Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Evening Sermon Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/ev/ev19960908.htm
MATTHEW: JESUS AS ISRAEL'S MESSIAH AND HIS MESSIANIC KINGDOM
Part X. Christ's Messianic Kingdom Postponed
D. Gaining Or Missing Christ's Victory When Life's Storms Threaten Our Survival
Lesson: (1) Life's trials are permitted by God as opportunities to mature in our faith, Jas. 1:2-4. (2) To handle them, we must (a) recall God's leading before the storm as signaling the direction He intends that we MAINTAIN in the tria l, and (b) note that God's will is not to remove the trial until we have learned to use His directives to date to MAINTAIN our proper course of life while in the trial!
- If the Christian life were nothing but a bed of roses, living would be academically simple.
- The fact is that storms arise that constrict and conflict with our goals, and even threaten to unseat us en route to those goals.
- There are dynamics in spiritual victory over life's storms, the conflicts that threaten to sidetrack us from our desired goals and havens of rest, and they are displayed in simple terms in Matthew 14:22-33.
- Gaining Or Missing Christ's Victory When Life's Storms Threaten Our Survival, Mtt. 14:22-33.
- The account of Peter's walking on the water reveals a personal partial victory and partial defeat for Peter:
- When Jesus first appeared walking on the stormy waves, and the disciples cried out for fear, thinking they had seen a spirit, Jesus urged them to cheer up as it was Himself and not a spirit they saw, 14:26f.
- Peter responded with an assertion of faith: if it really was Jesus, Peter asked the Lord if he could walk on the water as He was doing, 14:28.
- Jesus responded, ordering Peter to "Come!" (Mtt. 14:29a)
- However, though Peter at first stood up on the water upon leaving the boat, his notice and fear of the boisterous sea resulted in faithlessness, and he began to sink, Mtt. 14:30a. He consequently cried out to the Lord for help, and Jesus stretched forth His hand and brought Peter back up to walk with him on the water again, Mtt. 14:31a,32.
- In the process, Christ rebuked Peter for his lack of faith in His word, Mtt. 14:31b.
- However great one's faith might have to be to walk on water in that situation, Peter was still without excuse for failing to handle this storm of life crisis as we note from these facts in the account:
- It was Jesus who had initiated the boat trip in the first place, constraining His disciples to get into the boat and to go before Him to the other side, Mtt. 14:22.
- Thus, Peter knew three divine hopes for his crisis no matter what obstacles he faced in the crossing:
- God wanted him in the boat to finish crossing to the other shore, v. 22's "get into a ship."
- God's will was for Peter to make it to the other side of the Sea, "unto the other side."
- Jesus was going to join the disciples sometime so that they would be with Jesus again on the other side of the Sea, Mtt. 14:22 ("go before him").
- Thus, when Jesus arrived walking on the water, and when Jesus had informed Peter to come to Him on the water, he should have applied these original and stated intentions of Jesus to trust that he would continue to remain buoyant while walking to Jesus on the water. He should have done so as follows:
- First, God's will was for Jesus to meet these men somewhere in between the Sea and the shore on the boat, or after they got to the shore, so Peter should not have sunk in that rendezvous effort! Thus, since Jesus commanded Peter to come to him, he should have realized that the walk was to be secured as long as he would be meeting Jesus and He would be traversing back to get into the boat.
- Second, Peter should have recalled that he would have made it back to the boat alive, for God's will was for him to make the other shore in the boat, and he had to get back into the boat to do that!
- Third, Peter should have realized that God wanted him alive on shore; he was not going to die by drowning in the meantime if that was the stated will of Jesus!
- Also, note that Jesus rebuked Peter for his faithlessness before stilling the storm: He rebuked Peter upon grasping his hand and the storm was not quieted until they both got back into the boat, Mtt. 1 4:31-32. God did not want to remove the storm until Peter had learned to trust him in the midst of the storm! Storms are opportunities to grow in faith!