Summary: This message shows the choices we have when confronted with storms.
Scripture: Matthew 14:22 – 34
Title: “Walking on Water”
Introduction: Jesus and His disciples had spent the day with some 5,000 plus people. Jesus taught them and then he miraculously fed them all with just a bit of bread and fish. After Jesus taught all those people, He put His disciples into a boat and had them set sail for the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Meanwhile, Jesus went off by Himself to pray. The disciples were in the boat, far away from land when a great storm swept down on them. The disciples strained against the oars. The wind was fierce and “they were fighting heavy waves.” To their utter dismay, they saw an apparition come toward them. They thought it was a spirit or a ghost, and they cried out in terror. But it was Jesus! “It’s all right,” He said, “I am here! Don’t be afraid.” They had been out there for nine hours. They were tired, wet, and cold—just trying to hang on. (This is a TRUE story!)
I have heard the term, “Walking on the Water” all of my life in one form or another.
Most of the time when reference is made to “Walking on the Water” it is made to describe something that is impossible. (Or HARD to believe!)
It seems that life, at times, is filled with impossibilities. Almost every Christian has said at one time or another, “I thought when I became a Christian things wouldn’t be so difficult.”
Peter and the rest of the disciples were in contact with Jesus almost all the time and still this TRIAL came to them.
Jesus knew that the storm was about to strike and He deliberately directed His disciples into it!
However, they were safer “in” the storm within the will of God than on dry ground with the crowd “out” of His will.
But why would Jesus lead them into a storm?
I. STORMS AND THE REASON FOR THEM.
a. Just as sure as the Lord “sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Mt. 5:45) He allows storms to come upon the Christian and the non-Christian alike.
b. The Bible indicates that there are three primary kinds of storms that come to us from our God:
(1) Storms of correction—to awaken, to discipline, to get our attention.
(2) Storms of perfection—to build character in us, to deepen our faith and make us more sensitive to the suffering of others.
(3) Storms of reproduction—to cause others to imitate our response to suffering or to choose our Christ.
c. There is no OIL without SQUEEZING – No WINE without PRESSING the grapes – No FRAGRANCE without CRUSHING the flowers – And NO real JOY without SORROW.
ILLUSTRATION: When they first manufactured golf balls, they made the covers smooth. Then they discovered that after a ball had been roughed up one could get more distance out of it. So they started manufacturing them with dimpled covers. So it is with life; it takes some rough spots to make us go the farthest.
d. Going through a storm CHANGES our PRIORITIES. (Key-word: “Through”)
e. Going through a storm gives us the OPPORTUNITY to RE-FOCUS – Take a look at where we are and what we are doing.
f. So if you’re going through a storm and if the bottom seems to be dropping out, consider that the storm may be in God’s will for you.
g. What’s your STORM?????
II. THE PRESENTATION OF A CHOICE.
a. When the disciples saw Jesus they were afraid and then came His words, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”
b. Most of the time CHOICES come in times of TRIALS & DIFFICULTIES.
c. All 12 men were PRESENTED with a CHOICE: to jump in or sit on the sidelines.
d. The DISCIPLES were AFRAID – Fear is probably one of the GREATEST DISTRACTORS that we have to DEAL WITH!
e. These disciples had never been given a CHOICE like this one before!
f. 11 of the disciples ASSASINATED their FAITH by INACTIVITY (They REMAINED in the BOAT). “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2:17)
g. We will TRUST the BOAT – We will take our CHANCES with what we’re used to!”
h. DO YOU WANT TO BE WHERE JESUS IS?
i. What is YOUR BOAT?
III. TAKING THE PLUNGE.
a. I’m sure that Peter thought he had seen everything there was to see as far as STORMS on the Sea of Galilee was concerned
b. “If it’s YOU Lord, bid me come to YOU on the water.” Do we have the right to put conditions on whether or not we walk by faith? – Yes! – Right here in this Scripture and when Gideon CHALLENGED God with the FLEECE. (Judges 6:36-40.