22 Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. 23 But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. 24 And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 But He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!”
It had been a long day of ministry for Jesus that began with confrontations and continued amidst the press of the immense crowd. So as the day drew to a close, Jesus moved to the stern of the boat, where He wearily collapsed into a deep sleep. The disciples in obedience to his command hoisted the sail and begin the five-mile trip across the lake.
Although the Sea of Galilee is only 5 miles wide and 13 miles long it has a history of terrible storms. The fact is that the Sea of Galilee is 600 ft below sea level, and great storms develop when the cold air and warm air meet.
Such a situation was developing as the disciples set out across the Sea of Galilee after Jesus had finished speaking. When very unexpectedly and according to the Matthew account “without warning” (8:24), they were in the midst of a terrible storm. Matthew uses the word seismos (literally earthquake) to describe the storm. Today, let us look at some great principles drawn from this story, with the question that Jesus asked His disciples, “Where Is Your Faith?”
There will be times that we will also face storms in our lives, v23-24: “But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. 24 And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm”.
“Where Is Your faith”, When the storms hit? What is Faith? And What does it do?
To understand what faith is we must get past certain misconceptions about faith.
First, that faith is the ability to manipulate God. This is the approach of the “health and wealth” prosperity gospel. This approach only sees faith as having one aim – one fruit – a life of ease and full of blessings.
Second, that faith is a set of beliefs. You must believe the right doctrine. But Paul says in 2 Tim. 1:12, “I know whom I have believed.” If your beliefs are not founded on the right person it does not matter what else you believe.
Third, that faith is a blind leap into the dark. To many unbelievers faith is the anti-thesis of science. To these saying- “you just have to have faith” is the same as saying “just have to act contrary to everything you know and trust that it will all work out for the best.” That’s sounds more like “fate”, to me, than faith.
Finally, that faith is simply devotion to whatever god one happens to follow. It can be said, “He is a person of deep faith” about a follower of Mohammed, Buddah, the Ayatollah or of a Christian denomination. What matters is, as long as they are sincere.
But, unfortunately none of these is true faith. Hebrews chapter eleven portrays what real biblical faith looks like.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
True faith is confident obedience to God’s word in spite of circumstances or consequences. Faith is described in a two-fold way. It is the “substance of things hoped for,” and “the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is the foundation that gives the believer the confidence to stand. The verse could be translated “faith is the confidence of things hoped for.”
Now, back to our text. There is always a purpose of the storms in our lives. Let us take a step back, look at the disciples, and hopefully…be able to answer the question of, “Where Is Your Faith?”
You see, this story in the life of Jesus and His disciples, in the boat upon the sea, conveys another world, a world where storms rise-up out of nowhere and life itself is put in peril. If you have ever suffered from a life-threatening disease then you know that world. The once placid lake of life becomes a storm tossed, angry, raging sea. This is a story about that. A Sudden, unexplainable storm.
The whole point of the story is that storms happen. Storms in our lives reveals that sometimes they are brought on by our own stupidity or our sin. Sometimes they are caused by ones own bad decisions. They may be caused by the actions of someone else. At times they just seem to happen and we have no idea why. But no matter what storms come up in our lives, we can call upon Jesus.
James tells us the purpose of trials is to test and deepen our faith.
James 1:2-3 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
When We Are In A Storm We May Think That We Are Out of God’s Will. Just like the disciples, when they called to Jesus, “And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm”.
Perhaps you thought or had been taught that life would be smooth sailing with Jesus in your life. You thought with Jesus in the boat, there would be no storm, no unmanageable waves and no fear. No, that is just not true. And if you have lived long enough, you know that it is not true, based on your own experience. But perhaps you thought, “Then there must be something wrong with me?”
“Even when believers follow Christ’s bidding, they may face hardships. For example, Jesus’ disciples were doing God’s will when they took Him across the lake, for he had commanded them to do so. Yet they were buffeted by a dreadful tempest, and they seemed to be in danger of drowning. A storm - and Christ on board! It seems a contradiction. Wouldn’t His presence ensure a peaceful journey? Not at all” (Our Daily Bread)
You can find a storm and be right in the center of God’s will. The disciples did. Notice that the disciples were in the midst of a storm not because they had disobeyed, but because they had obeyed. If they had just thought for a moment, they would have remembered that Jesus had said, in verse twenty-three Jesus commanded, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake." He said “Let’s go over to the other side.” He didn’t say, “Let us go to the middle of the lake and drown.” They had no need to fear when they were with Him, they were obeying Him and He had revealed His intention to be on the other side of the lake. Jesus had a plan.
Even though the disciples had no way of knowing it, during those terrible moments, that storm was divinely appointed to teach them about God and His power in their lives. Without difficulties, without trials, without stresses and YES!!! even failures, we would never grow to be what the Lord wants us to become. Without adversity, we would be self-centered, proud, one-dimensional and empty people. Faith must be tested before it can be trusted!!!
