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July 12, 2020 12:01 am
The call of discipleship is not an easy one. But what calling in this world could be more rewarding? Today, R.C. Sproul continues his exposition of the gospel of Mark to explain what Jesus was doing when He called twelve men to be His disciples.
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Today on the wards.
The addition of Renewing Your Mind.
Anytime Jesus calls one to discipleship is calling them to himself to belong to him and to follow him and to learn not only from him but to learn of him. Jesus called 12 men to be his apostles. They followed him everywhere and endured hardship along the way as we continue our verse by verse study of the gospel of Mark. Today we will see that discipleship is all hard going. We may have to give up everything but there's doctors are Scripture this morning. Again comes from the gospel according to St. Mark and from chapter 3, beginning at verse seven reading through verse 19, but Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judea and Jerusalem item media and beyond the Jordan, those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things he was doing. They came to him so he told his disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for him because of the multitude last. They should crush him, for he healed many so that as many as had afflictions pressed about him to touch them in the unclean spirits whenever they saw him fell down before him and cried out, saying you are the son of God, but he sternly warned them that they should not make him known. And he went up on the mountain and called him those he himself wanted and they came to him and then he appointed 12, that they may be with him and might send them out to preach and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons, Simon, to whom he gave the name Peter James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom he gave the names on their Jays.
That is, Sons of thunder, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alpheus Thaddeus Simon the Canaanite and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him and they went into a house US ears to hear the word of God, let them hear. Please proceed saying in the last few paragraphs of Mark's gospel. This rising tide of opposition and hostility toward Jesus and how he is been in the sense frustrated, not only by the opposition brought by the religious leaders, but by the clamoring multitudes who come to him, not so much to hear him teach and to preach but to come with their afflictions, their illnesses, seeking to be relieved of their pain and suffering by his miraculous touch before we look at that. Let me just take a moment and say you notice that in our prayer requests each week with the focus of attention in those prayer requests are for the bodily sufferings that many of us have in the congregation and yet at the same time as we list these concerns for prayer in the bulletin. We have a program of instructing our people in what we call kingdom focus prayer and one of the main points of that program is to teach us to not only be concerned with our physical maladies that beset us, but to put as our chief consideration in our prayers. The praying for the outreach of the gospel for the ministry of the truth of God for the mission of the church and the ministry of the people of God. Now God made us body and soul and we see throughout Scripture that God is abundantly concerned with the well-being of our bodies and we are to amend is very hard to be a Christian when you're writhing in pain and when we have such afflictions and illnesses, sometimes life-threatening illness. The whole focus of our attention tends to be on our bodies will were not Manichaeans were not doorless to think that the body is something to be despised. We believe as Christians in the resurrection of the body and it is a good thing for us to be concerned about the welfare of our bodies and of other people's bodies, but were not just bodies were not merely bodies were not simply physical beings but God has made us body and soul and the care of our souls is seen as a top priority of Jesus in his teaching in the New Testament. Remember, the value system that he thought he says what shall a man give in exchange for his soul and what would it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul and have heard the expression, many times, put your money where your mouth is. Or to put it another way, put your money where your heart is. And Jesus also taught on that topic that where our treasure is.
That is where our heart is always amazes me to see in polls taken in America that the lowest paid professional group of people in the United States of America are the clergy second lowest paid professional group in America are teachers. One of the highest paid professions in America is the medical profession. Now what does this tell you it tells you where we put our value we value our bodies and that's good.
We don't value our souls and that's bad. I've often wonder why it is that in the Old Testament when God established the principle of the ties he did that to support the ministry of the church preaching, teaching priesthood that is the care of the mind and the care of the souls that was the only concern that was paid for by divine taxation. God did not leave the care of ministry to the free market because he knew that in a fallen world. When people were left to establish their value system by the demands of the market.
They would never put a premium on teaching or in preaching or on the care of the souls and so Jesus is confronting that problem.
We've already seen that. He withdrew once from this region of Capernaum, because the people were more interested in their bodies than they were in hearing the truth of the kingdom of God which in the long term is far more valuable than any physical benefit that could be received by the touch of Jesus.
