The second half of Marks powerful introduction where he compliments the divinity of Jesus Christ – so powerfully stated in the first eight verses with Christ’s humanity! In this brief section we see the Messiah identifying with us completely, and we are invited to identify with Him as the true man.
Why Christ is at the Door (Revelation 3:14-22)
This passage is about the apathy of the church of Laodicea. The focus of the letter is to address the lukewarmness of the church – its self-contentment and mediocrity. After Christ declares his tri-fold authority as the Amen, faithful and true witness, and the arch-type of all creation – he indicts the church of Laodicea for being lukewarm and speaks his disgust over them in the imagery of vomit – keeping close to the ‘communion’ language.
Christ then offers 3 remedies to the self-complacent church:
The first remedy is to buy from Christ – Gold, Clothes, and eye salve. All three of these relate to the resources they thought they had but where deceived. But more than that, these elements couched in this language is an echo of
The Compassion of the Lord
55:1 “Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price. (ESV)
ff, the point of these passages are the to draw out the redemptive grace that is freely in Christ Jesus and perfectly blesses though it is without cost. The remedy for the church then is to preach Christ and Him Crucified as the only true grace, to preach his glories and inheritance, His righteousness, and His wisdom!
The second remedy is to have and respond to Christ discipline. His discipline is not His judgment – which the unbeliever falls under. No His discipline is His care, and it is only for those He loves. It is because He loves. Just as the first remedy was for the church – so to the second remedy is for the church. Her officers must practice true and proper discipline. They are the rod of Christ – and His balm, and they must be used – else Christ Love is NOT being shown!
The third remedy flows from the progression of the first two and thus becomes the truest show of good standing and fervor for Christ. It is to have communion with Christ – each one in the church. Christ is at the door of the church – and this is a bad place for Him to be! Not as Bad as absent, but near to it – for it ought to be that Christ is in the midst of the church, but self-contentment drives Him out and he will only stand at the door so long knocking to those lukewarm churches so long. How sad it is that many are fearful of communion! That the very show of fervor and love of grace, the very guide of those trained by Christ’s discipline be shunned or neglected! Why would any think it a good argument to NOT commune with Christ? This meal may very well restore the apathetic church and revive her prayer. This meal may bring the sweetness back to the house after the chastening has had to bring sharpness. O let us not neglect the Lord’s Table! Just as the Grace is ‘the Lord’s Grace, and the discipline is ‘the Lord’s Discipline – so the table is His to. If Christ deigns to eat with us – let us not turn him away for a more convenient time on our part.
The text end with a consequence for those who have followed the remedies, namely gospel victory. The church who employs Christ’s means of grace enables her members to be conquers. They are soldiers not just against Satan – but against complacency, indifference and self-idolatry. Their crown is to sit with Christ. To share His authority, in this life and in the life to come. Theirs is the ultimate exaltation. Glory surpassing imagination. No amount of zeal for this could be to much – But O how many have not enough zeal! As Christ said of the Pharisees, so to for them… they have their reward! – What a sad reward that is to be admired by men and thought respectable by the damned – will it indeed comfort them in Hell, to hear that they were well thought of?
Suffering as Victory (2 Timothy 2:1-13)
This passage is about the victory of the Christian through suffering. Paul is encouraging Timothy and strengthening him in his resolve in the gospel – particularly in how Timothy thinks. He wants Timothy to have the mindset of an athlete or hard working farmer – but especially of a Soldier because these callings have in-common the resolve through suffering which will eventually have its victory. As Paul directs Timothy to meditate on these metaphorical pictures he presents The premier example – the Lord Jesus Christ who is indeed the promised kingly seed of David according to the flesh, risen from the dead according to the Spirit. This Suffering Servant King who is both God and Man is everything to Paul – he is the Gospel that he preaches. It is for Him that Paul has been imprisoned.
Paul also wants to direct Timothy’s attitude with his own. Paul has full confidence in the power of the Word of God. This comes up often in his letters to Timothy – but is significant that here Paul is specific about the Word not being bound. He could have said the ‘Power’ et al. But Paul focuses on the Word because it is the power of God unto salvation – it is not just a container for the gospel… it is the gospel for it is the testimony of Jesus. The impact of the Word on Paul is that he is able to endure anything or perhaps even more poignantly as Paul has it ‘everything’ – even as the LORD has, for the sake of the elect, again even as the LORD has. How wonderful our union with Christ which gives all our suffering redemptive purpose, but more than that it has its hope with Jesus in eternal glory!