When we are in a storm, we may think that God doesn’t care. The parallel account in Mark 4:38 tells us that Jesus…
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?”
Although in just a few moments he would calm the storm with extraordinary display of divine power, at this moment He slept in a weary human body. To the disciples however…Jesus seemed unaware or unconcerned about their circumstance. Does Jesus know? Does He care? We mistakenly conclude that we are alone, that no one… not even God, knows what is happening in our lives and how we are feeling.
While these seasoned sailors were panicking because of the intensity of this storm Jesus was fast asleep. He was asleep seemingly unconcerned, quite detached and indifferent. Isn’t it true that we feel like that too at times? When we are in the midst of a crisis, of one form or another and it seems that Jesus doesn’t care, He just does not seem to be interested or concerned with what we are going through.
God has never promised our lives would be empty of pain, disappointment, or storms. Anyone who tells you otherwise is Not!!! teaching the truth of the Bible. What God does promise are resources to journey through the raging waters. The fact is that Jesus was right there with them in the ship, facing the same storm with them! They were never alone, they were never in real danger. Jesus was there! Physically…Jesus was there!
Whenever we are in a storm, we may react in fear, doubt, helpless, even hopeless. Rather than putting our faith in God, who controls all things… “Where Is Your Faith?”
Soaked and no doubt shivering, terrified to the core, the disciples had strained to keep the boat headed into the wind. They just knew that the next wave would take them to the bottom. In a near state of panic the disciple approached the sleeping Jesus in the stern of the boat, shouting to be heard above the wind.
As to what they said, their words differ slightly from one gospel account to another. Matthew (8:25) records that the disciples cry out, “ Lord, save us we are perishing” which seems to be a cry for help. In our text from Luke (v. 24) they are recorded as having said, “Master, Master, we are perishing” seems to be a statement of eminent doom. In Mark (4:38) the record is that they say, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing.” which seems to be a rebuke of Jesus lack of action.
Faith was paralyzed by fear. Fear is like an anchor it stops us dead in the water. They were afraid that all of them… including Jesus, would die. They were of course, wrong, but so are we when we panic during difficult times. In reality, their problem was not the storm around them, but the unbelief within them. Their made too much of the problem and too little of God’s power, and provision. Fear does that, it maximizes the problem and minimizes God’s provision and His presence. Keep in mind… Jesus was there! Jesus is here…He lives… in you and me!
When we are in a storm we need to remember to cry out to the Father. He hears our cry, and He will stop the storm, when the time is right. He’s perfect time! We just have to have faith that He will! Just hold on tight, ride through that storm, because you are not alone!
After all, we do belong…we are His children, and He will always be the One, who is in control of all things. Even, the biggest of storms…
They see the works of the Lord, And His wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens,
They go down again to the depths; Their soul melts because of trouble.
They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.
Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses.
He calms the storm, So, that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet;
So, He guides them to their desired haven.
As the great old hymn says so well, “When darkness veils his lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace, In every high and stormy gale My anchor holds within the veil.”
When In A Storm Faith Will Keep Your From Being Afraid….
24 And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 But He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!”
Jesus who is unconcerned about the storm, the wind, the waves and the raging sea, is concerned about his frightened disciples, the ones who have ventured forth in the boat by His commands. The storm was necessary for the spiritual development of the disciples, and so was the ensuring calm that was about to come. At their cry, He rouses himself, rebukes the waves and the wind, and there is immediate calm. Jesus cares, not only cares, but acts and saves…and brings comfort.
I want you to notice with me, some significant characteristics of how easily Jesus overcame the storm. First, notice that Jesus by a word of command brings the forces of nature into subjection to Himself. He speaks and it is done. Secondly, notice how effectively it was done - “there was a great calm.” All three gospels speak of a sudden and miraculous calm. In reality, this is the second miracle. Normally, considerable time is required for the waves to subside, even though the winds may have long since diminished. This storm did not merely…slowly cease and the winds gradually return to normal. He spoke and it was if there had never been a storm!
We disappoint the Lord, when we fail to trust…lose faith in Him. Notice verse 25, when He says… “But He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!”
Jesus addresses His disciples and asks, “Where Is Your Faith”, “why are you so fearful and living as if you have no faith?” There is perhaps a little irony in the fact that the storm did not disturb Jesus but the unbelief of his disciples did. Although their fear was natural, they had no excuse for their lack of faith. Fear comes and all reasons for trust depart.
Church…God has been with you and I, through storms in the past. Why would He not be with us now, through this storm? Now, listen… you have your Bibles, you know the stories, you’ve lived it from one time or another. We don’t have to be like the disciples when they asked, “who can this be?” It was Jesus that saved them, it was Jesus that saved you and I. and will always be Jesus that will calm the storm here, now, and forever!!! He never leaves church, NEVER!
