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Storm Tossed (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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April 22, 2021 6:00 am

Storm Tossed (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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April 22, 2021 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the Gospel of Mark (Mark 4:35-41)

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Hebrews 13, verse 8, Jesus Christ, it's the same yesterday, today, and forever. It's the same, it's not going to change. I like to think that this ministry overall is not going to change.

We like it the way it is. I mean, there are certain adjustments you have to make for sure, but the foundation of it is in Christ and that's not changing. And it is a biblical approach, hopefully, as we understand it.

Attempts to change, or to shape, or to conform Jesus Christ into anything, is sin. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher, Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of Mark.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 4, with a brand new message called, Storm Tossed. We are in Mark's Gospel, chapter 4, and we will take verses 35 through 41, beginning in verse 35. On the same day, when evening had come, he said to them, Let us cross over to the other side. Now when they had left the multitude, they took him along in the boat as he was, and other little boats were also with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beaten to the boat, so that it was already filling.

But he was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke him and said to him, Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? Then he arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. But he said to them, Why are you so fearful?

How is it that you have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey him? Storm Tossed, that's the title. This is one of the great stories in the entire Bible, one among many of course, but it is a great one. Not only is it one of the greatest stories, it is also a living parable. What those men experienced on that day runs parallel to experiences that we face in this life.

Storms at sea, life being metaphorically the sea, and of course we're on that boat that travels through it. Parables, lessons from the scripture, these stories that are preserved for us, they're supposed to have some impact on our lives. What good are the parables, the stories, the insights, the lessons, if it never shows up in a way that brings any glory to God, or improvement to ourselves as sinners.

So these lessons are supposed to be meaningful. We look at verse 35, and there again we read, On the same day, when evening had come, he said to them, Let us cross over to the other side. We know from the previous verses that it had been a full day of ministry. He had taught many a parable, and all that goes into ministering to multitudes of people. One of the other gospels tells us that the multitudes were just pressing on him, so he had to get in the boat to leave. That was part of what was going on, and that tells us that it was an exhausting day.

At least it helps us understand the realistic side of what is going on here. Teaching is tiring. Teaching the word of God, I believe, even increases that.

There's an intensity that goes with teaching God's word that I don't think is found in other places. And according to his humanity, he experienced this. He was exhausted, and that's why he's going to be sleeping on a pillow in this windstorm.

He won't even be awakened by it. So, as productive as that day had been, it will not end without a storm. That's one of the first connections we make to life.

You can have a productive life, a productive day, a productive month, etc., and yet there's going to be a storm at some point. These men in the boat with him, and the other little boats that were also following, likely with men and women in those boats, they were headed for this one of many opportunities to demonstrate to Christ that they had been listening to his parables and learning something about God and themselves, but had they learned? Did they really learn yet from the Son of God himself? That's who was their teacher. What had they learned? Well, they're going to find out what they didn't learn, and they're going to learn some new things. And so he turned this storm on this little lake into a classroom for his disciples to this very day.

We are still learning. I have called on this section of Scripture many times in my life. One particular part sticks out the most to me. Rabbi, don't you care that we're perishing?

Who has not felt that as a believer, going through some very difficult, stubborn, painful, awful experience, and it seems as though he is sleeping in the stern of the boat? I'm getting ahead of the story. How can you not point that out early on? Church history is intermingled with success and failure and affliction, as is the Christian life in every generation. We have to face it, but that's not enough. It's not enough to face life. The unbeliever can do that.

They can do it very well, too. We face life as though there is an eternal life, as though there's something more, and we know it. We're aiming towards it, and we want to perform accordingly, not trying to simplify any of our traumatic experiences in this life, not trying to brush over them. Those of you who have suffered great losses and pains are not trying to dismiss that and say, come on, you're supposed to be a stronger Christian. Well, we always are going to say you're supposed to be a stronger Christian, but we're not going to say, come on, as though it didn't count your pain and suffering. The Bible tells us that God has bottled up our prayers, our tears.

