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Summary: Before quitting and throwing in the towel, we'll learn 4 lessons to give us hope to keep rowing through the storms of life.

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"

Row, Row, Row Your Boat"

Scripture Reference: John 6:15-21

Preached at Mount Zion Baptist Church on April 28, 2019

Delivered by Rev. John Daniel Johnson

Opening Prayer

“Open our eyes so we can see Your truth.

Open our ears so we can hear Your voice.

Open our mind so we can understand Your Word.

And open our heart so we may receive all that You want us to receive.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Read Text and Explain:

Illustration—

I heard the story of a boy trying to learn how to ice-skate. He had fallen so many times that his face was cut, and the blood and tears ran together. Out of sympathy, a man skated over to the boy, picked him up and said, "Son, why don't you quit before you kill yourself?"

He wiped the tears from his face and told the man, "I didn't buy these skates to learn how to quit; I bought them to learn how to skate."

Illustration—

I remember when I tried out for my high school baseball team. I really didn’t think I was that good, but I made the team. A lot of boys didn’t make it, but I did. I thought I had really accomplished something, but I was wrong. I wanted to play, but I didn’t fully understand all the hard work and exercise that was required of me. I remember after a couple weeks of practice, I told my dad that I was thinking of quitting the baseball team. I told him that the all the running, and practicing, and the time was getting to me. His advice was to stay at least until the first game. The first game came and we lost. I struck out twice, and didn’t even get a hit. I came home that afternoon and told my dad how bad I did during the game and that I wanted to quit. His response was quite simple. You can quit if you want, but at least hit at least one homerun before you do. I decided to stick it out till the next game. By a stroke of luck, I did hit my very first homerun. I came home and was so excited to tell my parents about my very first homerun. When I told them the news, my dad asked, “Are you going to quit now.” I didn’t even have to answer, because he already knew it. I hit a homerun. The practice and hard work had paid off. There was no way I was going to quit.

Opening—

Every day people go through the toughest of situations and every day people have to decide if they are going to throw in the towel and give up or if they are going to stand up and take the victory. Married couples giving up on their spouse. Parents giving up on their children. Employees giving up on the job.

The common denominator in any situation when a person is ready to completely throw in the towel is that they have lost hope. They feel as if the situation is never going to get any better. Hopelessness always breeds the temptation to give up and quit. In the most extreme cases of hopelessness people succumb to suicide, hurting others, murder, divorce, or running away.

For those of you who feel like that, you need to know that God has a Word you for today… It may not make you feel good, but it’s the Word that’s for you… It may not feel good to you, but it’s good for you… For those of you ready to throw in the towel and give up, the Lord would have me to tell you today simply this:

QUITTING IS NOT AN OPTION…!

I know you’re tired…

You’re ready to give up…

You’re discouraged…

It doesn’t seem like God hears you…

You can’t get a prayer through…

You can’t get a breakthrough…

But Holy Spirit says: QUITTING IS NOT AN OPTION…!

Transitional Sentence—

This morning I want to grow in our hope. I want us to be assured that God still cares and is concerned about. He’s not give up on us and He doesn’t want us to give up on ourselves either.

I was hearing an older sermon by John MacArthur a few days ago on the Book of First Peter. He stated that the theme of the entire book is “You Are What You Think.” He states, “…thinking appropriately about yourself as a Christian is essential if you’re going to be what God wants you to be.”

Throughout First Peter we see how we are to think of ourselves…

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