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June 26, 2022 12:01 am
Terrified by the violent storm that broke against their boat, Jesus' disciples begged for His help. Today, R.C. Sproul continues his expositional series in the gospel of Luke, explaining why Christ's response to their request did not ease their fears but increase them.
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On the Sea of Galilee storm front the disciples after Jesus called the wind and the waves. The disciples reacted in wonder they would think they would sell their sow Westerners in the air and say to Jesus. We've never quite sure you do some great things, but this beats them all. That's a wondrously I can't wait to go home and tell my wife and my kids what you did here on the Sea of Galilee.
But that's not the response they have is that the disciples were afraid truly be frightened of someone who saved. They finally realized who Jesus was God in the flesh today on Renewing Your Mind. RC scroll Texas to the gospel of Luke to point out that we must understand who Christ really is all of his perfection and holiness before we can truly worship the eighth century there occurred a watershed event in Western civilization event that began in Germany and was called there are the out floor room and then spread rapidly to England and then to France, culminating in what we call in Western history. The enlightened months now. The Enlightenment was not a uniform monolithic movement where all of the thinkers and philosophers agreed on every point in that movement.
There were many intellectuals who were ardent atheists. But there were also many intellectuals of that. To remain steadfast in their affirmation of belief in God. But the most militant of the atheists were numbered among the so-called French encyclopedias, including the two most notorious of that group leader role and all block the whole block identified himself, and I quote as the personal enemy of God and what these atheists believed was this that the new discoveries of modern science had made the God hypothesis as that necessary out dated opinion that science have no repudiated. They came to this conclusion by saying the God hypothesis is no longer necessary because now we know that the origin of life, and indeed, the origin of the whole universe has come to pass through the power of spontaneous generation, and to declare this doctrine of spontaneous generation. There was not science it was magic and it was magic with a vengeance. It was like bringing the rabbit out of the hat without a rabbit without a hat without a wand and even without a magician, and so nevertheless, it made a tremendous impact on the thinking of Western intellectuals in the atheists of the 19th century were convinced that their work had already been accomplished by those in the 18 century who they believe refuted the idea of the existence of God. But now the problem that the atheists of the 19th century were facing manlike Karl Marx and Ludwig Feuerbach, Frederick Nietzsche, and especially Sigmund Freud was this question since now we know that there is no God.
Why is it that in our anthropological investigations, no matter how far we go how foreign elements we explore on this globe be at the aborigines of the Eskimos or the animistic natives in the jungles of Africa or South America where ever we go we find religion and so they scratch their heads and they said wait a minute, there's no God. Why is it that human brains are not only Homo sapiens but they seem to be home overlook the Osos that is incurably religious so they felt the burden of accounting for this universal appearance of religion. In light of what they believe was the accomplished proven fact that there is no God.
In a word if there's no God has come there so much religion will virtually all of the major atheists of the 19th century agree that religion has arisen historically out of the psychological needs of human being as an antidote to human fears and uncertainty. You recall that Mark spoke hello. He didn't invent the phrase of religion being the opiate of the mass that drug that tells our senses to the terrors and unpleasantries that surround us in this world, but nobody was more inventive and more comprehensive in his attempt to account for religion then was Sigmund Freud and his little work the future of illusion and Freud argued this way that the biggest problem we face as human bank is the threat of death, and that threat comes from us from many angles with the widespread presence of wars and murders.
One of the things that we learn to fear our other human being, but we have come to gain a certain assurance of how to deal with hostile people by adopting various and sundry methods. If somebody's angry with me and threatening me. I can say to them I can make them for mercy.
Please don't hurt me and maybe strike a note of mercy in their soul so they refrain from bringing me are or I can say I can give all kinds of laudatory expression to them and said why would you want to harm me, I'm your number one fan in the world.
I think you're the greatest thing since sliced bread. So please don't hurt me or we can try to bribe or negotiate give you $10,000. If you spare me, and so on and so we've learned all those techniques to deal with people who are hostile to us. They don't always work but sometimes they do.
