But how do we handle real fears? Do you know how they train Federal agents to spot counterfeit money?
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They put them in a room for days and have them count real money. Then after several days of counting real money, they slip a phony bill in. More often than not, the agent will catch the fake dollar. Not because they know so much about counterfeit money, but because they are so familiar with the original.
That is how we need to be. We must become so familiar with Jesus, that when false promises or pseudo-saviors show up, we spot them for who they are. We must know Jesus, in the deepest most personal sense. Only through a personal relationship with Him will we be able to recognize Him.
Only as we grow to know Christ deeper will we be able to identify the fakes. The disciples mistake Jesus for a ghost when He shows up. Only when Peter is sure that it is Jesus walking on the water does he dare think about getting out of the boat. How is your relationship with Jesus?
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Is He your Savior? Is He your Lord? Is He your friend that sticks closer than a brother? All of us in this room could identify the President of the United States, but if he were to walk through the door, would he know you? That's the kind of relationship we must have with Jesus before we can even think about getting out of the boat. One where we know Him, and He knows us. Peter leaves the boat when he knows that it is Jesus on the water and not a ghost, and for a little while he walks on the water.
Peter does the impossible, but then things change. Peter took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the storm. When Peter got out of the boat he was focused on Jesus, on the source of his power.
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Then Peter shifted his focus from the source of his power to the problems that surrounded him. We will sink when we get distracted from Jesus, our source of power? Distractions can come in two forms, the obvious and the subtle. Peter gets distracted by the obvious stuff. The thunder booms, the lightning cracks, the wind whips, and the waves pound. There's a storm going on around Peter.
It's easy to see why he gets distracted. He's afraid. Just a few moments ago he was hiding in the boat from the storm, now he is exposed in the middle of the storm.
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We get scared by things that look like they will over take us, and we turn from Jesus, the source of our power and peace. When I was in seminary I served a country church and had a fairly new car. One day I went out to start the car, and nothing happened. I thought I had a dead battery and went through all the trouble of getting a new one, only to discover my cables had shaken loose traveling those back country roads. Once a tight connection was re-established, the car worked perfectly.
When we choose to focus on the problems rather than the power, we sacrifice our connection with Jesus. Jesus is a power greater than the problems we face. When our problems distract us from Jesus, we turn from the greatest power there is to a lesser power. John writes in I John , "the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. We can also get distracted by subtle things. If you are like me, then you get a lot of offers to be involved in some good things. They are not problems, but they demand time and attention. How often do you evaluate those things in light of the kingdom of God and eternity?
Do you ever ask yourself, "Is this part of God's will for my life? The problem is we get too busy for Jesus. I have an evangelist friend whose wife says, "If the devil cannot make you bad, then he will make you busy. We can get distracted by good things as well as bad. We do not need to get busy doing good things, we need to get busy doing the things Christ has for us to do.
In Luke we read, "When the days were coming to a close for Him to be taken up, He was determined to journey to Jerusalem.
0056 - Stepping Out Of The Boat
It was His life mission. He could have healed more people if He had not died at He could have preached, taught, and converted many more people if He had delayed the cross five or 10 years. Those are all good things, but they were not his purpose. Jesus maintained a single focus: the cross. He would not be distracted by the obvious problems, Pharisees, Scribes, and opposition.
Falling and Getting Up
Nor would he be deterred by subtle issues, healing, teaching, and preaching. We must never allow the problems of this word to distract us from the source of our power. We must also be careful to not become so busy that we stray from the purpose Christ has for our lives. When Peter got into the boat, the disciples worshiped Jesus. We get the feeling that this worship of Him was different. Amazingly this is not a first-time event for the disciples.
Earlier in Matthew chapter 8, the disciples are in the boat when a storm comes up.
So bad is the storm that they think they will die. Sound familiar? Only instead of walking on the water, Jesus is asleep in the boat. The disciples wake Jesus, and He speaks to the winds and the waves and the storm calms. The disciples look at one another and say, "What kind of man is this? Now they say that Jesus is the Son of God. How did they get from "What kind of man is this? Something about the whole experience opened their eyes to the power and ability of Jesus. Before this encounter Jesus was just an amazing man, but now the disciples saw Him as the Messiah and Son of God.
So how can we see Jesus for who He really is?
How can we move from seeing Jesus as just a great man, to the only one who can change our lives? We must spend time with Him. It is simple, but sometimes it is the most obvious things that we fail to see. To know Jesus we must spend time with Jesus. You walked on water when you met with your bishop or made the decision to leave a tempting situation.
So, you sink.
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