Monthly Archives: February 2017

Mark 13

Title: Lord, When?

Text: Mark 13

 

Introduction: Temple Destruction; Mount of Olives; When and What

 

I.     A Comparison of Mark 13 and Revelation 6&7

Mark   Revelation Seals: Open; Come; colored horse; job
13.5,6 1.      I am he; lead astray 6.1-2 1.      Crown, Conquer, Conquering
13.7,8 2.      Wars, rumor of wars; nation against nation, kingdom, etc. 6.3,4 2.      Take peace; slay one another; sword
13.8b 3.      Earthquakes, famine, 6.5,6 3.      Scales, food expensive
13.8c 4.      These are the birth pains 6.7-8 4.      Death; by sword; Pestilence; famine; wild beasts
v9-13 5.      Persecution arising from their witness and the Gospel 6.9-11 5.      Martyrs are slain for the Word of God and their Witness
14-23 6.      Great Tribulation 6.12-17 6.      Great Tribulation
24-27 7.      The Return of the Son of Man 7.1-14 7.      In heaven, these coming out of the Great Tribulation
28-31 8.      The Parable of the Fig Tree and its Lesson    
32-33 9.      Keep Alert; Keep Awake    
34-37 10.  The Parable of the Journeying Master: Keep Alert; Awake    

 

II.    A Caution against End Times Predictions (13.5, 32)

exp.: rd v5-6, 32; I find it interesting that some non-signs are: earthquakes, famines, wars, false messiahs, persecution. These things will happen leading up to the end, but they are not the end! The 1st thing Jesus does in Chapter 13 is to say you’ll see these things, but don’t be alarmed. This is not the end!

ill.: Rd v 5; Caution:

  1. William Miller, October 22nd, 1844
  2. Harold Camping, May 21st, 2011 And again, October 21st, 2011

Rd v 6; David Koresh; Jim Jones

ill.: There is a really big push for the stars and planets aligning in September 17th-23rd, 2017. It starts with a major Solar Eclipse on the 21st of August 2017. Folks in WY will be able to see it get totally dark!

app.: But if I give you these dates, what do you know?

t.s.: We don’t know the day nor the hour; rd v32;

III.   A Call for Watchfulness (13.28-37)

exp.: with two lessons: The Lesson we learn from the fig tree And, the Man going on a journey.  I think this is a call for seeing the signs of the times. Verse 30 is a tough verse for many. Rd v 30;

There are quite a few scholars who hold to Mark 13’s teachings to be all within that particular generations events. There were wars and famine and earthquakes in that generation. They were persecuted and turned over to councils and governors and kings to witness for Christ. Many were betrayed by family. They would understand the abomination of desolation to have occurred in 70 AD at the fall of Jerusalem and Judah. Pompei was in 70 AD. They saw Christ on the clouds in his ascension to the father. What a display of power and authority. I think many who are what we call Amillenial would say that generation saw the Kingdom ushered in and the church age is the reign of Christ. Pre-millenialist would say no. That is a literal 1,000 year reign yet to happen.

Personally, the outline I gave to you from Revelation is what I believe is happening here – is what Jesus is teaching here of the end times.

ill.: If you wonder if I’m A-millennial or Pre-millennial, it would depend on what time of the day or even what day it is! I go back and forth regularly. An A-millenialist will argue with me and I’ll be, oh, yeah. I can see that. And a pre-millenialist will defend his view and I’ll be like, Oh, Yeah, I can really see that!

app.: What does bother me is those people who get mad and act like you’re going to hell buddy if you don’t believe like me! Stay away from those people. Here’s my final word. I reserve the right to chose when I’m in the air. Until then, I guess I’ll just keep vacillating between the two. Besides, I’m guessing both groups will be in heaven!

t.s.: So, what will we take home with us, today?

Conclusion: As I stand here today thinking of what I hope you’ll take with you as you walk away from these facilities today, I want you to know the following:

Application:

  1. People get ready! Jesus is coming! Soon we’ll be going home.
    1. If you’ve never surrendered you life to Christ, I urge you to do that right now. You have no idea if your life will end or if Jesus will return. Either way, when that happens, it will be too late! So, get that right today.
  2. Here’s what you can be sure of: Christ will return victorious. And for those of you who think I’m standing here a fool. That’s ok. Christ will come and vindicate his people. And I don’t look at that like: ha-ha, I told you. It breaks my heart to think of those who will miss out because of pride or selfishness. The Scripture teaches that one day – every knee will bow before him and confess that he is Lord. Why not do that in victory? I’m pleading with you not to do that in defeat – for then, it will be too late.
  3. Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Let’s not grow weary in well-doing. Oh, I know you’re tired. I know the time seems to get long. Hang in there, my friend. The joy that waits you is beyond what words can possibly describe.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Mark, Sermon, Uncategorized

Exodus 32

Title: We Need A Hero!

