More Lessons in Discipleship

Scripture: Matthew 14:22-27, 1 John 4:18, Matthew 16:1-12
Date: 03/16/2008 
Lesson: 11
A review of additional lessons about discipleship that Jesus offers us.
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome to "Sacramento central study hour" this morning with Pastor Doug Batchelor. A very special welcome to our visitors and our regular members here in the sanctuary. And a very special welcome to our extended family that faithfully join us across the country and around the world every Sabbath morning. However you're joining us, live on the internet, through radio or television, welcome.

Our first hymn this morning is hymn number 303, "beneath the cross of Jesus." And this comes as a request from hang key in indonesia, nelly in australia, gifterlean in the Philippines, brett in Sacramento, California, rauly in California, and barbara in Connecticut. Hymn number 303. And we will sing the first and the third verses... If you have a special hymn that you would like to sing with us on a coming Sabbath, I invite you to go to our website at And there you can click on the music link and you can request any hymn in our hymnal.

And we would love to sing that with you on a coming Sabbath. Our next hymn we're gonna sing is hymn number 528, "a shelter in the time of storm." We're gonna sing all four verses. And this has a very long list of requests. And it comes from tavita in kabul, afghanistan, everton in england, kawabina in ghana, chang tai from zimbabwe, nima in tanzania, ali from malawi, donna lynn from british virgin islands, jean in the republic of korea, harvey in saint lucia, the view fort s-d-a church in saint lucia, juliet and diane, karmetta, charles, ralph and birdie, and steven and jasmine all from the bahamas, eli from California, tina from Montana, and last but not least, molly from Iowa. Hymn number 528, "a shelter in the time of storm," all four verses.

.. Let's pray. Our Father in Heaven, dear Jesus, we are so grateful this morning that you truly are our shelter in the time of storm. And as this earth wraps up its history and times get tougher, Lord, help us to just put our faith and our trust in you and stand on Your Word that you are coming and that you are coming to get us and take us home forever. And as we study this morning Your Word with Pastor Doug, I ask you to let His Words be Your Words and that we will take them and we will use them to share your love and your glory to those around us, that we can hasten your coming.

We pray these things in your name, Jesus, amen. Our study this morning will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor, senior pastor here at Sacramento central. Thank you jolyne and our musicians. Morning friends. They didn't mention my name when they were singing that song, "beneath the cross of Jesus," but I requested that too.

So, I feel kind of left out. My name wasn't mentioned. But I'll get over it. Welcome to Sacramento central Sabbath school for our class here. We always have a few local visitors.

And we know we have a lot of friends who are visiting with us through watching on television or watching on the internet or listening on the radio. And we are honored that we can all be part of class together, studying God's Word. And I never cease to be amazed and thrilled as I hear the plethora of names and countries that are saying, "remember us." We just had one from kabul, afghanistan and others. And if you don't have a church you can attend, we'll adopt you. I'll be your pastor.

You can go to Sacramento central website. And we'd like to be able to keep you in touch. And you can watch and study online. There's books and resources. Just go to saccentral.

org. And we want you to be connected. So, that's one way we can do it. We have a free offer each week. And if you'd like to get our free offer that goes along with our study today, we're talking about discipleship.

It's an offer called "alone in the crowd." It's a classic book written by Joe Crews about how you can stand for your faith, even though you sometimes feel like you're alone. And it's offer number 714, "alone in the crowd." That's--call on this toll-free number 866-788-3966. And we'll send it to you. That's all you have to do. We are continuing, we're on lesson number 11 now in our study guide dealing with discipleship.

And particularly today the study is dealing with "more lessons in discipleship." And it's based on a number of Scriptures." Those Scriptures being Matthew 14:22-33, Mark 4:36-41, and Mark 6:51-52, Luke 8:25, and Luke 24:37, John 6:19, I'm not gonna get to that all. We have a memory verse that we will get to, Matthew 14:27. I'll give you a second to find that or if you've got your quarterly. I hope you'll say it out loud with me. Let's see if we can do this like a choir that's practiced.

You ready? It's Mark--I'm sorry-- Matthew 14:27, "but straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, 'be of good cheer! It is i; be not afraid." Now a central focus we're going to have in our lesson today is regarding fear. And a lot of the passages that deal with this talk about discipleship and fear. One of the stories that comes to mind for me is John wesley, who of course is a great theologian, a great preacher, a great reformer, great leader, a great man of faith. But he was a Christian all of his life, raised by a Godly Christian mother, susanna wesley, was a legend in her own time. And John went off from england to do mission work in North America, more specifically in Georgia.

