Doubt In Your Boat
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ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode 84 · 9 months ago

Doubt In Your Boat

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Jesus can calm the storm. Do you believe it? We can doubt a lot of things but knowing who Jesus is essential to walk in faith. A message from Denny Foreman.

We're going to jump right in. If you have your bibles with you, please turn to Matthew Eight. We're going to be looking at versus twenty three to twenty seven. Are you moving this good? I was ready to hit my head on it. And the yeah, if you don't have a Bible, please there's some out at the welcome center. We'd love to give you a Bible this morning, and so stop on your way out and get one of those great bibles. Jesus Calms the storm. Matthew Twenty three through twenty seven and reads like this. Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat, but Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, Lord, save us, we're going to drown. Jesus responded, why are you afraid? You have so little faith? Then he got up, rebuke the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. Who is this man? They asked. Even the winds and the waves obey him. I have a question. How many of you have heard that story before? Let me see your hands. Yeah, almost a hundred percent of you. Chances are good, could I have that coloring book thing please? Chances are good that if you grew up anywhere near a church or a Sunday school, this passage was right up there. It's so wellknown that I was really tempted to print out a coloring page, give you a box of Crayolas, read this morning's passage and send you all merrily on your way home. Have you ever noticed that some passages, some verses and entire Bible stories are so well known, they're read there, reread, their sermonize, books are written about them, that they're really easy to just kind of Skim over? And I'm talking about really, really, really important stories in the Bible's not just the ones that I normally skip over. The list of names it like exodus and Leviticus. We think we know these stories. We've heard them so often that they've become, I hate to say it, hum drum, just words. We kind of tune them out as our minds begin to wonder. We think we know these stories and forget that this scripture is God's word to us. So, before we dive into this morning's message, I'd like to remind you of something that...

Paul and Timothy have to say about scripture, and I'm going to be looking very briefly at Hebrews for twelve and second Timothy, three hundred and sixteen, where we're reminded that scripture is alive, it's active and, according to Hebrews for twelve and second Timothy, it reminds us that's scripture is God breathed. It penetrates us, it judges us, it reveals thoughts and attitudes, it teaches us, that rebukes us at trains, etc. Etc. Etc. The Bible is God speaking to us and it continues to breathe life into us because it's the living, breathing word of God. Do we really believe that? Do we get it? Are we allowing God's word to transform us? Let's pray, Father God, May your word penetrate our hearts and our lives this morning. I pray that, within this familiar story, that you would bring us face to face with you, Jesus, and I asked this in your name. Amen. How many of you like to swim? Couple of you? Awful thing to ask on a day this cold. Now, while I waited among cows in many creeks. There weren't many community pools when I was a child. I didn't learn to swim until my freshman year of college. Learning another language and learning to swim are, I'm told, much easier to do when you're a kid, because adults know that men weren't created with Gills. There was a fear of drowning that was deeply ingrained and even now, when swimming with friends, I kind of prefer to be somewhere where my feet can touch the bottom or I'm close enough to the edge of the pool that I can grab on just in case. And I always said swimming was okay, but I wouldn't be caught dead jumping into the middle of the lake. which brings me to Indie Anna, Warsaw, Indiana to be exact, Northern Indiana, where glacier lakes are found around every bend in the road. And there I was on a boat in the middle of two hundred Acre Pike Lake, average depth twenty to forty feet. With so many lakes, most...

...hoosiers that I knew had their own pontomb boats, and this particular boat belonged to a coworker. It was a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon everyone was in the water. Well, not everyone. I was catching raised reading a book in the middle of that big lake and my friends were calleg hey, denny, jump in, come on, the water's fine. Yeah, and so pure pressure finally kicked in. One of them said just put on a life belt, you'll be fine. So I picked up a life belt, I put it on and I did the one thing I swore that I would never do. I jumped into the middle a Pike Lake and sure enough, that life belt help me Bob to the surface just before it slipped off and floated away from me. Now, remember, I could swim, I wasn't far from the boat, but at that moment the only thing I knew for certain was that I was going to die and I definitely didn't want to fear. I was frozen with fear and I doubted I could make it to the boat. Fear, doubt. I was going to die simply because I doubted that I could swim that very short distance. Going back to Matthew Eight, twenty three to twenty seven. Last week we talked about Thomas. It's easy for us to call him doubting Thomas, and I can understand these disciples that were on that storm toss boat. When fear strikes, real gut level fear, reason vanishes and doubt sets in. Now, if I were a reporter investigating this particular event, there are a couple things I'd want to know. First of all, I'd want to know what exactly was happening, and our scripture passage this morning answers that. Well, at least on the surface, we know what happened. Jesus and his disciples are on a boat and a storm blows in, is raging all around them and the disciples are afraid and they call out for help. Jesus tells them they need more faith. Calms the...

