This sermon was preached at Red Rocks Baptist Church (14711 W. Morrison Rd. Morrison, CO 80465) on Sept. 9, 2012 by Pastor Les Heinze. These notes are provided as a recap and for further study into the message from God’s Word.
STAYING ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP OR WORKING IN THE VALLEY?
For thousands each summer, there is great enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment in summiting one of Colorado’s famous ‘14ners’. Whether it is relatively easy Mount Bierdstadt or challenging Maroon Peak, there are advantages to being on top. You are rewarded with unmatched views, you get a better perspective of the surrounding areas, as well as a clear picture of the route back down.
But regardless of the advantages, most don’t want to stay there for more than a few minutes. Life doesn’t happen ‘up there’, it happens ‘down here’ – down in the valley.
As unequalled as the experience was, Peter’s desire to stay on Mount Hermon after witnessing the transfiguration of Jesus was equally ill-advised. And so would our desire to linger after those spiritual high points we occasionally encounter in our lives. Whether it is being able to see someone place faith in Christ for salvation or seeing victory over temptation in our own experience, we should move on in our walk with the Lord. There is more ahead of us.
Think about the disadvantages of staying on the mountain.
1. We will not grow toward spiritual maturity.
We primarily do just that through difficulties and challenges. A defensive football lineman will not grow stronger and improve his abilities by staying on the field and basking in the glow of a key victory. On Monday, there will be wind sprints to run and tackling dummies to hit before the next game.
As Peter, James, and John came back to the valley, they soon faced a challenge they were unsuccessful in meeting – a boy possessed by a demon. But they learned and grew though the failure, a process they would not have been afforded if they had stayed ‘up there’.
2. We will not positively affect others.
On the mountain there were no others who really needed the disciple’s help and ministry, something they had been mentored for. They would have deteriorated into a mutual admiration society, merely congratulating each other on the wonderful mutual experience they just had.
If Peter had remained, he would not have had the opportunity to preach in the ‘valley’ of Jerusalem on Pentecost (Acts 2) and see three thousand people converted. The crippled beggar at the Temple he later healed would have remained a cripple if Jesus had acquiesced to their ‘stay up here’ request.
3. We will have no further opportunity to demonstrate faith.
Faith is best demonstrated and rewarded in the ‘depths’, not on the ‘heights’. On the top, the three were mere observers. In the valley they became participants. Faith is vital to seeing changes in our own lives and that of others. Yes, it is messy in the valley compared to the pristine atmosphere on the mountain, but that is where God has called us, where we should be, and where we can make a difference in eternity.
Come on down. It is where reality is and impact is made.