A Great Storm / A Great Calm
Rev. Jim Bogle, given April 17, 2005
…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The hearing of God’s Word is intended to produce faith! And true faith must always be tested.
2: My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3: Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4: But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting [lacking] nothing.
James says our faith is tried and tested that we might learn to become people who are content, wanting, or lacking, nothing.
1 Peter 2:9
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Peculiar people means different from the world.
Consider the definition of impatient: Unable to wait patiently or tolerate delay; restless. Unable to endure irritation or opposition; intolerant:
What kind of a Christian testimony is impatience? If you are an impatient Christian you are a Christian with little faith in God’s promise to walk with you on a daily basis. If you are an impatient Christian you display little of the peace of God that ought to be ruling in your life. You certainly will not be looked upon by the world as a peculiar person. Your life will blend right in with the rest of the world that have no faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Despite all that you may know about God’s Word.
Despite how much you are able to recite God’s Word.
If you’re not living a life that demonstrates a relationship to the Prince of Peace, you are merely playing church, and memorizing text, but your restless and impatient walk drives people away from Christ, not to Him. It is not enough to know the Word of God; or even to memorize the Word so that you can share it with others. If we are going to be effective witnesses for Christ, we must, above all things, be able to apply the word of God in our daily living. And for this reason God permits trials to come our way—not to prove ourselves to others; but to build, and to strengthen, our own personal faith in Him, that we might truly become a patient people.
Here in Mark Chapter 4, Christ has been teaching His
disciples, in parables, about the
26: And he said, So
27: And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
28: For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
29: But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
Here is a perfect example of faith; the simple faith of a farmer. He has the faith to plant the seed, and he has the faith of knowing that, if the ground is “good ground”, the seed will grow up into a bountiful harvest. Yet he has absolutely no control over the mystical process of the growing itself. He trusts in God. And his trust is such that He sleeps, and rises, sleeps and rises, until it is time to go out and bring in the harvest.
He knows there will be a harvest. And because he knows this, he plants and HE PLANTS BY FAITH! God tells us that one day there’s going to be a great harvest of souls, both of the children of God; and then of the children of wrath.
We, as Christian workers, can sow seeds toward the harvest of Christ and Heaven, or we can sow seeds towards the harvest of Hell.
True FAITH will always sow seeds to the Harvest of Christ.
Which direction are you sowing these days?
Then there’s the example of Mark 4:30-32.
30: And he said, Whereunto
shall we liken the
31: It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth:
32: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
Faith, when it takes hold in good ground (in the heart), it grows. The Holy Spirit nurtures it, and fashions it so that it grows and burst forth into a great testimony that will draw people to the Lord Jesus Christ.
And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
Faith can, when nurtured, control nature. Great things can come from just a little faith!
But the world and the things of the world, many times, neutralize our faith and injure our testimony. In our trying to find happiness in this life, even Christians look everywhere else, but to Christ!
Christians talk about praying and looking to god, but, in reality, and when we truly examine our hearts, we find ourselves only praying mechanically, and trusting, to the lowest degree, in the lord Jesus Christ.
We are a people with faith, yes; that Jesus is coming again....but we may not be a people with faith enough to trust Christ in our daily living. All the time we’re looking for the Lord’s coming, we’re living for the devil. Not rampantly, not flagrantly, but quietly, in the shadows of our own homes, and hearts.
In truth, we want more of the world before something tragic happens to the world. We want more of the world before Christ calls us home through death. We’re living for the world, and only talking about living for Christ. Our faith is too weak to live for Christ daily. And because of this, many of us live our lives in fear, rather than in faith. Why? Because the world is controlling our lives, rather than the Holy Spirit.
So Jesus has taught his disciples about faith. Now watch what happens next...
Mark 4:35, 36
35: And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. [He had been teaching all day, he was tired and exhausted.]
36: And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
The company of little ships…
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
These people haven’t had enough of Jesus. They hunger for more.
37: And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
Matthew says the ship was covered with waves. Luke says the ship was filled with water, and in jeopardy of foundering. How quickly the storm came up and the disciples were completely unprepared for it. They think they’re going to perish in the storm.
The storms of life are that way; we’re never quite prepared for them. One day we seem to have it all, and the next day our world is shattered by some unforeseen incident; a death, a tragedy, a deep disappointment, or a broken dream.
You will remember that Job started his day out in prayer and meditation to the Lord, and at the end of the day, he’d lost everything he owned; his oxen, his sheep, his servants, and his family. What was his response?
Job 1:20, 21
20: Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
21: And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
Here was a great storm in Job’s life, and yet he still looks to God in faith!
The disciples have witnessed Jesus’ great power over sickness and illnesses, but they have yet to see that Christ has power over all things, even nature.
38: …he [Jesus] was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow:
Jesus found perfect peace in the midst of a great storm.
Jonah also found perfect peace in the midst of a violent storm.
Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.
The immediate world all around Jesus, according to His disciples, was falling apart. And yet Jesus is asleep on a pillow. The scene is one of complete peace and comfort. Jesus said,
I and my Father are one.
They were in perfect union. And Jesus experienced perfect peace, even in the midst of a tempest, because his heart was centered upon His Father. His Father had given him a mission, and Christ knew His Father would see him through.
Christ came to impart that same peace to you and me.
Zacharias prophesied that the Lord Jesus Christ would come,
To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Whatever darkness you’re facing today, whatever disturbing shadow dances in your pathway, faith in Christ can set your heart at peace, and will see you through—even in the face of death!
Listen...the disciples thought they were going to die!
38: he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
After all the years of Sunday school and church and prayer after prayer, Christians today would ask the Lord the same question:
Lord, carest not that we perish?
Jesus, don’t you care about us?
We have been consistent in our church attendance, but we have not been consistent in our worship. When we face a little problem, we run straight to God and demand in our prayer that he bail us out.
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.
The disciples had learned a great deal from following Jesus, but apparently they had not learned enough...
39: And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
Will you please note—what started out as a GREAT STORM, has now been reduced to a GREAT CALM. Jesus speaks once and all the world comes to attention.
40: And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
Why are ye so fearful?
We’re so fearful because our hearts don’t belong to Christ! We’re so fearful because our faith is not what it ought to be.
The disciples thought they were going to die. There are at least three good reasons why the disciples shouldn’t have been disturbed even though the situation looked very grim.
1. Jesus said in verse 35. Let us pass over unto the other side.
Jesus didn’t promise an easy trip, but he did promise arrival at their destination.
2. The Lord Himself was with them.
He had demonstrated in His miracles the power to deliver from physical death. They should have had some degree of faith that their LORD would bring them through this terrible storm.
3. Jesus was at perfect peace in the midst of the storm.
This very fact should have been some an encouragement to them.
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
41: And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
WHAT IS THE LESSON TO LEARN THIS MORNING? Jesus can be trusted in the storms of life when our faith is centered upon Him.
WHAT TERRIBLE STORM ARE YOU FACING TODAY? Here is a perfect opportunity for you to trust Christ. By exercising your faith in him, He will bring you through the storm.
Psalm 107:29, 30
29: He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
HAVE YOU TALKED WITH HIM LATELY?
…ye have not, because ye ask not.
James 1:2, 3
…count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.