Greetings, brothers and sisters in Christ. I have been blessed to be asked to deliver a sermon to the congregation of Faith Bible Church (of which I am a member) on June 22. This is the first draft of that sermon. I would appreciate advice, comment, guidance, direction. Thank you.
One day Bob was scanning the Help Wanted ads and came across one that said, “Wanted: Professional Worry Wart. Good pay. Benefits. Call Moe at 555-1234.” So, Bob calls and talks to Moe. Moe tells him he should come to Moe’s Bar on Third Street right away for an interview. When Bob gets there, Moe tells him, “As you can see, I own this bar. I got six employees, and none of ‘em get along with each other. I got a 19 year-old daughter living with her boyfriend and neither of ‘em has a job. They’re always calling me for money. My 15 year-old son is always in trouble with the law, I’m pretty sure my wife’s cheating on me, and I got some serious health problems. And, as if that’s not enough, sales at the bar are starting to fall off. I’m always worrying about this stuff, and I’m sick of it. I want to hire someone to do my worrying for me.”
“Wow,” says Bob. That a lot of worrying to do. How much does this job pay?”
“A hundred grand a year, plus bennies,” says Moe.
“A hundred grand a year? How can you afford that kind of pay after everything you’ve told me?”
‘That’s your worry,” says Moe.
Worry afflicts many Christians. It’s so easy to worry. I have met people who worried that they would have nothing to worry about, and others who were absolutely convinced that if they did not worry, the things they worried about would actually happen to them.
The Bible has many verses telling us not to worry. There’s Matthew 6:31-"So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?'
And Matthew 6:34--"So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today.
The Bible tells us hundreds of times not to be afraid and not to worry. But for some people, they just can’t seem to help it. In some cases, it seems people worry because if they don’t, it seems like they don’t care. For others, it’s like an addiction.
But worry is undoubtedly bad for us.
Numerous studies have shown worry is bad for the body. One such study in Australia found that people who worry excessively about their health make up somewhere between four and seven percent of those who need surgery and those people have health care costs ten to 13 times higher than people who don’t worry so much!
Did you know studies have been done to determine how much of what we worry about actually happens? The best information I can find indicates that about 92% of the time, what we worry about never happens. So, 92% of the time, worry is a lie and a waste of time. And the other 8% of the time does worrying about it actually change the outcome?
Our word, “worry” comes from a word that describes how a wolf clamps his jaws on the windpipe of his prey and kills it. It means, “to strangle.” Worrying undoubtedly steals the joy we have in the Lord, and worrying certainly steals praise and glory from God. Worry is the opposite of faith. It strangles us and it does not come from God.
But, we’ve always been told that, while we should not worry, it’s understandable and okay to be legitimately concerned.
Your teenage daughter said she’d be home at 10:00 p.m. and it’s now 11:00. You’re driving your car and the oil light comes on and you hear a knocking noise from under the hood. Those are legitimate causes of concern and we should do something in cases like that.
Now, before we go on, I need to be clear that I am not talking about people with anxiety attacks or depression or other conditions. These and a host of others are the result of a medical condition and are the reason God gave us doctors and trained professionals who can and do help.
I’ve already brought up some of the more familiar verses about worry, but let’s take a look at Mark 4:35-40 where Jesus had just finished preaching to the crowd on the shore of the Sea of Galilee:
35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” 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.
Okay, let’s hold the boat here for a minute. Whose boat was this that Jesus was getting into? The verse does not specifically say who owned the boat, but four of the 12 disciples were professional commercial fisherman. I can’t prove this, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to suspect that this boat was owned by either Peter, James, Andrew, or John. They were very, very familiar with boats and were also familiar with the Sea of Galilee. These were not a bunch of tourists out on a three–hour pleasure cruise.
37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling.
Let’s put this into perspective. The Sea of Galilee is eight miles wide, 13 miles long, and 150 feet deep. This is no little farm pond. If the Sea of Galilee were located in Minnesota, it would be our fifth largest lake, right between Lake Winnibigoshish and Lake Vermillion.
In 1986 during a low water period, some fishermen and amateur archeologists discovered a typical fishing boat from Jesus’ time sunken in the Sea of Galilee. While there is nothing linking this particular boat to Jesus or his disciples, it is typical of what would have been in use in the first century.
