"PRESSING THROUGH THE STORM"
(A Series on Jesus)
C.R.2/22/87p.m. John 6:16-21
PROPOSITION: Christ has commanded that we cross the
lake and take the healing power of God to people on the other side inspite of the storms that try to block us because He will come to us in the storm, cause us to do the impossible, and bring us to the other side, glorifying His name.
- THE call of God rests on this fellowship and on you if you are a part of us.
- IT is a call to do great things in these last days in His name.
* It is a call to seek Him and know Him intimately.
* It is a call to live a holy life in the power of the Spirit.
* It is a call to live in repentance....constant brokenness before the Lord...pliable, like clay in the potters hand.
* It is a call to live in love with one another...holding each other up before our own individual needs.
* It is a call, now, to aggressively get into the harvest fields all over this city...and each of us to be a soul-winner. (God is surrounding me with this message.....tell about Pastor Wenig.)
- THIS is something that God is doing amongst us now and beware because satan is going to do ALL that he can to stop us from within or without. Be alert to his tricks in your marriage, in your personal walk, in your disciplines, in your relationships with others in the Body.
- THIS is not something that is unique to First Assembly, God is doing this in many churches that are sincerely seeking Him today.
- I HAD one pastor ask me yesterday, who visited our services a few months ago, "When I walked in the door I sensed an anticipation in the church.....an expectation in the people that God was going to do something. Is that always there?"
- MY answer was that as long as we keep seeking Him and doing what He asks, there will always be that expectation in the air.
- GOD is NEVER boring. He always has something great planned for a people that puts their trust in Him.....some new challenge....some new mountain to climb...some ocean to cross.
- IT has been true around here for four years now. It has been true in many individual lives and families. It can be true in your life as well.
- THINGS will never get stale when you're following Jesus and doing what He says. You just start winning souls and you will see things start popping in your life.
- IT was certainly true for Jesus' disciples.
- IN John 6 they had just finished being used of the Lord to feed 5,000 men, plus women and children.
- WHAT an incredible miracle to be a part of!
- THINK of the media exposure with that one!
* No more trips to Econo Foods.
* No more grocery budget.
* No more planting, weeding and harvesting.
- ALL the food you want out of five loaves and two fish.
- LET'S make camp right here on this hill and let the people come to us.
- WE'LL call ourselves "Fish and Loaves Ministries".
- LET'S not move from this place. We have a great thing going here.....besides, I am a little bushed from running around with all those baskets. I need a rest.
- BUT Jesus had something more for them to do. He wasn't going to let them camp at the "Fish and Loaves" headquarters at all.
- IN John 6:16, He dispatched them to the other side of the lake.....to Capernaum.
* He was going to dismiss the crowd that was gathering for more bread and fish.....and get away to pray and be renewed in His Spirit.
- BESIDES, HE had some miracles for them to be a part of on the other side of the lake.
- SO they left the site of the old miracle and they left solid ground and got in the boat and set out for Capernaum.
II. THEY OBEYED HIS COMMAND
- THE first thing I want to draw your attention to tonight is the circumstances surrounding the Lord's command.
- MATTHEWS account of the story says; "Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd." (14:22)
- HE commanded them to move on from the loaves and fish miracle and get across the lake to minister to others in need.
- THIS was not a suggestion from Jesus, He made them get in the boat and go.
- HE wanted them to move on in ministry.
- HE had plans, that they didn't know of yet, to show Himself to be great in Capernaum.
- HE wanted them to move on and not linger.
- AND John's account says that it was dark when He made them set out....kind if hard to see where you're going.
- BUT a command is a command, especially when it's Jesus, so they obeyed.
- GOD doesn't want us lingering at the site of His last miracle.....we are too inclined to erect a momument to the miracle and miss the whole point....and to get in a rut there and die.
- NEVER in His whole ministry, or the ministry of His apostles after Him, did they linger at the site of a miracle. They always moved on.
- WE have seen miracle here in the past four years;
* People have been saved and baptized.
* People have been healed.
*Marriages have been restored.
* The presence of the Lord has been wonderful.
* God provided Kennedy High School when we were told that we could not meet there.
* He provided this beautiful building through your faithfulness and sacrifice...your five loaves and two fish.
* He has spoken powerfully through the gifts these past four years.
* We have been fed by His miracle hand.
- MANY of you have tasted the miracle these past four years, in one way or another, in your lives.
- MANY of you ARE the miracle.
- BUT He does not want us to camp out on the miracle.
- WE can't linger on the miracle.
- THERE are people on the other side of the lake that need the miracle.
- IF we stay here the miracle will go stale...it is going stale for some of you right now.
- YOU can't keep more manna than you can use or share.
- IT is time to get off the solid ground and get into the boat for the other side.
- I OBVIOUSLY can't tell you what you are being called to do.......and sometimes He doesn't tell us untill we are there.
* Maybe it is a call to witness to some people that you have been afraid to talk to before.
* Maybe it is to plan to go on the next missions trip we have.
* Maybe it is to teach a class.
* Maybe it is to become a CARE group leader.
* Maybe it will be to prepare for the evangelism that we are going to be moving in to.
* Maybe it will be to be a worship leader in the choir or orchestra.
* Maybe it will be to make plans for the mission field...or some full time ministry.
* Maybe it is to become an intercessor in the Body.
* Maybe it is a ministry that we hav'nt even thought of yet, but God wants you to bring it to our attention and for you to spear-head it.
