Matthew 14: 22-31
Rescue from the Prison of Pride

Sacred Delights
Rescue from the Prison of Pride
Sunday, May 26, 2024


Call to Worship:
Come, let us worship and bow down
in awe of God’s steadfast love for us.
For God gives ear to our words;
God listens to the sound of our cries.
Come, let us take refuge in the God of our salvation.
For God is our shield,
our protection in times of trouble.
Come, let us rejoice and sing for joy!
For God is surely in this place! 
Let us worship God!
Let’s pray
Praise Songs

1 John 1: 8-9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

What a wonderful promise from a loving God. He is faithful and just to forgive. He doesn’t have to, but in His love and because He is faithful and just, He will…but there is a condition isn’t there? Did you catch it?

If we confess our sins…
This is the part that stops many unfortunately because that is admitting failure, that is revealing our shortcomings and it means we have to admit we are wrong about something.
We would rather justify and rationalize why we do what we do-to state there’s a good reason for our behavior. If you knew all that I had to endure; all that I have to put up with; the raw deal I was given; the hard break I have had you would understand and you might do the same things too.
And that part is true-we might also make similar choices, but it’s still justifying and still acting outside of the will of God for us.

We would rather compare ourselves to someone we deem is far worse off than we are-but look at that person and all the sin they are living in, just like the Pharisee who thanked God for not making him like the man praying next to him- a despised and lowly, no good tax collector. Thank You, Lord I am not him. He is far worse than me. 

Confessing would show weakness and we certainly can’t have that exposed.
All of these behaviors and patterns are evidence of one who has imprisoned themselves to pride.

Pride is at the heart of justifying and coming up with endless excuses as to why it’s ok we do what we do. Pride is at the heart of rationalizing. Pride is at the heart of comparing so we might make ourselves look better. Pride will never let you fully enjoy and understand the sacred delights of God. Pride won’t understand the teaching of Jesus about the blessings of God; because Pride says we’re fine on our own. We’ll just figure it out, even if the waves crash over us and take us down-at least we did it on our own terms and we didn’t look weak.

Have you been there? Are you there right now?
Look closely within right now- do you have prison bars on your heart? Did you put them there?
There is a release from that sentence you have given to yourself through surrendering to Jesus as your Savior and seeing Him truly as your Savior. That is the odd thing with Christianity isn’t it freedom comes through surrender and letting go?

Jesus was teaching in the Beatitudes, Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
This is a much deeper teaching than how we often view this as ones who are mourning the loss of a loved one. This blessing is true in that meaning also-but the deeper meaning of sacred delight- is in mourning of our human condition apart from Christ. Mourning in our sinfulness and seeing ourselves for who we truly are. Letting go of pride and saying yes, I am a wretched sinner on my own and I need You, Jesus.

Remember He’s not here to condemn you; what does the promise say, the one who mourns will be comforted.

He’s here to comfort you and remake your heart into one that is pure, righteous, content, and joyful so we might live life abundantly in Him!

We began this series with Blessed are those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom in heaven. We recognize our need for a Savior and we cry out to Him. A natural outflow from having a poor or lowly spirit should be mourning over our sinful state…but pride is often the blocker and an obstacle to overcome.

The path to eternal and heavenly joy is no doubt strange and different what this world defines:
We begin with a deep sadness in our spirit-recognizing our state or condition.
Max Lucado gave it a modern twist, “Blessed are those who know they are in trouble and have sense enough to admit it.”

In God’s kingdom, Joy comes through our mourning. Freedom is found in our surrender, and liberty is gained by our confession. Strange and wonderful all at the same time.

So the choice is whether we continue to keep ourselves imprisoned to our pride, or we humble ourselves and cry out to Jesus to do what He was sent to do-free us from our prisons and bring liberty from how we have been held captive! This is all in the remaking of our hearts the Beatitudes are teaching on.

We know a man who was a prisoner of pride. He was strong and tough; a fighter with a big mouth who often spoke before he thought things through. Tact was not his gift. Grace was not something he often walked in. He had a temper and pretty much everyone around him would know what was on his mind. His name was Simon. We know him better as Peter. Simon was an expert fisherman and he knew all about navigating boats on the waters and the dangers that quickly arise in stormy weather. Yet this is exactly where he finds himself in the eye of a major storm and he and the
disciples with him are now fearing for their lives wondering if they will see the sun rising the next morning.

Peter has a choice to make in this time of panic-pay attention to what he chooses. There was a monumental shift happening in the heart of Peter as he made this choice. The prison doors flew open on his heart and for the first time, he felt true freedom while the storm was raging around him. Watch how God works.

Matthew 14: 22-31 NLT

22  Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home.  23  After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. 24  Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.  25  About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.  26  When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” 27  But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” 28  Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” 29  “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.  30  But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. 31  Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

1. Blessed Are Those Who Mourn-for They Will be Comforted.

Peter knew exactly what these strong winds were capable of doing to the boat and all of them. He was also wise enough to know this moment was not a time for pride or arrogance but to get help and do it fast! He needed a rescue.
Who does He see coming at just the time that is needed?
Jesus-walking on water. What does that show us about Jesus’ authority, even over the waves and water? He has all authority-over all things. The raging storms don’t phase Jesus. He was calm and confident.

Isaiah 61: 1-3 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2  to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn, 3      and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the LORD.

