Where is Your Faith?

SERIES: Failure is not Final in the Father

MEN’S MONTH Lesson: September 1 – 7, 2021

AIM: After studying this series, students will know thatin spite of faults, failures, sins, mistakes, errors of judgment, God can still make something beautiful of our lives.  Students will REALIZE that even the saints of Biblical times struggled to keep the faith!

INTRODUCTION:

Back in 1959, Ford Motor Company admitted they made a big mistake in making the Edsel. It cost 250 million dollars to bring it to market, and they lost 200 million dollars during the 2½ years they produced it. It was the number one lemon in the history of the U. S. auto industry. But smart owners turned their lemons into lemonade. They formed an Edsel owners club in all 50 states; they published a quality magazine and had annual conventions, and they made their Edsel’s collectors cars worth much more than when they were new. The point is, mistakes can be costly, but they can also be profitable. The whole idea involved in Romans 8:28 that God works in all things for the good of those who love him is this very point. God will even work with us in our mistakes to make them profitable and learning experiences. This means we do not need to fear failure so much that we refuse to take a chance and do what may seem to others as risky.

  • Our very failure could be the steppingstone to success.

One time IBM president Thomas J. Watson was asked the secret of success, and this is what he said: “Success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure.” “You’re making a common mistake. You’re thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. Failure is a teacher – a harsh one perhaps, but the best.”  “You can be discouraged by failure – or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you’ll find success. On the far side of failure.”

BACKGROUND:

But the best illustration of this in the New Testament is the life of Peter. We have more recorded mistakes and blunders of Peter than all the rest of the 12 put together. Consider his record of failures:

  1. He lost faith while on the water and began to sink.
  2. He rebuked his own Messiah and received the strongest rebuke of anyone!
  3. He refused to have his feet washed and had to be forced to cooperate.
  4. He cut off the soldier’s ear in Gethsemane and needed to be rebuked.
  5. He went to sleep when Jesus asked him to watch with Him.
  6. He denied his Lord three times!
  7. He refused to believe the eyewitness testimony of the women who saw Jesus after the resurrection.
  8. He fell back into prejudice against the Gentiles even after Pentecost.

He was the master of mistakes, and yet Jesus chose him to be the leader of the 12. There is no list of the Apostles where Peter is not first. Is there any connection between all his mistakes and his being the number one man in leadership? Yes, there is, and the mistake we want to examine is a prime example.

Matthew 14:22-33 (NLT)

22  Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home.

23  After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.

24  Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.

25  About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.

26  When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”

27  But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”

28  Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

29  “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.

30  But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

31  Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” 

32  When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.

33  Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.

The only reason Peter failed is because he took a chance, and he was the only one who did. We focus on his failure and neglect the fact that Peter was the only man besides Jesus whoever succeeded in walking on water. His faith weakened in the storm, but the text tells us clearly in verse 29, “Then Peter got down out of the boat and walked on the water to Jesus.” Peter was the greatest success in the world at walking on water. That took tremendous faith.

Point to Ponder: Do YOU have “water walking” faith?

The passage before us is one that we can pull a lot of truth from.  No doubt, we have heard messages about the storms of life; messages that focus on Christ sending them into the storm to teach them a lesson; or messages on Christ’s response to their fear, literally telling them, “I AM is here.”  The same name God used with Moses and the deep meaning contained in that name.  But this time, we are going to focus on faith – water walking faith as demonstrated by Peter! 

We see in this miracle, Peter’s passion, and impulsiveness that we see over-and-over again in the gospels.  Here in this passage, he teaches us the basics of faith.  To develop “water walking” faith we need to keep several principles in view. . .

Matthew 14:22-24 (NLT)

22  Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home.

23  After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.

24   Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.

  1. Praying BEFORE Trouble

A)  Solitude

 

Luke 5:16 (GWT) But he would go away to places where he could be alone for prayer.

Mark 1:35 (GWT) In the morning, long before sunrise, Jesus went to a place where he could be alone to pray.

Psalm 63:1 (GWT) O God, you are my God. At dawn I search for you. My soul thirsts for you. My body longs for you in a dry, parched land where there is no water.

B)   Secret Commune

 

Matthew 6:6 (GWT) When you pray, go to your room and close the door. Pray privately to your Father who is with you. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you.

