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Walking on Water Pt.1

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Walking on Water

Matthew 14:22-33

I.   Intro

a.        The tragedy of Virginia Tech

           i.      Debates are stirred around every coffee shop, classroom, water cooler at work

           ii.      What could possibly cause someone to commit such a heinous crime

1. There debates in regard to environment versus genetics

a.  Does unrestricted exposure to violence in the media and music have anything to do with the increase in crime?

b.  Does the manner in which he was brought up, the parenting he received have much to contribute to this act of violence

c.  What of his allegations, that he was a victim of bullying, he is justified to call himself a martyr for all the countless victims of social injustice

2.       We debate and discuss, as one brother said, speaking about it is his way of coping with it

David Kao-

Turn it off today. Turn off CNN and Fox and MSNBC. Don't go surfing for more information. Don't listen to all the people talking. Don't let the media do it for you.

There is this temptation with our saturated news to immerse yourself in it because immersion feels like action, immersion feels involvement, immersion feels like empathy. Watching sobbing students and parents and doctors somehow makes us feel closer to this tragedy. But there is also an enormous risk to it as well - that it paralyzes us, absorbs all of our time, and prevents us from doing the things that we need to do to help those we can impact - those who are around us.

As a news junkie this is something of a novel concept to me. But it is one that was encouraged by an email I got from a friend who runs a tutoring program. She wrote,


"So many are asking what can we do to stop the continued random acts of violence. There are no easy answers, but I say to all of you..... each time you bring yourself through the doors of a church, even after a long and tiring day..... that hour and half you spend with a child or young person, is the best ammunition we have against the enemies continued attempts to rob us of precious lives. Every open book. Every math problem solved. Every paragraph read. Every checker game played... serves to keep our kids safe as we love and nurture them and prayerfully bring them to a place where they will never be the one with a gun in their hands. Instead they will spend their lives being agents of peace."

a.        Yet we can only do those things if we have time and the emotional and spiritual energy needed to give of ourselves. Surrounding ourselves with the unending symphony of horror around tragedies like this one a few hundred miles from me in Virginia robs us of that energy.

                       i. I only thought of the families, the parents

1. I can’t even begin to fathom receiving news of some tragedy at school where something could have happened to my children

2.       School is suppose to be a haven, a safe environment for our children

                                                                                      ii.      How does a parent cope with such a tragedy?

1.       They all must deal with it in their own way

a.        If we are Christians we do have Christ

b.       What does that entail, in times of difficulty what does that look like

Reading of the Passage

Opening Prayer

II.                  The Dispersion, v. 22-23

                                                               i.      After the miracle what now?

b.       The Multitude-

                                                               i.      He hastily dismisses the crowd and His disciples

1.       John gives a reason for the hasty dismissal

 So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king,  withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.  John 6:15

2.       To avoid this He immediately dismisses the multitude

c.        The Disciples-

                                                               i.      “He made the disciples get into the boat”

1.       And to prevent the disciples from getting carried away with the same momentum, He sends them away as well

a.        It is w/o a doubt our church is a very special place, we greatly enjoy one another

                                                                                                                                       i.      As we greatly enjoy the blessings of God for our church- it would also be a sin if we allowed our company to prevent us from going out

                                                                                                                                      ii.      The purpose of the church is to train and equip believers to go and make disciples of the all nations

1.       It saddens me to see anyone leave our church, but it would sadden me even more if I allowed my own sentiments to override the obedience of Christ

2.       They went into the boat- their obedience to Christ was supreme

d.       Christ, v.23

                                                               i.      He was alone  “He went up on the mountain by Himself

1.       Extremes are dangerous

a.        There are some when they withdraw completely- you know there is trouble

                                                                                                                                       i.      My cousin when he was about 13 began to socially change, totally withdraw, lock his door, no longer socialized with family- he began to experiment with drugs

b.       People can’t be left alone, constantly in need of company

                                                                                                                                       i.      Both are evidence of a void in life and we try every substance, every means to fulfill that purpose except what will satiate every hunger

c.        The very means of why Jesus was alone- to be with God

                                                                                                                                       i.      Is God your contentment?

1.       As God came to Abraham in solidifying His covenant to Abraham, “I am your shield, your great reward.”

2.       God is the ends to our life

“Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; Exodus 19:3-4

[1]

2.       We all can find reasons why we do not worship, why we do not serve, why we do not pray

a.        But follow the example of Jesus, He too could have kept working, He had a deadline- He realized it all began with God and ended with God and He spent time alone with the Father

                                                                                                                                       i.      Story the admin told us about a student upon graduation whose wife left him on graduation day, “You spent the past four years with these books, spend the rest of your life with them as well.”

b.       He set this example for us- there is no one better to converse with, no better time to be spent, nothing more precious to invest in than to be with the Lord

III.                The Act of Obedience, v. 24

a.        The Calmness of the Sea

                                                               i.      When Jesus set off the disciples, the sea was quite calm

Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, and after getting into a boat, they started to cross the sea to Capernaum. It had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing.  - John 6

1.       Their boat only began to be tossed after they were some distance away, later in the evening

a.        The Sea of Galilee is no sea at all

                                                                                                                                       i.      Dimensions were 13 x 8- the Great Salt Lake in Utah is 260 x larger than the Sea of Galilee

                                                                                                                                      ii.      The waves created in the surface- the sea is surrounded by large cliffs on every side except the south end, on the east end rises the Golan Heights to the heights of 2,700 feet and the sudden rush of cool winds down the slopes onto the warm waters of the sea will generate very quick violent storms and create waves up to 10 ft in height.

