Faithlife Sermons

Getting Through Storms

How to get through what you are going through!   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Good Morning, Excited about this morning as we are launching our Core Groups today after service… The great thing about CORE GROUPS is that they are sermon based … there is no homework.. If you are with us today for the first time… You are on the same page with everyone here today… the whole point is to take what we hear in the service and spent some time together… observations and making applications.
This morning we are starting a new sermon series entitled -
How to get through what you getting through?
Over the next several weeks we are going to be looking at what the Bible has to say on some of the obstacles that we face in life…
How do we...
Get through - transitions
Get through losses (sorrows)
Get through -Financial challenges
Get through - Marriage and family issues
Get through - Spiritual Gridlock
How Do we keep on Thriving
We are going to start by talking about storms.
Have you ever been caught in a bad storm?
In 2008 when Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast I was traveling and was at the Philadelphia International airport at the time and I was on one of the last planes to leave before they shut down the airport…
The terminal was empty.. nobody was around…and It felt kind of apocalyptic…
What I learned about living on the East Coast is that storms can be incredibly powerful and they can cause a lot of damage… Sandy cost about $62 billion in damage in the United States and at least $315 million in the Caribbean.
When the plane took of the ground, I got to see the storm from a different perspective... It was a superstorm… but it was less threatening from above.
When Israel was challenged by Goliath the the whole nation was in fear… the Bible tells us that “they were afraid and greatly dismayed.” When young David comes on the scene he saw the storm from a different perspective. Who is this uncircumcised Philistine who should defy the armies of the living God?
There are storms that can come into our lives in many different forms… there are .. Spiritual Storms, Emotional Storms, Physical and Health storms, Financial, storms, Family Storms…
We are either in one of three places. We are either heading into a storm… or in the middle of storm or you are just coming out of a storm..
This lines up with what Jesus taught when he said that in this world we will have trials and difficulties but at the same time he gave us hope.... that we can rise above the storms because he has overcome .
God allows storms to come into our lives for two primary reasons.. Help us in our walk of Obedience… Like we saw in the Jonah series that God appointed the storm… Hurled the storm — Jonah got off track and God used the storm to get him back on mission..
In the disciples case they were following Jesus and God uses the storms in the Gospels to help them to trust Him more —
God’s goal is always the same and that is to get us through to the other side… This WORD THROUGH is fascinating and it comes up a lot in scripture.
The Oxford dictionary defines the word THROUGH as “Moving in one side and out of the other side of an opening or location.” .Speaks of going from one place to another… a position that is beyond the point that you began… change of orientation…
Paul in the book of Philippians gives us a secret he has learned how to negotiate through lives tests and storms
Paul faced all kinds of storms in the form of beatings, imprisonment, danger from wild animals, He went through a major storm and was shipwrecked on the Isle of Malta… He experienced both abundance and lack..... Paul tells us that He had learned something from storms…
We live in an “on demand” society… at a press of a button we can something… Contentment is not something you can go online and order on Amazon prime…Paul says that he has learned to be content…
Philippians 4:11–12 ESV
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
The Greek word for contentment means “self-sufficient” and it was a favorite word of the stoic philosophers.. Stoicism taught the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions..
Stoics had the “I can do” attitude…in other words.... If you weren’t a stoic… you were determinist which basically means that you accept whatever happens to jump in the river and life will take your where ever the river runs..
Cleanthes once opined that the wicked man is "like a dog tied to a cart, and compelled to go wherever it goes."[7]
We need to hear what Paul is saying here...Paul is not talking about self- sufficiency in himself —
Stoics strive to control their environment...
Epictetus descibed it like this.... "sick and yet happy, in peril and yet happy, dying and yet happy, in exile and happy, in disgrace and happy,"[8]
Now on the surface this sounds good… Positive thinking… have the right attitude… suppress your emotions...
When Paul uses the word CONTENTMENT he is talking about being in control but rather giving control....
His sufficient is not found in himself but through the person of Christ… Further more he tells us that He had to learn contentment.
Learn is Mateos the … same word for discipleship… it is gaining information through instruction… whether formal or informal… As Paul went through difficulties the school of hard knocks --- He began to realize that his joy did not come from within it came from with out… It was in the person of Christ. The more he reflected and learned from his experience the more content he became.
On May 17, 2008, Christian recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman and his family suffered a devastating loss. Five-year-old adopted daughter, Maria, was struck and killed when Chapman's seventeen-year-old son was backing his SUV out of the family's driveway.
It was an unfortunate accident.... devastating… How do you pick up the pieces… recently the Christian Reader had an interview with him when he said.
“I have learned that we can control where we allow things that we can't understand to fall. They either fall between us and God, and we become angry. Or we allow these things to fall outside of us and press us in closer to God.” Steven Curtis Chapman
This is what Paul means when he says contentment is learned… It’s reflecting on the nature and character of God, it is spending time in the word of God… and then He gives the source of His Strength… It is an inner resource…
We need inner resources in life.. - we see that nature depends on hidden resources. The you have great trees like the redwoods that send their roots down into the earth to draw up water and minerals. The most important part of a tree is the part you cannot see, the root system, and the most important part of the Christian’s life is the part that only God sees.
Unless we draw on the deep resources of God by faith, we fail against the pressures of life.
Paul testifies to the sufficiency of Christ’s strength…
Philippians 4:13 ESV
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Paul contrast the Christian view to the stoics view of a “Can do attitude.” What do you think is the stark difference between self-sufficiency and dependance on Christ? (Phil 4:13)
The subject and object in the verse is not I but rather Christ.. Thats where the stoic and Paul go in different directions…
It literally means, “I have strength for all things in him who strengthens me.”
The wonderful thing about the Greek language is that you have a range of meanings in one word.... Through also means Baptizo — I can do all things in Christ..
speaks of going through the waters of Baptism and coming up on the other side of resurrection.
It is through our identification with Christ… death, burial and resurrection that we have the inner resources to Overcome the challenges that life throws at us.. We can use this promise… WE CAN DECLARE THIS - ‘I CAN DO THIS” THROUGH CHRIST who infuses me with His Strength.
T/S How do you get THROUH what you are going through?