What happens to our souls matters forever. What happens to our bodies is for a short time and we need to pay attention to this that the priorities of our thinking and our desires may be, according to the mind of Christ.
So we read here, Jesus withdrew his disciples to the sea. Why because of this massive group of people that were coming from all over the nation and outside the nation to him. And Jesus said to his disciples that they should keep a small boat ready on the shore there on the Sea of Galilee's because these people were pressing against him. He had no way of escape. He had no way to withdraw from them so they could teach them. I notice this, that he healed many money that had afflictions depressed about him to touch and and the unclean spirits whenever they saw him fell down before him and cried out, saying you are the son of God, why did they do that they had this idea that if they could name Jesus and reveal his identity that somehow that would give them our over Jesus. The whole concept of naming is very significant in the Bible.
Remember, one of the first tasks that God gave to Adam and Eve in the garden was to name the animal and by naming the animals that manifested the dominion of the human over the beast, and so the demon thinks that he can control Jesus by telling his name, but every time they do this, Jesus tells them to be quiet.
He silences the devil and in this we see a foretaste of the final result of the conflict between Christ and the forces of hell whenever Hell collides with Evan. The inevitable result friends.
Silence whenever evil appears before God. It's mouth is made shocked we are told that the descriptive way in which all of us will be at the last judgment is with our hands over our model because in the presence of God. No sooner has anything to say but rather the whole works is to be silent while the main crux of our reading today concerns. However, not this will description here of what's going on in the Sea of Galilee, but rather of Jesus removing himself from the crowds and going up to a mountain where there on the mountain he called to him those he himself wanted. Now the list of disciples is broadened from the first five that we've already seen in their calling. Now to the calling of the 12 and remember when we look at the call of Peter and Andrew, James and John, and so on, and Levi and I pointed out to you that there was a radical departure from custom here whereas normally among the Jewish people when somebody one of the study with the Rabbi they would make application just like students do today to get into their favorite college to study with their favorite person to become an apprentice to a great master of a trade or so on and Jesus didn't do it that way. He didn't say okay anybody that wants to follow may sign up so he went out and recruited those whom he wanted to be tutored by himself and he called them not to a study of the law, not to a study of biology or chemistry or physics, but he called them to himself. Please understand that that anytime Jesus calls one to discipleship is calling them to himself to belong to him and to follow him and to learn not only from him but to learn of him. He called to him those that he himself wanted membership in the disciple band of Jesus was by election sovereign election. Jesus called the ones he wanted and that call was a sovereign one because everyone that he called to that office came to that office and they came willingly to join that band of men that were to be a part of who he was, in a sense we get a microcosmic look at what Jesus does for the whole kingdom of God how he calls those whom he will remember that the definition of the church. We have the Greek word Plessis we talk about ecclesiastical matters in the Greek word Plessis is the new testament word for church.
Let's look at it for a second act Plessis is made up of a prefix and a root. The prefix act or acts the same one that's on that red sign back at the back and onto the side of the stores acts means out of or from you want to find a way out of a building. You look for the exit sign and so act. Plessis has that prefix acts at the beginning and then the root word is the verb: oh, it's an easy Greek word to remember because it's almost exactly the same as our English word to call collect domains to call and so put them together.
The prefix and the root act Plessis a means those who are the called out ones. Those who are the called by God. Those are the ones who make up the church. The church is not made up of those who make no profession of faith in Christ. But the church in terms of the invisible church the ultimate church is that body of people whom God is called not only outwardly but inwardly by the Holy Spirit, and has brought them to himself.
But let me just say this also that in this country we are preoccupied with individualism and its true that the only faith by which you will ever be justified. Is your own faith, not your husband's faith, not your father's faith, not your mother's faith, not your wife's faith, not your children's faith in terms of faith in the final analysis of the judgment they you will stand there by yourself and it is your heart that will be examined by God not somebody else's. And so there is this individual dimension of redemption. However, every single time the Christ saves an individual in the Bible.
He places him in a group. There was a corporate dimension to the church, a corporate dimension to the kingdom of God that we dare not lose sight out.
