Mark 4:35-41 35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" 41 They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"
Jesus had just finished a long hard day of teaching and helping people. He was probably extremely exhausted. By piecing together the accounts from Matt, Mark, & Luke, we can get a picture of what kind of day this had been for Jesus. Mt. 12 tells us the Jesus healed a demon-possessed man who was blind & dumb (he couldn’t talk). After Jesus got through with him, he could talk! What a miracle! However, the Pharisees were not too pleased with this, because the people were starting to talk about Him being the Messiah, the King that Israel had been waiting for. Some of them resorted to slander and said that Jesus was casting out demons by Satan’s power. After dealing with what appears to be a lengthy confrontation with the Pharisees, Jesus went down by the lake to teach (maybe we should have church at the lake one of these days). He tells at least 8 parables and teaches the people all they can take for one day. At last, He is exhausted and tells the disciples, “Let’s go to the other side of the lake.”
Now, Peter, Andrew, James, John are manning the sail or the oars or whatever was appropriate, while Jesus was getting some much needed sleep in the stern of the boat. The fact that Jesus could sleep through the rain and wind tells us He must have been very tired. However, I believe that what really allowed Jesus to sleep through such a storm was His trust in His Father. He knew He was safe, because He was in His Father’s hands. That leads us to the main idea of the sermon today.
Prop: We can survive any storm that comes our way when we learn to live as people of faith.
Interrogative: How can we live as the people of faith God wants us to be?
TS: We will discuss several marks of a person who learns to trust in the Lord.
1. People of Faith Follow the Lord’s Instructions (35-36) “Let us go over to the other side.”
Obedience is the most natural expression of faith. Being in agreement with the Lord and following through with the direction He gives us is faith in action.
The disciples were willingly following Jesus and were more than willing to go along with whatever He said. Each of them had been touched by Jesus in some unique way to such an extent that they would follow Him anywhere and do whatever He asked of them. That seems like a pretty noble commitment, but what strikes me is the impact Jesus must have had on each of them that would make them want to drop everything else and follow Him.
For Peter, Andrew, James, and John to leave their nets to follow Him is the same as someone quitting their career to do what Jesus wants them to do. Would you be willing to do that? I don’t know if they had other income to fall back on, but I am fairly certain that they continued providing for their families in some way, or Jesus would have had something to say about it. At least Peter was married, because it mentions his mother-in-law. He may well have had children, and could have been shooing them away when Jesus said, “Let them come.” Regardless, this group of 12 men (fishermen, a tax collector, a zealot, and others) left their jobs and joined themselves to Jesus at His request.
As they walked with Him and got to know Him better, they did not always understand what He was doing, but they did follow Him and do what He asked them to do.
That’s a pretty good place for us to start. When the Lord puts something on your heart, just do it! Don’t wait around to see if He will change His mind. He is waiting for your obedience. Also know that whatever He asks you to do, He will enable you to do it, and He will provide for you all the way.
2. People of Faith Will Encounter Storms in Life (37) “A furious squall came up, and… the boat… was nearly swamped.”
-Have you ever felt nearly swamped by the troubles and pressures of life? All people will face the storms of life. No one is exempt – not even people of faith. Some people face horrendous storms of pain, grief, and heartache. However, I firmly believe that God wouldn’t allow you to go through what you’ve been through unless He knew that you would make it and be better for it. Certainly, we can bring our own storms on ourselves by our choices and behavior, but even the most righteous person in the world will encounter some terrible storms throughout life.
We need to understand that some very difficult times may come upon us, but that does not mean that God is not with us. The very same disciples whom Jesus told He would never leave all suffered violent deaths as martyrs (except John, who was boiled in oil, but wouldn’t die, and apparently exiled or imprisoned on the Island of Patmos). Did Jesus abandon them when they faced death at the hands of executioners? No, He was with them every step of the way. We may never face such an end, but we can be sure that we will face storms of some kind as we live this life.
TS: But that’s okay, because we know where our help comes from.
3. People of Faith Know Whom to Call on for Help (38-39)
The disciples were afraid and did not trust God with their safety, but at least they knew who to call upon for help.
