Walk on water or learn to swim
by Bill Britton
JESUS EXHIBITS HIS KINGDOM
“When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force, to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone. And when evening was now come, His disciples went down into the sea, and entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid.” (John 6:15-19) Now these were not men who wanted to persecute Jesus or crucify Him. They wanted to make Him a king. However, they wanted to make Him a king on a lower realm than what He was already king of. He was a king, but they couldn’t see His kingdom. He demonstrated in His life and His walk that He was a king. Concerning His teachings about the kingdom, He taught the wonders of the kingdom realm, but they could not understand Him.
It took the day of Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, upon their hearts, to illuminate them and to bring to their minds, the things that He had taught them. Jesus told His disciples that when the Holy Spirit is come, He’ll bring to your remembrance all these things that have been told. When the Holy Spirit came, they then understood why He did not want to be made a King. He did not want to preserve the kingdom of Israel that was on the earth then. It is amazing how God sometimes lets things go under. That is, He does not try to preserve certain things and we do not understand why. Some people lose faith in God because He does not preserve the kingdom of which they are a part, or which they consider to be the ultimate in God. They do not understand that He sees so much more that will come forth after the temporal realm is buried and out of their sight.
When evening was come, His disciples went down into the ship, and went towards Capernaum, which is about eight miles across the sea. It was now dark, and the sea arose by reason of a great wind. When they had rowed about one to one and a half miles they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing nigh unto the ship and they were afraid.
Now you remember this in the light of what I am going to tell you. It scares people to see somebody walking on the water, right? I’m going to talk to you about how to walk on water. When it happens, people get afraid, they think it’s spooky. They don’t think it’s reality. When Jesus did it, it was reality, it was not a spirit, or a ghost. He was there in reality walking on the water, but they were afraid. “He saith unto them, it is I; be not afraid.” Then they willingly received Him unto the ship. When Jesus demonstrated that this walking on the water was not theology, was not theory, was not spirit, but it was reality, then they willingly received Him.
I want you to remember these certain principles that are put forth in this writing. When you begin to demonstrate walking on the water, people aren’t going to see the reality in it. They are going to see something spooky or theological. When you demonstrate that it is reality, that it really works, they can willingly receive it.
After they received Jesus into the ship, immediately the ship was at its destination. In other words obstacles of time, space, or other oppositions will be immediately wiped out when you receive the Christ that’s walking on the water. Hallelujah!
All right, that’s the story of Jesus walking on the water. I want to go on and read another example. Before I do though, let me say something to you. We read in the Word about the thirty, sixty, and hundredfold realm. We believe the hundredfold realm is the realm of the son. We believe that He has not reserved it for Himself alone, but He shares it with His entire Body, the Body of Christ. We call it Sonship, or getting into the ship with the Son. They willingly received Him into the ship, now they have sonship. That’s what we call it. I’m not trying just to play on words, but to give you a clarity of what I’m saying. We see this realm of becoming like Jesus, walking in the footsteps of Jesus, doing things like Jesus would do, as being the realm of the son. Walking on water is definitely something that originates with Jesus Christ. It’s something that belongs to the realm of Sonship. Hallelujah, are you hearing me?
JESUS SAYS COME
In Matthew 14:22-34 is another incident of walking on the water. “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. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, He was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straight-way Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered Him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And He said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped Him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret.
“Now this is not when they were trying to make Him a king, but this is just after He fed 5,000 people. He constrained His disciples to get into a ship and to go to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. In the first incident, we see the Son of God walking on the water. Now we see where Peter walks on the water. Pay attention here, I want you to notice something. When Peter walked on the water, he waited until he heard the Lord say “Come”. I don’t see Him saying, “Lord, I’m coming out there where you are. If you can do it, I can do it.” He didn’t jump out of the ship and start running out there. He said, “Lord, you tell me to come”.
