Good morning Church, we welcome you all in the name of our Christ and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Today we will be learning from the word of God about how to stay strong and stand firm im the middle of a storm of your life. We will begin with two veautiful set of verses from the book book of 1 Corinthians and from the Gospel of Matthew.
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."- 1 Corinthians 11:23-25
The apostle describes the sacred ordinance, of which he had the knowledge by revelation from Christ. As to the visible signs, these are the bread and wine. What is eaten is called bread, though at the same time it is said to be the body of the Lord, plainly showing that the apostle did not mean that the bread was changed into flesh. Matthew tells us, our Lord bid them all drink of the cup, as if he would, by this expression, provide against any believer being deprived of the cup. The things signified by these outward signs, are Christ's body and blood, his body broken, his blood shed, together with all the benefits which flow from his death and sacrifice. Our Saviour's actions were, taking the bread and cup, giving thanks, breaking the bread, and giving both the one and the other. The actions of the communicants were, to take the bread and eat, to take the cup and drink, and to do both in remembrance of Christ. But the outward acts are not the whole, or the principal part, of what is to be done at this holy ordinance. Those who partake of it, are to take him as their Lord and Life, yield themselves up to him, and live upon him. Here is an account of the ends of this ordinance. It is to be done in remembrance of Christ, to keep fresh in our minds his dying for us, as well as to remember Christ pleading for us, in virtue of his death, at God's right hand. It is not merely in remembrance of Christ, of what he has done and suffered; but to celebrate his grace in our redemption. We declare his death to be our life, the spring of all our comforts and hopes. And we glory in such a declaration; we show forth his death, and plead it as our accepted sacrifice and ransom. The Lord's supper is not an ordinance to be observed merely for a time, but to be continued. The apostle lays before the Corinthians the danger of receiving it with an unsuitable temper of mind; or keeping up the covenant with sin and death, while professing to renew and confirm the covenant with God. No doubt such incur great guilt, and so render themselves liable to spiritual judgements. But fearful believers should not be discouraged from attending at this holy ordinance. The Holy Spirit never caused this scripture to be written to deter serious Christians from their duty, though the devil has often made this use of it. The apostle was addressing Christians, and warning them to beware of the temporal judgements with which God chastised his offending servants. And in the midst of judgement, God remembers mercy: he many times punishes those whom he loves. It is better to bear trouble in this world, than to be miserable for ever. The apostle points our the duty of those who come to the Lord's table. Self-examination is necessary to right attendance at this holy ordinance. If we would thoroughly search ourselves, to condemn and set right what we find wrong, we should stop Divine judgements. The apostle closes all with a caution against the irregularities of which the Corinthians were guilty at the Lord's table. Let all look to it, that they do not come together to God's worship, so as to provoke him, and bring down vengeance on themselves.
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid." And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me." Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." - Matthew 14:22-33
Those are not Christ's followers who cannot enjoy being alone with God and their own hearts. It is good, upon special occasions, and when we find our hearts enlarged, to continue long in secret prayer, and in pouring out our hearts before the Lord. It is no new thing for Christ's disciples to meet with storms in the way of duty, but he thereby shows himself with the more grace to them and for them. He can take what way he pleases to save his people. But even appearances of deliverance sometimes occasion trouble and perplexity to God's people, from mistakes about Christ. Nothing ought to affright those that have Christ near them, and know he is theirs; not death itself. Peter walked upon the water, not for diversion or to boast of it, but to go to Jesus; and in that he was thus wonderfully borne up. Special supports are promised, and are to be expected, but only in spiritual pursuits; nor can we ever come to Jesus, unless we are upheld by his power. Christ bade Peter come, not only that he might walk upon the water, and so know his Lord's power, but that he might know his own weakness. And the Lord often lets his servants have their choice, to humble and prove them, and to show the greatness of his power and grace. When we look off from Christ, and look at the greatness of opposing difficulties, we shall begin to fall; but when we call to him, he will stretch out his arm, and save us. Christ is the great Saviour; those who would be saved, must come to him, and cry to him, for salvation; we are never brought to this, till we find ourselves sinking: the sense of need drives us to him. He rebuked Peter. Could we but believe more, we should suffer less. The weakness of faith, and the prevailing of our doubts, displease our Lord Jesus, for there is no good reason why Christ's disciples should be of a doubtful mind. Even in a stormy day he is to them a very present help. None but the world's Creator could multiply the loaves, none but its Governor could tread upon the waters of the sea: the disciples yield to the evidence, and confess their faith. They were suitably affected, and worshipped Christ. He that comes to God, must believe; and he that believes in God, will come.
What can we learn from the life of Jesus Christ when we are caught up in the storm?
1: The difficuilities bring uncertainities.
And Moses said to the people, "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord , which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent." The Lord said to Moses, "Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward." - Exodus 14:13-15
No matter who you are, yet you will face these difficuilties. How are you going to handle this? Are you going to stand in the middle of uncertainty or are you going to rely on God?
We have so many things in our lives. There is emotional instability, there is financial instability and what not.
But when we rely on God, it makes us strong and firm.
2: Uncertainity brings doubt.
The word of God affirms that only a fool says, There is no God!"
There are some days which are really uncertainly crazy. Car breaks down, loose your job, a beloved one meets with an accident.
Do not doubt, but rely on God. If you doubt, uncertainity will come in your life. This same uncertainity brings fear in our heart.
3: The presence of God brings power and strength.
Illustration: A fearless old lady sitting quitely during an earthquake. Scared people asked her, why are you not running? Arent you scared? She responds, "I trust in God and right now I am thinking how able is our God!"
The Bible says when we are in the midst of the presence of God, we are certain and safe.
Daniel, when put in front of lions, he did not stopped praying or relying on God. Eventhough, Daniel was facing the storm, yet the king was not able to sleep that night.
The presence of God brings strength and courage in your life.
4: The presence of God brings comfort.
The storm you are facing, believe this that do not give up. In Jesus name there is a victory and God will be walking beside you.
Presence of God will bring peace and calmness in the middle of a storm.
In Genesis 1, God spoke of many things... "Let there be light..., Let there be light..." etc. Whatever God said, that happened.
The word of God also says that He is who will bring peace.
Jesus is walking and invited His disciple to walk on the water. Due to the disciple's doubtful heart, he started drowning. Jesus was not a Ghost, what His disciple had thought, until Jesus said, This is I.
People, today God is telling you to take courage and stand firm in the midst of fear because He is with us.
In Exodus God said to Moses, "I am!"
Hear His voice for hlHe will not dump you when you are facing problems in your life, rather He will walk beside you.
5: There is a great value in waiting unto the Lord
"But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." - Isaiah 40:31
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you." - Isaiah 43:2-3
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." - James 1:17
Along with these verses there are so many similar verses whoch speaks of God that He is standing firm no matter what may come.
- Malachi 3:6 - Numbers 23:19 - Psalm 90:2 - James 1:17 - Romans 5:8 - John 3:16 - 1 John 4:9
May you all be firm in your faith and stand strong during any storm you may face.
Dear people of God, we hope you are feeling encouraged today and that you will stay strong on God no matter what storm or what uncertanity may come.
We thank you for joining us and we look forward seeing you all again next Sunday. God bless!