Summary: This message focuses on how fear fights against our faith.
Peace Be Still
I started writing this sermon back in February and never finished it. I guess there was a reason for this delay. When I started writing this message I had just gotten back to my hotel from having dinner with a co-worker. As I drove to dinner I was listening to the song “Peace Be Still” by the late Rev. James Cleveland. This song brought to my mind many memories of my time as a teenager singing in the Columbia Mass choir, a community choir that I was a part of in my home town. We often sung the latest songs that were made popular by Rev. Cleveland. As I listened to this song, my mind went to a place of thankfulness as I thought about all of the things that had been happening in my life. My mind went to a place of testimonial as I reflected on what God had brought me through and what He was currently doing in my life. You see, you don’t know what God has done for me as I know it. You may have witnessed some of it, but you do not really know what He has done for me.
On the night that I started this sermon, I was in my hotel room in Wichita with that song in my mind. The forecast called for snow that night and all of the next day. The total forecast was for 8-10 inches and if it came I would possibly be stuck in Wichita for a few extra days. As the thought of the snow raced through my mind, I reflected on the words, “peace be still”. This morning, I want to share with you those three words that Jesus spoke, “Peace Be Still”. Turn with me to Mark, chapter four and we will begin reading at verse thirty-five.
I. Jesus Calms The Wind and The Sea
“And the same day, when the evening was come, He saith unto them, ‘Let us pass over unto the other side.’ And when they had sent away the multitude, they took Him even as He was in the ship. And there were also with Him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto Him, ‘Master, carest thou not that we perish?’ 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?’ And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, ‘What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” (Mark 4:35-41)
Jesus and His disciples after spending most of the day teaching a large crowd by the sea got into a boat to cross to the other side. As they headed out, Jesus went into the stern of the boat and went to sleep. The stern area has always been the location of the steering apparatus (rudder, tiller, ship's wheel, etc), and by extension became the domain of the ship's captain and other officers. In particular, the stern was the location of the officers' quarters. While He was sleeping a fierce storm rose up. It was this storm that caused the disciples to fear. One point of clarity here, this was not your average storm as several of the disciples were experienced fishermen who had been through storms before. But this storm was such that the disciples feared for their lives. Their fear caused their faith to be shaken. Have you ever been fearful to the point where you forgot about what God had already brought you through? Have you ever been so afraid that when you though about the situation you could see no way out? Let me tell you something about fear – it works against your faith.
There is a difference between a healthy fear and an unhealthy fear. Let me explain. A healthy fear is one that will keep you out of trouble. For example, you know that a fire will burn you so when you are around one you are cautious because you “fear” getting burned. It is this fear of getting burned that actually protects you. This is the healthy fear (respect) that you read about in the bible when it talks of “fearing” God. The unhealthy fear is the one that causes us problem. The unhealthy fear is the one that makes us think about the negative things that happen despite the reality that God has already provided for us. The unhealthy fear tells us it is all bad even though we see evidence of good. The unhealthy fear makes us walk differently from those who are walking in their faith because our focus is on what is causing us to be afraid versus Who has given us a reason to have faith. When we focus on the One who has given us the reason to have faith then we are able walk in the faith thus driving out the fear. Consider this Scripture from 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity (fear), but of power and love and discipline (sound mind).” 2 Timothy 1:7