26th February 2017: Ian Middlemist

ian-feb-17Ian preached from Matthew 14:22-33, Jesus walks on water.

There is no safety net in the Christian life, only eyes fixed upon Jesus Christ will save us. Ian gave three points on this scripture:

  • The Christ of Creation
  • A power to bestow
  • A faith to grow.
  • The Christ of Creation:

The disciples have been sent out after a great things has taken place – the feeding of the 5,000. Crowds were wanting the Saviour’s attention but He wants to withdraw, by himself, to pray. So the disciples were told to go out into the boat on the Sea of Galilee. A storm arose. There was a previous occasion, in Matthew chapter 8, where there was another storm. The storm here is very different. In chapter 8 the disciples were afraid for their lives. Here, in chapter 14 they are not so afraid of dying. In chapter 8 Jesus is in the boat. Here, initially, Jesus is nowhere to be seen. In chapter 8 all the disciples are named as being ‘of little faith.’ Here, in chapter 14, Peter receives special attention. Whilst all the disciples are important, there are times when Jesus’ focus is on one only. The Saviour is capable of dealing with the whole as well as the individual. He wants to do a work in our life, He cares about you.

In the storm, during the fourth watch, between 3 and 6 a.m., is often when the greatest trials take place; our struggles are often in the middle of the night. The night hours just seem to go on and on. The disciples had been struggling in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. God doesn’t let us rest, there is always more to be done – to teach us more and more lessons because of His great love for us. What brought fear to the disciples? ‘But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. (Matthew 14:26). The disciples thought this was a ghost but it was none other than the great I am.

They were terrified, shaken to the core because of the ‘ghost’ they saw on the water. We are reminded of Psalm 77:16 ‘When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled.’ The forces of nature are putty in God’s hands, they are under His sovereign authority.

  • A power to bestow:

Jesus reveals Himself, ‘But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.’ (Matthew 14:27). Jesus reveals Himself as a man of peace (Take heart), a man of power (I am), and a man of potential (Do not be afraid).

As we look on, Peter sees his great Saviour. Peter comes naturally to Jesus, wanting to follow his master’s footsteps. He sees the impossible taking place. He is quick thinking and wants to move. ‘And Peter answered Him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”’ (Matthew 14:28). He has no doubt that this is Jesus. What Peter is saying is rather, ‘Since it is you …’ He wants to follow His master. Jesus, after all, has told His disciples to do what He does. Peter now takes those first baby steps out of the boat. His eyes are fixed n Jesus, trusting in Jesus that He would keep him afloat. He too, keeps us afloat. What a miracle for Jesus to talk on water, but mightier still to make Peter walk on water. Do you see what great things Jesus will do for those who trust in Him? He will enable us to do those things that we once thought were impossible. He will carry us through the most trying times. Don’t be afraid, He will carry us through. Come to Jesus Christ, don’t hesitate. Give your life to Him.

  • A faith to grow:

We are not intended to walk on water, we are meant to walk on solid ground. We are designed to be on solid ground. Right now, God wants us to be in Penuel, serving Him. This is without doubt where we are meant to be this morning. The thrill of the Christian life is here in Penuel. Peter steps forward, walks on water but then gets into difficulty. Great difficulties will take place when we take our eyes off Jesus. Peter was easily distracted and became afraid – just as we become distracted. We need to fix our eyes on Jesus. Life can be so hard sometimes; we have immense challenges to face. These are the storms of life the scriptures speak of again and again. We need to fix our eyes upon Jesus. This is why coming to church is so good. Don’t be distracted by your circumstances. The trials of life are so tied to the power of Jesus Christ. Peter’s weak flesh gets the better of his willing spirit. Jesus sets His face towards Jerusalem, let’s fix our eyes afresh on Jesus.

We are constantly a mixture of belief and doubt. Jesus is my all, then He’s a big part of my life and then a small part of my life. The over-riding message of the New Testament is Jesus has got us safe and sound. We are precious to Him, even when we doubt He will never leave us, He will never let us go, He will never let us sink. Peter was rescued. Peter learns the message:

fix you eyes on Jesus,
He’s got you, even when you’re sinking.

We are also like Peter; we believe. His faith was small but he did believe. We’re safe because we have a Saviour. Jesus reaches out His hand and takes hold of us every single day. He will give us strength to perform great things in life – to say no to sin and to preach the gospel people aren’t interested in – not because we’re great, but because Jesus Christ alone is great and cares for us.

 

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