Gospel Quest 10: Christ In the Storm
Text: Luke 8:22-25
How many of you have heard of Murphy's Law? The saying is stated several ways, but this is probably one the most recognizable, “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong” a longer version says, “Nothing is as easy as it looks; everything takes longer than you think; if anything can go wrong it will.”
The law is named after Edward Murphy a scientist working on the space program back in the late 1940 and early 1950s.
It is interesting how many other laws it has inspired. Here are some corollaries to Murphy’s law.
- The line you are not standing in, always moves faster.
-The chance of the bread falling with the peanut butter side down is directly proportional to how dirty the floor is or the cost of cleaning the carpet.
- Inside every large problem is a series of small problems just waiting to get out.
- No matter how long or hard you shop for an item, after you've bought it, it will be go on sale cheaper.
- Any tool dropped while repairing a car will roll underneath to the exact center.
- The repairman will never have seen a model quite like yours before.
- You will remember that you forgot to take out the trash when the garbage truck is two doors away.
- Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.
- The light at the end of the tunnel is probably an oncoming train.
Now using Murphy’s laws and its corollaries are one way of handling troubles. There are others, like Linus in the Peanuts comic strip. One day Linus and Charlie Brown are walking along and chatting with one another. Linus says, "I don't like to face problems head on. I think the best way to solve problems is to avoid them. In fact, this is a distinct philosophy of mine. No problem is so big or so complicated that it can't be run away from!" Or perhaps like a former Prime Minister of England, David Lloyd George who said, "With me, a change of trouble is as good as a vacation."
Trouble and difficulties are a fact of life. We realize that but what we don't often realize is that, through our faith in God, they can become blessings. In fact, that's what God intends for his children, storms, difficulties, and obstacles that bring out the Lord’s blessings. Look with me at just such a storm of blessing in Luke 8v22
Weak In the Wind - Luke 8:22-23
Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.
In His Will Yet In The Storm
In our last sermon we watched as Jesus called his apostles into full time, life-long service. After he challenged them to, “launch out into the deep and let down their nets” they forsook all and followed Jesus. Today’s sermon text also takes place on the lake and this time the lesson will be much more intense than a net full of fish. It begins with Jesus once again teaching from the prow of the apostles fishing boat and ends with him asleep in the stern of the same ship. It begins with Jesus teaching of the Kingdom and it ends with His showing His power over Creation, demons, sickness and even death.
Jesus had just finished teaching the mysteries of the Kingdom by instructing the disciples through parables. After this lesson, the disciples must have felt they had learned great truths from their Master, but there was another learning experience that was about to take place and this time the lesson couldn’t be learned by listening to truth from the Master but instead it could only be learned by living the truth with their Master.
In the midst of the storm the disciples are in danger. Yet they were doing exactly what Christ had commanded them to do. They were exactly where Christ had told them to be, in their service and obedience they were in real trouble. The Bible says there came a “storm of wind” on the lake and they were filled with water and were in jeopardy, they were in danger of sinking.
Also notice something else, we don’t know why the storm arose nor is it important that we know. Some claim it may have been caused by Satan, some that it was God’s will but we simply aren’t told. What we are told is how they made it through the storm not how the storm came about.
The most important thing, to me, is that even for the disciples, there was no guarantee of calm seas. Though they were in the will of God, right where Jesus had told them to be and though Jesus was in the ship with them, they are caught in a terrible storm and in risk of their lives. Which tells me that being in God’s will never means you will not have troubles.
If This Is God's Will, Then Why Is It Do Hard?
Let me say something about God’s will and doing what Christ commands.
First, for the child of God, there is no unknown will of God.
God's will, for us, is found in His written word. There is nothing I must figure out, pray out or fleece out. If God wants you to do it or not do it, then it is in God’s book of instruction, the Bible.
If fact, many times, it is not fear of the unknown that keeps us from doing God’s will, it is fear of the unmistakable clear and extremely well known that is makes us willful ignorant.
Secondly, Being in the will of God and serving the cause of Christ usually means that trouble is not just possible but probable.
If you commit to begin tithing and watch your car's engine fallout.
