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090208 When Crisis Becomes Catastrophe   Mark 4 35 41   Dale Wells   Upload

090208 When Crisis Becomes Catastrophe Mark 4 35 41 Dale Wells Upload



A sermon on Mark 4:35-41 presented February 8, 2009, at Palm Desert Church of Christ by Dale Wells

A sermon on Mark 4:35-41 presented February 8, 2009, at Palm Desert Church of Christ by Dale Wells



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    090208 When Crisis Becomes Catastrophe   Mark 4 35 41   Dale Wells   Upload 090208 When Crisis Becomes Catastrophe Mark 4 35 41 Dale Wells Upload Presentation Transcript

    • The New Hard Times
      • 7.6% unemployment – highest in 16 years
      • 3.6 million jobs already lost – 598,000 in January
      • Home values are down – and declining
      • Catastrophic losses to retirement plans and investments
    • President Obama:
      • “ If we drag our feet and fail to act, this crisis could turn into a catastrophe.”
    • Sung Won Sohn
      • Economist at California State University, Channel Islands
      • “ We’re talking years – not months – before we see a decent recovery in the jobs market. It is going to get worse before it gets better.”
    • Chad Walsh, in Early Christians of the Twenty-First Century
      • “ Millions of Christians live in a sentimental haze of vague piety, with soft organ music trembling in the lovely light from the stained glass windows. Their religion is a thing of pleasant emotional quivers divorced from the intellect, divorced from the will, and demanding little except lip service to a few harmless platitudes. …
    • Chad Walsh, in Early Christians of the Twenty-First Century
      • … I suspect that Satan has called off the attempt to convert people to agnosticism. If a man travels far enough away from Christianity, he is always in danger of seeing it in perspective and deciding that it is true. It is much safer from Satan’s point of view to vaccinate a man with a case of mild Christianity so as to protect him from the real thing.”
    • Why do so many Christians have a mild case of Christianity?
      • Inoculated with mild case of Christianity & immune to the real thing
      • Faith is an essential
        • Hebrews 11:6 NIV And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
      • Faith not unique to Christianity
    • It is impossible to live without faith
      • You didn’t examine your seat
      • Believed it would support you
      • Committed to that belief by sitting in it
    • It is impossible to live without faith
      • Didn’t think about science & engineering that makes your car work
      • Believed it would get you here
      • Got in, turned the key and drove
      • You can’t explain the process, but you trust it
    • It is impossible to live without faith
      • You trusted your doctor to write the correct prescription
      • You trusted the pharmacist to decipher his hieroglyphics
      • You trusted the instructions on the pill bottle he gave you
    • Essentials of faith from a day in the life of the disciples
      • Mark 4:35 NIV That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.”
      • What day?
      • The day they heard the lectures on faith by the world’s greatest teacher
    • Things they had heard that day
      • Parable of the soils (Mark 4:1-20)
        • Fruitfulness depends on faithfulness
      • Lamp under bowl or on stand (Mark 4:21-23)
        • Faith that is not seen cannot shine
      • Measure you give and receive (Mark 4:24-25)
        • Faith receives blessings proportionate to what it risks
      • Parable of the growing plant (Mark 4:26-29)
        • Effective faith is growing faith
      • Parable of the mustard seed (Mark 4:30-32)
        • Faith’s end is far greater than its beginning
    • You learn faith by life, not lecture
      • Jesus and his disciples took a boat ride
        • Mark 4:37-38 NIV A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. (38) Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don't you care if we drown?”
      • Who said that?
        • Group of experienced, professional fishermen
        • Spent their lives on that lake
        • Knew exactly how those storms came up
    • The Sea of Galilee is 690 feet below sea level
      • Surrounded by hills
        • Narrow, gorged valleys are wind tunnels
      • Prevailing winds come from the west across the mountains
        • Creating tremendous down draft
      • Ten minutes from calm to serious storm
        • The disciples had seen this many times
        • They had never seen one like this
        • As far as they were concerned, this was it
    • Things were desperate
      • Mark 4:39 NIV He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
        • Literally, “Be muzzled and remain so”
      • A two-fold miracle
        • When the storm stops, waves keep going
        • When Jesus stopped this storm, even the waves stopped!
      • Mark 4:40 NIV He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
    • Greeks were great communicators
      • To emphasize a word, they would take it out of the normal word order & bring it to the front of the sentence
      • Like taking a red pen & underlining five times
      • Jesus’ point: “How is it that you, of all people, are afraid?”
    • Who are these people?
      • The guys who had just heard the lecture
      • The guys who had heard Jesus say:
        • Mark 4:23 NIV “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
      • They flunked the practical exam:
        • Mark 4:40 NIV He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
        • Mark 4:41 NIV They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
    • Do you identify with them?
      • Suppose a tornado swept through here
        • Suppose I got up and said “Quiet! Be still!”
      • What would you think?
        • “ Problem’s not in the sky, it’s in Wells’ head!”
