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Summary: Good Works and Faithfulness

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Wet Water Walkers & Dry Boat Riders

By Kenny McKinley

Matthew 14:22-36

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Charles Swindoll in his book “Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back” tells a story about a farmer who wanted to impress his hunting buddies. So he went out and bought the smartest, most expensive hunting dog he could find. He trained this dog to do things no other dog on earth could do---impossible feats that would surely amaze anyone. Then he invited his neighbors to go duck hunting with him. After a long patient wait in the boat a group of ducks flew over and the hunters were able to shoot a few of them down. Several ducks fell in the water. The farmer looked at the dog and said, "Go get ‘em!" The dog leaped out of the boat, walked on the water, and picked up a bird and returned to the boat. As soon as he dropped the duck in the boat he trotted off across the water again and grabbed another duck and brought it back to the boat. The owner kind of swelled up with pride as his dog walked across the water and retrieved each of the birds one by one. Kind of smugly, he looked at one of his buddies and asked, "Do you notice anything unusual about my dog?” One of them sat back and rubbed his chin and thought about it for a little while and finally said, “Yeah, come to think of it, I do! That stupid dog doesn’t know how to swim does he?”

Many 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. He draws close to Christ while 11 other disciples sit in the boat, content in their perceived safety. (sermon central)

Let’s remember what was going on here. The disciples had just gotten the news about John the Baptists beheading. But they didn’t even have time to grieve because the next thing we see is the multitude coming to Jesus, and the feeding of 5,000 men (no telling how many women and children there were). And then Jesus tells the disciples to get in the boat and go to the other side.

The Greek says that He strongly urged them to get into the boat and go to the other side. And the next thing you know, along comes a storm.

Which brings me to my first point. When your serving God, and trying to be obedient to Christ, you will have to face storms in your life. Now I’m not talking about physical storms that are common in nature, but the storms of trials and difficulty. Even sitting here today, you may be going through a storm. Maybe it’s money problems, or problems in a relationship. You might be having family problems, or problems at your job or school. We all have storms in life.

Anyone who tells you Christianity is smooth sailing doesn’t understand what the Bible teaches about serving the Lord. 2nd Tim. 3:12 says, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

So basically the disciples were in a storm because they were trying to be obedient to Christ. Now that’s not the only reason storms come in the lives of believers. Remember Jonah? He had to go through a storm for correction, but I don’t think that was the case here in our text.

For the disciples, this wasn’t a corrective storm because they were doing what Jesus had commanded them to do. They were trying to be obedient to the Lord. They were trying to get to the other side.

Remember the last part of the Sermon on the Mount? Where Jesus talks about building your house on the Rock? He said that “whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock, and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, and it did not fall, because it was built on the rock.” He was saying that if your life is built on Christ Jesus, then that doesn’t mean that you’ll be exempt from the storms, but you will be able to weather them. The wise man had to go through the storm, but the difference maker was his foundation.

And in both these instances, we go back to obedience. The wise builder was wise because he was not only a hearer of God’s Word, he was also a doer. And the disciples were obedient as well. Jesus said, “Go to the other side.” And they went, or at least tried. It was a step of faith, and obedience. Which go hand in hand. Remember James tells us that faith without works is dead.

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