In route they encountered a storm on the sea. Now this is in our lesson a lot today, talking about the disciples being afraid on the sea. And he was terrified for his life. He was just cowering in fear. On that same ship were some moravian missionaries that were singing with their wives and children during the storm and were unafraid.

John never forgot that. He thought, "what do they have that I'm missing? How come they're not afraid?" And he later went back to england. He kind of felt like his missionary endeavors were a failure. He began to study with some friends that were reading from Romans. More specifically they were reading luther's commentary on Romans.

And he said his heart was strangely warmed as they talked about the just living by faith. And he realized that he was not living by faith. He experienced a genuine conversion. Faith and fear do not coexist. Ah, you know what? I'm getting into my content.

I haven't read our stories yet. Turn with me please in your Bibles. We're gonna talk first about "lessons at sea." Go to Mark 4:36, Mark 4:36. We're gonna read through verse 41. Let's see.

I'm gonna start with verse 35. "On the same day, when evening had come, he said to them, 'let us cross over.'" Now notice, we're gonna look at a couple of stories on the sea and gonna learn some lessons about discipleship. First when he tells him to cross the sea, he said, "let us." Does he go with him on this first journey? Okay. He's with them. "Let us cross over to the other side.

" "Now when they had left the multitude, they took him along in the boat as he was. And the other little boats were also with him." Some others were gonna follow in boats along, across the sea with him. "And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling." Now you'd be surprised. Sea of Galilee is not big in the scope of seas. It's really a big lake.

One of the words that's used in the Bible is lake gennesaret. The sea of tiberias, sea of Galilee, they're all the same sea. It's like in the Bible, you've got mount horeb, Mount Zion, same mountain. So they're crossing this sea. Because it is a unique piece of geography where you've got the cold air up on the mountains of lebanon, and you've got the lowest point on earth down on the dead sea, there's this big chasm there, big rift in that valley, that storms become very quickly rise up and be--they're horrific windstorms.

And you've got a blazing desert to the east. You've got an ocean, the mediterranean to the west and just the dynamics of that region. It's like in North America, we've got what we call tornado alley, right? Well this is a part of geography in the world that was known for a little sea, big storms. And one of these storms began to brew, a great windstorm. I have a theory that the devil saw Jesus in that boat and he thought, "if I can't take him down through persecution and human elements, I'm going to use natural elements.

" I think the devil wanted to dispatch Jesus in that storm. He thought here he is asleep. He's vulnerable. There was no coastguard with life boats. Just sink him.

I think this was a diabolically manufactured storm. Can the devil do something with weather? Did he do it for job? Did the devil use weather to destroy some of job's flocks and his family? So, that's a theory I've got. So, this great storm arose and the boat was filling. It's sinking. The disciples are terrified.

"He's in the stern, asleep on a pillow." Back of the boat, lowest part of the boat, he's asleep. "And they awoke him and said to him, 'teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?'" This needs to be underlined in your Bible as--put a little note next to it after you underline it, and say, "dumb question." "Do you--" can you imagine the apostles, the disciples of Jesus, are asking Jesus about his ultimate mission. "He came that we might not perish." And they're saying, "don't you care? We're perishing." Well, that's a dumb question really to ask Jesus because that was the main reason he came, 'cause he didn't want them to perish. But the disciples were good at asking those kind of questions. "And he arose and he rebuked the wind, and the sea, saying, 'shalom.

' How would you say that in Hebrew, not Greek? How do you say peace in Hebrew? What is the name of the city? Jeru-shalom, city of peace. And so he said, "shalom, be still." Some preachers--and it kind of bothers me when I see them do this--they try to recreate what Jesus did. And Jesus stands on the bow and he shakes his fists at the elements, and he screeches back, "peace, be still!" Does the Lord have to do that? Is His Word powerful enough that he can just speak? Doesn't--he screamed? You ever listen to Bible tapes? And you know how Jesus says something--sometimes I'll hear people and they're narrating Bible tapes. And my favorite is alexander scourby. It's not perfect, but he's as close to perfect when it comes to pronunciation.

But some of them, they try to become more dramatic. And they dramatize things in ways they shouldn't. Sometimes you hear them, they're reading where Jesus is rebuking the scribes and the pharisees. And Jesus sounds downright mean the way they're doing it. Jesus did it with tears in his voice.

He wasn't mean. It broke his heart. So, how he says something means something. I think Jesus simply said, "he said," isn't that what the Bible said? "He said, 'peace, be still.'" And His Word is so potent, he doesn't need to scream. By the way, it sounds kind of like a contradiction to scream peace.

That's like when parents yell at their children to be quiet. Right? Doesn't it sound like a contradiction? "Peace." "And the wind ceased," you had to be there, "and there was a great calm." Just picture if you will, you know, the wind is howling. Their clothes are fluttering. The sail is ripping in the wind and spray from the water. And all of a sudden, it just comes to a screeching halt like these divine breaks hit the wind.

