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Jesus in Action (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
March 30, 2021 6:00 am

Jesus in Action (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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March 30, 2021 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the Gospel of Mark (Mark 1:35-45)

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You say when I hear these messages on repentance, when you single out the sins that I'm guilty of, or I don't want to hear about, what should I do if I feel that way? You go to the Lord. You tell him, Lord, I'm having a hard time accepting your truth.

I want this to change. I want to love what you have to say. I want to receive everything you have for me and to work through me. Save me from my rejection of you.

That's what you do. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel, Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the Gospel of Mark. Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Today, Pastor Rick will continue teaching through his message called Jesus in Action in Mark Chapter 1.

Someone is looking for you. That would be John and Andrew and James and others that were moved by the miracles in Capernaum because they embraced the miracles, the benefit of his miracles. They had so much to learn, his followers, but many of the people, they would not learn any more than seeing the miracles. That's as far as their faith would go.

It was a hunger for more miracles. They rejected his call to repentance, and that's why I started off saying that preaching looks to reach people. It tells folks what offends God.

Many people are doing those things, and they don't want to stop, and so they turn on the one that points it out, and we should be ready for that and not slow down by that. One of my prayers for myself is, Lord, help me to just think the way you think, to feel the way you feel, because my feelings get in the way of everything when they don't line up with what I've learned from you. These in Capernaum, many of them, were saying, Lord, heal me. Help me. But whatever you do, don't preach to me.

I don't want to hear the religion. You meet people like this. I said, whatever you're going to do, I don't want to hear this Christ stuff. Sometimes maybe a Christian has gone before you and has so messed up the field of ministry that that person doesn't want to hear Christ anymore, and you're going to have to switch gears. That's one of the lessons from the book of Nehemiah. Before the ruins, or before the construction begins, the ruins have to be removed, and sometimes those ruins are caused by Christians who may mean well, but have just made the other side angry by trying to jam the gospel down their throats. It's not a good idea to put a track in someone's sandwich hoping that they'll take a bite and get saved.

Not that I know of anybody who's ever done that, but it paints the picture that I want it to paint. How many, again, turn on the preacher, the pastor, the individual Christian, for preaching the same things that Jesus preached? I don't get it. People come to church, churchgoers. They come to church, they hear what Christ says, and they get angry at the pastor for saying what Christ says, as though the message were negative, and yet you have others that come and they love every word. It's the same thing that happened on the cross to Christ. One thief heard everything Christ said, and so did the other.

Only one received him. No pastor is without sin. He too has to hear what's being preached. He too has to hear the condemnation of sin, and he deals with it. And so do other believers. Truth does not change because we don't like it. It demands conformity every single time. The truth of God does not back down.

The standards are high. But also, with that truth is the immense love and patience of God, his willingness to stoop down and work with us. You say, when I hear these messages on repentance, when you single out the sins that I'm guilty of or I don't want to hear about, what should I do if I feel that way? You go to the Lord. You tell him, Lord, I'm having a hard time accepting your truth.

I want this to change. I want to love what you have to say. I want to receive everything you have for me and to work through me. Save me from my rejection of you.

That's what you do. Maybe you're a saved soul with a lost life. Your life is lost because of your lifestyle. Your lifestyle disagrees with Christ, and he doesn't, as I said, does not back down. Or maybe you're just a lost soul. You've never given your life to Christ, and you're lost because God's truth doesn't appeal to you. You're missing out. Satan is selling you damaged goods.

He's selling you parachutes that don't work, and you won't find out until you make impact. It'd be too late. That is the message that we get from our scripture to the lost souls who hates being told you are a sinner, though they can't deny it. I want to come up.

I would love to come up into the pulpit and say, now I know there are those of you that are sinning. Don't worry about it. You'll be all right. God died for nothing.

It doesn't matter. Sin like you want. In fact, recite this prayer. The Internet is my shepherd. I shall not want.

It makes me to lie down warm and cozy with lies and things that would destroy my soul. How do you reach the lost? If we could come up with a simple answer, we'd put it in a bottle and we'd give it away for free. But it's not that simple. It's no surprise that we have saved souls with lost lives, and we have lost souls with lost lives. It is a real battle, and Christ came to deal with these things, and he says the first step is personal, and so we see him praying. The second step is to act, to do something based on that time with the Father, that time with God, to have time with people. And then the third step is that he's going to preach. After he engages, after they engage him and find him and say, Where have you been?

We've been searching for you. People put great effort into hiding their sin, to redefining their sin, to ignoring their sin, to excusing their sin, to attacking those that preach against sin. This is what we also preach. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.

