S-1212 18SAP/3C 9/26/10 Hymns (O) #735; S#722; (C) #731
Text: Isaiah 52:17-10; Acts 1:1-8; Matthew 14:22-32
Them: “Get Out Of The Boat” (Matthew 14:28-29)
Mission Fest St. Peter, Hannover, ND
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! It is a great honor indeed and a privilege to be with you today. The text for our Mission Fest Celebration is from the Gospel lesson: “And Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus” (Matthew 14:28-29).
Introduction: In Nomine IESU
People of God, chosen and beloved, today’s text challenges every son of Adam and every daughter of Eve to live a life worthy of our calling as God’s redeemed and beloved children. This calling is to get out of the boat and to speak to a world that is lost in sin. Today, the Holy Spirit exhorts us to be Christ’s representatives in the pulpit, in the pew, in the parish hall and in the public square. Today, the Savior calls us to be His men and women, boys and girls and live our lives to change other lives—lives that have not come to know the Rabbi from Nazareth as the heaven-sent Savior of the world. Today, Jesus challenges you not to sit on your duff and do nothing, but to hear the message, and get out of the boat.
The problem though, we don’t want to get out of the boat. We are very comfortable in our life-style. Why rock the boat? Why bother? I live my life and they live their lives. Oh, yes, I am a Christian, but Pastor, don’t you ask me to volunteer, don’t ask me to be a Sunday school teacher, don’t ask me to share what I heard and learned. That is for you Pastor. You are trained in theology. You know what to say and how to say. You are so good at it Pastor. Besides, that is why we called you. That is why we pay you too. Oh how we love our boat. Though it is rusty, old, ugly looking, leaks a little, doesn’t move fast or much at all. None-the-less we still like our boat and love to stay in it. For in my boat I find comfort and contentment. PAUSE
Tell me about YOUR boat. What does it look like? Is it your house, your neighborhood, your work, your tractor, your cows, and your bank account? What is the stuff on your boat? Concerns, cares, burdens, blessings, joys, Etc? Truth be told, most of us to tend to be happy in our boat with our own stuff because it is very safe.
Jesus says, “I have something for you to do!” Trust me in all circumstances. However, we say to Him, “But I like my boat. (Walk over to the boat and continue preaching from it) It is safe, comfortable, leaky, broken, ugly boat, but it is MINE. I can control it. I can push it this way or that. I can determine which way I should go, and when I should go. But it is still MINE!
Do you know why we do this, because we are afraid? We are afraid to let God lead us and direct us. Fear is the number one reason why people refuse to get out of the boat. Fear whispers to us that God is not really big enough to take care of us. It tells us we are not really safe in His hands. It causes us to distort the way we think about Him. You will never know God is trustworthy if you don’t risk obeying Him. When you come to the end of your life—all those “what if’s” become “might have beens.” What might have been if I had trusted God?
You see the devil doesn’t want you to get out of the boat; because it is safe. But Jesus tells us put your hand in mine and I will lead you. Just as our sermon hymn stated “Lord, when the temptest rages, I need not fear, For You, the Rock of Ages, Are always near. Close by Your side abiding, I fear no foe, For when Your hand is guiding, in peace I go.” (722 v. 2)
Oh, but to take that step. Dare to be different. To do the unusual is not me. To get out of the boat is so hard. It is so challenging. It is so demanding. It is downright difficult. “Get out of the boat to serve others,” Jesus tells us. “Don’t play it safe. Go I Am with you wherever you go.” But to take Jesus at His Word is so well…not me. Oh, I trust in Jesus, BUT…send someone else Lord. Tell the next person in the pew, they know how to speak.
You are not alone with fear and doubts. You won’t be the first and you won’t be the last to come up with excuses why you shouldn’t and couldn’t get out of the boat. Remember the prophet Jeremiah. God called him from the womb and set him apart to be His spokesperson. But Jeremiah came up with one excuse after another. Listen to how Jeremiah tells of his own fears: “Now the Word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.’ Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.’ But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD’” Jeremiah, like us expresses serious doubts about his own ability to answer God’s call. He responds, “I am just a kid Lord. Can’t do it! Now how, no way!” But the Lord gently and lovingly says: “You are my man, you are my woman. I will use you because my power is in you.”
Honestly, how can a teenager speak to other teenagers about living the wrong way? How can you
Tell your neighbor about the love of Jesus without sounding preachy? How can you tell your co-worker stop stealing? We are so afraid to be a light that burst in the darkness of sin. Satan loves to keep us in the boat. PAUSE
Do you have doubt about your ability to speak God’s Word and stand boldly as a Christian in difficult situation? Do you feel like a child in your spiritual maturity even though you may have gray hair and a solid standing in society? Do you fear speaking up when the opportunity arises? If so, shift your focus from you to the One who changes YOU—Jesus the Christ. By His mighty power He takes each and every one of us and makes us His spokesperson. He uses us in spite of us. He gives us His powerful and mighty Word to change lives.
