Play Video

Matthew 8:18-27

Counting the Cost

Sermon Notes + Quotes:

PDF Online

My name is Ryan Motta and, as Kim said earlier, I am the Director of Youth Ministries here at The Village Chapel. We study through books of the Bible here at TVC and this Sunday is no different. If you would like a hard back black copy, go ahead and raise your hand and somebody will come around to give you one of them. We are continuing in Matthew 8 this week and you can go ahead and start to turn there. We’ll be in verses 18 through 27. 

So, before we jump into the text, I wanted to start off by thanking all of you. About a year ago, I got the opportunity to preach for the first time in front of this many people and all of you were so kind and gracious and encouraging to me and I cannot thank you enough for that. And for those of you who hated it, thank you for saying it behind my back; I didn’t hear a word of that.  (laughter) And I would ask that you keep the same kind of format this time. So, seriously though, thank you so much.

So for the last couple of months, we have been reading through the Gospel of Matthew and I don’t know about all of you, but going through this book has been incredibly refreshing to my soul – a much needed weekly reminder that there is a King and that King is not me, that there is a kingdom that I’ve been invited to be a part of and that should shape every interaction, every day that I live on this earth. Now Jim discussed the beginning of chapter eight last week and he mentioned that the key theme throughout all of chapters 8 and 9 is Jesus displaying his authority to his disciples and the crowd. So if you were looking through a brief outline of what Matthew 8 looks like, you would see that there are: three miracles (8:1-17) which Jim taught on last week, three miracles followed by two teachings on Discipleship  (8:18-22), followed by three miracles (8:23-9:8), then two teachings on Discipleship (9:9-17), and then, get this, three miracles (9:18-34). And so this week, we are going to be discussing two of Jesus’ teachings on Discipleship and looking at one of his most notable miracles which I’m sure many of us are familiar with. 

But before we dive into the text, I wanted to tell you all about yet another embarrassing, borderline traumatic moment in my life. So, during my freshman year of high school, I had turned 15 and I was one year away from being able to drive a car. Now in Nashville, I understand that students can get their learners permit at 15, but they can’t start driving on their own until 16. But in Pennsylvania, where I grew up, you were not allowed to get in and drive a car until you turned 16. However, my family lived on a big farm with a driveway that was about a quarter mile long. And so my Dad, when I turned 15, graciously allowed me to start driving our car up and down the driveway. And I’m not kidding you, I would do that for hours a day – up and down, go make a little U-turn come back around – and I felt like the coolest person in the entire world. None of my friends were driving a car; I was driving a car. So I felt really cool. And so my Dad gave me a lot of freedom, but he gave me one major rule, “Ryan, you cannot drive this car unless I am home. If something goes wrong, if something breaks down on the car, if you, I don’t know how, crash the car on this short little spurt of road, I need to be here to help you.” And that seemed like a very reasonable ask. So I committed to following the rule – mostly. 

So there was one Saturday morning that I had woken up and a friend had spent the night. We woke up really hungry and we wanted pancakes and it was more of a need than a want. We really ‘needed’ pancakes that morning and so we went out to the pantry and we found out that we had no pancake mix. We had other stuff for other meals, but we were like, no, we really want pancake mix. So I had this idea, my Grandma lived near the end of the driveway. So I didn’t drive on the road, don’t worry, but she was at the end of the driveway. And so I thought, here’s what I’ll do: I’ll just put on my shoes. I’ll go out and I’ll walk down the driveway, get the mix, and come back. I’ve done that a million times. And so I put on my shoes, open up the door and I find out it is storming, raining so hard, and I was like, “Man, I really want pancakes, but at what cost? I don’t really wanna walk a quarter mile in this rain.” And so I had the thought, “Well, I’ll just drive down.” And so I called out to my Dad, “Hey Dad!” No answer; he wasn’t home. Okay, no worries, “Hey Mom!” Also not home – just my friend and I at the house. And so there was one thing that remained: the keys to the car that I had been practicing on for the last few months. And so for a very short amount of time, I thought about it, grabbed the keys and went out to the car. And so I rushed to the car, sprinted there, got in, drove down the driveway, went and got the pancake mix and came right back out, all was normal, all was well. 

