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June 2, 2022 12:01 am
When the disciples were caught in a fierce storm, they feared they were going to die. Once Jesus calmed the wind and the waves, however, they became even more afraid. Today, R.C. Sproul reveals what it is about Christ that makes people uneasy.
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Today I'm Renewing Your Mind. What causes you to fear we may be afraid of hurricanes and floods and fires and other natural disasters.
There is something that is even more frightening to us than the wind or the sea, it's the presence of God, who suffer from all kinds of fears and phobias, the disciples faced the storms with their lives in you would think that when Jesus called the wind and waves they would've been relieved.
Actually, that's when the real fear began what manner of man is this a wonder there's Dr. RC school everywhere noticed something that I at least find strange about people who are not professing Christian but they sometimes are very hostile towards Christians and hostile to the church but you almost never hear them say unkind things about Jesus not willing to affirm his deity or that he is the Savior of the world but though usually say that he was a great prophet for a great teacher or a great man and people were so kind in their assessment of the historical Jesus makes me wonder what it was about him that so infuriated many of his contemporaries that they actually clamored for his blood. And of course they executed him. So as nice as we are about Jesus from a safe distance of about 2000 years.
If we go back in time and look at the period in which he was walking around this earth. We find all these people who hated why I think there are couple of episodes recorded for us in the New Testament that will give us an inkling, at least as to why so many people hated in the first one is found in the gospel according to St. Mark were we read in the fourth chapter 35th verse these words Mark says on the same day when evening had come.
He said to them let us cross over to the other side and when they had left the multitude they took him along in the boat as he was in other little boats were also with him and a great wind storm arose and the waves beat into the boats so that it was already filling but he was in the stern sleep on a pillow and they woke him and said to him, teacher, do you not care that we are perishing, and he arose, and rebuked the wind and said to the sea piece the still the wind ceased, and there was a great call and he said to them, why are you so fearful.
How is it that you have no face and they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, what manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey.
I find this an extraordinary narrative and I had.
I have a special interest in it because I used to teach a course in the seminary on atheism and I required my students in that course to read the original works of some of the most brilliant and formidable.
Advocates of atheist and I noticed particularly among 19th-century atheists that there was a common strand of thinking among them where people of that ilk were trying to explain why it is even though there is no God, there are so many people who are religious and one of the most important voices from that. Was that of Sigmund Freud. You've all heard of Freud was regarded as the father of modern psychoanalysis and Freud came up with the thesis that the reason why religion emerges in history is out of people's natural fear for the forces of nature were afraid of tornadoes were afraid of hurricanes were afraid of floods were afraid of diseases that can invade our bodies and destroy us were afraid of death, and so on. And he said it's out of the sphere of nature that we create religion we create a God who rules over nature that we can talk to that we can plead with that. We can try to butter him up with our praise and worship, so that maybe he will steer the tornado in another direction. And so for Freud, it is the fear of nature that causes us to be religious. Here we have a story in the New Testament where the disciples meet one of these fearsome natural forces there on their way across the sea of Galilee and remember their seasoned veteran fishermen there accustomed to the vagaries of the winds and the currents and so on. But where that lake is situated in the Middle East.
It happens to be arranged in such a place where there is a almost like a wind tunnel from the Mediterranean Sea that sometimes a storm will come flowing through that wind tunnel and get that sea without any warning and turn it into a tempestuous catastrophic natural disaster and that's what happened while they're going across the sea. Suddenly, this fierce storm arises in the wind starts blowing a gale in the water is turbulent, is boiling up and dispelling the boats and threatening to capsize up in all this time Jesus is sound asleep in the back of the book of the Scriptures tell us that the disciples render their leader and they shake him awake and they said, Lord, do something or were in a parish right here on this. So Jesus stands up, looks at the waves look at the turbulent waters, and he shouts a command saying grace, be still and instantly, this seems like glass. There's not a Zephyr blowing in the air and everything is absolutely call now, what would you expect that the reaction of the disciples would be at that.
You would think that's rather saw Westerners in the air and say thank you Lord for removing the threat of nature from lots at this moment so wonderful.