It is very important to notice the conditions that existed at that time. The sea was boisterous with waves rolling all around them. I just heard on the news about a yacht that was in trouble north of Seattle. The people were rescued after getting into lifeboats. They were in what is called twenty foot seas. Twenty foot seas mean that the waves were rolling up around them two stories high. Twenty feet! These were pretty wild seas. These disciples were in the midst of a boisterous sea. It doesn’t say how boisterous but the waves were rocking around and they were in trouble. Then Jesus came and walked on the water. It didn’t bother His walking that the seas were troubled. When it’s boisterous, when the waves are rocking around, when people are excited that we might drown, that’s the time that He picks to walk on water!
Did you notice that? Never does it tell us that He picked a nice calm night when the moon was shining bright and glistening on the still waters of the lake. He never said, “this is a good time, it will be nice and smooth for me to walk”. No, He walked where it was rough. Hallelujah!
However, in this example Peter says, “tell me to come to you”. Jesus answered, “Come”. And when he heard the word of the Lord, out of the boat and into the water he went. Now this would have worked fine if he hadn’t gotten his eyes on the situation around him. If he just kept his eyes on the Lord, and remembered the word, “Come”, he would have made it fine. But he began to see the boisterous sea around him. He began to see the situation. Are you interpreting this as I go? Are you hearing these waves as things and situations in our lives that trouble us? They swamp us and just about drown us. We get into these situations and the Lord says, “Come on, walk on the water”. We start to, then we look at the situations again. When we start looking at the situations and all the trouble around us, all of a sudden, we start to find ourselves sinking. What happened to the word, walk on the Water? You took your eye off the word and put Et on the situation. So you had better learn to swim. But, Jesus rescued Peter and back to the ship they went.
Now, here is a very important principle. Don’t be critical of the guy who has to swim or who starts to sink because he gets his eyes on the situations” At least he tried. Don’t be critical of him if you’ve never stuck your foot in the water to see if it worked or not. At least he tried, and the Lord brought him back. The Lord didn’t let him sink.
By the way, let me say this, “Peter”, don’t be critical of those guys that stayed in the ship. They’re still learning how. James was in there and he was latter martyred for the Lord, killed with the sword. And different ones that went through terrible things in storms with the Lord, also learned how to walk on the water. But the first time when they saw it happening, they were in training. So you fellows that walk on water, don’t criticize the fellows that sit in the boat but haven’t learned how yet.
TRAINING TO HEAR
So Peter walks on the water. Isn’t it beautiful that you don’t have to be in full sonship till He gives you a chance to walk on the water? God may let you sink a little bit to teach you the principle of what it takes to walk on the water. He’ll let you go through some experience of sinking a little and then rescue you. See, Peter was not in full sonship yet. He was just acting upon what he heard from the Lord. The Lord was teaching him how to do it the next time. He was learning to not get his eyes on his circumstances, but just stay on that word.
Peter was in the learning process. He also learned he could sink out there walking on what he thought was the word of the Lord. What he thought? Do you think it was the word of the Lord? Yes it was. He really heard the word of the Lord. He really had a word from God and still sunk. He learned how to trust in God in spite of the fact that it seemed that word didn’t hold him up. Now there is a reason why that word didn’t hold him up. It wasn’t the fault of the word. But wait until I get to my destination, I’ve got to go one more place.
We’ve looked at Jesus, the Son of God walking on water. That’s His realm! That’s His territory! That’s His home country. That’s where He’s comfortable, walking on stormy seas. They don’t trouble Him! He’s an overcomer. Then we find Peter learning to walk on water. I want you to notice that this is the natural example and we do not have a bunch more. It didn’t become a normal situation with the twelve apostles in the boat. They were learning something more serious than that. Just getting across the sea, it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference whether you walk across or go on a boat. You get across the sea. The important thing is what this teaches you in dealing with life and with people’s lives and hearts. God is not interested in the fish and the sea and the water. He’s interested in people, because they are eternal. Their lives are what He’s interested in. So He’s trying to teach us a lesson through these natural things. He was teaching us how to deal with human lives and to be overcomers in walking on the water.
