STUDY 2 OF 8 / OCTOBER 9, 2016 PASTOR BARRY BRUCE THE GATHERING CHURCH
Wake Up! Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, John 10:10-11
“Wake up, wake up!” Have you ever wanted to scream that phrase out in God’s ear, concerning a predicament that you found yourself in? Maybe this sounds sacrilegious to you, but is it really any different than saying (or thinking) “where is God in all of this”? The first phrase is certainly more personal and direct, and this was closer to the words that the disciples used to call Jesus out in their stormy predicament.. Matthew’s account of that incident is rather subdued, but Mark’s is a bit more telling. The disciples actually assumed that Jesus did not care if they lived or died. They were outraged that He was at rest while they were filled with terror. Have you ever assumed that God didn’t care about you?
First of all let us consider the storm that the disciples found themselves in. It was at night (Mark 4:35) and it was a bad one! It was so furious that waves were breaking over the boat and filling it with water. Secondly, let us consider Jesus…He was sound asleep in the back (stern) of the boat, curled up on a cushion and fully at rest. He obviously had fallen asleep earlier when the waters were calm and had been sleeping for quite awhile. He’d had a very busy day where large crowds had pressed against Him, He had healed a leper, a centurion’s servant, Peter’s mother-in-law and He had driven out many demons from those who were possessed. You might say He had earned His sleep. Lastly, let us consider the disciples and ask a few questions: 1.) How long did they endure the storm until they finally called upon Jesus? After all, a storm builds in intensity. 2.) Why, when they finally woke Jesus, did they immediately assume that He didn’t care about them? (after all, didn’t they witness Him all day long caring about everyone else?) 3.) Why did they assume that they were going to die? The answer to all of these questions is why Jesus woke up to say: “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” And the answer to Jesus ‘question is “because you got punked by the devil!” In other words the devil tricked the disciples into believing that God didn’t care.
1.) When should we seek God? When the storm is raging or as it is building? When should we read God’s word and pray, only in emergencies or daily as life builds? (1 Thess. 5:17)
2.) When we do pray (call upon God), are we to assume that God does not care or should we be encouraged by the history of all that He has done for mankind and me? (1 Sam. 12:24)
3.) Jesus (“the Good Shepherd”) said He came to give us “life to the full.” Only the thief (devil) comes to steal, kill and destroy. Why fear death when life has been promised?
Fear is not from faith. Perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18-19) Jesus is perfect love (1 John 4:8). The more we know Jesus the more faith we have in Him. As faith grows fear goes!
Faith Hebrews 10:23, 11:1, 12:1-2
When Jesus said: “Oh, you of little faith”, He might well have said: “Oh, you of great fear”.
Faith, as the Apostle Paul said, “is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” Hope, just as the house (life: Matthew 7:24-27) we build, must be built upon Christ and the promises that He secured for us as blood bought children of God.
We must hold unswervingly to that hope in confidence, and we do not do so blindly, for there is a “cloud of witnesses” (the ancients: those of the faith who have gone on before us [see also Hebrews 11:1-39 ] including those in your own life who lived in Christian faith.) who have walked before us in that faith. The accomplishments of their lives testify to the one who is the anchor of our hope—who is the living Christ (Hebrews 6:19:20-21a, 1 Timothy 1:12).
Standing on the Promises James 1:2-8, Proverbs 3:5-6
When our life (house) is built on the solid rock of Christ and our hope is firmly anchored in Him, faith grows and fear goes. Then, and only then, will the storms of our life (trials and testing) bring joy like the clearing of a storm brings a greater appreciation for calm seas and a clear sky. The Apostle James, no doubt had the storm in mind that Matthew and Mark recorded in their gospels when he wrote his letter. He surely remembered it well. He describes the one who doubts like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. He was once that double minded and unstable disciple: without faith, getting blown and tossed, terrified and yelling “wake up, wake up” to Jesus. “That kind of a person, says James, should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” but they all did didn’t they? Jesus calmed the storm and gave them all a lesson in faith and taught them the value of standing on the promises of God. At least they knew who to call, and because of that in their weakness they became strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Practice trusting in the Lord with all your heart and stand on His promises. He has come to give you life abundantly.