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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR SHIP IS SINKING

When You Need a Miracle - Part 3 of 4


Matthew 8:23-27
Rick Warren
Matthew 8:23-27
Also Mark 4:35-41 and Luke 8:22-25

I. VARIETIES OF STORMS WE FACE


* Situational Prov. 1:27
* Relational Ps. 102:7-8
* Emotional Job 30:22

II. FACTS ABOUT STORMS


* Storms are _____________________________________________
"When you face trials..." James 1:2

* Storms are _____________________________________________


"Without warning, a furious storm came up..."

* Storms are _____________________________________________


"He sends the rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Matt. 5:45

III. TWO POSSIBLE REACTIONS


1. I can be filled with ______________________________
"The disciples went and woke Him, saying, `Lord save us! We're going to drown!'" vs. 25

2. I can be filled with ______________________________


"But Jesus was sleeping." vs. 24b

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IV. HOW TO MAKE IT THROUGH A STORM


1. _____________________________________________
"Then He (Jesus) got into the boat and His disciples followed Him." vs. 23
LESSON #1:

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine. When you
pass through the waters. I WILL BE WITH YOU, and when you pass through the rivers, they
will not sweep over you!" Isaiah 43:1-2

2. _____________________________________________
"The disciples said to Him, `Teacher, don't You care if we drown?'" Mark 4:38
LESSON #2:
"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you!" 1 Peter 5:7

3. _____________________________________________
"Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, `Quiet! Be still!' Then the wind died
down and it was completely calm." Mark 4:39
LESSON #3:

"Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and
outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You." Jer. 32:17

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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR SHIP IS SINKING


When You Need a Miracle - Part 3 of 4
Matthew 8:23-27
Rick Warren

We want to look at one of the most famous miracles in the Bible. We're in a series called, "When You
Need a Miracle." and today I want to talk about "What To Do When Your Ship is Sinking".
Matthew 8 is the story of Jesus calming the storm. It made such an impact on the disciples that it's
recorded three times in the Bible in different books -- Matthew, Mark, Luke. Today in addition to
looking to the passage in Matthew we want to see how the other two stories tie in because they also
give a fuller picture of exactly what happened.
Matthew 8:23 "Then He got into the boat and His disciples followed Him. Without warning a
furious storm came upon the lake so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.
The disciples went and woke Him saying, `Lord, save us. We're going to drown.' He replied,
`You of little faith. Why are you so afraid?' Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the
waves and it was completely calm and the men were amazed and asked, `What kind of man is
this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him.'"
Jesus never wasted a miracle. He never did a miracle just to show off. Every miracle is done to teach a
point. In this story we find some principles on how to deal with a crisis. Before we look at the text I
want to explain to you what the Bible says are three different kinds of storms that we face.
1. Situational storms. This is when circumstances seem to plot against you and everything seems
to go wrong. Murphy's law is in full force. Proverbs 1:27 "Sometimes calamity strikes us like a
storm." Everything seems to go wrong at once. Situational storms.
2. Relational storms. This is when there is tension between people. When a relationship has
been strained to the breaking point -- parent and child, husband and wife, friends. David says in Psalms,
"I feel all alone and my enemies are ganging up against me and nobody's with me." He was in a
relational storm.
3. Emotional storms. These are often hidden on the surface. We have a nice smile, but inside
we're seething and boiling and all in distress. A number of years ago there was a soap opera on
television called "Secret Storm". That's a good description of a lot of people. Remember when a guy
walked on the stage of a TV news set and put a gun to David Horowitz's head? Afterwards, Horowitz
was interviewed. He said, "On the outside I was calm, but inside I was a bowl of jelly."
Many times there's a storm going on inside of us that doesn't even show. Paralyzed by fear. Overcome
by guilt. Raging with anger. Consumed with worry or jealousy. Those are the storms of life.
The Bible says three things about the storms of life, three facts I want you to get before we look at the
text.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR SHIP IS SINKING