First we see Jesus walking on the water. Then we see Him giving a word to Peter to walk on the water. Later on, we find a man by the name of Paul coming along and becoming an apostle. He became a man so dedicated, so sold out to God that he put everything behind him. He even reached the place where he had to correct Peter. Peter himself spoke of him in his epistle saying, our beloved brother Paul has some heavy things to say, some deep revelations. He recognized Paul’s stature in the kingdom of God. So one time Paul got into some stormy seas. Surely he would walk on water as well? No, he had to swim. Either you walk on the water or learn how to swim.
PAUL’S STORMY SEA
Let’s look at Acts 27. They were in a stormy sea. I won’t go into the whole story and take up the time, but in verse 14-16, we read: “Not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. And running under a certain island called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat”. Then they were driven in the sea until it says there was “neither sun nor stars in many days”. This was no small tempest! All hope that they should be saved was then taken away. In other words, these were sailors, these were not weekend tourists going out for a sightseeing tour on the lake. These were sailors who knew how to fight the storm. Yet all hope was taken away that they could be saved. Everybody said, we are doomed! Then something happened.That’s the best time for something to happen by the way, when you come to the end of the rope. That’s when God moves in. You see, when they still had a chance to save the boat and themselves, God’s rescue would not have been so dramatic, or point out His omnipotence as much. It’s when they came to the place where they could do nothing else. All hope was gone. Everything was falling apart. No way can they get this back together, the ship is gone. It was then, something happened.
The angel of the Lord, stood by Paul and gave him a word. Then Paul stood up to the men though he was a prisoner in the ship. I want you to remember that. He is not in charge, he is not their apostle. He is their prisoner on his way to jail! However, he stands up in the ship and says, “I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, Whose I am, and Whom I serve, saying fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God bath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” (Acts 27:22-25) And then he said, follow me and he jumped out of the ship and walked on the water all the way to the shore. Did it happen that way?
Let’s read verses 40-44 and see. “And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoisted up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore. And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmovable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves. And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape. But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.” Everybody got to shore, but they had to swim. God couldn’t let them walk on the water. All right man of God, Paul, aren’t you as good as Peter? Aren’t you as great as this other apostle? Why don’t you demonstrate the faith realm? Why don’t you show them what real faith is? Just step out of that ship and walk on the water. They will see that you are a man of God. No, Paul had to swim! If you can’t swim, get a hold of a board and float in. Although, I’ll tell you, sometimes the boards are not handy to get a hold of, so you’d better learn to swim.
If you walk on water, if you’re one who overcomes all your problems. If you’re one who puts everything under your feet. If you never have a problem that you don’t take charge of and successfully walk on it, don’t criticize those who have to learn to swim. If you’re one who has not taken a pill in forty years. (I don’t say ten years or five years because some are young and healthy. They have never known what it was to need a pill or a doctor. Wait till forty years have gone by and then give your testimony!) But if you’re one who hasn’t taken a pill in forty years, wonderful! I praise God for that. You’re walking on the water. But don’t be critical of the diabetic who has to take the medicine to stay alive.
Now the burden of my message here is that I want you to walk on water. However, I also want you to get any critical spirit out of your heart. They’ll destroy you. Let me illustrate this for you. Twentyfive or thirty years ago I was preaching in Ohio. They asked me to go to the hospital and pray for a man who had an infected leg. If it didn’t get better, they would have to amputate it. He was in terrible pain with this infection. I went to the hospital and introduced myself to the man. He was very distraught, very distressed. He said to me, “preacher, I don’t understand this. I have lived by faith for many years. I wouldn’t take an aspirin. I wouldn’t go to the doctor, and I kept my testimony before the people.” By the way, He also criticized everyone that did not have as much faith as he had. Then he said, “Here I lay in the hospital, begging the doctors to come and put more dope in this leg to kill the pain.” As I stood there talking to him and hearing the cry of his heart, I saw the fruit of his pride. It’s great to walk on water, but don’t let it make you proud. The Lord will let you sink a little before He rescues you. This man who had walked on water in this area of his life, for a long time, now found out what it was like to be submerged in a boisterous sea. So I don’t want you to get proud, I don’t want you to get critical. I don’t want you to be afraid to walk on the water when you hear the word of the Lord. All right?
