Thesis:In every sense, "faith" requires a legitimate content.
Introduction:In our studies of Luke 8, we have seen Jesus teaching His disciples and warning them of the dangers of letting someone other than Him set their agenda. This is no small matter. No one can be guided by more than one guide unless those guides are all on the same page, which would make all but one of them redundant. So, the issue of discipleship is the question of the "Who?" that is going to be the "God". And the question of the "Who?" is really a question of the nature of the Love that undergirds the whole and a question of the source and nature of the Truth that that Love sets forth.
This morning we are going to begin to look more carefully into this second issue: the source and nature of the Truth that Love sets forth. We are going to do this for two reasons. The first is that the text before us focuses our attention upon Jesus' question in 8:25. The second is that there is so much confusion in our generation regarding the answer to that question. The reason for the confusion is very basic: God responds to faith with omnipotence so that anyone who exercises it is a serious danger to the adversaries who do not have omnipotence in their arsenal. We live in an adversarial universe at this present time and the opposing agendas are both real and have heavy and eternal consequences attached to them. Clearly, the agenda supported by omnipotence is going to win unless that omnipotence can be sidetracked. God's willingness to include the decisions and actions of others, including His opponents, appears to those opponents to be an opportunity to defeat Him; and it is ... at least in the lesser issues. So, the generation of people who are willing to love and believe is an agenda that raises the opposition to the greatest effort. Thus, confusion runs amuck and demands that we give serious thought to Jesus' question: Where is your faith?
I. The Record of the Problem(s).
A. The "bottom line" of the "problem".
1. The disciples were "in love with" the wrong person.
a. This is the universal condition of humanity.
b. Being the universal condition, it is the cause of every evil in this world.
c. Being the cause of evil, it is the primary object of God's activities.
2. Being "in love with" the wrong person, they were subject to the adversary's "fear" ploy.
a. According to John's witness in 1 John 4:18, "there is no fear in love" and "he that feareth is not made perfect in love."
b. According to Hebrews 4:1 there is at least one legitimate "fear" -- that we will not trust when we ought.
c. Because Luke began this record on this "fear" note, we ought to understand that it is a major issue in his presentation of Jesus as the One we ought to trust.
B. The "other" issue in the "problem".
1. There was no legitimate basis for the disciples' lack of faith; there never is.
a. Jesus would not have chided them for this lack if it had been "OK" with Him for them to act the way they did.
b. In a culture of "excuses", our greatest need is to refuse to give them: there is no help when dishonesty is an integral part of the one who needs it.
2. The ancillary reason for the lack of faith is a lack of attention.
a. Hebrews 2:1 insists that "drifting" is the norm and that it is caused by a lack of attention (and Hebrews 5:11-14 testifies of the consequence).
b. 2 Peter 1:9 declares the cause of spiritual blindness and godlessness: letting things become fuzzy that ought to be in sharp focus.
c. In our text, Jesus told the disciples what they needed to know in order to be able to "trust" in what the text itself says was a "dangerous" situation, but they, apparently, weren't paying attention (a not-unusual scenario according to Matthew 17:14 and following).
II. The Record of the Solution.
A. The text tells us that Jesus "launched" His disciples.
B. The text tells us that Jesus "left the task to them".
C. The text tells us that a "hurricane of wind" descended into the lake.
D. The text tells us that the "solution" was extremely "partial" -- a basic introduction to the facts that, if accorded the serious consideration they deserve, can bring "disciples" into the active life of faith.
III. The Overlooked Details.
A. The issue of "faith" is never rooted in a self-generated content; Jesus had given them the content necessary.
1. In our culture, it is customary to berate oneself and others for a "lack of faith" when there was no foundation established for its exercise in the particular direction that turned out to be a failure, or, even, a success.
2. In our culture, it is customary to talk in nebulous terms, but to expect in concrete ones.
3. In the setting of our text, Jesus told them His plan and went to sleep.
a. The "danger" here was that, because His words were so 'ordinary', they simply did not take them seriously.
b. The biblical reality is this: God's words are never to be blown off as ordinary.
B. The issue of "faith" is never rooted in what man can do in the face of clearly overwhelming circumstances.
1. The disciples were supposed to awaken Jesus.
2. What they were not supposed to do was simply assume He was like them.