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Friday
Mar232012

Great Calm

What was Jesus trying to teach his disciples on this occasion? He had just told one that he would have to forsake all others and follow after him and now he uses the opportunity afforded by this storm on the lake to teach others about a trusting faith, even when a tempest puts that faith in peril.

 

Discussion 

I. Sailing With Jesus (Matthew 8:23-27)

A. Traveling With Christ

1. the men on this boat were traveling in high company with the son of God

2. but Jesus had gone down below and was sleeping upon a pillow

3. he wasn’t awake and aware that a storm had come; in reality, he simply was not concerned about it

 

B. Waves Come Crashing Down

1. when the storm fired up and the wind began to blow upon the lake, waves started crashing against the vessel

2. the men, unlike Jesus, were very concerned and cried out in terror

3. they went to the right place, though – they went to Jesus – fearful that they were perishing

 

C. Faith Calms Tempest

1. Jesus answers their cries, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?”

2. he implies that had their faith been stronger, they would not have been afraid

a. the Savior was on the boat and it was not prophesied that he would die in a shipwreck during a storm but on a tree

b. and besides, people of faith, have risen above such great fear of death through Jesus

3. then, Jesus, the embodiment and object of faith, calms the storms with the power of God

a. this was an ability that made these men marvel

b. even the winds and waves obey him

c. what they did not realize, was, that with faith, they too could calm great storms

 

II. Stormy Weather in The Life of a Christian

A. Storms of Life’s Trials

1. as Christians, we too, are traveling with the Lord

a. but in the life of a Christian, occasionally, storms will fire up and send waves crashing against us

b. what we must keep in mind when the sky turns gray is that we are still with the Lord and He is with us; turn directly to Jesus and believe he can help

2. count it all joy (James 1:2-6)

a. how does a sailor consider it joyful when the wind blows too hard and the waves pound against the stern?

b. when the storm is past and calm is restored, he is thankful for the experience because he is better for it – better equipped for the next storm

c. like Jonah’s sailors and Jesus’s disciples, we must realize that we are not sailing alone

1. the testing of our faith by storms here and there will strengthen us instead of destroying us

2. having survived, we will be complete and lacking in nothing

3. we look to Jesus for strength and wisdom

a. how will I get through this? – what should I do? – how do I decide?

b. ask of God, in faith, with no doubting

c. he who doubts that God can deliver is like a boat on the sea during a hurricane (he is not directed by the wheel, but rather the fickle meanderings of nature; he is tossed about rather than balanced on an even keel

3. pray and believe that God will deliver you safely to the shore – faith!

 

B. The Sirens of Temptation

1. in Homer’s epic work, The Odyssey, his hero Odysseus is making what was ordinarily a short trip from Troy back to his home of Ithaca after completing a war

a. but the return became far more difficult as the odyssey begins and the voyage became treacherous

b. at one point, they were forced to sail past the dwelling place of the Sirens, sea nymphs whose singing lured men to certain death

1. Odysseus anticipated this and has his crew put wax in their ears to prevent hearing even a note of the temptation to disaster

2. as to himself, Odysseus took a different tack

a. he really wanted to hear the enchanting song

b. he had himself tied to the mast so he could listen to the singing

2. Homer’s image of the enchanting Sirens is incredibly descriptive of the power of temptation and the danger of enticement

a. no matter how destructive temptations may be in reality, the devil can make them look and sound sweet and beautiful and appealing

1. he makes alcohol and drugs look like the marks of sophistication and maturity

2. he makes sexual relationships outside of marriage look like beautiful expressions of human love

3. he defines greed, selfishness and vengeance as high self-esteem and creativity

b. just like a sailor to the Sirens, a Christian can be drawn to temptation if he doesn’t exercise godly wisdom

1. pray as Jesus, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

2. ask yourself how much value Jesus is to you (how much value heaven is to you (James 1:12)

3. walk in the path of Moses, who “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:23-24).

 

C. The Icebergs of Unrealized Danger

1. The Titanic

a. On the evening of April 14, 1912, the HMS Titanic, began speeding through the smooth Atlantic seas, bound from Southampton, England, to New York City on her maiden voyage. Nearby steamers had issued reports of dangerous ice floes. The Californian, less than 20 miles from the Titanic, had stopped her engines until conditions were safer. But the “unsinkable” Titanic sped confidently on. 

b. At 11:40 p.m. the lookout on the Titanic’s bridge saw an ominous shape ahead. “Ice! Dead ahead! A big berg!” he shouted. The helm was turned hard over; the engines were reversed. But it was too late. A 300-foot gash was ripped along the side of the Titanic’s hull as though it were made of tin.

c. When the accident occurred, there was little excitement among the passengers. They were told only that there might be a slight delay. The ship’s orchestra continued to play popular tunes. Many of the passengers were actually pleased at the chunks of ice sprinkling down on the deck; they picked them up and dropped them into their drinks. But all the time the Titanic’s bow was settling deeper by the minute. When the command was finally given to enter the lifeboats, many passengers still refused to believe that the ship was in real danger.

d. At 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912, the Titanic, then the world’s largest and most luxurious ocean liner, disappeared into the icy depths of the North Atlantic. With her she took the lives of some 1,500 men, women, and children (more casualties than in any other marine disaster in peacetime history. The 46,500-ton vessel sank in less than three hours. Lloyd’s of London, the firm that had insured the Titanic, had reasoned that the probability of such an event was one in a million.

2. the engineers who built the ship believed it was unsinkable and that is also the attitude of many Christians who sail near temptations (First Corinthians 10:1-12)

a. the point is this group would seem to have been a lock for God’s approval, when one considers all God had done for them and all they had seen

b. and yet, they fell

c. Paul writes to the Christian who says, in response to a temptation, “It won’t affect me.”

3. the passengers had read all the hype about this unsinkable ship and they believed every word; the ship was rocked by an iceberg and their faith in her builders did not waver; they didn’t recognize real danger when it arrived, but they soon found their faith in men was ill placed

 

III. Safe Passage

A. The Anchor (Hebrews 6:19)

1. this anchor prevents you from straying off course

2. the sirens of temptation may wail, the storms of trial may crash all around

3. but hope of heaven will anchor you safely in Christ

B. The Keel (John 8:31-32)

1. all parts of your life should be attached at a single location – God

2. that is the faith Jesus desired in Matthew 8 – those folks believed in Him but they lacked complete trust

3. true Bible faith is a trust in Jesus to direct your life through what he taught

 

C. Compass (Second Corinthians 13:5)

1. test yourselves to ensure you are headed in the right direction, the direction which the Bible leads you

2. does the arrow say you are headed north or south

 

D. The Map (First Corinthians 10:13)

1. whatever temptation you are facing is not new or exclusive to you, though it may seem that way

2. like Jesus on that boat in Matthew 8, the Father is faithful and will not allow you to face a storm you cannot beat if you try

3. God will each time provide the map to escape the danger but you have to look for it and use it

 

Conclusion

When Jesus had calmed the storm, he and his disciples reached safety on the shore. If we follow Jesus with trusting faith, we too will reach that shore safely and find rest.

Questions for Review

  1. How could Jesus sleep when he was in such danger?
  2. Describe a similar time when your faith was little.
  3. How does one count it all joy to fall into trials?
  4. What are your sirens?
  5. What is the enduring lesson of Titanic’s fall?
  6. What is the believer’s anchor?
  7. Where is the map to escape certain dangers?

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