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Why doubt? (CC)

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Sermon Text: Matthew 14:22-33 Sermon Text: Matthew 14:22-33 Let us rise for the reading of this morning's Sermon Text recorded for us in Matthew's Gospel where we read from Chapter 14 beginning with Verse 22: IMMEDIATELY JESUS MADE THE DISCIPLES GET INTO THE BOAT AND GO ON AHEAD OF HIM TO THE OTHER SIDE, WHILE HE DISMISSED THE CROWD. AFTER HE HAD DISMISSED THEM, HE WENT UP INTO THE HILLS [ON A MOUNTAINSIDE] BY HIMSELF TO PRAY. WHEN EVENING CAME, HE WAS THERE ALONE, BUT THE BOAT WAS ALREADY A CONSIDERABLE DISTANCE FROM LAND, BUFFETED BY THE WAVES BECAUSE THE WIND WAS AGAINST IT. DURING THE FOURTH WATCH OF THE NIGHT JESUS WENT OUT TO THEM, WALKING ON THE LAKE. WHEN THE DISCIPLES SAW HIM WALKING ON THE LAKE, THEY WERE TERRIFIED. "IT'S A GHOST," THEY SAID, AND CRIED OUT IN FEAR. BUT JESUS IMMEDIATELY SAID TO THEM: "TAKE COURAGE! IT IS I. DON'T BE AFRAID." "LORD, IF IT'S YOU," PETER REPLIED, "TELL ME TO COME TO YOU ON THE WATER." "COME," HE SAID. THEN PETER GOT DOWN OUT OF THE BOAT AND WALKED ON THE WATER AND CAME TOWARD [TO] JESUS. BUT WHEN HE SAW THE WIND, HE WAS AFRAID AND, BEGINNING TO SINK, CRIED OUT, "LORD, SAVE ME!" IMMEDIATELY JESUS REACHED OUT HIS HAND AND CAUGHT HIM. "YOU OF LITTLE FAITH," HE SAID, "WHY DID YOU DOUBT?" AND WHEN THEY CLIMBED INTO THE BOAT, THE WIND DIED DOWN. THEN THOSE WHO WERE IN THE BOAT WORSHIPED HIM, SAYING, "TRULY YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD." This is the Word of our Lord. Let us pray: Glorious and gracious God, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of each of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, our only source of hope and comfort. Amen. [Sermon Text taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, 1973, 1978, 1984, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers] Dear Followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ: The church, well the first church, that my family went to worship in, was a rural congregation. A very small building. Probably fit maybe 50 people. And I was eight or younger. What I remember about that building, was the altar. Some of the members in my family history, had made it. It was painted white and it had all kinds of little ornate cut-work pieces on it, and in the middle of the altar, there was this painting. A painting that depicted what was in our Sermon Text for this morning. A painting of Peter drowning in the water, next to a boat with Jesus standing next to him doing this ... That painting, haunted me. It terrified me. The look on Peter's face was one of fear and despair and agony. And I think ... as I look back on it, the reason that it haunted me, and bothered me so much, was the fact that I couldn't get past looking at Peter. I don't remember the expression on Jesus' face. I know that He was standing there, but I couldn't tell you what He looked like. I couldn't tell you anything about it. Because all that I could see, was Peter. And how often, in our own lives, don't we get focused on the thing ... that isn't .. God! That we can't see God or we refuse to see God because all we can see are the immediate things that are around us. The immediate things that we have to deal with, that are at hand. I mean just like the disciples were in our Lesson for this morning. The crowds had been following Jesus, and they had been spending so much time with them that Jesus wanted the disciples to be by themselves. HE wanted to be by Himself. He wanted to spend some time in prayer. So He puts the disciples on a boat to send them across the lake. To give them some time by themselves. And to give HIM some time by Himself. To go up on a mountain, and to pray. To be with God. To commune with His heavenly Father. To share His thoughts with Him. And to be refreshed by what the Father had to say. He was spending time with God. Meanwhile, what were the disciples doing? They were battling a storm. In the middle of the night ... on a lake. And they were being buffeted around because of the wind and the waves that were happening. I'm sure it was not an easy journey for them and one that gave them anxiety. But here they are fighting and struggling and losing focus on God. Because God knew what was happening. Jesus knew what they were dealing with. But the disciples had lost their focus. All that they could see to think to deal with, was the immediateness of the situation. And then they doubted. And we wonder ourselves in our own lives how we sometimes get to the places where we are in our lives. But maybe we just need to stop and refocus. Stop and look past that thing that is just before our face. That is attacking us and fighting us and ignoring us. That we are to deal with day in and day out. That seems that there is no relief for that. And that could be anything for any one of us. We all have those different things that in our life we are struggling with at this very moment. They don't have to be major items of faith. They can just be little things of nature. Disease ... sickness ... a situation that we find ourselves in ... with our spouse, or our children, or our friends. Those things that just keep hammering away at us ... and we've lost sight, of the fact, that God knows. And ... that God cares. We all have days like Elijah, who should have been riding one of the greatest highs of his life! He had just been on Mt. Carmel, where God had come down and consumed his altar in flames. And made a mockery of the priests of Baal. But yet here he was, as we found him in our Old Testament, hiding out in a cave ... depressed ... thinking that he was the only believer left. Crying to God and complaining about God's people. Not only once to God, but twice to God. All Elijah was focused on was the fact that Jezebel wanted him dead. And now he thought: There's nothing left to do. God where are you? You don't care. There is nothing for me to do. And sometimes when we get in that same place, we want God to come to us in a big way. Just like when the Lord said to Elijah: The Lord is going to pass by. And