Wednesday, July 16, 2014
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You know it can't be good news when someone yells, "Everybody out of the water!" That's exactly what I heard the day I was in the water at the Jersey Shore. My first thought was Jaws. And since I didn't have my shark repellent, I got out pretty quickly.
But sharks weren't the problem. Drowning kids were. These kids got too close to a jetty, and it was high tide. They were in big trouble! So the lifeguards cleared the water; plunged into the surf. They were swimming, they were rowing. Hundreds of people were lined up along the beach watching this life-or-death drama. I was one of them. And the Beach Patrol guys got there before those kids disappeared, and it was a good thing. There was no way those kids were going to be able to swim their way out of that. They were rescued. And you know what they contributed to being saved? Nothing.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Unnecessary Drowning."
Let's go to the Word of God for our word for today from it. We're in Matthew chapter 14, beginning at verse 27. It's an incident from the life of Jesus and His disciples. But more importantly, it's also a picture of how a person begins their own very personal relationship with God. There is a major surprise in here, even to many of us who know Jesus. Here's what it says.
Jesus and His disciples, of course, are out in a terrible storm. He has not been with them, and He comes walking on the water to them and He says, "'Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid!' 'Lord, if it's you,' Peter replied, 'tell me to come to you on the water.' 'Come' He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, 'Lord, save me!' and immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. 'You of little faith,' He said, 'why did you doubt?'"
Peter was like those children on the Jersey Shore, drowning and not able to rescue themselves. And Peter prayed this simple but powerful prayer, "Lord, save me!" Maybe it's time for you to finally pray that to Jesus. Somehow we want to be able to get to heaven ourselves. After all, we believe in God, we believe in Jesus, we believe in His causes, we've learned his commandments, we go to His meetings. We pretty much agree with everything Jesus said. And yet, somehow there has never been that desperate reaching out for Him as our only hope.
God gives us a pretty sobering description of our true spiritual condition in Ephesians 2:1. He says, "You are dead in your sins." Oh we're still breathing. What does it mean by dead? Well, since we were created by Him and for Him, when we're away from Him we're dead inside. We don't know our reason for being here. We don't have the love that we were made for. So without meaning, without purpose, without hope we are adrift. So we're away from God, and that's a terrible place to be; a horrible place to be to try to get through life without the God who put you here. And He's the only one who knows why you're here.
Worse yet, if you die without Him, it's an unthinkable thing to be away from God forever. Sin is running your own life instead of God running it. And that is the verdict God has passed on every one of us. "All of us have sinned." But the Apostle Paul talked about having all of that sin erased so that we could replace a death penalty with eternal life. Ephesians 2:8 says, "It is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works." You can't save you. "Not by works, so that no one can boast." You are saved by the Rescuer God sent here for us-His Son, Jesus.
But those who believe that they can rescue themselves aren't going to make it. None of us will. So many of us have believed the lies that eternal life is a reward for our performance. It's not by works. Eternal life is not a reward, it's a rescue. If you could have made it, God's Son would have never given His life. The only possibility we have for being saved is to put all our trust in God's Rescuer, Jesus.
If you've never done that, let this be your day to cry out in saving faith, "Jesus, you're my only hope." If you're not sure you belong to Him, would you spend a couple of minutes at our website and make sure. Find out how to know you belong to Him. It's ANewStory.com. I'd love to help you find Him.
This is your day to pin all your hopes on Jesus and that simple prayer, "Lord, save me."