Summary: Sermon 18 in our series on the Baptist Faith and Message
This is How You Go! Part One (BFM #18)
Text: Matthew 14:22-36
By: Ken McKinley
In his book Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back Charles Swindoll tells a story about a farmer who wanted to impress his hunting buddies. So this farmer went out and bought the smartest, most expensive retriever he could find, then he trained this dog to do something that no other dog on earth could do, impossible feats that would surly amaze anyone who saw them. Then when duck season finally rolled around the farmer invited his friends to go hunting. After waiting a couple of hours in the boat, a group of ducks flew overhead and the hunters were able to shoot a few of them. As usual; a few of the ducks fell into the lake so the farmer looked at his prize retriever and said, “Go get em’ boy!” The dog jumped out of the boat and walked on the water, picked up a bird and returned to the boat. The farmer was beaming with pride and he looked over at his friends as the dog trotted off on top of the water to get the next duck. The farmer said to his friends, “Do you notice anything unusual about my dog?” One of his friends scratched his head for a moment and then said, “As a matter of fact I do. That stupid dog doesn’t know how to swim does he?”
Many people give Peter the same reaction. Instead of recognizing that he was the only disciple who even stepped out of the boat, he’s criticized for his lack of faith. Peter drew closer to Christ while 11 other disciples sat in the boat, content with their perceived safety. Let’s look at the context here. The disciples had just gotten the news about John the Baptist being beheaded. But they really didn’t even have time to grieve because the next thing we see if the multitudes of people coming to Jesus. Then we have the feeding of the 5,000, and right after that Jesus tells the disciples to get into the boat and go to the other side. The literal Greek says that He STRONGLY URGED them to get into the boat and go to the other side. Then as they are trying to be obedient to the Lord’s command, a storm comes along.
Now the first thing this should tell us is that when you are serving God, and trying to be obedient to Christ, you may have to face storms in your life. Now I’m not talking about physical storms that are common in weather, but storms of trials or difficulty. Even sitting here today you might be going through a storm in your life. It might be severe, it might not. Maybe it’s financial problems, or problem with family members, or emotional problems, problems at your job, or at school. We all have storms that come into our lives.
Anyone who tells you that Christianity is all smooth sailing doesn’t understand what the Bible teaches about serving the Lord.
So the disciples are in this storm, even though they were trying to be obedient to Jesus. Now that’s not the only reason people go through storms. Remember Jonah? Jonah went through a storm because he was disobedient. He went through a storm for correction, but that’s not the case here in our text (and let me just say this quickly; we should never presume that a person, or a group of people are going through a storm, be it literal or figurative, because of sin. Pat Robertson is a moron. Luke 13:1-5) The disciples were trying to do what Jesus had told them to do. They were trying to get to the other side.
Remember the last part of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus taught that we should build on the Rock? Let’s turn there… Matthew 7:24-26 (Read). Jesus was saying there that if your life is built on Christ Jesus, then that does not exempt you from storms in life, but you will be able to weather them. The wise builder had to go through the storm, he had to endure it, but the difference was his foundation.
And in that instance as well as in our text the issue is obedience. The wise builder was wise because he was not only a hearer of God’s Word, he was also a doer of God’s Word. The disciples were obedient as well. Jesus had told them to “Go to the other side,” at least they were trying to.
Which brings us back to Peter. Peter stepped out in faith and obedience to the Lord’s call of “Come.” D.L. Moody, once asked the question “What could God do with a man who was totally committed to Him?” And then Moody answered his own question, “Lord let me be that man.” D.L. Moody went on to pastor one of the largest churches of his day, he became a well known evangelist and founded the Moody Bible Institute and Moody Press. A lot of Christians are content to only do little things for God. Peter wasn’t like that – Peter climbed out of the boat and walked on water. Now we don’t know how far he got before he started to sink, but he walked on water father than any other disciple, because none of the others got out of the boat.