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Hope Is a Person

Written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss on . Posted in Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Does Jesus Care? (Paul David Tripp)Hope Is a Person

Leslie Basham: Paul David Tripp says Jesus loved His disciples enough to send them into a storm. Why?

Paul David Tripp: Sometimes you need the storm to see the glory. Oh, the care is not just Jesus' presence in the storm. The care is the storm! That's care, just the kind of care that we need. He's zealous that we would see and understand that we would really have hearts of faith—sturdy, assured, confident, bold, ministering faith.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, February 21. 

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Yesterday, we heard part one of a message that Dr. Paul David Tripp delivered at Revive '13, Revive Our Hearts' conference that we hosted for women's ministry leaders last fall. Dr. Tripp showed us that Jesus loved His disciples enough to send them into a storm, even though He knew it would be tough, overwhelming, and frightening. 

The Lord does the same for us, allowing us to face the storms of life even when we feel inadequate to get through them on our own. And that, as it turns out, is a really good place to be, because that's when we turn our eyes upon Jesus, and we find His grace to get us through the storm.

Today, Dr. Paul Tripp, who is an author and conference speaker, is going to continue bringing this story to life from the book of Mark. I believe this message will be a great encouragement to you as it was to me when I first heard him give it at the Revive '13 conference. He shows us why we can keep looking to Jesus even when the storm is raging around you. Let’s listen.

Paul David Tripp: Notice the scene now—Jesus now standing next to the boat. The storm is still going on; the waves are still crashing; the wind is still blowing; these guys are still in this situation, way beyond their strength, way beyond their ability, and way beyond their ability to solve. Nothing has changed in the moment, but now Jesus is in this moment with the disciples.

And although they don't recognize Him, although they're in the same panic, Jesus doesn't say this: "I've had it! I've taught you and taught you and taught you. I've revealed My glory over and over again. Get out of the boat. I'm getting new disciples!" (laughter)

That's what I would have done. "Out!" But not this One. Jesus speaks the most beautiful words that could ever be spoken. They are literally words that if understood and received will change everything about you and everything about your life. They're that amazing. I don't think the English translations do very well with this little statement, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid."

I'm deeply persuaded that what Jesus is doing is taking one of the names of God. He's saying to the disciples, "Don't you understand? The I AM is here. The I AM is here. The I AM is here—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Lord King Creator, the Sovereign One who holds everything together by the word of His power. The One on whom all the covenant promises rest. The I AM is here! The I AM is here. The I AM is here." It's impossible for you to ever be in the storms of life by yourself, because your life has been invaded by the grace of the One who is the I AM. (applause)

The I AM is here. That moment is meant to transform the disciples. That moment is meant to give them a new sense of identity, a new sense of meaning and purpose, a sturdiness of faith that can keep them even when life is hard. The I AM is here. My hope is not in people, my hope in not in situations. My hope is in one thing—the I AM has invaded my life. By His grace, I have hope.

Amen! Amen. When you're facing things in your marriage that you've tried your best to solve, and nothing seems to make a difference, you'd better say to yourself, I'm not in this marital moment alone, because my life has been invaded by the grace of the One who is the I AM.

When you're at the end of a very discouraging parenting day—when your children seem to have conspired together to be particularly rebellious—and there's another fight you can hear down the hallway, and you're walking down the hallway feeling exhausted, and you don't want to take this walk, you'd better say to yourself, I'm not in this moment by myself. My life has been invaded by the One who is the I AM.

When you've lost that job, you're driving home wondering what the next weeks and months will be like, you'd better say in your car, I'm not alone in this moment, because my life has been invaded by the grace of the I AM. The I AM is here, the I AM is here, the I AM is here.

As you face that physical sickness, and it's created in you that very scary body awareness—where you're now more aware of your body than you've ever been—and you wonder if just every part of it's falling apart, you'd better say to yourself, I'm not alone in this moment, because my life has been invaded by the grace of the I AM.

Listen! Here's what ministry is about—it's bringing the I AM to people. That's what it's about. Hope is not in your wisdom, hope is not in being able to figure out how to solve all this stuff. Hope is found in one thing—hope is a Person, and His Name is I AM. That's what ministry is about. The I AM has come.

Now, let me ask you a question. In this passage, when did Jesus start caring for the disciples? When He took the walk? When He stood beside the boat? When He spoke those beautiful words? No, no, no, no, no, no, no. The beautiful, tender, transformative care of Jesus began when He put them in the boat and sent them across the sea.

