Summary: This sermon addresses the causes and cures for fear.
Mark 4: 35 – 41 / Are You Afraid?
Intro: It was the year 2003. Barbara and I were in Paris, France. We stood with our daughter, Jennifer beneath the Eiffel Tower. “Let’s go to the top!” --- “Uh, NO!” --- “We are going to the top! Don’t be such a wimp! You’ll be ok!” --- we bought the tickets and boarded the elevator. Up we went to the first level and then on to the 2nd level where we had to get out to board the elevator that takes you to the top. It is all glass and slowly ascends so you can ENJOY THE PANORAMIC VIEW! I could hear my hear pounding in my ears! I’ve never been so terrified! I was still shaking when we got back on solid ground. --- Have you ever been that afraid?
I. I think the interesting part of this story is that it begins and ends with fear! Vs. 40 – “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
A. The disciples are pictured as more than wimps. They are viewed as cowards --- “The feared a great fear!” PANIC!
B. We are often people who live in fear. “What’s going to happen to me if . . .?” We live in the “what ifs” of life.
C. Vs. 38b – “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown? The disciples, like us, were afraid nobody, especially Jesus, cared if they drowned.
II. When the storms of life threaten us, we run to God communicating our panic asking “WHY?” “ARE YOU THERE?”
A. Why were the disciples so angry at Jesus? What made them so ready to lash out at Him? --- They were angry because he wasn’t up and as worried about the situation as they were. They felt helpless and at least wanted Jesus to sympathize.
B. When I have encountered storms in my life, there has always been this overwhelming sense of helplessness and frustration. The situation is out of my control like the trip up the Eiffel Tower.
C. Is this why people seek quiet and calm in drugs, alcohol, transcendental meditation, yoga, tai chi? Looking for anything and everything that will give a sense of quiet and calm.
III. I will tell you that the only thing that enabled me to make it to the top of the Eiffel Tower was the person at my side, BARBARA. Saying all the time, “It’s OK. You’ll be all right. Just don’t look. “
A. Maybe your job situation isn’t certain, you don’t know where your next dollar is coming from, or you worry about your children’s future or your health. Like these young people being confirmed, maybe you are worried about where God is calling you to serve or what you are being called to do.
B. Satan stops at NOTHING to get you to think you are all alone and God doesn’t care.
C. We become fearful when the storms of life howl and the waves threaten us because we think WE are in control. We think it all hangs on US. We Keep one hand on the rudder, just in case God doesn’t know where he is going.
Conclu: Experts say that 2% of our “worrying time” is spent on things that might actually be helped by worrying . . . 40% is spent worrying about things that never happen . . . 35 % is spent worrying about things that cannot be changed . . . 15% is spent worrying about things that turn out better than expected . . . and 8% is spent worrying about things that are so petty they don’t matter at all. --- In our study group last week, a member of the class shared this pearl of wisdom that I want to share with you today. “IF YOU ARE WORRYING, YOU AREN’T PRAYING ENOUGH!”
Wilbur Rees describes a common view of religion today: “I would like to buy $3 worth of god, please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I do not want enough of Him to make me love a homeless person or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.” --- Are you afraid? Perhaps you’ve forgotten who is beside you.