Living By Faith – Part 2
INTRODUCTION: In Mark 4:35-41; we read,
“And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. (36) And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. (37) And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. (38) And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? (39) And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (40) And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? (41) And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
The Lord Jesus went with His disciples out into the Sea of Galilee and a great storm arose. Let me remind you first of all that NOTHING ever catches God by surprise, you shouldn’t be.
Jesus knew a storm was coming, in spite of the fact that He was sleeping. He was well aware of it. Jesus is God in the flesh. When He launched out with them, He knew that a storm awaited them.
In the Christian life there are appointed storms. There are times when the Lord Jesus is going to take us into a period of rough waters. I also want to encourage you with the fact that He did not send these men without His comfort into the storm. He went into the storm with them.
In verse 40 Jesus said, “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?" When we talk about somebody being filled with the Spirit, it means that they are under the influence of the Spirit of God. When somebody is fearful, or full of fear, that means they are operating under the influence of fear. If a man is surrendered to the Holy Spirit, it means the Holy Spirit is in control, the man is not in control. If a person is full of fear, then fear is in control. I really don't think most people understand what fear is.
Fear robs us of our composure, and proper decision making. I can't be filled with fear and at the same time filled with faith.
Fear is the anticipation of disaster, or failure, or embarrassment.
Fear is the anticipation of everything going wrong. It causes people to suffer grief that is unnecessary way in advance.
Fear will paralyze you. It will keep you from doing what you ought to do.
Faith is when the Word of God is enough. What faith amounts to is confident dependency on God! It's an anticipation of His entering into the problem, His intervention on my behalf. No matter how bad the problem is, faith is when I go forward in the will of God, and I face a storm, and I say, "God is going to intervene."
Fear is one of the devil's greatest tactics. Fear is something that the devil uses constantly to keep people from the will of God. The person who is fearful approaches everything in advance with the idea that God is not going to intervene for them, knowing that it is not going to work out, knowing that they cannot do what God told them to do.
Faith gives vibrancy to one's service for God.
Fear is something that produces desperation in the hearts of people.
Faith produces desire to do something more for God.
Because I anticipate God intervening, I have a desire to go through with this thing.
Because I believe that God is going to come on my behalf and help me, I have a desire to do what He would have me to do.
Fear makes excuses.
Faith just takes steps of obedience, no matter how bad the odds look.
Listen, NOBODY alive is above the experience of fear. To experience fear is not a sin, but to allow fear to rule my life is a sin. To allow the anticipation of failure to make my decisions for me is sin.
Faith moves forward in spite of the obstacles, and fear is paralyzed. Fear says, "I couldn't be a soul-winner. I couldn't talk to people. It wouldn't work for me." Everybody experiences that emotion initially. Everybody goes through that. You don't just go through it the first time you decide to go soul-winning.
You will have some fear most times you go soul-winning until the Lord begins to move on your behalf; then all of a sudden, that nervousness and that little bit of fear turns into excitement.
It works that way with giving. Folks won't give because they anticipate financial reversal. "If I gave like that preacher talks about, tithes and offerings and missions and all that other stuff, faith promise and building funds…if I gave to all that stuff, I'd be in trouble." Yes, you would, if it were not for God.
I promise you the rainy day is coming for everybody. The bad times are coming. The storm is coming. I'm not trying to be a negative preacher, but that is reality. There is no use in us trying to live in this little fantasy world where problems don't come.
Some folks won't give because they anticipate financial reversal. They anticipate the economy going bad. They anticipate a famine. They anticipate bad health.
Maybe everything they fear will come to pass. But they would be a lot better off if they would operate by faith, doing what God says, in spite of the circumstances, waiting for His intervention, than they would if they were trying to take care of themselves.
Has it ever dawned on you that you really don't have the ability to take care of yourself anyway? If God doesn't do it, you're in big trouble. I need to remind myself of that again and again, and operate my life with anticipation of the intervention of God.
Fear rules God out of the picture. Fear looks at only what I'm capable of doing. It doesn't look for the working of God. Everybody is a failure if there is no God. But there is a God. So don't live in fear. Live by faith. There are actually three reasons why we are so fearful.
Number 1. WE FORGET THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD: In verses 38-39 the Bible says Jesus was asleep in the hinder part of the ship. They woke Him and said, "Master, carest thou not that we perish?" When they said, "We perish," they were talking to the omnipotent God in the ship, and they thought they were going to perish. They thought Jesus was going to sink with the boat; that God was going to die.
One of our great problems is that we forget the sovereignty of God. We forget that our Lord is the one who breathed the universe into existence. In Revelation 19:6 we read, 'The Lord God omnipotent reigneth…" I simply need to know who God is. In spite of my circumstances, I look to Him, I depend on Him, I expect His intervention.
God is not going to die. The fact that the omnipotent God was on board should have been a pretty good security factor for them. You don't tell God anything when you pray. When you cry out, you don't make God aware of your circumstances. He lives inside of you. He knew before you did. Remember, God is Jehovah-Jirah.
