Sermon #18 Series: Mark
Title: THE VOYAGE
Text: Mark 4:35-41
Readings: Office: Merle Hart Auditorium: Rex Bartley
Subject: Christ’s Calming the Storm
Date: Sunday Evening - April 20, 1997
Tape # T-62
As our Lord Jesus and his disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee, a terrible storm arose. The disciples in the panic of their terror, were filled with unbelief. When they cried out, “Master, carest thou not that we perish,” the Lord Jesus arose, calmly rebuked their unbelief, and by the mere power of his word calmed the sea and the storm.
Few, if any, of our Lord’s miracles were so likely to leave his disciples with such an unforgettable, convincing demonstration of his divine omnipotence. At least four of these men were professional fishermen and skilled seamen. In all likelihood, Peter, Andrew, James, and John were very familiar with the Sea of Galilee. They had probably been exposed to its devastating and often fatal storms from their youth. Never, not even in the greatest of our Lord’s other miracles, had they seen such power as he demonstrated here. By the mere word of his mouth, our Savior stopped the storm!
There are many important lessons taught in these verses. We would be wise to ask the Spirit of God to frequently remind us of them.
1. Faith in and obedience to Christ do not exempt God’s saints from the storms that other people face.
2. The fact that our Lord was weary and required sleep demonstrates clearly that he was a real man.
3. The fact that the wind and sea obeyed his word demonstrated our Redeemer’s complete deity. This Man is the Omnipotent God! The wind and the sea knew the voice of their Creator! - Only One who is both God and man could redeem us and save from our sins.
4. The greatest saints in this world are still sinners; and the strongest believers are sometimes filled with unbelief.
5. Our Lord Jesus Christ is a tender, compassionate, forgiving Savior. - “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?”
6. Our Savior’s reason for everything he does is the salvation of his elect. He went to the other side of the sea because there was a wild, lost Gadarene on the other side for whom the fulness of time had come.
7. All who are in the good ship Grace with Christ are perfectly safe, as they pass through the stormy seas of this world.
Those seven lessons are a sermon in themselves, a sermon that I frequently preach to you, in one way or another. They bear frequent repetition. However, tonight, I want to use our text in another way.
I want to use this event on the Sea of Galilee as A Parable Of Every Believer’s Life. When the Son of God enters the hearts of chosen sinners in his sovereign saving power and grace, he brings us with himself into the church and kingdom of God, he brings us with himself into the ship of grace and salvation. As he does, he casts his eyes and ours across the waters of time to the other side of the sea of life, and says, as, he did to his disciples in our text, “Let us pass over unto the other side.”
If you will look with me at Psalm 107:23-31, you will see that I have a good, biblical basis for using our text as a parable of our lives in this world.
Proposition: The believer’s life is a voyage across a troubled sea to our “desired haven” on the other side.
Divisions: Tonight, I want to describe the believer’s life as it is portrayed parabolically in our text as…
1. A Voyage.
2. A Voyage Across A Stormy Sea.
3. A Voyage With Christ.
4. A Voyage Marked By Miracles.
5. A Voyage That Should Be Without Fear.
I. First, I want you to see that every believer’s life is A VOYAGE.
As we embark on this voyage, the Son of God takes us into the good ship Grace and says, “Let us pass over unto the other side.” Death is often spoken of poetically as a passing over, the crossing of a sea or a river. We sing,
He will keep me `til the river
Rolls its waters t my feet,
Then He’ll bear me safely over,
Where my loved ones I shall meet.”
However, this passing over the sea is not something we shall do some day. It is something we do every day. We are, right now, passing over the sea of time unto the other side. We are, right now, walking through the valley of the shadow of death.
The sea is a fit emblem for our lives and all the varied circumstances of our lives in this world. How quickly we pass across the sea!
As I look into your faces, I think to myself, “There go the ships, not painted ships upon a painted sea, but immortal souls, rising and falling upon the billows of time, disappearing one by one over the horizon of time into eternity.” Soon, we must all pass over that horizon.
Perhaps, the horizon seems very far away to some of you. Do not be so foolish. Soon, you will pass from this changing world of time into the unchanging world of eternity. How will it be for you in that day? How will it be for you in the swelling of the Jordan?
II. Secondly, Let me show you that this life is not only comparable to a voyage, but it is A VOYAGE ACROSS A STORMY SEA.
We must often sail into the tempests of sorrow, affliction, adversity, and grief; but Christ’s presence assures us of safety no matter what the storm may be.
Notice: These disciples were not acting in disobedience. They followed the Master into the ship at his command. Loyalty and obedience to Christ is often the surest course to trouble. The path of faithfulness is always right through the eye of the storm.