You say, "Paul, why?" Hear what I'm about to say. If you're taking notes, write it down—because sometimes you need the storm in order to see the glory. That's why. Sometimes you need the storm in order to see the glory. Sometimes it's only the deep and dark storms of life that put the glory of the Messiah and the kind of relief where I can now see it and I can now get it and I can say, "I'm okay, because this One has drawn me into eternal relationship with Him."

Sometimes you need the storm to see the glory. Oh, the care is not just Jesus' presence in the storm. The care is the storm! That's care, just the kind of care that we need. He's zealous that we would see and understand that we would really have hearts of faith—sturdy, assured, confident, bold, ministering faith.

Look what it says next, "And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased [finally]. And they were utterly astounded [or amazed]." In case you hadn't figured it out, that's not a compliment. It's not a compliment. In fact, it's one of the few places where Mark makes an editorial comment. It says, "For they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened."

Now can we talk? I don't know why I'm asking permission; I'm going to. (laughter) There is a huge, significant difference between amazement and faith—being an astounded person and being a person of faith. There's a huge difference. You can be amazed by things that you do not put your faith in.

I live in Philadelphia. It's been the habit of my family to go every summer down to the Jersey Shore for a family vacation. We call that "going down the shore." I don't know why we say it that way, but we do. And we would always go to Ocean City, New Jersey, because that's a very family-oriented community—it's a dry community (no alcohol sales there), and it's got a boardwalk the kids can just run free on, and we just love that.

But my children would always talk me into taking them down to the next community south called Wildwood, New Jersey—properly named. Wildwood has a big boardwalk, and off the boardwalk are these big, huge piers that have amusement parks on them. There's a ride there that—the first time I saw it—just amazed me.

There was a big, maybe fifty-foot tall, metal frame. From it were hanging elastic bands. At the bottom of those bands was a pouch. They would, for seven dollars, strap an otherwise-sane human being into that pouch and pull him or her back, and launch them back and forth over the Atlantic Ocean in the night.

Now that ride amazes me. The first time I saw it, I was like this . . . My family went off to ride rides. I was stuck. They came back and got me. Now that ride did amaze me. I can tell you for sure, though, you will not strap Paul Tripp into that pouch and launch him over the Atlantic Ocean at night. (laughter)

There's a huge difference between amazement and faith.

 

  • You can be amazed by the grand sweep of the redemptive story in Scripture and not be living by faith. 
  • You can be amazed at the labyrinthian logic of the Word of God and its theology and not be living by faith.
  • You can be amazed by the wonderful worship music that we get to participate in and not be living by faith. 
  • You can be amazed by the wonderful teaching and preaching you hear and not be living by faith. 
  • You can be amazed by the love of your small group and not be living by faith. 
  • We're content with a little bit of biblical literacy. 
  • We're content with a little bit of theological knowledge. 
  • We're content with a Sunday-morning Christianity, but a life that's really driven and shaped by other values.
  • We're content with a little-bit-better marriage. 
  • We're content with a little-bit-better parenting. 

 

There's a huge and significant difference between amazement and faith.

God is not willing to leave you in divine amazement; He wants you to become a person of sturdy, assured, hopeful faith. So He will take you where you haven't intended to go to produce in you what you could not achieve on your own. The passage explains to us why this is a moment of astonishment and not faith.

It says, "For they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened." "They did not understand about the loaves" meant the disciples hadn't learned their lessons. It's talking about the feeding of the 5,000. You see, every miracle of Christ was intended to preach something about the gospel of Christ. That's what the miracles are about—the miracles preach the gospel.

So they hadn't learned their lessons, and it says that they hadn't learned their lessons because their hearts were hardened. It's a physical word picture. Look up here; it's the picture of a stony heart. If I had a stone in my hand right now and I was pushing that stone with all of my might, what you expect would happen?

Well, look at the size of my arms. It's not hard to answer. The answer is nothing, because that stone is resistant to change. That's what hard-heartedness is; it's resistance to change. Why are we resistant to change? Because we're all too satisfied with where we are; we're all too satisfied with what we've received. We're not needy and hungry. The guys in the boat were all too satisfied. They weren't learning their lessons.

Luella, my dear wife, and I gave birth to a son—well, actually she gave birth. This kid just didn't understand the concept of gifts. We would buy him a toy—birthday or Christmas. He'd tear open the box, discard the toy, and play with the box. It drove me crazy, made me nuts.

So one Christmas, I decided that I was going to experience parental victory and find a toy that he would actually play with. I grabbed my wife, Luella—poor thing—and took her on this quest. We were out there way longer than it made any sense to be. I was not going to lose.

I finally found a toy that seemed like it was made for my son. I knew he couldn't resist this one. And so, at Christmas when it came time for him to open that gift, we were surely more excited than he would have ever been. He tore open the box like a little boy would, not thinking about recycling, and actually began to play with the toy. I had such feelings of victory.