It was 27 feet long, 7.5 feet wide, and 4.5 feet deep. It had a flat bottom and was made mostly of cedar planks held together by wooden pegs and nails. They found ten different types of wood used on the boat, showing that it had been patched numerous times. Experts determined that the boat had probably been used for decades, perhaps as much as a century, before it was abandoned.
Although that is a larger boat than most of the fishermen in this room are accustomed to, this is not some riveted or welded deep-vee aluminum hull. It had a flat bottom, so big waves would tend to slam it up and down. In addition, there were no bilge pumps, no life boats, no radio to call for help and not even any life jackets.
Okay, for you fisherman in the congregation who have been on Winnie or lakes like it, what would it be like being out there at night in that boat on the Sea of Galilee?
Yes, it would have been so scary every fiber of our beings would have wanted to get off that lake. NOW!
The story goes on:
38 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?”
Jesus is in the back of the boat sleeping. Sleeping! The boat is “already filling.” In a vessel 4.5 feet deep, that means the water is NOT ankle deep. It means it’s probably at least hip-deep-- maybe more. These are professional fisherman. One of them probably owns the boat they are in. And they don’t wake Jesus up and say, “Umm, Rabbi, we may have a little problem here.”—I love the way some people read Bible verses. “Yea, verily, teacher, we are nigh unto perishing.” I’m pretty sure the correct way to read that verse is: “AAAAAA!! WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE! AAAAAA!!”
(That’s the part of the sermon I put in there for people who fall asleep in church.)
Okay, so in the middle of this story, my question to you is: Legitimate concern, or worry-wart worry?
Exactly. They had every reason to be worried. I would have been scared silly. This has “Legitimate Concern” written all over it in bold face, italic, underline type.
39 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.
I love that verse. “Peace, be still.” The Greek word in the Bible where “peace” is used translates ‘Silence.” Silence. Be still.
Be still and know that He is God.
And the wind stops and the sea goes flat.
And in that moment of silence and great calm, Jesus turns to his disciples and says,
40b “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”
He chews them out! Here they were, almost certainly about to die, and He says, “What were you worried about? How is that you have no faith? “
What do you say to the God of the universe when He says that to you?
Well, the Bible tells us how the disciples reacted:
41: The disciples were absolutely terrified. "Who is this man?" they asked each other. "Even the wind and waves obey him!"
Absolutely terrified. In the presence of the God of the universe. In whom and through whom and by whom all things were created. In that moment, the disciples had an inkling of whose presence they were in. The One who has all things under His control, the Mighty, Everlasting, Omniscient, Omnipotent GOD! The GOD of eternity!
So, dear brothers and sisters, when the car makes a knocking noise and your daughter is late, who is in control? Who holds everything in His hand?
Is this not the God who said he came to give you life and give it the full? Didn’t He say his burden is light and His yoke is easy and we would find rest for our souls if we would just take up His cross and learn from Him?
Isn’t this the God who loved you enough to take on flesh for you and die on a cross for you and pay off all the sins of the world past, present, and future?
Is anything impossible for Him?
Oh, my friends I will admit this is hard for me. Especially when I’m late and things go wrong. Especially when yet another thing comes up and I don’t know where the money is going to come from to pay for it. Ask my wife. I am not any better than any of you.
But, here’s the deal:
The enemy of our soul knows what buttons to push. He’s not omniscient, but he’s watched us and others like us for thousands of years. And he whispers those lies in our ears that tell us the waves are going to break the boat in half and we are going to drown in all the crashing waves of our troubles.
And , he knows if he can load us up with the lies of our own special worry, we will be ineffective as witnesses. He doesn’t care about us. Does a city on a hill or a light on a stand shine forth worry? Does a Christian overcome with worry and doubt make others want to seek out Jesus and find the peace that passes all understanding?
No, worry is a lie. And we know where lies come from.
But the truth is this:
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. Romans 8:38
So, the challenge for us all is to remember is that the next time that little voice in our head tells us how awful something is to remember that Jesus is right there with us, and if we call on Him, He can speak those words over any storm that may come along:
Peace! Be still--and know that He is God.
Edited by ncn, 14 June 2014 - 06:27 AM.
Duplicate thread merged