LIFE OF CHRIST
LIFE OF CHRIST #29
One of the greatest English speaking preachers who ever lived
was Charles Haddon Spurgeon. He was known as the "Prince of
Preachers", and from a young age pastored in
The ministry of Spurgeon was almost stopped before it began when
Spurgeon was 22 years old. In order to accommodate the crowds that wanted to
hear him, Spurgeon had rented a secular music hall called "
Some pranksters yelled "Fire! Fire!" and panic resulted. In the confusion, 7 people were killed and thirty taken to the hospital.
Spurgeon was devastated by this tragedy. The press of that day tortured him in the newspapers. It looked like his ministry was ruined. He was taken to the home of a trusted friend to recuperate.
According to the Book, THE HIDDEN PRICE OF GREATNESS by Ray Beeson and Ranelda Mack Hunsicker, (C. 1991 by the authors, printed by Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois, pages 51-52) "Plunged into a pit of anguish, he sought comfort from God. None came. Tears and doubts filled his waking thoughts and nightmares filled his sleep. He opened his Bible in search of strength; it only deepened his grief. His prayers seemed to bounce off a sky of brass."
"In the second week after the incident, while Spurgeon walked in a small garden, a verse from the Bible came forcefully into His mind. 'Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him and gave Him a nmae which is above every name' (Philippians 2:9). The words bathed his soul and restored his faith.
"The name of Jesus became a strong tower of safety. Song burst from him, and the chains about his mind broke in pieces. He was free..."
Just two weeks after this tragedy, Spurgeon was once again preaching in his pulpit. His first text back was the same one that set him free.
This is not an unusual story. Every Christian faces times of trial. Faith gets weak. We begin to sink.
Such was the case of Peter in our text. At one of the greatest spiritual moments of his life, a faith walk, he began to sink.
This passage is a great text for teaching us to walk by faith. Four times the Scriptures tell us "The just shall live by faith," and that includes not just faith for salvation, but faith for daily living.
Peter has much to teach us about faith, especially faith during trials.
BACKGROUND: Vss. 22-24
Jesus ordered his disciples into a boat and sent them to the opposite shore.
Jesus sent the crowd that had witnessed the "Feeding of the Five Thousand" home and went to a mountain to pray.
A terrible storm came up. Out on the sea, the disciples battled for their lives.
MOTIVATED FAITH - Vss. 25-28
During the night Jesus came to His disciples, walking on the water. Note his encouraging words in verse 27.
In verse 28, Peter asks if he can join Jesus on the water. Notice there is no rebuke, but rather encouragement for Peter to take this step of faith. Notice also that Peter's faith was motivated by the Word of Christ. Our faith needs to be motivated by the Word of God.
MOVING FAITH - Vs. 29
Peter got out of the boat and actually walked on the water. He did it! Jesus was the one who gave him the strength to do this. He trusted the Lord Jesus for the strength.
Moving faith is better than stationary faith.
Moving faith says, "I will actively trust God and do whatever He wants me to do."
Stationary faith says, "Oh yes, God can do anything He wants, but I'll play it safe, and not take any chances." I don't believe that stationary faith is really faith at all!
MISDIRECTED FAITH - Vs. 30
As long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus he was fine. But the moment he took his eyes off Jesus and put them on the problem, he began to sink. Whenever we take our eyes off of Jesus and put them on the problem we have, we will sink too.
MENDED FAITH - Vss. 30-33
Jesus mended the faith of Peter in four steps.
REQUEST - Vs. 30 - Peter needed to focus again on Jesus and ask for help.
RESCUE - Vss. 31, 32 - Jesus got him out of danger.
REBUKE - Vs. 31 - Peter was reprimanded for his doubt.
REVERENCE - Vs. 33 - The end result was that Jesus was worshiped. That should be the end result of our mended faith as well.