And it just stops. Little droplets fall straight down. The sail hangs straight down. The water goes from its mounting waves to glass. Not just calm, a great calm.

Now what was the status of the disciples before Jesus spoke? I think that they were afraid. Someone read for me--oh wait, I want to read verse 40. Well, tell you what, someone--I've got someone picked out to read verse 41. Who is that? Right there, birdie, go ahead. And give her the microphone.

Read 40 and 41. "He said to his disciples, 'why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?' They were terrified, and asked each other, 'who is this, even the wind and the waves obey him!'" Now were they afraid before Jesus spoke? Does this say that they were exceedingly afraid after he spoke? These are the disciples. They're afraid both times. "Why are you so afraid? How is it you have no faith?" You know what Jesus implies there? When faith comes in, fear goes out. The more faithful we are, the less fearful we are.

Does the Lord want us to be afraid? What does it do to your discipleship if you're afraid? What does it do to your witness? "I'm a believer in Jesus..." Who wants to follow someone like that that's living in fear? You say, "well, what has it done for you?" What was it that impressed wesley about the moravian Christians, their fear or their faith?" Faith. People in the world are afraid. Oh we cover it up, but let's face it; a lot of people are afraid. The reason folks work so hard to get money is because they're insecure. They're thinking they'll find some security with money.

And if we don't have enough health insurance, you know, we get enough health insurance because we might get sick. And we might be alone. And so we'll get online, find a dating service. And everybody's afraid. They're uncontent and they're living in fear.

I have a survey that I found here of some of the things that people are afraid of. You know there's all these different phobias. What's claustrophobia? Fear--any of you have a little bit of claustrophobia? It's not that I'm afraid, it's just I'm not comfortable when I'm all cooped up in small places. Some people wig out though. Sometimes people get on airplanes.

They go long distances. And shortly after the plane takes off, they just go bananas. And it's because the idea of being in this tin can, confined like that. They panic. And they have to land the plane.

Claustrophobia. And then you've got some people that are--what's hydrophobia? They're afraid of water. All these different phobias that people have. Is it acrophobia? What's that? Fear of spiders. Oh, it's arachnophobia, arachnophobia.

And then they got--is there such a thing as serpentphobia? Must be--I'm probably not saying it with the right latin words, but some people are terrified of snakes. And my mom was like that, just--my brother and I kept a rubber snake handy all the time just to terrify and torment mom. And we just like put it in our sock drawer. When she's putting clothes away, we'd hear her shriek. If my mom saw a snake on tv, in anything, she just had to cover her eyes.

She was so afraid. I think she finally got over that, but people live in fear. I got a list here of some of the things that teenagers are afraid of. "Nuclear war." Now this probably goes back a few years. I don't know that that's the biggest fear now, if they took a survey.

"Failing in school--57% said they were afraid of war, % said they were afraid of failing in school, 34% were afraid of a car accident, % were afraid of loneliness, % were afraid of disease, % also said they were afraid of their parents dying, 43% said they were afraid of dying, % were afraid of rejection, %--" there's a lot of bullying that goes on in school-- "were afraid of being beaten or injured, % were afraid of not having a boyfriend or girlfriend." And you know one of the real popular shirts kids were wearing a few years ago? What did they say on 'em? "No fear." Why do you think they were so popular? 'Cause they're living in fear. You know I think there's a connection between people, especially young people, being so afraid and not knowing that there's a God with a purpose. If you're raised believing that we've all just evolved and there's no God, then what protection or security can you have? What confidence can you have? If Jesus says, "I'm with you always," you don't have anything to be afraid of, right? But they have so much fear. How different is it in church and among Christians? It's not that different. You know why? Because a lot of people have religion.

They've got membership, but they don't have faith. And they're still afraid. I know some people, Christians all their lives, and they're constantly living in fear. They're always afraid. When the husband goes to work, they're afraid he's not coming home.

And they're afraid the kids go to school, something might happen to the kids. And they're just wringing their hands with fear. And let's face it; things do happen. Every now and then you do get those phone calls. But if you live in fear, you just become imprisoned by it.

Now let me tell you a little pet peeve I've got. There is risk in life. If you don't take any risk, you never have any fun. And I remember when I was a kid--I'm not recommending tempting the Lord. I'm not recommending--listen carefully, in case someone's gonna take what I'm saying and misunderstand--I'm not recommending being reckless.

But when I grew up, we never wore seatbelts. How many of you remember laying on the back dash of the car as you drove around? That's the best view. And when I was a kid, we didn't wear helmets on our bicycles. Now I know that there's safety precautions there. And we didn't have the government telling us that you had to do it.