In the lives of the disciples, faith’s absence or presence was revealed in the trauma’s of life. So, it is with us as well. Where is our faith during the storms of life? It is the storms of life which reveals our true faith.
It is at such times that we face a three-fold challenge, to worry, to work or to trust. When difficulties come we can choose to worry, but we all know deep down that changes nothing. We are faced with adversity, we can try harder, and harder until we see that there is nothing more we can do and we are forced to conclude that it is absolute out of our control. Or we can trust… in faith, fall before the Lord and cry out for his help.
Peter reminds us to…
1 Peter 5:7 (NKJV)
casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)
Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.
1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.
HE CARES FOR YOU!!!
Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking of you and watching everything that concerns you. Jesus longs for us… He desires for us, to put or trust in Him. To put our faith in Him. The only One who can take us through the storm. Not around, not over, but through it! And then there is calm!!! Thank you, Jesus.
Let us pray…
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Paul encourages us to imagine that we bring our bodies to God each day. Lay them on the altar before His presence, and have Him use this sacrifice for His glory and the good of His people.
A tearful distraught young woman approached a pastor who had been speaking on worship at a conference and told him that she could not live the Christian life the way she should. She said, "I'm frustrated. My worship experience is not meaningful and fulfilling as I know it should be. I don't have spiritual victory or a sense of accomplishment in my daily life either. I struggle with everyday obedience and am constantly defeated. Can you help me?"
He asked her how she had attempted to solve the problem. She responded, "I've tried everything. I've attended churches where they speak in tongues and have healings. I've tried speaking in tongues, been slain in the spirit, been prophesied over, but nothing helps. I'm not satisfied, I need God to do more for me."
The pastor replied that he thought he could see the problem. The key to true worship, spiritual victory and true happiness is not in trying to get all that we can from God, but in giving all that we are and what we have to God. So many people come to God, come to worship, praying, hoping for personal benefit. But the proper focus is not only what we want to receive but on what we should give.
The Christian is called to serve God with his whole being. This sacrificial service occurs in and becomes worship. True worship includes many things such as prayer, praise, thanksgiving, and serving God and by serving others. But above all else, our supreme act of worship is to offer ourselves wholly and continually to the Lord as a living sacrifice. Till we give our body, mind and will as a living sacrifice to God, our worship will not satisfy as it should, because we have not given as we should. Remember, it is in giving that we receive. It is in giving of ourselves where we will feel God’s presence more. And the more our worship to God will be more accepted, and fulfilled.
The first act is the basis of surrender and the act of surrender. The grace of obedience is urged upon us by God's mercy in the begin of verse 1. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship”.
Paul begins to convey by the verb “urge” a mixture of request and authority. The meaning of urge is "calling alongside," here in a context of exhorting, admonishing or encouraging. The people he was loving are those who have received a new heart and a new inner desire. The gentle command, conveyed by urge can only be obeyed by believers… by those who already belong to God's family. The unbeliever cannot and will not, dedicate themselves without reservation to the Lord.
That is why a few verses before this one Paul mentions…
“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?”
For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever! Amen.
The motivation and reason we can do what God is urging us to do is because of and by His mercies. What are some of those mercies Paul mentions on Romans? We have received grace, Jesus died in our place, we have been forgiven, justified freely by faith, been reconciled by Christ, given eternal life, given His life- giving Spirit, being conformed to the image of His dear Son, have Christ interceding for us, have His love poured out into our hearts, have all things working for good, and possess His love that cannot be separated from us. We have received faith, peace, hope, share in Christ's righteousness and His glory, and can call God Father because we are His children. What great mercies the child of God has received!
The most compelling motivation for faithful obedient living should not be the threat of discipline or the receiving of rewards… but overflowing and unceasing gratitude for the marvelous mercies of God. Such mercies should motivate and empower believers to complete surrender and commitment to the Lord.
Last Sunday, I just lost it during the last song our hymnal. “count your blessings, name them one by one”. I just lost it church, this overflow of emotions, I could not control. Have we forgotten what God has done? Have we forgotten His blessings, His mercies? Have we fallen off so far, to the point where we cannot offer, “A Living, Acceptable Worship” to the One who deserves it.
Verse 1 also commands an act of surrender for the mercies of God that urge and empower us to fully surrender our life to God. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship”.
Believers are called upon to present…to surrender their body as a living and holy sacrifice. This is the only proper, logical and appropriate response for one who has received God's fathomless mercies. Again, an unbeliever will not and cannot obey this command.
Here, the term carries the idea of surrendering or yielding up. The believer is called upon to yield or surrender his or her body as an act of sacrificial worship. Not forced!!! But willingly!
