very short memory span. I am a fast learner but a quick forgetter.
I have gone through a few dilemmas in my life (not as many as others but enough to know what a dilemma is). Jesus has brought me through ever one of them just the way He wanted me to come through it and tried to teach me the lessons He want me to learn as a results of it.
However, even yet, when I am faced with what I perceive to be a crisis, I will look at the circumstances, the problem, other people, and things and see everything but Jesus.
D. The very first thing, when faced with a crisis is to stop and ask, "Lord, Jesus where are you in this crisis and what do you want me to learn from it?
V. WE SHOULD ALSO LEARN FROM THIS INCIDENT THAT PERFECT FAITH IS NOT NECESSARY TO HAVE VICTORY OVER THE DILEMMAS OF OUR LIVES.
A. Peter had more faith than any of the others in that boat and he said, "Lord, if it be you."
Mat 14:28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
Mat 14:29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
Unless I am mistaken, Jesus and Peter are the only two that walked on water.
B. IT IS NOT A BIG FAITH IN A LITTLE GOD THAT MAKES IT WORK BUT IT IS A LITTLE FAITH IN A BIG GOD. God will take you and me with the faith we do have and build on that if we will but let Him.
VI. WE CAN LEARN FROM THIS PASSAGE HOW TO WALK ON TOP OF THE DILEMMA.
A. Many are "UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES" but you can walk on top of the dilemma of your life.
B. Peter did not walk on water - It walked on the water by the Word Of God.
Peter was not just walking on water but he was walking on the water by the Word of God. "COME" Peter knew that he could not walk on water but he knew and had found out that when Jesus said to do something - miraculous thing can happen. So He walked on the water by the Word of God.
C. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
You can never be wrong doing it by the instructions of the Word of God - FLIP SIDE - You can never be right doing it contrary to the Word of God.
D. You can charge the Gates of Hell by the Living Word of God.
VII. WE CAN LEARN FROM THIS PASSAGE WHAT TO DO IF THE DILEMMA IS ABOUT TO OVERTAKE US.
A. Peter got in the dilemma by taking is eyes of Jesus. He heard the wind and felt the waves and looked down. He begin to sink. He took his eyes off Jesus and begin to sink. He was delivered from his dilemma by forgetting the wind and the waves and the storm and putting his concentration back on Jesus.
B. Now don’t you criticize Peter. Where were the rest of the disciples? Peter was willing to venture something for the Lord. Have you ever seen those who will stay in the boat and let someone else venture something for the Lord and when they are sinking say, "I knew they wouldn’t make it." Well, at least they were willing to try.
It is better to have tried to do something and failed - than to have try to do nothing and succeeded
VIII. WE CAN LEARN FROM THIS PASSAGE THE PURPOSE OF THE DILEMMA.
Mat 14:32 -33 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
A. I can tell you what I think happened. I believe that He calmed the whole storm.
B. Sometimes we pray, "Lord calm the storm in my life". When we should be praying, "Lord, calm me while I am in the storm." Remember in Verse 31 he chided them for their lack of faith. They would have been better off to have been calm in the storm than to have the storm calmed for them.
C. God’s primary purpose in my life is for me to know and really believe who Jesus is. We see the purpose as coming to know and worship the Lord Jesus.