The last 3 verses are a HYMN of the early church to the faithfulness of Christ. The orchestration brings out the nature of what Paul has been talking about – and reminds us that the Christian life must share in the suffering of Christ, but it will be His faithfulness not ours which will see us through. Thus grace does not negate our role, but guarantees it! Grace justifies our attitude of confidence and conviction – Let go and Let GOD is the opposite of what grace gives us!! because God is faithful, we endure, we hold on, we fight on as a good soldier. it is our nature, because he has given us His nature
Faith or Foolishness? (1 Samuel 14:1-46)
Jonathan Defeats the Philistines
14:1 One day Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistine garrison on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. 2 Saul was staying in the outskirts of Gibeah in the pomegranate cave at Migron. The people who were with him were about six hundred men, 3 including Ahijah the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, son of Phinehas, son of Eli, the priest of the Lord in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And the people did not know that Jonathan had gone. 4 Within the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistine garrison, there was a rocky crag on the one side and a rocky crag on the other side. The name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. 5 The one crag rose on the north in front of Michmash, and the other on the south in front of Geba.
6 Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.” 7 And his armor-bearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Do as you wish. Behold, I am with you heart and soul.” 8 Then Jonathan said, “Behold, we will cross over to the men, and we will show ourselves to them. 9 If they say to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up, for the Lord has given them into our hand. And this shall be the sign to us.” 11 So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, “Look, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves.” 12 And the men of the garrison hailed Jonathan and his armor-bearer and said, “Come up to us, and we will show you a thing.” And Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Come up after me, for the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.” 13 Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, and his armor-bearer after him. And they fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer killed them after him. 14 And that first strike, which Jonathan and his armor-bearer made, killed about twenty men within as it were half a furrow’s length in an acre of land. 15 And there was a panic in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and even the raiders trembled, the earth quaked, and it became a very great panic.
16 And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and behold, the multitude was dispersing here and there. 17 Then Saul said to the people who were with him, “Count and see who has gone from us.” And when they had counted, behold, Jonathan and his armor-bearer were not there. 18 So Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God here.” For the ark of God went at that time with the people of Israel. 19 Now while Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the camp of the Philistines increased more and more. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.” 20 Then Saul and all the people who were with him rallied and went into the battle. And behold, every Philistine’s sword was against his fellow, and there was very great confusion. 21 Now the Hebrews who had been with the Philistines before that time and who had gone up with them into the camp, even they also turned to be with the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 Likewise, when all the men of Israel who had hidden themselves in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were fleeing, they too followed hard after them in the battle. 23 So the Lord saved Israel that day. And the battle passed beyond Beth-aven.
Saul’s Rash Vow
24 And the men of Israel had been hard pressed that day, so Saul had laid an oath on the people, saying, “Cursed be the man who eats food until it is evening and I am avenged on my enemies.” So none of the people had tasted food. 25 Now when all the people came to the forest, behold, there was honey on the ground. 26 And when the people entered the forest, behold, the honey was dropping, but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath, so he put out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb and put his hand to his mouth, and his eyes became bright. 28 Then one of the people said, “Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food this day.’” And the people were faint. 29 Then Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. See how my eyes have become bright because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much better if the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies that they found. For now the defeat among the Philistines has not been great.”
31 They struck down the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. And the people were very faint. 32 The people pounced on the spoil and took sheep and oxen and calves and slaughtered them on the ground. And the people ate them with the blood. 33 Then they told Saul, “Behold, the people are sinning against the Lord by eating with the blood.” And he said, “You have dealt treacherously; roll a great stone to me here.” 34 And Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the people and say to them, ‘Let every man bring his ox or his sheep and slaughter them here and eat, and do not sin against the Lord by eating with the blood.’” So every one of the people brought his ox with him that night and they slaughtered them there. 35 And Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first altar that he built to the Lord.
36 Then Saul said, “Let us go down after the Philistines by night and plunder them until the morning light; let us not leave a man of them.” And they said, “Do whatever seems good to you.” But the priest said, “Let us draw near to God here.” 37 And Saul inquired of God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you give them into the hand of Israel?” But he did not answer him that day. 38 And Saul said, “Come here, all you leaders of the people, and know and see how this sin has arisen today. 39 For as the Lord lives who saves Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die.” But there was not a man among all the people who answered him. 40 Then he said to all Israel, “You shall be on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side.” And the people said to Saul, “Do what seems good to you.” 41 Therefore Saul said, “O Lord God of Israel, why have you not answered your servant this day? If this guilt is in me or in Jonathan my son, O Lord, God of Israel, give Urim. But if this guilt is in your people Israel, give Thummim.” And Jonathan and Saul were taken, but the people escaped. 42 Then Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan.” And Jonathan was taken.
43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” And Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the tip of the staff that was in my hand. Here I am; I will die.” 44 And Saul said, “God do so to me and more also; you shall surely die, Jonathan.” 45 Then the people said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, who has worked this great salvation in Israel? Far from it! As the Lord lives, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.” So the people ransomed Jonathan, so that he did not die. 46 Then Saul went up from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.