...story, Calms the storm. End of story. And Pastor of Kevin wanted me to call this sermon little faith ors. I'm not doing that. Kevin. The same story that we've heard since we were children. It's a story we think we know, but as I was getting ready for this sermon, I discovered there's a whole lot more to this story. One of the things I'd want to know is where's this taking place? So glad you asked. The Sea of Galilee is actually a fresh water lake. It's approximately thirteen miles long. And eight miles wide. It's fed largely by water from the Jordan River and for those of you again who have been around church most of your lives, you'll understand that Jesus ministry happened largely around this particular body of water. I'd also want to know when this little sailing excursion took place. Now, while we've read Mott Matthews account of this event, both mark and Luke tell the same story nearly verbatim. Anything it's chronicled in the Bible is obviously important and we should pay attention to it. One an event is mentioned numerous times from different writers, it's a real good idea to take very careful notice of what's being said. Matthews writing is always concise. There's logic, there's order to his writing, as you expect from a tax collector someone who was held accountable for bookkeeping prior to this boat trip. In Matthew Eight, Matthew Chronicles some key events. In fact, he lists them in chronological orders. He begins with an amazing lengthy sermon that we often refer to as the sermon on the mountain. Then Matthew Recalls following that a man is healed of leprosy. Then, moving from there, from the mountain side to the town of Copernium, the servant of a Roman soldier is healed, then a fisherman's mother in law is healed, and moving on, many sick people are healed, small groups are people are growing into throngs. Catch onto those words that I took directly from Matthew's Gospel. Words like then, following that, moving on, growing, Matthew's observation is leading US methodically and chronologically through the early days of Jesus Ministry. And so is this investigating reporter. I'd have learned that there were a series of events leading up to this storm at sea. Was...

...a reporter, I'd also most definitely want to know more about who was on this sailing adventure. We know that at least four the men on board that ship were familiar with water. Peter, Andrew James and his brother John had been hand selected and called to follow Jesus. These guys knew the waters. They were fishermen. They fished the waters of the Sea of Galilee. We don't know for sure the occupations of all the other twelve disciples. There are traditions that teach that several others may have been fishermen as well. The fact that most of those early disciples grew up in towns in Galilee, along the Sea of Galilee, along the Jordan River, would indicate that many of them had knowledge of the weather in the region and the fact the major storms could and did blow and without warning. Certainly Peter, James, John and Andrew would have experienced score me whether in the past. And of course Jesus was on that boat. Climax, a Matthews Story. He calmed the storm and asked where's your faith? Who? What? where? When? Every high school kid who has ever taken a writing class would ask those questions and would come up with answers very similar to mine. And with that information, you have basically received the Sunday school lesson that I could have taught if I were kid teaching kids in any kids club, any kids church, anywhere on this planet. Just the facts, Jack. But however, there is one more w question that takes a little bit more probe, and that is why, why the boat ride? Why this group of people? Why would three writers of New Testament Gospels Journal this event in their writings? And how comes John didn't include the event in his Gospel. While this account of Jesus calming the Stormy Seas can be taken just as written, I think it's important that we see the event in his context. A great deal had happened in the short amount of time since Jesus had appeared on the scene. An inner coreps Group...

...of twelve men had been called as disciples. You know them by name Peter, James, John, Thomas, et Cetera, et Cetera, Judas, but there were others. According to Luke Ten, there were at least seventy plus followers who Jews Jesus sent out to minister. Many of these people would have been with him for the sermon on the Mount. They witnessed the healing of the leper. They undoubtedly heard about the long distance healing of the servant of a Roman. No less, Peter would have been keenly aware of that. Jesus had healed his mother in law. Now, if these stories of healings have become all too familiar to us, not so for Peter, James, John, et Cetera. Put yourselves in their place this morning. All of this was new. This stuff was amazing. It was hard to process, dare I say it, hard to believe. These were good Jewish boys who had been memorizing Taurus since they were children. They could recite passage after passage about the coming promised Messiah and everything. All of what they were seeing firsthand had to be mind boggling. They were seeing those Old Testament promises being fulfilled before their very eyes. Or were they, and that's the point, were they being fulfilled? These were moments of great belief for these guys, and remember, this is all fresh. They're seeing at firsthand. There was moments of great belief and there was doubt. Who was this guy? Was Jesus really the promised one? Could they trust what they were seeing? The rumor mill had erupted and the crowds were growing. Jesus and his followers are surrounded by people not just common folk, religious leaders, zealots, Romans, pretty much everybody was asking who is this man? Could he truly be the long awaited promise Messiah, the King of the Jews? And as they watched these miracles, miracles unfold, there had to be moments of belief, great belief, as well as doubt. I can't help but think that question,...

