Sermon # 962

            Title:   The Ruler of the Storm

            Text:    Mark 4:35-41

            Subject: Christ's Control of all Earthly Troubles

            Date:    Sunday Morning - February 17, 1991



     At the end of a long and busy day our Lord and his disciples boarded a small ship to cross over the Galilean Sea. The Lord Jesus had preached all day in the open air to great multitudes. And when they were alone, he privately taught his disciples the meaning of his words. But there was one more work to be done before his day's work could be complete. On the other side of the sea there was a maniac who had lived in the clutches of satan for many years. And that poor maniac was one of those sinners whom the Son of God had come to save.


....The Lord Jesus agreed to save him before the world began.

....For more than thirty years, Christ had lived for that poor Gadarene, to establish righteousness for him, by his representative obedience to God.

....Soon the Son of God would die to redeem this poor soul.

....And now the time of love had come, when this wretched man must obtain mercy and grace.


     As "he must needs go through Samaria" to save the Samaritan woman at the time of mercy, so now he must needs go over the sea to save the maniac of Gadara. So our Savior said to his disciples, "Let us pass over unto the other side." His labor for the day could not end until he had spoken peace, pardon and eternal life to this chosen object of his grace.


     Oh, may this be the day of grace for some of you! As I preach the gospel, may the Son of God call some of you to life and faith in him by the power of his Spirit. Perhaps you have come here today possessed by the devil himself, as this Gadarene was. If God is pleased to do so, he can bind the fiend of hell by the word of his power and take possession of your heart by his almighty grace. If he does, before you leave this building, you will find yourself "sitting" at the Master's feet, "clothed" with the garments of salvation, and in your "right mind," trusting Christ alone as your Lord and Savior. Savior, do for some sinner here what you did for that Gadarene two thousand years ago. Be gracious. Save some. Do it for the honor of your own great name.


     But before our Lord and his disciples reached this wild Gadarene, they had to cross the Sea of Galilee. As they were crossing the sea, "There arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full." The disciples were full of fear. Death seemed certain and imminent. But the Lord Jesus was asleep in the back of the ship. These frightened disciples woke him up and cried in despair, "Master, Page 2


carest thou not that we perish? 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." Then he gently reproved his fearful, unbelieving disciples. And the story ends.


     This brief event in the earthly life of our Savior is recorded by the Holy Spirit three times. He intends for us to remember it and learn by it. The story is written for our learning and admonition, that we might be prepared for the storms of life.


Proposition: It is easy enough for us to see the storm, the wind, the waves, the tossing of the ship, and the threat of death; but we ought to focus our attention on the Lord Jesus Christ, The Ruler of the Storm.



     What does God the Holy Spirit mean for us to learn from this story that he has recorded for us in his Word? Let me show you five things:

1. Following Christ will not shield us from the storms of life.

2. Our Divine Savior is a real man.

3. There is much evil and sin in the strongest believers.

4. The Lord Jesus Christ has the power to calm your storm.

5. Our great Savior is a very tender Master.


I. Certainly, the Spirit of God has recorded this event to show us that Following Christ will not shield us from the storms of life.


     Here are our Lord's chosen disciples, the first believers of this gospel age, men who had forsaken family, friends and livelihood to follow Christ. They were saved men. They were true believers. But suddenly, without warning, they are in the midst of a howling storm. The fear of death seizes their hearts. And it looks like death cannot be averted by any means.


     What these faithful men experienced that evening all faithful men and women experience in this world. "In the world," so long as we are in this world, "you shall have tribulation." Though you are a believer, though you follow Christ, you will have your appointed share of sickness and pain, sorrow and weeping, vexations and disappointments, partings and separations, bereavement and death. Our Lord never promised any of his children in this world material prosperity, bodily health, financial success, domestic peace, earthly ease, or longevity of life. He does promise us...

                        His Presence (Isa. 43:1-4; 41:10; Heb. 13:5)

                        His Grace (II Cor. 12:9)


A. Whatever the storm is that you have to endure, though it seems to threaten your very soul, if you believe the gospel, Page 3


you may be assured of these three things regarding it.

            1. It comes  to you by  the  hand  of  your  heavenly  Father (I Sam. 3:18; Job 1:20-21; 2:10).

            2. It is designed of God to do you good (Heb. 12:11).

            3. The Lord will sustain you and see you through it to a good end (Ps. 107:7).

     Child of God, leave it to the Lord your God to determine what is best for you. Be assured that he is too wise to make a mistake, too good to do wrong and too strong too fail. "All things are of God." And he does all things well.


