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Take your faith to the next level

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Take your faith to the next level!

Mathieu 14:25-32

My brothers and sisters, may the peace and the grace of God be with you forever!
A man had fallen from a cliff, but he managed to grab a branch on the way down. "Is there anyone up there?"  he shouted. "I am here, I am the Lord, do you believe me?" Says the voice. "Yes, Lord, I believe, I truly believe, but I can not hold on to the branch for much longer." If you really believe, you will be well, I am going to save you, just let go of the branch. " The man took a break for an Instant then said: "Is there anyone else up there?"

Many Christians say they have faith but have never tested their faith. This afternoon I am going to help you take your faith at a step higher.
Please open your Bible with me to reread the passage, which was read in the Gospel according to St. Mathieu 14:22-33
My brothers and sisters, When doing an the exegesis of this passage, we can understand that Jesus wanted to get rid of his disciples and send away the crowd for which he had made a great miracle for two main reasons:

Firstly, the people wanted to crown Jesus as a King by emotion before his time and secondly, Jesus wanted to be alone to pray his father.

My dear friends, let me remind you this afternoon that often, we find ourselves in situations where we need to be alone with God.
My brothers and sisters, according to John the Evangelist, following the departure of Jesus, the disciples had left Bethsaida, the home of fish to go to Capernaum. Verify that in John 6: 17.

Capernaum is located only an hour away from Bethsaida, or roughly a 31 / 2 miles. But the weather was very bad and a big storm was while they were in the midst of the Lake of Galilee and they pass around 8 hours on the water.
My dear friends, Around 3 and 6 in the morning, Jesus walked on water while the storm raged and the disciples were troubles.
As we read our Bibles, we discover that there are two kinds of storms: storms of correction, when God disciplines us, and storms of perfection, when God helps us to grow. Jonah was in a storm because he disobeyed God and had to be corrected. The disciples were in a storm because they obeyed Christ and had to be perfected. Jesus had tested them in a storm before, when He was in the boat with them Matthew 8:23-27
but this time, he tested while he was missing the boat.

My dear friends let try to find the application of the passage.
in the midst of the storm on the lake, the apostle Peter, apparently the leader of the disciples, had exposed his faith to a higher level by walking on the water to go meet Jesus.
Have you tried to overcome the impossible with God? Listen Pierre had done it.

Listen, I know it’s hard, but we can still attempt the impossible things especially if it is for God.

Remember that Jesus had replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Matthew 19:26

My brothers and sisters, through the passage I will give you 4 major principles that will help you overcome the impossible these rules will allow you to take your faith to a higher level.
Principle # 1. Do not listen to or take advice from any detractor.  In verses 25-27, Seeing Jesus walking on water, the disciples said it was a ghost. You see my dear friends, the disciples came from all cultures and background, and so they had still believed in superstitions. Like wise today, there are still Christians who believe in superstitions.

My brothers and sisters, In life, there are many people around you who can make or break you. There are people who can get you up, and those who can get you down. (My own experience with medicine)
The principle of Rule One recognizes that if you're going to try the impossible, there will be many who will tell you why you should not do it. Do not get counsel from the pessimist.
Winston Churchill said that "The pessimist always sees difficulty in every opportunity but, the optimistic found an opportunity in every difficulty.”
Saul is a perfect example because he believed David was impossible to remove the giant Goliath. Verify that in 1 Sam.17.33

Principle # 2. Never try to cross the impossible counting on your energy.
My brothers and sisters, when Peter had requested from Jesus to walk to Him on the water, I believe that he had put all his trust in Jesus.
Simon Peter asked, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." Simon did not start walking on the water until Jesus commanded him to "come." Therefore, the impossible was attempted only after the Lord gave the command and the strength to do so.
"You will not succeed by your own strength or power, but by my Spirit says the Lord." Zech. 4:6

Principles # 3. Do not remain idle and say that you have faith.
To complete the impossible, we must get out of the boat. In verse 29, we see that Simon Peter came out of the boat and began to walk on the water without any problem. Listen my dear friends, what seems impossible to you  would never become a reality unless you do by faith the first step. Many of us do not see the glory of God because we are still in the boat of our old mentality.
Let me tell you this afternoon that the spiritual life is a progressive life; we need to grow in our relationship with Jesus.

Principle # 4. Do not focus your eyes on the circumstances. But on Jesus.
In verse 29 and 30, we see that Peter walked on water and was heading toward Jesus. Everything was normal for him, but when he left or intimidated by the waves and the storm, he was beginning to collapse into the water. (Illustration of a preacher with a girl he courting)
My brothers and sisters do not be discouraged by the poor conditions of life. Do not be discouraged by the life circumstances.  To go a step higher with Jesus you have to fix your eyes on him and him alone.

My dear friends, God asks us to trust in Him and he will be in our side to protect us because he is our shield. He says through the mouth of the prophet Isaiah that even though we walk in the middle of storms and even when we are in the water, we will not be submerges because he is on our side. Let's see this in Isaiah 43.2

You see, as long as Simon keeps his eyes on Jesus, he is all right, but when he pays more attention to the wind and waves than Jesus, he sinks. All of us can learn from Simon’s experience.
We might criticize Simon, but he walked on water further than anybody else in history except the Lord.

My brothers and sisters, while we are still at the beginning of the year, I would ask you to take your faith in God to a higher level.
This afternoon, if you believe that everything is possible with God, you should get out the boat of despair; you should leave the boat of fear and hopelessness and start crossing the impossible with Jesus.
If you want to take your faith to a higher level, you should go out of the boat of discouragement in order to succeed.
If you want to step out the boat as Simon Peter and start walking to Jesus in the midst of your difficulties and bad circumstances, In the name of Jesus I command you to come to the front and you will see the impossible change to reality.

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