Volume. XXIX, No. 30
Sunday, 25 January 2015


By Faith We Shall Overcome


“Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. But as they sailed he fell asleep; and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! For he commandeth even the winds and water: and they obey him” (Luke 8:22-25).

 

The Sea of Galilee is an unusual body of water. It is relatively small - thirteen miles long and seven miles wide. It is one hundred and fifty feet deep. The shoreline is six hundred and eighty feet below sea level. The Sea of Galilee is surrounded by hills. Winds blowing across the land intensify close to the sea causing violent and unexpected storms. These storms can appear over the surrounding hills without warning, stirring the water into violent twenty foot waves.

 

This was the unexpected storm that the disciples encountered when they were crossing the Sea of Galilee on that particular day. Verses 22 to 25 describe to us this stormy scene in the Sea of Galilee. The disciples were seasoned fishermen who had spent their lives fishing in this huge lake, but in the storm they panicked.

 

Scriptures tells us that amidst the raging storm our Lord was asleep. Water was filling the boat fast. As experienced fishermen they knew its danger. Frightened, they woke up the Lord. He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging sea. The storm ceased and there was a great calm. Having rebuked the elements, He turned to His disciples and rebuked them asking, “where is your faith?”

 

Our Lord rebuked them for their lack of faith. It was obvious when our Lord asked them about their faith, it implied that they had faith. They did not lack faith but they failed to apply it (however much faith they had).

 

The disciples had been with Christ since the beginning of His ministry. They had seen what He could do. They had seen Him performing miracles.  Miracles such as healing the blind, healing the lame, healing the sick, curing the lepers, the feeding of the five thousand, driving away evil spirits and even raising the dead. Yet, they failed to exercise their faith when they were in the boat on that stormy day.

 

 The epistle to the Ephesians in Chapter 8:2 reminds us that “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not of your selves; it is the gift of God.” Faith is a gift from God. God is the object of our faith. The marrow of our faith is confidence in and reliance upon God. Faith in the spiritual context and in its simplest meaning is absolute trust in God.

 

True faith is not presumptuous and neither does it depend upon euphoria or how one feels on a certain day. True faith must experience the saving grace of God. Our reliance must be upon God.  Faith is central to our Christian life.

 

Hebrews 11:1 tells us that ‘{now} faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ This verse tells us that faith is the ‘confidence’ of things hoped for. It is a faith that leads to righteousness. It is a faith that seeks God. It is a faith that believes in His goodness. It is a faith that has confidence in His Word. It is a faith that obeys His commandments and a faith that asks Him to deliver us from all situations.

 

Faith says ‘Amen’ to everything that God says. Faith accepts God without any ifs. When we have faith in God, we commit ourselves to Him unconditionally, trusting in Him faithfully and asking Him to deliver us from all situations. Christ must be the object of our faith.

 

Faith is not only a profession about Christ, but most importantly, it is a longing from the heart of the believer to follow Christ as our Lord and Saviour and surrendering ourselves wholeheartedly to Him. Faith is never doubting God. Faith is never questioning God. Faith is believing that He can deliver. Faith is a complete trust and obedience in God. How much faith one has or the lack of it is reflected in a person’s relationship with God. The closer we walk with God, the stronger is our faith in Him.

 

On that day when the disciples with Jesus were sailing across the lake they encountered a raging storm. The wind and the billows were bad enough. But with the water coming into the ship the disciples were in great danger and feared for their lives. All this time Jesus was sleeping while the storm was raging. Wasn’t He concerned about them?

Of course He was. One of the attributes of God is His caring nature. God cares for the things that He has created. God cares for the flora and the fauna. We are the pinnacle of His creation. Of course He cares for them and He cares for us. When God allows trials and testings in our lives, it is our faith that is being tested.

 

The apostle Paul’s encouragement for us is found in 1 Corinthians 10:13 when he tells us that “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above  that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

 

Our Lord is the stoker of the cauldron. He knows our strength and He knows our weaknesses. God knows exactly how much heat He needs to purify us. Thank God for making a way for us to escape.

