Get out of the boat, part 2
by Dr. Clovis Chappell
Peter walks on water
by an unknown artist
Peter on the stormy sea
Out of the boat Peter steps and on the water he walks. It is impossible yet Peter does it! Restless waves rise to meet his questing feet as he takes step after step and does not sink. Imagine the surprise of Peter’s friends who never left the boat. Crazy Peter is up to his old tricks, attempting the impossible and in front of their eyes, he achieves it and walks on the stormy waves.
Out of the boat and on the waves, Peter is as safe as his friends in the boat. Have you thought about that? Stepping out by faith is just as safe as cowering at home in fear. Trusting God is just as safe as fearing to do anything for God.
Out of the boat and on the water, Peter was safe in the arms of God. He could not drown because when he started to sink, the heavenly lifeguard pulled him to safety. The hand that spangled the sky with stars gripped Peter’s hand and all the storms on earth could not drown him.
The eyes that calibrated the movement of every star and galaxy, the brain that calculated the precise rotation of every planet, preserved Peter safe and secure, on the stormy waves. Upon the water with no life preserver, water rising past his ankles and then his knees, Peter was perfectly safe because the hand of God upheld him.
What will you
dare for God?
Has Jesus ever said to you, "Come."
If He did, would it be a wasted word with you? Peter responded to Jesus’ invitation with faith and action. What was humanly impossible according to the immutable laws of nature, happened anyway when Peter responded in faith.
Have you made friends with the idea that your days of adventure are over? Does the joy of every day of the rest of your life seem dreary because of your fear? Have you given up on doing anything great for God and now, you’re just waiting to die?
Think of the joy that walking on water brought to every day of the rest of Peter’s life. He really walked on water! Are there times you remember with rejoicing when you trusted and God did great things for you?
Peter’s friends rejoiced because they saw his dramatic faith with their own eyes. Terror and unbelief changed to awe and praise as Peter and Jesus walked and talked together on the water. And deep in their heart of hearts for as long as they lived, the other disciples must have said, “I could have walked on water if only
I’d been willing to get out of the boat.”
Why did Peter sink?"He saw the wind boisterous."
Peter took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the wind and the waves. He started to believe in his hindrances more than his help. He believed in Christ a great deal but he believed more in waves and wind and lightning and thunder. Every time you take your eyes off of Jesus and put them on your problems, you’ll start to sink in the raging water.
However far you have drifted from God, get your feet on this promise. Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28. As long as you trust Jesus, the waves will not pull you down because your Savior holds you up.
Peter sank because he took counsel of his fears. You and I do the same thing with our fears. We embrace and cultivate them. We rehearse them in our mind until they leave us paralysed.
What calamity and shame that when we could walk on water, we stay in the boat. Our fears are meant to be conquered. Fears are opportunities if only we will recognize them as such. "Therefore will not we fear though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea."
Peter sinking right in the presence of Christ is a pathetic sight. As long as he is sinking, he can help no one. He could not save his own life and would have drowned but for Jesus. And isn't that the key? It's always safe to trust God!
The disciples who stayed in the boat may have thought: "I knew something like that would happen." Has that ever been your experience? Afraid to get out of the boat yourself, you heap scorn on anyone courageous enough to try?
Have you ever dared to get out of the boat and then, as Peter, you began to sink? Do you know that soul sickening sensation that comes to one who is sinking? Are you losing your grip on God, losing your power in prayer, losing sight of spiritual reality? Have you been leading a sinking life. Oh Christian, your life will not work as long as you are living a defeated, failing, sinking life. Get back in the scriptures and get out of the boat!
Peter’s message for us
Even in his failure Peter has a message for us. When Peter realized that he was sinking he did not try to conceal it. He did not say, "I'll fight it out in my own strength." He threw himself at once on the infinite strength of Christ. He prayed. That is a wise thing. That is a manly and womanly thing. Peter prayed. Have you learned to pray when you’re in trouble?"Lord, save me."
Short sincere prayers are long enough when we get serious with God. Sinking and about to drown, Peter prays a serious prayer. When we have nothing to say to God, our prayers are a waste of time, empty words which must make God wince. God isn’t interested in platitudes and repetition. If that’s the way you pray, stop wasting your time and God’s time!
When the sword of genuine conviction has sliced through your soul, Hebrews 4:12, when you are doing business in great waters, Psalm 107:23, a short sincere prayer works just fine.
Peter was not too proud to cry out for help. Pride keeps some of us from acknowledging our need. We’d rather drown than admit we need help. "He that covereth his sin shall not prosper."
Be honest with God about your needs and watch Him open the windows of heaven for you."Immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand and caught him."
The hand that carved out the Grand Canyon and designed intricate butterfly wings reached out and caught Peter. The hand that wrote the Ten Commandments in stone, Exodus 31:18, pulled Peter to safety.
Our twenty first century tragedy is that many Christians are not walking by faith, Hebrews 11:6. We are determined to stay in the boat at all costs. No matter what adventures of faith we miss, we refuse to walk on water. Not me Lord! I’m not leaving this spiritual coffin of a boat!
Our Christian ancestors were known for their daring. They expected great things from God and attempted great things for God. That was the pattern of their lives.
What is the pattern of your life? Will you spend the rest of your life in the boat, cowering from the storm? Will you refuse every opportunity to walk on water? Will you resist every effort Jesus makes to get you out of the boat? Real faith dares things big and brawny, beyond human ability. "Come" said Jesus and Peter jumped out of the boat. Jesus invites you as He invited Peter.
Out of my shameful failure and loss,
- Are you thirsty? Jesus says, "Come to me and drink."
- Are you hungry? Jesus says, "Come and dine."
- Are you burdened? Jesus says, "Come and I will give you rest."
- Are you eager to be of service? Jesus says, "Come and out of your inner being shall flow rivers of living water," John 7:37-39.
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever hereafter Thy face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee.Jump to Get out of the boat, part 1
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The gold-framed painting by an unknown artist, circa 1900, is in the Greek Catholic Cathedral of Hajdúdorog, Hungary.
The original sermon by Methodist minister Dr. Clovis Chappell, 1882-1972, is in the public domain. This edition of the sermon has been edited, revised, updated and copyrighted by Rick Brentlinger for use on our website.