And so my Grandma lived, her driveway was on a pretty steep turn. So to reverse, I had to cut the wheel pretty hard. And so as I’m reversing, as I’ve done a million times, something begins to happen that has never happened before. I begin to hear this loud crunching noise. Now I looked around, remember I’m 15, I don’t really know how to drive a car yet. So I like kind of looked in my mirrors, but I was like, “That’s weird.”  And so I heard the noise and I just hit the gas harder and kept hitting the gas, kept hitting the gas until I literally could not move the car anymore. It was at a standstill. I was hitting the gas and it wouldn’t move. So I was like,”Okay…” So I put the car in park. I walked out. And what I saw still is traumatizing to me this day. So in my stupidity and hurriedness to outrun the rain, I did not realize that on the back of our SUV was a large metal trailer that had four very sharp corners and edges. And if you’ve ever backed up with the trailer before, you will know that a trailer turns much sharper than the car turns. And so the crunching sound that I was hearing was the sound of a large metal trailer, jackknifing into the corner of the car. And maybe if I had initially gotten out to look, the damage wouldn’t be bad; but believe it or not my hitting the gas made it worse. And so I had ripped an entire huge hole, right near the gas tank in the back of the SUV. I panicked, I cried, I freaked out, and I wondered,” How am I going to get myself out of this situation?!” So I got back in the car to try to fix the problem. And once again, I had no idea what I was doing. And I kept making the problem so much worse. It started out as a hole this big and then it ended this big. And so it wasn’t working. And so I did what any sensible 15 year old boy would do. I left the car running, got out of the car and sprinted down the driveway. I just went home.

The car is blocking off the driveway. And so I got home and I called my Mom and I tried to explain to her what had happened in the hopes and prayers that she would call my Dad before he got home. But, sadly, it was too late. Through the front door came my Dad and there was a silence that I will never be able to replicate in the room; and my poor friend – oh my gosh – my poor friend was just sitting there. And my Dad asked one question, “Where are the keys?” I had to tell him, after he just walked a quarter mile in the rain, “They’re actually still down in the car.” So he had to go back down the driveway. I don’t know how he fixed it, but it cost us thousands of dollars. And that was actually the last time I ever talked to my Dad. No, I’m just kidding. He was really gracious and kind to me, I’ll never forget that Sunday; that Sunday morning at church, the pastor was talking on forgiveness the entire time. I was just like looking at him like, “You tracking with what he’s saying, man?” 

And so why do I bring this up? Oh, also I think it’s worth noting that my friend and I did make pancakes that morning though, the trip was costly, it was not in vain. Definitely a cost was more than the reward in that kind of situation though. But why do I bring this up? Why am I talking about this really dumb moment in my life? Well, if you were to put this entire story under a microscope to examine what happened, you would see that everything that occurred was a result of decisions that were made. My Dad graciously made the decision to give his son some freedom. I made the decision to acknowledge that I would follow the rules that my Dad set. I also made the decision to break the rules that my Dad set. I made the decision to keep reversing the car in spite of the loud noise of a car being destroyed behind me. I made the decision to try and fix the trailer problem myself instead of minimizing the damage and calling my Dad. And so the result I experienced was because of decisions that I had made. But that doesn’t only apply to that moment in my life.

All of our lives are a result of decisions that we make. You and I make thousands of decisions every single day. There was actually a study done that shows the average adult makes upwards of 35,000 decisions every day in their life. And within those 35,000 decisions we make, it is estimated that almost 250 of those decisions are just about the food we are going to be eating – unless you are a picky eater like me and the only three options you have are chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, and pizza which I know is shocking given my incredibly athletic physique. But, what I’m getting at is decisions are important because decisions have implications. Where we are in life is a result of decisions we have made or decisions someone else has made on our behalf, whether it be good or bad. Now, some decisions carry little weight. What toothpaste will you buy? What mug will you drink your coffee from? What will you eat for lunch right after church? Will you get coffee from Barista Parlor or Fido?  (Might I suggest Fido unless the line is too long and then go over to Barista Parlor.) But some decisions carry a lot of weight. Who will you marry? Where will you go to college? What career path will you choose? Will you start that business you’ve been dreaming of? Will you consider moving overseas to do missions, buying a house, quitting your job, having your kids? 

