Sermons

Summary: The storms of life somtimes cause us to fear. But, like His disciples on the sea of Galilee, we can find peace in Jesus’ purpose, presence, and proclamation!

Calming the Storm

by Scott R. Bayles #122

Church of Christ

Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:7

Invitation Song: "Master the Tempest is Raging"

Helen Steiner Rice, in A Book of Courage, speaks through the poem Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled. She writes:

Whenever I am troubled and lost in despair;

I bundle all my troubles up and go to God in prayer.

I tell Him I am sick and lost and lonely too,

That my mind is deeply burdened and I don’t know what to do.

But I know He stilled the tempest and calmed the angry sea,

And I humbly ask if, in His love, He’ll do the same for me.

And then I just keep quiet and think only thoughts of peace,

And if I abide in stillness my restless murmurings cease.

Every individual created by God is different. Like snowflakes, you’ll never find two that are identical. We have different families, different friends, different jobs, we come from different walks of life. But one thing that you can be sure we all have in common is that we all have troubles. And when the storms of life start billowing up, our resolve is tested. We learn what kind of people we really are.

It’s easy to become anxious, angry, panicked, or just frightened. But God offers this word of peace, "Be still and know that I am God..." (Psalm 46:10). Even in the midst life’s thunderstorms and hurricanes--even when the circumstances around us seem at their darkest--we can be at peace because of God! When bill collectors are knocking at the door; when family members are in the hospital; when the doctor gives us the worst possible news, we can surrender to the torrents of waves and be swallowed up by the sea, or we can calmly put out faith in God and He will see us through the storm!

In Mark 4, Jesus had been using a small boat as His pulpit; preaching and teaching His disciples! They were learning the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. But academic faith is not the same as active faith! They had the knowledge, but did they know what to do with it? Their faith, like ours often is, was about to be tested! Let me encourage you to read with me...

Mark 4:35-41 (ESV)

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." [36] And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. [37] And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. [38] But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" [39] And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. [40] He said to them, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?" [41] And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?"

The sea which they had set out to cross was the Sea of Galilee, a freshwater lake in northern Palestine. It was heart-shaped, about 13 miles long and 8 miles wide. It was 680 feet below sea level and was a place of inspiring beauty.

However, with mountains surrounding most of the lake, the fierce downdrafts of cold air from the higher elevations to the warm air of the sea, made it frequently subject to violent storms ... which was the case this night.

Even though the situation appeared to be threatening, we can see at least three good reasons why His disciples should have been at peace. The first is that with Jesus on board they should have found...

I. PEACE IN HIS PURPOSE:

Mark tells us that, "On that day, when evening came, Jesus said to them, ’Let us go over to the other side’" (v. 35). In that simple suggestion the disciples should have found more peace than in the most calm, tranquil seas. Jesus sought to put miles of water between Himself and the multitudes of people on the western shore. It was His idea to cross the sea and go into the eastern country!

Did Jesus know that the storm was coming? Of course He did! That storm would be a part of the days curriculum. Jesus undoubtedly knew that the storm was coming, and certainly could have prevented it, but He deliberately directed them into the storm so that He might teach His disciples some lessons. It would help them understand a lesson that they didn’t even know they needed to learn: Jesus can be trusted in the storms of life!

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