FOUR RULES FOR ATTEMPTING THE IMPOSSIBLE
The branch of the service called the "Seabees" had as their slogan during World War II, "If it's difficult, it will take a day or two. If it's impossible, it will take a little longer."
How long has it been since you attempted something that seems humanly impossible? Dr. Charles Channey spoke to our St. Louis Baptist Association and gave 4 rules for attempting the impossible. The sermon this morning develops those 4 rules and they are:
Don't give counsel to your detractors.
Don't take counsel of circumstances.
Don't attempt the impossible in your strength
Don't stay in the boat.
I. Rule One:
Don't give counsel to your detractors. vs 25-27
To prove this idea as a Biblical concept we must realize that we don't have all the words that were spoken in the conversation between the disciples and Simon or Simon and Jesus. In the gospel of John, it states that if all the words of Christ were written down, perhaps all the books of the first century would not contain them. (John 21:25).
Therefore, it seems a valid idea that people would offer their advice to Simon as he began to walk on the water.
Listen carefully and tell me if you can hear the cold water committee giving advice to Simon. Can't you hear them saying, "No one has ever done that, Simon, Don't be a show-off.
It's more sensible to stay in the boat, Simon. who's going to pay for your hospital care if you break a leg?" Or maybe, "There's a ghost out there."
The principle of Rule One recognizes that if you're going to try to do the impossible, there will be many who will tell you how you can't do it. They know why you shouldn't attempt the impossible and almost always they can give advice whether they know what they're talking about or not. Don't give counsel to your detractors. GET SPIRITUAL ADVICE FROM SPIRITUAL PEOPLE.
ILLUSTRATION (copied from Pulpit Helps paper).
Einstein could not speak until he was four years old and did not read until he was seven.
Beethoven's music teacher said about him, "As a composer, he is hopeless."
When Thomas Edison was a young boy, his teachers said he was so stupid he could never learn anything.
When F. W. Woolworth was 21, he got a job in a store, but was not allowed to wait on customers because he "didn't have enough sense."
Walt Disney was once fired by a newspaper editor because he was thought to have "no good ideas."
Caruso was told by one music teacher, "You can't sing. You have no voice at all."
An editor told Louisa May Alcott that she was incapable of writing anything that would have popular appeal.
Recently I heard Mark McGuire say a coach told him he would never hit major league pitching.
These are but a few examples of individuals who achieved recognition and success in their lives despite the negativism and criticism of others. They refused to say, "I can't."
Whether it be an attendance goal, a faith mission project, a commitment
to tithe or a building program, all Christians need to attempt to do what
seems impossible. Now let's consider the next rule.
II. RULE TWO:
Don't take counsel of circumstances. v 26-27 & 30-31
When Simon Peter requested the privilege of walking on the water. he didn't let his mind and attitude dwell on circumstances. You see, it is never a good time to do the impossible. Circumstances are never right; there is always some reason why one should not attempt it.
Consider for a moment the purpose of walking on the water. Is there really any need for Simon to make this walk? Does it really benefit anyone? I think the answer would be, "No, it doesn't." But notice the Lord encourages him to do it anyway. In verse 29 Jesus told Simon to come to him. If Jesus will bid one to attempt the impossible when it doesn't really seem to be significant, how much more would He encourage us to attempt the impossible when it is significant.
Simon looked at the waves and started to fall. We like he need to keep our eyes on Jesus.
The FSBC of Del City, Oklahoma has tried for years to purchase property to build to meet the needs of those who desire to study and worship with them. They bought a shopping center and several homes, but still had only nine acres of property. Recently the church voted to relocate and purchased 40 acres of land at a cost of 2 ½ million dollars. The pastor challenged the church to 4 special days called Rehoboth Days (Rehoboth is the Hebrew word for -make room for us). In the first Rehoboth Day over $1 million was given. These people are typical Baptists and are not extremely wealthy people.
What is the spiritual happening that presently seems impossible for
you? Are you hearing the Lord speak words of encouragement or do you hear
the circumstances say you can't do it? Examples: tithe, witness, high attendance,
faith, mission gifts, etc. Now let's look at Rule Three.
III. Rule Three:
Don't attempt the impossible in your strength. v. 28.
Napoleon Hill said, "a burning desire is the starting point of all achievement." If you and I have a burning desire to do the impossible, we have begun to accomplish it. But since it's spiritual we should not think we can do it in our strength or power. Simon Peter asked, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." Simon didn't start walking on the water until Jesus commanded him to "come." Therefore, the impossible was attempted only after the Lord grave the command and the strength to do so.
This is the big difference in what the positive people of the church do and what the negative folks do. The positive folks say, "I can in Christ's strength." The negative people just say, "we can't" and both groups are right. Therefore Rule Three is "don't attempt the impossible in your strength." Simon didn't just jump in the water; he waited for the Lord's okay.
Could it be as Simon said, "I would rather be in the midst of a stormy sea walking with the Lord than in a boat without Him." And as he requested to hear from the Lord, it is interesting to note that the Lord's voice could be heard above the storm. This truth lets us know no storm is too great if we can sense God's presence and irregardless of the storm, if we listen, we can hear His voice.
The story of David against Goliath. I Samuel 17:31-58 You're so small but my God is so big.
Are you waiting to do some great work, waiting until it doesn't take
faith? Are you going to witness, teach, lead, or serve as soon as you can
understand how you can do it in your strength? Rule Three says "don't attempt
the impossible in your strength." Let us notice the last rule.
IV. Rule Four: Don't stay in the boat.
In verse 29 the scripture says Simon got out of the boat. Perhaps this is the most strategic rule. If you don't get out of the boar, you can never walk on water. Doing what seems to be impossible can never be a reality unless we begin doing what the Lord commands.
You know we Baptists are a strange bunch of people. Most of us know how to do more than we do. I could go up and down the aisle today and ask questions about what folks believe and almost to a person, I would find most of you believe more than what you're doing. Most of you haven't gotten out of the boat to serve the Lord. We have difficulty keeping a full Sunday School staff, Church Training staff, Deacon body, Committee persons and Choir. Why? People are comfortable in the boat.
Simon Peter requested the Lord to command him to come unto Him. The Lord gave the command for Simon to get out of the boat. He said, "Come." Although no major purpose or theological benefit is derived by Simon walking on the water, the Lord says, "Get out of the boat." No doubt the Lord knows Simon will learn a lesson in faith by getting out of the boat. You see, as long as Simon keeps his eyes on Jesus, he is all right, but when he pays more attention to the wind and waves than Jesus, he sinks. All of us can learn from Simon's experience.
We might criticize Simon, but he walked on water further than anybody else in history except the Lord. But he first had to get out of the boat.
Someone said "he is so afraid of failing he is a failure."
One of my favorite hymns is titled, "The Savior is Waiting." I especially like the 2nd verse. "If you'll take one step toward the Savior, my friend, You'll find His arms open wide; Receive Him, and all of your darkness will end, within your heart He'll abide."
Simon got out of the boat and did it in the Lord's power what was humanly impossible.. The hymn says, "If you'll take one step toward the Savior, you'll find His arms open wide." You must take that step. You must get out of your boat in answer to His command.
You might say Lord I am sinking, Lord Save Me - Immediately
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And Beyond. Amen? Amen!