Now I bring all this up because today we are going to be approaching a text that talks about decisions that have to be made. Jesus is going to offer two men the most important decision they will ever make in their life. And Jesus is actually going to offer you that same decision as well. And the question on the table is, “What will we choose?”  So let’s dive into Matthew 8. But before I do that, allow me to pray really quickly. “Jesus, thank you for this day. God, I thank you for an opportunity to study your word. Lord, I pray that everything that comes out of my mouth would be of You and anything that is not of You, God, would fall on deaf ears. Jesus, I need you. God, we need you. In Your name I pray. Amen.”

So I’m going to start at Matthew 8 verse 18 and I’m just going to read four more verses. So it says: 

Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, He gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”  And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”  Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”  And Jesus said to him, “Follow me;  and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” 

So that’s where we’re going to pause really quickly. So it starts off with Jesus’ idea to get into the boat and go to the other side of the sea. Now He needed to get away from the crowds, which as the other pastors have pointed out is extremely countercultural for our day and age. We live in a time where everyone wants to be famous. The goal is to draw in the big crowd and then to keep the big crowd. However, Jesus doesn’t seem to prioritize celebrity as much as we do. He came to preach, teach and perform miracles to all people and often made an effort to leave the crowd to go and teach more people.

So before getting in the boat, Jesus is approached by an excited scribe who wants to follow him. A scribe was an expert in handling written documents. Being a scribe included teaching, interpretation of the Old Testament, and regulation of the law. So to be a scribe would make you a religious authoritative figure. People would often look to you for leadership and understanding of the Torah. Now, typically in the scriptures, the scribes were part of the group who were resistant to Jesus’s teaching and his authority. They are a part of the group who feels threatened of losing their influence. They are a part of the group who actually plot to kill Jesus, but here we see an anomaly. Because a scribe is not opposed to Jesus, he actually commits to following him anywhere. And upon first glance, this seems like a huge win. Aren’t these the guys that Jesus wept over their hardness of heart? Aren’t these the guys who should have understood who Jesus was before anybody else? Finally, we’re seeing some change happen. They are starting to come around. Essentially this is an evangelistic layup. Jesus doesn’t have to try and convince him to follow Him. He doesn’t have to explain the four part biblical narrative of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. He doesn’t have to take him to a summer camp to convince him. He doesn’t have to dim the lights and turn up the music and do an altar call. No, no, no, this man has made his way to Jesus. And he wants in. 

And what Jesus says should stop us all in our tracks, because it’s not what I expected Jesus to say. And I’m going to guess it’s probably not what you expected Jesus to say. Jesus responds to the scribe and He says, “Foxes have holes, birds of the air have nests, but the son of man has nowhere to lay his head.”  Essentially what Jesus is saying is that to follow Him means there is no guarantee that He and His disciples will have a home to stay in that night. Because Jesus was always on the move, He was totally dependent upon the Father to provide for them day by day. Sometimes they woke up and traveled to a city and didn’t know where they were going to stay that night. So this man in his excitement said he would follow Jesus anywhere. But what if the place Jesus is leading him to is nowhere? Maybe because of all the miraculous signs Jesus was performing, this man thought getting in on the ground floor with Jesus would lead him to a prosperous life. Maybe because of his own personal training in the law, he thought he would be a leader of the group because of his religious upbringing. He could show the whole group how to read the Torah. He could be a leader of the disciples of Jesus. You see this scribe was focused all on where Jesus could take him. Oh the places he could go. But Jesus wanted the scribe to be more concerned about who he was traveling with instead of the places he might go. And I think if we’re honest, we all tend to do this too.

We are often way more concerned about where Jesus is taking us rather than Jesus Himself. We care more about the place than the person. We are more interested in the destination than who we are traveling with. We spend more time in prayer about what the next move might be, rather than focusing on the One who will lead us there. Jesus is telling the scribe that the only guarantee when following Him is that Jesus is all you’ve got. Will that be enough for him? Will that be enough for you?

