Monthly Archives: September 2016

Mark 9:2-13


Title: Just a Glimpse!

Text: Mark 9.2-13

Introduction: Ever watch a movie trailer and say to yourself: Well, I don’t have to see that movie now – they just showed us the whole thing! Lisa and I have this thing, when we see a movie trailer of some movie about to be released that we’ll take no interest in, one of us will say to the other

  1. That looks like a real winner.
  2. Thanks for letting me know, I won’t be going to see that movie!
  3. I just saw more of that move than I think I’ll ever care to see of that movie!

All that from just a glimpse; Of course, sometimes I see a trailer and can’t wait for the movie to come out. I’m no Tom Cruise fan, but I love Jack Reacher. I saw the first part of the trailer and didn’t want to see anymore. They show way too much. So, yeah, I’ll be looking for that when it comes out at RedBox or on Netflix.

Catching just a glimpse. That’s what those movie makers want to give you in hopes that you’ll want to see the whole thing. What a difference just a glimpse can make! What hope it can give.

Yesterday I read at Linda’s Kenner’s service from Romans 8.29-30; 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. I said in my message that Linda had held each of these links of this Golden Chain. Called, Justified, Glorified.

Today, in our text, Peter, James and John are going to catch just a glimpse of Jesus in his glorified state. I don’t know if it lasted as long as a movie trailer, but what a sight it must have been.

Transition: Today’s text is set in two separate scenes:

  1. Scene 1: A Glorious Mountaintop Experience: Jesus is transformed before their very eyes.
  2. Scene 2: A Deep Theological Discussion: The disciples have many questions as they descend the mountain.

I.     A Glorious Mountaintop Experience (2-8)

exp.: We begin in v2 with a time reference that Mark rarely makes (the only other time is in 14.1); next we find that he is only taking with him three of the disciples; he did this when he raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead in 5.37; He does this again now, and He’ll do it a 3rd time in Mark when he prays in the Garden of Gethsemane. I call these three his garden buddies. I didn’t make that up. I heard another preacher refer to them as such. But you get the idea that Jesus is allowing these three to be a part of some very important parts of his ministry.

So we have a timeframe and we have a list of who is in this story. Next, we have a place – up on a high mountain. Mt. Tabor is the place considered to be the Mount of Transfiguration. I don’t have a good picture of Mt. Tabor, but it doesn’t matter, because I don’t think this is where it happened anyway. Truth is we don’t know. Anywhere north of Caesarea Philippi is the Mt. Hermon range. Jesus could taken these disciples up that way. There is some doubt that it is the Mt. Hermon way because…1st, it is 6 days later; and 2nd, when they descend, there are scribes there arguing with his other disciples. I doubt the Scribes would follow Jesus into Gentile territory. But, here’s the thing: Mark doesn’t think the name of the mountain is important, but rather what happened on that mountain is what is important.

ill.: The prophet Isaiah’s ministry spanned many decades and 4 kings. The last was Hezekiah. I was reading up on Hezekiah and read that he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan; 2 Kings 18.4). I thought that was so wise on Hezekiah’s part! It’s funny how we as humans make idols out of religious relics! Traveling to Israel and seeing how people acted at the sites in Jerusalem is heartbreaking. Hezekiah was so moved by the people’s idolatry toward something incredible, he destroyed it.

Mark didn’t tell us where this place was, because if he did, there would be a monastery there and they would be charging us to get in!

Look at what takes place: rd v 2;

  1. He was transfigured; I love that Peter and John were eyewitnesses to this; James was the 1st to die of the disciples – so he didn’t really get a chance to write a gospel for us; But Peter and John lived long enough to pass some things on; John records this event in his gospel and Peter writes a personal testimony of this in his 2nd letter, 1st chapter: 16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. He speaks of Christ’s Majesty and of the voice they heard from the cloud. He says they were eye-witnesses! He is transformed, transfigured; rd v 3; his transformation is really indescribable; he is saying it is like nothing he has ever seen before; 2nd, Jesus converses…
  2. He conversed with Elijah and Moses; rd v 4; what are we to gather from this bit of information? Why these two? Let me be honest and say: I don’t know. However, I have some thoughts…

a. Some have said they represent the Law and the Prophets (The OT writings), But Elijah didn’t write an OT book, like Isaiah or Ezekiel or Jeremiah; And why then isn’t there a third man to represent the writings or poetry? No, I don’t think it is that.

