Today and next week wraps up this series. I’m concerned some of you may be getting seasick from all those waves. But let’s listen to the story one more time: Matthew 14:25-32 (NLT)
25 About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”
27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” 29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.
30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. 31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.
I’ve thrown out a lot of things so far, and I hope you’ve been keeping the sermon notes pages every week. But, bear with me as I go over the steps we’ve seen so far in becoming a Water-Walker.
Step 1—Get Out Of The Boat. To journey through life with Jesus, you have to get out of the boat. You will never walk with Jesus UNTIL you’re out of that boat.
Step 2—Have The Right Attitude. The right attitude is to accept that there will be challenges as we walk on the water with Jesus.
Step 3—Discover Your Gift. Walking on water comes out of your giftedness and God gives all of us gifts. It’s up to us to discover them.
Step 4—Use Leverage. The leverage we use is our weaknesses against the Power of God. Water-Walking was out of Peter’s wheelhouse, and it’s out of ours.
Step 5—Overcome The Fear. Fear is that demon the keeps us from living the life God gives us. The way to overcome fear is to Rehearse His presence. Renew your mind. And Refocus your attention on Jesus.
I’ve said that no message in this series is more important than any other. But then I did say that Step 3—Discovering Your Gift, was the pivotal message because without the Gift we never leave the boat. Well, today’s message isn’t any more important than the others—and I can’t call it pivotal. Today’s Message is Mission Critical.
Mission-Critical is a term that comes from the business world. Mission-Critical is a task, service, or system that if it failed or was disrupted, an entire operation or business to grind to a halt. It is required to continuing operations.
Today’s one thing you need to remember fits this definition—it is Mission Critical: It Is Risky To Walk On Water But It’s Costly To Stay In The Boat.
Anytime a gift is given, the recipient must choose to respond to the gift in 2 ways. The first way says, “This gift is so valuable it can’t be risked.” It’s like keeping china in the cabinet, afraid to use it. Those who follow this way believe that when the gift is brought out into the open, things may not always go well. The gift may not be appreciated; or it may even get broken. Taking the gift out of the box is always a risk.
The second way says, “This gift is so valuable it must be risked.” Those who follow this way understand that if the gift is not brought out of the box, it will never be used at all. To leave the gift in the box is to thwart the desire of the giver. There is no tragedy like the tragedy of the unopened gift.
Remember God Has Given You A Gift. All that time in high school I thought knowing Verb Tense was a waste of time. I’m using the Past Tense Form. Past tense means that it’s already happened. God Has Given you a gift and with that gift He’s given you a choice—to take the gift out of the box and use it. Or leave it unopened, unused in your life.
Peter put it out there—the possibility of becoming a Water-Walker: If it’s you, call me to you! Peter chose the second way. Peter didn’t ask for a guarantee that he would walk, just the opportunity. Peter took the Risk.
The ones who stayed in the boat chose the first way of accepting a gift. They did not want to risk brokenness or failure. They valued safety over growth. The ultimate adventure in faith was something they were content to watch from the sidelines. The Ones In The Boat Didn’t Want To Be Passed By, Just Passed Up.
They were afraid of the Risk of stepping out of the boat, but they were oblivious to the cost of staying in a boat. Here’s the tragedy of the unopened gift:
It Is To Have Lived Your Life Waiting For Life To Begin; Thinking Life Is Somewhere Off In The Future. It Is Mission Critical Now For You To Take The Risk Of Getting Out Of Your Boat.
Think about the Risks those first disciples took in following Jesus and the Kingdom after Pentecost. They risked alienation, torture and death. They knew it might well be uncomfortable following Jesus. But it was a choice they would make again and again and again.
How, then did we get the idea that following Jesus is meant to be comfortable. People In The Boat Represent All Who Ask For A Promise, But Not A Call; Who Seek A Guarantee But Not A Mission.
There will always be that element of Risk in stepping out of the boat to follow Jesus. But…there are even great hazards by staying in the boat. Most people when faced with the choice of stepping out of the boat or not base their decision on the risks that are outside the boat.