What happens, the Bible says they became exceedingly right to. This is the point that Freud didn't consider that even though we may be afraid of hurricanes and floods and fires and other natural disasters. There's something that is even more frightening to us than the wind or the sea, it's the presence of God see when when the disciples saw Jesus tame the storm and the sea by the mere force of his command. They stood back in horror and they asked the question what kind of man is this what kind of person does not think about that you meet new people all the time you walk down the street you see strangers coming and you know that there are people walking around out there who are strange to you, you don't know them, and you also know that among those people that you encounter every day are killers, rapists and murderers. People who are hostile towards other people who could represent a clear and present danger to your life but they don't wear signs on letter walked on the streets. I am a murderer. Watch up. I'm a rapist look up now when you're walking down the street here gazing in front of you and you give a quick once over with your eyes towards every person that is approaching and you may not even be conscious of this, but while this is going on. You're going through a classification process a sorting process you're making an assessment about that stranger that's approaching you on the sidewalk. What is his gait like is he smiling is he frowning. Does he look friendly. Does he look hostile and all the while you're doing that you're determining in your mind what kind of person that is it's coming because you want to know is that person safe or is that person a threat.
What happened to the disciples on the Sea of Galilee was they started through that sorting process and it wouldn't compute because they didn't have a category that would describe somebody who had the power to stop a storm just by speaking to or yelling what manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey. They had a study a few years ago. Of the 10 most frequent phobias that people have in the United States and a phobia is a gripping fear, and in the top 10 the number one fear. By the way, was standing up and speaking in front of a group of people. People fear that more than death itself, but in any case in the top 10. They included xenophobia and xenophobia is fear of xenophobes. Now what a phobia is millions fear of strangers, fear of aliens is an interesting how Hollywood makes all the money it does by producing scary movies about the intrusion into our planet of aliens people or creatures from another planet or from outer space that are terrifying because they're different. We don't know how to handle notice how we react to people of different ethnic background, white people tend to huddle together and live at a distance from black people and black people live separately from white people, and there's a fear between these people because they're different from each, and so that's what xenophobia indicates a fear or phobia that we have towards people who are different from wheel but the person who manifested the most radical difference from us in all of history was Jesus because he was holy. Nobody ever had met a person who was without blemish, who was absolutely and that's what threatens us who were the people who were considered the most righteous people in Israel at the time Jesus appeared with offenders. The Pharisees were a group of people who would dedicated themselves to achieving the highest level of morality they could possibly achieve who were the people that were screaming the loudest for the blood of Jesus. It was the fairness he sleep they enjoyed the acclimation they received from the people for being so righteous, but their righteousness was revealed as filthy rags as soon as the holy one appeared in their midst. As soon as the true righteous one came those who were fraudulently righteous were exposed for what they were and they couldn't stand it. I had a student will never forget this. I had a student when I was teaching college several years ago, a young lady who was in her senior year in college and she was a straight a student, a four point student and she really was head and shoulders above everybody else in the class.
I would give an exam. I couldn't make an exam hard enough to stop her most of the exams I gave in philosophy and in theology I had to grade on a curve and you know people who are curved busters were everybody else in the class is making 50 and 4030 and then there's that one student makes 100.
What happens when you have one student who breaks the curve all the time is everybody rush up to that person. After the class, and after that that's been returned say congratulations were really proud of you.
We think that what you did was fantastic.
Wish we could be more like he was that your response but you want to take out a knife and put it in their back and say I can't stand a goody two shoes. You know what could you be just like everybody else want this test will this actually happen. I gave a test on one occasion.
Second semester senior year and this girl flunk the test, I couldn't believe it. There's something wrong here. So I called her in my office and I sent her what happened. You flunk this test like this. She started to cry and I said what's the matter, she confessed that she had flunk the test on purpose. She said because her grades were make it impossible for her to get a date and she was in her second semester of her senior year she was suffering from what they call senioritis. She'd hope to find a husband while she was in college and she says none of the guys will take me out because they're intimidated by me because I make these good grades.
She was not like because she was too good she was to perfect and so people were uncomfortable around her. Another incident took place during the life of Jesus is similar to the one I've just indicated will look at it in Luke's gospel is recorded for us in the fifth chapter of Luke's gospel beginning at verse one and the return quickly and so it was as the multitude pressed about him, to hear the word of God that he stood by the lake of Nazareth, which is another name for the Sea of Galilee. And he saw two boats standing by the lake, but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets.
And they got into one of the boats which were Simons and asked him to put out a little from the land and he sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat and when it stopped speaking. He said the Simon launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch, but Simon answered and said to him master we've toiled all night and caught nothing.