1. Understand the nature of Storms.

We going to look at one of the Storms that Jesus and his disciples faced. Most of Jesus ministry was concentrated in and around the region of Galilee… He was always close to the water… In fact in Mark he had been teaching from the side of the boat… quite unconventional. In the first century you had fishermen but for the majority of people they would prefer not to go on the water… their was superstitious that there were demons underneath that would cause storms on the seas.
The sea of Galilee was known for sudden storms that came from nowhere. Do you see parallels between storms and trials? Do you agree that you are either heading towards a storm, going through a storm or coming out of a storm?
Jesus had been teaching a multitude of people some parables and it was getting late in the day… and Jesus says it’s time to go across the sea of Galilee..
Mark 4:35–37 ESV
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.
At this point in Jesus ministry he is spreading the message even further. He is about to go into new territory. He is about to enter a new frontier.
He is taking his disciples across a lake to a region that is both unfamiliar and quite uncomfortable for the disciples. It's not Jewish land, and there are not Jewish people there.
It’s going to be quite challenging: spiritually, emotionally, and physically challenging, even demanding... There is a major obstacle between them and the mission.. There is a storm that they have to go through.. to get to where they need to be…
This is normally the case… whenever you are desiring to move forward into New Territory… whether it is a church or in your personal life… You can be assured that New territory is going to bring some obstacles.
a. Storms are unpredictable..
Storms often arose on the lake because of a geological feature on the western and eastern sides of the lake. The Arbela and other sheer cliffs stand on the western shore, funneling winds that blow across the lake. As these winds hit the Golan hills on the eastern side, they ricochet and blow back into the lake, causing storms and waves… the sea could be calm one minute and the next minute you are dealing with waves serval feet high. James uses similar language when it comes to test and trials… they come into our lives…
James 1:2–3 ESV
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
Count it Joy when whey you meet trials…or intersect a trial.. The phrase to “meet a trial”
literally means when you come across or meet a hazardous or negative situation by accident.
This is exactly what Happens to Jesus and the disciples..
The storm comes in the evening at the end of the the day — The end of the day is really designed for a time of rest and renewal. And in ancient times it was often a time of reflection and prayer… time to recharge your spiritual batteries…time and time to get physical rest.
The storm came a the most inconvenient time.. Time when they were spent and needing of rest… time for sleep and where your body repairs its energy…
Jesus had been with the multitude and now was the time to leave… and so he tells his disciples “Let us go across to the other side.”
There are two resources that God has given us when we face Storms.
1. Promises in His Word.
He did not promise an easy trip, but He did promise a guaranteed arrival at their destination.
Let us go to “the other side.”
He didn’t say, “Let us perish in the middle of the Sea of Galilee.” Rather he said to his disciples that they would cross over to the other side.
The phrase “Let us go across” is one word in the Greek and it mean it means to “Pass through or to to Go through.”
To pass through in the sense overcoming resistance... Is it interesting that Jesus words implied or hinted at the fact they would meet some Resistance.. Jesus knew about the storm before he put his head upon the pillow.... He knew that they would all make it to the other side…
The power of the Word of God is that it doesn’t change..
God knows the end from the begining an his word is reliable..
2. The Power of His Person.
Jesus is going to be in the boat for the Journey.
We sometimes think of this story as Just One boat going over but there are several boats going over the see of Galilee.
We have a tendency to get tunnel vision when we are going through something.. and instead of pulling towards community we withdrawal and get into isolation.
3. The Presence of Community
The Bible is quick to remind us that there are other boats out on the storm…
One of the great resources that we have is community… One of the greatest things is having faced similar things with others… Gives us hope.

2. Recognize our Natural response to Doubt.

1001 Illustrations that Connect Illustration 880: Secondhand Doubt

We hear so much criticism from skeptics about what they often brand as “secondhand faith.” It is implied that many people believe in God only because of the context of their birth or family or determined conditions.

If the criticism is justified, and undoubtedly it sometimes is, why do we not show the same distrust of secondhand doubt? If it is possible for a person’s belief to be merely an echo of someone else’s faith, are there not hypocrites in doubt also?

