Summary: Christians & the Church are destined for storms. Storms give us the opportunity to grow and to partner with God for a miracle. We can be water bailers, or storm stoppers! Regardless, we have Jesus as our resource. Lean on Him!
WATER BAILERS OR STORM STOPPERS?
A. HUMOR: VINNIE’S BEALTED FATHER’S DAY GIFT
1. An old Italian man lived alone outside the city of Chicago. He wanted to dig his tomato garden, but it was too hard of work for him.
2. His only son, Vinnie, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son, "Dear Vinnie, I’m feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won't be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I'm just too old to dig up that garden plot.
3. I know if you were here, my troubles would be over; you’d be happy to dig the plot for me. Love, Dad."
4. A few days later he received a letter from his son: "Dear Dad, don't dig up the garden. That's where I buried the bodies. Love, Vinnie."
5. At 4am the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left.
6. That next day the old man received another letter from his son: "Dear Dad, go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances. Love you, Vinnie."
B. “THE UNSINKABLE SHIP”
1. At the sinking of the Titanic.
2. It was widely proclaimed “The Unsinkable Ship.” It was built in Belfast, Ireland.
3. When it sank it was a terrible blow. The shipping industry there was decimated.
4. Sixteen men from one church died in it. People wept openly in the streets. At the Commemoration Service, the cathedral was packed. Lords and bishops were in attendance.
5. The minister spoke on “The Unsinkable Ship”; not the Titanic, but the frail boat on the sea of Galilee, unsinkable because the Master of the land and sea was aboard.
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!” Mk. 4:35-41.
TITLE: “WATER BAILERS OR STORM STOPPERS?”
I. DESTINED FOR STORMS
From the earliest days of Christianity, this passage has been thought to also be a parable of the Church, which is destined for storms. (Tertullian, Ignatius).
B. “Let us go over to the other side”. Mk. 4:35.
1. Jesus had told them to go forward; it was His will.
2. The Church can’t fail, though the tempests toss it.
3. It will arrive at its destination, victoriously. The Gates of Hell shall not prevail against the Church!
C. TRIALS WILL COME
1. In this account:
a. Great tempest arose, Vs. 24
b. Waves washed over ship repeatedly.
c. Ship became almost filled with water.
d. The disciples, though good sailors, were terrified.
2. “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” I peter 4:12.
a. To test the metal we’re made of.
b. To give us the opportunity to rise up in faith.
c. To drive us to God.
4. TRIALS ARE TO TEAR US DOWN, TO BUILD US UP
It is not that you never entertain a question, for as Frederick Buechner exclaimed: “Without somehow
destroying me in the process, how could God reveal himself in a way that would leave no room for doubt? If there were no room for doubt, there would be no room for me.” Doubt does not bury faith, it gives birth to faith.
5. Joke – “Christians are like tea bags: you never know what kind you are until you get into hot water.”
II. CHRIST WAS ASLEEP DURING THE STORM
A. DOES JESUS CARE? SOMETIMES IT SEEMS LIKE GOD IS ASLEEP
1. Sometimes it seems like, when our trials hit, that Christ is asleep. We don’t hear His voice; we see little of His face; His eyes appear closed.
2. Mk. 4:38, “Master, don’t you care if we drown?” Sometimes we doubt God’s love for us. But Jesus was in the boat.