This indicates that we are to present our body once for all times. The gift which was brought to the altar became consecrated to God and no longer belonged to the one who offered it, but to God. Christians no longer belongs to themselves but to God who has redeemed or purchased us with the price of His Son. Once we have given the offering of ourselves, we can no longer take it back. We’re not ours anymore. We belong to God.
When someone asked WILLIAM BOOTH, founder of the Salvation Army, the secret of his success, Booth remained silent for several moments. Finally, with tear-filled eyes, he said, "There have been men with greater brains or opportunities than I, but I made up my mind that God would have all of William Booth there was."
Several years later when General Booth's daughter heard about her father's comment regarding his full surrender to God, she said, "That wasn't really his secret - his secret was that he never took it back."
You see, at times that could be the problem with a living sacrifice. It can get off the altar. Yet, like William Booth, we can respond to God's grace and mercy in saving us, by giving Him our all and never taking it back.
Since we are, what we say we are, a “living sacrifice”, we must daily lay down our own desires and put our energy and resources at God's disposal. It’s hard, yes…I know. But it’s doable by the power of the Holy Spirit. For Christ showed His love by dying for us, we show ours by living for Him.
Before we were drawn to Christ, we used or presented our body for sinful pleasures and purposes, but now that we belong to God, we want to use our body for His glory. Just as Jesus Christ took upon Himself a body in order to accomplish God's will on earth, so we must yield our body to Christ that He might continue God's work through us.
Therefore, we offer our bodies, ourselves as instruments of righteousness to God…
13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.
We offer our feet to walk in His paths, our lips to speak His truth and spread the gospel, our tongues to bring healing, our hands to lift-up the fallen and perform service as He directs, our arms to embrace the lonely and unloved, our ears to listen to His word and the cries of distress and our eyes to humbly and obediently look toward God. The Lord created our body for Himself and in this life, He cannot work through us without in some way working through our body. It is because our body remains unredeemed that it must be yielded continually to the Lord, otherwise sin will reign in our mortal body and we will obey its lusts.
The Lord Jesus is the other illustration of a living sacrifice. He actually… died as a sacrifice in our place in obedience to the Father's will. But He rose again. Today He is in heaven as a living sacrifice, bearing in His body the wounds of Calvary. The living sacrifice we are to offer to the Lord who died for us is the willingness to surrender to Him all our hopes, plans, everything that is primarily precious to us. As we die daily to our old self, the world, the flesh and the devil we become a living and holy sacrifice.
The Lord doesn't expect from us any more than we have to offer, but He does want us to be faithful and to give Him our very best effort. May we say willingly and gladly, "Lord, I give You my life and everything I have is now Yours." WE may try to serve God without loving Him, but We… cannot love God without serving Him.
The second part of our text also requires, a transformation of surrender… Verse 2 begins by stating two indications of believers who have offered their life to God's service.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Offering or surrendering of our life to God causes a new direction in life or a new lifestyle. This direction is not simply a goal of a new manner of living, we are shown what we must do to obtain the goal. There is something that should be shun and something that should be done.
Be conformed is a passive verb indicating that conforming, or being put into a pattern or, is something we allow to be done to us. The world seeks to pressure us into its mold. The world or age which seeks to conform us to its thoughts, opinions, standards, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims and aspirations which pressure us from all sides. The world wants to control us. It wants to make the rules, in which we should live.
So, How…does God renew our minds? God transforms our mind and makes us spiritually minded by His Word. As you listen to God's Word, meditate on it, memorize it, God's Spirit renews the mind and the lifestyle is not conformed but transformed. This renewed mind allows us to see ourselves, others, and the world from the eyes of our Lord Jesus. We will start to see, what Jesus see’s. Love…the way Jesus loves. Comfort others, the Jesus gave comfort. These are the transformation. And this will go on for as long as we live here on this earth.
There will also be the proof of surrender. “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will”. Those whose mind the Holy Spirit has renewed, reeducated and redirected, results in a life that can prove what the will of God is. This renewed mind means we can not only know God's will, we can live out or prove what the will of God is.
We can live out Gods' will and prove the following three qualities of God's will. We can prove that, God's will is good, well-pleasing and perfect.
As the Christian is transformed in his mind and is made more like Christ, he or she comes to not only to approve of God's will instead of his own… for the Christians life will prove it. Then the Christian will discover, that God's will is what is good for him or her, and that it pleases God and that it is complete and as it should be in every way.
But how does this occur? Your mind controls your body and your will controls your mind. You may think that you can control your will by will-power but that your will power… will fail sooner or later. It is only when we yield ourselves to the will of God that His power [Spirit] can take over and He can give us the His power that we will worship in Spirit and truth and live the victorious Christian life, which is good, acceptable and perfect.
