INTRO: The account of Peters walking on water has always intrigued me. It was an occasion of remarkable faith ... as long as he kept his gaze on the Lord. When he lowered his eyes, however, the storm was all he could see (Mt 14:29). Remarkable faith gave way to human fears. The psalmists words are also words of faith ... I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. There is plenty about life to concern, to frighten, to dismay. Perhaps we need to lift our gaze.
I. IF OUR GAZE SEES ONLY THE IMMEDIATE ...
A. Fear will often beset us
1. 2 Ki 6:15-17
2. we are so prone to think the worst - to bog down in concerns which may not be reality
B. Patience will be impossible
1. because all well see is the trouble, the problem
2. soon, we are consumed in our own problem solving, our own answers, our own limitations ... (its easy to become frantic)
C. Anxiety will be probable
1. Mt 6:31-34 at v.31 is the gaze that sees the immediate, the momentary ... and anxiety is so probable
2. Ps 94:19 cure for anxiety? look up!
D. So, when the immediate is our focus ...
1. life become a muddle
2. we begin the lifes not fair commentary
3. we become edgy, empty, critical, negative
4. we are no longer at peace - enjoying calm
II. IF WE LIFT OUR GAZE ...
A. All of our problems may not be solved ...
1. this may be one of the realities we dont accept
2. we may be thinking that a godward life is supposed to be free from problems, troubles, etc. - not so
B. But we may be helped to change our perspective
1. isnt that Pauls experience? 2 Cor 12:8,9
2. or, Ps 73:17 he lifted his gaze!! doing so may not have changed any factualness of his observations - but it changed his way of seeing
C. We may begin to change the way we value things
1. Heb 11:26 here is a classic example
2. what are our goals? what is important to us? so many of the things important to us are here and now - what affects them affects us ... until we lift our gaze
D. We may begin to find contentment
1. surroundings are less important, urgent as we begin to see beyond them more accepting?
2. Heb 13:5 the greater value? He is with us!
E. We will discover peace
1. I fear many Christians really are not in peace
2. frantic, frenetic, frenzied lives are the mode for many ... why? where are we looking? where is our gaze?
3. what does Phil 4:6,7 say to us? lift your gaze ... trust the Lord ... be grateful ... and peace comes
4. not saying every temporal problem is resolved, solved ... but I do believe lifting our gaze lets us enjoy confidence, calm in our approach to the immediate
5. Heb 11:13-16 These all died in faith ... - they died looking toward heaven
a. were their lives easy? no
b. were their problems always small? no
c. where their lives wholesome, worthwhile? yes!
CLOSE: So, Col 3:1-4. Lift your gaze!
Cecil A. Hutson
20 August 2000
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)