Though our storms are many and varied, basically, all our trials and troubles in this world arise from two sources:
A. The contrary winds of our circumstances without.
B. The waves of sin and unbelief within.
III. Thirdly, Let me hasten to tell you that our life in this world is A VOYAGE WITH CHRIST.
A voyage, yes. A voyage through stormy seas, yes. But, blessed be God, it is a voyage in the company and constant presence, protection, and care of the Son of God, our Savior.
The Lord Jesus does not say, “Go over to the other side and I will meet you there.” He said, “Let us pass over unto the other side.” And, though “there arose a great storm, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was full,” we read that the Lord Jesus “was in the hinder part of the ship.” He was silent; but he was there. So it is with us. Our Lord may appear to be asleep. He may be silent. It may even appear at times, to our feeble, sinful hearts, that he does not care if we perish! But he is always with us!
How I pray that God will teach me and teach you to believe him. Did not our Savior say, “Lo, I am with you alway”? Did he not promise, “I will never leave thee” (Heb. 13:5)?
IV. Fourthly, ours is A VOYAGE MARKED BY MIRACLES.
The charismatics talk about miracles. We experience them. They put on a show of sham tomfoolery; but God’s saints are men and women whose biographies are histories of God’s miraculous works.
· The Miracle Of Redemption
· The Miracle Of Regeneration
“It took a miracle to put the world in place.
It took miracle to hang the stars in space.
But when God saved my soul,
Cleansed and made me whole,
It took a miracle of love and grace!”
· The Miracle Of The Resurrection
Still, there is more, much more to consider. It is upon the dark background of our great troubles that our Lord most clearly displays his wondrous power and grace. It is in the fiery furnace of adversity that we know the preserving power of his presence. It is only in the lions’ den that we see the Lord’s dominion over the lions. The Lord God who is with us and for us is the God who is able to deliver us. He is God alone. He is God indeed!
V. Now, in the last place, I want you to see that our voyage with Christ across the stormy sea of life is A VOYAGE THAT OUGHT TO BE FREE OF FEAR. The voyage we are on is a perfectly safe voyage.
The disciples’ fear arose from their unbelief. Fear is the rank weed of nature that grows wild in the soil of unbelief. These poor disciples were so much like us. They should have been perfectly calm. They were on the Master’s business. They were in the Master’s presence. They had repeatedly seen and experienced the Master’s power. They should have most reasonably looked to Christ; but they didn’t. Instead of looking to the Lord God omnipotent, they looked at…
· The Terrible Storm.
· Their Own Weakness.
· The Apparent Frailty Of Their Ship.
Let us, each one, take the Lord’s gentle rebuke personally. As I prepared this message, I tried to apply it to myself. I hope God will enable you to do the same. Our greatest difficulties, our greatest temptations, our greatest falls are always the result of unbelief. Yet, unbelief on the part of one who has experienced the saving power and grace of God in Christ is the most absurd and unreasonable thing in the world. “Why are we so fearful? Why is it that we have no faith?’
A. Our Savior is the sovereign God of providence, omnipotent, wise, and good.
B. Christ is in the boat with us!
1. He is in the boat of your heart.
2. The Son of God is in the boat of his Church.
The Church of God, the true Church, is safe. She will pass over this sea. She will be brought to her desired haven. She will reach the other side. Not one passenger aboard the good ship Grace will be lost at sea.
3. Christ is in the boat of Holy Scripture.
His Word is forever settled in heaven. It cannot be broken. All the shifting winds of pseudo-science and waves of unscholarly criticism will not sink this vessel. We have no reason to fear the carpings of reprobate men. The Word of God abides forever. When their laughter is turned to weeping and their criticisms burn as fire in their souls, the Word of God will still be forever settled in heaven!
4. Our Lord Jesus Christ is in the boat of Providence.
Not only is he in the boat, he is at the helm. We do not trust providence, or worship providence (We are not Deists.); but the Lord God almighty whom we do trust and worship is the God of providence; and we rejoice to know it!
The Lord Jesus Christ, who is with us, has the whole world in his hands. All power in heaven and earth is given unto him. He holds the reins of universal dominion. This omnipotent God bids us cast our care upon him with these assuring words, “For he careth for you!” He says to us, “Be not afraid, only believe.”
Application: Now, let me finish by applying this story to you who are yet without Christ. I trust that God has brought you into deep waters and begun to cause you to reel to and fro like a drunken man by reason of your souls’ trouble.
1. The storm of God’s wrath is beating your little boat.
2. Cry out from your soul to Christ, the Master. Appeal to his great compassion - “Carest thou not that I perish?”
3. May the Son of God now arise and speak peace to your troubled heart.
4. If he will speak by his Spirit, his word of grace will bring great calm; and he will bring you to your desired haven!