b. Some people assume it is because these two didn’t die. For sure, Elijah didn’t die, he was taken up in a whirlwind; And Moses wandered off; Jewish tradition teaches that God just took Moses; There is only one problem with their tradition: Moses did die and God buried him (Due. 34.6); no one knows just where, and that is good; if we knew, we’d probably build a monastery there and charge people to get in to see his grave! No, the only other person who didn’t die was Enoch; so why not him instead of Moses?

c. Here’s my assumption: I think it has something to do with end times because their names are associated with end times. I think it has something to do with eschatology. For example, in a moment, the disciples with Jesus will ask him about Elijah. They understand the eschatological ties with Elijah. Malachi 4.4-6, the last three verses of the OT read:

“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

Furthermore, Deut. 18.15ff reads: 15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17 And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.

So, both of these OT men are associated with end times!

d. Added to this, I thought of Revelation and the two witnesses of Ch. 11; now, mind you, their names are not mentioned; however, the witnesses who serve the Lord in Rev. 11, have the same abilities, as do these two and these men are highly intimated in that passage.

One last question: some may ask, how do the disciples know who these men are? I think that is a silly question. Maybe they were wearing nametags! Mark doesn’t care to tell us. And neither do any of the other gospels. Peter could have said so in his letter. But he doesn’t – he only mentions Jesus. Which I think is the focal point here. Christ is greater than these! He is greater than the Law and greater than Moses. He is greater than any OT character or event.

Trans.: Now this has to be an incredible moment. Think for a moment and wonder: what would I do? How would I act? Well, if you know the story, you know what Peter did;

  1. Peter speaks foolishly; rd 5; I’m thinking that there is a time to speak and a time to remain silent (Ecc. 3.7). Peter doesn’t know which is which! I wonder if he thought to himself: build three tents? Where did that come from? What, will each disciple take on the task of building a tent? I wonder if the three (Jesus, Moses and Elijah) are talking. They’re interrupted by Peter: “Rabbi, (the 3 look at Peter and the other disciples) it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah. And then they look back at each other and begin conversing again – like Peter never said a word. Rd v 6; He’s so caught up in the moment and terrified out of his mind, that he just blurts something out!

Trans: well, to be sure, he should have kept quiet, look at v 7; rd v 7;

  1. The Father speaks from within the cloud; there is some Exodus symbolism throughout this passage;

a. 6 days; Exodus 24, the glory of the Lord rested on Sinai for 6 days; and remember, this is only one of two times Mark gives us a time reference;

b. Moses was ‘transformed’; he needed to wear a veil to cover his face when in the presence of others;

c. As the disciples were terrified out of their minds, So were the people in Exodus; there was a tremendous fear – terrible fear from the people of the Lord.

d. Just like our experience here, A cloud enveloped the mountain in the Exodus story;

e. God spoke from the thick cloud at Sinai; just as he does in our story.

There are just too many similarities to ignore it. Now look at what he says: “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” Gk. Lit.: hear him; a command, so it is understood that you’ll hear and obey; hence, listen. Do what he says! And just like that…

  1. It was over in an instant! Rd v 8;

They begin making their way down the mountain, back to their buddies and I’m sure many questions swirled around in their heads.

That’s where we pick up in this next section…

II.    A Deep Theological Discussion (9-13)

exp.: rd v 9; I wonder what prompted Jesus to say something. I can just hear Peter: Man, no one is gonna believe this! Jesus then warns them of the Messianic Secret – which he has warned them about many times already. This time, however, there is a terminus to the warning. You can let the secret out after the Son of Man has risen from the dead. Now, I’m sure their minds are really going! Rd v 10; this isn’t the 1st time they’ve heard this. Go back to 8.31 and we begin to get some context. Rd 8.31; you remember that Peter doesn’t like Jesus being so negative! He and all the disciples knew that Jesus would ride into town on a white stallion and conquer Jerusalem from the Romans and kick them out! What’s all this talk about rising from the dead? So, Peter rebukes Jesus. That doesn’t last long – Jesus rebukes Peter in front of the disciples. They need to hear this, too. Then, he teaches the crowds in v 34 and following. He concludes his teaching with this idea of end times and of his 2nd coming: This story might actually begin in v. 1; and for that matter in 8.38; It’s possible, and I’m not saying this dogmatically, but it is possible that this passage finds its context in 9.1 and 8.38 at the conclusion of this previous time of teaching the crowds: And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.” And if you go back further, another verse, you see Jesus talking about the 2nd coming! I don’t think to this point we’ve heard anything about a 2nd coming:

38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

This majestic glory is something Peter mentions in his letter; maybe, these verses give us context to say that Jesus is allowing these three to see what is to come – the future glory – the resurrection glory. Follow it in order from 8.38

  • 1st, Jesus talks about his 2nd coming, when he comes in glory.
  • 2nd, he says there are some here (in their midst) who will not taste death, but would see this glory.
  • 3rd, he takes them up on a mountain and is transformed, allowing them to see him in his glory as he converses with Moses and Elijah.

I’m not 100% sure of this, but it makes a lot of sense when you read it that way. This gives a lot of credence to the pre-millennial view.

Now, why is all of this important? Because it informs our eschatology – our understanding of end times. The amillennialist will quote vs 1 and say: see this, we’re living in the millennial era. Jesus died on a cross, was buried and rose three days later. Those disciples right there are seeing the Kingdom of God ushered in! The Premillenialist will say no, no, no! Chapter 8.38 and 9.1 give our passage context.

And these things are indeed going through their minds. Maybe not Pre-millennial or A-millennial questions, but eschatological issues, nonetheless. So, they ask the one who knows!

exp.: rd v 11; a great question – and v 12a clarifies for us what the disciples are actually asking; rd 12a; so together, they’re asking if Elijah, whom they’ve just seen on the mountain with Jesus, comes to restore all things. If that is the case, then they might wonder why would it be necessary for the Son of Man to suffer and die? Especially, if all things have been restored. And Jesus asks that question for them; rd 12b; then he answers his own question: rd v 13; Jesus is tying the suffering of John, the Baptist together with that of the Messiah.

Prophecy is hard to understand. Sometimes a statement means one thing or refers to one person or one group. At other times, a prophecy might refer to more than one person or group.

A great example is using Elijah. Sometime it is clear that Elijah is John, the Baptist. At other times, it appears that prophecies of Elijah are fulfilled in Jesus. I suppose there might even been times when it is unclear which person the prophecy is about: John or Jesus.

app.: So, what are we to make of this? What do we do when things get too tough to understand?

1st we must ask ourselves what is clear – what are we sure of?

  • Well, we’re sure that Jesus is the promised Messiah.
  • We’re sure that Jesus is glorified here. He is glorified in that He has supremacy over Moses and Elijah. The book of Hebrews validates our understanding of this. The Father validates that for us in his declaration: “This is my beloved son; listen to him.”
  • We’re sure that Jesus died on a cross, was buried in a borrowed tomb and rose again three days later. And more than that, that he ascended to the right hand of the father where he rules and reigns in glory. These three disciples got to see that state of glory. We will, too, one day!
  • And, We’re sure that these lowly bodies are not the glorified bodies we’ll one day have. For we shall be like him – for we shall see him as he is. We shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall all be changed.
  • We can be sure that victory lies ahead for us. At the 2nd coming, all things will be restored – Eden will be restored. That doesn’t mean there won’t be suffering, as we see Christ tie the suffering of John and himself together here in this passage. We can be sure that victory lies ahead for us.


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Isaiah 1:1-9

Title: Court is in Session

Text: Isaiah 1.1-9

Goal: to understand Isaiah and what he is doing in writing his book.


Good morning… Here’s what I want I’d like to accomplish this morning:

  • My goal is to look at the outline of Isaiah and get some direction for where we’re going at W.E.B.S.
  • 2ndly, I hope to set the tone of the book within the preface of Isaiah from within the context of the entire book.
  • I’m hoping some of you here would see the beauty of this book and desire to be a part of this study on Wednesday evenings.
  • I’ve chosen to leave Mark for this morning, because I just haven’t had any time to present an introduction. I’m not used to the new time on Wednesday evenings. And 2nd, this opening section in Mark has moved me, and I want you to be moved with the same sort of passion.

As a way of introduction, let’s review 1.1: 1The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

  1. The Vision
  2. Of Isaiah
  3. Concerning Judah & Jerusalem
  4. In the days of Four Kings

Transition: let’s begin 1st with …

  1. The Vision (1)

exp.: Note 1st, the vision is singular; he doesn’t record visions, but rather a vision. So this book is to be observed, studied and understood as a ‘vision’ from God. It is not a collection of visions.