We can surrender to God through disciplined prayer. As we spend time in prayer we learn to know & trust God and surrender to Him by praying "Not my will but Thy will be done."
An ARCHITECT said that many of his clients who asked him to design a house, had ALREADY MADE THE PLANS in their mind. What they really wanted was approval of their plans. What they really wanted was approval of their own ideas and the satisfaction of seeing the architect draw what they thought would suit their needs.
Sadly… Some Christians proceed in the same way, when they ask the Divine Architect (God) to plan their lives. They pray for wisdom and guidance, but in their heart’s they have already decided how they will attain certain goals or what goals they should be pursuing. They have missed the message of (Romans 12:1-2). While they gladly trust Christ for salvation, they hold back from making the full surrender that is necessary to "prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
A young girl attended a meeting in which she was challenged to yield completely to Christ. She wanted to do God's will but feared God might lead her into something she wouldn't like. After the service, the speaker talked with her and said, "Read Romans 12:2 carefully, and you will see that it is the ‘good will of God' that will be your portion. While it may not be an easy road, it will be acceptable to God and bring the true joy you are seeking." Quoting George Matheson's hymn "Make Me a Captive, Lord, "My will is not my own, till Thou hast made it Thine." Suddenly it all made sense to her. With tears she prayed, "Thank you, God. I'm all Yours!"
So… a question remains for you and I. Have we fully surrendered to Him?
Paul's appeal is addressed to the people of God, based on the mercies of God and concerned with the will of God. Only a clear vision of His mercies will inspire us to present our body to Him and allow Him to transform us according to His will.
As a Christian is transformed in his mind & is made more like Christ, he comes to approve & desire God's will, not his own will for his life. Then the believer, discovers that God's will is what is good for him or her, and that it pleases God, and is complete in every way. God has good, pleasing and perfect plans for His children. But only by being renewed spiritually can a believer do, & enjoy the will of God.
God wants the eternal best for us, and because of His demonstrated mercies in Jesus we should joyfully give ourselves as a living sacrifice. God has good, pleasing & perfect plans for His children. He wants to transform people by renewing minds so that they live to honor & obey Him.
Take a moment for REFLECTION. Look again at Romans 12:1-2.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
What is your motivation for giving yourself over to God as a living sacrifice? What are some things you can do this week that indicate you are giving yourself to God. Then and only then, can we have “A Living, Acceptable Worship”, to our God.
He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.
When we feel afraid, worried or uncertain about certain things, the present, the future and so on, it lifts our spirit and strengthens our faith to remind ourselves of the glorious character of our God. He is the Rock, He can never be moved, a solid foundation. His works are perfect in all that He does. All His ways are justice. He is a JUST God. A God of truth, there is no lies in Him. Righteous and upright is He.
The word that really caught my eye in this verse, is the word “Justice”, He is a Just God.
Webster dictionary defines “Justices”, as…
Judge- supreme court, the administration of law, the establishment of rights according to the law, the quality of being impartial, or fair, a concern for justice, peace genuine respect for others.
These are the qualities of our “Just” God. He’s judgement is fair, simply because He is righteous! We live in a world where being fair…being just is hard to find. At times, many would like to blame God for the things that are happening around us. The disasters, the violence…they blame God. The most famous question an unbeliever likes to ask is, “if there is a God, why does He allow bad things to happen?” We’ve all heard that right!
You see, God’s judgement has always been fair. Even from the beginning, all His works were good. Sure…we have no control of the weather, whenever natural disasters strikes, like hurricane, earthquakes, tsunamis, you name it, out of our control. But one thing we do know is that Gods plans are always perfect. We just live in a fallen world.
The human-race just likes to pass the blame. And why not? We did inherit that from the fall. Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent. And out comes the fall of all mankind. You see, God being a “just”, a judge… could not allow the fall (sin) to ruin what He has created. Everything the Lord created was good! You see, God could have destroyed the whole world, which He did in the flood, but He kept mankind alive, but still stained from the fall, (sin). Being a Just God that He is, a price needed to be paid. But how much? At what value? It has to be something of great value, to pay for the sins of the world, It had to be His one and only Son.
Jesus was the price to save the world. To save you, and I. You see, God is perfect…Jesus is perfect. You and I, we’re not! We need help, we need a lot of work…. That is why scripture remind us to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. (Phil 2:12)
Church… likes I said earlier, we live in a fallen world, and we cannot join in that mess. We have been set apart from the world. We are just passing by. This is not our home. From time to time, we will make mistakes, and we need to own those mistakes…. learn from those mistakes. We cannot blame God for our mistakes.