                                                              ii.      But many times when we become Christians- it is calm seas- we are sober, we have a firm understanding of our decision

1.       But as soon as the winds begin to pick, our immediate reaction is to question our faith

a.       “Why is this happening to me?”  “I thought when I gave my life to Jesus it was suppose to be perfect”  that’s a different church- preaches Name it and claim, the prosperity gospel, since you are rich you should be materialistically wealthy if not something is wrong with your faith, that you are not praying hard enough, you should be healthy, something is wrong- Joel Olsteen, “Your Best Life Now”

b.       Sovereignty of Their Placement

                                                               i.      The disciples were exactly where Jesus had placed them

1.       We cannot be surprised to be met with gails and storms in our duty for Christ

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 1 Peter 4:12-13

a.        I believe Christians to very naïve to think that once we become Christians that it will be smooth sailing in life

                                                                                                                                       i.      You might say that’s not me- it is you when you find yourself surprised as to why things are just not going your way and then it alters you manner in worshipping your savior

2.       There is a consideration for the cost of discipleship, Luke 14:26-35

a.        God will test us, for knowledge

                                                                                                                                       i.      You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.  Deut. 8:2

1.        It is not for His knowledge, He is Omniscient, all knowing- it is for our benefit, to recognize the genuiness of our faith

b.        God never promised us there will always be sunshine, that there will never be no rain, give them all, give them all to Jesus

c.        No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.  – 1 Cor 10:13

c.        Their Determination in Obedience, v. 24

                                                               i.      “battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary”

1.       They were struggling with the wind as the north east wind was blowing them away from their destination

a.        This picture from Rembrandt may give seem picture as to what their passage was like

b.       John says they were three miles out and the harder they rowed, the further they were from their destination

                                                                                                                                       i.      We all have experienced this, it seemed as if when we are committed to Christ, the harder we work, the less progress we make, what do we do now?

c.        They didn’t turn back, it would have been such a convenient reason for them to turn back, to go back to Jesus and just wait for Him on the shore

                                                                                                                                       i.      “Quitting never solves anything”

1.       It may seem to be the most convenient, easy solution, but it will always set you backwards in progress not move you forward

2.       What a lesson learned for the church

a.        Think of what their disobedience could have gotten them

                                                                                                                                       i.      A night warm and snuggled, a good night’s rest, a stomach full and content, more money in your bank account, another degree to hang, another day to spend at the mall

b.       It was obedience that made them uncomfortable

                                                                                                                                       i.      It was obedience that led Corrie Ten Boom to Ravensbruck concentration camp

                                                                                                                                      ii.      It was obedience that led Jim Elliot and three other missionaries to their deaths in their attempts to evangelize to the Aucan Indians in Equador

                                                                                                                                    iii.      It was obedience that led our Christ to the cross

1.       If you commit yourself to obedience to Christ, you will expose yourself to a variety of sorrow in life

2.       In your caring, your commitment to biblical living, you will make yourself vulnerable to things which the uncommitted heart will never experience

                                                              ii.      Last year’s mission trip to Vera Cruz

1.       We thought it was going to be a seaside resort- shrimp cocktails- it turned out to be the hardest physical experiences of my life- the heat, the dirt, the mosquitoes, being away from my family

a.        Those are things I have to work hard to remember- it is the smiles of the children, the scores of autographs we signed, the beauty of the country, the marvelous pastors, Pastor Arturo and Chico, their warmth, hospitality and the precious time we spent together as a team

b.       While obedience may bring contrary winds, it will also bring joy

                                                                                                                                       i.      If you never climb a mountain you will never scrape your shin but you will never stand on its majestic peak in exalted victory

                                                                                                                                      ii.      You never play baseball you will never strike out but you will never hit a home run as well

                                                                                                                                    iii.      Never obey Christ and you will never know contrary winds but you will never experience the service and power of the Holy Spirit fill your sails neither

2.       This text paints such a beautiful picture

a.        As Christ retreats in seclusion upon the mountain top, praying while the moonlight hits upon the sailless mast of a tiny boat caught in contrary winds not making much head way, Christ’s children struggling in their obedience and making no progress

                                                                                                                                       i.      In such a case it would be easy for us to second guess God

1.       “Why give such a ridiculous order?  You knew a storm was coming?”  Did you even care?

                                                                                                                                      ii.      Mark says, “Jesus saw the disciples straining at their oars”  Mark 6:48

1.       Did he see with his human eyes three miles away or was this a statement of the powers of His divinity

2.       But the point is that Jesus has His focus upon those who were undergoing difficulty on the account of their obedience to Him

b.       Human tendency would teach us that during times of difficulty, to try to imagine the face of God with blind eyes

                                                                                                                                       i.      But the text is teaching us something contrary-

1.       Followers of Jesus in storms are special objects of His omniscient, compassionate care- this should be the greatest comfort for us who are in the midst of great difficulty 


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[1]New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Ex 19:3-5). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

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