Who are the ones who will receive this freedom and liberty? Those who mourn and know the captives they are to their sinful nature, to the dark thoughts in their mind, to the fears and pride that imprison them.
If your situation you find yourself in brings you no grief, then you receive no comfort.
If you carry your burdens alone, you don’t need a burden bearer.
If you can take Jesus or leave Jesus, you might as well leave Him.
If Jesus is one of many options to you, then He is no option at all.
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

How many have been there? How many are falling right now? Check your pride.
Check your view of Jesus. Do you see Him as your only option? Can you take Him or leave Him?
Then it shouldn’t be a surprise if you find yourself without comfort.

Matthew 11:28-30 28  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  29  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  30  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

When we mourn and have sorrow over our sin, we are admitting we have no other option but to cast our cares on Jesus and have faith He will not only help us but comfort us in our troubles.
It didn’t take Peter long to look over his situation; his boat was about to be pulled under along with him and the men in it. Jesus was staying on top of the water. If we think this is a moment of calm and Peter asking Jesus to do a neat trick by allowing Peter to walk on the water with Him we are missing the great significance of what was happening in Peter’s heart.
I believe it was more of a cry of salvation, Jesus…. If that’s you, get me out of this boat that will surely sink!  Bring me near to You!

He knew on his own he was surely going down but he hoped Jesus would save him and
trusted He could keep him above the waters.
When there is truly no other name we call upon, but Jesus, there He is waiting to rescue us during a storm.

Parents what do you do for your children who are anxious, fearful or sad?
Comfort them right?
We might think of stories or songs that soothe their hearts and remove fears. We might just hold them so they feel safe and calm again. We might tell them we love them so they feel assured. We tell them you’ll be ok. I’m here.
Did you know this is what our Heavenly Father delights in doing for us? All these things and more. Why then if we know to do these things for our children, don’t we let the Father comfort us, since we are His children?
The imprisonment of pride.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

2. Blessed Are the Meek-for They Will Inherit the Earth.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Peter chose to be meek before the Lord and Jesus literally and spiritually lifted him up out of the water that was taking him under. It is through our meekness that God does extraordinary things for His glory.

Look to Moses who felt unqualified to speak for the people of Israel, but God spoke through Him. God took Moses’ common shepherd staff and used it to display the awesome power of God before Pharaoh. Look to the shepherds in the field-not highly educated men or part of the elite class; but men who wouldn’t question the way in God chose to announce the birth of His Son, who simply marveled in it. Men who would kneel before and worship the baby Jesus. Look to David-a boy who took on Goliath not with all the weaponry or strength of man, but in the faith of God’s power. God used a slingshot and some pebbles to take down the giant an entire army couldn’t do.

God goes to the meek and gives them something we can never attain on our own… COURAGE.
Peter did the impossible and stepped over the side of the boat and walked on water with Jesus. To watch Jesus do that would have been impressive and something to marvel-to do it with Him-that is faith-building and causes a new found courage to rise within. Notice how Jesus addressed all of them when He appeared.
Matthew 14:27 27  But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
He doesn’t say take courage-you all are expert fisherman-you know what to do in a storm like this. He says, take courage I AM here!

He speaks to their need for Him as their Savior, and He was there to help them. So they have courage in Him, not their own ability.

2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-

The Spirit of God gives us power-in other words- courage in how we live.
The enemy wants you to live in fear and doubt. He wants to rob you of your peace and your joy. Fear, He is a Liar. Peter was deathly afraid on that boat in the raging storm, until he saw Jesus. As soon as Peter saw Jesus and confirmed it was Him, courage mounted. Walking on the water required great courage, but he did it because he was locked squarely at Jesus.

When did Peter sink? When he took his eyes of Jesus and looked again to the raging storm and large waves. But in his meekness, he cried out, “Save me Lord!”
Immediately Jesus reached down and pulled him back up. What did Jesus say to Peter? “Your faith is so little, why did you doubt Me?” He was teaching him Peter, fear is a liar. Look to Me, look always to Me. I have never failed you and I never will. Take courage! I am here!

Have you shifted your gaze from your Lord and Savior to the waves crashing against you? Are you backing down more than standing up with courage in the battles of life? Let Jesus lead you back up the mountain again. Let Him remind you why you need not fear, for He is here!

When we remember we already have victory in Christ and we share an inheritance with Him that can never be taken away, our earthly fears really aren’t fears at all. They become much smaller and we see them for what they are. The gift we are given when we draw near in meekness, is to be filled with a courage that can’t be shaken, for we know who goes before us and we know who lives within us.

1 Peter 1: 3-4 3  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  4  and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,
Conclusion: Blessed are those who mourn over their sinful state and call upon the name of Jesus, for they receive His comfort. Blessed are the meek who revere Christ as their Lord, for they will inherit the earth.

“No longer shall the earth and its fears dominate us, for we follow the one who dominates the earth.” -Max Lucado
Let’s pray


A special prayer in remembrance of what Memorial Day stands for: Lord of all nations, may we take time to reflect on the great blessings we share as a nation and as a people. Our blessings have come at a high cost to others. May we remember these sacrifices always with deep gratitude. Gracious God, on this Memorial Day weekend, we pray for those who courageously laid down their lives for the cause of freedom. May the examples of their sacrifice inspire in us the selfless love of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Bless the families of our fallen troops, and fill their homes and their lives with Your strength and peace". Please hold our servicemen and women in your strong arms. Cover them with your sheltering grace and your presence as they stand in the gap for our protection. May the members of our armed forces be supplied with the courage to face each day and may they trust in the Lord's mighty power to accomplish each task.  We continue
to pray for peace in our world. Lord, let your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. In the name of Jesus Christ,
we pray.

Final Blessing: Philippians 4:7 (May) the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.