Nevertheless at your word. I will let them than that. And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their net was breaking, so they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them and they came and filled both the boats so that they began to sink and then when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus knees, saying, depart for me, for I am a sinful man of war. What an incredible response on the surface it doesn't make any sense at all. You get the picture here. The disciples had been fishing it out again. There, veterans of the sea. They've come up empty. Jesus says take the boats out a little bit further and drop your nets out there and you can just read the sarcasm dripping from Peter's lips here in the text. Can't you basis the Lord and know we've been doing that all night.
Nevertheless, are gone. I will try like he says the other guys humor in him. I know all about theology and all about spiritual things were the guys who know about fishing but if Jesus wants us to drop them at sober will drop the nets over here will you see what happens as soon as I dropped the net in the water. What happened every fish in the sea of Galilee jumps into the net and the nets are bulging to capacity. There's the cords of the ropes are starting to break.
So they had to bring the other boats ever get the other nets of Bob and they fill both of these boats with fish to the point that they're starting to sink and remember that Simon Peter was Jewish and he was a Jewish businessman why would you expect the Jewish businessman to do and assertiveness. As I got I would've been there I know what I would've done I would've pulled the contract out of my coat and out of said the Jesus of today. What Jesus, here's the deal.
50% of the business is yours free.
All you have to do is come down here to the dock one day of the month and do this little trick that you just did here Philip the nets like that were in business, you get 50% of the profits. That's what I would just know it's unimpeded astonishingly, he says to Jesus, depart from me, for I am a sinful man, Jesus, please, I can't stand this. You're crowding me in a way that's driving me crazy.
Now again, Peter's not giving this response because Jesus is standing there given a message on evangelism and telling Peter that he's a wicked center he has to repent or he's gonna perish. Jesus has just given a sermon about L that would terrify people all he did was perform this miracle of providing this catch of fish. Peter says it says I'm out of here. I can sinful what is it that revealed to Simon Peter that he was so sinful it was the presence and the power of Christ. You see, when Simon Peter saw Christ and saw who he was so clearly in that moment he was overwhelmed just as Isaiah had been overwhelmed centuries earlier. He looked into a mirror of his own soul and he realized that next to the standard of perfection next to the standard of absolute purity in the presence of one who was altogether holy. We can do nothing but tremble and quake at the contrast and so Simon wanted to leave and call this the Peter principle. You've heard the Peter principle in business were organizations tend to elevate people to their levels of incompetency so that if you're doing well at the job you get a promotion to get more responsibility and higher pay and if you do well at that job to go up the ladder and you get an even more responsible job at even a greater package of faith and the tenancy is in the corporate world to increase people's elevations to promote them to the level where their incompetent and they fail and then they talk about another person. The super competent person the super competent person is a person who is one of greatest difficulties in moving up the ladder. Why because the people above that person are jealous and threatened by that person superior skill and so the way the super competent person advances. According to this book is by moving to another company where they're looking for talent and even then he has to go to another company to move up to the next step where he's not known to threaten people and that at a corporate level expresses our natural hostility to that which is better than we. Why was Christ kill.
He was killed not because he said consider the lilies how they grow because he said consider the sleeves how they steal because he said consider the Pharisees. How hypocritical they are and they hated because he was the holiness of our triune God is convicting to a sinful heart. Some respond in repentance. Others respond by fleshing out but the message of the gospel is that were invited in, and made acceptable before a holy God. We just heard a message from Dr. RC Sproul series fear and trembling.
You're listening to Renewing Your Mind likely web. Thank you for being with us today. Each of the six messages in the series helps us understand who God really is helpless, have a right attitude toward him. We like for you to have this to DVD set. Maybe you'd like to use it in the Sunday school class were a small group setting or or donated to your church library will be glad to send it to you for your donation of any amount to ligature ministries. You can reach us email@example.com or you can call us with your gift at 800-435-4343, when Dr. Strohl founded looking or ministries in 1971. He had one passion to awaken people to the holiness of God and that is the drumbeat we continue to follow here. It would get here. Dr. Strohl series fear and trembling the trauma of God's holiness will open your eyes to the terrifying reality of God's holiness and the peace and security that his holiness brings to those who truly fear him again. You're invited to request this to DVD set when you call us at 800-435-4343. The faithful supportive listeners like you allows people around the world to access the teaching of Dr. Strohl and the leader teaching fellows for resources like the series we featured today. We also publish the Reformation study Bible and table talk magazine and we host conferences so we are thankful for your generosity to this ministry. I hope you'll join us tomorrow as we continue the series when Ananias and Sapphire lied to the apostles God judge them by killing them on the spot. Why was God's justice so severe.
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