I don't have to understand what God is doing in order for Him to be doing something. A lot of times I have no idea what God is doing. It doesn't make a bit of sense to me. That's because I'm not God. But God sees the whole picture, the whole universe. All I see is my little area and that from a very biased view.
The reason people are ruled by fear is that they forget that the sovereign God is on board. They forget that the God who lives in their heart is:
the God who spoke the universe into existence,
the God who the devil had to get permission from to touch Job,
the God who could speak and nature obeyed Him,
the God of whom Jesus said that nobody could have power against Him without God granting it. That's the God we serve. That's the One in my heart, the One on board.
When it looks like things are going down, God is still alive. Amen! Jesus is on board. Amen! The sovereign God allowed it to happen for a reason. He will turn it into a blessing in the end. Romans 8:28; says, "All things work together for good to them that love God." It doesn't say that all things ARE good. It says that all things WORK TOGETHER for good.
A big spoonful of flour doesn't taste good. A big spoonful of Crisco tastes even worse. Try a big spoonful of vanilla extract and it will twist your ears and cross your eyeballs. But you mix all of those together with a couple of good tasting ingredients to get a delicious pie or cake. That's how 'all things work together for good.'
Sometimes God lets us experience every emotion of fear and then He says, "Don't worry. It's going to be all right." We say, "But when?" God finally intervenes but He wants us to learn something about faith. He wants us to learn about dependency on Him.
Number 2. We forget the PROMISES of the Bible: People are ruled by fear because they forget the promises of Scripture. God has given us plenty of promises in the Bible.
In II Corinthians 1:20 He said, ''All of the promises of God in him are yea…" Every promise is mine. In Mark 4:35 He said, ''Let us pass over unto the other side." That was as good as a passport to the other side. He didn't say, "Let us go out and sink in the storm." "Let us make it halfway and then drown."
When Jesus said they were going to pass over to the other side it was as good as done. I don't care what they anticipated in the middle when He said, "Let us pass over unto the other side…” that was equivalent to a promise. It was as good as done because the sovereign God had spoken it.
Folks stand up and sing. "I'm standing on the promises of Christ my Lord." But they don't mean a word of it. They don't even think of His promises when trouble comes. They never anticipate the promises coming through. They anticipate disaster and failure.
Don't anticipate disaster. Don't let your fears interrupt what you're supposed to do. You obey according to the promise, not according to standard procedure, or how you feel or what you think. If we didn't have a Bible we would live in a pretty fearful situation. If we didn't have a God, life would have a dismal forecast. The Bible is a promise Book. It is filled with the promises of God.
Number 3. WE HAVE FORGOTTEN PAST VICTORIES: People who live in fear have forgotten past success. The disciples had just seen Jesus feed a multitude of people. They had just seen people healed, fed, lives changed, and the power of God revealed. However, almost immediately after all the great victories and the display of the mighty power of God that they had seen, they started operating in fear.
Isn't that the way we are? We see God do something great on our behalf and then two weeks later some trouble comes, and we forget all about what God did two weeks ago. We act as though that was His last burst of power and now His batteries are dead. I have news for you. God's batteries never go dead!
He's the same – yesterday, today, and forever, amen.
What He did last week; He can do today.
What He did for anybody in the Bible; He can do for you.
What He has done for you in the past, He can and will do again, if you will do what He says. In the face of problems, anticipate His intervention.
There are one of two things you can do:
You can either decide that your problems are too great, so you quit doing your part of the will of God. Or, you can say, "Boy, the problems are big, but God is bigger. I'm just going to keep obeying till God does something." That's faith.
Faith is not a problem-free life. Faith just says, "I won't be paralyzed by the problems because I have a God. I have a promise. I remember what He did before. I believe He'll do it again.”
It's not shameful to experience fear, but it is a shame to be ruled by it. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Faith, when it is in action, will cause me to have power, and love, and a sound mind. It will help me to think clearly. It will help me learn to love like God loves. It will give me power to do what I'm supposed to do.
God says He wants us to overcome our fears so that we might live by faith. Fear is not abnormal. But to be ruled by it is unchristian.
When it's time to go soul-winning, if I'm fearful, that's not sinful unless I stay home because of fear.
When it comes time to give and God deals with my heart, it's not wrong for me to have concerns about financial reversals. The devil is going to place those thoughts in my mind. Experiencing the emotion of fear is not the problem. But as soon as I submit to my fear and don't obey, that's sin.
When God calls you to serve Him in some capacity it's not sinful for me to experience the emotion of fear. But as soon as that fear takes rulership and I don't do what God wants me to do because I'm afraid, all of a sudden that becomes sin. You can apply this truth to anything in your Christian life.
If we're going to operate by faith, we have to remember who is on board.
We have to remember the Scriptures and all the promises of Him in God are yea.
We have to remember past success, and victories, and God's intervention on our behalf.
What God has done before, He will do again. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. If I keep those three things in mind, I may be afraid at times, but I won't be ruled by fear. I can be faithful instead of fearful. God tells us how to overcome fear, so that we can live by faith the victorious Christian life.
If God has spoken to your heart, after reading the sermon "Living By Faith – Part 2," right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to email@example.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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