...what kind of man is this must have been asked more than once. And if not asked out loud, you can bet that each of them were asking it in their hearts. Who is this guy? What kind of man is this Jesus? Well, this is Jesus, Lord of Heaven and earth, but this is Jesus, and at this point, is Jesus the man and the Matthew Eight. He's tired, he's weary, he's exhausted. And so, according to Luke's account, in eight twenty two of Luke, he pulls his disciples together and he said, let's go to the other side of the lake. I'll tell you in a side Bar, folks, when Jesus invites you to get on board, get in. It's safe. And let's not forget, not only did Jesus invite these individuals into his boat, he had specifically called them to be as followers. That boat wasn't going down during this storm, but even if it had, God would have still been in control. This morning sermon is about God, not the circumstance of the storm. Since Jesus is sound asleep in our text this morning, someone else is sailing that boat. Was it Peter? Was it John? We all know and frankly, it doesn't matter because when that storm hit, it was all hands on deck. Fishermen would have gone into instant muscle memory mode. All the sailing training that they had had at boys would have kicked in. Most of us have heard, seen or red accounts of shipwrecks at sea, most notably the titanic. I am King of the world. Nine hundred eight crew members would have end did frantically try to save that doomed ship, all the while sending out to stress signals. So it was with the disciples on the Sea of Galilee, storms raging. Lord save us. You better believe when I thought I was drowning in Pike Lake that my doubt was great. Was I pray? Oh Yeah, I knew I had limited ability and I knew that I had the ability to swim the really short distance between where I was and...

...the side of the boat was. I knew I had the ability, but I doubted that I could. The disciples doubt. While they likely knew that they had the ability to outrun the storm, because they were experienced sailors, they doubted their ability to do so and, to their credit, they called out for help. They called out to Jesus, and here is where the story that we think we know becomes very, very intriguing. Let's consider mark for versus, thirty nine to forty one, and reads like this. Remember, the disciples have called for help. When Jesus woke up, he re bute the wind and said to the waves, silence, be still. Suddenly the wind stopped and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith? The disciples were absolutely terrified. Who is this man? They asked each other. Even the wind and the waves obey him. Did you catch what's happening here? The sailors cannot outrun the storm. They call for help. Jesus speaks, suddenly the wind stops, there's a great calm and it's then that's a disciples are terrified as they are confronted with this who is this man? Let's cut them some slack. Do you remember John The baptist? How many you know John The backtist? Let me see your hand yep, pretty much everybody. John the Baptist, Jesus cousin. John the one who predicted that someone was coming who sandals? He John was unworthy to die. John the one who baptized Jesus and saw God's spirit descending like a dove and heard the voice saying this is my beloved son. Yes, this same John, as he sits in Herod's prison, sends two friends to ask Jesus a question. The question is this, are you the one to come after me, or shall we wait for somebody else? And Jesus reminds John of all the miracles that Messiah would accomplish. John the Baptist doubted in the account of the calming of the storm found in Matthew, mark and Luke. The story ends with the disciples asking...

...who is this man, and in all three gospels, within a very few pages, Jesus turns that question around. Who Do you say that I am? Who is this man? John doesn't include this account of a storm at sea in his Gospel. John, the beloved disciple knew who Jesus was, and I think there's a reason John didn't include this story about Jesus calming the storm, because by the time John wrote his account he knew full well who the guy was on board that ship and he wrote in John One. In the beginning, the word already existed. The word was God, the word was with God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him and nothing was created except through him. Yes, this was the one who, in Genesis one, spoke land and sea into being. The one sleeping on board that fisherman's boat was the one Isaiah knew had measured the waters in the hollow of his hand. WHO's this man? The psalmist knew and says in Psalm thirty three, he gathered the oceans into a single place. He says again in saw ninety five. The Sea that he made belongs to him. Yeah, Jesus could still the raging waters. He spoke those waters into being. But when Jesus invited the disciples to get into a boat and go to the other side of the lake in luke eight, his closest friends and followers were still trying to figure out who he was, and they were learning slowly, they were learning, dared they hope. They had seen some miracles, they'd seen some sicknesses healed, but speaking to the wind and sea, the elements, Whoa? That's when the big question came. Who really is this Jesus? And they were terrified, beyond scared. Were they in the presence of God? They didn't quit following Jesus has been inviting individuals to join him on a journey ever since. Who Do you say he is?...