He knows what's going on. But just to cover some of the failures that these apostles would face in ministry, and ministry means serving God. There's pastoral ministry, then there's non-pastoral ministry. Everybody who serves the Lord, who preaches the gospel, who upholds the faith, who demonstrates the love of Christ, that's ministry. There's ministry in church, there's ministry outside of church.

Very broad meaning, but all of it is significant. In chapter 3, beginning in verse 14, we read, And He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power, to heal sicknesses, and to cast out demons. Now that was for that assignment. That did not remain with those men. It did not even remain with them for the rest of their lives.

For some of it, it would come back and go again. But then in chapter 9, we will read eventually, And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, why could we not cast Him out? And so in one part of their serving Christ, they had power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons, and yet in another part they could not cast out the demons, and they were very troubled by this. They had experienced success in ministry, and now they were tasting failure.

Failure is always distasteful, on every level. But it does not give us license to enter the flesh, although we will from time to time. So He says to get into the boat, well, He says, let us go to the other side, Decapolis. It's that area east of the Sea of Galilee. Once He arrives to that, after this storm, they're going to face more challenges, but we'll stay centered on the storm. It's only a six-mile journey. From where He was in Capernaum, across to Decapolis, or to the other side of the lake, a short trip. And these fishermen, several of them, were veteran fishermen, boatmen. They were in their element. Leave the sailing to us, Lord.

Go back and relax. I'm sure that's what, and He just goes back and He sleeps where we belong, on the sea. Verse 36, Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was, and other little boats were also with Him. Now when they had left the multitude, well, there's a sort of a veiled statement by Mark that says, don't forget there were multitudes of people pressing on Him, jostling, and it was exhausting. So He just puts that in there, keeps it in front of us. They took Him along.

How much is packed into these words? Because what happens when someone doesn't take Jesus along? What happens if He's not with them because they did not invite Him, or made no room for Him? See, these kind of verses, they leap out, they glare at us, and they ask questions such as, what are you going to do in life? What are you going to do when wind storms come up?

What are you going to do when you have good success? We have to watch everything, like a minefield, this life. It says, they took Him along in the boat as He was. Another one leaps off the page, as He was, that's how they took Him. I'm not overly spiritualizing these things.

They're right there. This is doctrinal. Jesus does not change. In fact, theologians have given this a name, the immutability of God. He's unchanged, does not change, because there's nothing to change. He's perfect as He is. According to His humanity, He did develop, but He could have pulled the plug on that at any time and reverted back to His full-blown deity outside of His humanity.

Of course, He would not do that. He was here on a mission, and He accomplished that mission, and He submitted Himself to these things. The immutability of Christ and of God means we must receive Him as He is, as it says here, in the boat as He was. Hebrews 13, verse 8, Jesus Christ, is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

He's the same. He's not going to change. I like to think that this ministry overall is not going to change.

We like it the way it is. I mean, there are certain adjustments you have to make for sure, but the foundation of it is in Christ, and that's not changing. And it is a biblical approach, hopefully, as we understand it. Attempts to change, or to shape, or to conform Jesus Christ into anything is sin. We receive Him as He is, and we're not going to change Him.

We hope He changes us. Hebrews chapter 1, again, verse 12, Like a cloak, he's quoting now Psalm 102 there in Hebrews 1, Like a cloak, you will fold them up, and they will be changed, but you are the same, and your years will not fail. The sovereignty, the omnipotence of God, Jesus Christ is God the Son. And so here, the Psalmist, the writer to Hebrews, is trying to tell the Hebrews, listen, our Messiah is God. He is divine, and we have no need for anything else outside of Him.

He's telling the Jews to stop being Jewish, not ethnically, but religiously. Don't go to the temple. Don't bring sacrifices there.

You're complete in Him. He's done it all. This one is better than Moses. This one is better than the temple. This one offered something better than animal blood, sacrifice.

He offered Himself. Malachi chapter 3, For I am Yahweh, I do not change. You can only say that about Christ. And God, the Godhead, of course, they'd be less than perfect. What if God said, you know what, I'm working on it. I'm just not fully, you know, into this God thing like I want to be.