B. The gospel of God does not offer sinners health, happiness and prosperity, but salvation and eternal life in Christ (John 3:14-18, 36).

     As God's ambassador, it is my joy and privilege to offer salvation and eternal life to any sinner in all the world. If you do but trust the Lord Jesus Christ, I promise you, upon authority of God's Holy Word, that you shall never be condemned, that you have eternal life in Christ. But if I promised you that faith in Christ would bring you a longer life, increased wealth, or a happy home, I would be lying. If you trust Christ, you have in him...

            1. Full redemption and complete forgiveness (Eph. 1:6).

            2. Perfect righteousness (Rom. 5:19).

            3. Everlasting acceptance with God (Eph. 1:6).

     Blessed be God, faith in Christ shields us from the wrath of God! But following Christ does not shield us from the storms of life. If God gives you faith, he will give you sorrow in this world (Phil. 1:29). Faith must be tried. By trial it is proved and strengthened.


II. This event on the Sea of Galilee also shows us that Our Divine Savior is a real man.


     When the waves began to break upon the ship, we read that the Lord Jesus was "in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow." He had labored all day for the good of men's souls. He had preached repeatedly. And he was physically exhausted. This is written to show us his manhood.


     What condescension! The Son of God became one of us. He is a real man, as fully God as though he were not man, yet as fully man as though he were not God! (See Phil. 2:5-8; II Cor. 8:9).


     I find great comfort, satisfaction and delight in the eternal Godhead of Jesus Christ. He is God the eternal Son! Were he not God, he could not be our Savior. He who undertakes to be the Mediator between God and men must be God. But I find equal comfort, satisfaction and delight in his manhood. Were he not a perfect man, he could not be our Savior. Someone once said, "God could not suffer and man could not satisfy; but the Page 4


God-man both suffered and satisfied." We rejoice to know that the Lord Jesus is both. He is God and man in one glorious Person. Therefore he is "able to save un the uttermost them that come unto God by him," and he is able understand, feel and sympathize with the experiences of his people in this world (Heb. 2:17-18)


     Try to get hold of this - Because Jesus Christ is a real man, like us, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, he is a sympathizing High Priest, one who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. Child of God, your Savior knows what you are going through. He has been there! And he is touched by that which touches you (Heb. 4:15-16). He knows the heart of a man, the bodily pains of a man, the difficulties of a man, even the fears of a man (Heb. 5:7), for he is a man, a man altogether like we are except for sin!

                        Are you in need? So was Christ in this world!

                        Are you alone? So was Christ when he lived here!

                        Are you misunderstood, misrepresented, slandered and persecuted? So was the Son of man when he was here!

                        Does satan tempt you and offer horrid suggestions to your mind? He also tempted the Lord Jesus when he was in the wilderness!

                        Do you ever sense that you are forsaken by God? Your Savior was forsaken by God for you!


     I want so much for us to see this - Our Divine Savior is a real man. He lived as a real man. He was tempted as a real man. He suffered as a real man. He died as a real man. He arose as a real man. He reigns in heaven as a real man. He is coming again as a real man. And this man is our God!


III. Thirdly, the Holy Spirit has recorded this event to show us plainly that There is much evil and sin in the strongest believers.


     We have a striking proof of this fact in the conduct of these disciples. When the storm began to toss their little boat, in fear and unbelief, they awoke the Lord Jesus and spoke sharply to him, saying, "Master, carest thou not that we perish?" They should have known better. They should have believed more. They should have trusted him more. But fear has no logic. You cannot reason with fear. These poor men heard the wind, saw the waves, felt the waters beating upon them, and they quickly forgot all that they had seen and heard.


     I offer no excuse for any man's sin, yours, mine, or theirs. But I do want to help God's saints if I can, even when they stumble and fall through unbelief. Even the greatest examples of faith in the Bible had horrible fits of unbelief.

                        Abraham, the father of the faithful, the friend of God, acted with fear and unbelief before Abimelech.

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                        David, the man after God's own heart, the giant slayer, was overtaken for a time by fear and unbelief. He said, "I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul" (*I Sam. 27:1).


