First part of Lesson:
Adolescence in Christ.
Is the Maturing phase.
In the phase of maturity is the time when we begin to understand that we make mistakes; and we have to assume the fact that we are no longer absent of being guilty. In the adult phase we are conscious of good and evil. Adult phase is the same condition that Adam and Eve were in, after they had eaten of the tree from which God said: "but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die" – Gn. 2:17.
In the “Perfect in Christ” phase as the Bible tells us about Jesus; it is the phase where we see that, love and mercy bring us to God. Cl. 1:28-29 “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me”.
Dictionary says that "Meaning of Sin” is: Transgression of the law of God or the commandments of the Church".
Sin is a Transgression of the law of God. God begins to work with the human being before he is formed, and we have several passages that show us this. The psalmist tells us that when he was still formless substance God knew already all his days, when there were any of them yet. "Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be". Ps. 139:16. God speaks to Jeremiah, Jr. 1:5: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations".
God prepares the purpose to be lived in our lives with Him. God has a very high purpose in bringing us here to earth; he demonstrates that for each one of us.
There was a time when a servant of God told us in his sermons about difficult experiences he went through and said: "I am just telling you because I know in the future you will go through similar lessons, and then you can learn from my mistakes so that you do not need to repeat them; learning it the hard way". I laughed when I heard this. Now, I understand what he wanted to teach us. "It would be nice if I could warn others and perhaps with it teach them so they will not repeat the same mistakes I did". Well we try it our way, thinking we got it all together, and then what happens? Mysteriously, we go through the same lessons the person who kindly warned or taught us.
As I pondered on this, God taught me something very important. It is good that humans make mistakes, and I thought and meditated allot about it. I reached the conclusion that we are only aware of the fact that we are vessels of clay, when we fall apart underneath our burden; in the hands of our Creator. God told Moses to raise his hands and while his hands were lifted up, his people were conquering the enemy in the war. When he got tired of keeping the hands up, and lowered them slowly; they started to be defeated.
This symbolizes as long as we praise God we triumph in struggles. But when we feel exhausted under the burden of praise we slowly lower our hands (attitudes), due to sustaining the load for a long time. We do not realize that the overwhelming burden is lowering our hands that are in an attitude of worship; from the position they first were in, even though we did not want to. God saw that the burden was too heavy and sent two companions to hold Moses´ hands, so that he would not stop being in an attitude of worship before God. Gods´ people cannot reach victory with another attitude, besides adoration and gratitude, acknowledging that God is their source.
I have the absolute certainty that God has a purpose to be fulfilled in everything that we are going through. I remember Jeremiah in the Bible, he was in a well; and the well did not stop him to stay focused with his eyes on the purpose that God had given him. He fulfilled his mission and it did not matter where the soldiers would put him. He proclaimed the Word of God and no one stopped him. When I was a still childlike in my faith I did not know the truths of the Bible as I now know. I had to grow in my life with God. You must also grow and mature in your walk with Him. Jeremiah was called by God when he still was young, but as he walked with God, he shows that he matured with Him in his walk.
Everyone at the stage of adolescence learns everything he knows, and also the things he does not yet know. Teachers in classrooms often repeat the following year what we learned in the previous year. Learning is a process of studying and reviewing that what exists in this world. In reading and re-reading we learn. This is the life stage of awareness, in the spiritual life; when we begin to mature we become aware of what is right and wrong, according to the Scriptures. We need to read the Scriptures and reread it in order to learn what God is teaching us.
When the human being was formed, it was created by "God is Love”. So the human being was love, as well; because it was formed in the Creators Image. He walked and lived with Love and in Love, and was with "God is Love." The persons’ life reflects whom he lives with. As we live with ourselves and with others, we face the fact that we are far from being perfect. God created us without blemish, but it was lost. When we live with our nature which has fallen of God's grace, we learn to live according to the error of this nature very fast. The Apostle teaches us: "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners" 1 Co. 15:33. The apostle asks: "Why do we also expose ourselves in danger every hour?"
Did the apostle state that a person who is in Christ and that is always in contact with non-Christian friends are exposed to danger? The danger is to do the same thing as Eve did, to look at the person's life and think certainly it is good to live and do the things my friend does; this way we take the gaze off the target that God has for us. When Peter was walking on the water he did just the same. I believe that when we lose focus of the target which we followed; in this consists the danger to which we expose ourselves as the apostle speaks of here. I believe that Peter while he was walking on the water he diverted his eyes from Jesus to the problem; and so he began to sink. As his focus was now on the problem and not on the one that had the problem in his control; he sank.
According to the Collins Dictionary:
To Divert means: to follow a different route or go to a different destination than they originally intended. You can also say that someone or something diverts from a particular route or to a particular place with his eyes; where he chooses to look.
According to the Bible Peter looked at the wave and took his eye of Jesus, this is diverting your focus on which you base your walk. The Human being sinks in his life when he has no safe ground on which he stands. Jesus is the sure foundation, and if we rely on Him; we will be secure as well. We will never sink in our life’s problems if we stand on the solid rock; which is Jesus. I want you to join me in my thoughts in an analogy which came to my heart while meditating on this passage several days ago.
Read with me Matthew 14:22-32:
"22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.
23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,
24 but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.
26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
28 "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
29"Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down."
The fact that I want to examine with you is this: Jesus had told them to take the boat and go ahead of him unto the other side. The fishermen knew the sea, it was their working environment, and in verse 24 it says: “but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it”. They were not afraid at that moment. Mind you, it was a normal and natural scene which they were used to; all of them knew the safety a boat gives them in the middle of the fury of those waves. The disciples were in the boat, but it does not say that they were afraid in verse 24. Later on when Peter was walking on the waters, the waves were the same as before, why was he then suddenly afraid? Jesus gives us the answer to that. Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" Jesus called him: you of little faith; and I believe the heart of the matter is as follows.