When You Need A Miracle - Part 3 of 4
1. Storms in life are inevitable. They will happen. You will experience them. If you're not in a
storm right now, just wait. You will be in a storm. They are a part of life. In James 1:2 it says "When
you face trials..." Circle "when". It does not say "If you face trials." Count on it! You will face
storms in life. Nobody goes through life sailing easy from cradle to grave. We have tough times.
Scott Peck, in his book The Road Less Traveled, the very first sentence says, "Life is difficult." It's
true. Life is difficult because storms are inevitable.
2. Storms are unpredictable. They come suddenly. They come unexpectedly. They are
unpredictable. In this story it says in v. 24 "Without warning a furious storm came up". Try as we
may, we cannot predict the things that will happen to us. It's amazing what people try -- astrology,
biorhythm. They'll try anything to see if today's going to be a good day or a bad day. But we can't
predict storms. They are unpredictable. None of us had any idea how the tragedy of Northwest Flight
255 would effect us, because storms come without warning. They are unpredictable. They are
inevitable.
3. Storms are impartial. They happen to good people, they happen to bad people. They
happen to believers, they happen to unbelievers. They happen to all of us. Matthew 5:45 "He sends
the rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Being a Christian does not exempt us from being in
storms.
There is a misconception that people have, that the only time they have tough times is when they're
disobeying God. That's not true. The disciples got into a storm because they obeyed God. Jesus said,
Get in the boat. They got in the boat and they sailed right into a storm. They were obeying God.
They were in the center of His will. And they were right in the middle of a storm. When you're going
through a tough time, don't automatically assume, "I must be out of the will of God." You may be
exactly where God wants you to be. Storms are impartial.
The fact is, God has not promised us a storm-free life. This is not heaven where everything is perfect
and God's will is perfectly done. We have choices and people make mistakes and people get hurt.
That's why we're to pray, "Thy will be done on earth like it is in heaven" because it's done perfectly
in heaven. God has not guaranteed us a storm-free life.
If storms are inevitable and if storms are unpredictable and if storms are impartial then the issue really
becomes what is my response going to be to the storms that are inevitably going to happen in my life?
There are two ways we can respond to storms. They are seen in this story in the way the disciples
responded and in the way that Jesus responded. One responded in fear, one responded in faith. One
trembled, one responded in trust.

1. WHEN I FACE A STORM, I CAN BE FILLED WITH PANIC.


It says, "The disciples went and woke Him saying, `Lord, save us. We're going to drown." These
guys were no mere novices. They'd been out on this sea lots of times. They'd been through many
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When You Need A Miracle - Part 3 of 4
storms, but evidently this one was life threatening and scared them to death. "We are gonners! We're
gonna die!" That shows the intensity. The word that describes the storm in this passage is the word in
Greek seismos from which we get the word "seismology" or "seismograph", which is an instrument that
registers the intensity of earthquakes. This was a major, major storm. If you've ever been out on a boat
in the middle of a lake or ocean in the middle of a storm, you know how frightening that could be.
Pastor Earl was on vacation at Lake Powell a couple of weeks ago. They got across on the other side
of the lake, the storm came up, a wave began to get bigger and one entire wave came over and filled the
entire boat with water. They put-putted about two miles an hour across the lake, sitting in water. Got
scary. It can be frightening.
A year ago in January, I was in Israel. I went out in a little boat on the Sea of Galilee in the rain. It
began to rain heavier and heavier. Needless to say, I was not enjoying it. I was thinking about this
story and I was very glad to get back to shore.
It says they panicked. They got uptight. They got afraid. That is our typical reaction when a storm
comes.
But the alternative to being filled with panic is being filled with peace. Look at the contrasting reaction
of Jesus in v. 24 "But Jesus was sleeping." Sleeping in a storm? You talk about peace! This shows
the humanity of Jesus for one thing. It shows that He got tired. After a full day of ministering, teaching
and preaching, He was exhausted. He lays down and He takes a nap. If you've ever wondered, if Jesus
can identify with my fatigue, this is an example of it. Yes, He knows what it means to be dead tired.
But more than that, I think this is a picture of complete trust in God. Jesus was not worried at all by the
storm. He was setting an example by the very fact of His sleep, teaching a lesson to His disciples.
Question: Did Jesus know there was going to be a storm before He even got into the boat? Without a
doubt! Of course He knew. He knew they were sailing right into a storm. But He says, I'm going to
take a nap. Jesus is so cool! He knows exactly what's going to happen yet He says, "By the way guys,
I'm beat! I'm going to go over here and take a nap." It's part of His plan to teach a lesson about faith.
Nothing ever surprises God. "God, I'm going bankrupt!" He knows. "God, I'm having problems!" He
saw them coming. Nothing ever surprises Him.
It is ironic to me that Jesus is sleeping in the storm because one of the tell-tale signs that you know
you're in a storm either relationally or experientially is you start losing sleep. That's how you know when
you're in a storm. When we're in storms, we lay awake at night, tossing and turning, going over it in our
mind, trying to figure it out, worrying, "What if..." Americans last year spent over a half million dollars
on sleep aides. Yet Jesus can go to sleep anywhere. That's what I call peace of mind. He was not
uptight.