Now let me give you some illustrations of walking on the water. There are many areas in our lives in which we will have turmoil. These are our boisterous seas. Everyone has a different area. I’ve talked to people about their marital problems, or their financial, or spiritual problems, or the temptations they have. Everybody has a different kind of storm going on in their lives. What about the job situation? You need a job, you don’t have any income. You can’t find the kind of job that will really give you a good ministry. Maybe you need to be in ministry. You’ve decided that if you’re going to minister, you don’t want to spend time working. You want to spend full time in ministry. Then hear the word of the Lord to walk on the water.
MINISTRY OR A JOB
Let me illustrate to you how it is walking on water. You just believe God, you trust Him, and you don’t worry about finances. You trust Him because He is going to let you put those things under your feet, for you are working for Him. You’re to wait until the correct situation comes, and you have to hear from God to walk on that stormy sea first. Or, if you have to swim, you go out and start knocking on doors hunting jobs and survival. Now it’s better if you know how to walk on water. It’s better if you can trust God and by faith pull the answer out of heaven. God responds to your need so you don’t have to go out there and sweat and toil in the way of the world. I’m not talking about getting a job in a barroom. I’m talking about getting a good honest job, out in the world and sweating for it. Some people don’t feel that is their calling. If that is not your calling, if that is not what God wants you to do, and you can put that under your feet, go ahead, walk on that storm. However, you’d better know how to swim just in case you haven’t heard the word of the Lord about this water.
I learned to swim. When I left the denomination 35 years ago and started trusting God, I had to survive. My family had to eat. So I went out and got a job digging ditches, this preacher who had been on the Easter program with the big preachers in town. The Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist preachers all knew me, because I was the first Pentecostal preacher they ever allowed to be on the Easter program with them in that city. They always considered this tongue talking bunch wasn’t fit to sit on the platform with them at Easter. Well, there I was having a part in their Easter program. That was when I was in the denomination and we had Easter programs. We’re not so much in Easter programs anymore.
Anyway, I took a job digging ditches for a construction company. It wasn’t just any kind of ditch, it was a sewer ditch for a storm sewer. It wasn’t in the back alley where nobody would see either. It was on the main street of Port St. Joe Florida. It was on the highway and a big improvement for that city too. They were putting some storm sewers, sidewalks and what have you in. All the people wanted to come down and see all this improvement going on in our little town. It seemed like every preacher I knew in the city came around to see all this. One of them came by, looked down in there and said: “Why Reverend Britton, how are you?” I looked up out of that sewer ditch and said: “I’m doing pretty good.”, as I sweat up a storm. I WAS SWIMMING! Seventy-five cents an hour swimming.
After we dug the ditch, put in the storm sewer and filled the ditch back up with dirt, they gave me a stable broom to sweep the muck, mire, dust and dirt, off of the street. Now while I’m out there with the stable broom sweeping, one of those preachers came up. He was part of a non-denominational group. It was still a pretty sectarian fellowship though. He had been working on me for a while. In fact, I had preached in his church. This day, he came up alongside, walking with me while I was pushing my broom, and started to talk. I was making seventy-five cents an hour, so I had to keep moving, I couldn’t stop and talk. So he came alongside of me and said, “Reverend Britton, you’re a man of God, a preacher. This is not your place. You’re not supposed to be out here with this broom, sweeping these streets. You need to be in a church. Now if you’ll come with us, we’ll get you a church to preach in.” I stopped long enough to say to him: “Brother, you see this broom? God put this broom in my hand, and until God takes it out of my hand, I’m going to sweep streets.” Oh I would have loved to walk on water. I would have loved to just sit at home and pray, fast, read the word and let God pour the money in, but it didn’t work like that.