Commit to teach Sunday School and find the only opening is the junior high boys’ class where the last teacher quit after a lesson on Abraham and Isaac and he wound up being a live demonstration of Isaac tied to the altar.
Commit yourself to witness and find yourself facing the biggest tattooed covered, multiple face piercings, partying in the back yard till midnight neighbor who will answer the door, wearing nothing but a Speedo, smoking a joint (for medical reasons) and guzzling a Bud lite, while you to try to share the gospel and invite them to church. Oh and behind him, his Rottweiler is barking and trying to tear through the screen door.
Why does this happen? Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. This isn't a game or recreation it is a battle, a battle in a long war and war is not easy.
If you have given your life to Christ, then you are a soldier in this war and must expect the struggles that come with doing something bigger than yourself.
It is not always what we expect. Just like the Children of Israel we are sometimes shocked at the difficulties that come when following the Lord into the Promised Land.
Illustration: The Children of Israel
When they send spies into Canaan, their promised land, their land of milk and honey then they find out they are to fight Giants behind walled cities. Their dialogue might have gone something like this.
“Lord, I thought You were going to give us this land.”
I am giving you this land, but you've got to fight in my army and trust me for the victories.
Lord, you do know that there are giants and walled cities in the promised land, right?
Yes, there are giants, but I am bigger than the giants and stronger than the walled cities.
Lord, some of us won't survive, the battles.
Yes, they will give their life in my cause and for their people, and I will welcome them home to a greater Promised Land, as faithful warriors and servants for eternity.
Listen, some things are worth taking a risk and serving Jesus Christ by building His church, spreading the Kingdom of God and doing His will is worth risking everything. It truly is, because this life is short but eternity is long.
Transition: The disciples are caught in the storm while serving their Savior and they do what we would all do, the crying out for Christ.
Crying for Christ - Luke 8:24
A Cry Of Fear Instead of Faith
The disciples cry out, as they naturally would and should, but Christ rebukes them. They truly believed they were going to die. The storms on the sea of Galilee are monsters of terror and unbelievable power and for the disciples in a small, open, fishing boat, death was as close as the next wave breaking over the top of their mast.
They were terrified, afraid that they were about to be destroyed by the storm.
They awake Jesus and he rebukes the storm but then he also rebukes them.
Mark’s Gospel gives us some added detail, Mark 4:39-40 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. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
His rebuke was not because the storm wasn't dangerous, nor because they were afraid, but because they believed in the storm's power but they did not believe in their Savior's protection. The disciples saw the waves of the storm but they did not see the wonder of Jesus.
My Sight In The Storm
What do we see in our life’s troubles, the fury of the storm or the faithfulness of the Savior?
You see faith is not denying the reality of the storm but in trusting the more powerful reality of our Savior.
Faith is not in denying sin and sickness but in seeing Jesus as the great physician, who can heal our bodies but more importantly has healed our souls.
Faith is not in denying poverty but in finding the real riches of God are too great for this world to hold.
The wonderful truth of Luke 8 was this; the boat couldn't sink, because Christ was in it. Jesus was not to die by drowning. All the power of Satan, the prince and power of the air, the onetime archangel of the earth, could not take Jesus Christ the Son of God before his time. The boat couldn’t sink in the storm because Jesus was in the boat.
If it was true for the boat how much truer is it for our life, our church, our families?
Away with fear of losing salvation, away with fear of problems that are too great for God, away with fear of anything this world can threaten when Jesus assures us in our great commission in Matthew 28:20 "Lo, I am with you always." So important was this last promise of Jesus that he prefaces it with the world, “Lo”. That is the short form of the word, “behold” Jesus is saying to us, “Stop, look, pay attention to what I’m about to say. I am with you forever.”
Transition: Jesus rebukes the fear of the disciples with a cutting and direct question, Where is your faith?”
Finding The Faith - Luke 8:25
Jesus asks about their faith. Where Is Your Faith? Where is it? Why did it not show itself in the storm? Where was the evidence of their belief and trust in Him? Why did their faith fail?
After Jesus stills the storm and the just as miraculous calm descends on the lake, the disciples ask each other, what manner of man is this?
The wonder at the person of Jesus shows that at this point in their relationship, at this stage of their faith, they did not fully know Christ.