But in addition to the threat of violence, human beings, we also have the threat of disease of natural catastrophes like earthquakes and floods and fires.
So the question is this how do you negotiate with cancer.
What good is it to plead with the fire. How do you bribe a flood. All these inanimate forces that threaten to destroy us are immune to all of the devices we use to ameliorate hostile people. So, according to Freud, he says we use our imagination and the first thing we do is we personalize these impersonal forces like animistic religion does.
They suppose that the flawed or the storm, and these threatening forces or animals like the crocodile were the B-tree are inhabited by living spirits and so the animistic begins to try to ease these hostile spirits by giving worship to them making idols of them and even though these idols don't have real ears or real mouth. They still speak to them and pray to them and honor them with worship, so what happens from the personalization of these inanimate impersonal forces. Freud said we go to the next step to the sacralization of them to considering them sacred and divine.
And I love all of this come the beginnings of religion. The religion gets more and more abstract and more and more sophisticated and of course that theory found many converts in the 19th century, but said all that to say this, one of the things that I find so interesting about this episode in the life of Jesus is that it seems to imply Freud's theory.
Now if we look at the references to this event and all of the Gospels we see something like this taking place these disciples of Jesus go on the Lake of Galilee and when they go out there. The lake is placid. It's tranquil. Let's call him and they are going out for a routine attempt at fishing, but they are very much aware that this particular body of water is subject to unexpected storm violent winds coming off the Mediterranean Sea and through the mountains on the edge of Israel that form a wind tunnel and this wind keeps sweeping in and instantly can turn this calm like into a maelstrom of a run this life threatening situation and that's what happened there out there in the water and without warning. This violent storm comes up. The boat is being filled with water. The winds are highly the waves have become so high that they're in danger of capsizing and the Bible tells us they were afraid of course they were afraid they were afraid for their lives. These forces of nature were about to destroy them. In the meantime, the biblical writers tell us that Jesus was with them. But while there, terrified Jesus is sound asleep in the back of the boat called Missy could be in their in their terror go over and they shake him and they say master master do something or we perish. I have no idea what they expected Jesus to do in this situation, but this I do know that they certainly did not expect him to do what he did. They woke him up at the is a little bit annoyed to support your faith and then instead of speaking to them. He starts to talk to the wind and water, and he gives a command in the imperative that comes from the lips of Jesus is this case be still and you want to talk about spontaneous generation in terms of quickness instantly.
The Wednesdays so there's not the slightest effort in the air instantly the Sea becomes as smooth as glass.
Now the question I have this morning is what was the disciples reaction. What would you expect it to be. You would think they would throw their sour Westerners in the air and say to Jesus, thank you Jesus for saving us again that was in trouble. We've never seen you do some great things, but this beats them all. That's a wondrously I can't wait to go home and tell my wife and my kids what you did out here on the Sea of Galilee. That's the response that you would expect is, but that's not the response they had in fact the Scriptures tell us that after the threat of nature was removed by Jesus instead of eliminating their fear, their fear was intensive.
The Bible tells us, and they became very much afraid so suddenly they were in the presence of something that was more terrifying to them than the violence of this store and I looked at Jesus in a way they had seen him before and they said among themselves, what manner of man is this who is this man what kind of man is this, we don't have a glory for him. He silly gainers. He's in a class by himself. No human being is ever walked the face of the earth can walk and speak to the wind and make it a and calm a troubled sea with the mere force of his voice, and they realized that they were in the presence of something more terrifying than the violent forces of nature. This is what Freud didn't expect and you see they were in the presence of the holy. They were in the present of one who had no category because he was transcendent he was. Other he was different. He was higher he was holding. And ladies and gentlemen, there is nothing on this planet. Scary than to be in the presence of the holy mentioned before, when we look at this passage out when I was a boy before the advent of television.
Yes, there was a time when there was no television that we found our entertainment by listening to the radio.
We couldn't see what was going on.