So this man has to make a choice. Will he choose to give up his earthly comfort and security for Jesus? Or will he choose to give up Jesus for his earthly security and comforts? And the choice he makes will have major ramifications in his life. Now, sadly, the text doesn’t tell us what he says, but we can infer that the cost was too high. And he left that day. Now according to all of the Bible classes and books that I’ve read on evangelism, Jesus is by all accounts blowing it, right? This is not how I was taught to evangelize to other people, especially people who are eager to follow Jesus, right? You don’t lead with the hard stuff. No, no, no. Why isn’t Jesus talking about redemption of sins? Why isn’t He letting this man know that it is faith alone in Christ alone that saves you? Why isn’t He praying the ABC prayer with him? You know it, admit, believe, commit, right? Why isn’t He walking him down the Romans Road? What is Jesus doing here? Doesn’t He know how to navigate these moments? But okay, that was a weird moment but, let’s give Jesus the benefit of the doubt. Thankfully right after this interaction, he is given another opportunity to explain the gospel to someone who wants to follow him right after this interaction.

 And the text says that another man approaches him, ready to follow him, but there’s a catch. Before he can follow Jesus he has to deal with this, with the funeral arrangements of his father. Now many commentators disagree on what this man is asking of Jesus. Some think this man’s father has died and he needs to prepare funeral arrangements. Others think that this man may be waiting for his father to die so he can receive his inheritance before following Jesus. But either way, this man is in a heartbreaking situation in life. Both situations don’t sound great. And I don’t know about you guys, but either if his father has passed away or is passing away, this seems like a reasonable ask. Alright, Jesus, tell him about grace. Tell him about the resurrection. Tell him about hope in the midst of grief. Isn’t this what this man needs right now? But Jesus’ response is clear, “ Let the dead bury their own dead.”  What is He doing? Why is He saying what he’s saying? Isn’t the goal to get people to this moment? We’ve seen Jesus be so gentle with others throughout the gospels, but He is seemingly being harsh here. What is going on?

But I think what Jesus is doing is addressing a man who will always have a good excuse why he can’t follow Jesus right now. Notice that the man gives no specificity in his timing. If his father has passed away already, according to Jewish law, he would need to be buried before the sunset, would he come and follow Jesus that night? Or, if he is waiting for his father to pass away, who knows when that will be? Could be days, could be weeks, could be months, could be years. I think D. A. Carson says it well in a commentary that I was reading. He says:

 “The man wanted to follow Jesus, but not just yet. He knew it was good and that he should do it, but he felt there was a good reason why he could not do it now. If the scribe was too quick in promising, this disciple was too slow in performing.”

You see there are two kinds of people shown in this section of the Gospel that we’re reading. The first man, the scribe, is overly eager and passionate and isn’t thinking about the hard path that Jesus might lead him on. But the other man is overly cautious and will keep finding good reasons why he can’t follow Jesus right now. Where are you on this spectrum? Are you the kind of person that’s always going I just need to know this one more thing about Jesus? I just need to come to one more service, one more thing. I just need to read one more book. Or are you the person that’s like, yeah, let’s go to the summer camp high, right? Coming back, like this is awesome, right? And then the second life gets hard, you pull back. And you wonder, “That can’t be the road Jesus is leading me on.” But the question that I have is why does Jesus respond to these men in this shocking and confusing way?

Jesus is doing something here that I’m afraid many of us have never done before. Jesus is inviting these two men and any who would consider themselves to be disciples to count the cost before making the decision to follow Him. He is not pulling the wool over their eyes. He’s not trying to pretend that following Him is easier than it really is. He is being upfront with them. Following Him may mean giving up earthly security and comfort. Following Jesus means valuing and honoring Him above all other relationships, even your family. We must count the cost before making this decision because this decision has more weight and ramifications than any other decision in your life. Being a Christian is not just about what you will do with your Sunday mornings. Being a Christian is not just about having a 10 minute devotional in the morning. Being a Christian is not just about a euphoric feeling of love in your heart at all times. Being a Christian is all about what you will consider most valuable, precious, and trustworthy in your life. In Matthew 6:21 Jesus says, “Where your treasure lies there your heart will be also.” Jesus is saying we must consider Him to be our deepest treasure and source of security, more than earthly comforts, and more than earthly relationships. 