I talked to a woman just this week who told me that recently her pastor left her church and she's not happy with the new pastor and so she has been going to church. So what you do. Jesus, I watched church on television on Sunday morning. How can you watch church on television. You can't be in church on television to be in church is to be with the people of God in corporate worship in solemn assembly notice at the beginning of every worship service at St. Andrews. We start off with a prelude to prepare our hearts for worship and then after the prelude we have a choral introit which is again alerting us to the moment where we enter in to our experience of worship and then we have the call to solemn assembly. That idea is rooted way back centuries back in the Old Testament where the shofar the ram's horn was blown and you would hear the sound echoing off the hills in Israel and every time a Jew heard the blowing of the ram's horn. He knew that that signal meant it's time to come together and solemn assembly with the covenant people of God remembers a boy going to a church that was very small. One of the neat things about the church was in the tower the loft there was a bell and there was a big rope that came down from the ceiling and on Sunday morning about 20 minutes before church started the sextant would go up there and he would grab all that rope and he would pull on the rope and you could hear the church bell for over a mile away in the church bell was a summons's income now the presence of God with the people of God with the body of Christ, and so church is always a corporate thing. It's not just an individual thing. No notice verse 14. After Jesus said he called those that he wanted and they came to him the verse 14 then he appointed 12, that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have power no matter quibble a little bit with the translation here my translation. I just read from said he appointed 12 now the word that is used here can and sometimes is translated by the English word to point but that's not the primary meaning of this verb, the primary meaning of this verb in the Bible is to make something to create something it's exactly the word that is used in Genesis 11 in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth it in the point that heaven and select the earth. He made it created. This is what Jesus is doing here and then just select individuals, but he makes these individuals something he makes them his intimate group.
In a sense he makes them the church and it's fascinating to me that he doesn't choose 10.
It doesn't choose a young choose five choose us 12 certainly calling to mind of everyone there. The Old Testament structure of the 12 tribes of Israel. 12 is not a common number in Hebrew numerology, but you have the 12 tribes you have the 12 disciples were weight of the 12 apostles, saying the symmetry between the church of the Old Testament, the church of the New Testament, Jesus is now building his church on the 12th that he creates is his special group and what the sea want to do with them what the sea make them for what we get the answer here he created the 12 that they might be with him. One of the most important doctrines that we find in the writings of the apostle Paul is the doctrine of the mystical union of the believer in Christ when you have faith for the first time in New Testament terms. You don't just believe something about Jesus, but the word is you believe into Jesus. The word nice is the word in the in the sense of moving into something you wants outside in the parking lot you came into the church that was into that ice, but for faith does it moves from outside of Christ being separated from Christ to embracing him so that you move into Christ. And when you believe in the Christ, then the mystery that the apostle talks about the hope of the Gentiles is Christ in you different word for in another word and, which means inside of so every Christian who is called by Jesus enters into Jesus into this profound mystical union so that you are in Christ and Christ is in you again.
I'm in Christ, you are in Christ and that's what produces the communion of saints, because were in this together. He's in me. He's in you and so together we have a bond that is a spiritual bond that will last for eternity. Soon, Jesus makes a group that he calls to himself. And ecclesia the purposes for them to be with him member before he left this planet. According to John's Gospel when he was in the upper room said don't let your hearts be troubled you believe in God believe also in me and my father's house are many mansions and I'm going there to prepare a place for you. Why was Susan so that her I you can with Dr. Spruill delivered that sermon that he probably wasn't envisioning the very strange days that we find ourselves in. He taught so passionately, though, about how the ecclesia. The church must be an actual assembling together of it every true believers been longing for that in the so many now are getting that opportunity. It's a stark reminder of just how critical the assembled body of the church is glad you joined us for the Lord's. The addition of Renewing Your Mind. I believe Webb and the each Sunday we returned to Dr. Spruill series through the Gospel of Mark in the. We hope our resource offer today becomes a helpful study companion for you as we continue the series it's RC's expository commentary on Mark's gospel this nearly 400 page hardbound volume is an excellent way to deepen your understanding of this gospel to request it.
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We hope to see you right back here next Wednesday Renewing Your Mind