And we had trampolines at school. We had diving boards. Now they don't put 'em by the pools, because there's too much risk. And just--I'm not endorsing these things. I'm just saying that little-by-little, just over the course of my short life I've seen how so many things that people did with abandon, and they didn't--they weren't worried about it, we take them away now because we say, "you know, the insurance company can't cover that.

" And there's too much risk. Now they're saying they don't want kids to play dodge ball at school because they might get hurt. Someone could sue. And because people live in constant state of fear, we end up becoming imprisoned by it. If you know someone that has a car accident, does that mean you're not gonna drive anymore? I mean let's face it, there's certain risks involved.

We want air bags and that wasn't enough. Now we want airbags for both passenger and driver. Then you want them for the side air bags. And I think if it goes far enough, our cars are all gonna look like one big air bag, right? Because we want to insulate ourselves against any danger. And you know, I do think--i wear my seatbelt all the time.

I mean, I'm not trying to talk about being reckless, but it's just a trend. We're trying to create a world where there's no danger. Well, you know, if you live by faith, there's gonna be risk. There's gonna be danger, but you don't have to live in fear. You just put it in God's hands.

I don't think the Lord wants us--was it risky for Jesus to go across an ocean? They didn't have any lifeboats in that little boat. I'll bet you that if the coastguard had pulled them over, they didn't have life vests either. What kind of risk is that? Jesus shouldn't have done that, right? If you've got Jesus in your boat, you don't need to be afraid. Fear comes from sin. Somebody please read for me Genesis 3:10.

"So he said, 'I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.'" You remember what we just read about Jesus? They were afraid before Jesus spoke. After Jesus worked a miracle, they're still afraid. They're exceedingly afraid of his power. Why was adam afraid of God? Was adam afraid of God before he sinned? No. He was afraid of God when he realized that he had sinned.

He had sinned and God is holy and he ran from him. Well, I think it may have been wesley that said, "he who truly fears God fears nothing else. And he who does not fear God, fears everything else." When you truly fear God, you're not afraid of anything else. Adam ran from God because of sin. The disciples were afraid even after Jesus' miracle because they had a picture of his awesomeness.

Now there is a right kind of fear and there's a wrong kind of fear. Perfect love casts out fear because fear has torment. The Bible says in Revelation, "the fearful will be in the lake of fire." Wrong kind of fear. But job was a man who feared God and that was a good thing. So, there's a right kind of fear.

What does that mean, fear God? Is it the kind of fear where you run from God or run to God? Run to him. When Jesus spoke and the wind and the waves stopped and there was a great calm and the disciples are now exceedingly afraid, what are they afraid of now? Are they afraid for their lives? Or are they just afraid because of the awesomeness of Christ? There was almost a terror of reverence, "who is this being that even the elements obey him?" If we had more of that kind of fear, we would sin less. 'Cause when God told us what to do, we'd say, "hoo, wow, he's God! Who are we to argue with him?" When the apostle John saw an angel in his glory, what did he do? "He fell down at great fear at the feet of the angel." He wanted to worship the angel. And the angel said, "don't do it. Worship God," right? When Daniel saw God in his glory, what did he do? Fell down as though he was dead with fear.

And Ezekiel. And Isaiah. And maNoah and his wife. And you go through all these examples in the Bible where they saw God and his glory. And how did these people respond? There was a terror there.

God is so holy, and he's so great. That's a good kind of fear. That's what it means to fear God. It means to reverence God, to be aware of his awesome power and majesty. I just was sharing this with our afcoe class this week, but on the desktop of my computer what I did is I went to the hubble website.

And it's--anyone can do it. It's free. You can go to the hubble telescope website. And they've got the images there. They belong to you.

You paid for them with your tax dollars. And you are allowed to go there. And I took some of the most spectacular images of deep space, just the majesty of some of these nebula and these pictures of vast galaxies. And each one of these little galaxies is filled with billions of suns. And it's so big.

And I converted it to a bitmap file. And I put it in my windows directory and I made it my desktop. So, when I open up my computer, I've got this picture of the cosmos. And I can change them every now and then so--pretty soon you look at the same desktop, you don't even see it anymore. All you see is all the work.

You know what I mean? So, I gotta change it every now and then to keep it fresh. And when I turn it on, I look at that and I go, "wow." The antennae nebula, the cats eye nebula, they got one that looks like the eye of God. And it's a nebula. It's just amazing. And I see those things and I know, 'cause I've studied a little astronomy that they are hundreds of thousands of light-years across.