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Church… you are here today, you just read it. God, being the “just” God that He is, will not tempt you and I to do evil… to sin! That is not His character, it’s not one of His attributes. He is holy, He is perfect, and He is Just. So… we need to realize that we have the problem, and we need to work at them in a way that will be pleasing to our Lord.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Each choice that we make brings with it a consequence. If we make wise, God honoring choices then we will experience positive consequences. If we make sinful, disobedient choices then we will experience negative consequences. Sowing and Reaping has both positive and negative connotations.
If you sow good things, you will reap good things! If you sow honesty, you will reap trust.
If you sow goodness, you will reap friends. If you sow humility, you will reap greatness.
If you sow perseverance, you will reap victory. If you sow consideration, you will reap harmony.
If you sow hard work, you will reap success. If you sow forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.
On the other hand, if you sow bad things, you will reap bad things.
If you sow dishonesty, you will reap distrust. If you sow selfishness, you will reap loneliness.
If you sow pride, you will reap destruction. If you sow jealousy, you will reap trouble.
If you sow bitterness, you will reap isolation. If you sow greed, you will reap loss. If you sow gossip, you will reap enemies. If you sow sin, you will reap guilt.
If you sow worries, you will reap wrinkles.
I submit to you, that not only do you reap what you sow, YOU WILL REAP MORE THAN YOU SOW! - Take for instance a farmer who plants a kernel of corn. That one kernel has the potential to produce a stalk with several ears that contain many kernels of corn. If the stalk produces 2 ears of Corn that would be approximately 1600 kernels.
With that in mind... it is imperative that we sow the RIGHT SEEDS! I would like to look to these verses this afternoon and preach on this thought "You Will Reap What You Sow! Let's begin by looking at the opening verse: V7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap”.
We begin with an important warning... When we live as if our rebellion against God has no consequences we’re acting in a very foolish manner. Paul says that you cannot mock the justice of God. No one will ever disobey God’s commands and escape divine punishment.
5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined and everyone undergoes discipline then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.
You see…the flesh is the natural part of us that wants to live life on our own terms. Even though the believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit the flesh still puts up a fight. When we sow to the flesh we are yielding to its sinful desires. We are failing to "walk in the Spirit" and instead we are fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.
You see… I don’t know if you know this or not, but satan, is also a good fisher of men. Now-now, wait… let us not start passing the blame on satan. Satan can also set a bait… a trap to lure the Christian into sinning. But… we don’t have to take the bait, we don’t have to fall into his traps. We can just ignore him and move on.
We are told that, “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction”.
Destruction speaks of decay, ruin, and corruption. Over time, rebellion against God destroys a person, just as a fatal disease slowly takes a life. Are you sowing seeds of the flesh? Maybe you just need to get saved and Jesus takes full control of your life. Or maybe you would say "I know that I am saved preacher but if I am honest, I have sown some seeds of corruption" then, you need to return to the Lord today confess, and get a new bag of seeds! (Seeds for eternity)
This whole sowing and reaping thing isn't all bad. There is a positive side as well. There is another seed that can be sown, it is the seed of the Spirit.
Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
To sow to the Spirit means to do things that please the Lord. When we do this it will continually increase the Spirit's influence in your life. Simply put. sowing to the Spirit means allowing the Holy Spirit to have His way.
Notice if you will John Macarthur’s comments on this matter:
To sow to the Spirit" is the same as to "walk by the Spirit" (Gal 5:16)
To sow to the Spirit" is the same as to "be led by the Spirit" (Gal 5:18)
To sow to the Spirit" is the same as to be "filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18).
To sow to the Spirit" is the same as "abiding in Christ" (John 15:7)
To sow to the Spirit" is the same as "continuing in Christ's Word" (John 8:31).
To sow to the Spirit" is the same as "walking in Christ" (Col. 2:6)
To sow to the Spirit" is the same as "setting one’s "mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth" (Col 3:2)
We are told that when we do sow to the Spirit, that we will reap everlasting life. Everlasting life speaks of eternity. Keep in mind, our eternal life doesn't begin after we die, it begins at salvation. By sowing the seeds of the Spirit, we will also enhance the quality of our life here and now. Another great benefit of sowing to the Spirit is that you will have an impact on the Kingdom of Christ.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
This refers to the one who is sowing the seeds. Specifically, the seeds of the Spirit. If you continue to sow to the Spirit there will be an eventual reward. There are times when the work is difficult! There are times when we get weary! There are even times when we want to quit!
But we are reminded, “to not give up”. The Apostle Paul also remind the Corinthians, and you and I to not give up…
1 Corinthians 15:58
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
“Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord”. This is no guarantee that you will have all that you want in this life. It is no promise of material possessions. You may never even get any type of recognition down here. It is no guarantee that you will not face danger, trouble or trials.
Consider if you will:
*Paul was faithful in his labor for the Lord and he was beheaded.
*Peter was faithful in his labor for the Lord and he was crucified upside down.
