Summary: A sermon that looks at the true nature of faith from the disciples panic during the storm and Jesus calming of the winds and waves. This is what faith looks like in real life.
The Nature of Faith
I’d like to start our time together this morning with the following proposition.
Many believers find themselves spiritually depressed because they haven’t understood the nature of faith.
This doesn’t mean they’re not Christian. All who come into the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, accepting Him as Savior and Lord, have all been given the gift of faith, a measure of faith, if you would, but it doesn’t mean they’ve understood what they’ve been given.
The story I’d like to share this morning brings out the distinction between this original gift of faith and our walk of faith, or the life of faith that we are to live.
The overall theme of this morning’s message is that which Paul proclaimed.
“We walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV)
With this in clear view let’s take a look at or text and Jesus’ remarkable question, “Where is your faith.”
“Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, ‘Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.’ And they launched out. But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, ‘Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!’” (Luke 8:22-25 NKJV)
In our text we have what might be called as a classic paradox, a contradiction if you would, as to who exactly is Jesus. And until we get this firmly settled, nothing I say will make sense and will have little effect.
First we see him with an apparent lack of knowledge of the impending storm. He’s tired, so tied that he fell asleep on the boat, and stayed asleep even during this hellish storm that came against them.
The fact that Jesus was tired and fatigued leaves no doubt as to His humanity. It had been a tough couple of days of healing and teaching. So when He got into the boat he fell asleep, and stayed asleep even in middle of a storm that threatened to sink their little boat.
Next Jesus gets up and rebukes the wind and the sea and they become still. Notice the disciple’s question, “Who can this be?” “What manner of man is this?” (Matthew 8:27)
While Jesus had a body of flesh and blood like you and I, He was also the Lord of all creation commanding the elements.
Of Jesus, the Apostle John said,
“All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory.” (John 1:3, 14a NKJV)
This is the mystery. Jesus was both God and Man, two natures in One Person, two natures unmixed yet together.
If we’re not clear about this, then everything else is in vain. Everything starts and stops with the unique personage and deity of Jesus. We’re not just looking at a good man. Rather we’re coming face to face with the Lord God Himself come down in human form to dwell among His creation, and to sacrifice His life, a sinless life, a life that only the Lord God Himself could live. In Jesus we come face to face with the marvel of the incarnation, God becoming flesh, and virgin birth.
What manner of man is this? More than a man, but the Lord God Himself, and unless you get this right, you’ll not get right for eternity.
There is a truism that says,
“Wrong theories lead to wrong conclusions, which results in disastrous ends.”
With this understanding we can look at the first point of our overall theme that we walk by faith and not by sight, and learn the lesson about the true nature of our faith.
1. Faith Refuses to Panic
Responding to the disciples’ panic. Jesus said,
“Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26 NKJV)
Jesus was marveling at their faith. He was rebuking them for being so afraid, especially seeing that He was in the boat.
Now, let’s put ourselves in this situation. Here we are in a relatively small boat, and there is a real threat. A furious storm comes up, the waves are coming into the boat, and we’re bailing for our lives only to realize that we are fighting a losing battle. And to make matters worse, Jesus is asleep in the boat; in other words, he isn’t bringing any relief to our apparent hopeless situation.