Traveling the speed of light, it takes you 100,000 years to get across the desktop of my computer. That's how long it takes me to get the work done on my computer too. But I look at that and I think, "oh Lord, you're so big." So in my office, I turn on my computer first thing when I come back down. Then I go heat up water. Then I come back and I kneel down.

So I see that and I think about how big God is before I kneel. And it creates within me the right kind of fear of God, a respect for his awesomeness. Well the disciples were feeling this. And they were afraid of Jesus. That was the right kind of fear.

Alright, let's go--there's two experiences at sea. Turn with me to--oh, let me see. I want to go to Matthew 14. I'm gonna go to Matthew 14. And let's look at-- let's go to verse 22.

.. "Immediately Jesus made his disciples get in the boat and go before him to the other side, while he sent the multitudes away." Alright, first story on the sea that we just looked at, was Jesus in the boat with them? Well, the first story we just looked at, was he sleeping in the boat? Yes. So when he crossed over, he was in the boat with them. In this story that we're looking at, is he in the boat with them? No. He's sending them over by themselves.

He--"immediately Jesus made his disciples go." And then he had sent the multitudes away. "He went into a mountain by himself to pray. And when evening had come, he was there alone. But the boat now was in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary." It's about 3 a.m. It tells us that it was during the fourth watch.

That's between 3 and 6 a.m., One of the darkest, coldest times of the night. "Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, 'it is a ghost!' And they cried out for," what? "Fear." There they are again. They're afraid. "But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'be of good cheer! It is i; do not be afraid.

'" Now I've not done the count myself, but I believe it was dwight moody who said that he went through all of the "fear nots" in the Bible, and it's worded different ways. Sometimes it says, "do not be afraid," "do not be alarmed." There's different ways God words it. But if you count all the "fear nots" in the Bible, he came up with 365 "fear nots," which of course is one "fear not" for every day. I'd like to have somebody do that study for me and e-mail me the list. And we could send it out and say, "here's your fear not for today in the Bible.

" But I mean old and new testament. He says it to Abraham, to Isaiah, to all these prophets, fear not, fear not, fear not, fear not. He says it to Joshua, be encouraged. Do not fear. Over and over again God is telling us don't be afraid.

Don't be afraid. Don't be afraid. 'Cause people live in fear all the time. And that's not God's will. For the believer, if you are out of God's will, should you be at peace? No.

So, don't ask God to give peace to your lost loved ones so that they could be sleeping like Jonah in a storm on their way to destruction serenely sleeping. You don't want them to be at peace. Matter of fact, the story of Jonah stands out as unique because the lost pagans had sense to be afraid in their praying. They're in a storm. They're on a boat.

They're praying. They're afraid. You know there's interesting parallels here between this story and the story of the disciples, because Jesus was in a boat asleep. All the disciples were afraid. They woke him up that they might not perish.

And Jesus said, "no sign will be given to this generation but the sign of Jonah." They had to throw Jonah overboard. They had to sacrifice Jonah to survive. Right? Jesus was in the boat. They woke him up and said, "don't you care that we're perishing?" That's the same thing that the captain said to Jonah, "don't you care that we perish? Arise and call upon your God." It's very interesting parallels here. Anyway, but the other side of that story is Jonah's asleep on his way to destruction.

He didn't seem to care. And so you've got people who are lost that are not afraid that should be. And then you got people who are in the church that know Jesus that shouldn't be afraid. So, those "fear nots" in the Bible are to give peace and security to those who are in Christ. They shouldn't be afraid.

Why? "Fear not for I am with thee." That's what Christ said. So if we're with Christ, we shouldn't be afraid. Now when he was with them in the boat the first time, sleeping, they were afraid because they forgot he was there. The next time they're afraid, he's not with them in the boat, but he's still with them. When he was praying up in the mountain, he saw them in the boat.

And that's why he went to them when they couldn't get anywhere. Back to our story. He says, "be of good cheer! It is i; be not afraid." "And Peter answered him and said, 'Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.'" Now you wonder what in the world was going through Peter's head. By the way, this is not mentioned in all the Gospel stories, but it's mentioned here in Matthew. Why did Peter say that? Probably because he was a man.

And men don't have fun unless there's risk involved. And he saw Jesus skiing barefoot. He said, "I'd like to try that, just insists something. I mean--fess up. And it's not just men.

How many of you, if you weren't afraid of the actual storm anymore, and you saw Jesus walking on the water, would be thinking, "that looks like fun. I'd like to try that." And so, yeah, so for whatever reason Peter was also the most outspoken and adventurous of the group, you know. He was always very gregarious and a little bit bombastic. And he said, "hey, can I try that? Lord if that's you, let me come to you." I mean I don't even know why he worded it that way, 'cause first they think it's a ghost. How did he know it wasn't a ghost that was gonna say, "yeah, try it.