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When You Need A Miracle - Part 3 of 4
I can be in panic or I can be at peace when I face a storm. The fact is, sometimes sleeping can be a
statement of faith. You say, "God, it is too big of problem. I can't handle it. But it's Your problem. I'm
not going to worry about it. I'm going to bed." That's a statement of faith. "God, I don't know how
You're going to work this out but I'm going to go to bed. I leave it in Your hands." It's a statement of
faith instead of worrying.
Where in the world do you get that kind of peace in a storm? You get that kind of peace when you
apply the three principles taught in this passage.
How do you make it through a storm? When it seems like your ship is sinking you do three things.
They are simple but they are profound.

1. YOU REMEMBER GOD'S CLOSENESS.


That He is near you, that He is with you, that you are not by yourself. v. 23 "Then He got into the
boat and His disciples followed Him." They had nothing to fear. Jesus was in the boat. Do you think
God was going to let the boat sink with Jesus in it? That in itself should have calmed them. Jesus Christ
was there with them, experiencing the storm with them.
If you're going to make it through a storm, the first lesson you've got to learn is this: God is always with
me.
There will be nothing I will face the rest of my life that I face alone. God is with me. Jesus is in my
boat. We tend to forget that in storms. We think we're all alone. We think that God is far away. God
has promised every believer, "Lo, I am with you always." God has promised, "I will never leave
you nor forsake you."
Isaiah 43:1-2 "Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and when you pass through the rivers, they
will not sweep over you!" What a promise! You don't need to worry if your boat is rocking, if Jesus
is in the boat. Remember God's closeness.

2. RELAX IN GOD'S CARE.


The typical response when we go through a storm is to wonder, Does God even care? Notice what
the disciples said, Mark 4:38 "The disciples said to Him, `Teacher, don't You care if we drown?'"
That's the common response we ask in a tragedy. Don't You care? Don't You care what's going on,
God? The answer is, Of course He cares. And He hurts. And He sees what you're going through.
This is the second great lesson that we must learn if we're going to make it through storms: God cares
about what I go through. Repeat this over and over until you get it in your mind! God cares about what
I'm going through!
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How much does He care? Read the Bible. Read the 7000 promises in this book. Then you tell me
that God doesn't care. He does. 1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for
you." The one thing that the disciples did right in our passage, when they got afraid they took their fear
to Jesus. They didn't start praying to Mary. They didn't start chanting. They didn't call on some saint.
They took their fear to Jesus. Why? Because He's the only one who can do anything about it.
Remember God's closeness and relax in His care.