I had a letter from an official from headquarters that warned me not to leave the denomination. He said, “if you do, you will have to go to work in the secular world. You’re called to preach. You won’t be in the ministry. You’ll be greatly disappointed, stay in! Don’t do this!” After I left the construction job, I sold insurance. When Christmas time came, the company put out cards with their name on it to send to our clients. I sent one to this official in Springfield. “Merry Christmas” it said. He wrote me back saying, “Thank you for the Christmas card, I was interested in knowing the type of work you are doing now.” I was swimming! It would have been great if I could have written him a letter saying, “I’m walking on water. We’ve got a church here with 2000 people. Since I left the denomination, God’s given a great building, it’s going fine…”, but, it didn’t work like that. I had to learn how to swim.
TO TAKE MEDICINE OR NOT
Now I’m not going to tell you all the swimming lessons that I have had. However, if you’re sick with a disease, a serious problem in your body, and you’re walking on water you can trust God until it’s healed. If you have it under your feet, it will be healed. You don’t have to go to the doctor or take medicine if you’re walking on water, it will be healed. That is the realm of sonship. Yet, if you’re not walking on water, and you try to pretend that you are, you’ll die. There are many cases of those that tried to walk on water, that did not have their life jacket on. They did not know how to swim, and they died.
You ask, “Did you have to take medicine?” I had to take something better. The Bible says that a merry heart doeth good like a medicine. Now if medicine is wrong, then don’t get happy because you will have the same results that medicine will do for you. I know that there are certain medicines that help people that are sick. I advocate that you learn how to walk on water. Learn how to rise above that and put those things below your feet. But, until you do, you had better learn how to swim.
So if you’re sick, either trust God until you’re healed or die, or get a doctor. I learned how to walk on water concerning health. It was not a matter of dying in this case. Right after we got our building on High St., I got a vocal problem. My vocal chords developed a polyp or a tumor. I could not preach or even speak properly. I could not make tapes. I had to go off the radio. I couldn’t preach except about once a week for thirty minutes. It just exhausted me because it closed up my vocal chords. It felt as though I was trying to pump a two inch stream of water through a quarter inch hole. I had to preach in a whisper. How many of you have had to preach in a whisper? I did make a couple tapes. People sent them back saying there was something defective with them. I remember one time when a telephone lineman called on the phone. I answered the phone and the lineman asked, “is this Mr. Britton?” I answered “yes, this is Mr. Britton”. He said, “Will you please hang up and I’ll call you back on another line.” He thought there was something wrong with the line.
I had a cousin who was a state senator in Okla. He had the same thing. He said, “Oh now brother Britton, God’s not going to let you get something wrong like this while you’re doing something holy”. Well, not if you ‘re walking on water. You see I had learned that I was not always walking on water. Anyway, he said that he had a doctor that operated on him and fixed the problem. I found out that Brother Green in New Orleans had the same thing. Carlton Spencer in New York had the same thing. I talked to these brothers about it. They told me they had the operation. So I prayed about it. I said, “God do You want me to have this operation?” I went to see the doctor in Tulsa while I was there preaching. He examined me and said that I had the same thing my cousin had. He could put me in the hospital and operate on me and take it off. It was a simple operation. I told him I would have to pray about it. So while praying, the Lord said He was going to heal me. I started walking on water. It took me a little while to get to my destination. However, soon preachers from different parts of the country would prophecy over me and say, “Yea, thus saith the Lord, I am going to heal you.” One of them said, “I’m going to take away the voice you have now.” I responded to the Lord, don’t do that, it’s the only voice I’ve got left. I’ve got to have it.” Then He said, “I’m going to give you another voice and you’re going to put it on tape and send it around the world.” Well, has it come to pass? Yes, it has. God healed my vocal chords. I never had the operation. I learned what it was to hear the voice of the Lord saying, “Come on, walk on the water.” I learned to walk on the water.
All right you need a home. You want a home for your family to live in. You want to stop pouring all your money into rent. I’ll tell you how you can do it. You can walk on water. Just wait till God puts the cash in your hands and go out and buy your home. You can work at your two hundred dollar a week job until suddenly God puts thirty thousand or so dollars into your hands to buy a home. That is walking on water. You may be seventy-five years old when you get into a home, but you’ll walk on water that way. Or, maybe somebody will give you a home. If you are walking on water that can happen.