That would be off. That would be a heresy. And so again, He was in the boat as He was. And I just wanted to take the time because I love talking about the majesty of Jesus Christ. Other little boats, it tells us, were also with Him.

So we have a little, this mini convoy is what we have here. They are going to provide witnesses to this miracle. You see, when the apostles published these things, there were witnesses, eye witnesses. And they could say, yep, that happened. I was there.

I saw that. They were not all everywhere in the same place at the same time. Some of them weren't because they were part of the apostles and the close-knit disciples. But they were spread out with this testimony. Because many false gospels popped out. And those who were eyewitnesses would say, that's not right.

And so created this demand to publish the gospel from reliable sources, such as Mark, or Peter through Mark, John himself, Matthew, and Luke, the beloved physician. Storms of life, they rock us. They rock the vessels that we are in, our soul, our bodies. And they do this with or without Jesus. Life is going to batter you, whether you're a believer or not.

Being a believer will not get you out of or make an exception to this. But I also notice, where it says here, and other little boats were also with him, that we're never battered alone. They're going to be on the same trouble sea.

These little battered boats will be together. They will all be going through this at the same time. You remember, we were talking about Samuel. As the people said, no, we don't want you to be the judge anymore.

We want a king. And Samuel was heartbroken, thinking that they rejected him. And to some degree, they did reject him. And then God said to Samuel, they're not rejecting you.

They're rejecting me. Of course, Samuel's included in that. He's not left out of that, because he was siding with God. And so there, Samuel was in fellowship with God.

He wasn't suffering alone. This is lessons throughout scripture. One of the greatest prophets of them all, the great prophet Elijah, thought that he was alone in his devotion, the Elijah complex.

We all have to watch it. I'm the only righteous one. I'm the only good musician for the Lord. I'm the only great pastor for the Lord.

Okay, take that one out. That Elijah complex is not from the Lord, and he wanted to let that be known. Now, Elijah, understand, he had watched the prophets be slaughtered. He not only slaughtered the prophets of Baal, but he knew that Jezebel was killing men of God. On the other hand, men were hiding prophets to keep them protected.

And after this great victory on Mount Carmel, he flees for his life. And he gets to the cave, and we pick it up in 1 Kings 19, and he's speaking when God says, Elijah, what are you doing here? There's no ministry in the cave.

All alone. Nobody to preach to. So he said, I've been very zealous for Yahweh, God of hosts, for the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword.

I alone am left, and they seek to take my life. Well, there was a lot of truth in that, but it wasn't the absolute truth. And so God ministers to Elijah, and then before leaving and moving to the next phase, God says, by the way, God says in verse 18 of 1 Kings 19, Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him. These were the defiant ones. And God knew who they were. And he wanted us, centuries later, to remember that we're never alone. We never suffer alone.

We never fight alone. We may not see the others, but they're there. Verse 47 now of Mark's Gospel chapter 4, And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. Where it says a great windstorm, that word great in the Greek, we get our English word mega from this word.

Megas in the Greek. This was a big storm. That's the idea. These were skilled fishermen. They'd been on that lake for probably all their lives. They'd been around that lake and on it. They knew what they were doing.

But this one was bigger than them. And on that Sea of Galilee, winds, you know, there's these little gullies and hills and mountains all around, and the winds can come rushing down just all of a sudden. I, on the Sea of Galilee on a boat, just all of a sudden the wind just picked up and came and the boats rocked and fortunately it stopped.

I'd been working on that walking on water thing, but I hadn't perfected it, so I was still a little nervous. Anyway, to be a fisher of men is to travel the sea. These are abstract lessons that are concrete. That is a paradox.

Sounds like it contradicts, but it does not. It makes its point where mega storms come from seemingly out of nowhere. That's life. You're just sailing along, short little journey, six miles or so, and you're hit with this thing that is going to try to take you to the bottom of the Sea of Galilee.

Galilee goes as deep as 141 feet. And the waves beaten to the boat, that's my life, that's your life at times. Jesus, He's in the boat with them, remember that.

He's tossed just as much as they were. He experiences this. Now remember this. God does not have to experience something to understand it.