The faith and the confidence that we have while we are walking in a situation familiar to us, becomes too little to walk on a ground unknown to us; considering the fact that now Peter walked on water. I do not think that any of us has faith to walk on water. My faith at least is too little for that. Would you have faith like Peter had? All the other disciples stayed in the boat, none of them had the courage!! Comparing this with the spiritual realm where we are forced to rely completely in Jesus, it is necessary to have a faith that projects our confidence about the fact that Jesus is in control and can walk about this in our lives. It becomes necessary that we have faith that projects our trust upon the fact that Jesus is in control in our lives, and on this basis to walk by faith.
The Collins Dictionary says:
To Project: Verb V n, V pron-refl as n, V as n, V-ed.
“If you project someone or something in a particular way, you try to make people see them in that way. If you project a particular feeling or quality, you show it in your behaviour”.
Now if we project our walk by faith it will show in our walk and behaviour. Our trust in God needs to be shown by our behaviour that we walk by faith. Peter did not feel safe because he had never walked on water before. And he answers to Jesus saying: If, it is you tell me to walk upon the waters. This is how we read it in verse 28: "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water". He had faith before he stepped out of the boat, but once he was walking on the water, as he looked to the great wave, he sank. Peter was confident in the fact that Jesus had the power to make him walk on water as well; as indeed it was true. But when he faced the fact of walking by faith upon the waters, something changed for a fraction of a minute.
Peter looked in the natural upon the circumstance that was surrounded him. As long as we are on safe ground, it is easy to have faith that we will be fine walking by faith. But, once God challenges us to walk at that stage by faith, merely walking by faith and not by sight; we hesitate. This just proves that we are human beings. Peter asked Jesus to take him up to the highest level in his walk with Him. Jesus actually wanted to teach this to them. To trust when we are in security actually is not trusting; that it is to walk by sight and not by faith. One thing is to believe that I can do something, when you reflect on this and think and observe it. However, Peter realized that he needed something else, as he walked in reality with Jesus on the water, as Jesus did.
Peter had observed Jesus perform miracles; he understood it when Jesus said I will make you fishers of men, Peter knew also that Jesus wanted to train them in the spiritual field. He dared to walk by faith. But, Peter did not yet know; that he should not take his eyes off Jesus when walking by faith. Oh hallelujahs, what a beautiful lesson we all can learn from Peters’ experience. This is exactly what is described by the author of Hebrews. 11:1 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see". I believe this was an excellent purpose to be conquered. Peter did not know it included something he did not know yet. His faith was not enough for such an adventure. We see later after Pentecost that Peter learned his lesson well. Peter learned to rely in the power of God and submit to the spiritual authority of God over him.
The most beautiful part of this passage is the fact that as soon as Jesus took Peter by the hand, he was safe again, walking in the very same water where he sank. It says in verse 32: “And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down”. The wind calmed down just after they entered into the boat. Jesus is Lord over the wind as we walk towards Him, when we turn our eyes away from Him, and when we cry out for help, as well as; when we turn back to Him in our normal walk. Jesus is always Lord over the wind, independent of the human’s reaction. When Peter returned to the boat with Jesus, as long as he looked at Jesus and was conscientious that Jesus was in control; he did not sink.
This principle also governs your life and mine. Hallelujahs!! The waves that were making Peter sink, and that were beyond the Peters control; were under Jesus’ control. There are things in this life that are above our heads, that is, beyond what we are able to control; but they are under God’s control. How many circumstances happen in which we ask "God if you are with me, then bless me in this journey". Then after a while the waves of life seem to rise and it seems like we will sink and we cry out to God in prayer: "Lord Jesus help". God answers and takes us out from the suffocation, and brings us once again in a peaceful situation in the boat of life.
The Scripture says that when Jesus entered into the boat with Peter the wind ceased. I do not know your experience, but in the past life I have seen many situations where literally Jesus calmed the waves of my life; bringing me back to the boat where it was safe again. The wind of anguish, fear, worry and so forth ceases once Jesus takes care of it for me. In Galatians 5:16 and 25 we read: "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature". "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit". I believe that Jesus wanted to teach us a lesson by allowing Peter walk on the water; I felt as if the Holy Spirit told me: "When the human being walks in the Spirit, and lives in the Spirit, he is like Peter; walking on Jesus’ side on the water. But, when we start looking to life’s problems trying to fix everything our own way, then we tend to sink. At that moment we cry out to Jesus in prayer".
Living as a Christian (or live in spirit) and decide things our way is to walk in the flesh, instead of walking in the Spirit. We all go through this lesson, not only Peter. I just want to emphasize here that after this episode, Jesus could take Peter at ease and relaxed upon the waters back to the boat. Now how about you and I, can Jesus take us back at ease to the boat so the wind may cease? The apostle makes it very clear that we must not only live in the Spirit, but also walk in the Spirit. You might question: What is the difference in living in the Spirit and walking in the Spirit? To live and walk in the Spirit is when we have Jesus in our lives as our Lord and Savior; we pray, we seek, and we follow what we should do as Scripture says. One thing is: believing what I know God wants me to do. But, if at the time of taking action I ponder in my mind what to do, and act upon what I believe is right; that is walking in the flesh in spite of living in the Spirit.
In the Lord's Service
I greet you in His Love
Copyright 2012/11/26 by: “Ministério Visão de Águias”.
No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher