TEXT: Matthew 14:28-32
It seems that the world has its share of risk-takers, the seemingly unafraid to try anything and everything. Have you noticed, those who are unafraid to tackle new skills. Those who just charge ahead into uncertain territories. The world has its share of those who will climb Mt. Everest just because it is there. Or swim the English Channel just because it hasn’t been done that way before. Who will put their lives on hold in order to pursue a dream of winning an Olympic medal. There are those who appear to move without fear or trepidation at any number of task and they make the hardest task seem simple. They make the impossible, easy; the complicated, elementary. WE ADMIRE THE WORLD’S RISK-TAKERS. For without them our world would be dull. Without them our life would be even more difficult than we think it is. For risk-takers expand our horizon, they expand the boundaries of what is and what can be done. Risk-takers shatter our perceptions and our pre-conceived notions. Thank God for the risk-takers who bring a fresh-air to the old and the stayed and bring brand new visions to old dreams. We admire their strength. We admire their tenacity. We admire their courage. Their willingness to run ahead without a way being cleared. We admire them. We love them and we hate them at the same time.
For often these risk-takers are not appreciated. Often they are misunderstood. They called foolish and impractical. We love them and we hate them at the same time. Hate them because as soon as we get used to something they come along and tell us that there is something else. As soon as we get comfortable these risk-takers come along and unsettle us. As soon as we learn how to do it they come along and show us there is still yet more to learn. Soon as you got you Word Perfect 5.0, then there came 5.1 and Word Perfect 6.1. Soon as you got your Word Perfect they came along with Windows 95 and we’re into Office 2010. You love them and you hate them at the same time. We hate them because some of us never try to rise and approach the task ourselves. And instead of trying, we fall down to our preconceived notions that this is the way it has always been done.
And when we look at this Gospel, Matthew the 14th chapter, we will find that it was only Peter who got out of the boat.
There are times in all of our lives when we must venture into the uncharted waters of life. For life calls us to move from our comfortable places along the shoreline and move into the ebb and flow of existence. Life invites us to move from our comfort zones on the shore and take a chance in the middle of the sea. We are called not to live our lives in the margins of the pages of history but life calls us, not be the objects of history, but to participate in the history has it is happening.
As we take a look at our text. In the Gospel of Matthew, the Lord’s biographer tells us that things were happening fast. John the Baptist was beheaded. And Jesus had to take some time off; had to get away to pray. He had to consult with the Father. And so he left the crowds and the multitudes, or so he thought. And they followed him without regards for the provisions for their own bellies. And just a few hours before Jesus had fed them with a little boy’s fish sandwich; for all of the people who came to follow Jesus, only a child remembered to bring a biscuit and some lake trout. And the crowds wanted him to rule Israel. They wanted him to be their king; And to continue to supply more bread and lots of it; And to continue to supply more fish and lots of it. But Jesus was not that kind of messiah. The Disciples where thrilled with their teacher’s popularity and they would become spark plugs now to ignite the issue into something that Jesus didn’t want. For he had not merely come to save them from their physical peril or their bondage in Rome but he had come to save them from their sins. And so Jesus hustled them off into a boat.
And Jesus himself left the multitude and went away to pray, after he had sent the crowds away. Went to replenish His own cupboard. Went to recharge His own batteries. Went to check in with his headquarters and talk it over with Daddy.
While in the middle of the storm, Jesus joins the Disciples by using a different mode of transportation. The word tells us that he used solidified water as his mode of transportation.
And yet the text says that Peter started to sink and that’s when he prayed, amen. If you cannot pray when you are up you will learn to pray when you’re down. Folks who don’t know church and the Bible get into a little trouble and…Oh Lord. Amen. Then the word says that Jesus extends his hand and pulls Peter up and as soon as Peter reached the boat that’s when the storm ceased.
Now what shall we say to these things. What things does the Lord leave for us today that we may go from this place better able to understand our risk-takers; and perhaps be willing to take some risk of our own. Let me lift up three points to you and I’ll take my seat.
The first thing is to:
1. LISTEN TO GOD.
Never give up on what you know you really should be doing. Understand that taking a risk to do what you are called to do would mean that you must face your critics. Others may say that Peter bit off more than he could chew. But I say that his error was not trying to do too much but HIS ERROR WAS RELYING TOO LITTLE ON THE STRENGTH THAT CALLED HIM TO WALK ON WATER IN THE FIRST PLACE.
God’s invitation to develop a new course of action and to go where you have not gone before, to break the mold and try the unheard of, and to open the new doors, yes, makes you a target. There are those who don’t want you to walk on water. Those who don’t like water and since they don’t like it they don’t want you to like it either. You must understand that not everybody is looking for you to make it. Amen. Not everybody rejoices in the fact that you’re happy. But with risk, Yes! It comes ridicule and the unwanted reputation that you are a fool for trying something new… “How in the world do think you gonna make it, you ain’t gonna be no good just like your ol’ daddy ain’t no good.” “You know they don’t let us do that.” And “Why are you always trying to be different?” But if God has called you to do it you just keep trying until you get there. Yes, there are those who will view your action as disrupting the status quo. (SA PAMILYA NATIN PURO TAYO HIGH-SCHOOL LANG, WAG KANG MAG-COLLEGE, WAG KANG MAIBA…SA ATIN PURO TAYO ABOGADO, WAG KANG MAG-IBA NG PROFESSION).
BUT IF JESUS SAYS COME, YOU GO!
- If HE says stand you stand.
- If HE says try it you try it.
- If HE says jump, you say how high.
Never give up on what you know the Lord has called you to do.
The Bible has its share of risk-takers as well.
- While others stood around all day listening to Goliath selling woof-tickets, it was only David who took the risk and went out and challenged him.
- While others acquiesced under Jezebel’s influence, only Elijah dared to take the risk to tackle the system of the day.
- While others had tried and failed it was only Nehemiah who dared to go back to Jerusalem to build the walls again.
- Abraham took the risk and left home while everybody else would have stayed behind.
- And do you think Esther really wanted to go see the king but she took a chance and took her life in her own hands and went to go see brother anyhow.
- Do you think Moses went into the wilderness knowing when he would arrive; nah all he did was step out on faith.
- While Martha was concerned with the kitchen and the house it was Mary who took a risk to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear the preaching for herself.
- While everybody else went home it was only Gideon who took a few good men to dare to tackle the enemies of God.
- It was Jesus who stood up to Herod and said, tell that old fox that I’m gonna do what my Father called me to do: I’m gonna heal today, I’m gonna preach today, and when I get good and ready then and only then I’ll lay my life down.
And it was Peter who got over the initial shock of seeing him on the water and we see this Biblical risk-taker charge into action.
- There were 12 men on the boat but only one spoke up to the impossible.
- There were 12 men on the boat but only one saw an opportunity.
- There were 12 on the boat but only one seized the moment.
- There were 12 on the boat but only one rose to meet the challenge.
- There were 12 on the boat but only one wanted to get out and follow Jesus.
- There were 12 on the boat but only one was willing to defy the laws of nature.
- There were 12 in there but only one who was willing to step out of the ordinary.
- There were 12 over there but only one willing to step into what experience tells you cannot happen.
But it was Jesus who said, “COME!”
Peter was willing to believe it if God said it and if God said it then it’s okay. Jesus if you tell me to come over here I’ll do it. If you tell me to try this thing I’ll do it. You see Jesus had a knack to make the impossible reachable. Understand that there is a world full of tactics and techniques on how to take the risk and succeed; there is a substrata of books and magazines and videos and training courses all marketed to motivate you to achieve. All intent on accentuating the positive and cleaning out the negative; to prime you and pump you, to motivate you that you might spring to the top. But I tell you can read all of the books and view all of the videos and subscribe to all of the magazines and take all the pills and potions you can; but if you cannot go down on your knees in prayer and believe God’s promises and Word with all of your heart, you can never climb up the ladder of success.
If they don’t like it, too bad. If they don’t support you, tough. If they don’t agree with you, too bad. If God has asked you to do it, you just go ahead to do it; come hell or high water you go all the way. (My mom and dad, at first were not agreeing with my call of becoming a pastor…but I told them, this is what the Lord is calling me to do…I suffered with lack of finances, resources, etc., and they would say “not too good words” about me doing the ministry…people around me would say, “You’re better off when you were in your secular job.” But I never listened to them, I listened all the more to what God is calling me to do, I listened more to the promises of God than to the words of men…and I am here to tell you that I never erred in listening to the voice of God. HINDI PO AKO NAGKAMALI NG PINAKINGGAN KONG TINIG SA BUHAY KO!) Never give up on what you know the Lord has called you to do.