2nd, a vision isn’t something God shows Isaiah, or any of the prophets for that matter. It could be and at times is; however, it isn’t necessarily seen. Many times, a vision is what God says to Isaiah. Cf.: 21.2; 29.11;

3rd, this vision isn’t chronological. I believe this creates problems for some – but not for me. I see Isaiah as his memoir – a collection of sermons and messages and stories, which have been put together systematically and not chronologically. He presents his point and then, illustrates it with a story.

4th, the vision of a prophet was powerful and amazing.

ill.: Listen to O. Palmer Roberston in his book, The Christ in the Prophets:

Inadequate evidence makes it impossible to affirm that a vision of the Almighty was essential to every call of a prophet. But in the cases of Isaiah and Ezekiel, the manifestation of God in his glory formed an integral part of their call and commission as prophets of the Lord. Jeremiah asserts that the false prophets have not “stood in the council of the Covenant Lord” (Jer. 23:18 NIV), implying that he has undergone that awesome qualifying experience (see also 1 Kings 22:19-23). The exalted vision of divine majesty played a vital role in the summons of many of the nation’s prophets, and this visionary experience could not fail to have strong impact on the prophet.

The word of God comes “with the strength of [God’s] hand” upon him (Isa. 8:11). Cramps seize the loins of the prophet like those of a woman in labor, and twilight becomes a horror to him (21:3-4). After receiving his vision, the prophet was exhausted, lay sick for several days (Dan. 8:27), and his “natural color turned to a deathly pallor” (10:8 NASB). When he heard the message from the Lord, the prophet’s heart pounded, his lips quivered, decay crept into his bones, and his legs trembled (Hab. 3:16). On receiving his call, the prophet sat overwhelmed by his vision for seven days (Ezek. 3:15). These words do not describe merely hyperpsychic experiences, for they consistently result in the most exalted of human utterances that give all glory to one and the same creator God.

t.s.: Now, I’d like to turn our attention to the 2nd part of this opening statement: The Vision Of Isaiah.

  1. Of Isaiah (1)

exp.: Who was Isaiah?

  • He was the son of Amoz, who was brother to the King – Uzziah or Amaziah.
  • Isaiah: lit.: The Lord Saves. We could spend so much time on what his name means; but suffice it to say for now… The Lord Saves. This idea of salvation comes out in his book:

t.s: Let’s look at the purpose of his vision…

  1. Concerning Judah and Jerusalem (1)

exp.: Isaiah was a prophet of the Southern Kingdom. Indeed, during his tenure, the Northern Kingdom will cease to exist. The conqueror will pull within 8 miles of Jerusalem after annihilating the Northern Kingdom. Judah will toy with the idea of trusting in Egypt and Assyria; some kings will  – other will not!

  1. In the days…of the kings (1)

exp.: Here is my guesstimate: His dates are from 740 (the year Uzziah died) to 689 BC – According to tradition, and I don’t know how accurate that is, Isaiah was sawn in half at the command of Manasseh in 689 BC during the waning years of Hezekiah. The writer of Hebrews was probably referring to Isaiah in 11.37 because of rabbinic tradition concerning his martyrdom.

Transition: let’s begin to look at the outline of the text:

  • Chapters 1-39 – Book 1: Looking for the coming perfect king in the line of David
  • Chapters 40-55 – Book 2: Looking for the King who would be the Servant (suffering servant)
  • Chapters 56-66 – Book 3: Looking for the eschatological King – the Savior and great Avenger

As for our outline, we will follow J. Alec Motyer. Motyer puts chapters 38-39 with the 2nd book. Understandably so, he aligns Hezekiah’s fatal choice with the change of book 2. Here is our outline for book 1:

  • 1-5: Preface
  • 6-12: The Dying King and the ‘Holy One’ the King of Israel.
  • 13-27: The Lord hasn’t abandoned his plans; he is going to accomplish them in the Messiah.
  • 28-35: Presented in a series of denunciations. Even though God’s people fail and see the help of outsiders, God will accomplish his purposes: a king will reign. After unfaithful kings, Hezekiah comes to reign and he trusts in God. God then proves his trustworthiness and delivers his people in a most miraculous way.
  • 36-37: The story as played out and fulfilled prophecy. They trusted in God and He delivered.

Transition: It is all very interesting, but I want to get to our text this evening, so let’s look at this first section: the Preface, chapters 1-5. Specifically, this morning, we’ll begin with 1.2-9; What is Isaiah saying and what are we to understand of ourselves?