Text: Exodus 32

Introduction: We’re in the book of Exodus this morning. I’ve decided to leave Mark for a couple of weeks. I’ve planned to reach the resurrection by Easter Sunday morning taking in a couple of other texts along the way.

The book of Exodus (the 2nd book of Moses) is all about how God brings his people out of Egypt, from slavery to Mount Sinai and freedom, to give them his law and establish them as his people. They strike a covenant with God in chapter 24, agreeing to his commands listed in chapters 20-23. They celebrate this covenant by sacrificing burnt offerings and peace offerings to God (24). God then calls Moses back up onto the mountain and gives Moses the requirements in detail for making all of the items used in worship, from the Altar to the Ark. He furthermore, supplies the gifted men needed to accomplish such a huge task. Finally, he sets the Sabbath as a token or a sign of the covenant between them throughout the ages (25-31).

In our story today, God finishes giving this information to Moses and gives him also the two tablets, telling him to go down to this rebellious people, for God is about to destroy this people for their rebellion and rejection of him. The people had Aaron fashion them a golden calf and were offering burnt offerings and peace offerings to it. They have worshipped a god of gold rather than Yahweh. They’ve created a graven image and it appears they’ve been engaging in sexual immorality (2 Cor 10.7). God will now destroy them and begin again with Moses. But they have one thing going for them in our story: Moses intercedes for them and God relents from this calamity.

Now this story is so interesting to me, because there are questions that abound:

  1. Why didn’t God just kill them?
  2. Does God actually change his mind when Moses ‘reminds’ him of a couple of things: namely, the covenant with Abraham and the reputation of his name?
  3. Was Moses gone that long, that the people actually forgot about God and their covenant with him?

I hope to answer these questions as we make our way through this passage today and others, as we encounter them.

Transition: Now that we’ve read the passage and reviewed it with some context, I’d like to list a few points I believe Moses is making here.

I.     Man has a natural tendency to fill a vacancy in his soul (1-7)

exp.: That’s really what we learn from the Israelites. These people have never known freedom. Ever. Sure, their ancestors did, but these folks probably never knew the wonderful existence of an Eden type of Goshen they lived in. Chapter 1 teaches us that centuries have passed. The amount of time that has passed from the 70 who came down from Israel to Egypt to the time in our story is about the same amount of time that the 1st settlers came over from England until now. That long!

These folks have had enough time of being slaves and making bricks that they have built for Pharaoh store cities: Pithom and Raamses. Their toil has been hard and unbelievably cruel. Haugen, as copied by Blackburn in his book The God who Makes himself Known: The missionary heart of the book of Exodus.

Brick making operations are big business in several developing nations. Usually resembling a rustic fortress, most are surrounded by walls 7 or 8 feet high– to keep brick poachers out, and to keep slave laborers in. Coating everything within the walls with gray– red dust and soot…. The kilns required extra labor, because someone has to stoke the charcoal first constantly to keep them at their optimum temperature. This is one of the worst jobs in an operation defined by awful jobs–excruciatingly hot, dirty, and sticky, the workers covered with charcoal dust that mixes with the dust of clay and dirt until sweat soaked skin begins to harden and crack.

Before the bricks are ready for the kiln, they must be shaped and pre-dried in the sun. All day long, slaves performed the backbreaking labor of packing wet clay and straw into molds that formed the bricks. They slapped the clay into the molds forming row after row, then other workers, usually children, carry the bricks on their heads to set them out in the sun to dry. When they are dry enough to fire, the slaves carry them to the kiln to be baked. Hour after hour, day after day, weeks that flow into months, months that turned into years… some of these slaves have been in this dirty, tedious, painful work for decades with no relief in sight. Until now.