*James was faithful in his labor for the Lord and he was beheaded.
*John the Baptist was faithful in his labor for the Lord and he was beheaded.
*John the Apostle was faithful in his labor for the Lord and he was exiled to the isle of Patmos.
*The remainder of the Apostles were faithful in their labor and they all died as a result.
You and I, may never be known…be famous. But that’s ok, we’re not doing this for fame, this is for the Lord. “Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord”.
In conclusion, let us look at our last verse V10:
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
“Be generous And Do good”. “especially to those who belong to the family of believers”.
Jesus remind us that, “by this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another”. Sometimes it takes only one little word, a smile, a hug or a grasp of the hand to let them know that they are not alone. That you are sharing in their joy, in their burdens, just as Christ has joined you in yours.
I do hope and pray, that the Lords message has reached you well. Sow the seeds of the Spirit amongst each other. We’re all that we have. Do not let the seed of the flesh ruin your relationship with each other. Sin will tear us apart, and we cannot allow that.
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers”.
2 Peter 1:8-15
8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 12 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.
There are times…more now than ever! That I would ask my wife to remind me to do certain things. For example, I would ask her to remind me of my appointments. To add certain things to our grocery list. Please remind me to pick up some communion bread, or juice. Those kind of things. We all do it right? Then eventually, I have discovered post it’s! Our bedroom mirror, and our fridge is filled with post its… reminders.
We tend to forget things right? Going to the buffet, or the grocery store we sometimes forget where we parked. Then you press that panic button on your keys, and wait for that loud…annoying sound, that will make everyone look. “Oh there it is”.
Many things that we forget will not have a lasting impact. But there are some things that will last throughout eternity. If we forget or disregard what we have been taught concerning how we should live for the Lord in this life, that will have an eternal impact.
Peter realized the importance of his readers remembering those things that they have been taught. The importance of this information is seen in his words to them in verses 12-15. Notice if you will… “12 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.
Peter states that he would continue to remind them of "these things" as long as he lived. "These things" refer back to verses 2 Peter 1:5-7…
2 Peter 1:5-7
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
Jesus had revealed to Peter that he would die a martyr's death. He knows at this point that the end of his life was drawing near. Knowing this, Peter felt an immense desire to remind the brethren of "these things". “And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things”. His desire was for these truths to be remembered long after his life had ended. Thankfully, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, through the word of God, we are benefitting from these truths. ( The Bible )
Even though The Apostle Peter, has gone to be with the Lord, we still have these great reminders. The word of God… the Bibles that we have, are filled with great reminders, for example, as mentioned in…
2 Peter 1:8
8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:8 ( ESV )
8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
( Please Keep In One Screen )
As children of God we have a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. Everything that we need to know can be found in the Word of God. Solomon said …
Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it.
A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not respond to rebukes.
-Keep In One Screen-
A wise Christian will hear and heed the Father's instruction. Peter is referring to the instructions given in the previous verses concerning "supplementing our faith" If you follow the instruction that you have received..
1. We will be fruitful for the Lord.
2. We will be a witness of Jesus Christ.
3. We will reach others with the Gospel.
4. We will have an impact on the Kingdom.
5. Our life will bring glory to the Father.
All of this is possible, IF we remember our instruction. If we forget or disregard what we have received... we will be "barren & unfruitful". The Christian life that is marked by virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, kindness and charity. If these qualities are not present in a Christian's life, he or she will be compared to one who is still lost. There are some who no longer exhibit these traits. Why? Because they have forgotten their instruction. They have lost sight of the main goal. They have abandoned their calling.
That is when we will see, brothers, & sisters leaving the church, turning their backs on God, hoping that the world would give them a better life. Did they forget? Or maybe…just maybe, they never received the Truth, and that is why there was no truths to be reminded.
Peter's says in verse 13 that his desire was to "refresh your memory " the Christians by way of remembrance. To "refresh" means to wake fully. If you have forgotten your instruction, I pray that today will be the day that you "awake from your sleep" and return to the instruction provided in the Bible. If you will, then you can once again be fruitful for the Lord.
Let's move a little deeper in the text. Consider what we see in verse 9. Let Me Remind You-To Remember Your Salvation, You-are SAVED, FORGIVEN, PURCHASED BY HIS BLOOD.
2 Peter 1:9-10
9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble.
You would think that it would be a near impossibility to "forget that we have been cleansed of our sins". Unfortunately, it is far too common. There are days and moments in life that will stand out above the others. I will never forget the first time I saw my wife. After being separated growing up. San Jose Airport, when she came to visit for the first time. She’s still as beautiful as ever. I remember the day we were married. I vividly remember the day that each of my boys were born. I don’t remember the times, their weight. I remember standing in the pulpit for the first time. But above all I remember August of 2004…That was the day that my life was changed forever. It was the day that I went from death unto life. That was the day that I was born again.