Answer: 1.2-9 deals with sin. Here is what it all boils down to as we begin. God has made a covenant with Israel, his children, which they have entered into with him. Yahweh is a covenantal God. And we enter into relationship with him by covenant. That hasn’t changed. So with this in mind, let’s look at the text in outline form.

I.      The Arraignment: SIN (2-9)

exp.: I love the way he sets this up

The Summons: “Hear, ye, Hear, Ye!”

    Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;

for the Lord has spoken:

The Charge: Sin and Rebellion

“Children have I reared and brought up,

but they have rebelled against me.


The Charge Illustrated:

    The ox knows its owner,

and the donkey its master’s crib,

but Israel does not know,

my people do not understand.”


The Charge Repeated: Sin and Rebellion

    Ah, sinful nation,

a people laden with iniquity,

offspring of evildoers,

children who deal corruptly!

They have forsaken the Lord,

they have despised the Holy One of Israel,

they are utterly estranged.


The Charge’s Necessity: Repeated attempts at Reconciliation on God’s part have been rebuffed: Not only has she sinned, Not only has she rebelled; Furthermore, Israel has repeatedly refused Discipline and resisted against God’s work to bring them back into a right relationship with Him!

    Why will you still be struck down?

Why will you continue to rebel?

The whole head is sick,

and the whole heart faint.

    From the sole of the foot even to the head,

there is no soundness in it,

but bruises and sores

and raw wounds;

they are not pressed out or bound up

or softened with oil.

    Your country lies desolate;

your cities are burned with fire;

in your very presence

foreigners devour your land;

it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners.

    And the daughter of Zion is left

like a booth in a vineyard,

like a lodge in a cucumber field,

like a besieged city.


Deferred Adjudication: She has sinned through her rebellion. She has refused repeated attempts to be reconciled with her God. And Yet, God has not destroyed her; God has remained faithful to keep a remnant!

    If the Lord of hosts

had not left us a few survivors,

we should have been like Sodom,

and become like Gomorrah.

Now, it would be the defenses turn to speak. Really what can he say? What would the opening arguments of a defense be?

t.s.: Let’s take a moment and look at…

II.    The Grounds for the Charge (Deut. 28-29)

exp.: Turn to Deut. 28; Conditions of the Covenant have been set in Deut. 28; the Covenant is quite simple: Blessings for Obedience; but Curses for Disobedience!  So, they enter the Promised Land;

  1. The cycle of Judges; 1 Samuel 12.19-25; he has repeated over and over again what they have done throughout their time of being led by Judges. Now, they have a king; the covenant is remembered;
  2. The cycle of Kings; Hundreds of years pass – day after day, week after week, month after month, decade after decade, century after century after century – and the story remains the same: the people prove themselves to be unfaithful.

app.: and so the charges are presented…

t.s: Now, that’s the quick message. There is, however, a much richer look at this passage. I’ve entitled this last section…

III.   The Richness of God’s Righteous Charge against his children (14-20)

exp.: rd v 2; He is God! He created all that there is! Nothing was created that has been created that was not created by him! And, to begin this charge, he summons creation to bear witness of the charges.

ill.: (Motyers) In the Old Testament the heavens and earth are frequently summoned

(i) as witness to an oath (e.g. Dt. 4:26);

(ii) as witness for the prosecution when the Lord charges his people (e.g. Ps. 50:4ff.);

(iii) to rejoice when the Lord’s greatness is declared (e.g. as king, 1 Ch. 16:31; as Saviour, Ps. 69:34–35);

(iv) to express abhorrence of Israel’s sin (e.g. Je. 2:12).

Thus, the created universe is always on the side of its Creator. The Creation in relation to the Creator perfectly reflects the way the relationship should be between God and man. So what we see here is this call to witness this charge.

You might see them as witnesses who proclaim what the relationship is supposed to look like.

exp.: his charge reads: I have reared – they have rebelled!

ill.: rd v 3; How many of you are ‘dog’ people? What does your dog do when you come home after leaving them there for a long time? Animals know their masters. They treat strangers differently.

In v 4, he explains the charge: their sin! Isa. 59.1-2:

59 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,

or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;

    but your iniquities have made a separation

between you and your God,

       and your sins have hidden his face from you

so that he does not hear.

