Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Maniac Became A Messenger


Mark 5:1-20

The Man's Condition (1-7)

His Home

This man lived among the dead.

He was a sad, lonely, hurting, longing, unloved, unwanted individual.

His Helplessness

His passions were stronger than his ability to control them.

No man could change and control him.

He was a man sold under the influence of the evil in his life.

His Hopelessness

His torment was continual.

Day and night he cried out.

Day and night he was in isolation.

Day and night he injured and harmed himself.

His Helper

Only the Lord Jesus Christ could rescue him.

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The Man's Conversion (8-17)

It Was Divine

One word from the Lord Jesus Christ and this man was free.

He was totally and radically healed.

It Was Dramatic

The demons left the man and entered a herd of 2,000 swine that ran down the Sea and drowned!

It Was Definite

The wild, uncontrollable demoniac was sitting down with a big smile on his face.

He wasn't crying out!

He wasn't hurting himself!

He wasn't naked.

He was just sitting there, fellowshipping with the Lord Jesus Christ.

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The Man's Commission (18-20)

The Man's Wish

This man wanted to be with the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Master's Will

But the Lord Jesus Christ wanted him to share what the Lord had done for him in his hometown.

The Man's Work

The man arose immediately and returned home.

He began to preach the good news of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

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The Lord Jesus Christ had made a difference in this man.

He can also do the same to us if we will come to Him.

Come!

Come to Him now!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Message Of The Mighty Mustard Seed


Mark 4:30-34

The Lord Jesus Christ compared the Kingdom of God to a tiny mustard seed.

How The Kingdom Begins (31)

In Jesus’ day, the mustard seed was the smallest seed planted in the gardens.

It was a tiny seed, but it produced a very large plant.

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Most people believed that nothing would come of the Lord Jesus Christ and His ministry.

They could see the tiny seed, but they could not see the great tree.

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The Kingdom of our Lord was like the tiny, insignificant mustard seed in the beginning.

No one could see what the tiny seed the Lord Jesus Christ was sowing would become.

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How The Kingdom Builds (32a)

When the tiny mustard seed was planted in good soil, it germinated and produced a very large shrub-like plant that eventually grew to resemble a tree.

When the seed was planted in ancient Israel, the prospects for success seemed far away.

In the beginning, there were just the Lord Jesus Christ and a few followers.

By the time the Day of Pentecost came around, there were just 120 devoted followers of the Lord.

But on that day something amazing took place!

Over 3,000 people came to faith in Christ.

A short time later, another 5,000 were saved at one time.

The church began to grow at an astounding rate.

It wasn’t many days until the church in Jerusalem was said to have numbered some 50,000.

That was just the beginning!

As the message was carried around the world, vast multitudes began to come to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Cities and nations fell on their knees in the face of the message of the Gospel of grace.

This amazing growth has continued down to this day.

Everywhere the Gospel seed has been planted, souls have been saved and lives have been changed.

The church has continued to grow and the Kingdom of God on earth has continued to expand.

God has a way of bringing great things out of humble beginnings.

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How The Kingdom Blesses (32b)

This tiny seed grew into an immense plant.

Its branches spread themselves abroad offering a place for the birds to rest.

In the shadow of that plant, the birds found shelter from the storms, rest from their weariness and shade from the heat of the sun.

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The humble mustard seed produced a plant that had many uses.

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The Kingdom of God has also provided many benefits for those who have turned to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Everywhere the Gospel has germinated, compassion, decency and morality have sprung up.

Hospitals and schools have been founded.

Truth and salvation have been proclaimed and lives have been changed.

Everywhere the Gospel has gone, it has brought about the destruction of demonism, cannibalism, polygamy, child sacrifice and ten thousand other evils.

The spread of the Gospel has built orphanages for the fatherless and homes for the homeless.

The Gospel has reached out to comfort the bereaved, care for the infirm, and cure the sick.

The Gospel has changed individuals, communities and nations.

When the Kingdom of God moves in with divine power, the kingdom of Satan must fall before its appearance.

It may have had humble beginnings, but God has used it to accomplish great and wonderful things.

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The Kingdom of God may have had humble beginnings.

But it will expand and grow until it has a universal impact.

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God can take something that seems so small and insignificant, and transform it into something real big!

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Let us bring our mustard seed to the Lord Jesus Christ today and watch Him take it and turn it into a massive plant for the glory of God.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Are We In The Family?