Even as they’ve been set free for but a couple of months (the period of time from chapter three through Leviticus and most of Numbers is about a year. In Numbers 14, the rebel for the last time, before God banishes them from the Promised Land and they wander in the desert for 40 years), so they’ve only been free for a couple of months – they don’t know what it’s like to not follow someone. Honestly, I think it is innate.

Here is a truth we learn: A Vacancy creates a Vacuum. The Israelites needed someone to go before them; So they say to Aaron: Up, make us gods; the word is Elohim. Moses was Yahweh’s representative. Moses is gone! Who knows if he’ll ever come back? We need to make us something to take his place.

  • Their desire comes from what they see; they credit Moses with their delivery; Now, they see him no more! Aaron will need to take his place and they’ll need a ‘god’ to go before them.
  • They use what God has provided and fashion for themselves a god that they can see, one that can go before them. Isn’t that so human like? Paul nails this condition in Romans 1. That is also where we see much of America today – this rejection of God’s image and a perversion of worshipping the created things.
  • They use Aaron, the priest to accomplish this task; which, again is a twisted perversion of his purpose; These are the ‘elohim’ who brought you out of Egypt;

Why a calf? It symbolizes the fertility idols often represented. It is that time of the year, they see cows calving and so they think: a golden calf. This also contributes to the idea immorality was a part of their celebration. The wording in v6 intimates immorality: rose up to play. We also find this quote in 1 Corinthians 10 where Paul calls these people idolaters and sexually immoral.

app.: Man, we sit here today and know how foolish these people are! Right? But, are we not at the core of our beings just like them. Now, we know we can’t form or fashion a God with our own hands. But we still do! We take our wants and wishes and make them into what we want them to be! They become our gods.

t.s.: the first lesson we learn from this passage is that Man has a natural tendency to fill a vacancy in his soul. 2ndly,

II.    Man needs a mediator to intercede to God on his behalf (8-24)

exp.: This is an example of intercession for us; Moses intercedes for them; I know this creates a dissonance in your soul, but hang with me. This confusion or dissonance comes from the question: How can God be Sovereign and yet, change his mind?

  1. I believe God to be sovereign. Period. In moments like this, I understand God ordaining circumstances to teach us and show us Biblical Truth; in this story, God is demonstrating for us intercession. From Genesis to this point in the Bible, we’ve not seen something like this before.

Ill.: What isn’t happening is God deciding to kill them all! But, Moses says, Lord, you can’t! Remember Abraham? Oh, yeah, God might say, I forgot about that covenant. Thanks for reminding me, Moses. No, God hasn’t forgotten. He’s teaching us something here. In theological language, what we have here is a type of Christ. A mediator. Moses is demonstrating in the flesh and imperfectly (I might say) just what Christ has come and accomplished only perfectly for us.

  1. But notice even more, the personal relationship Moses has with God. God is personal and personally involved in our lives, just as he was with Moses and the Israelites.

A word of caution: Don’t detach the personal side of God and make him like some automated teller. This is a huge danger for us as theologians. You and I have a tendency to impersonalize God when we begin to comprehend his sovereignty.

ill.: The prayers of a new believer are usually personal and intimate. But, as time shapes our theology and we gain an understanding that God is sovereign, we usually become more distant, less personal, less intimate, fewer tears, just ‘matter of fact’ lists. We see him less and less as ‘Father’ and more and more as ‘Master’. I believe God wants us to ask him, petition his throne for healing and changes of direction and intervention into our lives, our children’s lives, our parents’ lives, the lives of the lost people we know. God wants a personal relationship with you.

app.: that’s the point here: God is a personal God. This was Jesus’ point, too. He said: When you pray, Pray: Our Father

app.: if you miss everything else in my message today, that’s ok, just don’t miss this! God wants a personal relationship with you.

t.s.: But there is a problem…and it is the 3rd truth here in our story.

III.   Man is insufficiently capable of remedying his own predicament. (30-35)

exp.: in our story Moses intercedes for the people, God relents, and turns away from the destruction that should come.

Ill.: Russell Moore tells the story of a church that set up on their website a confessional so that their people could come to that webpage, confess their sins and feel forgiven. In his story he said it was a Baptist Church. Oh, if it were only that easy! Just go to a webpage and fess up! Then you’ll be absolved!