Remember, you are the baptized, redeemed, forgiven, blood-bought and heaven-bound children of the Most High God. Remember that Christ has called you by the Gospel. And you should remember that Jesus Christ the Lord of the church is the Lord of action: “Let’s go!” (Mark 1:38). Jesus told His disciples. The Church has her marching orders: Preach the Gospel, have compassion, touch the lives in need! Through repentance and faith, we can get out of the boat with courage to carry Christ’s message to a hurting world. Yes, you can because you are armed with the mighty power of the One who made the universe. You can because you are not alone, but He lives in you and with you where ever you go.
Sometimes we make fun of people like Peter and others. We say something like this: “He has weak faith he fell as he saw the wind! We sit in judgment as if we are better or stronger. But do you know and realize that Peter is the only one from the 12 who got out of the boat? He is the only one who trusted in Jesus mighty power to step out in faith and walk towards Him.
This is not a laughing matter. It is a matter of life and death. We the baptized, chosen and beloved Children ought to be brave and courageous like Peter by getting out of the boat and getting our feet wet. As we recognize our fears, we admit we can’t do it alone, but He does it in us and through us. And we are afraid and begin to sink, Jesus doesn’t scold us, first He reaches down with His nail-pierced hands and saves us and sends us on our way. Christ’s anchor will keep your boat safe in every storm. (Hebrews 9:19)
God uses preachers and people to share salvation's story. That was the way it was when Jesus sent out His disciples. The Gospel of Luke tells of the time Jesus commissioned 70 men to go out, two-by-two, and prepare the way for the Savior. The job of the 70 disciples was to share Jesus' credentials; to make it so people knew Somebody wonderful, Somebody special was coming to town. Jesus said they were to travel fast, travel light, travel with prayer in their hearts and God's words on their tongues.
Now God did all of this not because we are so kind, so caring, so compassionate, so cute. He did it because He cared. He still cares. That's why He still sends the Holy Spirit... the third Person of the Trinity, to try and call lost souls to salvation. In that work He enlists representatives, representatives to tell people the kingdom of God is here in Jesus. That's what the 70 did when Jesus sent them out. It's what we do day in and day out. All of us try to tell people the kingdom of God is near. We tell how Jesus did all which was asked of Him. He lived, He suffered, and He died. That was what was asked. And then, three days after He had been killed, long enough so there could be no doubt about His demise, He rose and showed to the world that even death and grave had been conquered. That's the Jesus story and all who believe it find the Kingdom of God is not just near... they find it is actually here.
My friend, you have had someone share salvation's story with you, haven't you? Maybe that person went to seminary and was schooled in theology... maybe that individual's prime credentials were found in the fact they cared about you. You've had someone speak to you of the Savior, haven't you? Was it a parent, a spouse, a family member who prays for you and tries to get you to go to church... who keeps talking about Jesus... who goes on and on and on about the Savior? They can drive you crazy, can't they? I know. I drive tens of thousands of people crazy every week. What's that? You don't want anybody preaching at you. You don't need anybody preaching to you. Yes, I know none of us likes somebody telling us we're wrong... and telling us we need to change... and pointing out our sins. Of course you don't need another sinner pointing out your shortcomings. Sure, I understand where you're coming from. You think we're boring; well, we can be. You think we do a bad job; sometimes we do. You think we believe we've got the answers; we don't but Jesus does. You think we're pompous and pushy and a real pain. I can't argue with you. Sometimes we are. But there's one other thing we are... one thing you forgot to mention. We are representatives of the Savior. Believe on Him and you will be saved. Believe on Him and you'll get in.
Believe on Jesus... the kingdom of heaven is near. My friend, I know we who are part of Jesus' kingdom have many faults. We do... but He doesn't. I'll apologize for our flaws, but we can't repent of our telling lost souls about Jesus. Look, If I had a medicine which would heal every cancer, I would keep talking about it and telling people about it. I wouldn't be able to help myself from telling them about this miracle cure. It would be a sin if I stopped telling people. That's what's happening here. The medicine of Jesus' blood saves people from sin; it cleans up their souls. It moves them from hell to heaven. It gives them a peace of mind and heart and soul they can't get anywhere else. Jesus is the medicine you need. We have to keep talking about Him.
Today, as we celebrate the Mission Fest, remember your calling. It is not just to sit and listen, but by the grace get out of the boat and tell someone about the Savior of the world.
Now the peace of God…
SOLI DEO GLORIA