Maybe you have not heard from God to walk on that stormy water. So you want to know how to swim. Go out and buy a home and get a mortgage. Some would say, “I don’t believe we should be in debt. Owe no man anything!” If your payment is the first of the month and you get the money to them by the thirty-first of the previous month, you’re not in debt. You do not owe him anything. It’s when you promise someone that you are going to pay him and you do not, then you owe him. If you have a car payment due on the first and you do not have the money, and the first of that and the next month go by, and your two or three months behind, you owe somebody something. If you made a contract saying, “I’ll pay you so much at a certain time”, you do not owe until it is due. If you go out and buy and buy, then when the first of the month comes, you will owe a lot of people for a lot of things. The Bible says don’t owe anybody anything. Somebody would ask, do you have a credit card? Yes, I do and it is very convenient sometimes. I pay it off the first of the month too. I don’t owe anything that way.
FAITH FOR A BUILDING
Let me give another example of walking on the water. About twenty years ago, we needed a building. We were renting a little building on Commercial St., but it was not very conducive for our services. It was cold in the winter, hot in the summer, right out front with a bar across the street. Someone threw a beer can at me through the door one night while I was in the pulpit. We really wanted to get out of there. One day my wife looked in the paper and saw a house and a building for sale for $7,500.00. We didn’t have any money. We had given all our money to the missionary field and ministers coming through. I took nothing out of the offering so we just did not have any money. Still, I went to check it out. As I walked around the building, I felt God tell me to buy the building and have the contract signed that day. It was about 2p.m. when God spoke that to me. So I called the real estate man and said, “I am interested in the building, but if I buy it, I have to buy it today. Tomorrow won’t do. The deal is off if I wait till tomorrow.” I asked how much the down payment was and he said $1,000.00 and we’ll carry the note at six per cent. I told him I didn’t have $1,000.00, but I had a station wagon God had given me as an offering that was paid for and worth $800. If he would give me $700 for it as a down payment, I would buy the building, today only. So he got the owner and came over about supper time with the contract. After they looked over the car, they said it was a deal and we signed the contract. I got my copy and they left. We were to meet for the closing a week or two later. I went into the house and announced that I had bought a church. I called a few of the folks and asked what they thought about buying a church. They said if I thought it was all right to go ahead. I put it in the name of the House of Prayer with three men to be trustees setting it all in order.
The next morning I was eating breakfast when the phone rang. It was the real estate man. He said he had some bad news for me. The man I had bought the building from the night before had dropped dead from a heart attack that morning. He wasn’t sure what would happen to the contract but was going to try and find out. Now God knew why I was to get that contract signed by the owner the day before. I did not know, but God spoke to me to buy that building that day. We needed a building and God spoke to walk on the water. Step out of the boat and walk on the water. However, we also ended up owing $6,800.00, so we had to learn to swim a little too. Now if we had really walked on water, I would have gone to the post office and opened a letter with $6,800.00 in it. It did not happen that way. God let us swim some.
NEEDING A CAR
At this point, I would like to say something about an automobile. You need a car? We’ve had several people needing a car including me. I have been through this. There’s two ways to get it. You can ride the bus until someone puts the price of a car in your hands. If someone should put eight thousand or so dollars in your hand to buy a new car, you can enjoy walking on the water. Or, save enough out of your check each week to pay cash. It should take two or three hundred weeks or so. Paying cash for it is one way. The other way is to get a loan, and learn to swim.