Rd v 30; How, how can he possibly make atonement? Rd v 31-32; I don’t think this is the Book of Life which has the names of those who are saved in it. It could be, mind you. But I lean toward it not being. I found multiple references to stories of books being kept of a people. When a person was born, their name was recorded in a book, a registry for that village. When a person died, their name was blotted out. I think what Moses is saying here is – I know that this people has sinned a sin worthy of death. Instead of blotting out their names from your book by putting them to death… let me die for them instead. Let me atone for their sins by dying in their place.

God said in v 33 – No, each person will pay for their own sin. Rd v 34-35. Doesn’t the plea of Moses have a ring of what Christ did for us?

app.: This is precisely what Moses is doing or better yet, what God is doing through Moses in this chapter – he is drawing for us a picture of our need for a savior to come and save us from our sin. Moses couldn’t be that for them. In the coming year, as they travel toward the promised land, God will outline for them the requirement – the just penalty for their sin and the required sacrifice. Only one person could ever pay that price for them – or for you and me.

t.s.:

Conclusion: That’s Jesus…

 

Application:

  1. The Bible teaches us that we are sinners. All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.
  2. It teaches us that our sinful actions deserve a swift punishment of death. There is no avoiding this.
  3. But the Bible teaches us that God, being rich in mercy, sent his son to die for the ungodly, that is you and me. Exodus 34.6-8
  4. He was hung on a cross and died between two thieves. He was assigned a grave, but he would not stay there. Jesus proved he was and is God, by rising from the dead 3 days later.
  5. And by putting your faith in him this morning, you can be assured that your sins are forgiven – that Christ paid the penalty they bring and that you can be set free from that penalty of eternal death – that is separation from God. And spend not just eternity with God, but every day from hear on out.

If you’ve never accepted Christ before, I offer him to you this morning.

Leave a comment

Filed under Exodus, Sermon, Uncategorized

Mark 11:38-44

Title: Israel: a place where God is still at work

Text: Mark 11.38-44

Introduction: Let’s begin with the transition passage of 13.1-2 the end of our passage this morning and the beginning of next weeks message. Rd 13.1-2.

I remember standing on the Mount of Olives last year looking out over the Temple Mount. The Temple itself is no longer there. As Jesus prophesied, the Temple was torn down and the mount leveled – the stones themselves thrown down. In its place the Islamic community has placed a mosque, the Dome of the Rock and other buildings.

Just below the mount, we were taken to an area where folks would make their way toward the entrance to the Temple. Shops and stores outlined the way in – and you can see their remains. The street below has massive divots; I guess that is what you’d call them. These divots were made when the huge stones where pushed over the side of the Temple Mount. (See pictures).

This little passage is a transition from the theme of the Temple – which we’ve been studying in Mark since the New Year – to a look at the eschatological teachings of Mark. Starting next week we’ll begin looking at the end times through the monocle of Mark’s gospel.

Now, let’s go back to the start of our passage Mark 12.35-37

In 35-37, we find the 6th of six controversy stories. Each controversy story is building upon the questioning of the authority of Jesus (why he taught what he taught and did what he did). Jesus has cleansed the temple, running out the moneychangers and declaring its end. He cursed the fig tree for its failure to produce fruit as a symbol of the curse upon this temple and its leadership. It was to be taken away from these leaders and it would be destroyed. He would become the New Temple – the chief cornerstone.

This story differs from the other five because Jesus asks the religious leaders a question they can’t answer. In the first controversy story, Jesus asked them a question, too. The difference here is in the fact that they could answer the first question – they just chose not to do so because they feared the people. Here, they can’t answer because they have no idea what the answer is.

You and I know the answer. We’ve got the benefit of 2,000 years of church history to help us. Rd 12.35-37

Mark knows and he’s teaching us this truth: that

I.     The Son of David is the Son of God (35-37)

ill.: this past week during my morning readings, I was reading in 1 Kings 5.5 where Solomon says: And so I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord said to David my father, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, shall build the house for my name.’ Solomon is quoting from 2 Samuel 7.13. I’m sure he understood God’s promise to be for him and his responsibility to build God’s house – the 1st Temple. Which was true and which he did. However, the prophecy was not for him alone. Going back to 2 Samuel, there is the promise of this throne standing forever and the Son of David – not Solomon, but Jesus would be the one who would be a Temple. Ephesians teaches us that ‘we are that temple’. We’re the Body of Christ. We’re the Temple of Christ.

exp.: In John 2.19 John records a conversation between Jesus and the religious leaders: 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Mark 14.58 records the false testimony about him: 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’ ”

