Summary: A small study on Matthew 14:22-33. Concentrates on showing the importance of focusing on Christ. Appropriate for an evening sermon.
(Use this sermon with the sanctuary totally dark, with only a large cross before the crowd. The cross should be lit, or have a light focused on it. Worship leader and speaker should be out of sight, and the crowd should be focusing totally on the cross.)
“Sink or Swim?”
"Immediately Jesus made the Disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they replied, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage. It is I! Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
When was the last time you stepped out of your boat? When was the last time you went out on a limb for something that you wanted? When was the last time you stepped out on faith in Christ? We don’t do it as often as we probably should. Now when it comes to something materialized that you want, I don’t know how far out on the limb you should go. Depends on the nature of it. But when it comes to something for Jesus, or his cause, you can’t go too far out on the limb, you can go as far as you want. If you really need or desire something, if you put your faith in Jesus, if you walk out on a limb for him, you will see good rewards. We need to put our faith in Jesus. We need to focus our faith on him, and we need to focus on him.
Some of you are sitting comfortably in your boats. You have all you need. You don’t need anything else. You like it right where you are. You get plenty out of the morning worship service. Well, I think its time for an attitude check. You can never get enough out of any service here for the Lord. It is about time we step out in faith in Jesus, and begin to trust in him. Its about time that we start focusing on Christ.
But, you can not let the wind distract you. The wind comes along to drive our focus, ‘out of focus’. It comes along to tear us apart when we thought we had our total attention focused on Christ.
The wind is anything that causes you to take your eyes off of Jesus. There are lots of things that can do this. What kind of things cause your eyes to float away from Jesus? Is it popularity? Money? Clothes? Your status? The football game on tv? These things can very easily take your focus away from Jesus. I’m guilty of that. Ponder these things over in your mind to yourself. Keep them in mind the next time you lose focus on Christ.
You must keep your eyes on Jesus. You absolutely must keep your eyes on Jesus. He will enable you to “walk on water” and not be distracted by the “wind”. Jesus can lead you through all things if you just put your focus on him.
Make him your focal point every day by starting your day with a quiet time for meditation and prayer. By doing this, you have him in mind as you go out into your day. As it says in the scripture I read earlier, Peter was fine until he lost focus on Christ. He was scared by the wind. Don’t let the wind scare you. Keep your focus on Christ, and you won’t sink. Are you sinking today? Put your focus on Him, and he will catch you, and lead you throught out time! God Bless!