Remembering our salvation involves more than a specific date or a memory of a special place. Remembering our salvation involves reflecting on the fact that Jesus did something for us that we could not do for ourselves. In salvation we were cleansed, forgiven, redeemed, transformed, regenerated and set apart. There are some who have truly experienced this salvation, but to some…somewhere along the way they have forgotten that they were "purged from their old sins". They need to be reminded. And being saved is “Worth Remembering”.
Peter says here in verse 9 that this person is "nearsighted and blind". - If your life is not marked by the characteristics mentioned in verses 5-7 “make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love”. then there is a real possibility that you doubt your salvation. When this evidence of salvation is not present, assurance is difficult. Not only will others question the genuineness of your faith, you will lack confidence as well.
Chances are that every believer here has doubted his/her salvation at one time or another. Peter wants his readers to know…reminds them that if you will "if you possess these qualities" with these Christian qualities you can have full assurance of your salvation.
There are four basic categories concerning salvation:
Those who think they are saved, but aren't.
Those we think are saved, but aren't.
Those who are saved, but don't act like it.
Those who are saved, and they do act like it.
- Bill Hybels gives a great illustration of assurance in his book Too Busy Not To Pray - If you are ever in an airport, observe the difference between passengers who hold confirmed tickets and those who are on standby. The ones with confirmed tickets read newspapers, chat with their friends or sleep. The ones on standby hang around the ticket counter, constantly pacing and fidgeting. They can't get comfortable or relax... The difference is caused by the assurance factor.
Those who doubt their salvation lack comfort and assurance. Those who are certain of their salvation, are able to live an abundant victorious Christian life. There are some here today who are missing out on that victory. But there are others who need to be reminded of what Jesus has done for them! The good news is that we can have assurance of our salvation.
Maybe we need to be reminded of these great truth, that is mentioned in…. v10 “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble”.
Church, let me remind you…let Peter remind you of something, “Worth Remembering”.
When we have this assurance, that we saved, we can rest in the hope of eternal life. We can live with peace because we have been forgiven of our sins and delivered from Hell. We can rest assured that we have a hope in Heaven.
Let's consider that a little more as we move on to verse 11...
2 Peter 1:11
11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As Christians, we have a glorious hope of a wonderful place. Jesus has assured us of a home in Heaven. All who are saved can look forward to this special place. One day, when this life is over we will experience a grand welcome home. We will enter the everlasting kingdom where Christ reigns. We have a new body waiting for us. We will be given a robe of white. We will receive crowns. Throughout the Bible we are told of the crowns that we may receive:
1: The Incorruptible Crown - Awarded for faithfulness to the Lord:
1 Corinthians 9:25
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
2: The Crown Of Life - For the person who endures and overcomes temptation:
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
3: The Crown Of Rejoicing - This is the soul winner’s crown:
1 Thessalonians 2:19
For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?
4: The crown of glory. This will be given to the faithful ministers who give themselves to lead and feed the flock of God. ( Pastors, deacons, Sunday school teachers)
1 Peter 5:4
And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
And, we will also enjoy the "marriage supper of the Lamb".
6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)
9 Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.”
We are those glorified saints who Christ "will bring with Him" They that are with Him are called, chosen and faithful! We will experience this great triumph. We will hear our Savior say… 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.’ Matthew 25:21
Let us never forget that the only reason this Triumph is possible. The only reason that we will enter that land is because of Christ and His work at Calvary. Even as unworthy as we are, we are assured glorious entrance into the eternal Kingdom.
What a great promise we possess. This place of beauty... everlasting life... a reunion with our loved ones... the mansion and the rewards... deliverance from Hell. Our unworthiness should motivate us to live each day for the Lord. These things should prompt us to follow the instruction given in this message and to supplement our faith.
All of the factors that Peter describes in these verses work together. When we remember our salvation, we will be reminded of our destination, and when we consider our destination it should motivate us to follow the instruction that is given to us in scripture. Do you remember the instruction that has been given to you? If you remember it, will you obey it? Do you remember your salvation? Do you remember the day that you surrendered to Christ? Do you remember that you have been "purged from your old sin's?" YES! YES! YES!!!
Perhaps some of those old sins have crept back into your life. If so… now would be a good time to address that issue...Repent and return to a right relationship with your Father. Maybe you are here and you don't remember your salvation. Perhaps it is because you have never been born again. If that is the case, you can be today! Cry out to God…Be drawn to His Son. Be forgiven. If you will surrender to Christ, then you too can look forward to our destination. You can rest in the promise of an "abundant entrance into the Kingdom of Christ."
These are “Worth Remembering”.
Let Us Pray:
Pastor Richard Santos
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