So we’re going to come back to this topic in a bit, but I want to ask the question too really quickly. How does this relate to the three miracles that Jim talked about last week? How does this relate? How does this section relate to the theme of the authority of Jesus? Well, last week we learned that Jesus has authority over disease. This week we are seeing that Jesus also has authority over disciples. In his commentary on this section, David Platt says:

“When Jesus speaks, leprosy, paralysis, and fever obey. The question is, do you?” 

We’re going to move on to the next section. So if you would follow along, I’m going to read Matthew 8:23 through 27, really fast:

 “And when He got into the boat, his disciples followed Him. And behold there arose a great storm on the sea so that the boat was being swamped by the waves. But He was asleep. And they went and woke Him saying, save us, Lord. We are perishing. And He said to them, why are you afraid, O you of little faith? Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm and the men marveled saying, what sort of man is this, that even the winds and see obey Him.”

 So finally the disciples get into the boat and start making their way to the other side of the sea. And it says in the middle of their journey, a great storm arose. And the storm was so bad that the waves began to crash over the side of the boat. Now the Sea of Galilee, which is what they were on is located pretty close to Mount Herman, which has snow caps almost all year round. So what would happen is, and the Sea of Galilee is roughly 680 feet below sea level. So it’s quite low. So what would happen is the cold air from the top of Mount Herman would come down the mountain and collide with a hot air over the Sea of Galilee. And it would cause vicious and sudden storms extremely fast. And so the disciples are caught in the middle of one of these. And admittedly, I’m not that familiar with boating, but I do know that water getting into the boat is never a good thing, right? The text is letting us in on the fact that this is truly a very bad and deadly storm. 

The disciples aren’t overreacting here. If something doesn’t change, they are going to be at the bottom of the sea very soon. And now remember, four of these disciples would’ve been familiar with the waters because they were fishermen. They lived their life on the water. So there was no one more qualified to know the severity of the storm than them. And if anyone could have gotten them out of it by human strength, it would’ve been these four guys. It’s kind of like looking to the flight attendant on a flight.  So little thing about me, I hate flying. Hate it, get really uncomfortable with it. Anytime we hit turbulence, I’m like, this is it, like we’re going down, start calling your loved ones, like it’s over. And I look over to my right and there’s Emily asleep on the guy next to her, like drool coming down, because she’s so comfortable with it. And so what I will often do is lock eyes on the flight attendant. Because if they’re calm, I can be calm. But if the flight attendant is trying to call home, if they’re like buckled in, crying, right, and shrieking, I’m going to start panicking, right, because they’re much more familiar with the air than I am. And so, the fact that these four disciples, these four fishermen are freaking out, we can tell this is really bad. This storm could prove to be deadly. And in the midst of the disciples clinging to dear life, it says, Jesus is sleeping on the boat. 

Now I have a picture of the kind of boat, probably the kind of boat they would’ve been going on. So many times I’ve thought in my own imagination that there was like an upper deck where the disciples were doing all the work. And then like in the lower deck there Jesus was asleep on the boat. No, like four feet away from them, there’s Jesus like curled up in this little boat, right, with 12 dudes in it, somehow, some way asleep! And so the disciples go and wake him up and they plead with Jesus, “Jesus, save us!” Have you ever felt like the disciples have at this moment…that in their hour of greatest need, Jesus was nowhere to be found?  And when you do find him, it seems like He doesn’t care that you’re drowning. I feel like we’re not so different from the disciples in this moment because we often do the same things in the hard times of our lives. When the pressure gets turned up, we begin to question if God really cares about us, if Jesus really desires to save us? And like the disciples, we begin to try and wake Jesus up so He can save us from the storm. Jesus, wake up. Don’t you see my life right now? Don’t you see my marriage is failing? Don’t you see my family is falling apart? Don’t you see the cancer is getting worse? The finances are running thin. Jesus I don’t know how much more time I’ve got, the waves are crashing over the boats of my life. Would you wake up? Would you do something? Would you save me? And so Jesus wakes up and it says he addresses the disciples before addressing the storm. And He says to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” 