In our text, Jesus quotes David; rd 12.36; The religious leaders know this passage in Psalm 110.1. They understand it to be Solomon that David is talking about, but they also know that this is a prophecy of the Messiah. Jesus then asks them; rd v 37. That’s a great question. You and I are in a very unique place in history where this makes perfect sense to us. We know this is Jesus. These guys didn’t know what we know. Listen to Strauss in his Exegetical Commentary of Mark: Jesus’ Davidic descent is deeply rooted in the tradition and has been positively affirmed in Mark by Bartimaeus’s cry (10:47–48) and, by implication, at Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem (11:10). The point must therefore be that the Messiah is more than simply a new David or heir to the Davidic throne, (which was) the traditional (scribal) expectations for the Messiah. Jesus is saying that this Messiah is more than a descendant of David. Mark is continuing to build upon his thesis that Jesus is the Son of God. Matthew takes Mark’s story and let’s us in on what he must have been thinking. Read Matthew 22.41-46; “Whose son is he?” He is God’s Son – The messiah is a descendant of David, but he is also uniquely the Son of God.

exp.: That has been Mark’s focus throughout his whole Gospel. Mark 1.1: The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. and again in 1.11: 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” The demons and the unclean spirits declare it in 3.11: You are the Son of God. And again in 5.7. In 9.7 upon the mount of transfiguration God declares again: “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” Jesus has implied in 12.6 when he teaches them through the parable of the vineyard when the vineyard owner says: He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ At the very end of the gospel in 15.39 when Jesus dies on the cross: 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

app.: Sure, he’s David’s son, but he is so much more. The Son of David is a Messianic title. But he isn’t just a descendant of David. He is God in the flesh. This is an important tenant of our faith. Jesus was indeed fully human, born of a woman. He lived and died as a human. But Mark wants us to see that Jesus is so much more than mere flesh and blood. His purpose in writing this book is to communicate to us that Jesus is fully divine – God, come in the flesh: 100% fully human and 100% fully divine.

t.s.: The Son of David is the Son of God. Therefore,

II.    The Son of God has the authority to remove the religious leaders because they have abused their authority. (38-44)

exp.: watch out; as in a warning; the word translated in the ESV as like is the word for want or wish. It describes their inner thoughts and inclinations. It exposes their intensions. The external part, yes – it all looks good. But Jesus knows their internal workings. He knows the thoughts and intensions of the heart. Rd v 40;

Now something interesting happens. As we’ve seen from the Master before, he is so good at using visuals to teach (like the fig tree). So, He takes his disciples to a place across from the treasury where people are coming in and giving their contributions.

Rd v 41; I’ve heard it taught that some of the wealthier people would arrange for their offerings to be made. There would be a large production made of it, with trumpet blasts and an entourage to escort them to the moneybox. I couldn’t find any evidence of that and even if that was the case periodically, there is no proof that such a show was being put on here.

The Mishnah teaches that there were 13 such offering boxes set up in the Temple area. So Jesus is sitting across from one such place. rd v 42-44; This verse has been used so many times as proof of the call to give sacrificially. But I don’t think that is what Jesus is doing here at all.

The context of the passage is all about The Temple and the Authority of Christ and the irresponsibility of the religious leaders abusing their power. Note the widows are mentioned in v 40; I think that’s our connection.

app.: You see, here is this poor widow. She brings two small coins that equal a penny to the moneybox. She could have used that money. This is just wrong! The religious leaders should have given that woman back her coins and more with it. They should have been looking out for this widow. Instead, they’re living the life high and using religion to justify it. They’ve been abusing their position of authority for way too long. We don’t have time to look through the minor prophets’ writings; however, time and again, God warned these leaders to quit killing and eating his sheep. They were supposed to care for the sheep. rd v 44; She has nothing now. That’s their abuse.

app.: shame on us as leaders for ever guilting the poor into giving their last dime for our projects. How many grand and majestic edifices tower across the United States as monuments to the work of men and yet, having been built by fleecing the poor. It’s easy for me to look at preachers and evangelists on radio and television who have built empires at the expense of the poor. These men and women own multiple mansions and massive amounts of property; and the nicest jets!