The seas often uses a metaphor for life. Indeed, a boat is frequently used as a metaphor for life's experiences. Someone might say I'm in a I'm afloat in a sea of trouble. What's threatening to swamp your boat this morning? Jobs, relationships, the pandemic, everything that's going on around along politically, around the world, health issues. While the storms of life may threaten us, while they may deep, be different from one person to the next, there is one storm that threatens all of us. It's a universal threat. That a sin, and, apart from Jesus, Sin will definitely sink us. With that idea that I'm on a boat that's sinking, I'm reminded of a really old him that goes something like this. I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore, and the chorus rings out. Love lifted me when nothing else could help. Jesus, love brings salvation, and Jesus invites each of us into his life boat's throwing out a life line. If you don't know Jesus as your savior, this morning. I would invite you to come and talk to me, or Kevin John, any of us, because Jesus Promises in Matthew Eleven, twenty eight. Come to me and I will give you rest float in the peace of the assurance of Salvation. That Sunday afternoon in Pike Lake, had I simply trusted in what I knew I could do, had I simply trusted and relaxed, I could have floated easily back to the boat, even if I didn't swim. Have you trusted Jesus as has he lifted you safely in his arms? Have you turned to him for salvation? And if you've trusted Jesus as your savior, how's that trust factor going? Isn't it easy? It's amazing when I think about this. It's so easy to trust Jesus as our savior for eternity, yet difficult to trust him to handle our day to day I don't know if...

...you're like me, but most of the time I'm so focused on my schedule, on my plans, the people around me. I hate to admit it, but most of the time my trust is in my own ability to steer my own boat. Like it or not, call it whatever you like. We doubt we take that verse. I can do all things through Christ and drop the final two words so it reads I can do all things, not so subtly saying I don't trust Jesus. Yeah, thanks, Lord for saving me from it for eternity, for pulling me into your lifeboat, Jesus now. Thank you very much. I'll take the rudder. We all seem to have some faith in Jesus. I've been around Church people for a very long time. I've been in prayer meetings at her prayer requests, heartfelt requests. Pray for sister so and so, her cancer has returned. Pray for junior, he's being called to active military service. Pray for the smiths. Their marriage is and these are things that definitely we should pray for, we should pray about, we should commit them to the Lord. Life's waters are stormy and deep. But in all those prayer meetings I have been to, I've rarely, if ever, been in a prayer meeting where someone says pray for me. I don't know who Jesus is any more and I'm not sure I trust him any longer. That's exactly where Matthew Mark and that's exactly why Matthew, mark and Luke include this story in their narrative. From the moment Jesus called his disciples right on up to the end, the question he asks of them and of us is who do you say that I am, or, in today's vernacular, who am I to you? Who is Jesus to me this morning? But one of the things among many, that I've appreciated about this doubt series that we've been following the past few weeks is the fact that by questioning we can become stronger in our faith. From the moment his followers were called to follow Jesus, his disciples were questioning who is he, and in turn Jesus would turn around and ask them, who do you say I am? We learned last week that there were questions, certainly from Thomas, following the crucifixion and resurrection. I mentioned earlier that John, his Gospel,...

...doesn't include the calming of the storm narrative. Earlier I read a little bit of John's opening account. In the beginning, was the word and the word was God. That clearly presents Jesus as God in the Flesh, and I love the way John's Gospel closes. The disciples are back on the water. They're fishing, they're doing what they know how to do and they see a stranger on the shore. The Stranger tells them to cast their nets again in and a huge catch of fish is caught, so big they couldn't haul it on board. Jesus knows, Peter knows it's Jesus and he hops off the boat, runs to the shore. And then John Writes. In Twenty one twelve, Jesus says, Hey, guys, come and have some breakfast. And get this. None of the disciples dared to ask him, who are you? They knew it was the Lord. I'd remind you in closing this morning. These guys had walked and talked with Jesus, they had seen him at work and the play. They questioned and they believed, they had doubted, and now, in some of their final moments with Jesus as the resurrected, living savior, they knew who he was. As you think about all these things that might be troubling you and our journey through life, all the things that come at us from the side, remember this from Psalm Twenty nine. The Voice of the Lord Echoes Above The sea the God of Glory thunders. The Lord thunders over the mighty sea. The Voice of the Lord is powerful, the Voice of the Lord is majestic. The Lord rules over the flood waters. The Lord reigns as king forever. The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses us with peace. Lord Jesus, we come to you this morning. Let our doubts and questions lead us to a better still understanding of who you are. With all the storms of life that surround us,...

...whatever we are going through this morning, father, I pray that the circumstances might be just that, but that those circumstances would lead us to a full understanding that you are Lord, you are God, you've got us in the palm of your hand and you are not going to let us go. Thank you for being who you are, Lord Jesus. Amen.

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