Today we begin a section of Scripture that answers two questions.
(1) - Does the Christian faith have the power to make any real difference in the life of a person who holds that faith?
(2) Does the God we worship - specifically Jesus, the Son of God - have any ability or inclination to supernaturally intrude upon creation? Or is He God, Who spun things into existence and then sits back to watch. So I can worship, but it makes no difference in my life?
WHO IS THIS JESUS? 2 chapters / 4 stories.
“In fear and amazement they asked one another, ‘Who is this?’” Luke 8:25NIV
“‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Peter answered, ‘God’s Messiah.’” Luke 9:20 NIV
It helps us if we remember that Dr. Luke is the editor who put this gospel together. He has a point of view. He wants us to know that Jesus is God! He is the 2nd person of the Trinity. As God, He was involved in creation and thus has authority over creation. What seems “supernatural” to you and to me is simply a rearrangement of the rules at a deeper level than you and I can understand right now. But there can be no doubt. Jesus is deserving of the term "Messiah." "Master."
Four Accounts Describing Who Jesus Is
June 5th - Master over the ____________. 8:22-25
June 12th - Master over the ___________. 8:26-39
June 19th - Master over ____________. 8:40-56
June 26th - Master over ____________. 9:10-17
Today we see that Jesus is the master over the storms. He has the power to change the weather just with the authority of his spoken words.
Three Encouragements For A Weather-Worn Faith:
#1 - _____________ are a fact of life, even for the Christian.
Jesus gives the instructions for the disciples to cast off in their boat to go from one side of the Sea of Galilee to the other. They follow his orders. Along the way a great storm comes up. They are in great danger!
“A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.” Luke 8:23b NIV
The first thing we must acknowledge - right from the very start - is that the Christian is not exempt from storms in his/her life! Some have the mistaken idea that if we follow Christ, then that means a much better life. Which is true, as far as it goes. Jesus did come so that we might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10).
However that doesn’t mean a life without difficulties, without trials, without storms. In fact - and this could shatter your perceptions of any “health / wealth gospel” - there are times when we find ourselves in great danger BECAUSE we obey Christ! Consider that the only reason the disciples are in danger of drowning is specifically because they did what Jesus asked of them!
This had to be an especially difficult storm. Remember that these men were fishermen. They were used to storms. They were out on the boat many times. This was something they could handle. Yet they really couldn’t! Nothing is more desperate than when you think you’ve got this, to only find out that your really don’t. That you really need Jesus!
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” James 1:2 NIV
Why consider it pure joy? Because those are the moments when you see your need for Jesus AND you get to see Jesus come through. These had to be especially tough words to learn for a family member of Jesus. Yet James had learned pure joy.
Christians don’t get a pass when it comes to the storms of life. We don’t get a pass even when we’re obedient and do what Jesus asks. We don’t get a pass when it comes to the things we’re good at. BUT in every storm we can come out the other end with Jesus saying the same thing as Paul...
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT
So where do you start? How do you handle it when you are scared to death! When you think your life will be swamped over? We find good examples of both the disciples and Jesus - and both are helpful…
#2 - Calm ___________ begins with calm __________.
“As they sailed, he fell asleep. The disciples went and woke him, saying,
’Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’” Luke 8:23a, 24 NIV
We see two completely different responses to the exact same desperate storm.
Jesus - asleep inside the boat.
Disciples - fearful they will drown.
This shows us the goal (be like Jesus), but also allows for our humanity (fearful we will drown.) Having a calm like Jesus had is not easy. It takes maturity in the faith. It takes the application of many trials (where God has proved himself) and a certainty of God’s purpose in our lives. Why wasn’t Jesus too concerned about the storm? Because he knew the cross was before him (purpose) and until then he knew that God was with him. His actions were a living testimony to God’s Words -
“Be still and know that I am God… You only need to remain calm; the LORD will fight for you.” Psalm 46:10a NLT / Exodus 14:14 NCV
What is so frightening about a storm on the Sea of Galilee (or many other kinds of storms you find yourself in) is the feeling of being completely out of control. Of not knowing how it’s going to turn out. Helplessness. Nothing you can do. You’re just in the moment. There really are no plans at a time like that. No future. Just that moment! In that moment you have a choice - to panic or to trust. If you trust God, you can remain calm. You can - in that moment - know that when you can’t fight for yourself any longer, God will fight for you! And He will! It’s a promise!
“The Lord is good; he protects his people in times of trouble; he takes care of those who turn to him.” Nahum 1:7 GNT
How do you get yourself to the place where you can really trust God to fight for you? That He will really take care of you if you turn to Him? Practice. Really! Practice! And how do you practice? There are no simulations. You practice how to rely upon God in the storms of life, but going through the storms of life and discovering that God is good! We don’t always get it the first or second or 100th time. That’s why…
#3 - Jesus calms the storm ______ and challenges our faith ______.
“He got up and rebuked the wind and the rain waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. Where is your faith?’ he asked his disciples.” Luke 8:24b-25a NIV
Notice what didn’t happen. Jesus wakes up. “Why’d you wake me up for? What? For this puny little storm? What? You didn’t have faith? C’mon! You’re with me! I’m with you! You think this is how it goes down? This is how the story ends?” Then goes and calms the storm.
No, he calms the storm first, let’s them see (and feel) the result, waits for the storm to subside, then - when all was calm - Jesus asks them, “Where is your faith?”
The same thing happens with you! And has already happened - many times! The storms of your life will be different than this story, but you’ve experienced them. And just like the disciples, you’ve woke up your faith in Jesus just enough to say: “Save me! Help me! I’m going to drown!” Then He’s done it. All is calm. He then asks, “Where is your faith?”
The problem is this (and the reason so many times our trust in God’s goodness never grows): Once everything calms down, we forget. We stop listening. We go back to “I got this. I can handle this. That storm I thought I needed God for turned out to be no big deal. Why was I panicked?” We go on and live our lives without faith in God who is in charge of the created universe! We forget that this same God is with us always - everywhere we go. We forget God’s early OT commandment:
“Here is what I am commanding you to do. Be strong and brave. Do not be terrified. Do not lose hope. I am the LORD your God. I will be with you everywhere you go.” Joshua 1:9 NIRV
So how do we apply this commandment to our lives? Two things to do!
#1 Know what God has promised. This sermon today is filled with promises of God’s deliverance to you in times of trouble. He doesn’t promise that you won’t have trouble (just the opposite!) But He does promise you will have His Presence with you no matter what the storm. Take these Scriptures (and many others you can find) and paste them to your mirror, write them down, meditate upon them, KNOW!!!
#2 REMEMBER when God has delivered. Don’t allow yourself to forget. Remember the storms of your life. Build your faith on those storms. Tell your story. Let people know. Let God know. Let yourself know!
Sermon In A Sentence
Keep God’s salvation in the forefront of your mind in the calm moments of your life so that in the storms of your life you can remember God’s salvation and be calm!
If you want to grow in your faith so that you can handle the storms that come your way, do the same thing Dr. Luke is doing. Write down the stories of your life where God shows up in the middle of a storm. Then write down the question like Luke - “Who is this Jesus?”
Then along with the Psalmist, your heart will answer this way:
“Lord God Almighty, none is as mighty as you; in all things you are faithful, O Lord. You rule over the powerful sea; you calm its angry waves.” Psalm 89:8-9 GNT