It was that lack of knowledge and experience with Him that caused their faith to fail.
Where Is My Faith?
How would you answer the question, "Where is your faith? Where is the evidence of your faith in the midst of the storm? Where can it be seen?
There are some misconceptions about faith.
Many think that faith is a kind of willpower or inner strength, but faith is not about self-discipline but about submission. Faith has nothing to do with my strength but with my surrender.
Neither is faith a kind of endurance. You see endurance doesn’t produce faith; it is the result of faith.
Nor is faith a rare or unique power. Faith may accomplish supernatural deeds, but it does not require supernatural gifts or ability.
Christ asked, "Where is your faith?" I think it points us to two truths about faith.
First, faith can be seen, especially in the storms.
James said in James 2:18, "shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works." There will be evidence of your faith.
Faith is seen most brightly in the darkest of the storms and the deepest of troubles. It's like a lighthouse on a beach that is never noticed until the hurricane strikes, then it’s the only thing that can be seen in the deadly darkness.
Second, faith can be found, there is a location to faith and it is in the person of Jesus Christ.
You see faith is "in" Jesus, that's where it must be found. We see this in the “I Am’s” of Jesus in John.
The focus of faith is Jesus.
The focus of faith is Jesus.
Scripture: John 6:47-48, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life
John 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
John 11:25-26 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Believest thou this?
Jesus is telling us, “Believe in me! Quit looking at the storm, quit looking at the waves, quit look at the wind. Look to me. Find your faith in me.”
Illustration: The Empty Chair
Leslie Weatherhead tells the story of an old Scot who was quite ill, and the family called for their dominie, or minister. As he entered the sick room and sat down, he noticed another chair on the opposite side of the bed, a chair which had also been drawn close. The pastor said, "Well, Donald, I see I'm not your first visitor for the day."
The old man looked up, was puzzled for a moment, then recognized from the nod of the head that the pastor had noticed the empty chair. "Well, Pastor, I'll tell you about that chair. Many years ago I found it quite difficult to pray, so one day I shared this problem with my pastor. He told me not to worry about kneeling or about placing myself in some pious posture. Instead, he said, 'Just sit down, put a chair opposite you, and imagine Jesus sitting in it, then talk with Him as you would a friend."' The aged Scot then added, "I've been doing that ever since."
A short time later the daughter of the Scot called the pastor. When he answered, she informed him that her father had died very suddenly, and she was quite shaken for she had no idea death was so near. Then she continued, "I had just gone to lie down for an hour or two, for he seemed to be sleeping so comfortably. When I went back, he was gone. Everything else was the same, except now his hand was resting on that empty chair at the side of the bed." (modified dkm) -James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 416.
One last thing as we close. I want you to see the full application and truth of this event in t he life of the disciples. Look at
Beginning the Blessings - Luke 8:27-35
After the Storm, Comes The Blessings
After the storm, there was work to be done and blessing to be experienced. When they arrive on the other side of the lake, Jesus frees a man possessed by a legion of demons, then later on his way to heal the 12 year old daughter of Jairus, a women touches the hem of his garment and is cured from her incurable illness. The delay seems to have cost the 12 year old her life for when Jesus arrives the mourners are there and tell the father who sought out Jesus, “your daughter is dead.” And do you remember what Jesus said? “She is not dead, she is just asleep.”
All those great miracles and blessings take place after the storm. Its true for all of God’s faithful children, the greatest blessings often come after the greatest storms. Often Jesus must send us through the storm in order to find the blessing on the other side.
Final question, will you ride out the storm to find the blessing?
You must trust that when it comes to serving Jesus, the end of the storm is where the blessing begins. If you hold on through the wind and the waves, if you keep your eyes on Christ, if you know where your faith is found, then you'll see the blessing the Lord brings after the storm.
Where is your faith this morning? Is it failing in the fight or growing in grace? Is it weak in the wind or confident in Christ? We don’t need more faith, we need more Jesus. More of who He is, more of what He can do, and more of where He leads. Don’t let the storm take your eyes off Jesus, because after the storm there is work to be done and blessings to find, if we know where our faith is.