- HE has a miracle that He wants to perform through YOU on the other side of the lake.....IT IS HIS CALL TO FIRST ASSEMBLY RIGHT NOW.
- BUT, you say, Pastor, it is dark. I can't see where I am going.
- THAT'S OK. He will provide the way. He will give the direction as you go.
- IT took faith for the disciples to launch out in the dark, but Jesus commanded them to do it and they obeyed.
- WILL you?
III.THEY RAN INTO AN OBSTACLE
- SO off they go, into the dark, these twelve disciples, and all they know is that Jesus told them to go to the other side.
- AND they pick up their oars...and start rowing.
- FIVE loaves and two fish behind them.......Capernaum ahead of them......all they have to go by is Jesus' command.
- AND they made incredibly good time......had favorable winds.....current in their favor......everybody rowing in time...and they got to the other side ahead of schedule and had time to check into Howard Johnsons for some shut-eye before Jesus got there. RIGHT? WRONG!
- NO! Between them and fulfilling Christ's command they ran smack into a storm.
- ISN'T that the way it goes more often than not?
- JOHN 6:18 says, "A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough"
- IN fact, they rowed for about 8 or 9 hours and only travelled 3 miles from shore.
- HOW discouraging! But notice,
* They didn't abandon ship.
* They didn't stop rowing.
* They didn't jump overboard.
* They didn't turn back.
- EVEN though they were buffeted by the wind and the waves they continued to exert themselves to the limit, rowing for the other side.
- THEY were there by command of Christ and they were NOT giving up.
- THAT'S what it comes to sometimes saints....you are there by command of Christ and that has to be enough to keep you going.
- LET me tell you, satan may let us build a building. He may let us pray and get through to the presence of God. He may even allow us to enjoy the presence they way we have and a few miracles here and there.
- BUT mark my words, the minute we get into the boat to take the gospel to those on the other shore, who are not with us right now, he will send every storm he can to get us to quit.
- I DON'T imagine that our obedience to the call to the harvest will be easy....there may be times when it gets dark and the wind and the waves break over us....but keep your oars in the water...He has commanded us to the other side and will get us there.
- WE have had more demonic attack in the past month than in the previous year;
* We have had marriages under demonic attack.
* We have had people grumbling at each other.
* We have had others getting sick.
* We have had a lot of discouragment.
* Many have been laid off, and those in key leadership positions in the fellowship.
* Many families have had severe problems with their teenagers.
- I HEAR the wind and the crash of the waves.
- I SEE the strategy of the enemy to keep us from the other side.
- WE must be alert to his tactics on every hand and keep our oars in the water.
- YOU know what would have bothered me more than the storm......the lack of progress. (Tell about sailing experience in Mission Bay.)
- BUT they kept pressing on....and so must we...to fulfill Christ's command.
IV. THEY SAW THE CHRIST
- BUT in the middle of the storm, something happened.
- IT happened to the disciples....I am here to tell you, it will happen to you.
- IT is dark......it is windy...it is late.....and the disciples are straining at the oars.....The waves are crashing over the bow.......AND IF I WAS THERE I'D BE THINKING, "THIS IS IT".
" Senior pastor and associates drowned as sea...mourned by millions."
- IT isn't a big surprise, that with death on their minds, they see a figure and immediately presume that it is a ghost.....come to take their souls to the grave. Wouldn't you?
- THESE men of faith and power are screaming at the top of their lungs....."GGGGGHOST!"
- BUT from this "ghost", a familiar voice says,
"Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
- JESUS came to them at the darkest hour...sometime between 3 and 6 a.m.
- THE sea that had hindered their trip was no obstacle to Him.
- WHEN the man-made boat and oars didn't work, Jesus did.
- WHAT they feared, caused Him no fear at all.
- HE is the master of the storm.
- AND when it seems darkest to you......out of the death-like shadows you will see Jesus coming....the master of the storm.
V. THE CALL TO WALK ON WATER
- THEN came an interesting twist to the story.
- WHEN Peter saw Jesus, his faith soared.
- ALL of a sudden, the wind and the waves meant nothing to him.
- "LORD, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water."
- ONE of the greatest stories of the gospel is about to come out of a storm. Listen.
- "COME" Just one word. "COME"
- HE was out of the boat in a flash of faith and was walking on the water too.
- SUDDENLY, when Jesus was there, the thing that had terrified him, terrified him no longer.
- HE faced the water with confidence because of the command of Jesus.....Jesus had done it first.*
* There is safety in doing those things that Jesus has done first.....no more, no less.
* Not your own thing...not your own revelation...but what you have seen Jesus do in the Word.
- THIS gave Peter boldness, so out he stepped.
- BUT suddenly fear crept in. He made the mistake of looking at the waves......and thought about the fact that he was doing what people weren't supposed to be doing.
-AND down he went....he became conscious of where he was and his circumstances.....instead of staying aware of Jesus...and down he went.
- "LORD, save me!"
- THAT'S all it took.
- BEFORE Peter went under, Jesus picked him up to safety...and they walked back to the boat together.
- THE lesson? What you start by faith you must finish by faith.
- LISTEN to what the other disciples say, "Truly you are the Son of God."
- AND they went to Capernaum and many were healed and believed.
- WHO says that storms are not productive.
* THE disciples saw Christ do the impossible.
* Peter walked on water.
* The glory of the Son was revealed.
* The disciples got to the other side and were used of God to add to the kingdom.
IN MY LIFE LORD BE GLORIFIED