Here is what happened to us one time. After we came to Springfield in 1962, the only car we had was an old Oldsmobile. The motor was about to go out on it, I couldn’t shift it. Once I got it started, if I turned the key off, say at the post office, which was about the only place we went in those days, a lot of times I could not get it started again. It was the motor, not the battery. I was travailing to God for a car. I was saying, “Oh God, here’s your servant. I need an automobile just to travel around town in, please Lord, hear my call!” A brother came from Texas at this time. He said, “Bill what you have to do is go to a car lot and just have faith to buy a car. Turn this old thing in.” I told him I didn’t want to go into debt. He finally prodded me and talked me into it. He took me over to a car lot where we saw an old 1966 Plymouth wagon. I did not really want a wagon but it did run. So we took it for a spin. It rattled and shook but at least it was a car I could get around town in. So I told the salesman, “I’ve got an old heap over there at my house. The motors gone and it won’t shift, but would you give me something on that?” He said he would give me $50.00 or some small figure like that. So I said 1 would make a deal. He gave me a price of $600.00 for the car. We shook hands and I went home to get the trade in. We got it started finally and drove it over to the lot. When I got over there, he walked around the car, kicked the tires, and said, “I’m going to have to raise the price on the deal $25.00. Then I heard the Lord say, “Now you shook hands on this deal and you were obligated to go through with it. But, now he has changed the deal and you’re no longer obligated. I’m opening a door for you to get out of it. This was not from Me.” When I heard that I said, no deal, it’s off, I’m going back home. So we went back home and believe me I was sick at heart. I was so close to having a car that I could go to the post office and back in. So close and all I would owe is $600.00. I really felt bad that night. The next day, probably about noon, I received a telephone call from California. The caller said, “Bill, there’s a car there in Springfield for you. God’s been telling me that you need a car. I’m going to send you the title and it is yours.” Guess what? That car was a 1966 Plymouth, but it was not a station wagon. We used that car until God spoke to my wife and me to give it to another couple that needed it. We learned how to walk on water, because we could hear the Lord.
I’m trying to show you from these examples that if you can hear the Lord, you can walk on water. If I had not heard the Lord the night before when that guy was kicking my tires, I would have had two 1966 Plymouths and be $600.00 dollars in debt. As it turned out, I sold the Oldsmobile to a mechanic that could fix it for $150.00, and owed nothing. God is good!
Let me go to another storm. One storm that arises in everybody’s life sooner or later is a little word called age. Now many people do not know what that word really means. Some of us know what it means because we are experiencing what goes with it. Now if you can walk on water, don’t worry about it. Just trust God for the vitality, the strength, the health and just barrel along like a kid. God will just revitalize your life. But, if you have to swim, I’ll tell you how to swim. Slow down! I can tell you that I’d like to walk on water but there came a time I had to put these windows on the front of my face to see the world through.
WALKING IN REALITY
If you’re going to walk, walk in reality, not in theory or theology. People who have tried to walk in theory, somehow did not walk in reality. This is what has ruined a lot of people’s faith and brought a reproach on the gospel. I am talking here about the reality of walking on the water.
Let us look into the Word for an example. You know the story in Acts 3:8-9. Peter and John went up to the temple to pray being the hour of prayer, and a certain man was there lame from his mother’s womb. He had never walked. From his mother’s womb he had been lame. His legs had never developed. Peter and John came by. Peter took him by the hand and said, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ, rise and walk.” They did not teach him how to walk. Do you know, when you are really walking on water in the sonship realm, they are not going to have to teach you how? You’ll learn as you go. You’ll learn fast. Listen as I go on.
The lame man leaped up, stood up, walked and entered into the temple, walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God. This was real. This was not something where Peter came along and said “look, if you will let John get over on the other side and I will get on this side, we’ll lift you up. You just let thou little old legs pretend you’re walking. Then if you believe, and trust God, and go on as if you really got it, though it’s not manifested yet, just go on as though it’s manifesting, and we’ll tell people that you are healed.” That would not have stirred many people. You know this is true. When they saw what happened, it was real. This man immediately was completely healed by the power of God. He was walking and leaping and praising God. Nobody ever taught him how to leap! Nobody ever stood on either side of him and helped him take even his first steps like a child.
