Mark 4:35-41
Are You Using Your Faith?

Notice the situation around which Jesus gave His disciples a rebuke.
    1. They are on a ship.
    2. A terrible storm comes.
    3. \\#37\\ Water fills the ship so that is about to sink.
    4. The disciples, some of whom are experienced fishermen, think they are about
        to sink, so much so that they panicked.
    5. The disciples wake up Jesus, who does not fix the boat, but fixes the
        storm.

Peter, Andrew, James, and John were all experienced fishermen.  It is likely that
they were traveling on one of their boats.  I know nothing about the sea, but if
I am ever on a boat and a storm rises so severe that the captain and all
experienced hands  think it is going to sink, I might be a little panicky too.

Yet, Jesus says, they should have had faith.  What does that mean?  What did He
expect them to do?  Tonight, letís see if we can answer that question.

Notice some thoughts with me.

    I. Faith is essential to the Christian life.
        A. I donít see that so much in this story as I do in other places.

Mark 11:22  And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

Mark 9:23  Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to
him that believeth.

John 14:1  Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

Hebrews 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him:

        B. In this story, what I see is that faith is meant to help us deal with
            the problems in life.
            1. These disciples are being rebuked for not exercising their faith
                when a very real life-threatening situation arose.
            2. A lot of people believe that religion is for the church house.
                a. More and more I am getting the impression that people think
                    God is ok in church, just keep Him there.
                b. Obviously that is not what Jesus intended here.
                c. Jesus rebuked them for not using their faith to deal with a
                    sinking ship in a turbulent storm.
            3. Hopefully, by the time we finish studying tonight, we will under-
                stand that the Christian faith is a tool to be used in every
                situation of our everyday life.
            4. I will take you to the heart of faith by giving you this statement:
        C. Everything you ever get from God will come by faith.
            1. Let me restate that - God is not obligated to give you anything
                except you first exercise faith to get it.
            2. Can I give you some examples:
                a. Salvation - You did not get saved until you first exercised
                    faith in God.
                    (1) You believed that God was.
                    (2) You believed that Jesus died for you.
                    (3) You believed that it was God convicting your heart.
                    (4) You believed that if you asked Jesus, He would save you.
                    (5) All of that was an exercise of your faith.
                b. Some of you believe God has answered your prayers.
                    (1) Before God ever answers a prayer, you exercised faith.
                    (2) You believed there was God.
                    (3) You believed God cared enough to listen to you.
                    (4) You believed God could listen to you.
                    (5) You believed God could and would help you.
                c. I could give more examples but time limits me.
        D. Just understand, everything God does, God does in response to faith.
            1. We all know that Jesus did many miracles while He walked on the
                earth.
            2. Nazareth is where Jesus was raised.  He returned to Nazareth as a
                Man, but the Bible tells us that He did not perform many miracles
                there.
            3. Why?

Matthew 13:58  And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

            4. Everybody thought that Jesus was just Mary and Josephís kid!
        E. Faith is essential to living the successful Christian life!