NOTE: Sometimes the Lord leaves his children for a season, like he did Hezekiah, so that we might know all that is in our hearts (II Chron. 32:31).


     Why does God so plainly and constantly show us in his Word the sin and unbelief of the most shining examples of grace and faith the world has ever known? Why is it necessary for me to talk so plainly about my sin and yours? Let me show you four reasons.


A. We need to be constantly reminded that salvation is by the grace of God alone (Eph. 2:8-9).

     Christ is our only righteousness! Our acceptance with God is only upon the merits of his dear Son (I Cor. 1:30-31).

B. We must be constantly reminded that in our flesh there is no good thing (Rom. 7:18).

     In my flesh there is nothing good, no potential for good, and no possibility of good. My flesh, like yours, is sin, produces nothing but sin, seeks nothing but sin, and loves nothing but sin. Someone said, "Sin is my nature. Sin is my name. Sin is my middle name. And sin is my sir name." And he was right!

C. We need to learn to be patient and forbearing with one another (Gal. 6:1-2).

     Do not conclude that a person has no grace because he has much sin. There are spots upon the face of the sun. But we do not despise the sun for its spots. We overlook the spots and enjoy the light! There is much dross surrounding every nugget of gold. But who refuses the gold because of the dross? There are flaws in the finest diamonds. But a never saw a man throw a diamond away because it had a flaw. Should we not cherish God's people as much?

     God, make me quick to see grace and slow to see sin in my brethren. When we see sin in one another, we ought to overlook the fault of the flesh and rejoice in the grace of the Spirit. Why is that so hard for us to do? Let us forever be rid of that self-righteousness and pride that cuts off and excommunicates brethren when they are overtaken in a fault.

D. And when we sin, we need to know that we have an Advocate with the Father (I John 2:1-2).

     There is much evil in the best of men, much sin in the most faithful saints, and much unbelief in the strongest believers. But we have a faithful, almighty, righteous Advocate in heaven, whom God always hears. And he pleads with God for the non-imputation of sin to us.


IV. Surely, the Spirit of God has recorded this event upon the Page 6


Sea of Galilee to assure every believer that The Lord Jesus Christ has power to calm your storm.


     The winds blew. The waves arose. The ship tossed to and fro. The disciples were horrified. But then, the Lord Jesus Christ "arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was great calm." Here is the Lord God, displaying his total sovereignty! Here is a Savior you can trust."He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still" (Ps. 107:29). Doubt anything else, if you must, but, O my soul, never doubt the power of Christ!. He has all power. And he who has all power is able to do all things.


A. Jesus Christ can speak peace to sinners overwhelmed by the storm of God's wrath.

B. Christ can speak peace and calm the storm that terrifies your soul this hour.

C. The Son of God can speak peace and calm the storm that is raging in your heart, even when he leaves you in the stormy sea.

     Even if he does not, at the present time, take away the storm, he can and will give you peace in the midst of the storm. This is what I am saying, "Cast your care upon the Lord, for he careth for you" (I Pet. 5:6-7). The Lord Jesus Christ can calm your storm. Trust him.


V. And this story has been recorded upon the pages of Holy Scripture to show us that Our great Savior is a very tender Master.


     What tenderness we see in our Lord's response to his sinful, unbelieving disciples. There is not a word of anger, not a threat of punishment, or a hint of disgust. He simply asked them two questions, not to hurt them, but to help them. "Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?"


A. Let all the world know that the Son of God is full of mercy, love and grace.

     His sinful disciples prove it!

B. Let all the world know that Jesus Christ will never cast off his people because of their sins.

                        His grace is immutable!

                        He does not charge his own with sin!

                        He will not deal with us upon the basis of our sins!

C. Let all who profess faith in his name follow the example of Christ (Eph. 4:32-51).

                        Be gentle with young believers.

                        Be gentle with weak believers.

                        Be gentle with fallen believers.

                        Be gentle with inconsistent believers.

                        Be gentle with old believers.

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    Carry this story home with you. Meditate upon it. And ask God the Holy Spirit to graciously seal these five lessons to your heart.

1. Following Christ will not shield us from the storms of life.

2. Our Divine Savior is a real man.

3. There is much evil and sin in the strongest believers.

4. The Lord Jesus Christ has the power to calm your storm.

5. Our great Savior is a very tender Master.

                        May God give us grace to trust him in all things.

                        May God give us grace to follow our Lord's example.