On October 6, 1881, C.H. Spurgeon preached a message on Matthew 8:27, part of the text we are considering today. Spurgeon’s sermon was mostly about the reaction of the disciples when Jesus spoke to a tempestuous storm on the Sea of Galilee and commanded it to be stilled. In his characteristic eloquent oratory, Spurgeon spoke of the peril of the boat and said, “A gust of wind threatened to lift her right out of the water, and the next threatened to plunge her to the bottom of the sea. The weary fishers certainly did not look for a calm: there were no signs of such a boon. When they said, ‘Master, we perish,’ I do not know what they thought their Lord would do; but they assuredly never dreamed that he would stand up in the hinder part of the ship, and say, ‘Winds and waves, what mean ye? Your Master is here. Be still.’ That was beyond their nautical experience, and their fathers had never seen such wonders in their day. They could not hope that in a moment they should be in a profound calm.”
Spurgeon went on to inquire of his audience, “May I ask you to wonder a little at what the Lord has done for you? Has he not done for you what you never expected?” I read these words from the prince of preachers and like him I am almost dumbfounded at how difficult the individual twists and turns of ministry have been to bring us to where we are now. To express this in a metaphor that fits the text, a “perfect storm” had to occur to bring this church to where we are doctrinally today. Without going into detailed testimony, there were some unhappy, unexpected circumstances that both preceded and succeeded God’s molding of this ministry. Many of those events we would not choose to happen if they existed independently of God’s purposes.
In the beginning of Spurgeon’s sermon, he remarked how that Jesus in the boat with his disciples reminded him of Christ piloting the ship of the church in perilous times of heresy and persecution. Sometimes it seemed as if Jesus was asleep, but at the right time He awakened and He righted the ship and quelled those storms. He has done this throughout church history with great revivals.
I believe this is what God has done with our church. The “perfect storm” happened in order to bring this church back to the doctrines that were taught by our Baptist forefathers. When the storm was over on the sea, the disciples said, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him.” The recovery of these doctrines in Berean Baptist Church has caused us to glorify God in greater ways. “What manner of man is this” is now better understood. Now we understand far better that the sovereign God is first, last, and always in control! We are relieved of performance based religion because it is Christ who performs. Salvation is all of Him. We must realize our desperation on the sea; we have no part in piloting this ship. Soli deo Gloria!
Pastor V. Mark Smith