He cannot learn because He knows it all. But to bring it into view, to touch us so that we understand it, these experiences are laid out. His suffering as a son, for example, as we're told in Hebrews, so that we can understand that we have a high priest who is sympathetic to us. It is a point of contact.

It is a point of touch, and touch is critical. Just be untouched. Just let somebody treat you like a leper. I've referenced Dr. Paul Brand's book, Philip Yancey. Paul Brand fearfully, wonderfully made, and in his image, two volumes said, wonderful read.

I say that now, I read it 40 years ago, but still I think it's a great book. Well, Dr. Brand worked with lepers. He restored their hands that they had damaged in their feet. That was his specialty.

And he goes into great detail about how lepers crave to be touched. For somebody to just shake their hand, to pat them on the back. And I remember when my mom went to the Lord. I went to work that day. It was what else to do. It was expected. And I remember this son believer, the foreman on the job, Eddie was his first name. But Eddie just came up. He said, I heard about your mom. It's a tough loss.

And he put his hand on my shoulder and just walked away. The whole thing just a split second, and it was so meaningful to me. I didn't even know it was going to be meaningful. I'm just working, thinking that while we expected this, she's in a better place. She's suffering a little bit. And the touch, the touch at the right time. Some of you men need to be careful with your touching.

You should put that in there. Let the husband touch them on the shoulder. But just understand the boundaries and understand how meaningful these things are and understand also you don't always need your hands to touch somebody. There are other ways that you can touch another soul and be a blessing. Well, and the waves beat into the boat. Well, if you say battered boat and you're hungry, you might think it's battered like a corn dog.

I don't know. But it was beaten, buffeted. And of course, I think when I'm sitting in my study thinking of this, of course, how can I not think of certain verses? For example, 2 Corinthians, where Paul says, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, thus I be exalted above measure. God knew that I needed to be held in check.

I didn't know that. I'm thinking I'm doing pretty good, but God knows better and I'm submitted to that. And he knows that he has invested so much in me that the temptation to be puffed up, to have that Elijah complex, that only I am truly used by God. So God sent a messenger to just hold me in place. Acts chapter 28, we see Paul ministering. We're talking about the waves beating the boat.

Life beating the life. Acts 28 verse 3, When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. He was on the Isle of Malta. He had such a fear of snakes, he went screaming all the way to Germany. No, he didn't.

That would have been me. The point is, here he is in ministry. He just survived shipwreck. He didn't survive a storm, he did that, yes, but he survived shipwreck. In that case, the ship did wreck.

Some of them made it to shore. Broken pieces of the boat shattered dreams. And there he is ministering, after this traumatic experience, and a viper gets him. This is life. He says, we want to cry out, what next, Lord?

Do you really want to know? I've heard a lot of folks say God only gives you what you can handle. I take some issue with that. Because it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. You're going to deal with it. Deal with it in Christ. That's the goal.

Whether these things are too big for me or not. I'm not going to take time to point out a couple examples, because I think you can do that yourself. And we're going to move on to the next section, verse 37, where it says, so that it was already filling. So the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. Sinking. The boats were sinking. Boats plural.

Not just the one he was in, all of them. And the other ones were smaller vessels, they were tossed more. Matthew adds this, the boat was covered with the waves.

They were getting smashed. Now this is a key point from this lesson in the Bible. This is one of those chapters that sticks with you for the rest of your Christianity if you've not faced it before.

At least it did for me. I've read quite a few sermons on this chapter in my Christian walk, and love them all. But at this point it is good to say that the presence of Christ on board does not guarantee smooth passage.

Just because Christ is with you does not mean you're not going to get battered. Thanks for tuning in to Cross Reference Radio for this study in the book of Mark. Cross Reference Radio is the teaching ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. To learn more information about this ministry visit our website, crossreferenceradio.com. Once you're there you'll find additional teachings from Pastor Rick. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. When you subscribe you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross Reference Radio. You can search for Cross Reference Radio on your favorite podcast app. That's all we have time for today but we hope you'll join us next time as Pastor Rick continues to teach through the book of Mark like here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-27 08:34:33 / 2023-11-27 08:44:48 / 10

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