2 Kings 4:4 (ESV) Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.”

 

C)       Seasons

 

in seasons of distress and grief, my soul has often found relief. . .” (Sweet Hour of Prayer)

 

1)   Needed

ü  There will be times when we need a season of prayer.

ü  Allows us to be spiritually ready.

2)   Necessary

ü  to combat the enemy

ü  to strengthen us for upcoming

ü  to allow the Lord to speak to us

 

D)       Storms arise

There’s a storm out on the ocean and it’s moving this old way.  If your soul not anchored in Jesus, You will surely drift away

  1. Storms are. . .predictable and unpredictable
  2. Storms are not here to stay
  3. Storms allow us to see ourselves
  4. Storms can bring spiritual growth in our life.

 

Matthew 14:25-30 (NLT)

25  About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.

26  When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”

27  But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”

28  Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

29  “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.

30  But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

  1. Praying In Trouble
  2. Request

 

Philippians 4:6 (NIV) Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

  1. Aspiration
  2. A leap of faith allows God to do the impossible in our lives begins with aspiration or desire.
  3. Look at Peter’s reaction when he sees Christ; when he realizes that Jesus is out there in the water
  4. Peter wanted to be in His presence, not in the boat. He wanted to do what Jesus was doing.
  5. Asking (tell me to come to you, walking on the water v.28)    
  6. Shouldn’t our love for Christ constrain us to walk even as He walked
  7. although other disciples shrink from such a prayer – let us seek the privilege of walking with Him.

c)   Answering “Come” (v. 29)

ü The door is now open for the faith of Peter.

ü He is invited to walk where none but the feet of faith dare go.

ü The Christian walk is a supernature one – we walk by faith and not by sight!

 

2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV) For we walk by faith, not by sight.

d)   Action  

ü  Aspiration or desire is where walk on water faith begins.

ü  But it must be accompanied by this next step – action!

ü  Jesus said “come” and he did.  His desire led to his action.

ü  He could have made excuses, such as. . .

*      the weather

*      the water

*      the waves

e)   Accomplishment

ü  The seemingly impossible can be accomplished through simple faith in the word of Christ.

ü  There must be a going out for there to be a going on.

ü  The life of faith implies the complete abandoment of every other source of confidence.

B.    Reality

a)   Anxious

ü  Did Peter expect the storm to cease since Jesus invited him to come out on the water?

ü  Our troubles don’t cease just because we are obedient to what Christ says to do. The storm kept on raging!!

ü  Our faith will be tried!

C.   Response

  • Shouldn’t our love for Christ compel us to walk even as He walked?
  • Although the other disciples shrink from such a prayer – let us seek the privilege of walking with Him even on water!
  • Let him who is falling not hestiate to cry out to Christ.  

b)   Anguish cry 

 

Matthew 14:31 (NLT) Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

  •  Rebuke    

a)   When we trust Christ, we must trust Him completely!

b)   If we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move a moutain, walk on water, do the impossible.

 

Matthew 17:20 (TPT) He told them, “It was because of your lack of faith. I promise you, if you have faith inside of you no bigger than the size of a small mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move away from here and go over there,’ and you will see it move! There is nothing you couldn’t do!

 

Matthew 14:32-33 (NLT) 32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.

Psalm 34:1 (NLT) I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.

 

  1. Worship/Praise Him after trouble

              Worship and Praise should be. . .

  1. Person – The LORD
  2. Personal – I will
  3. Perpetual – At All times

PRAYER PRINCIPLE:                        The frequency of prayer precludes having a poor relationship with our Lord and Savior.

SOCIAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLE:           Encourage others to pray often before trouble, while in trouble and after trouble.

EVANGELISM PRINCIPLE:                Share with others the posture of prayer exhibited by Christ to help make life bearable.

STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE:               The difficulty associated with giving can be eliminated by an active prayer life.

DISCIPLESHIP PRINCIPLE:                    No matter how many times you may fail, you must realize God has the final Word on your life; talk with Him as if your life depends on it.

NEXT WEEK’S LESSON: What Reveals Your Faith

NEXT WEEK’S SERIES: Faith is Not Final in The Father

NEXT WEEK’S READING: Proverbs 3:9; Joshua 7-8:3; 1 Corinthians 10:12; Proverbs 3:5-6; Deuteronomy 29:5; Genesis 3:4-5; Joshua 1:3; 2 Chronicles 16:9; Deuteronomy 11:29

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