The second thing the Lord tells us is to
2. LOOK TO GOD.
Focus your attention on your goals in such a way that disappointments don’t shatter you. Move ahead knowing that one day the wind is going to blew. Knowing that the waves will come up.
The problem with Peter is that he began to pay more attention to his opposition than he did to his goal and that is reaching Jesus. He began to pay more attention to the external circumstances than he did on his goal of reaching Jesus. He took his eyes off of his goal and started to focus on the wind and the waves.
And the word tells us that there was a storm and the winds and the waves began to distract Peter’s eyes from his goal that is reaching Jesus. We must understand that the enemies of our souls; the enemies of God have a job and that is to distract you and disrupt you from your goal. And just because Jesus said ‘do it’ doesn’t mean that there won’t be trouble along the way. There was a whole bunch of stuff going on around Peter and those in the boat but all Peter knew was Jesus said, ‘come;’ and Jesus would not have said come if he did not expect Peter to fully arrive. And if we are going to arrive then we don’t need to worry about the wind or the waves.
When you take your eyes off of your target and start paying more attention to your opposition you will surely sink. You’ve heard it, “I’m too tired. I’ll make it next Sunday.” But I’ve heard it said that, “He never sleeps and He never slumbers!” You know them, “I’m too sick to make it out of bed.” But there was a woman who kept praying and pressing her way to Jesus.
The devil will let a whole bunch of mess distract you. But you’ve got to focus on your goals in such a way that you become impervious to your external circumstances and to the winds and the waves that come your way. You’ve got to keep your eyes on the prize. Keep your eyes on the target in such a way that the wind will blow and you’ll say “what was that?” (FAN AWAY). The waves will come and you’ll just keep on stepping (HIGH STEP). Things will happen and they will not disappoint you because you have your eyes straight ahead. “This is where I’m going…God says this is where I must be…” Let it be the purpose that keeps you going from day to day. In your time of weakness you will call to it and say this is where I’m going. In your times of upset and trouble it will remind you of your goal that you’ve got to move ahead.
I wonder how many of you today are in the boat when you need to be out on the water. Get out on the water. Step out in faith. Don’t wait until you feel like it. Feelings are fickle. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Look at what happened to Peter when he got out of the boat and started walking on water. The Bible says as long as he had his eyes on Jesus he was OK. But when he looked away from Christ, looked around at the circumstances of the winds and the waves and realized where he was and that he couldn’t walk on the water, he began to sink.
HAVE A FAITH-LIFT
Your eyes fixed on Jesus can rewrite your future: “The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible” (Richard De Vos). Faith is like a flashlight – no matter how dark things seem to get, it will help you find your way.
“Every tomorrow has two handles; we can take hold by the handle of anxiety or by the handle of faith.” – Southern Baptist Brotherhood Journal
Regret looks back; worry looks around; faith looks up. Great leaders are almost always people of great faith. God has something for the man who keeps his faith in Him. Your life will shrink or expand in proportion to your faith.
Think like a man of action and act like a man of faith. Prayer is asking for rain; faith is carrying the umbrella. You must first be a believer if you want to be an achiever.
Faith is not a pill you take but a muscle you use. Faith is when your hands and feet keep on working when your head and others say it can’t be done. Faith is necessary to victory. The world says, “Seeing is believing.” Faith says, “Believing is seeing!”
Doubt is the great modern plague. Even so, faith can cure it. Real faith will refuse to see anything that is contrary to the Bible. It won’t look at the circumstances or conditions but the promise.
Old folks used to put it this way, “I don’t feel no ways tired. I’ve come too far from where I started from…Nobody told me the road would be easy but I don’t believe He brought me this far to leave me.” God did not call you out to leave you in midstream. LOOK TO GOD!
