AGCC Sun a.m. 11/17/96
INTRO: One of the greatest truths
of Christianity is God's promise to always be with us....and yet this is the one
truth that we know, but somehow fail to believe! Fear is the most common
reaction in our lives to situations that catch us off guard...even as
Trust is the antidote to fear...but how hard we find it to trust in God
when we are frightened or overwhelmed. How much better off we would be if we
would learn to trust God and not be afraid...we only need to look at
ILLUS: When my son was a toddler, washing his hair was always a problem. He would sit in the bathtub while I put shampoo on his hair. Then, when I poured on the water to make a lather, he would tip his head down so that the shampoo ran into his eyes, causing pain and tears. I explained that if he just looked straight up at me, he could avoid getting the shampoo in his face. He would agree; then, as soon as I started to rinse his hair, his fear would overcome his trust, and he would look down again. Naturally the shampoo would run into his face again, and there would be more tears.
During one of our sessions, while I was trying to convince him to lift up his head and trust me, I suddenly realized how this situation was like my relationship to God. I know God is my Father, and I'm sure He loves me. I believe that I trust Him, but sometimes, in a difficult situation, I panic and turn my eyes away from Him. This never solves the problem; I just become more afraid, as the "shampoo" blinds me.
Even though my son knew I loved him, he had a hard time trusting me in a panicky situation. I knew I could protect him, but convincing him of that wasn't easy, especially when all he could see was water coming down. His lack of trust hurt me, but it hurt him more. He was the one who had to suffer the pain. I'm sure my lack of trust hurts God very much, but how much more does it hurt me?
Often in the Bible, we are told to lift up our
head to God when problems come. He knows how to protect us if we remember to
listen to Him. Now, when I find myself in a situation where it would be easy to
panic, I picture my son sitting in the bathtub, looking up at me, learning to
trust me. Then I ask God what I should do. Sometimes the answer may seem scary,
but, one thing I'm sure of--He'll never pour shampoo in my face! Jeanette Strong
How much like this little child we are! Even when we
know what to do, we find it so hard to do it!
PROP. SENT: The Bible will teach us that we need to trust God and not be afraid
no matter the circumstances in life we find ourselves in, He is always there with
us..."even unto the end of the age!" (Matt 28:20)
I. SUDDEN STORMS! 4:35-38
A. God's Direction! 4:35
1. One of the most troubling things about this passage is found in this verse..
a. The idea to go over to the other side originated with Jesus
b. This even though a terrible storm was about to break out upon them!
c. How could the creator of the universe lead them into a storm, He could
have known about it ahead of time and had them wait until it had passed!
d. Jesus actually led them into a storm!
2. Some Christians have this crazy idea that God will never lead them into
a. this is contrary to their idea of a "loving God"
b. they can't imagine a loving father that would let His kids get into a
painful situation if He knew about it ahead of time.
3. God never promised to keep us out of trouble, He promised to BE WITH US
a. remember the 3 Hebrew children that were thrown into the fiery furnace, God didn't keep them from the fire, He kept them IN the fire!
b. Jesus didn't avoid the cross, He triumphed OVER it!
c. We have too much sissy theology today floating around in Christian
circles...theology designed to appeal to the fleshly desires to avoid pain
at all costs!...but this is not Biblical theology!
4. What we can expect of our God is that He will always be with us in every
situation, painful or pleasurable!
5. Ultimately, we are not the ones in control over this universe, all we can
be in control of is ourselves!!!
ILLUS: In the years 1014-1035 there ruled over England a Danish
king named Canute. King Canute tired of hearing his retainers flatter him with
extravagant praises of his greatness, power and invincibility. He ordered his
chair to be set down on the seashore, where he commanded the waves not to come
in and wet him. No matter how forcefully he ordered the tide not to come in,
however, his order was not obeyed. Soon the waves lapped around his chair. One
historian tells us that, therefore, he never wore his crown again, but hung it
on a statue of the crucified Christ.
6. Since going to the other side was Jesus' idea, it couldn't have been a
B. Great Distress! 4:36-38
1. Mark is the only one of the 3 Gospel writers to tell us that there were other
boats along for the trip also...so what Jesus does to save them also helps
the others even though they didn't know what was going on!
a. God's grace in our lives often spill over into other people's lives!
b. Life is not just a stumble through uncertainty.
2. A furious storm blew in suddenly...
a. this was not uncommon for the Sea of Galilee, the cold dry air often
rushed down the mountains into the valley below and collided with the
warm moist air and created sudden storms...many times these were
b. The language here that the storm was a "FURIOUS SQUALL" (NIV)
means exactly what it says!!
c. A boat could be destroyed in a matter of minutes and all aboard perish!
3. This incident really shook up the disciples...they had questions:
a. How could God have permitted this when it was His decision for them
b. How could God be so silent (Jesus was asleep!!) when they were so scared and ready to perish at sea...didn't Jesus care?
c. Why was this happening to them, hadn't they just been faithful to minister to others just before this?
4. These are often the same questions we ask when trouble strikes our lives!
5. Yet, even this difficult time would be an important teaching moment for
them about trust in God...so often we learn better through pain than we
do through pleasure!
a. Remember C.S.Lewis's statement, "God whispers to us in our pleasure,
speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pain!"
b. What the disciples often missed in parables
they learned in practice!
ILLUS: Sometimes your medicine bottle has on it, "Shake well before using." That is what God has to do with some of His people. He has to shake them well before they are ever usable.
Havner by George Sweeting, Who Said That? (Moody, 1995), p. 22.