Some of you from time to time ask me about preachers on TV. Chances are, if they’re on TV, I have a pretty dim view of them. One such preacher is Creflo Dollar. I’ve made it a policy not to criticize preachers. That’s not my job; however, it is my job to warn you of shysters who would love to steal your money for their gain.

Ill.: He has long been criticized for living a lavish lifestyle; he owns two Rolls-Royces, a private jet and has raised another $65 Million to purchase another jet, and real estate such as a million-dollar home in Atlanta, a $2.5 million home in Demarest, New Jersey, and a $2.5 million home in Manhattan, which he sold for $3.75 million in 2012.

As I think of men like Creflo, I’m reminded of v 40b; They will receive the greater condemnation.

I told you I don’t like to criticize other preachers. I don’t want to. But you need to beware of men and women on TV asking for your money.

But I don’t get off scot free! I’ve got to take a serious inventory of my intensions and motives. It’s the religious leaders Jesus is talking to here. That’s me. I know that.

t.s.: in 13.1 they are leaving the temple proper when one of the disciples notes the beauty and grandeur of this magnificent structure. He’s looking at the physical plant, but Jesus wants him to see into the future.

III.   A Glimpse of what is to come (13.1-2)

exp.: I don’t know if they’ve missed what’s been going on or just what has led to this moment. But Jesus tells them plainly what is going to happen here. rd v2; They leave and cross the valley to the Mount of Olives. There Jesus and these two sets of two brothers approach him and ask for more details about the end times.

We’ll look at these teachings of Jesus next week.

Conclusion: So, what do we take home with us today?

Application:

  1. We have to be careful about the context of Scriptures when reading. In the last few weeks we’ve come across some popular Scriptures that are often taken out of context.
    1. 24: asking God for whatever you want
    2. 41-44: Sacrificial giving

Scripture taken out of context can be used in any selfish way you want. But that is a very scary thing. I’ll refer you back to 12.40b – they will receive a great condemnation

  1. The theology of Mark teaches us that Jesus is Lord. It’s what we confess when we are saved: Romans 10.9-10; there are many who understand Christ was a good teacher and that he lived a good life. But don’t think that is all. Mark wants us to come to terms as the Centurion did: Truly, this was the Son of God.
  2. The theology of Mark teaches us that Jesus is still in charge – just as he was then. I’ve wondered why the Prime Minister of Israel gave the Temple Mount back to the Arab world after capturing it in the Six-Day War. Israel repelled a surprise attack and was victorious causing great humiliation for the Egyptian and Syrian leaders. Many of them resigned their posts in humiliation. But then, in a strange turn of events, to bring peace between the people – the Israeli Prime Minister gave the Temple Mount back to the Muslims! Israel had been unable to return to the Temple Mount for 2,000 years. Now they marched right on in and then, just gave it back! There must have been tremendous excitement and another tremendous let down. But, here’s what I do know. God is working his plan to perfection. He knows what he is doing.
  3. I’m just curious, but is there a group of people who would like to go to Israel with me? It’s an odd invitation, but I’d love to return and spend a little more time in certain places. If you’d like to plan a trip with me, let’s talk. I think it would be fun to plan a trip to see the places we read about in Scripture.

Let’s pray:

Invitation.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Mark, Sermon, Uncategorized

Mark 12:13-37

Title: Not far, but still too far

Text: Mark 12.13-37

Introduction: we are in the midst of a sermon series on the authority of Christ. The larger series begins in chapter 11 and concludes at the end of mark and it deals with the last week – The Passion Week –of Christ. Our story begins for us in 11.1 where Jesus enters Jerusalem triumphantly on the colt of a donkey. This is a picture of the Messiah seen in the OT. If the series is about the Authority of Christ, then the temple is the theme throughout chapter 11 and it is the place where the confrontation between Jesus and the religious leaders begins. It is here at the end of chapter 11 Jesus is confronted by the religious leaders as to what he’s been doing and why he’s been doing it. Who does he think he is? They want to know what authority he thinks he has and by whose authority he does what he does.

In Chapter 12 Jesus explains his authority in a parable, the parable of the tenants. This parable clarifies to the religious leaders that Jesus is telling them that they have been irresponsible with the authority granted them by God and that authority is now being taken away. Furthermore, not only is their authority being taken away, but Jesus is the authority of a new temple that is being built. And, Ephesians teaches us that we as believers are the new temple being built in Christ. And by the way, Jesus is the authority at that moment – they just reject him.

