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Focus on Christ (Matthew 14:22-23)

Sermon on 20 February 2022 by Ps Justin

Introduction

The account of Jesus walking on water is found in Matthew 14:22-33, Mark 6:45-52 and John 6:15-21.


Message


Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. – Matthew 14:22-23


Jesus liked to pray by himself. We are called to pray unceasingly. You do not need a big group before you can pray.


But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” – Matthew 14:24-33


The Romans divided night-time into four watches, each lasting 3 hours, from 6-9pm, 9pm-12am, 12-3am, and 3-6am. In the fourth watch of the night (between 3-6am), Jesus went to the disciples who thought He was a “ghost”. “Ghost” in the bible refers to something which is not real – a vision. Jesus made a statement of His identity – “It is I”. He is the Son of God. Jesus is “I AM WHO I AM”. All things are possible with God. Believe and have faith. Peter could also walk on water, initially. Peter needed to keep His eyes on Jesus in order to walk on water. The environment around Him was difficult – the wind was boisterous. But if he kept His focus on Jesus, he would be able to overcome the law of gravity pulling him down. The moment Peter lost his focus, he started to see the wind again and he started to sink. This reflects us facing the storm of life. When we keep our focus on Jesus, we can overcome any difficult situation. When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. When Jesus is with you, there will be peace. The peace of God will surpass all. Whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).


Be an overcomer. Overcome the storm of life. An overcomer has the right to sit with Jesus on the throne just like how Jesus overcame and sat with the Father (Revelations 3:21). Romans 8:2 tells us that the law of the spirit of life through Jesus Christ in us will free us from the law of sin and death. The law of sin is like the law of gravity. You are no longer under the dominion of sin (Romans 6:14). You are born again in the image of God, in true holiness and righteousness. We are under grace – receiving good things that we do not deserve.


For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. – Romans 6:14


What do you do when the storms of life rage relentlessly against you? When temptation keeps pulling you down? Walk not in the counsel of the ungodly (Psalm 1:1). Instead, focus your eyes on Jesus, who is the saviour that brings life.


Lesson #1: Seeking advice from fellow “boat people” may lead you in the wrong direction (v25-27)

When the storm of life comes, it is natural for us to seek the opinions of others. But remember that their advice may not be in line with the truth. Let them remain as their opinions. Instead, seek the Lord when you need to make decisions. Only Peter focused on Christ while the others in the boat were fearful.


Lesson #2: Focus on Christ’s voice and not your vision (v26-27)

Wait patiently on the Lord. If we draw near to Him, He will hear us and pull us out of the pit. Read the word and focus on His voice. God’s voice is superior to your vision. When He asks you to do something, He will not leave you on your own. He will support you. He who calls you is faithful.


“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? – Numbers 23:19


Lesson #3: Overcoming life and temptation by focusing on Jesus. Do not attempt the impossible in your own strength (v28-29a)

…With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. – Matthew 19:26


Jeremiah 17:5-6 tells us not to trust in man and depend on man for strength. A person who turns away from the Lord and trusts in man will be like a bush in the wastelands. Put all your trust and hope in Jesus. Don’t try to walk in the opposite direction from God because you will go under. Psalm 119:165 tells us that you will not stumble if you follow His word.


Lesson #4: Focus on Christ in the battlefront (v29b)

Peter operated under faith. He walked on water toward Jesus Christ. To gain victory in battle, keep your focus on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). Don’t dwell on your circumstances, don’t focus on your pain, don’t focus on your failures. The fight is not against the world. The fight is about your faith. Look to Jesus in every battle, and you will not be pulled down by the gravity of temptation (Psalm 40:1-2).


The delay you experience may be deliberate. The testing of your faith develops perseverance (James 1:3). The grace of God will humble you. He has promised to bring you and to deliver you from the storm of life.


Closing


The bible tells us that our Christian life will have tribulations. But be of good cheer, be courageous, because Jesus has overcome. Know that He is with us. If we keep our focus on Him, all our problems will come to a standstill.


When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. – Isaiah 43:2

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