But they never consider the hazards of staying in the boat. Well, we’ve talked about the fears of walking on the water—but we need to look carefully at the hazards of staying in the boat. There are 3 Hazards of staying in the boat.
1. The Danger Of Following A Counterfeit Jesus.
The Real Jesus offers you the forgiveness of your sins—a brand new heart—a life with divine purpose—His Living Presence—and Eternal Life—all as His Gift to us. But it comes with a price. WE have to surrender completely to Him. All sense of self-efforts—surrendered. Living by your feelings—gone. It’s the choice to die to self—daily and moment by moment.
The Counterfeit Jesus offers you none of that. In fact, Counterfeit Jesus insists that you keep your ego—your selfishness—your feelings. The Counterfeit Jesus wants you to focus on how you feel and that what you believe is Truth—regardless of any other Authority. You alone, can determine what is Truth—what is right—what is wrong.
The Counterfeit Jesus promises you Comfort. He releases you from accountability for you choices and actions. In The Boat is where you find this Counterfeit Jesus. Redemption without turning away from sin. Power without using it for the benefit of others.
The Danger is that we create the delusion of security and open the way to an implosion of self, family, community and culture.
All of us give our lives to something. Between this day and your last day, you will give yourself to something. The only question is: What Will You Give Your Life To? Will It Be Worthy? Giving your life to the Counterfeit Jesus undermines the true you. The second hazard is this:
2. The Perils Of A Meaningless Life.
The meaning of life In The Boat is about Self Preservation and Self Protection. It’s that age old question of “What’s In It For Me?” The more we think of Life as being something that is All About Us, the less meaning life has For Us. We miss the real purpose and meaning of life.
The Boat keeps us focused inwardly, never outwardly. Focused inwardly we make ourselves the center of the universe—where dreams become nightmares—where vision becomes darkness—where hope is crushed like a bug. Life is meaningless in the Boat. Why? Because Jesus isn’t there. We are left to self-destruct—and lose all the power—all the wonder—all the beauty of life as it is meant to be lived. The third hazard is worst:
3. The Menace Of A Corrupted Heart.
It doesn’t matter how good we think we are—the truth is our heart is corrupted. Why did you think Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be born again—born from above. At the very core of everyone—that includes me and you—is the DNA of Adam and Eve—whose heart wanted more than God—they wanted to BE God.
The Corrupted Heart wants to use God for their desires rather than for God to use them for His Desires. The Corrupted heart sees moments for self-advancement, not for the greater purpose of the Kingdom of God. The Corrupted Heart uses and misuses people for their own self-gain.
The Corrupted Heart keeps us away from God’s Grace. The Corrupted Heart leads us into an eternity without our Loving Father—without the One who loves us the most.
Our lives are not about self-preservation and fulfillment, but are to be acts of stewardship. Your life, what you do with what God have given you, is a matter of supreme importance.
Use your imagination this morning: Image your life is over. You’re ushered into a small room with 2 chairs, one for you and one for God. There’s a DVD player and TV, and God puts in a disc that has your name, and this title: What Your Life Might Have Been. Imagine watching all that God might have done with your life if you had let him.
You Have No Idea What Your Potential Is—Until You Realize It Is Far More Hazardous In The Boat, Than It Is Risky On The Water. The Boat will create Hazardous Waste in your life. This waste prevents you from the Life God has purposely designed just for you.
Your Next Step:
Get Rid Of The Hazardous Waste In Your Life So That God Can Fill Your Life With His Life. The Hazardous waste is found in the things you are clinging to—rather than walking on the water with Jesus. What Are You Clinging To?
- The good old days?
- Imaginary guilt? (Guilt he’s already taken away)
- Personal comfort?
- “Come back Jesus and end all this mess”?
Is your life meaningless? Has the restlessness of your heart brought you to the realization that what you have isn’t an empty heart, but a corrupted heart? If so, then get out of The Boat. You were not made for the boat—you are made to walk with Jesus.