3. RELY ON GOD'S CONTROL


Let His power see you through. Mark 4:39 "Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves,
`Quiet! Be still' Then the wind died down and it was completely calm." Jesus stood up in the boat
in the middle of the storm and said, "Quiet! Be still!" or "Sit down and shut up!" That's literally what He
said. Instantly, it was quiet.
There was actually two miracles in this story. There was the miracle of the wind stopping. But anybody
knows that even after the wind stops, waves will continue for a period of time. But it says the sea
became as glass. So He talked to both of them -- "Sit down and shut up!" And they became quiet.
The disciples had seen Jesus do one miracle after another. They, of all people, should have known He
was competent and capable to handle this situation too. There was no need to be afraid.
Lesson number three. If you're going to make it through the storms in life: God is in control.
God is with me, God cares about what I'm going through and God is in control. There is nothing
beyond the control of God. You don't understand this? I don't either. Many things we're not going to
understand until we get to heaven. But God is in control.
Fear comes when we experience things in life that are beyond our control. When things are beyond our
control it frightens us and the truth is there are many things in life that you can't control. Neither can I.
So there are lots of things to be frightened by. But the good news that the Bible tells us is that the things
that are beyond my control are not beyond God's control. And that's good news. I can't control
everything that happens. To myself, to my family, to my friends, to the church. But God is in control!
That's a storm reliever.
We rely on God's control.
Jeremiah 32:17 "Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power
and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You." Before they got into the boat, Jesus said to the
disciples, "We're going to the other side." Now the very fact that He said we're going to the other side,
means it is inevitable that they're going to the other side. He didn't say it would be an easy trip. He
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When You Need A Miracle - Part 3 of 4
didn't say they wouldn't get wet. He didn't say they wouldn't have a scare, a panic attack in the middle.
He just said, "We're going to the other side." And if He said it, they were going to make it.
Notice what Jesus said to the disciples in v. 26 "You of little faith. Why are you so afraid?" Jesus
told the disciples two things: One, the root of your problem is fear. Two, the solution to your problem
is faith. The greatest threat to the lives of the disciples was not the storm. It was their unbelief. The
secret of victory over fear is faith.
And it's not the amount of faith that you have. It's what you put it in that makes a difference. Everyone
has faith. You have faith every time you get on the freeway. You had faith when you ate breakfast this
morning, that it wasn't poisoned. Everybody has faith. It's just what you put it in that makes the
difference. You don't need a lot of faith. Just a little faith will do. You put a little faith in a big God and
you get big results. Jesus said, "You of little faith."
It's interesting to me that never in the Bible do we ever find Jesus rebuking somebody for having too
much faith. Can you believe God for too much? Can you have too much faith? Shouldn't we be going
after one acre of land instead of 306 acres of land? Never in the Bible do you find Jesus ever rebuking
anybody for too much faith. The problem was always a lack of faith, too little faith. I think God is
pleased when we go to our limit and then we know it's going to be impossible and God says, "Go for
it!" because then He gets the opportunity to show His power. You've never believed God until you've
done something that can't be attempted in the power of the flesh. Many Christians live lives that require
no faith at all. They're not risking anything. They're not attempting anything. The Bible says, "Without
faith, it is impossible to please God."
If God knew in advance that the storm was going to be out there, why did He let them go through it?
Why didn't He just wait? Stay on that side of the lake? If Jesus knew, which obviously He did, why did
He let them go right into it?
Because He wanted them to learn a lesson. It's the same lesson that all of us must learn, and the only
way you learn it is by experience. You never learn this lesson from a preacher or from a Bible study or
from a tape or book. You only learn this lesson by experience. The lesson is this: Jesus can be trusted
in the storms of life. The only way you're going to learn that is to go through them. Andre Crouch says,
"If I never had a problem, I'd never know that God could solve them. I'd never know what faith in God
could do." It is when we respond to the storms in life with faith that we see God's power most visibly
