The post-modern world around us is starting to come to grips with the allusiveness with actually finding happiness, but have insisted that the pursuit itself is the goal. As Christians following the captain of our souls – we see that true happiness can be pursued and found – if God is our pursuit! Christ shows us this in his pursuit of God through prayer, preaching and his passion for people.
God’s Greatest Gift (Ephesians 1:3-14)
The Greatest Authority (Mark 1:21-34)
The Lord Jesus shows his greatest authority in his intimate compassion. More than all the spectacle of exorcism or profound teaching, it is Christ touch that paints him King of all!
Teaching that Amazes (Mark 1:21-28)
The Power of Kingdom Preaching (Mark 1:14-15)
Sorry for the poor recording quality!
From Mark’s synopsis of Christ’s preaching ministry we learn 4 essential elements that teach us where the power comes from in preaching.
Relentless Grace (Mark 1:9-13)
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 Isaiah 55:1ff, 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)
Showing the difference between faith and foolishness through the actions of initiation and response compared and contrasted between Jonathan and Saul in 1 Samuel 14