   II. What is faith?
        A. Faith is many things.  Tonight, I just want to emphasize a small
            portion of what faith is.
        B. What is faith NOT.  (These are similar.)
            1. Faith is not believing whatever youíd like to believe.
                a. Faith is not a wishing well or magic wand.
                b. Just because you claim to have faith that something is going
                    to happen, wonít make it happen.
            2. Faith is not a blind-leap into the dark.
                a. Faith is not without rhyme or reason.
                b. There are "rules" for faith.
            3. Faith is not a means of making God do things for you.
                a. God is not bound by our faith.
                b. Some people think that with faith they can carve out a new will
                    of God for their lives.
                c. Not so.
        C. What is faith?  (Let me give you two things tonight.)
            1. Faith is your means of finding Godís will for you, in life, in
                marriage, and in every situation.
                a. I said a moment ago that faith will not carve a new will of
                    God out for you.
                    (1) It wonít.
                    (2) Some people think that faith is like a machete.
                    (3) No.  Faith is more like a compass.
                    (4) Faith doesnít create a new path.  It helps you to find
                         Godís path.
                b. Let me illustrate.
                    (1) What did Jesus want the men in this boat to do?
                    (2) Pretty much the same thing they didócome get Him.
                    (3) The problem wasnít that they did the wrong thing.
                    (4) The problem was that they did it the wrong way.
                    (5) They did not seek Godís path.
                    (6) They panicked and tried to make their own.
                    (7) In trying to make our own way, most of the time, we do
                         the wrong thing.
                    (8) These disciples on this small boat just didnít have very
                         many options.
                    (9) They accidentally did the right thing.
                   (10) That seldom happens!
                c. You have a problem.  Your car breaks down.
                    (1) That is an everyday problem.
                    (2) What do you do?  You go get a new car.
                    (3) To get that car, you take a new loan.
                    (4) The old car wasnít paid for and with it broke, it isnít
                         worth very much money, so you roll all of that debt into
                         your new loan.
                    (5) Was getting that car wrong?
                    (6) I donít know, but neither do you know it was the right
                         thing to do because you never went to God in faith to
                         find the right path.
                    (7) You just did want you wanted to do!
                    (8) That is exactly what Jesus is rebuking His disciples for!
                    (9) They didnít use their faith!
                d. Faith is path detector.
                    (1) A Christian uses his faith to detect the path that God
                         wants him to follow.
                    (2) It does not create a new path, any more than a metal
                         detector will put metal in the ground.
                    (3) You faith helps you to detect what God wants you to do in
                         that situation.
                    (4) Once you find what God wants you to do, all you have to do
                         is follow that path, and God will take care of everything
                         else.
                e. However, faith is not just a path detector.
            2. Faith is a strength giver.
                a. Faith gives us the strength to stay on the path that God has
                    shown us.
                b. People who donít use their faith have a tendency to either try
                    to get ahead of God or lag behind Him.
                    (1) We either think we ought to be doing more than God wants
                         us to do or we think we are doing too much.
                    (2) Most people want to lag behind God.
                         (a) Most Christians have such a small opinion of God that
                              they are afraid to do anything for God.
                              i. They wonít teach.
                             ii. They wonít witness.
                            iii. They wonít tithe.
                             iv. That is where we get the statistic that 10% of
                                  the people in the church do 90% of the work.
                         (b) A few Christians have gotten a vision of God and His
                              power so they try to make God do things for them
                              which is not in Godís will for their life.
                              i. I have know good pastors who were doing a good
                                  work but felt God wanted them to do more, so
                                  they left their good work never to do anything
                                  for God at all.
                             ii. It can happen to Sunday school teachers, bus
                                  captains, soul winners, plain old church
                                  members - anyone who does not use their faith.
                    (3) But our faith can make us steadfast.
                         (a) Once we use our faith to put us on the right path,
                              we know we are where God wants us and so we stay.
                         (b) There is nothing like knowing you are where God
                              wants you!
                c. Might I say, the men on this boat did not know where they were.
                    (1) They thought they were a sinking boat!
                    (2) They werenít.
                    (3) They were on a boat with the Son of God Who had an
                         appointment on a Calvary cross.
                    (4) Nothing could happen to Him before that cross.
                    (5) Why didnít they know that?
                    (6) Because they had not used their faith to find Godís path.
                    (7) When problems and situations came into their lives, they
                         had no strength of heart because they had no faith.
                d. George Muller was a 19th century preacher.  He prayed about
                    everything.  He started an orphanage and ran it totally by
                    prayer.  He never told anyone but God about his needs and God
                    always provided for him.
                    (1) Once on a journey across the Atlantic Ocean, a fog set in.
                         George Muller had felt God wanted him to be in Quebec to
                         preach, but the captain told him that he would have to
                         miss the appointment because of the fog.  George Muller
                         went down to the chartroom to pray.  Within a few
                         moments, the fog lifted.
                    (2) Did George Muller convince God to lift that fog?  No.
                         George Muller had used his faith to find the path God had
                         for him.  The fog was blocking that path.  George Muller
                         went to talk to God about the path, and God fixed the
                         obstacle that was blocking it.

  III. How do I receive faith?
        A. Start with what you have.
            1. We all have some measure of faith.
            2. What we need to do is grow what we have.
        B. All faith starts with a promise of God.
            1. I mentioned earlier, that faith has rules.
                a. One of them is that we canít tell God what He is going to do.
                b. God must tell us what He is going to do.
            2. How do I find out what God is going to do?
                a. God will do what He has said.
                b. I said earlier that our faith does not bind God.
                c. It doesnít, but Godís Word does bind Him.
                d. I have prayed with many people over the years to accept Christ.
                    (1) I have never doubted that God would save a one of them.
                    (2) Why?  Because God said He would.
                e. I have preached that if Godís people would tithe, God would
                    provide for them.
                    (1) That is not to say you are immune from layoffs, stock
                         market crashes, or plant shut downs.
                    (2) That is to say that even in tough times, God will provide
                         for you.
                f. You never need to fear to trust Godís promises.  God keeps His
                     Word.
        C. After you find a promise, believe and follow it.
            1. Your faith, as weak as it may be, has detected the path God wants
                you to be on.
                a. Follow it.  See what God will do when you are doing the right
                    thing.
                b. As you see what God has done, you will find that you can
                    believe Him more and more for what He will do.
            2. Let me warn you to be careful of this NAME IT AND CLAIM IT kind of
                faith.
                a. There are other "rules" for using faith.
                    (1) If you really want to grow a faith, you are going to find
                         out that God has more for you to do than just claim
                         things.
                    (2) God will start dealing with you, as you continue to read
                         the Bible, about living a holy and pure life, about
                         worship, and about other aspects of your life.
                    (3) Christian faith is not a faith that allows you to live
                         either selfishly or sinfully.
                b. How do I find out these rules?
                    (1) By reading your Bible.
                    (2) By being in a good, Bible-preaching church.
                    (3) You can learn a lot by talking with a mature Christian.
                        (a) That is another aspect of being in a good church.
                        (b) Fellowship
                    (4) You will learn some things by failure.
                        (a) If you think you are doing what God wants but God
                             doesnít honor it, donít get mad at God.
                        (b) Use your faith to find out what went wrong.
        D. What you will find out is that God will honor your faith and obedience
            to His Word.

   IV. All of this message can be summed up an expressionó
        The Bible promises, faith reveals, and actions secure.
        A. The Bible Promises - The Bible is the source of all faith because God
            does what He has said He will do.
        B. Faith Reveals - Faith reveals Godís will for your life and for the
            everyday situations of life.
        C. Action Secures - When you start living in accordance what faith has
            shown you, you will begin to see the power of God around you.

The disciples are on a ship in a severe storm.  They go get Jesus and get rebuked.
What did Jesus expect them to do?  He expected them to use their faith to find
out what they were supposed to do.  Are you using your faith?

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