Wednesday, November 16, 2011

“Get Out Of The Boat and come to the Ark” (Matthew 14:28-29)

S-1266 7SAP/3C 8/07/11 Hymns (O) ##740; S#722; (C) #731

Text: Job 38:4-18; Romans 10:5-17; Matthew 14:22-32

Them: “Get Out Of The Boat and come to the Ark” (Matthew 14:28-29)

Armour, SD

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 the 8th Sunday after Pentecost 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 their 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 and come to the Ark.

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? I live my life and they live their lives. Oh, yes, I am a Christian, but Pastor, don’t ask me to volunteer, don’t ask me to be a Sunday school teacher, or Midweek-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 it. 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 old, ugly looking, rusty, 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 dear friends. What does it look like? Is it your house, your neighborhood, your work, your tractor, your cows, or your bank account? What is the stuff on your boat? Concerns, cares, burdens, blessings, joys, Etc? Truth be told, most of us tend to be happy in our boat with our own STUFF because it is very safe and secure.

Jesus says, “I have something for you to do!” Trust me in all circumstances. However, we say to Him, “But I like my boat. It is safe, comfortable, broken, ugly, and leaks a little, 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!

We are like this because we are afraid. We are afraid to let God lead us out of the boat and into the Ark. I am reminded of the movie Aladdin. Aladdin is being chased by the palace guards. He is on the flying carpet and Jasmine is standing by. He says to her: “Jasmine, do you trust me? Then take my hand!” 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, strong enough or mighty 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 upgrade—to get out of the boat and into the Ark; because it is safe. But Jesus tells us: “You can trust me! 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 Moses? God called Him out of the burning bush to go and free the Israelites out of Egypt. But how many excuses did Moses come up with. “I am a runway murderer, I stammer, I shephered the flocks of Jethro; choose someone else. But the Lord gently and lovingly says: “You are my man Moses I will be with you!”

Today, this same Lord and God, the Creator of the Universe comes into our midst and says: “You are my man and woman. I will use you because my power is in you.” But 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 and away from the Ark. PAUSE

Today in our gospel reading we hear of how one of Jesus’ disciples actually walked on water. In the midst of a storm, neither distracted by howling winds nor heightened waves, for a few magical moments, Peter is focused upon Jesus. Centered upon Jesus he does the impossible. He walks on water. By faith Peter gets out of the boat and walks toward the One who gave Noah the design for the Ark. After hearing words so similar to what Moses had heard from the Burning Bush, Peter is aflame with a burning faith. Focused upon Jesus he is centered upon the Creator of the universe, the Savior of the world, the One who split the Red Sea, and died on the cross for you and me.

When Peter catches the identity of the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus, he not only becomes centered, but he moves from his little wobbly boat, deep in the Ark of God, through faith in the Son of God.

In their bathtub boat the disciples were making their way across the Sea of Galilee. After eight hours of life-and-death struggle, caught in one of those quick-rising out of nowhere storms so famous for that Sea, they had to be wondering, Is this how it is going to end? We are going to drown to death at Sea. Where is God when we need Him?

Matthew records the disciples were not focused on the God of all grace but were scared out of their wits. They were terrified. The prospects of a watery grave and no one to save them left them with a feeling of hopelessness. Little did they realize that when Jesus sent them to the other side of the Sea of Galilee by boat, He was saving them from a terrible spiritual temptation. So worked up in a frenzy were the people after Jesus miraculously fed the five thousand, that they wanted forcibly to make Jesus their political bread king. But the Kingdom of God would have to come through His death on the cross, His actual suffering of hell, and His rising from the dead. Jesus throne would first have to be a cross on Mt. Moriah where two corrupt sons of Abraham would be on His right and left hand. He would first have to die the most wretched death in history as payment price for the sins of the world. Unless Jesus stayed this course the real problems of mankind would not be addressed: sin, death, lovelessness, and alienation. PAUSE.

We like our boats. But Jesus wants to upgrades us and calls us to get out of the boat. He wants us out of our boat because He has so much better planned for us. Jesus always wants to upgrade us in the faith. That is why He said to Peter, who had the wisdom to call upon Jesus to save him, “Take My hand!” He saved Him to upgrade him and grant him all the blessings from His hands.

Today, the Savior wants to do the same for you. Jesus doesn’t want us to settle for our leaky old boat. He has an ark that is designed to get us where we need to be. Jesus takes our hands, upgrades us and leads us through the storms of life to the safe port of eternity.

Why on earth would we want to stay in our leaky old boat tossed by the storms of life? It would be silly for us to stay! And because of Christ’s invitation, we don’t have to. His Ark and His destination is OUT OF THIS WORLD!

He, who holds your hands by the grip of His grace, wants you to get out of the boat and come to the Ark. He wants to upgrade you in faith, hope, love and service. He wants to upgrade you and grant you His eternal blessings. He wants to upgrade you to be His spokesperson to the world. Today, He says to you, “TAKE MY HAND, MY CHILD! I WILL PULL YOU TO SAFETY AND UPRADE YOU TO THE ARK OF HEAVEN WITH ME, THE FATHER AND THE HOLY SPIRIT.”

By faith we hear. By faith we respond saying: “Lord, save us and upgrade us!” Amen.!

Now the peace of God…


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