Now, even in this charge we can see the great mercy and compassion toward his people, Israel:

List 1st, the terms of endearment; nation, people, offspring, children; List the words that describe either sin or rebellion: sinful, iniquity, evildoers, corrupt, forsaken (they are not forsaken; rather they have forsaken), despised (they are not despised, but rather they have despised), estranged (their choice, Not God’s – remember the covenant? They didn’t do their part).

In v 5-8 we see God’s continued attempt to restore them into a right relationship with him. They have been disciplined severely:

  • It appears foreigners have abused her at the Lord’s leading.

Discussion: it is sometimes hard to see what God is doing and what God is allowing. How can we know the difference between punishment, discipline and God at work, doing something that will glorify him or bring us growth? Is there a difference between the suffering one endures for the sake of disciple brought about by disobedience.

Of v 5, Motyer writes: The form of the question requires it to be translated, ‘Why, seeing that you will be beaten again, do you rebel again?’ Sin is not only unreasonable (2b) but also unreasoning, unable to draw proper conclusions and make appropriate responses. It is blindness to what God is doing (cf. 5:19). pā·šǎ (paw-shah; rebellion) emphasizes stubborness rather than wilfulness (cf. verse 2; see Ho. 4:16). Stubborn, Stiff-necked; These people are so stubborn, that they will lay there, beaten and bruised; their cities in ruin, their fields empty. And yet, subborness will not let them repent.

V 6-7; again, metaphors, illustrations to describe their condition because of their stubbornness; if your body lay in this condition – physically speaking, what would you do?

ill.: I know America is not Israel. Israel’s covenant is not ours. Still, I can’t help thinking that we as a nation are headed for disaster. We cannot think that we are immune from the effects of sin.

V 9: Sodom & Gomorrah! Sin has its effect; Repeat that so I know you heard me: Sin has its effect! 1st, when we sin and 2nd, from Adam; Do you understand? We’ve been affected by the sin of Adam, as it has affected the whole earth; and we experience the effects of sin, when we willfully, stubbornly reject the teachings of the Lord and live life our own way.

But, here’s the beautiful part of the story: no matter how bad it gets, God is still faithful to stay his hand, to slow the effects, in order that a remnant might remain. Had he not slowed the effect, they would have been wiped out. As America embraces sinful behavior as a lifestyle, As America devalues marriage – to the point that it really has no meaning anymore; as America blurs the lines of gender – to the point that gender doesn’t exist anymore, as America thumbs its nose at God – we cannot think for one moment that God will continue to bless us.

Conclusion: Notice how nicely Isaiah bookends, sandwiches, brackets this passage: Isaiah begins and ends with an emphasis on the Lord; He who created, calls upon creation as his witness; and concludes w/ The Lord of Hosts… I used to think that hosts was the angel army of God. And it can be! But it isn’t just that. Hosts represents anything and everything. In terms of creation, it refers to everything God has made. Think back to v 2; it is saying the same thing: He is sovereign over everything, because everything that is – He Created! So, you have these bookends – scholars call it an inclusio.

So what, Pastor, that’s them! What has that to do with us? That’s a good question! What good have we done, if all we do is gather information and puff ourselves up with knowledge?


  1. God is perfectly righteous in making all of these decisions. He is perfectly just in his actions. He is the creator. He is God. He is Sovereign. Before you say a word; before you make a move, let that thought resonate in your mind; close your eyes and listen to this reading – Psalm 8:

                      O Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

                        You have set your glory above the heavens.

                      Out of the mouth of babies and infants,

                        you have established strength because of your foes,

to still the enemy and the avenger.

                      When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

                      what is man that you are mindful of him,

and the son of man that you care for him?

                      Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings

and crowned him with glory and honor.

                      You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;