What I find fascinating is that Jesus doesn’t address their perception of the storm. He doesn’t minimize the storm. He doesn’t say, gosh, why did you wake me up? This isn’t even that bad. No, no, He doesn’t question their perception of the storm. He questions their perception of the power and authority of the One who was with them in the boat. You see the problem is not that they had an improper view of the storm; the problem is they had an improper view of who Jesus was. It’s not that they needed to minimize their view of the storm. They needed to maximize their view of the Lord. It’s not that the storm isn’t too big. It’s that their faith was too small. And something I have realized about my life is that anytime I feel an unhealthy fear or anxiousness, it is almost always because I have believed the storm was too big for God to handle. I have let the size, power, and ferocity of the storm make me forget the size, power, and authority of the God who was with me in the boat.

And so after Jesus addresses them, it says He turns and He rebukes the winds and the waves, and it says they stopped immediately because all of nature is subject to the authority and Lordship of Christ. And it’s interesting, Tommy pointed this out earlier, this week to me, it’s interesting that the same word used to describe the great storm is now used to describe the great calm because where Jesus often goes, great storms are replaced with great calm. And so this leaves the disciples in a state of awe and marveling. What sort of man is this? That even the winds and the waves obey him. Answer: this is no common man. This is not like anybody that you’ve ever met.

Now in the parallel story found in Mark 4, it says that disciples were filled with great fear towards Jesus. And so there is a mindset shift that has taken place in the hearts and in the minds of disciples. You see they have swapped their unhealthy fear of the storm with a healthy fear of the Lord. A fear of the storm will always produce anxiety and fear in your heart. A fear of the Lord produces peace even in the midst of the storm. Have you made that exchange in your own life? Is the fear that you face on a daily basis a result of the severity of your problems? Or is the fear that you face on a daily basis a result of the holiness, the reverence and the authority of God? You see, it’s not about getting rid of fear. It’s about putting it in its proper place. We need to learn how to fear the right things. 

And so I’m going to stop there, but there are three things I want us to see in this text before we leave this time together, three exhortations. So here is the first exhortation: following Jesus involves our unconditional trust. I’m going to say that again. Following Jesus involves our unconditional trust. As followers of Jesus, we must be willing to give up earthly comforts and securities and trust that God will provide everything we need. Let us not be like the man who in his excitement, commits to follow Jesus anywhere, but quickly pulls out when we find out that where he’s leading us is hard and uncomfortable. It is far better to be in a hard and uncomfortable place with Jesus than in a comfortable place without him; I promise you. And it’s not about where we’re going; it’s about whom we’re traveling with. And I want to plead with you this morning, TVC, that Jesus is worthy and deserving of your trust more than anyone or anything in this life. He is more reliable than any object or person. He will never let you down because He is faithful and He cannot break his promises to us. Only He can hold the weight of your faith.

However, before you put your trust in Him, I want you to count the cost before making this decision. Because putting your trust in Him may mean losing out on the things of this world. Following Jesus does not always lead us to earthly comfort. It always leads us to Him. There’s another quote by David Platt that I want to read out to you also in his commentary. He says:

 “Following Jesus may mean losing everything in this world. This is another problem with the prosperity gospel. It makes Jesus a means to an end. You come to Jesus to get health, wealth, or anything else you want; just fill in the blank. The problem is that you shouldn’t come to Jesus to get stuff; you come to Jesus to get Jesus. You may lose everything in this world, but He is enough.” 

Jesus is the prize, comfort and security of the Christian life. He is the most firm and trustworthy object you could put your faith in. We must be willing to give Christ our unconditional trust if we desire to follow Him, this is not an option.

Second point: following Jesus involves our undivided affections. Recognizing Jesus’ absolute authority over everything should cause us to give Him our uncontested allegiance. We must be willing to honor and put Christ first above all other relationships in life. Paul in Philippians 3 verse 8 says this:

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I might gain Christ.” 

To know Christ truly means that we have made Him our most prized and valued possession and delight. He is far more valuable and precious than anything or anybody else in this world. He needs to be our deepest delight above all other relationships. So I stop and ask the question is Jesus your deepest treasure? Is He your greatest delight? 