Reality glorifies God. Theology glorifies our knowledge. You know there are preachers and other people all over the nation who know how to walk on water. They have all the scriptures down. They can tell you how to do it. What you should do. Why you should do it. They’ve got it all down in black and white. The theology glorifies our knowledge. One would say, “Look how much I know. I can tell you how to do it.” Yet I’ll tell you what reality does, -reality glorifies God.
Gal. 5:25 says: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” I believe we should walk in the spirit. I know what it feels like to walk in the spirit. I know what it feels like to walk on water. Like Peter, God took me out of the boat a few times. There were times that I felt like I was going to sink. But, what a feeling it is to know that He is there when you’re walking on water. I haven’t forgotten how to swim. I have found out that we are not totally in the realm of sonship. I am not totally in the image of Christ yet. Some people are so presumptuous as to think, “if I do this or that, I’ll force Him to move. I’ll put away my insulin and I’ll force Him to heal this diabetes.” And they die. One man tried to force God by fasting. He said, ”I’ll fast until such and such happens.” He died of starvation. Fasting and dying of starvation? Yes, God let him die.
I John 2:6 says that “He that saith that he abideth in Him ought himself also to walk even as Jesus walked.” Walking on water requires hearing the Lord say, “come”. If you try to be presumptuous and jump out there in the water thinking, I’ll jump out and then God will be required to save me, not so! He might let you drown. Don’t get presumptuous with God. Wait till you hear Him speak. Then you can walk on water. I John 2:6 in the New American Standard says: “Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” To walk as Jesus did! That’s our goal. That’s what we have to do. We have to learn to walk on water. We have to become a people of faith.
OUR VISION AND OUR WALK
We have a vision. This is our vision of victory. This is the way we are going to walk as Jesus walked.Now where we are walking right now, nobody is walking the way Jesus walked. Would you agree with that? Oh, you would like to. You’re believing for it. But actually walking in reality, we are not living there. Here’s where we are living, we’re up, we’re down, we’re up, we’re down. We’ve come pretty close sometimes where Jesus walked. Sometimes we even touch that realm. Then, here we come down out of it again. Now, one thing we do not want to do. We don’t want to bring our vision down to where we’re walking! We want to bring our walk up to where the vision is! Let’s not settle for what we have now. Let’s bring our walk up to where the vision is.
Abraham had a vision. God took him up to the mountain. He said, “See all this land, this is yours. You’re going to own it and your seed is going to own it. It’s yours. I give it to you.” Then Abraham went with his tent from place to place over the land that God had given him. But when his wife died, in order to bury her, he had to pay for the land to lay her to rest. The owners offered to give the land to him but he insisted on buying it. He had to buy his own land? He was not walking where his vision was. Later Joshua came by with the armies of Israel. God told him, wherever you walk, I’ll give you that land. He began to walk where Abraham’s vision was. You see, Abraham didn’t settle for where he was walking. He kept believing. His generations after him came back and through Joshua and the people, they brought the walk to where Abraham’s vision was. So they possessed all that land. That’s what we have to do.
Now, walking on the water is a realm of the Son of God. Practice walking on water. You can do it. You can have experiences, you can practice. You believe in God, having faith, doing the impossible. That doesn’t mean sitting around doing nothing until God throws you out of the boat. It means taking a step out there when you hear the Word of the Lord. Ask Him for the Word. Did you notice Jesus never said come until Peter said, “bid me to come”? Did you notice that? Tell me to come Lord! I’m not going to go until I hear your voice, I want your voice. Now some people are sitting around the boat like the other fellows. They were seeing something happening out there, but they did not make any requests. So He never told them to come.Pray! Believe God! Say, “God, I want to move in the realm of the impossible. I want to move in the realm of Sonship. I want to move in the realm of the miraculous. I want to move in the realm of the eternal. As you pray, you’ll hear God say, “Come out in this area.” When you hear Him, practice walking on water.Now what is your problem today? Is it health? Is it physical? Is it financial? Is it a job situation? Is it a miracle problem? What is the storm you are going through today? Ask God for the Word! Get that Word under your feet. Heavenly Father, touch the hearts of your people and teach us to walk on water.