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Getting that Sinking Feeling

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Prayer:  Thank you Lord for your word.

Intro:  I like to read and collect stories of strange things. Some would say that is because I am a little strange myself.  Others would just strike out the adjective “a little”.  Here is a story that

You may remember Rao, the Hindu holy man who flirted with fame in 1966. The old mystic believed he could walk on water. He was so confident in his own spiritual power that he announced he would perform the feat before a live audience. He sold tickets at $100 apiece. Bombay’s elite turned out en masse to behold the spectacle. The event was held in a large garden with a deep pool. A crowd of more than 600 had assembled. The white-bearded yogi appeared in flowing robes and stepped confidently to the edge of the pool. He paused to pray silently. A reverent hush fell on the crowd. Rao opened his eyes, looked heavenward, and boldly stepped forward. With an awkward splash he disappeared beneath the water. Sputtering and red-faced, the holy man struggled to pull himself out of the water. Trembling with rage, he shook his finger at the silent, embarrassed crowd. “One of you,” Rao bellowed indignantly, “is an unbeliever!”

I have for you today one of the most significant questions in the world.  It is a question that Rao was asking and it is a question that you should ask yourself very frequently. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING THAT YOU COULD NOT DO WITHOUT GOD?”  For me it is stepping up here into the pulpit.  What is it for you?  If you don’t know, get started today.

Was the water walking a good thing? There is some questions here of Peter’s actions.  Was he right or wrong?  Was he doing the right thing in coming to Christ or was he merely looking for a thrill.  In the coming passages of Matthew Peter will be the first one with the correct answer, but also the first one to show that he really doesn’t understand what he is doing.


    1. What-the command to get into the boat. V22a  The word here could be translated constrained or even compelled them to get into the boat.
    2. Where-“Go to the other side”  Realize that it was not the result of sin or bad thinking that they were in the midst of a storm later.  They were there because they were obeying Christ.  IN v.23 it seems as if they are leaving Christ behind.
    1. We fear not because Christ sees us even when we don’t see him. Vv. 24-25  Christ walks out to them in the darkness.  Mark explicitly says that “Jesus saw them straining at the oars”
    2. We fear not because Christ protects us from the things we fear most.  V. 26  They thought it was a ghost.  Ghosts could walk on the water because they didn’t weigh anything.
    3. We fear not because we learn about Christ’s protection tomorrow from what he did for us yesterday.  V. 27  There has already been one stilling of the storm in Matthew.  Jesus uses the words “I Am”
    1. Obedience requires that we step out of the boat. V. 29a  Security can be one of the greatest idols in the world.  We must be willing to fail
    2. Obedience requires that we learn to stay focused on Christ. Vv. 29b.-30.
    3. Obedience requires that we learn to stop worrying about the present.  Vv 31-33.

Concl.  The boat with the disciples in it suggests the church.  The church is in the midst of a storm.  .  It is only those who are willing to fail that actually do anything.  They step out.  In a book called ART AND FEAR tells about a pottery teacher who had two groups of students.  The first group he told would be graded by the pound.  If they made fifty pounds of pots, they would get an A, forty a B and so on.  The second group he told that they only had to make one pot, but their entire grade rested on that one pot so it had better be perfect.  Amazingly, all the highest quality pots came from the group that was making pottery by the pound.  It seems that they were learning from their disasters, and slowly but surely getting better, while the other group just sat around paralyzed by the idea of making a perfect pot. FAILURE IS IMPORTANT WE LEARN FROM IT.  IT IS THAT HOPE, THAT GOD IS TEACHING ME SOMETHING, AND ONLY THAT HOPE THAT KEEPS ME COMING BACK HERE EACH WEEK.  Hoping that maybe one of these weeks I can get it right. My worst sermon is always the last one and my best sermon is always the next one.  I RECEIVED TWO E-MAILS THAT PARTICULARLY STAND OUT THIS WEEK.  One took me to task in a gracious way about a couple of things that I had said a few weeks ago.  I knew when I said them that I had gone too far and I wished that I had a machine that would grab the words and put them back into my mouth.  I wrote this gentleman back and apologized because he was right.  The other e-mail led off by telling me that I was a, and here I quote “a disappointment to the church and to Christ.”  From there he really got mean and essentially told me that the best thing that I could do was to resign from Knox Seminary and from the Church.  E-Mails like that are a little tougher to deal with.  But despite the things that others say about us we are responsible to Christ and it is his voice that we must listen to.  We must be willing to step out when the winds are howling and the waves are crashing and say “Yes Lord, I’ll do that.”  Even if it causes pain, I’ll do that; even if I don’t think I’m very good at it, I’ll do that; even if it means that people are going to laugh at me, Peter has been the brunt of Jokes for 2,000 years, but he walked on water.  What about you? . “WHAT ARE YOU DOING THAT YOU COULD NOT DO WITHOUT GOD?”

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