Beginning in 11.27 we read 6 controversy stories. The 1st two were covered last week. We’ll cover the next 4 today. And that’s a stretch, because the last one I will tie in next week with a message on the abuse of power by the religious leaders. We’ll spend more time on that passage next week, but it is included in today’s sermon.

These next four controversy stories

  • Tribute and Taxes
  • Marriage and the Resurrection
  • The Great Commandment, and
  • A Riddle: is David’s son the Son of David?

These 4 stories all deal with the religious leaders confronting Christ. The 1st two here are produced out of evil intent. They want to trip him up, so to speak. The 3rd appears to be more off the cuff or spontaneous and out of curiosity. This 3rd passage shows us that not all of the religious leaders were hostile to Jesus. In the 4th story, Jesus takes the initiative and asks them a question – a riddle really. It appears to stump them for they can’t answer him.

Transition: So let’s work our way through each story. 1st, making note about the oddities and contradictions in each one. Then, we’ll tie it all together at the end and presents some application for us today. 1st we begin with

I.     Tribute and Taxes (13-17)

exp.: rd v 13; the context of they is found in v 27; they sent them (Pharisees and Herodians) in order to trap him; them are two groups: the Pharisees and the Herodians; that’s weird! Note the oddity here:

  1. These two groups were on opposite sides of the political spectrum. The Herodians, named after Herod the Great, were huge supporters of the government. The Pharisees hated the interference of the government.
  2. 2ndly, notice their flattery; rd v 14; this may be true, but it isn’t what appeals to these guys! This flattery is extremely odd when you consider 3.6; they want to destroy him and they’re willing to come together, set aside their differences to defeat a common enemy. They hate him, but butter him up with flattery. It is a good thing that he isn’t moved by their flattery! Rd v 15a; he saw through their façade! Q.: why is this hypocrisy?
    1. Well, 1st because they just said he isn’t moved by these things, but we’re going to do just that! That’s talking out of both sides of your face.
    2. 2ndly, Rd 15b; one of them pulls out a denarius and hands it to him. Now, if they are so against the monetary system, isn’t it hypocritical to use it for their own personal gain. That they would even have one in their possession is hypocritical. They condemn these coins because they have an image on them; namely, Caesar. And yet, these Jewish leaders will use the very thing they condemn because it benefits them. You see that in v41-44;

exp.: and his answer is in line with the wisdom of Solomon. Render: it basically means to give back to Caesar what is his and to God that which is God’s.

app.: That’s is so insightful! With one answer he appeased both groups. They thought he would pick a side and alienate either the people or the government. V17 says they marveled at him!

t.s.: my guess is it is pretty hard to impress these guys. Nevertheless, they are. So group two steps up ready to pounce and trip him up with a question about

II.    Marriage and the Resurrection. (18-27)

exp.: rd v 18; Mark is informing his Gentile readers who wouldn’t necessarily know the philosophy and theology of Sadducees just what the contradiction or oddity about this confrontation would be. He tells us straight out: these guys don’t believe in resurrection from the dead. In Acts 23.8, Luke tells us a little bit more about these guys. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. They didn’t believe in these things because these were all apart of the afterlife, which they didn’t believe in.

  1. They understood Sheol to be the grave. And that was that. No afterlife. Annihilation.
  2. They only accepted the Pentateuch as Scripture. That’s what makes v 19 interesting – it comes from what they hold to: the teachings of Moses. They have no problem in their doctrine with v 19-22.

So, they didn’t believe in the resurrection. But look at what they say in v 23;

Do you see what they’re doing? They’re making fun of that doctrine – the resurrection. How silly they think it is and to prove it, they use what they do believe to make silly what they don’t believe.

Jesus answer: rd v 24; be careful now, your ignorance is showing! With the previous two groups Jesus answered in a very clever way. With these guys, he shoots straight. “You’re wrong and here’s why: You don’t know Scripture and you don’t know the power of God!” In v 26 he uses the Pentateuch, their Bible to refute them. He didn’t say I was the God of these men, but I am… meaning, present tense – they’re alive with me now. In v 24 he said they were wrong. In v 27 he says they are greatly wrong!

