Faithlife Sermons

Trust Like Jesus

Like Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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A man fell off a cliff, but managed to grab a tree limb on the way down. The following conversation ensued:
"Is anyone up there?" "I am here. I am the Lord. Do you believe me?" "Yes, Lord, I believe. I really believe, but I can't hang on much longer." "That's all right, if you really believe you have nothing to worry about. I will save you. Just let go of the branch." A moment of pause, then: "Is anyone else up there?"
Trusting God is hard because it is much easier to trust what we can see. It is easy for me to trust that this stand will not let my Bible and notes fall to the ground when I lay them down because I can see it. If I couldn’t see this stand, chances are good that I am not going to put my stuff down because I know it is going to fall.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought to myself how much easier it would be to trust God if I could just see Him and talk with Him face to face. But, because I can’t, because we can’t, it makes trusting Him difficult, especially in times of crisis.
But here’s the truth. Our struggle with trusting God has everything to do with how passionately we are pursuing a relationship with Him. And when we talk about trusting God, what we are talking about is the intensity of our faith. You see, the more we know Him, then the more we will fall in love with Him. And the more in love with Him we are, the greater our faith in Him will be.
Commentator William Lane says that faith “springs from a direct, personal encounter with the living God.” —William Lane
Conversely, the less we know Him, then the less trust and faith we will have in Him. And the less trust and faith we have in Him, the more we will live in fear of both our present and future circumstances.
My prayer is that as we hear from God’s Word this morning, we will ask the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts to determine the extent of our faith.
READ Mark 4:35-41 and Pray
Mark’s placement of this event is to continue the reoccurring theme that the disciples did not understand who Jesus truly was until after His resurrection. The first seven words of verse 35 connect this event with the day’s teaching. “On that day, when evening had come . . .” (4:35a, ESV)
The disciples had just spent the entire day hearing Jesus speak with authority about God’s Kingdom. While sitting in a boat on the sea of Galilee, He shared parables that centered on the various reactions people will have to His message and the growth of God’s Kingdom. He even spent time with the disciples, away from the large crowd, explaining the meaning of the parables in greater detail. But, as we’ll see in a few minutes, they still didn’t get it.
Before we get to the main point of this event, let’s set the scene.
Vs. 35: Marks indicates that evening was setting in and Jesus decided it was time to go. So, He tells the disciples that He’d like to go to the other side of the large lake.
Vs. 36: We read that the disciples do as Jesus commands. Mark says that “they took him with them in the boat, just as he was” (35c, ESV). Mark has already told us in verse 1 [“Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land” (Mk 4:1, ESV).] that Jesus was in a boat that was tied up along the shore line of the Sea of Galilee.
Mark also tells us that there were other boats that went with them. My guess is that those boats were carrying the same people who earlier in the day Jesus labeled His family, and Mark says were “around him” along with the disciples while He was teaching the parables to the large crowd.
Vs. 37: Here’s where we get into the heart of the story. As they are moving from one side of the lake to the other, this catastrophic storm suddenly moves in and begins causing waves so high that they are crashing over into the boat. Now the boat is taking on water and there is a chance that it might just sink.
Which leads us to our first point this morning:

I. Life’s Storms Are Promised and Are Often Sudden

The Sea of Galilee is located 690 feet below sea level, is 15 miles long and six miles wide. It is fed by the Jordan River and it flows to the Dead Sea. It sits in a valley directly below the Golan Heights and Mount Arbel, which are responsible for creating heavy winds that blow out over the lake and produce the type of storms that came upon Jesus and His disciples. Understand that this wasn’t just a typical thunder storm. When translated back into it’s original Greek, the word Mark chooses to describe the storm, (lailaps— pronounced: lay-lops), means “furious storm” or “hurricane.” Naturally, back then there was no way to track the wind speed or height of the waves, like we can now. But based on Mark’s description, I’d say this was a powerful storm.
Not only was the storm violent, but it was sudden. One minute everything was calm and the next moment Jesus and His disciples found themselves in the midst of a hurricane like storm.
The same can be said about life. One day everything is going well and !BOOM! something happens and suddenly life is out of control.
A few years ago, Nationwide Insurance ran a marketing campaign with the slogan “Life Comes at You Fast.” Direct your attention to the screen and check out one of their commercials that I believe helps us visual how quick things can turn around.
Show Video— “Life Comes At You Fast”
There are seasons in life where we feel a lot like that car. We are being hit with problem after problem on all sides, and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. One email, one phone call, one text, or one face-to-face conversation and all of a sudden, you’re in the midst of the greatest storm you’ve ever faced. It happens and most of the time, it happens suddenly.
But that shouldn’t surprise us as Christians because the Bible promises us seasons of turmoil.
Job writes, “Anyone born of a woman is short of days and full of trouble” (Jb. 14:1, CSB).
King Solomon wrote, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die . . .a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance . . .a time for war, and a time for peace” (Ec. 3:1-2, 4, 8, ESV).
Yes, we will all, at one point or another, experience a sudden storm that will cause life to seem like it’s completely out of control. That is because Life’s Storms Are Often Sudden.

II. Life’s Storms Test Our Faith and Build Endurance

Vs. 38: In the midst of this chaotic scene, Mark says that Jesus was laying on a pillow, soundly sleeping in the stern of the boat. Obviously He was tired from teaching all day, but imagine trying to sleep in the middle of a storm in a small wooden boat. The cracking of the thunder, the crashing of the waves into the boat, the water hitting Him in the face, not to mention the disciples yelling in fear. Yet, here’s Jesus soundly sleeping. Why?
Jesus knew that storm was coming and He knew how violent it was going to become. So, why didn’t He immediately wake up and calm the storm? I believe it’s because He was testing the faith of the disciples. I wonder if He didn’t want them to see for themselves how were they going to respond when faced with trouble? Were they going to abandon ship and try to swim back to the shore? After all, it was only going to be a few years later when they would face fierce persecution because of Him. He had to prepare them for those days, and the first chapter of that lesson was written in the Sea of Galilee.
It is easy to praise Jesus and claim Him as Lord of all when we are living in a peaceful season of life. In those seasons we’ll talk about the goodness of God and how He’s blessing us in so many ways. But, we find out how faithful we really are whenever life’s storms strike.
Let’s return to Job for just a moment. In Job 1, Satan tells God that he’s been scouring the earth, and the idea that we’re given is that he’s looking for someone to, as Peter says, “devour.” So, God asks Satan if, “Have you considered my servant job, that there is none like him on earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil” (Jb. 1:8, ESV)? To which Satan replies, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face” (Jb. 1:9-11, ESV).
Essentially what Satan is saying to God is, Job is only “blameless and upright . . .” because you have never allowed his faith to be tested. “Test him and he’ll crumble.” What we learn from Job’s story is that it doesn’t matter who you are, how much you have, or how faithful you’ve been to God, at some point in time, we are all going to be tested, because our faith is made stronger through the testing.
James says, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing” (Jas 1:2–4, ESV).
Peter writes, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pe 1:6–7, ESV).
We are made “mature and complete” through the testing of our faith, because when it is tested we see where we are weak and we learn what we need to do to make that area of weakness stronger.
C.S. Lewis never planned to marry anyone, until he met Joy Davidman. For several years, Lewis and Davidman were nothing more than pen pals. She lived in America and he lived in London. But, in 1950, Joy traveled to London to care for her sister and her sister’s children. While there, she met up with her longtime pen pal and they became close friends. Davidman, who was married at the time, returned to America in January of 1951 after receiving a letter from her husband David, announcing that he’d fallen in love with another woman. Davidman had hopes of saving her marriage, but that did not happen.
After her divorce was final in late 1951, Lewis and his brother, urged Joy to permanently move to London along with her two boys. By Christmas of 1951, she did just that. Over the next five years, Lewis and Davidman were the best of friends. In 1956, the British government declined Davidman’s visa renewal, and because of their close friendship, Lewis married Davidman in April of 1956 so she and the boys could remain in England. In early 1957, after breaking her leg while standing in her kitchen, it was revealed that Davidman’s body was eaten up with cancer. Dr. Humphrey, Davidman’s doctor, informed her and Lewis that she would only live a few days or weeks. But, God spared Joy’s life and she made a miraculous recovery. For the next three years, she and Lewis traveled together, until 1960 when her cancer returned. She died in July of 1960.
Following her death, Lewis released a book called “A Grief Observed,” which was his reflections on the issues of life, death, and faith in the midst of loss. In the book, he reveals the following:
“God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn't. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”
Folks, God tests our faith, not so He can see how true we are to Him, but so that we can see for ourselves how true we are to Him. As Lewis says, God already knows our commitment level to Him. The question is, do we?