there was some tremendous things going on outside of that cave. There was an earthquake. There was a fire. There was a great wind and the Lord was in none of them. the Lord was in none of them. And then there was ... the gentle whisper. And then there was ... the gentle whisper. And it was the Lord. The Lord who came to Elijah again and said: What's the problem? And Elijah once again goes into this horrible sorrowful woe-is-me speech: I am the only one left. And God said: Get up and go do your work. You are not the only one. There are 7,000 more that I Myself have reserved who have not bowed their knee to Baal. But we, as sinful human beings, can get so caught up in those things that cause us immediate pain ... that we don't want to hear that gentle whisper of God saying: I know. I've been watching. I love you. Come, to Me. Hear Me. Spend time with Me. And get up and do your work. Realize that I am with you. You have nothing to doubt with God because He is present in your life each and every day. Even when we don't seem to want Him there, or wanna invite Him in to help us and sustain us, He is still there taking care of us. Providing us daily bread. Providing us life. As well as the myriad of spiritual blessings through His Son, Jesus Christ. So, in our lives, sometimes we just need to stop. To set aside all of those things that are pressing, and know that God is there. And that He understands. And we also see from this Account, that God acts. Jesus is the One who left the mountainside ... in the middle of the night to walk out to His disciples. To come to them. To calm them. To be with them. But the disciples when they saw Him, had the exact opposite reaction. They were terrified. They thought it was a ghost. Can you imagine the terror that was going through their minds as they are struggling to stay afloat when all of a sudden they see someone walking to them on the water? Their human minds couldn't fathom what was going on, and, of course, Peter is going to be the first one to jump up and say something: If it is You God, let me come out to You. Is that a great statement of faith or a tremendous challenge of that thing in the water? We couldn't read what was in Peter's heart or even what He was thinking. But Peter really wasn't sure that that was Jesus and he wanted proof. He wanted proof that it was. So he said: If it is You, let me come up to You. And what did Jesus say? Come. And Peter got out of the boat. And he started walking. But all of a sudden, those immediate things in his life grabbed his attention. He realized the wind was still there. He realized the waves were still bumping the boat and he began to sink ... because he doubted. And he didn't trust in Jesus. He wanted to come to Jesus but those things that were immediately around him were stopping him. And it was Jesus, who reached out to Peter and took hold of his hand and said: Ye, of little faith. Why did you doubt? Why did you doubt My love? Why did you doubt My strength? Why did you doubt My ability to be able to understand and to act? To be able to sustain you through all of those difficulties of the storm? Because Peter was walking on the water. In spite of the horrible wind that was there, in spite of the waves ... when Peter was focused on Christ, none of the rest of that mattered at that moment. Neither did it matter when Jesus grabbed Peter and pulled him up out of the water and the two of them got into the boat. What a reminder for us that God STILL acts in our life. That He has acted in the past when He sent Jesus, His Son, to save us from our sins. He acted in the past when someone taught us the Word of God. That the Holy Spirit brought us to faith in baptism; and continues to stay with us, as we are continuing in the Word. To grow in our knowledge of Christ and to spend time with Him. God STILL acts and comes to us! And it doesn't always mean that He removes all of those difficulties that are around us. He doesn't have to. He CAN if that's His will. He CAN if He chooses to do that. But He holds us by the hand and walks us to Him. HE ... is what calms our soul. He is the One who acts in our lives to keep us faithful to Him and brings us to heaven. And, yet, sometimes He removes the storm. Peter and Jesus got into the boat and everything was calm. And the disciples worshiped Him. They cried out: Truly Jesus is the Son of God! And they brought their praises to Him. And it is a reminder for us as well, to continue to bring our praises to God. How easy it is for us to doubt that God doesn't want to take away what we want Him to take away. We think God isn't active 'cause He's not doing what WE want Him to do. But yet we are reminded: He is always with us. He has our greatest need first and foremost in His mind. And He will never leave us. Nor will He forsake us. He is always with us. What do we have to doubt? What do we have to fear? Jesus IS the Son of God. And we can turn to Him in worship for the fact that He knows our very lives. That He KNOWS us and has forgiven our sins. That He is with us and WILL be with us until He comes to take us to our eternal rest. And we are reminded today to stay focused on Christ. There are so many things that want our attention. There are so many things that nag at us and drive us to the point where it would be easy to doubt whether God knows about them or that He even cares. Is He even going to do anything? But as His children, we know what God has done for us. We know that God continues to BE with us. And that He always will. So instead of doubting, we stay focused on Christ worshiping Him as the Son of God. Amen. Let us rise. Now may the peace of God which goes beyond all of our understanding, keep your hearts and your minds and especially your lives, in the one true faith unto life everlasting. Amen.

Video Details

Duration: 18 minutes and 58 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: R & M
Director: Jesus
Views: 45
Posted by: hischild on Oct 31, 2011

The Christian answers doubt with faith. The Sermon Text is Matthew 14:22-33. www.ziontorrance.info

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