Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pentecost 2 - Proper 5

Proper 5
10 June 2012
Mark 3:20-35
Let the Evidence Stand

The gospels are a record of Jesus’ instruction to His disciples. Just as Jesus taught His disciples about the Father, so in turn, the disciples teach us about Jesus. The purpose of the gospels are to tell us who Jesus is and what He does. In writing his Gospel, Mark introduces you to Jesus.

Many opinions concerning Jesus’ person are common. Some proclaim Him a prophet, others a moral guide and compass. Some contend that He was crazy, and if not insane, possibly a man possessed. Still others saw Him as a man set on mysterious mission. Mark will tell us more concerning Jesus. By viewing His words and actions, Mark will say to us, “Let the evidence concerning Jesus stand.”

1.            The evidence shows that Jesus has defeated sin and Satan.

A.            Jesus defeated Satan in the wilderness. When, for 40 days and nights He was tempted by    the Devil.
1.            Satan used all his wiles to stop Jesus’ mission of grace. He failed!
2.            We are comforted to know the strength of our Lord Jesus when we are tempted and confronted by our sin. We will be constantly tempted by the devil, world and flesh. When those times come, we look to Jesus who overcame for us and is the author and finisher of our faith. Don’t trust in yourself to tackle temptation. You will fall to temptation. Trust not in princes, they are but mortal. Trust in the LORD with all your heart  and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.(Proverbs 3:5-6)

B.            Jesus’ exorcisms are evidence that Satan is defeated.
1.            They show that the stronger Jesus has bound Satan.
2.            They show that Satan’s kingdom is coming to a defeated end.

C.            Jesus glorious resurrection proves that the victory over Satan is His. 
1.            Jesus’ death on the cross at Calvary destroyed sin, death, and the power of Satan. This all happened when Jesus cried from the cross, “It is finished!”
2.            His descent into Hell was public proof and the announcement of this victory.
3.            His glorious resurrection is convincing proof that the victory is His.

The evidence concerning Jesus is that He has defeated Satan. Because of this fact alone, He has the power to forgive and save.

2              The unforgivable sin suppresses the evidence about Jesus.

A.            We are comforted that no sin is too great to be forgiven.  Each of us sins against God and our neighbor terribly. Can they be forgiven? Satan would what you to doubt this. This is how he operates. In the beginning, he tempts us to think that any sin is but a trifle. But once you fall into sin, then he tempts to think it can’t be forgiven.
1.            Jesus’ perfect death paid the penalty of every sin.
2.            We can never sink so low that God’s love can’t be deeper. The Lord can never abandon you. The will of God will never take you where the grace of God cannot protect you.

B.            But why, then is the unforgivable sin deemed “unforgivable”?
1.            It denies the clear evidence concerning Jesus. (As demonstrated by the scribes in our text.) They refused to let Jesus be Jesus.  His name means “Savior”. They denied He had any power to save. The unforgivable sin is simply that. It is a denial of Jesus. It’s the statement that Jesus is not God. It is a denial that Jesus did not come to seek and save the lost. It is unforgivable because it is a claim that Jesus can no longer help you.
2.            It resists and refuses the Holy Spirit who alone can bring man to repentance and faith.
3.            It refuses to accept the clear evidence concerning Christ and His work.
4.            Blaspheming the Holy Spirit removes the chance for forgiveness; it refuses to let God be God.

Jesus has the power to forgive and save. As a result, He gives an open invitation to become a part of His family – the church.

3              Jesus’ family is evidence by doing God’s will.

A.            Membership and inclusion into this family is open to all.
1.            It is universal “Whoever…” v. 35 “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
2.            There are no distinct physical marks of who is a member. Membership is known only to God. That’s why we must always remember – the church is invisible because only God knows who are His.

B.            However, there is nonetheless evidence of such membership – doing the Father’s will.
1.            The Father’s will for us is to believe in Jesus. (John 5:39) You study[a] the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,
2.            The Father’s will is to bring others into the kingdom. (Matthew 28:19-20) Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
3.            The Father’s will shall be self-evident. (Matthew 5:16, James 2:17) “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

Let the evidence, concerning Jesus, stand. May it be evident in your life.

Artwork by Ed Riojas, © Higher Things

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