We begin a NEW sermon series entitled “Theology from the ocean”. Preaching from Nathan Gordon. Service led by Brian Dickson.
Limited Control (Humanity) v Unlimited Control (GOD)
It has often been said that humanity has grasped a better knowledge of Mars and the moon in comparison to what lies beneath the depths of the ocean. Scientists and those who specialise in oceanology are continually seeking ways to find out more about the depths of the sea.
As Christians, we believe God is the creator of all things including the vast and deep oceans around the world. Over the next 3 weeks, we are going to dive (excuse the pun) into deep waters! What can the waters of God’s creation teach us about the divine and what are those life applications from the ocean that impact our lives each day?
The vast and deep oceans teach us = Humanity is not in control!
Sometimes humanity can become so convinced of one’s own might and capability that our self-reliance can interfere with the omnipotence of God.
Here are some signs we may be struggling with control.
- A tendency to always correct other people.
- Judgmental and critical of other people.
- Struggle to work in a team (must be in charge)
- Refuse to admit when they are wrong.
- Believe they know what is best for any situation.
- Do not like to share credit for their success.
Literal and metaphorical storms
Chances are the majority listening to this sermon has never experienced danger at sea, a damaged ship that caused distress or being caught in a violent storm. For those who have encountered problems at sea, you certainly have a powerful story to tell just like the Apostle Paul in 2 Cor 11:25….
“beaten by Roman rods three times, pummelled with rocks once. I’ve been shipwrecked three times and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day.”
However, the storms of life can also bear the same effects as they consume and overwhelm our peace of mind.
Who is the captain of your ship? – v23-26
- The psalmist invites the congregation to recognise the sovereignty of God and our dependence on His providential and watchful care.
- The Israelites and neighbouring regions relied on seaports to export goods from one location to the other.
- There were obvious dangers at sea for those who encountered storms and precarious weather conditions.
- The oceans teach us that God is in control of the waters. Humanity may build impressive boats or submersibles to explore the depths of the ocean, But God is the founder and sustainer of His creation.
Challenge – Travelling by sea or by any other method carries risks at various levels. Let us be mindful of the travelling mercies of God whenever we set out on our journey. By the grace of God, we travel from A to B and despite the knowledge or certifications of the captain or driver, God is the ultimate captain of our lives. (Acts 17:28)
Who solves the problem on board your ship? – v28-32
- The psalmist describes the merchants travelling by boat for business purposes were overwhelmed by the wonderful works of the Lord at sea.
- By taking a trip down to the beach and looking at the sea with all its splendour points to a loving creator and father of creation.
- From verses 28-32, we see the merchants were in distress as the storm became violent at sea. They cried out to God for help, and He delivered them from trouble
Challenge – Sometimes we try to solve the problems on board the ships of our lives by ourselves. We may even feel no one can help. Trust God with your problems, He is willing and able to bear your burdens.
- Read Genesis 1:26-28. Identify and discuss the areas God has given humanity dominion over and list other points that are not under humanity’s control. (Discuss also the point made in the sermon about humanity having dominion over the fish in the sea but not the sea itself)
- Do you think humanity should take risks in exploring the depths of the ocean or travelling to space? How do such explorations link with the Bible?
- Why do you think it’s difficult for some to let go of positions of power or authority? Think about King Saul and his jealousy of David. (1 Samuel 18:6-16)
- Read Mark 4:35-41 and compare it to the fourth picture of rescue (Ps107:23-32). What similarities do you notice?
- Read the 6 signs of controlling behaviour listed above and find relevant scriptures that deal with each point.