 

In the gospel of Matthew 17:18 Jesus rebuked the devil and he departed out of him and the child was cured from that very hour. In verse 19 His disciples asked Him why they could not cast the devil out. Jesus answered them in verse 20 “Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Do we have this faith?

From the above text we can concur that our Lord admonishes us to apply and exercise our faith. No matter how insurmountable the situation may be, go to the God of faith and call upon Him. The Psalmist encourages us in Psalm 50:15a to call upon Him in the day of trouble because He will deliver us.

 

Remember Peter when he saw Jesus walking on the water towards the disciples, Peter walked towards Jesus. Peter had his eyes upon Jesus and all was well. He was walking on the water. Once he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the sea he began to sink. Jesus stretched out His hand to save him and also rebuked him for having little faith.

 

Yes, dear brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus has overcome the world. We too are over comers. We must have faith in Him. The question from our Lord to His disciples “where is your faith” poses the same question for us today.  The Gospel of Luke Chapter 8:22-25 is a lesson on faith.

 

Faith is believing that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthened me” (Philippians 4:13). We are reminded in the Gospel of Mark chapter 11:22 by our Lord when He told His disciples to “have faith in God” and He continued to teach them the power of faith.

 

When Jesus farewelled His disciples in the Gospel of John chapter 16:33 this is what He reminded them. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

 

The Pauline epistle to the Romans in chapter  8:31b assures us that “if God be for us, who can be against us?”

 

Thank God for the gift of faith. Our Lord says “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” Revelation 3:21.

 

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” Hebrews 4:16. Always “look unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith” Hebrews 12:1a. Yes, dear believers, by faith we shall overcome.

 

Humbly submitted,

Bro Tony Law


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

* Kitchen Roster - Leader: Today: Bro Phil Surman. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Simon Yeo.

*Catered Fellowship Lunch: Adult: $7. Pensioner/student/unemployed: $5. Under 5 years: Free.

*Easter Family Bible Camp 2015 - Volunteers needed for Camp Committee. First meeting will be held next Lord’s Day.

*New Basic Bible Knowledge Class commencing on the Lord’s Day, 22 Feb. Please see Elder Michael D Lee for details.

*Special classes (History of Doctrines) by Pastor Ki on every 1st & 2nd Lord’s Days at 3.15 pm will replace Evening Service. All are encouraged to attend.

*Help required for Working Bee on Sat, 9.30 am.

*Neighbourhood Bible Study groups – BSAG, Joy & Maranatha - will commence in the first week of Feb. All worshippers are encouraged to attend one of these groups. Please see any Session member for details.

*Daily Manna for Jan-Mar QTR available. Please help yourself to a copy. Donation: $1.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Please refer to hard copy of Lively Hope.

2. Church activities in the past week.

3. Visitors & new worshippers.

4. Admission to uni courses: Sisters Agnes See (Medicine-TAS); Joey Teh (Dentistry); Narelle Yung (Computer Sc); & Natalie Gan (Pharmacy).

5. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

 

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Please refer to hard copy of Lively Hope.

2. Special Prayer: Bro Tien Lee’s father (post-surgery) recovering in ICU (Penang); & Sis Yashu Qin’s father (Wuhan).

3. God’s strength, guidance & provision: Sis Wol Hee Kim & her two daughters (S Korea).

4. iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in China (17 Jan - 17 Feb).

5. Cambodia Missions - Bro John Saray & ministry (Sihanoukville); Bro Chanthon & ministry (Siem Reap); & Bro Thi Chhay & ministry (Kratie).

6. New Life BPC (London) - God’s guidance & provision of a pastor.

7. Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.

8. Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.

9. Journey mercies: Please refer to hard copy of Lively Hope.

10. Health in pregnancy: Sis Emily Zheng.

11. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

12. Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063