Saul Fights Israel’s Enemies
47 When Saul had taken the kingship over Israel, he fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, against the Ammonites, against Edom, against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines. Wherever he turned he routed them. 48 And he did valiantly and struck the Amalekites and delivered Israel out of the hands of those who plundered them.
49 Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchi-shua. And the names of his two daughters were these: the name of the firstborn was Merab, and the name of the younger Michal. 50 And the name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam the daughter of Ahimaaz. And the name of the commander of his army was Abner the son of Ner, Saul’s uncle. 51 Kish was the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel.
52 There was hard fighting against the Philistines all the days of Saul. And when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he attached him to himself. (ESV)
Funeral Service (Revelation 14:12-13)
The Duty of Discipleship (Mark 6:30-44)
This is the famous passage about feeding the 5 thousand and the compassion that Jesus has on the crowds because they are like sheep without shepherds.
Immanuel Action Figure (Mark 4:35-41)
Christmas time evokes the question – “who is this child”
The recurring question that Mark is driving at in the first half of the Gospel is “Who is this man?”
Immanuel is the ultimate expression of Lordship!
Our text shows us 3 actions of Jesus that demonstrate his active lordship.
I JESUS LEADS INTO STORMS: (vv.35-37 )
1. Jesus is the Master we are the disciple:
2. Jesus is with us in whatever storm:
3. Jesus as the ‘Liberals’ assume, does not exist in the Bible:
II JESUS TESTS US FOR OUR GOOD: (vv.38, 40)
1. Faith Concerning Jesus’ Love:
2. Faith Concerning our Trust in His Word: – Ferguson points out that “they allowed the voice of the storm to silence the voice of the LORD”
III JESUS SHOWS HIS GLORY THROUGH TRIALS: (v.39, 41)
1. His power comes from His person: (they took him as he was… v.36)
2. His Glory elicits This question: (who is this man?)
3. The answer is the Gospel in a person (God/man together …Immanuel)
Jesus asleep on the boat is much like Him asleep in the manger, all is serene – yet we are in a death squall which only He can deliver us from – but its His presence that is needed!
Serious Joy (Mark 2:18-22)
This Passage is about the religious devotion of the disciples of Jesus. It is connected to the previous story by the negative of feasting=fasting. Celebration and Joy characterized the followers of Jesus and those have never been taken as the marks of serious religiosity.
“God doesn’t want you to be happy he wants you to be holy” – is a denial of true holiness, yet this is all we know of holiness.
The problem comes from external religiosity
True Repentance (Zechariah 12:10-13:1)
You will not know the benefit of God’s grace until you know yourself to be God’s enemy!
As Calvin says, “it is a true conversion when men seriously acknowledge that they are at war with God, and that he is their enemy until they are reconciled; for except a sinner sets himself in a manner before God’s tribunal, he is never touched by a true feeling of repentance.”
Zechariah teaches us 5 important aspects of True Repentance.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. (ESV)
) This makes prayer a good barometer of Spiritual activity in your life. Where there is the Spirit of Grace there is the Spirit of prayer.
II) The Cause/Means of True Repentance: (v.10b ) – looking unto God whom you pierced. True repentance sees that your own sin nailed Jesus to the cross!
III) The Effect of True Repentance: (v.10c) – weeping [the order is important here!!]
IV) The Scope of True Repentance (vv.12-14) – Everyone individually. Before the protection of God on Judah’s enemies speaks of our strength corporately – but our repentance speaks to our walk individually. Repentance must get down to the very morrow of our soul. There is no general repentance without deep and specific repentance! — No Piggybacking!! (not even in the family)
– Also NOTE: The Scope covers all classes (King/Prophet/Priest/People… Land)
V)The Benefit of True Repentance (v. 13:1)
Transcendent Unity (Zechariah 12:1-9)
Ever since the fall in the Garden the story of man is a story of conflict and disunity.
Only a miraculous work of God could bring together the people of God – let alone humanity. Israel’s whole history proves this again and again: Moses was rejected as leader; Rehaboam and the house of David rejected etc. By starting Zechariah’s final oracle with this creation – language and the repeated use of the “in that day” formula as the people of God endure a final universal conflict, commentators see this as a hymn expressing: “the final act of salvation is to be an act of re-creation of a cosmic renewal”. Showing us that in the end…
The Glory of the LORD will be Manifested Through the Unity of the Church!
Zechariah’s burden demonstrates this in 2 divine actions.
1. In How God Sets up the nations for Judgment: (v.1-5) through 3 stages of symbolic judgment
a. Cup of Staggering:
b. Stone of Stumbling:
c. The Open Eye: Crazy Blindness & God’s careful eye
2. By Sharing His Glorious Image with Us (v.6-8)