Who do you call on when you need help? To whom do you turn when you need a miracle? People will seek help, comfort, or escape in all kinds of ways. Some decide they will distract themselves from the effects of the storm by pursuing pleasure (sexual encounters, adrenaline thrills, buying lots of comforts, overindulgence, etc). Others try to numb themselves to the storm through drugs or alcohol. They seek to hide from the storm until it passes- if it ever does. Unfortunately, they often end up with a worse storm on their hands as their lives fall apart.
Whatever people try to do on their own to make it through the storm will not get them very far. There is only One who can calm a storm. There is only One whom even the wind and the waves obey. Unless they call on Him to help them and save them from destruction, they are not going to make it. Oh, they might weather a few storms, but they are not going to make it to the end. What’s at the end? Life or death. Jesus or eternal punishment. Only those who call on Jesus in this life will make it to the next. This is why we must call on the Master, trusting that He will help us, not only in our crisis, but with our whole life.
A movie & soundtrack came out sometime in the ‘80’s. Some of the words to the song were “Who ya’ gonna call?”
Well, who are you gonna call when you need help?
Psalm 121:1-8 where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip-- he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD watches over you-- the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life; 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”
-Who ya’ gonna call? People of faith call on the Lord!
4. People of Faith Learn to Overcome Fear (40-41) "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
Trust is the greatest antidote for fear. How do we get trust? How can we learn to trust Jesus with our lives?
Well, at the risk of sounding too simplistic, let me say that the Bible gives us every reason to trust God with our lives. He has a 100% fail proof system of coming through for those who call on Him in faith. Read in the OT. Read it in the New. God has a way of always coming through. Rom. 10:17 says that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The Bible is the historical testament of the faithfulness of God. What is one of the greatest conclusions from the Bible? GOD CAN BE TRUSTED!
We may face what seem to be valid fears – a terminal illness, financial shortfalls, family troubles, and so on. However, we must learn to overcome the paralyzing fear, worry, and confusion these things bring, and trust the only One who can do anything about them.
TS: When we begin to understand that God is totally trustworthy, then this next principle becomes a reality in our lives.
5. People of Faith Have Peace in the Midst of the Storm (38)
All it took was a word from the Master and the storm died down. Jesus has all authority and power, not only over the elements of the earth, but over the problems in your life. He can handle it! He can be trusted to bring the calm assurance of His presence to your heart and mind.
He may not calm every storm you face, but sometimes the storm inside us needs to be calmed more than the storms of life we face. Trust produces tranquility. Faith results in peace. When we are able to place our fears in the Master’s hands, we will not need to wake Jesus up and say, “Lord, don’t You care that we are perishing?” We will be able to trust that nothing can harm us that doesn’t first go through Him. If it got through Him, then He must be sending it on to us, because He knows we can handle it as we continue to trust in Him.
The greatest reason to trust in the midst of the storm is that Jesus is in the boat with us. The greatest reason to fear would be because we have gone sailing without Him. Which story is yours?
Conclusion: As we close, do you have the Lord in your boat? Is Jesus in your life? If not, you can ask Him and He will always be with you. If you have never asked Jesus to be Your Lord and Savior, the leader of your life, I hope you will do so today.
Maybe you have asked Jesus into your life and you are a believer, but you seem to have trouble letting Jesus handle the storms you face. You try to row yourself out of trouble, or bail the water out of the boat all by yourself. You need to invite the Master to ride in the boat with you as you sail through the good water and the bad. Maybe you tend to only call on Him when you are in trouble. People of faith follow the Lord’s instructions and consistently do what He asks.
People of faith will face storms in life, but they know they can always call on the Lord to help them. People of faith can overcome fear with trust, and as a result, they will know the peace of God in their lives.
If you need to pray and talk to the Lord about anything from the sermon today, I urge you to take the time to do so. If you have questions you need answers to and would like to speak with me, I am available for that anytime. If you need someone to pray with you, please come and ask. There’s a song that we always sing “He Knows My Name.” The last line of that chorus says, “He hears me when I call.” God knows all about your storm and will hear you if you call on Him with whatever level of faith you have.