We had to imagine it in the fertile regions of our own brains would listen. The adventure stories of Superman, the Lone Ranger and the shadow all these mystery stories gang busters Mr. Keene tracer of lost persons and all the rest that I had a couple of really spooky programs. One was called sis and I will hold you at the edge of future but the scariest one of all was on Sunday night and it began with the lead-in of the sound of a creaking door supposed to be the creaking shouting door of the two in the voiceover amounts these words in her side them and I mean this still scares me because I think back to that I would listen to that voice and before the storyline even started. I was already trembling, just from the nothing enter sanctum what the center sent to me with in the holy.
Calvin wrote that people are completely fearless in certain circumstances, but the Scriptures uniformly relate the people who previously were self secure and safe are reduced every single time to trembling when God appears to them in his holiness okay this is the experience. These fishermen have within the holy they were in the inner sanctum on that boat on the Sea of Galilee and so I have to ask.
After looking at all this simple question was so what, what's the significance of this for us.
Is there any particular application that has for us.
I don't think it's much of a stretch to go back and the Old Testament for a moment and think of the most important event in the Old Testament that precedes the New Testament work of redemption that is accomplished for us by Jesus. The Old Testament act of redemption supreme was the Exodus and you know the story how the Jewish people have been enslaved under the tyranny of Pharaoh and forced to make bricks even without strong and they were miserable and they cried and they wept and they grown until finally we read in the Scriptures that God said, I have heard the groaning of my people, and God then appeared in the Midianite wilderness to Moses you know the story, Moses take off your shoes off your faith for the ground were on your standing is holy ground. And God gave the command of Moses to go to the court of Pharaoh, the most powerful leader in the face of the globe anyone is a Midianite shepherd with a message from God and the edging of the story Moses goes to Pharaoh with this message from God that says simply let my people go now for the rest why did God command that Pharaoh let the slaves go. Was it simply because God was acting to rescue them from the misery of their experience in slavery. Certainly that was an important element of it, but it's not the rest of the story is not all of the story that Moses was commanded to speak to Pharaoh. They said let my people go, so that is for the purpose of that they make problem to my mom and worship me. There is a dramatic story of rescue in the Old Testament had as its ultimate goal that these people who were rescue might come and worship God and if we fast to the New Testament, we see the elaborate work of redemption that Christ, the new Moses had accomplished for us saving his people.
We know what he saved them from the saved them from the wrath of God. But the question is what that he saved them for the ultimate answer to that question. Beloved this for worship. One of my greatest concerns for the church in our day is that worship and so many churches has become casual, casual worship is a contradiction in terms. No person ever comes into the immediate presence of a holy God in a cavalier manner.
Yeah, come into the presence of God dress like you were going to the beach and sometimes we reveal how casually we take the whole experience of worship.
Beloved, when we come to worship. This is holy ground and we come not with the servile fear, but with a godly fear, a sense of reference before him a sense of fear and trembling that was experienced by the disciples in that boat on the Sea of Galilee.
Yes, they were frightened and they should have been because they were in the presence of the holy one, of Israel, before whom even the demons from hell screamed in terror and so we come the church for 70 different reasons to experience fellowship and that's a wonderful thing.
Some people come to be entertained. Some people come to learn pop psychology lessons in all rest. But the reason that we are, if we are mature in our faith is to worship and bow down before him to sing our praises to him to offer the sacrifice of praise to God and to adore the fear of the Lord is the beginning. The disciples realized who Jesus really was when he combed the wind and the waves that day and their reaction shows us what it's like to be in the presence of holiness is terrifying. Dr. RC Sproles message from the gospel of Luke directed us to worship our holy God today were glad you joined us for Renewing Your Mind on this for staying timely web each Sunday we returned to Dr. Spruill series from the gospel of Luke and today when you contact us with a donation of any amount will provide you with a digital download of RC's commentary on Luke and it we learn from a first century position you sent out together eyewitness testimony of the life teaching and ministry of Jesus Christ. I know you will benefit from Dr. Spruill's careful and meaningful insight in this commentary you can make your request online.
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Next week we returned to Dr. Spruill sermon series from the gospel of Luke. We will learn the significance of Jesus confrontation with a man possessed by a legion of demons. Join us for that next week on Renewing Your Mind