you have put all things under his feet,

                      all sheep and oxen,

and also the beasts of the field,

                      the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,

whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

                      O Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

  1. If you and I are Christians, then: We have entered into a covenant agreement with God. We should therefore, live our lives in obedience, too. The covenant isn’t the same as Deu. 28; however, it is a covenant just the same! Look at these similarities
    1. We’re the people of God. We are the people of God, called by his name, called from the dark and delivered from shame. One holy race, saints everyone, because of the love of Christ, Jesus, the Son. We’re the people of God. We’ve been grafted into the vine.
    2. Being called “Christians” we then have an obligation to live our lives as he taught us. With the mouth we confess Jesus is Lord and with the heart we believe he God raised Jesus from the dead. There is the internal aspect of our conversion, yes, but there is the external, too. Jesus is Lord, means we no longer are Lord. What he says, goes. Period. So, we live our lives worthy of this calling we’ve received – Christians.
  2. Sin still separates us from God. Yes, we’ve been forgiven; however, when we choose to live in sin, the relationship suffers the lack of fellowship with God. Too much of that and it just might be that we’re not saved. I don’t mean you lose your salvation by any stretch of the imagination. I mean you were never saved to begin with! Someone who chooses to live in sin and reject Jesus as Lord isn’t saved. Remember, its duality? You can’t be a Christian inwardly only – that doesn’t match the word of God. Some people get very defensive with me about this because of this. But I believe the entire counsel of God’s Word points in this direction. Some people say you only have to say the words of a sinner’s prayer and wha-lah! You’re saved! No. I don’t believe that to be what Paul means when he says in his testimony: 19 “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. You and I can’t have it both ways: say the sinner’s prayer and live like pagans.
  3. We cannot live in sin and expect God’s blessing. We don’t represent all of the U.S. But the U.S. is our home here on earth. We’ve been given the standard. It is our duty, as Christians and as Americans to raise the standard high – and to live out that standard in a public way. We must not endorse sinful behavior as an acceptable lifestyle. What God has called sin and rebellion, we must acknowledge is sin and rebellion. What just might stay God’s hand in destroying the U.S. is a righteous wave of believers holding high the standard of God in the public arena. I look at our younger generation and I’m encouraged in many ways. I see godly young men and women rising up to meet the challenge. Let’s raise the standard – bear the message of hope for a lost and dying world… that…
  4. God is merciful. God is patient with us. God’s tenderness is evident in the way he still treats us. He won’t always be. So, won’t you take advantage of the day and commit your life to Christ?


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Mark 8:22 – 9:1

Title: Discipleship Defined

Text: 8.22-9.1

Introduction: I’ve told you before that Mark seems to love Triads? Well, observe this set of Triads: a triad of triads.

Cycle of Events:

1. Prediction of the Passion: 8.31, 9.30-31, 10.32-34

2. Demonstration of selfishness and pride: 8.32, 9.33-34, 10.35-41

3. Teaching on True Discipleship: 8.34-38, 9.35-37. 10.42-45

  • An Illustration of the slow progression of blindness to sight (8.22-26). Basically, here is how the Scripture flows in Outline form:
  • An Example of Peter in the midst of his progression to perception (8.27-33).
  • The Reality of Discipleship: you must be like Christ! (8.34-9.1)

Transition: let’s begin with the illustration we finished up with last week.

I.      An Illustration of the slow progression of blindness to sight (22-26)

exp.: As a way of review, I think this story fits our storyline; the miracle is completed in two stages:

  • 23b: and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?”
  • 25: 25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

This progression illustrates for us the slow, progressive coming to faith the disciples’ experience; and, especially in today’s passage, Peter’s journey.

app.: Jesus demonstrates that He is The Messiah through the healing of the blind man. He is the answer to the prophecy found in Isaiah 35.5-6. He concludes with the command to keep the Messianic secret: Don’t even enter the village.

t.s.: Mark then gives us the an example of Peter’s progression.

II.     An example of Peter in the midst of his progression to perception (27-33)

exp.: where he lets us see into a certain time frame in Peter’s journey; rd 27a; where are they headed toward? Caesarea Philippi.

Let me digress for a moment – when traveling in Israel this past June, we went Caesarea Philippi. This is the sight of Banias Springs the second tributary of the Jordan. It is actually “Panias” but Arabs cannot say a P and there is no P in Arabic, thus they called it Banias. It is named Panias because they would worship their many gods here (Hence, the word Pan). At the start of this area is where the spring used to be – you can see from the picture that the water carved out a little cave. At the mouth of this spring, the people who worshiped their many gods believed was the entrance to the underworld, Hades, hell. The river that flows through Hades is the river Styx.

Remember that, we’ll come back to that. For now, they’re on their way and Jesus asks them a simple question: who do people say that I am? This is the 2nd time we’ve seen this: 6.14;

6.14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”

8.27 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.”

So, the rumor mill is the same; however, Christ wants them to know that he isn’t any of those men. And so he asks them, personally in v 29: “But who do you say that I am?”