  1. You’re wrong because there is a resurrection.
  2. You’re wrong because there is no marriage – we’ll be like angels in the resurrection and they don’t marry!
  3. This is so cool, because Jesus affirms for us the existence of angels! – Of which they don’t believe! Psalm 91 says God commands his angels concerning the protection of his people. Jesus refers to them in Matthew 18.10 as guardians over children.

t.s.: having put these previous groups in their place, Mark notes a scribe who is taking this all in and is impressed with Jesus and his answers. He very boldly steps up and asks Jesus about

III.   The Greatest Commandment (28-34)

exp.: in v28 it reads lit.: Which commandment is the first of all? That means the first in priority. Jesus actually gives him two – and in order: The Shema, in Deuteronomy 6.4; and Leviticus 19.8; If you think about it, these two commandments sum up the 10 commandments. The 1st 4 deal with loving God and putting him in his rightful place in your life and the next 6 deal with your parents and your neighbors. This man’s heart appears to be in the right place and his intentions non-threatening. He’s probably a good man. My guess is that he lives this teaching out in his own life. You see that in how he responds to the answer Jesus gives; rd v 32-33;

But Jesus isn’t impressed with this man’s encouraging words; rd v 34;

ill.: this story mirrors the story of the rich young ruler found in Mark 10.17-22; good – Jesus is making a point here that his goodness isn’t enough; and in our story this morning, Jesus tells the scribe that he’s close, Oh, so close – but close isn’t going to cut it. Being close doesn’t get you into heaven.

t.s.: that fact is illustrated in this last controversy story:

IV.  Is the Son of David David’s son? (35-37)

exp.: rd v35-37; Jesus is clarifying for them that the Messiah is not going to be like they’ve expected. He will be different. This is important because he isn’t going to be like the Pharisees, the Herodians, the Sadducees or the Scribes. In 38 and following he then warns everyone there not to be like them at all because the Messiah won’t be like them.

t.s.: in the sermon on the mount Jesus warns that if your righteousness doesn’t exceed that of the Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven

Conclusion: his point is simply this: being good isn’t enough – you have to be perfect, and perfection isn’t something we can achieve on our own. You see, you and I are imperfect, filled with imperfections. The Bible calls this sin. Romans 3.10 says that there is none righteous, no not one. And it goes on to say in 3.23 that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. You see, the glory of God is his perfection. No sin, No blemish, No failure, No mistakes, No wrongs. Perfect.

A lot of folks think that getting in to heaven is possible by simply being good – like the rich young ruler or the scribe in our story today. If you ask them: if you were standing at Heaven’s Gate and God said to you why should I let you into my heaven. Their answer would probably be, “Because I’m a pretty good person.” “I’ve obeyed the 10 Commandments–all of these I have kept since I was young.”

However, scripture is very clear: for by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Not a result of works, so that no one may boast. There are two parts to this I’d like to focus on: 1st, grace is something that is received – not achieved! You cannot work hard enough to gain it, you cannot achieve some position to gain it; you are absolutely powerless on your own to receive this salvation. However, the Bible says that this salvation is the free gift of God. It is something you receive – that’s Grace.

Faith is something you do. A lot of folks think that faith is simply mental assent– Meaning you simply Believe something in your mind. However, Faith requires action. Let me illustrate it this way: if you jumped out of an airplane wearing a parachute, just because you had that parachute strapped to your back, it doesn’t mean you would land safely. No, each parachute has a ripcord. And the parachute will not deploy unless you pulled that ripcord. That’s what faith is: it is when you act. When you surrender your heart to Christ.

Romans 10.9-10 illustrates this so beautifully: because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. There are two parts: internal and external.

Application:

  1. While on earth, we have a great responsibility to live within the rules established by our government. I think that is true as long as they don’t conflict with the rules and laws God has set for us. As for taxes and tithes… keep that in mind. This world belongs to them, but I have to live here. That is there road out there. If I want to drive on it, I’ve got to get a license, register my car, carry insurance, pay taxes to fix their road, etc. But as for the things of God – don’t get so wrapped up in this world that you don’t render unto God the things that are God’s.
  2. Scripture is our authority and guide. We can’t be like the Sadducees and limit our theology only to the parts that we understand or that we can live by. We must abide by the whole counsel of God. It is the standard for our faith.
  3. Don’t trust in your own goodness to save you. Put your faith in the work of Christ, who died on the cross of Calvary to pay the penalty for your and my sin.

If you’ve never committed your life to Christ, I want to give the chance to do that right now.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Mark, Sermon, Uncategorized