Looking at the Waves
A Sermon on Matthew 14:22-23
Jesus Walks on the Water
22Immediately afterward He compelled the disciples to get into the boat and to go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. 23After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to …
22¶ And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 23And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening …
“I’m a Christian, why am I depressed?” Too often, Christians believe that becoming a Christian eliminates all temptation toward despair and depression. While regeneration transforms the inner person, it doesn’t necessarily change personality or temperament. The Christian should not continue in depression, yet the Christian often does battle depression. Sanctification is not automatic––one must strive toward living a life of faith. In this sermon on Matthew 14:22–23 titled “Looking at the Waves,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones examines the personality of Peter, a disciple of Jesus, and his unstable faith which leads to despair. Peter’s initial faith in Jesus led him onto the stormy waters. Yet something changed. Circumstances didn’t change; the waves were not new. What changed was Peter’s faith. Instead of focusing on Jesus, Peter focused on his circumstances. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that this focus on circumstances leads to doubt, which leads to despair. While the circumstances of one’s life are enough to drive them to depression, the Christian has a savior in the midst of the storm. The Christian must not rely on past experiences of faith––they must practice faith now, as the waves crash around them.
- Jesus is the focus of the Christian faith. We must understand his deity and glory.
- Peter had an energetic and impulsive temperament which often led to unevenness in his faith. This is a common cause of spiritual depression.
- Peter acted without thinking things through thoroughly. His faith was not grounded in deep understanding.
- We often lead ourselves into doubts by not thinking things through or exposing ourselves to things that undermine our faith.
- Doubts are not incompatible with faith. Even strong Christians struggle with doubts at times. However, we must not let doubts gain control over us.
- The antidote to doubts is strong, grounded faith in Christ and biblical truth.
- Strong faith means knowing Christ, his power and trusting in him. Peter exhibited this at first.
- We must refuse "afterthoughts" - going back over things we have already settled in our faith. This only leads to more doubts.
- We must persist in looking to Christ. We cannot live on past experiences of faith. We need faith in Christ every day.
- Christ will never let us sink completely. When we call out to him, he will save us. However, we can avoid desperation by keeping our eyes on him.
- Through faith in Christ, we can overcome impossibilities and obstacles. Looking to him, all things are possible.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.