Friday, June 5, 2015

Proper 5

Proper 5
Mark 3:20–35

Almighty and eternal God, Your Son Jesus triumphed over the prince of demons and freed us from bondage to sin. Help us to stand firm against every assault of Satan and enable us always to do Your will; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

“Pastor, can God ever forgive my sin?”  “Will God ever forgive my sin?”

Can God forgive you? Will God forgive…you?  What makes this question extra difficult is the presence of an adversary. Satan accuses us of our sin. Past and present. To keep us from believing that God can forgive us. He wants to imprison us in our sin.

Although Satan is strong, Jesus Christ has conquered Satan. He has bound the strong man. Christ’s Victory over Satan Frees You from Sin’s Prison. There are two results of his victory. They open wide the prison gate.

You are free because Christ’s victory over Satan means you are forgiven

Jesus was locked in a struggle against the devil. Despite or perhaps because of Jesus’ popularity, His own family thought he was out of his mind.  And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”  (V21).

After they had heard this, his family (or those who were with him) went to seize him; they began to say, "He’s crazy!" "Standing outside of himself"

In those days, to be separated from one’s senses was associated with being possessed by a demon, one of Satan’s angels. Jesus’ own family thought he was losing a battle with Satan!

This is quite amazing! People who barely know Jesus are seated next to Him. Eagerly listening. While His family is outside.  Trying to get close enough to make Him stop!

Meanwhile, his enemies claimed he was in league with the devil. And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons. (V. 22).

They’d seen Jesus stop Satan by casting out many demons. But they still charge him with serving the devil.  Because they weren’t willing to believe, he was their Savior.

Quite an absurd charge, really.  “And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan?  If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. (Vv. 23-26)

But Jesus’ battle with Satan would be decided in a way no one foresaw: bearing all sin on the cross. God condemned Christ for your sin. Jesus suffered eternal judgment for you. When he cried, “It is finished,” your sin was gone.

The resurrection proves Christ took away your sin and set you right with God.  “Jesus…was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” (Romans 4:25).   

Christ now declares, “God forgives all sin.” Christ’s promise defeats Satan. His victory was not a physical contest of biceps and triceps or a contest of wit. He defeated Satan in His weakness.

The kingdom of God is a ragtag mess - of dirty sinners - who confess by faith - they're beautifully clothed in robes - dyed white - by blood.

Jesus bound Satan by taking your sin away.  Satan can no longer accuse you. But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed, he may plunder his house. “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter. (Vv. 27–28).

Satan’s power has been broken. You are set free from his prison.

You are free because Christ’s victory over Satan means you belong.

If Satan cannot shake your trust in Christ’s forgiveness, he’ll try to make you feel like an outsider. He will say, “You don’t fit with these people. What you did was so much worse. If they knew who you really are, they would march you to the church door and tell you to leave and not come back.”  

We are susceptible to these accusations. It is our nature to compare ourselves with others. We fail to see that in comparing we are trying to justify ourselves Christ silences Satan with this promise: “You belong to my family” And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers’ are outside, seeking you.”  And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”

And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God he is my brother and sister and mother.”  (Vv. 31–35).

Jesus looked at those around him and said, “The one who does the will of my Father is my family.” (v.35)

At first, you might feel as if this presents a condition you cannot meet. You know that you don’t do all of God’s will. But God’s will is first that you repent and believe the Gospel. When you believe in the forgiveness of sins, you are doing the will of the Father. When you believe in the forgiveness of sins, you belong to Christ’s family.

So what could you say to someone, whose sin was so dark that that they question God’s ability to forgive? More important, what does Jesus Christ say? He says, “I forgive all sin. Your sin is forgiven.”

You are free. Forgiven.  And you belong. Christ’s victory over Satan had set you free from sin’s prison. Jesus does the same for you and all who seek His favor. In Christ, you are free.

Words –993
Passive Sentences- 8%
Readability –80.3

Reading level –4.7

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