  1. It appears at first that Peter understands who Jesus is: Q.: Who do you say I am? A.: You are the Christ or Messiah. That’s huge! So, it appears that Peter gets it. He understands.

Matthew 16, records this same story and expounds on it quite a bit. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Transition: we have the Messianic Secret again in v 30 where he charges them to tell no one. What Peter has said is true, but his time has not yet come. And then, in v 31…

  1. Jesus gives a clear picture of the Messiah in his prediction of the passion.

app.: rd v 31-32b; So, just to be sure you understand when you say I’m the Messiah – this is what the Messiah looks like:

  • Suffering: Lit.: It is necessary that the Son of Man will suffer much (the word things doesn’t appear in the Gk)
  • Rejection: will come by the religious leaders;
  • Death: he will be killed
  • Resurrection: after 3 days, he will rise again

That’s the Gospel! That’s the whole reason Christ has come! That is the job of the Messiah. That is how he will save his people from their sins – he will pay the penalty for them. Thank you, Mark for v 32a…

So Jesus asks who they think he is. Peter gets it: You the promised Messiah! Jesus says, yes, wonderful. Let me let you in on more of what the Messiah has come to do. He will suffer and be rejected. He will die, and he will rise again.

Transition: and this leads us to the third step in his progression… rd 32b-33

  1. It appears that Peter doesn’t understand at all who Jesus is at all.

exp.: Peter makes one of the most beautiful declarations in Scripture! He thinks he knows who Jesus is! It’s kind of like Jesus says Do you know who I am. Peter says: Yes, I do. And Jesus says: uh, no, you don’t.

This is a cycle we’ll see repeated and climax at the end of this cycle of triads.

  • What do you know or what can you do?
  • I do know, or, I can…
  • No, you don’t or No, you can’t

Transition: to be sure, Jesus now outlines what it means to be like him… what it means to be a true disciple.

III.    The Reality of Discipleship (8.34-9.1)

exp.: rd v 34: Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. You’ve probably noted before that Jesus commands those individuals listening to take up his or her own cross, but they don’t have the context of Jesus doing the same thing. You and I do! Still I wonder, if he’s not giving them context here. He just told them he was going to suffer, be rejected and die. I’m wondering if that is the context for this statement. I’m going to suffer, be rejected and die. And, if you want to follow me, you’ve got to do the same thing as me (i.e.: take up your cross). You’re going to have to suffer and be rejected and die to yourself on your cross.

Jesus then presents or defines this reality, this task of discipleship with a set of oxymorons:

1) Save and lose

2) Profit, gain, and forfeit;

 3) Give and return;

4) Shame and Glory

app.: One author wrote: Jesus presents the choice of following him through a series of dichotomous positions.

t.s.: I wish I could talk like that!

Conclusion: Jesus has just defined for us who the Messiah is and what the Messiah will do. He is not one who comes for conquests; but, through suffering and rejection he will die. The good news is, three days later he will rise again.

He then turns to the crowd and he speaks to individuals. This is important, don’t miss this – he doesn’t speak to the crowd, but rather individuals in the crowd: If someone wants to follow me, you (sg) must

(1) Deny yourself (reject): That means you’re no longer calling the shots for your life. You surrender what you want to what Jesus wants. And when selfishness rears it’s ugly head, you reject or deny yourself (daily) and follow after Christ.

(2) Take up your own cross (lift it up and carry it); Have you ever thought about this? What do you do with a cross? You don’t ride them – they don’t take you anywhere? You don’t give them to other people – Jesus makes that clear with the relative personal pronoun he uses. What do you do with a cross? You carry it, until you lay it down and climb upon it to die.

(3) Follow him; The paradox of the Christian faith is that by dying to ourselves and following God’s way, we inherit true life. We save it, when we lose it. We truly profit and gain it, when we forfeit it.


  1. Jesus wants to clarify misperceptions about him. He is the promised Messiah!
    1. He is not Elijah, John the Baptist or one of the prophets.
    2. He is not a military or political ruler.
    3. He would suffer and be rejected and die on a cross to pay the penalty for sins.
  2. Jesus demonstrates true Christian leadership through sacrifice and service. And, he calls us to be like him.

In a few moments we’re going to baptize a couple of girls. But I don’t want to let this time slip away and offer someone here the chance to follow Christ. Just as he did 2,000 years ago, Jesus spoke to the crowd, but he was speaking to individuals. If you hear his voice today, summoning you to follow him – I want to give you that chance to make it public this morning.

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