Mark 3:31-35

The Lord Jesus Christ was teaching in the city of Capernaum.

He was surrounded by a vast multitude of people who were fascinated by His messages and miracles.

His family came to rescue Him.

They thought He had lost His mind.

They were worried about Him.

They came to get Him and take Him back home.

The Lord Jesus Christ used the arrival of His physical family as an opportunity to teach about His relationship with His spiritual family.

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A Tense Moment (31-33)

As the Lord Jesus Christ was teaching, His family showed up.

This created a moment of tension for everyone there.

The Family’s Request

His family was on the outside of the crowd.

They couldn’t get to Him because of the multitude.

So they sent word through the crowd to tell Him to come to where they were.

The Crowd’s Reaction

The crowd saw nothing wrong with this.

They fully expected Him to stop teaching and to go to His relatives.

The Lord’s Response

Instead of stopping what He was doing and going to His mother and brothers, the Lord Jesus Christ simply said, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?”

The crowd must be shocked.

His mother devastated.

His brothers probably got angry.

They had traveled all the way from Nazareth to get Him and He even refused to talk with them.

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A Teaching Moment (33-35)

Instead of reaching out to his earthly family, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke to the members of His spiritual family.

He used this moment as an opportunity to teach some eternal truth.

The Question

“Who is My mother, or My brothers?”

This question is all important!

The issue here is about spiritual relationships.

Who are those people that are in a personal, spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ?

The Qualifications

After He asked the question, He looked at the crowds and proclaimed them to be His spiritual family.

Then He spoke about what it takes for a person to be considered a member of His spiritual family.

There Is A Spiritual Requirement

The Lord Jesus Christ said that whosoever did the will of the Father was a member of His spiritual family.

The will of the Father is for sinners to believe on the Son.

It is faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ!

If we can believe on Him and what He did for us, we will be saved and we will receive everlasting life.

There Are Some Spiritual Realities
  1. The true children of God have experienced the new birth. There was a moment in time when they saw their sins and understood that they were condemned in the eyes of God. At that moment, they looked away by faith to the Lord Jesus. They accepted His death as the payment for their sins. They believed in Him as the risen Lord and they were saved.
  2. They love the Bible and feed on it so that they may grow in the Lord. They have a hunger for it. They pattern their lives after its teachings.
  3. They are men of prayer. They find hope, comfort and help in spending time with God the Father in Heaven.
  4. They will be busy for the works of the Lord Jesus Christ. They will serve Him.

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Are we in the family?

Do we possess the marks of the believer?

If we do, then praise the Lord.

Let us place spiritual relationships before earthly relationships.

The Lord Jesus Christ must be our priority.

Our family and our interests take second place.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Scandal Over Sacraments


Mark 2:18-22

Jesus And The Rebuke (18)

The Ritual

The Pharisees and the disciples of John the Baptist observed fasting as part of their lifestyles.

The Rebuke

The Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples were feasting at the house of Matthew.

It was probably a Monday or a Thursday, one of the Jewish fasting days.

This upset the Pharisees.

The disciples of John the Baptist were upset too.

Their leader had been arrested and was possibly dead at this time.

They were mourning the absence of John the Baptist and they were upset that the Lord Jesus Christ wasn’t upset too!

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Jesus And His Response (19-20)

An Explanation

The Lord Jesus Christ responded to their criticism by talking about wedding.

In Jesus’ day, as soon as the wedding was over, the newlyweds would host their families and friends in a week of celebration.

The Lord Jesus Christ told His critics that His presence among His people was like that of a bridegroom among his friends.

It was not a time for mourning, self-denial and sadness.

It was a time for celebration and gladness.

An Expectation

Having set the record straight, the Lord Jesus Christ told them that there would come a day when the Bridegroom would be taken away.

His disciples would then fast and be sorrowful in those days.

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Jesus And His Revelation (21-22)

To make His point crystal clear, Jesus used two vivid illustrations from everyday life.

The Illustration Of The Clothes

If a person took a torn and worn garment and sewed in a new piece of cloth as a patch, the first time it got wet and dried, the new piece of cloth would shrink.

When it did, it would pull apart the older, weaker garment and the hole would be worse than before.

Judaism, with its external rituals and rules could not contain Christianity with its emphasis on an internal relationship with God.