" See if you sink. "And Jesus said, 'come,' and when Peter had come out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus." Now when he took off and he kept his goal before him, and he kept his eyes on Christ, even though there's wind and there's waves, Peter is now doing the impossible. He's walking on water. But it goes on to say, "when he saw that the wind was boisterous, and he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, 'Lord, save me!'" Now, gotta pause here. Peter, when he saw Jesus, he was comforted by Jesus.

When he had his eyes on Jesus, he was able to do the impossible. When he took his eyes off Jesus, he was again afraid. And he began to sink. When his faith began to sink, fear came in and he began to sink. It is just so true that when we cease to believe we cease to win.

When the children of Israel were going through the wilderness, they were attacked from behind by the amalekites. When they saw Moses interceding, they won the battle. Do you know you can't win a battle with fear? Soldiers must have courage. What did the high priest say before the soldiers went into battle? "If there are any of you who are afraid, go on home." Because when the battle gets intense, your fear, you start to retreat, it's going to--it's contagious. It will contaminate the other soldiers and they'll be afraid.

Just go home now. Because when fear comes in, faith goes out. When Moses, they could see his hands interceding, they won the battle. When they couldn't see that, they were afraid, they forgot that they were fighting with God, and they started to lose. When Peter took his eyes off Jesus and he saw the waves, he looked at the problem instead of the answer; his faith began to sink.

Why do we get afraid? We take our eyes off the answer, and we focus on the problem. Why did Goliath intimidate the children of Israel? Because they were looking at how tall he was, his iron sword, his iron spearhead, how much it weighed, his armor that he was wearing. You can see all this is chronicled in the Bible with great detail because the Israelites were focusing on this human tank that was coming out to intimidate them. What did David focus on when he went out? Does David ever refer to how big Goliath is? No reference. Does David refer to how big God is? So what was the focus of David when he went out to battle? The problem or the answer? He said, "you come against me with a sword and a spear and a shield--" he was aware of those things, but he said, "I come against you with the Lord.

" And so that's a key ingredient. Living the Christian life is impossible. For you to live a victorious Christian life requires a constant miracle. The only way that you can live a Christian life is by keeping your eyes on Jesus. If you take your eyes off of Jesus and you focus on the problems that are swirling around you, you will sink in the billows of sin like everybody else.

You'll drown. But if you keep your eyes on Jesus, you can walk towards Christ. The Christian walk, by the way, it's not stagnant. It's kinesthetic. It's dynamic.

You're moving towards Christ in the Christian life. If you stand still, you sink. If you look at the problems, you sink. But sanctification is a walk towards Christ. You become like him.

As you get closer to him, he gets bigger. Isn't that right? That's just the law of life. Closer you get to someone, the clearer they become. The bigger they become. They're far away; they seem small.

And so the Christian life is a life of moving towards Christ. You can only do the impossible--that's why Jesus said, "without me, how much can you do?" Nothing. So, Peter was doing the impossible, walking on water, as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. That's a key. You know what a lot of churches are doing these days? They find how hard it is to walk on water.

And so they distribute scuba gear. And they say we should be content to drown, and that's what it really means to be a Christian. "Don't expect to do the impossible. Just do it like the world does it and we'll give you a scuba tank and a snorkel and just plan on staying in the water." Christ wants us to walk above the water and to keep our eyes focused on him. So Peter sinks.

Immediately Jesus stretches out his hand. Oh, what does Peter do? He turns his eyes back to Jesus, said, "Lord, save me!" Takes his eyes off the problem, puts his eyes back on the Lord. "Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said, 'o you of little faith, why did you doubt?' And when they got in the boat--" I think of course he walked back to the boat when Jesus had his hand-- "the wind ceased." "Why did you doubt, o ye of little faith?" Look at that connection between fear and faith. It's just, it's so clear all through the Bible. Deuteronomy 28:66, the Bible tells us that fear brings torment.

People who live a life of fear, they're living lives of torment. If the children of Israel did not obey God, and they rebelled against the commandments of the Lord, the Lord said, "you're gonna be living imprisoned by fear." This is kind of frightful. "Your life shall hang in doubt," I'm in Deuteronomy 28:66, "before you; you will fear day and night, and have no assurance of life. In the morning you'll say, 'oh, that it was evening!' And at evening you'll say, 'oh, that it was morning!' Because of the fear that terrifies your heart, and because of the sight that your eyes see." When they turn their back on God, there was a curse that would come on them. Part of that curse was they would have no peace.