III. Life’s Storms Can Cause Us to Doubt

So, what did the testing of the disciples’ faith reveal about them? Their question to Jesus, which is recorded in the second part of verse 38 gives us the answer. “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing” (38b, ESV)?
I think had we been in their shoes, we probably would’ve wondered the same thing. Think about it. Here they are in the middle of the Sea of Galilee with their boat being tossed back and forth by this horrible storm. The waves are crashing down inside the boat. The wind is howling around them. I’m sure there was thunder and lightening, and heavy rain pouring down on them. I wonder if some of them were trying to rescue themselves by filling buckets with the water that was coming into the boat and tossing it back out into the Sea, so that the boat wouldn’t sink. I wonder if others of them were trying to help steer the ship’s rudder in an attempt to keep the boat from hitting rocks along the shore? Those disciples were terrified by that storm to the point where they were convinced they were going to die. And they look over at Jesus and He is sleeping.
Vs. 40: Look also at verse 40. After Jesus calmed the storm, he turns to His disciples and says, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith” (40b, ESV)?
The reason Jesus asked them this question is because He knew they doubted whether or not He cared for them. And the fact that the disciples asked Jesus if He cared whether or not they were perishing proves that they indeed doubted.
How often is it, when we are facing a brutal storm in our life, that we look to the sky and ask God if He has abandoned us? It is easy to do, isn’t it? Job did.
In Job 23 he says, “Oh, that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat” (Jb. 23:3, ESV). In verses 8-9 Job goes on to say, “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him” (Jb. 23:8-9, ESV).
It is in these moments that we often find ourselves doubting whether or not God even cares about us. But, that is simply not the case.
I believe that Charles Spurgeon best explains why we should never doubt God’s care for us. He writes, “Has he not taken upon himself your nature? Was he not tempted in all points like as you are? Has he not graven your name upon the palms of his hand, and written the dear memorials of his love on his side nearest to his heart? Can you look into the face of the Crucified and believe that he is indifferent to you?” —C. H. Spurgeon
He cared enough about you to carry your sins to the cross where He died a horrible death! So, please trust me when I say, don’t ever doubt whether He cares for you or not. He does! And He’s proved it over and over!

IV. Life’s Storms Are Under The Authority of Jesus

Vs. 39: Mark doesn’t indicate that Jesus was angry with the disciples. He writes that Jesus, “awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” Mk 4:39, (ESV).
No matter how great the storm, Jesus is in control! David asks in Psalm 118, “The LORD is for me; I will not be afraid. What can a mere mortal do to me” (Ps. 118:6, CSB). The answer is, nothing! Whether it be in life or in death, there is nothing this world can do to you, so long as you are in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Paul tells the Colossian Church that through Jesus, “all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him” (Col 1:16, ESV). This means that since everything was created through and for Jesus, then everything is under His control, even our life’s greatest storms.
What we take from that fact is this, we have to trust, that no matter what we are enduring and no matter the outcome, everything is going to be okay, because we belong to Christ Jesus and He rules over all things.
Vs. 41 After Jesus calmed the storm, Mark says in verse 41 that the disciples were asking each other this question. “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him” (41b, ESV)?
The answer to that question is simply this, He is the Lord of Lord and the King of kings. He is Christ Jesus who rules over all of creation.
Do you believe today that He truly is the Lord of lords and the King of kings? Are you facing a storm right now and you’re doubting whether or not God cares for you? Are you in the midst of a storm and you’re wondering why the Lord is allowing it to happen?
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