Mark 4:41 “And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
When God created this physical world and all of its inhabitants, He gave mankind authority to rule and subdue His creation. Although God still owned the universe and all that was in it, He gave control of the earth to man.
When man sinned, he began to use this power against God’s wishes. God did not ordain all the terrible things that have happened throughout history, and yet He did not take back man’s right to dominate the earth. Instead, He became a man and took back that authority to Himself by conquest. After Jesus’ resurrection, He said in Matthew 28:18, “…All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth,” and then He gave the great commission to His disciples, thereby conferring that authority upon them, also. Jesus becoming flesh was absolutely essential for gaining all power (or authority) in heaven and in earth. Jesus was a “God-man.” As stated in 1 Timothy 3:16, He was God manifested in the flesh, which is a great mystery.
Jesus came in the power and authority of His Father to point men to the Father God. Jesus existed before His advent on this earth in the form of God and was equal with God; yet, He humbled Himself and became a servant while here on earth. He did not come to promote Himself but to give Himself as the way unto the Father.
This is radically different from the way so called “great men” present themselves. The Roman Caesar of Jesus’ day proclaimed that he was God and demanded worship. Lesser leaders ruled by exalting themselves over the people they governed. But, Jesus showed us that “whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many”, Matthew 20:26-28.
Peace In The Midst Of The Storm
Mark 4:37-38 “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?”
Considering the fact that the boat was filled with water, it is amazing that the disciples had to awaken Jesus. This was not a large ship with cabins below deck but rather a small, open boat and Jesus was, no doubt, “soaked to the bone.” This reflects Jesus’ humanity and how tired He must have been. It also shows that Jesus must have been in a very deep sleep. Medical science has discovered that the deeper we sleep, the more rest our bodies get. This is a clue as to how Jesus could maintain the grueling pace He kept, along only with an occasional all-night prayer time. He was receiving the maximum benefit from His sleep.
Jesus did not say “Let us go out into the midst of the sea and drown in a storm.” He was going to the other side. This shows that the disciples still didn’t understand Jesus’ authority. They were committed to Him as their Messiah, but they hadn’t yet realized that Jesus was Lord even over the physical elements. Many Christians still do this today. They receive the spiritual benefits of salvation but have not reaped the physical benefits of health and prosperity, which are also part of our salvation.
Whichever we focus upon – the storm, or the Lord in the midst of our storm – will determine how we manage the storms we face in life. He is not asleep concerning the things you face in this life, He’s right there in your “ship,” resting, because He knows you’ll both get to the “other side.” His peace is yours. Believe His Word. Rest in His love.
Joint Heirs With Christ
Matthew 12:50 “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
We are not just heirs, we are joint-heirs with Christ. It would be wonderful to inherit any amount of God’s glory and power. But, the idea that we share equally with the one who has inherited everything God is and has is beyond comprehension. This is an awesome blessing, but it also places a tremendous responsibility on us.
In the same way in which a check made out to two people cannot be cashed without the endorsement of both parties, so our joint-heirship with Jesus cannot be taken advantage of without our cooperation. Unaware of this, many Christians are just trusting that the Lord will produce the benefits of salvation for them. They are acutely aware that they can do nothing without Him, but don’t realize that He will do nothing without us, Ephesians 3:20.
The idea that God will do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, PERIOD, is not true. He has power, but it is the use of His ability combined with the power that works in us. “No power working in us” means no power of God will come through us. The exceeding greatness of His power that is to us-ward who believe is power that is not external, but is internal, within the believer. It is working according to the faith that we exercise in the indwelling Savior. It was this principle that Paul was stating when he declared, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
The way we place our endorsement on the check is to believe what God promised in His Word and act on it as if it were true. IT IS! Jesus has already signed His name to every promise in the Word. We aren’t waiting for Him. He is waiting for us.
His Chosen Treasures
Matthew 13:44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.”
The interpretation of this parable is this: the field is the world, the man buying the treasure is God, the treasure is the true believers in Christ. The price that was paid was the very life of Jesus on the cross. Jesus saw, through His foreknowledge, a remnant of people who would receive Him as Lord, and “for the joy that was set before him,” He endured the cross, Hebrews 12:2, and purchased us unto Himself with His own blood, Acts 20:28. He purchased the whole world, but not everyone will receive what He did. Therefore, the Church is hidden (scattered among the world) today.
Father God had the plan of salvation worked out before He even created the world. Most of us would not have created the world and mankind if we had known the heartache and terrible sacrifice this act would cost. But God is not man. In His judgment (which is the correct judgment) the prize was worth the cost.
God knows in advance those who will accept His offer of salvation. The Scriptures teach that we (believers) were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1:4. That’s how infinite God’s ability is. We were chosen in Christ before the world began. We are holy and without blame because God sees us through Christ. It was predetermined that we would be God’s children. We have been accepted by God. The Father would no more reject us than He would reject Jesus, because we are accepted by the Father through Christ. We are redeemed and forgiven. We are truly blessed!
Tares Among The Wheat
Matthew 13:25 “But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.”
Satan has secretly infiltrated the Church with some of his followers for the purpose of hindering the influence of the Church. This has been a more effective strategy than direct opposition.
These tares that are spoken of refer to the Old World variety of darnel, which is poisonous. Virtually all grains are almost indistinguishable from tares when they send up the first blade from the ground. By the time the tares become distinguishable, they are so well rooted that, if growing in close proximity to a productive grain, uprooting the tares would also mean uprooting the productive grain. Therefore, verse 30 admonishes us to let both grow together until the harvest. The grains of the tares are long and black in contrast to the wheat, and are easily recognizable at harvest time. Many will profess Christianity, but “by their fruits ye shall know them.”
There will be those who are deceived and unaware that they are not born again, who will remain among the Church. Jesus warns us against trying to root them out especially since it is not always possible to discern other people’s hearts. In an effort to destroy these tares, we might offend one of Christ’s “little ones” and cause his or her profession of faith to waver.
It is important, though, for our own personal benefit that we be aware that the children of the Wicked One are placed among the true believers. Our best defense is to preach the Word of God without watering it down. False brethren will not endure sound doctrine. They leave when the Word, which is sharper than any two-edged sword, begins to expose the thoughts and intents of the heart. Stick to the Word!
His Love Is Our Light
Mark 4:21 “And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?”
Just as a candle or lamp is not to be hid, but rather displayed so that everyone can benefit from its light, so a Christian must let his light so shine before men that they might see his good works and glorify his Father which is in heaven. God has ordained us to go and bring forth fruit, John 15:16. The great commission of the Church is to reach the world.
The early Christians experienced the love of Christ in an intimate and life-transforming way. This motivated them to reach their known world with the Gospel of Christ more than any other generation of Christians has since. They didn’t have the benefits of our modern technology, but they did have the benefit of being full of the love of Christ. Experiencing the love of Christ causes us to be filled with the fullness of God, Ephesians 3:19, and makes us a witness that the world cannot resist, John 13:35)
Today, much of the emphasis of the Church is placed on techniques of evangelism or spiritual warfare. We motivate people to witness through feelings of guilt or punishment if they don’t. Much of our evangelism has become as dead and non-productive as the efforts of the cults whose people knock on doors and argue others into their way of thinking. The Church today needs a revival of our personal relationship with the Lord. When we can truly say with Paul that the love of Christ constrains us, then we will impact our world for the Lord, too. We can’t give away what we don’t possess. We need to personally know the love of Christ in an experiential way before we try to share it with others. Let Him love you, and let His love flow through you to others. The world is hungry for love, real love.