Safe in the Storm

Safe in the Storm

Life & Light Community Church

Message from 8/27/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family, and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

“Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, and after getting into a boat, they started to cross the sea to Capernaum. It had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened. But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” So they were willing to receive Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.”

                                                                                   John 6:16–21 (NASB95)

If there is anything that can truly be said to be a universally shared human experience it has to be fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the dark, fear of heights, fear of spiders, fear of dying, fear of not being loved, you name it, fear tops the list of shared human experiences. If this is true, then the desire to be safe is also true. We would all like to know that no matter what happens to others, or around us, we want to know we are going to be safe.

If we are truly honest with ourselves, we would admit that we are not unlike the disciples. Most of us have, at one time or another, sought some personal gain, much like Judas. We have all had our doubts about this faith things, much like Thomas. At some point in our lives, we have been brash, outspoken and impetuous, much like Peter. How many of us, in a fit of anger, have wanted to call down thunder from the sky, much like the Sons of Thunder, John and James. And like all of the disciples in our passage today, how many times have we simply wanted to know we would be Safe in the Storm?

It is evening as the disciples get into a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee. As they row towards Capernaum, a storm blows across the sea. As they are rowing, they see Jesus walking on the sea. Knowing they are frightened, Jesus says, “Do not be afraid.” As the disciples receive Jesus, they are Safe in the Storm, and they arrive at the shore to which they were going.

As Christ followers, we will face the storms of life. In the surrounding storm, we will find Jesus, coming to us in the most unusual ways. As we rest in Him and receive His presence, we will find we are Safe in the Storm.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “How is the Christ follower Safe in the Storm in Christ Jesus?”

The Christ follower is Safe in the Storm when they believe in the name of Christ Jesus and trust in Him as their vessel of salvation.

1). The Christ follower is Safe in the Storm in Christ Jesus when we receive His presence.

Christ Jesus comes to us in unusual ways when we are in the darkness of the storm.

The disciples have left the sight where Yeshua fed the 5,000 and set off across the Sea of Galilee to row towards Capernaum. The Sea of Galilee actually a fresh-water lake, 9 miles long and 5 miles wide. It is between 684 – 700 feet BELOW sea level and its deepest point is 833 feet below sea level. There are some 25 species of fish found in the Sea of Galilee, thus the reason fishing was a major industry for the area. The lake is surrounded by mountains with cliff that allow winds to sweep over the water creating a very choppy sea. This also allows storms to sweep over the waters suddenly and violently. Which is exactly what we find happening to the disciples in our passage.

John tells us the disciples left at evening to row across the lake to Capernaum. It is, apparently, calm when the disciples leave and as it turns dark, a storm blows in creating rough seas. John also notes that Jesus had “not yet come to them.” Wait! What? Did the disciples actually expect Yeshua to meet them in the middle of the lake, after leaving without Him? In a word, yes! It is entirely possible that Yeshua sent the disciples ahead with the intention of taking another boat, later in the evening to catch up with them in the middle of the lake. As it turns out, Yeshua would meet them but not in the way the disciples expected.

The disciples have rowed three or four miles, according to John, so they are about a quarter of the way across the lake when they see an unusual sight. There is a man walking towards them on the water. It is dark and there is a storm raging around them, and they see a man walking on the water! Fear would be the natural reaction to such an unnatural event. Jesus had promised to come to the disciples, but this is not what they expected. When does Jesus come to us? He comes to us in the darkness as well. Perhaps it is literal darkness, at nighttime. Maybe you have had a bad dream or a nightmare. Many are the times we have such dreams and pray for the Lord to come to us. Maybe it is a literal storm that has knocked out power and the storm is threatening to do further damage to our home and us!

Maybe it is in any number of crises we might face. A health crisis for ourselves or a loved one. A financial crisis, which we have all faced at some time in our lives. Or maybe it is an emotional or mental crisis that calls for care beyond our means. Then, of course, there is the spiritual darkness we face from time to time. Perhaps it is a spiritual attack from the enemy that threatens to overwhelm us. It could be lies and deceptions from those who oppose us. Maybe a literal attack by people we know and thought cared for us. Or it might just be that inner struggle you are facing right now! Whatever the case might be, Jesus comes to us in the darkness.

Notice, it is only after Jesus has said, “It is I; do not be afraid” that the disciples receive Him. The Greek could literally be translated as “It is I Am.” If we listen carefully Yeshua, the Great I Am is speaking to us during the storm as well. Once He has spoken the disciples receive Him into the boat. For the Christ follower, it is to receive His presence in the storm. To receive is more than a mental acceptance. It is to believe with an unswerving, positive faith. It is believing that Yeshua is who He claims to be – the Son of God. It is to believe that Yeshua can do what He claims He can do. To receive His presence, we must first recognize His presence. We can only recognize His presence by spending time prayer, hearing Him speak to us and learning how to recognize His presence. We learn to recognize His presence by reading His word and spending time meditating on the word. We recognize His presence by studying His word to understand how He works, reacts, and acts when we are in His presence and the storm we are facing.

To receive His presence, we must know His presence as Messiah, the One who gave His life for ours. We must know His presence as the Light of the world, who invites us to walk in the light with Him. We must know Him as the Bread of Life and the Good Shepherd, the One who cares for our every need. And we must come to know His presence as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The only way to the Father, the One who reveals all truth and the One who is the source of and gives life to all. All of this will come from our time in prayer, reading, studying, and meditating on the word. There is no other way we can short cut the system, we must know Him personally and deeply.