      • What if it suddenly became still
        • You’d say “Who is this guy?”
        • That’s the response in the text
      • Points about effective faith:
    • Niagara Falls, 1911
      • You can have little faith in thick ice – and you survive
      • You can have great faith in thin ice – and you die
      • It’s not the amount of faith – but the object of faith – that is critical
    • Biblical faith always depends upon its object
      • That’s why the Bible never says, “Believe”
        • It says “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ”
      • The Bible never just says, “Have faith”
        • It says, “Have faith in God”
      • It’s not just important that you believe
        • It’s important whom you believe
    • The disciples not only heard what Jesus said …
      • They saw what he did
      • Jesus’ works authenticate his word
      • What he said & did were compatible
      • That’s why you need to get to know him
    • J.B. Phillips’ great title for tiny book: “Your God Is Too Small”
      • That’s our human problem – our concept of God is too small
      • The more you get to know him, the more your faith begins to grow
      • Because it’s placed in a worthy object
    • God is not just interested in solving your problems
      • He’s interested in developing your faith
      • He knows exactly how to do that
      • Most Christians know only two things:
        • The Cross of Christ & the coming of Christ
          • In the past, he died on the cross
          • In the future, he’s coming
          • But what about in between?
          • Why were we left here?
    • Salvation in three tenses
      • Past tense
        • We were saved from the penalty of sin
        • That happened at the Cross
      • Future tense
        • We will be saved from the presence of sin
        • That will happen when Christ comes – or when we go to be with him
      • Present tense
        • We are being saved from the power of sin
        • We must each ask: “Am I making any progress?”
    • Remember when your children were small
      • Remember the marks on the door jamb showing how fast they were growing
      • “ Daddy, why do big people stop growing?”
        • Good question!
      • How long have you known the Lord?
        • How much have you grown?
        • Have you ever stopped growing?
    • Your faith develops in crises
      • God allows storms in our lives because you don’t develop your faith in the calm
      • Faith grows when you have no other way to look but up to the one worthy of faith
      • Richard Rogers: “When you’re flat on your back, everything’s looking up!”
    • A Christian is not someone without problems
      • A Christian has the problem solver living within
      • No passage of scripture promises you exemption from trouble
      • Enablement, yes; exemption, no!
      • There is no growth without tension
    • That’s a fundamental point of scripture
      • 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
      • James 1:2-3 NIV Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
      • Notice both say “when” not “if”
    • If you don’t have problems now, be patient, they’re on the way
      • What do we often do?
        • We say, “Lord, make me like your Son.”
        • Then, the moment he goes to work, we say, “Lord, what happened?”
        • “ It’s nothing. I’m just answering your prayer.”
      • Hebrews 5:8 NIV Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered
    • Test your Bible knowledge:
      • Who am I?
        • Shammua
        • Shaphat
        • Igal
        • Palti
        • Gaddiel
        • Gaddi
        • Ammiel
        • Sethur
        • Nahbi
        • Geuel
      • Who am I?
        • Caleb
        • Joshua
      • We remember the two, but not the ten
    • Numbers 13 tells one of my favorite Old Testament stories
      • Israelites traveling through the desert
        • Came to Kadesh – a wide spot in the road
        • Made a decision that determined their destiny
      • God told them to go directly into the land
        • They said, “Let’s appoint a committee”
        • In typical committee fashion, they came back with a majority and a minority report
        • The majority said, “We can’t go up there. There are giants in the land. Beside them, we’re just a collection of grasshoppers.”
    • The majority is not always right
      • As a result of this majority decision, a generation died in the desert
        • Only Joshua & Caleb entered the land
      • What made Joshua & Caleb different?
        • They could see the giants
        • But they could also see their God
        • Imagine Katie Couric interviewing them
          • “ Who do you think you are?”
          • “ God’s grasshoppers reporting for duty.”
    • What do you see?
      • You’ve got problems with your kids?
      • You’ve got problems at the office?
      • You’ve got problems in your marriage?
      • The ultimate issue is not whether you have problems but whether you know anyone who can do anything about them
      • Where is your focus?
        • On the problem?
        • Or on the problem solver?
    • Two truths from our text:
      • If Jesus is in your boat, it will never sink
      • The storm will not last forever
    • God wants to develop your faith
      • He’s the perfect teacher
        • He knows the ideal curriculum to make you like Jesus Christ
        • He’s going to allow problems in your life because he loves you
      • He accepts you as you are
        • But he loves you too much to let you stay that way
        • He has a plan to conform you to the image of Jesus Christ – beginning with a death – yours!
    • Romans 6:3-5 [A]ll of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (4) We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (5) If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.