19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened.20 But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 21 Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going. – John 6:19-21 (ESV)
This Thanksgiving, its important for us to remember why we follow Jesus. As we learned from God’s Word yesterday, is it so that you can use him to make you happy or to give your “fire insurance”? Or, is it because he is the Sovereign Lord of creation, who demands your submission and loyalty, even if his ways are not what you expected?
Even when things don’t go as you expected or hoped, you can know that Jesus is still Lord over all. Through your trials you can grow to know his person, providence, power, and presence. And you can look back and say, “The storm was worth it because I grew to know more of who Jesus really is!”
So far, most of my remarks have been directed to believers, who need to be reminded of Christ’s faithful care, but I want to talk to those of you who may not have actually come to Christ, or who know him, but are living far from him. Living in this fallen world, you are beset with troubles, or you soon or later will be.
Are you sure you can survive them? Do you know the destination to which the journey of your life is leading? Whether it is for salvation, or to recommit your life to Christ, let me briefly tell you what you must do to be saved from the upheavals of this world and especially of the world to come!
First, you must admit your need. You too, are illustrated by the men in the battered boat, except that you may have no hope for salvation. Perhaps you have stored up money, or have attained influence or position. Some of you may be nearing retirement and looking forward to a comfortable lifestyle.
But here’s the thing, how quickly the storms of life can sweep all these things away! As many of us know all too well, a visit to the doctor, a change in the stock market, or some other reversal in fortune could destroy all in which you have hoped!
Most importantly, the reality of impending death will come to you, and standing on the brink of eternity, you will have to satisfy the judgment of a perfectly holy God! Do you really think you can do that in your own strength and on the merits of your own record? Have you not sinned, breaking God’s law? Then you must admit your need of the Savior!
Second, you must believe the Word of God. You must believe what the Bible says about your sin and God’s judgment. You must believe what the Bible says about Jesus, that he is God’s unique Son who came to earth to save those who believe. And you must accept by faith his offer to forgive your sins and give you his perfect righteousness.
Third, you must commit your soul and your life to Jesus’ care. This means that you must submit your will to his will, and follow him where he leads in a life of service.
Will you do this? Will you admit your sin, believe on Jesus Christ as your Savior and commit or recommit your life to his keeping?
Following him does not mean that your life will be free from storms, but it does mean that Jesus will watch over you from heaven, that he will come to you with help in your times of need.