The Illustration Of The Containers

If new wine was poured into an old wineskin and began to ferment, the old wineskin couldn’t stretch to accommodate the gases put off by the fermenting wine and would burst.

The only fit container for new wine was a new wineskin.

Judaism, with its rituals and rules, could not contain the ministry and message of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ did not come to pour the new wine of His Spirit into hearts that were trying to please God by keeping the rules and traditions of men.

He came to take the old wineskin of our flesh and make us new by His power.

Only one who has been saved by grace and is born again is a fit container for the Spirit of God!

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We cannot mix the Lord Jesus Christ and our religion.

We cannot mix the Lord Jesus Christ and our old way of living.

To be saved, we have to come to the Lord Jesus Christ and completely forsake the rest.

When we do, we will discover that He has the power to transform us from what we are into what we could never have imagined.

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Maybe we have done all the rituals.

We have been baptized.

We have taken the Lord’s Supper.

We have joined the church.

We have done it all, but we have never bowed as a lost sinner, repented of our sins and asked the Lord Jesus Christ to come into our heart.

We have religion, but we don’t have the Lord Jesus Christ.

Change that today!

Come to the Lord Jesus Christ right now.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Touch That Transforms


Mark 1:40-45

In this account of the healing of the leprous man, we can see the compassion and power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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A Sick Man (40)

The Nature Of His Ailment

Leprosy is a highly infectious and incurable disease in Bible times.

It attacked the nervous system, compromising the body’s ability to feel pain.

One of the worst aspects of leprosy was the social isolation it brought.

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The Nature Of His Approach

This poor leper came to the Lord Jesus Christ when he heard His Word.

Faith was awakened in his heart.

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It took great courage for him to approach the Savior that day.

He risked stoning, humiliation and death to get to the Lord.

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His fellow lepers tried to discourage him.

But with great faith he went toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

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The Nature Of His Appeal

This poor man came to the Lord Jesus Christ humbly and in faith.

He realized that he deserved nothing.

But he knew that if the Lord Jesus Christ wanted to, He could heal his body.

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When this leper spoke, he acknowledged the Lord’s power and the Lord’s sovereignty.

He said “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”

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A Sovereign Messiah (41-42)

The Messiah’s Compassion

The Lord Jesus Christ saw the poor man and saw His condition.

He did not shrink back in fear.

He was moved with compassion.

He had deep feeling of sympathy and sorrow for the leper.

He had a strong desire to alleviate his suffering.

He stretched out His hand and touched him.

Oh how glorious that one touch must have felt to this man!

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The Messiah’s Command

The Lord Jesus Christ simply touched the leper and gave a command for him to be clean.

Instantly, His leprosy departed.

His deformed body was made whole again.

His face was normal again.

His shattered hands and feet were restored to wholeness.

The ruined skin was instantly as smooth as a baby’s.

The defilement of his disease was immediately taken away.

Everything changed when the Master spoke!

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A Strange Mandate (43-45)

The Demand

As soon as the Lord Jesus Christ healed the man, He sent him away to the priest at the temple.

This man was told to go and fulfill the requirements of the Law for his cleansing.

This leper was told to go and present himself to the priest and get a certificate of cleansing on the basis of a ceremony in Lev. 14.

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The Disobedience

What a testimony it would have been when that poor old leper was glorious cleansed and applied at the temple for cleansing!

This miracle would have notified the priests that the Messiah had come!

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Sadly, the man disobeyed.

What would have been a great testimony went untold.

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The Lord Jesus Christ told the man to tell no one but the priests.

But the man went out and told everyone but the priests!

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The leper disobeyed the command of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As a result, the Lord Jesus Christ was forced to move His ministry into the country.

Many who could have heard the Word of the Lord never did because of one man’s disobedience!

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Are we like this poor leper before he was cleansed, afflicted and devastated by sin?

If so, there is hope in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Let us come to Him and find cleansing and a new life!

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Maybe, like this poor leper, we have been cleansed, but there are areas of disobedience in our lives.

And the Lord can’t use us to our fullest.

Today would be a good day to get down before Him and get that right.

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Wherever we are in our spiritual journey, The Lord Jesus Christ cares!

He is ready to reach into our lives and touch us at the very point of our need.

He stands ready to help us, if we will simply come to Him in faith as this poor leper did!