—Ravi Zacharias, Jesus among Other Gods (Word, 2000)

Mark 4:37–39 ESV
And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 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?” 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.
The winds pick up and the gale causes the ocean to become difficult and the disciples begin to panic.
Jesus is present in the boat but he is asleep with head upon a cushion… Contrast of Jesus and the Storm...
Some have attributed Jesus’ sleep to the rescue stories in which the savior is present but unknown
You might recognize a parallel here between Jesus sleeping and Jonah sleeping in the Boat. The difference between Jonah and Jesus begins to emerge even more clearly at the point of their initial response to the storm.
Jesus’ companions arouse him (ἐγείρουσιν) with the charge that he does not care about their survival...
They use the word Teacher… Rabbi or Raboni… They were addressing Him as a mere teacher… rather than “The Son of God.” or the “Son of Man.” Which would be his Christological title… meaning…
Rabbi ,Do you not care that we are perishing?
In other words in the middle of the Storm they were failing to recognize the presence of the Savior who was with them in the Boat…
Do you not care?
One of the things we need to know about God is that He is full of Compassion and Grace.. The Gospel is a grace message… we are each saved by faith through Grace... not only are we saved by grace but we traffic in Grace…Jesus pours out grace upon His Disciples…
Jesus woke up and he rebuke the wind. (the source of the storm) and he said “Peace be still)
Tim Keller says that the best translation I’ve ever heard is Jesus gets up, and he says, “Shut up!” Quiet … that’s better. Peace … come on. He gets up, and he says, “Shut up,” and then the second thing he says really is, “and stay shut up.” He says, “Be quiet and stay quiet,” but better yet, “Shut up and stay shut up.”
Notice he speaks to the source the wind… The wind is the agitator… the wind was powering the storm… disarming principalities....
Spoke to the Waves… the cause…
The storm could be Spiritual in Nature.
The words translated “rebuked” and “be still” were used in 1:25 with reference to an exorcism. This consideration may imply a demonic element in the storm. In fact the latter word (pephimosō) can be translated “be muzzled.”

3. Recognize the power of FAITH.

What is faith?
All of us function in Faith every single day of our lives… The fact that you got in your car and drove here this morning means that you trusted that your car would get you here. Even though your car might be well maintained… you have no real guarantees that you would have made it… Why did you make the trip… Because you have got in your car a number of times and you have got to your destination… That what faith does is it ACTS upon what it BElIEVES.
We have Faith in all kinds of things… Even agnostics and atheists have faith… they act on the belief that their is no God...
It is important what we put our faith upon...Just ask the Alaskan man who recently attempted to cross a channel near Juneau on a "homemade watercraft"—more specifically, "an inflatable, duct-taped craft"—complete with a paddle, his dog, and a conspicuous lack of a life jacket.
A local news outlet stated that while the "[w]eather on scene was reportedly calm with 9 mph winds," a local Coast Guard crew still ended up coming to the man's aid: when the makeshift boat started to fill with water.
Having "deemed the craft unsafe," they "transferred it, the man—and his dog—to [nearby] Douglas Harbor.
It is possible to have misplaced Faith.
Biblical Faith has assurance of substance…
Hebrews 11:1 ESV
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Some have said that this is a definition of Faith … Wirsebe
This is not a definition of faith but a description of what faith does and how it works. True Bible faith is not blind optimism or a manufactured “hope-so” feeling. Neither is it an intellectual assent to a doctrine. It is certainly not believing in spite of evidence! That would be superstition.
True Bible faith is confident obedience to God’s Word in spite of circumstances and consequences. It is our total response to what God has revealed in His Word
Mark 4:40–41 ESV
He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
The rebuke of the disciples here is important in the larger context of Mark. Having been given the mystery of the kingdom and having been made recipients of the private explanations of Jesus’ teaching, the disciples are still on a journey to true faith.
Their “failure” here, which will heighten as the narrative unfolds, simply means that their closeness to Jesus does not absolve them from the need to enter more deeply into the mystery and paradox of God’s reign
The greatest danger was not the wind or the waves: it was the unbelief in the hearts of the disciples.
Our greatest problems are within us, not around us. This explains why Jesus gently rebuked them and called them “men of little faith.” They had heard Him teach the Word and had even seen Him perform miracles, and yet they still had no faith. It was their unbelief that caused their fear, and their fear made them question whether Jesus really cared.
When Jesus calmed the storm this was another one of those moments that blew the disciples away.. They knew that God was able to calm the sea as creator…
The total calm of the sea should have filled them with peace, but instead, they were just as afraid when He calmed the storm as when they were in the midst of it. WHY BECAUSE THEY KNEW THEY WERE IN THE PRESENCE OF THE CREATOR.
Each of us are in a different place.
some maybe the waters are calm and you are in the enjoying a season of stillness…
May be there others some maybe the wind is picking up and you have a sense of unease… daily grind is getting to you. Then there are others who it just seems that you are taking in water… and you find yourself in the middle of a storm you are needing to sense the closeness of the savior…
Then maybe you are on the other side of the storm.
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