Immediately. That's the word. Immediately, the Bible says. Jesus... verse 22, Matthew 14... made the Disciples get into the boat, and go on ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowd. Now watch this. He told them, 'I'll see you on the other side.' He gave them His word, that they would make it. How many know He has given you His word that you will make it? And then Paul comes along and clarifies it. He says that none of these things, neither height nor depth; neither death nor life; neither angles nor demons; neither the present nor the future. None of these things will be able to separate me from the love of God, that is in Christ Jesus, my Lord. Remember, faith does not eliminate the distraction. It shifts the attention.
So the Bible says, 'He made them go into a storm.' Now, didn't Jesus have a weather app? On His iPhone? He is Lord of the cosmos. He knows all things. Nothing is a surprise to Him. So He knew He was sending them into a storm. He knew this was a bad time for them to cross over. In fact, the Bible says that He went up on a mountain to pray. Which means, when He sent them into the lake, to go through the storm, in the boat, He never took His eyes off of His Disciples. I said He never took His eyes off of His Disciples. God, help me preach this! Somebody feels like God has just left you out there somewhere. And when is it going to be? And He gave you His word. But the thing that doesn't work about His word... it doesn't work, if you don't trust it in the meantime.
He gave me His word. And He gave them His word. And it said that He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray, 23B. When evening came, He was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from the land, buffeted by the waves. Because the wind was against Him. In this corner, raging on the open sea, in the dead of night, is the wind. It is fierce. It is chilling. It is dangerous. And it is deadly. In this corner, is the wind. The trials of life, the financial situation that you never meant to get upside down in. In this corner is the wind. Depression and despair. In this corner is the wind. Feelings that are telling you to curse God, and die, and give up on any hope of making it to the other side. In this corner, is the wind. Against you. The wind.
Now watch this. This is powerful. He didn't stop the wind. He did not stop what was working against them. In this corner is the wind. Watch this. During the fourth watch of the night... the way they would divide up the night, from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM, was in four quarters. Like a football game. From 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM? That's the first watch. This is how the Romans did it. From 9:00 PM to midnight? Second watch. Get it? Midnight to 3:00? That's the third watch. He waited until the fourth watch of the night. The darkest time. He waited until they had rowed four to five miles against the wind. And then He shows up. Not when they wanted Him. He shows up, not just to stop the wind... but this is going to bless somebody... to show them that in this corner... His opponent.
Weighing in at unlimited strength and potential. Weighing in from eternity. He hails from heaven. He is wrapped in flesh. He has never been defeated! He has never lost a battle! Who is this for? In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and He is for you, and He is stronger than whatever is against you! Y'all aren't praising Him right! You need to praise Him like the wind is against you! You need to praise Him like His word is enough! You need to praise him on Blakeney, and Matthews, and University City, and E-fam, and Ballantyne. Give Him praise if you know His word is true! I got His word. I got His word. That's how I'm standing upright. Not because the winds stop, but because the Word came. When the Word came, and was made flesh and dwelled among us, we beheld His glory.
See, a weatherman doesn't get to yell like this, but I do! I forecast over your life today, in the mighty name of Jesus. The presence of God is with you. The power of God is for you. It's wind versus Word. It's what you feel, versus what you know. It's what you've been through, versus what He did for you. Which one is going to win? The wind or the Word. So, Peter's like 'Word, if it's you? Tell me to come.' Now he doesn't ask Him for a confirmation. He asks Him for a command. And Jesus gives him one word. Somebody say one word. One sermon. If you really take it, and put it deep down in your heart to believe it? One Bible verse... y'all, I've been living off one Bible verse for the last 14 years of pastoring this church. "All things work together for the good".
You know, in an insurance policy they call that all-inclusive. Or on a cruise ship. Either way, they call it all-inclusive. That means, that whatever "it" is, has to work, according to the purpose of God. Now, they have His word. And then they have the wind. And the wind doesn't stop, because the Word showed up. The absence of the storm, is not the proof of the presence of the Lord. And Peter wasn't Jonah. He wasn't in the storm because he did something wrong. He was sent into the storm. This is a bad time to be on a boat. Come on. And yet, here comes the Word of God, showing up at a bad time. And when He walks toward them, it's interesting, because their first impulse is fear.
So, a lot of times, the proof that God is in my situation, isn't that I don't feel any fear. I'll prove it to you in the text. When they first saw him during the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. So the Word is walking on the lake, and when the Disciples saw Him walking on the lake... because remember, Jesus is the Word. And when He went walking on the lake, the first thing that happens when a word from God comes into your life, sometimes it'll make you even more afraid. Because you won't know how in the world, this is going to work out.
It's easier sometimes to just go with fear. It's more familiar. I'm going to stay right here, even if the 11:30 has to watch this on a TV screen in the bathroom. I'm going to stay right here, because the wind is against you. And Jesus is coming towards you, but it doesn't feel like it at first. So now, the proof that the presence of God is here is not a good feeling. You can't watch the weather, and decide whether God is with you. You can't watch your feelings, and decide whether or not to keep moving forward.
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