And then lastly,
3. LET GOD.
First you’ve got to listen to God. Second, you’ve got to look to God. And finally, you’ve got to let God. REMEMBER THAT IT WAS GOD WHO MADE IT HAPPEN. It wasn’t Peter’s intellect. It wasn’t Peter’s wardrobe. It wasn’t his face. I wasn’t his pumped-up pectorals. It wasn’t the broadness of his shoulders. IT WAS NOT ANYTHING BUT JESUS WHO MADE IT HAPPEN.
- It was the Lord who called him.
- It was the Lord who sent him.
- It was the Lord who sustained him.
- And it was the Lord who kept him from drowning in the water.
It was Jesus who made it happen, nobody else but the LORD. And it’s time for you to become some risk-takers in the name of Jesus.
It’s time for us to get out of the boat. It may be a whole lot of folk in the boat but now you’ve been pumped and you’ve been primed and you’ve been motivated in the word of God. And you can stay here all day if you want to but somebody needs to get out of the boat. You can come back to the boat for safe-keeping every now-and-then. You can come back to the boat to be refueled. You can come back to the boat to be refreshed. For this boat has landed a many a thousand. It’s the old ship of Zion and it can get you safely home. But somebody needs to get out of the boat and take some risks, to step out in faith, in the name of the Lord.
- GET OUTTA THE BOAT AND THINK FOR YOURSELF, INSTEAD OF FOLLOWING EVERYBODY ELSE.
- GET OUTTA THE BOAT AND BE HONEST IN A CROOKED WORLD.
- GET OUTTA OF THE BOAT AND LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR INSTEAD OF HATING EVERYBODY ELSE.
- GET OUTTA OF THE BOAT AND INSTIST ON LIVING WHEN HALF THE WORLD WANTS TO DIE.
- GET OUT OF THE BOAT AND DARE TO BE THE PERSON GOD WANTS YOU TO BECOME!
GET OUT OF THE BOAT! AND LET GOD DO THE REST…STEP OUT IN FAITH!
KNOW YOUR LIMITS, THEN IGNORE THEM!
Again, life is too short to think small. Rather, do as Joel Budd encourages us: “March off the map.” Most people could do more than they think they can, but they usually do less.
You never know what you cannot do until you try.When he called Peter out of the boat, the power to walk on the water was given to Peter. When did he realize the power? When he was in the boat? No. You see, you’ll never know that you can walk on water until you get out of the boat.
Everything is possible – never use the word “never.” Charles Schwaab said, “When a man has put a limit on what he will do, he has put a limit on what he can do.”
If you devalue your dreams, rest assured the world won’t raise the price. You will find that great leaders are rarely realistic by other people’s standards.
The answer to your future lies outside the confines that you have right now. If you want to see if you can really swim, don’t frustrate yourself with shallow water. Cavett Robert said, “Any man who selects a goal in life which can be fully achieved has already defined his own limitations.”
Art Sepulveda’s advised: “Be a history maker and a world shaker.” Go where you have never gone before.
Ronald McNair says, “You only become a winner if you are willing to walk over the edge.” Let us all understand Randy Loescher’s perspective: “God says, ‘Ask me for the mountain.'” The Bible says, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27).
Christian, don’t you know who you are? If you don’t, let me encourage you to get into the Word and find out. Who you are is not who I say you are. Who you are is not who your friends say you are. Who you are is not who your parents say you are. Who you are is not who your brothers or sisters say you are. Who you are is not even who you think you are. Who you are is who God says you are.
WE NEED TO SEE FROM THE WORD OF GOD WHO WE REALLY ARE. We need to believe that Word and act on that belief. And we will find that when we take that step of faith, we can do what he said we could do, because it is true.
Do you see how this applies to us as Christians? A lot of times we don’t know who we are in Christ, what are the promises of God that are ours, what are the blessings that God has given us as his children. We act like who we were instead of acting like who we are. We don’t do things that we can do because we think we can’t do them. After all, we think, we never could do them. We believe the lie of the devil rather than the Word of God.
With the call of God comes the power of God to obey God. GOD NEVER CALLS YOU TO DO SOMETHING THAT HE WILL NOT GIVE YOU THE POWER TO DO. Why would he do that? HE KNOWS YOU CAN’T DO IT IN YOUR OWN STRENGTH.
I challenge you to dare to take risk in the name of the Lord and be what God has called you to become!
- Tim Patrick
- Mack Page
- Michael Treston
- John Mason