Now it's good if people are lost and they live like that. Jesus then offers them--the prince of peace offers peace, doesn't he? That freedom from fear. Amos, this is a very classic prophecy, Amos 5:18 gives another example, "woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! For what good is the day of the Lord to you?" He's speaking to the lost church. "It will be darkness, and not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, leaned his hand on a wall, and a serpent bit him!" It's like the mouse that's running from a cat that's snatched up by the owl.

I just--you know, there's no peace. There's nowhere to run. There's nowhere to hide. And no security at all. No refuge.

Do God's people sometimes fear? Even the disciples? You know what's amazing to me is Elijah. I mean you have to admire that fiery prophet for his courage. He stands on the mountain. He faces down, oh, at least 800 prophets of baal. Talks about the prophets of the grove 400.

And another 400 or 450 prophets of asheroth. And he's just the lone prophet. Goes up there. Stands up against their false Gods. I mean the courage of that prophet.

Was he a witness when he had courage like that on the mountain? Was there a great revival? And then a few days later, matter of fact, not even hours later, jezebel sends him a letter and says, "your life will be like the life of those prophets you slew by this time tomorrow." And all of a sudden, you don't know what in the world came over him. But he was so overwhelmed with fear and intimidated by that that he ran, starts running for his life like a big chicken. And I heard one preacher bring out the point that men are intimidated by women. Most men have mothers. And it might begin there.

But my mom used to say my father was not afraid of anybody in the world except her mother, my Jewish grandma. It's true. He was terrified of grandma. But Peter, he's the apostle who pulls out a sword in the garden when Jesus is betrayed. And he's ready to fight because he starts swinging his sword.

A little while later that same apostle who had been so bold, a little maid says to him, "aren't you one of his disciples?" And he's so intimidated, "I don't know what you're talking about. Not me." Herod the King is intimidated by salome. After she dances, she wants the head of John the baptist. He's afraid to say, "no." So anyway, sometimes even disciples and prophets are afraid. Jonah, was he afraid? One of the signs in the last days is fear.

Now who was gonna read, Luke 21:25? Did i--richard has it. You got the microphone here? Luke 21:25-26. "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." In particular, I thought it was interesting, "the sea and the waves roaring." That's a prophecy there about the last days. It gives several signs in Luke about the last days. Some have wondered this tsunami that happened a little more than a year ago in indonesia, great tidal wave that came and took away, what, 240,000 to 250,000 lives.

And people to this day from that region who had lived all their lives by the sea are afraid to go back and live by the coast. And you can understand their fear. Maybe the disciple's afraid in the ocean at sea, Jonah afraid in the ocean at sea. The Bible talks about Paul. Have you ever read the last story in the book of acts? There's a storm at sea.

And the people are so afraid, they're throwing everything overboard. And they lost all hope that they might be saved. Everybody was terrified on that ship except who? Paul. He's not afraid. Why? He prayed, and he said, "you know, I prayed this night and the angel of the Lord stood by me.

" And he said, "Paul, don't be afraid. You're gonna make it not only to shore. You're gonna make it to rome, 'cause you need to witness for me before caesar." Paul was not afraid of the storm because he realized, "my work as a disciple is not done." You know, whitfield used to say, george whitfield used to say--the first time I read this I thought, "that can't be right. That's proud. You shouldn't say that.

" The more I thought about it, I thought, "no it's true." What he said was, "I am immortal until my work is done." In other words, if you are doing what God wants you to do, then you don't need to be afraid of jezebel. You don't need to be afraid of the storms at sea. You don't need to be afraid of king ahab. I mean Elijah walked right in before the King, pronounced his prophecy, walked out, ahab couldn't touch him. He was on the most-wanted list of the whole kingdom, the cia, fbi, everybody looking for Elijah couldn't touch him, 'cause his work wasn't done.

And finally, when his work was done, God said, "okay, you're done when I say you're done. I'll take you to heaven in a chariot." So, if you're a disciple and you're doing the work of the Lord, how many times did they try to stone Paul? Shipwrecked, floated around in the ocean. The Bible doesn't tell that story, but another time you float around the ocean a day and a night. And just God preserved him from sharks and everything else because his work wasn't done. So he wasn't afraid, but especially at sea some people are afraid because maybe you feel vulnerable.

Any of you ever been out in the ocean in a small boat. I tell you what really gives you the heebie-jeebies is get out, way out in the ocean in a small boat. And then see a sea creature swim beneath your boat bigger than your boat. I went kayaking out in the ocean one time, got way out there by myself and something big went underneath the boat. And you look how far away the shore is and how vast the sea is.

And you know how deep the water is. And you start feeling pretty puny. And it can scare you. So I prayed. Let me read psalm to you, psalm 107.

This talks about this dynamic of fear and faith. Psalm 107:24, talking about those who go down in the sea. "They see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. For he commands and he raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths.