6. Jesus was asleep for two reasons:
a. He was tired after ministry...this spoke of His human nature
b. He was confident of His heavenly Father's love and care for Him and
His own power of nature... his deity!
c. How could anything hurt them while He was with them?
7. You will note that their concern was for themselves, "Teacher, don't you
care if we drown?"
a. note they called Him "teacher" instead of "LORD"!
b. Obviously they still didn't quite see Jesus for who He really is, they
understood his human nature, but failed to see that He is also very
c. How can you perish with God in your boat!!!??? (good question
II. SECRETS OF SURVIVAL! 4:39-41
A. God's Deliverance 4:39
1. Jesus simply gets up and speaks to the forces of nature as though they
were merely a child... "QUIET! BE STILL!"
a. Could have been said to the disciples too!!!
b. Jesus was not only man, He is fully God too!
c. How could the disciples have missed this?
2. God was never overwhelmed and He still isn't today!
3. Imagine the reaction of the disciples to the sudden complete calm that
resulted from God's Word....they could hardly believe their eyes no doubt!
4. Because of what they saw, they believed, but there is a better way for us
to respond to God than this.....
ILLUS: Some things have to be believed to be seen.
--James S. Hewett,
Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p.
5. Jesus had demonstrated that He was fully God... in Psalms it had been
written: "O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee?....thou
rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them!" (KJV - Psalm 89:8-9)
a. Had the disciples properly understood who Christ really was they would
not have had to be so afraid!
b. They had seen Jesus heal the sick, heard Him speak great truths in
parables, watched him do other miracles, yet they failed to fully
appreciate who He is and that His presence with them makes all the
difference in the world!
c. Fear was an unnecessary response...faith would have been more
B. God's Direction! 4:40-41
1. Now Jesus expresses His disappointment in their failure to have faith!
"Why are you so afraid?"
a. I wonder how many times God has tried to ask us that same question?
b. Have we forgotten His words before He ascended into Heaven, "Lo I am
with you always, even unto the end of the age!" (Matt.28:20)
2. Jesus was surprised that they had no faith after all the miracles and
teachings they had sat under!
a. How many Christians that have sat under umpteen numbers of sermons and witnessed God's miraculous powers still find themselves afraid when facing a tough trial?
b. It seems we are not much different from Jesus' disciples!!
3. they had failed to understand how profoundly different things are with
God onboard our ship!
a. the world mocks this belief and faith in Christ
b. They may mock it, but it doesn't change the fact that God is
ILLUS: A bold unbeliever was lecturing a group on the folly of religious faith in general and the Christian faith in particular. At the close of the presentation the speaker invited people to propound any questions they might have. In the audience was the town drunkard, who had been converted to Christ. In response to the invitation the converted alcoholic came up front, took out an orange, peeled it, and ate it without comment.
The speaker asked if he had a question for him. After downing the last segment of orange the convert turned to the infidel and asked, "Was the orange I just ate sweet or sour?" Angrily, the speaker replied, "You idiot, how can I know whether it was sweet or sour when I never tasted it?" To this the converted drunkard retorted, "And how can you know anything about Christ if you have not tried Him?"
--James S. Hewett,
Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p.
4. We can be confident that God is with us always!
a. Therefore we can avoid being distraught with fear!
b. Faith is simply the confidence that even in the storm God is with us
and has everything under His power!
5. They are so amazed at what they saw in Christ...even though they shouldn't have been so amazed...their question indicates that they realized
now something about Christ that they had failed to see before, His true
character as God!
a. Instead of being afraid of the storm, they now have a new "fear" toward
Jesus!... (this kind of fear however is that of respect, not the kind of
fear that makes you terrified!)
b. The "fear of God is the beginning of wisdom" (Prov. 9:10)
6. Suddenly everything looked different, the very storm they had just come
through had made them look at things very differently!
a. Nothing will make us see what is really important better than facing
b. Not only did they perceive Jesus different, they must have seen everything as different now too (at least for a while!).
7. God sometimes uses these incidents in our lives to refocus our values
and our understanding of Him
a. They help turn our fears to faith!
b. Isn't this what we are always asking for???
ILLUS: There's a true story that comes from the sinking of the Titanic. A frightened woman found her place in a lifeboat that was about to be lowered into the raging North Atlantic. She suddenly thought of something she needed, so she asked permission to return to her stateroom before they cast off. She was granted three minutes or they would have to leave without her.
She ran across the deck that was already slanted at a dangerous angle. She raced through the gambling room with all the money that had rolled to one side, ankle deep. She came to her stateroom and quickly pushed aside her diamond rings and expensive bracelets and necklaces as she reached to the shelf above her bed and grabbed three small oranges. She quickly found her way back to the lifeboat and got in.
Now that seems incredible because thirty minutes earlier she would not have chosen a crate of oranges over even the smallest diamond. But death had boarded the Titanic. One blast of its awful breath had transformed all values. Instantaneously, priceless things had become worthless. Worthless things had become priceless. And in that moment she preferred three small oranges to a crate of diamonds. Charles Swindoll
--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited
(Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 489.
8. They now knew Christ in a new way, they had the storm to thank!!
a. can we thank God for some of the storms in our life that open our
b. Have we learned that being afraid is counterproductive to our faith
9. "WHY ARE YOU FEARFUL?"...this question is as good today as it was when
Jesus asked the disciples on that stormy sea...what's our answer?!
CONCLUSION: The disciples seemed surprised that a storm overtook them while
Jesus was with them! Sometimes we feel shaken by storms in our life and wonder
how these could happen if Christ is always with us! If our fear (respect) for God is strong (faith), our fear of the storms will be much less, and rather than have our
eyes on the storm, we will have our eyes on God! Faith can replace fear, it is our