and we sense His presence most intensely.
The disciples really had no reason to fear. They had what every one of us had. They had the presence
of Christ, the power of Christ, and the promise of Christ. You have to have those to make it through
your storms.
What's rocking your boat this morning? What's causing your ship to sink? What kind of storm are you
going through? Is it a strained relationship? Is it a financial difficulty? Is it a painful memory that's got
you so tied up that you can't see anything else? Is it a health problem? Is it a secret storm? Something
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on the inside? An emotion that's overwhelming you? Guilt? Or grief? Or anger? Or bitterness? Or
jealousy? Or worry? Or fear?
Maybe you feel like the circumstances of life are tossing you back and forth and you feel like you're just
a little toy boat out there in a big ocean and you're getting bashed back and forth every day. And you're
thinking, "I'm going under! I'm not going to make it!"
If that's the way you feel, then God wants to say to you today, No matter how big the wave is, Jesus
can rebuke it. And He wants to calm the storm in your life. He wants to say, "Peace! Be still!" Only
Jesus Christ can calm the restlessness in your life right now. Quit looking for somebody else to be your
solution. Quit looking to some experience to be your solution. There's only one thing that can calm
storms -- Jesus Christ.
Notice the very last verse in this passage: "Then the men were amazed and asked, `What kind of
man is this? Even the winds and waves obey Him.'" Good question! What kind of man is this?
The answer is He isn't a man at all. He was the Son of God! He was God who came to earth in the
form of a human being so we could know what God is like. Jesus said if you've seen Me, you've seen
God. I can't relate to some big ethereal thing in the sky. But I can relate when I see God in flesh. I
could see how He loved and see how He cared and see what He did. And He will help you in your
storm, but you've got to get Him in your boat. He's no good if He's back over on the shore. You've
got to have Christ in your life to make it through the storms.
One last word: The Bible teaches that storms are inevitable. They're going to come. Storms are
unpredictable. They come without warning. Storms are impartial. It doesn't matter how good or bad
you are, you're going to experience them. But the other thing that the Bible teaches is that storms are
temporal. They're temporary. They don't last.
Mark Twain and a friend walked outside one day in the rain. The friend said, "You think it will stop?"
Mark Twain said, "It always does."
That's true with any storm. You've got to go through it but it's not going to last forever. Some of you
feel like you're in a major storm right now and God's word to you is, Hang in there! The sun will shine
again. There is hope. God is with you.
Prayer:
Is Jesus Christ in your boat, or is He standing back there on the shore? Are you trying to sail
through life all by yourself? Why? There's no reason to. God didn't make you to live your life
independently, on your own power. He made you to live in harmony with Him, to have a
relationship with Him. That's what Jesus Christ came to earth to make possible. Open your life up
to Jesus Christ today. I don't care what kind of religious background you have. Open your life to
Him today. Say, "Jesus Christ, I'm in a storm. Or I'm going to be facing a storm and I need You
to save me. Help! Lord, don't You care." And He says, "Yes, I do care. I'm just waiting to come
into your life." Would you say, "Jesus Christ, as much as I know how, I ask You to come into my
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life and save me. Make me the person that You want me to be. Help me to realize that You will
always be with me. Help me to realize that You care. Lord, help me to realize that You have
everything under control. It may not fit my timetable or I may not agree with everything that's going
on because it doesn't suit me, but I realize that You've got it under control. So, as an act of faith, I
want to relax and release the pain, the hurt, the worry, the fear and I want to receive Your
presence, Your spirit and Your power, and Your protection and Your promise in my life."
If you're not going through a storm right now, thank God. What do you do? You minister to those
that are going through storms. That's the purpose of this church. That's why we build buildings, try
to get land. Not so we can have a little empire, but because people are hurting in this valley.
We're limited to the number of people we can minister to by a facility that's only available a half day
a week. God cares. He cares about you and He cares about everybody else in this valley. He
cares about everybody in the world. He will help you through if you just trust Him today.
[end of tape]

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