And I say this as a warning, if He is not, your loves are disordered and you will crush those who you most love. You will place God-size expectations on your loved ones. And they will not be able to hold the weight. But here is one of the paradoxes of the Christian life. The more you love God and put him above others, the better you will love those around you. The more you love God than your spouse, the better you will love your spouse. The more you love God than your children, the better you will love your children. The more you love God than your parents, the better you will love your parents. The more you love God than your friends, the better you will love your friends. I’m sure you see the pattern by this point. So listen to me, this is not a call to be cold towards all other relationships outside of Christ. This is a call to find your deepest longings in Christ and allow that love to flow through you into all areas and relationships of life. To be a true follower of Christ means that we have given Him our undivided affections. And there’s a quote by a guy named Erik Reed that I wanna read to you. He says:

“Most of us have chosen heaven over hell, but not many of us have chosen heaven over earth.” 

What are you unwilling to let go of? What or who is in the way of your undivided affections? Now let me pause really quickly and talk about if you can acknowledge, this morning, “Ryan, my loves are misplaced. My trust is misplaced. What do I do?”  This is not a message about going home, rolling up your sleeves and willing yourself to love Jesus more than you love him right now. This is nothing short of a miracle that takes place in our hearts. So this is not a message about human effort. This is a message about our dire need for the Spirit’s help. And so what do we do when we find out our loves and priorities are misplaced? We confess to God, “Lord Jesus, I have not loved you as I ought to”. And then we pray for the Spirit to shape and mold our hearts because we need the Spirit’s help to love what we ought to love.

Third thing: following Jesus involves His unfailing presence. I have heard many preachers and teachers use the story of Jesus calming the storm to launch into extravagant claims that God’s promise is that He will soon calm whatever storm you are facing in life. They make it out like the promise for us in this text is that the problems that you’re facing today will be gone by Monday. Please hear me. We hope and pray that that is true for you. When Kim comes and prays over our congregation, we are asking the Lord to put an end to the suffering that we’re all facing. We want the storms to stop. However, that is not the main part of the story. And that’s not the promise for us in this text. The promise isn’t relief from the storm; the promise is that Jesus will always be in your boat. The main point of this story is found in verse 27 when the disciples asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him.” In the same way the disciples were in awe about the power and authority of the one who was with them in the boat, we are to be in awe about the power and the authority of the One who was with us today, right now.

The promise is not that all storms in your life will end soon. The promise is that you will never be alone in the midst of them. As a believer, your confidence is not found in the absence of storms. It is found in the presence of the Lord.

“Our faith is not that trials and hard times will never come our way. Our faith is confidence that no matter whatever kinds of storms, winds, and waves come your way in this world, the God of the universe will be right there in the boat with you.”

He has not abandoned you. He has not forsaken you. He is for you. He’s not against you. And maybe the reason you find yourself in a storm is not because God is upset with you, but it’s because He wants to reveal Himself to you.

Look back at verse 18 with me really fast. I actually want you to look there, because this is a really important part of the text. Whose idea was it to get into the boat? Do you think Jesus was surprised by the storm? Do you think the disciples were just at the wrong place at the wrong time? This was a setup. Jesus intended for this to happen. But then the question is why? So that verse 27 would happen; that they would understand the power and the authority of Christ. I deeply encourage all of you who find yourself in some form of a storm today, to stop focusing on the size and power of the storm that you are facing and begin to refocus all of that energy on the power, authority and love of the One who has bound Himself to you. The more we begin to truly fear the Lord, the less we will fear the storms in this world.

Let me pray, “Jesus, thank you so much for this day. God, I thank You that You are in the boat with us. That, God, though the problems and the storms we face are real, God, you are so much bigger than they are. And so Lord, we trust you. But God I pray for all of us this morning that we would count the cost; that we would understand what it means to follow you. That we may lose out on the things of this world but, Father, we will gain so much greater things in you. Father, help us to love what we ought. In your name I pray. Amen.”

Subscribe to our podcasts: 

More resources from The Village Chapel:

Scroll to Top