I went into the kitchen to talk to another one of my relatives, was in there for a few minutes, got something to drink, and went back into the living room where the tree was—where he was—and he was sitting in the box. (laughter)

Now you may say, "Why is this man sharing with us this cute family story at the end of this message?" Here it is—you have been given the most awesome gift that could ever be given. It's a gift that's gorgeous from every perspective. It's the one gift you could never earn, you could never achieve, you could never deserve. It's the essential gift of gifts that every human being who's ever taken a breath desperately needs.

It's the only gift that has the power to change you and everything about you. It's the gift of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. But I am deeply persuaded that in the face of being given that gift, many of us are content to play with the box.

But we're not holding onto that gift of grace with both hands and saying, "I can't believe that I've been chosen to receive this gift. I'm not letting go of this gift 'til it's done everything that it was meant to do for me. I want to read about this gift, I want to study this gift. I want to be around people who know about this gift. I want to fellowship with them around this gift. I love the gift of grace. It's not just a part of my theology; it's life to me." (applause)

You see, there really is a profound difference between amazement and faith. What is God doing right now? With zealous, unrelenting, terrifyingly committed zeal, He will turn us into people of faith. You do not have the power to resist that.

He will turn you into a person of faith; He will complete that work. And He will not say to you, "Get out of the boat; you don't get it." He will say to you once again, "The I AM is here. You'll never again be the same." And so He will take you where you haven't intended to go to produce in you what you could not achieve on your own.

Sisters, when you're going through difficulty, that's the gospel you need to preach to you. Sisters, when you're standing next to someone who's going through difficulty, that's the gospel you need to preach. This moment of difficulty is not a sign of His unfaithfulness and inattention. It's not a sign of the failure of His promises. It's not a sign of divine forgetfulness. These difficulties are a sure sign of the zeal of His transforming love.

Sometimes you need the storm in order to see the glory. So storms will come so glory can be known, so hearts can be transformed, so faith will grow, so you will be usable in the hands of the I AM. What a gorgeous plan! Let's pray.

Lord, all I can think of saying in this moment is, "Who is a god like our God? Who has mercy rich and free like this, like our God?" Oh, forgive us for being too quickly and too easily satisfied. Forgive us for esteeming ease of life more than we esteem redemption.

And we thank You for Your unstoppable zeal to form in us that faith, which is only ever Your gift of grace. Thank You. Thank You. We thank You. In Jesus' name, amen.

Nancy: That’s Dr. Paul David Tripp. He delivered that message at Revive '13, the conference Revive Our Hearts hosted last fall for women's ministry leaders.

I can remember as I sat in the front row at that conference and listened to this message. By the time he got to the end, I could hardly breathe. I was so taken with the wonder of who Jesus is and how He uses those storms in a powerful way in our lives. That's why we wanted to share that message with you.

I hope it has encouraged you—especially if you are going through a storm today, which is probably many of us. He’s encouraged us to keep our eyes on Jesus. When you do, you’ll find that you get to know Him in the midst of the storm in ways you never could have when life feels like smooth sailing.

We are going to take an extended time on Revive Our Hearts to get to know Jesus by studying many of His wonderful names. How many different names for Jesus can you think of? I was surprised to learn there are about 350 of them scattered throughout the Scripture. We're not going to look at all of those. But I was even more surprised by how much I got to know Him by studying some of those names. 

Studying the names of Jesus has had a huge big effect on my own life. It's made me love and worship and appreciate Him even more.

I hope you’ll experience the same thing as we begin a new teaching series called “The Wonder of His Name: 32 Life-Changing Names of Jesus.” The series will begin March 5 and go throughout the Lenten season leading up to Easter.

To prepare for this teaching series, I hope you’ll get a devotional book the team and I have produced called The Wonder of His Name. In this book I’ve written a daily devotional on each of those thirty-two names of Jesus. Then we've added in quotes, hymns, poetry of other believers through the ages, just reflecting on each of those names.

As you read it, this will be a great way to focus on Jesus: who He is, why He came to this earth, and what His ministry is in our lives today as believers. So I want to encourage you to read this book and follow along with us in this series during the Lenten season and beyond.

Timothy Botts, who is a renowned artist and calligrapher, has provided the illustrations for this book. I think it makes this whole book so lovely—which we wanted to do as we reflected on the loveliness of Christ. We pray as you read it and see the beautiful artwork, most importantly that you’ll be struck by the beauty of Jesus as you get to know Him through these thirty-two names.

We’ll be glad to send you a copy of this book, The Wonder of His Name when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. Ask for the book when you call 1–800–569–5959, or visit us online at

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