Finally, Yeshua will come to us in unusual ways. He will come to us through His word, either as we are reading or when someone speaks that word in our presence. He will come to us through His people, or even an unbeliever. He can speak to us through music, movies, or books – remember, all truth comes from God, He is the ultimate source of truth, the means He uses to get that truth to us might vary, but He is the God of Truth. Jesus will also use our circumstances to get our attention and make His presence felt. He might use the surrounding darkness, a sudden and unexpected storm, our need, our despair, our pain, and even our joy. There is nothing that Jesus cannot use to make His presence known to us.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How have you felt the presence of Jesus in the darkness?

In what unusual way has Jesus come to you in the darkness?

How is Jesus trying to get your attention today?

The Christ follower is Safe in the Storm when they believe in the name of Christ Jesus and trust in Him as their vessel of salvation.

2). The Christ follower is Safe in the Storm in Christ Jesus when we trust in His provision.

Christ Jesus is the vessel for our safe passage in every storm we face.

As we have been walking through John’s gospel account, we have been learning how important the Torah is to John. Chapter 6, and this passage, once again have a tie-in to the Torah. Jesus has arrived at the boat carrying His disciples. In the darkness of the surrounding storm the disciples struggle with the oars to make headway against the wind and the waves. Suddenly, they notice a man walking on the water coming towards them. The disciples have a natural reaction to an unnatural event – fear. As Jesus nears the boat, He finally identifies Himself, “It is I; do not be afraid.” The disciples have now received Jesus into the boat; thus, they must trust His provision. If we are going to be serious in recognizing the importance of the Torah to John, then we must acknowledge the connection in this passage.

One of the key stories in the Torah is Noah’s Ark. God’s provision is clearly seen throughout the story of Noah’s Ark. From the instructions on building the ark to the animals, and everything in between, God provides for Noah and his family. When the rain begins and the fountains of the deep open up, it is God Himself who closes and seals the door of the ark. But perhaps the most important part of the story is the safety of Noah, his family, and the animals within the ark. Even during the storms that rage and the waves that toss the ark, the ark glides over the waters of judgment. In this passage, we see Yeshua, the Son of God, walking on the water, like the ark, Yeshua glides over the waters of judgment.

The disciples are about to be the recipients of another the provisions of Yeshua. As Jesus enters the boat, not only is the storm calmed, but the boat lands at the very shore to which the disciples were going. Is this another of John’s literary tricks? Did John simply leave out the rest of the trip? I think the answer to both questions is no. The disciples have already been witnesses to Jesus turning water to wine and turning five loaves and two fish into enough food to feed 5,000+ people with twelve baskets full leftover. This is an example of the provisions of the King of the Universe – Yeshua has power over nature, the wind, and the waves, but He also has power over time, for the boat is immediately at the shoreline.

Like the disciples, we too as Christ followers, must trust the provisions of Yeshua. We must trust His provision as Savior for our salvation. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation, it is a free gift of God through His Son, Yeshua. He is also the provision for our righteousness. Our right standing before God has nothing to do with our personal achievements, accomplishments, or status, it comes because of our faith in Christ Jesus alone. He is also our sanctification. We have been set apart for God in Christ. Again, there is nothing in us that makes us set apart, save for the presence of Christ.

We must also trust the provisions of Christ as Lord. In Him we have our daily bread, the material needs necessary to live from day to day. We also have all we need for physical health, for He alone knows us better than any earthly doctor. He is our provision for our spiritual needs as well. His word provides strength, guidance, wisdom, and discernment in a world filled with lies and deception. Finally, He is our provision for emotional health and strength. Jesus has suffered all things human, including the emotion rollercoasters we face in everyday life. Jesus as been there, He knows your need and stands ready to fill the needs you have.

Finally, Yeshua is our vessel for safe passage. He is the ark for our passage through the stormy waters of judgment. He is our Good Shepherd as we face the struggles of daily life. He is the Bread of Life in supplying our needs for each day. He is Living Water that supplies the cool, refreshing water that becomes streams of living water within us. He provides our daily peace as the Great I Am. He comes to us with the reminder that He is with us, and we need not be afraid. And as the Son of God, He provides our safe passage through spiritual battles as the armor of God. He protects us from head to foot, from the lies of the enemy to the fiery arrows shot to cause us harm.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How is Jesus acting as an ark in the storm you are currently facing?

How has Yeshua shown Himself to be King of the Universe to you?

What provision of Yeshua are you most aware of at this season in life?

The Christ follower is Safe in the Storm when they believe in the name of Christ Jesus and trust in Him as their vessel of salvation.

When the storms of life come, and they will come, it is difficult, at best, to trust someone you cannot see. It is difficult to trust in a resource that you have no idea from where it will come. But this is what our faith calls for us to do – trust what is not seen. May people accuse Christ followers of having a blind faith, but this is simply not true. We have an informed faith that is not perfected, true, but it is anything but uninformed or simply blind. People can try to refute the Bible all they want, but they simply cannot refute your personal experiences in Christ. Those who know you best will see the changes and become aware of how you have been affected by Christ. They will notice changes in your actions, and words; your attitudes and in the way you carry yourself. Those things simply cannot be denied or explained away.

We are not called to a timid faith. We are called to be bold, confident, and to speak out against evil and injustice. This doesn’t mean we are mean, degrading, or arrogant, it simply means we fully trust the One who has called us to fellowship and has promised us to give the words to speak at the right time. This is, perhaps, the most important of the provisions we find in Yeshua. He has promised to be with us at all times and to provide for us the words we need to speak at the right time and place. We have all experienced, to some degree, the other provision spoken about in this message. Now it is time for the true Christ follower to trust this provision, the presence of Christ with us and His promise to give us the right words to speak boldly, confidently, and in humility that others might come to know Yeshua as we have.

We do all things for the glory of God, through Christ our Lord,

Amen and amen.

Next week: The Names of God Pt. II

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