" You ever been out in the big stormin' sea where you go up to crest of the wave. And then all the sudden you'd plummet down to the trough of the wave. And then pretty soon you're thrown back up to the crest of the wave. Whoever wrote this had been there. "They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths; their soul melts because of trouble.

They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, they are at their wit's end." You ever use that expression, "I was at my wit's end?" This is where it comes from in the Bible. "Then," here's the solution for that fear, "then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble." What did the disciples do when they were afraid in the storm and Jesus was sleeping? They cried out to the Lord. They went to Jesus. Did he solve their problem? "They cry out to the Lord in their trouble, he brings them out of their distress. He calms the storm, so the waves are still.

Then they are glad because they are quiet." They are peaceful. "So he guides them to their desired haven." This psalm is a prophecy of what happened with Jesus and the disciples in the boat. You know in that one story when they invited Jesus into the boat--remember when Peter and Jesus were walking on the water and they invited Jesus back into the boat? If you read in the Gospel of John 6, when they got in the boat--oh wait, let me back up. When the storm was happening and Peter's walking on the water, it said they rode or 20 furlongs. It tells us they were going across the sea.

They were dissecting the sea of Galilee, which places them directly in the middle of the sea. The writers tell you that so you know where this happened. They're out in the middle of the sea, in the middle of the night. It's dark. But it says, "when Jesus got in the boat, immediately they were at their destination.

" And the other time when they woke Jesus up, immediately the water became calm. In this psalm we just read it says, "they are glad because they are quiet," there's peace, "he guides them to their desired haven." Now I'm not telling you this because I expect you all to become sailors. I'm not telling you this just in case on folsom lake some day a big storm comes up, not likely it's gonna happen like that. I'm telling you this because how many of you have been through other kinds of storms, where you feel the storm raging. And you have no peace.

And there's just these troubles. And they take you up and down. And you're afraid for your life. And there's all this stress. You're getting rocked to and fro, and you're seasick.

What is the solution when you go through the storms, when you have that fear? Turn to Jesus. Keep your eyes on Jesus like Peter. Sometimes we forget that Christ is with us. We gotta wake him up. You call on the Lord.

He gets up, he says, "peace, be still." And it can change all of your circumstances. Well, not can, it does change all your circumstances. Alright, looking at my clock. I wonder if we have time for this last one. "Discipleship and witness.

" Discipleship and witness... Tell you what; I would like to have somebody read for me psalm 27:1. Go ahead. "the Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" So what is the key to having a life without fear? Having the Lord in your life, having the Lord as your salvation, you don't have to be afraid. You know for me this is one of the most wonderful things about being a Christian is just that peace that passes understanding.

Now I don't claim to always have it, because I think even for believers, you have to on a daily basis turn to God to maintain that attitude of peace. You find too many examples in the Bible where even the disciples were afraid. But when they were not afraid, what did it do for their witness? When the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit at pentecost, and after they were commanded, "do not preach in the name of Jesus anymore," and they went to pull 'em out of prison, and the guard said, "they're not in prison. The angel let 'em out of prison." "Where did they go?" "They went to the temple." They started preaching again. And they said, "where are they?" "Behold, they're in the temple and they preach boldly.

" What did it say for their faith when they were gonna continue preaching even on threat of imprisonment or death? Why did king herod respect John the baptist? Because he was fearless. One of the greatest endorsements of the Christian faith is that we have a boldness and a peace in our lives. If you've got that singleness of purpose and that peace in your life, then people are gonna be impressed by what you believe. They're gonna want to know more about your faith. But if we're afraid, what does it do to our witness and our discipleship? Who wants to--you know, if all Christians are all cowering like mice, if Christians are wringing their hands as though God is not on the throne, what does it do to our witness? So probably one of the most central lessons in our study today is to remember that God is on the throne.

We need to remind ourselves always that if we're believers, we are to be a people of peace, of confidence, of security. "the Lord is with me." Jesus said, "I am with you always." We don't have to be afraid. Amen? And that does wonderful things for your witness. I want to close by reminding our friends we have a free offer. All you have to do is call the number.

And the offer is "alone in the crowd." Ask for offer number 714. The number again is -788-3966. And there's always so much more in the lesson. I constantly feel like I'm apologizing because we don't get it all covered. But we get a few crumbs, don't we, in the process.

God bless you, friends, until next Sabbath. Thank you for joining us for this broadcast. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs, including "Amazing Facts presents," "central study hour," "everlasting Gospel," "Bible answers live," and "wonders in the word." You'll also find a storehouse of biblical resources geared toward answering some of your most difficult questions. And our online Bible school is just a clock away.

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