Acts chapter 3, verse 19. My sins blotted out. That is the greatest thing about me.

The best thing about me is that my sins are blotted out through the blood of Jesus Christ, through what he has done on his cross, his resurrection and return and who he is and so much more. Would you rather believe fellow sinners or those who are trying to tell you what God says? So the fight goes on and we look now at verse 38.

I'm skipping sarcasm, I should tell you, and it's hard because there's that belief that sometimes sarcasm is very effective, but too much sarcasm just overdoes it. So I'm going to move to verse 38. And he said to them, let us go into the next towns that I may preach there also because for this reason I have come forth.

Luke adds, they tried, Luke chapter 4, verse 42, talking about this same incident, they tried to keep him from leaving them. So he says, I must, I have to go to Galilee and preach. No, no, stay here in Capernaum. This is the place.

Oceanfront or seafront, lakefront property, all the fish you can eat. I must preach, he said, not, notice what he did not say. I must go do miracles. I must wow people.

I must sing songs. Nothing wrong with those things in their place, but they are not secondary, or rather they are secondary. Preaching is not secondary. Preaching is primary because what do you have if you do not have what God said?

What are you left with? Listen, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir can sing beautiful songs as they renounce who Jesus says he is, as they tell you the scriptures are not enough. Some guy with sunglasses had a vision, special sunglasses, and he wrote it all down and you're supposed to just swallow it whole. It's not enough. To have songs, to see wonders, one must preach. They could not comprehend this apparent indifference on his part when they, everybody's been looking for you, stay here. And he said, I got to go other places and I have to preach.

Much of that went over their heads. Miracles on which these people of Capernaum place so much importance that he doesn't even mention them. In fact, too many miracles creates an appetite for more miracles until it drowns out what God is trying to say, which is a miracle in itself. The preaching of God is a miracle. How many believers of Jesus Christ have gone to their graves and never really saw what these people saw in the terms of miracles? Almost all of us. We don't see the lepers cleanse, Jesus walking through the streets healing people like the numbers that John in his gospel says.

There's so many, you could fill the libraries of the world, it wouldn't be even enough space. So evidently, the emphasis in scripture is not on the miraculous things, but the miraculous truth. And that's what he is emphasizing here when he says that I may preach, verse 38, there also because for this purpose I came forth.

To preach the gospel, that's where his emphasis is on getting the word out. What do you have if you have a group of people who have wonders and miracles but no word of God? What do you have if you have a group of people who have the word of God and no miracles? If you just have the miracles and no word of God, what does it profit a man if you gain the world, your health, whatever it is, and still you lose your soul because you never got your life to line up with what God wants. But the other group who never saw the miracles, who believed anyway?

Blessed are you, Thomas. But more blessed are those who don't see. And yet you have folks out there touting the wrong thing in Jesus' name.

I'm not saying that they're criminals or anything like that. I'm saying they're missing the point of scripture. And if we don't go by scripture, what do we go by? What makes a man stand up and say, I feel called to the ministry to serve God's word? It's that word of God that grips us, that changes us, that makes all the difference because you're not going to find us anywhere else. Verse 39, Peter continues to tell Mark, and he was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, casting out demons. You know when a person is saved, you cast out the work of a demon? It doesn't have to be a demon present. Somebody can be evil without a demon present.

Souls are lost. No demon present. But demonic influence?

Yes. You don't have to cast out a demon for someone to go to hell. My point is, in his preaching, he was not only preaching to those who held demons, but they were there, too.

Mark makes it sound so routine. His preaching in synagogues throughout Galilee, oh, and he threw out demons because it was routine for him. With all the demons he cast out of the synagogues, how many would he throw out of many churches today, especially the liberal ones? When I say liberal, I mean the ones who say God's word is not God's word. We'll say, we'll take some of it out. That's the definition.

I mean, talk about politics now. The definition of a liberal theologian is one who has decided he has the right or she has the right to edit God's word. So I guess they edit out where God pronounces judgment on those for editing God's word. How convenient. The believer rather is more comfortable saying, you know, I'll take it as it is.

I'll accept it as is. So he was preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. Consider those churches in the Bible who were rebuked by him, or Pragamas, Thyatira, Thyatira, and Laodicea.

They did not have to have demons to do the evil that they were doing. And all you have to do is read those two chapters in Revelation, Revelation 2 and 3, and you can get a good look real quick at what Christ or what God is looking for from his people as an assembly and as individuals. In verse 40 he continues.

Let me pause here. What are we doing? What is the purpose of all this? To build us up to fight.

To build us up to not be panic-stricken Christians. We're going to now meet a leper. Leprosy was a horrific disease. It still exists.

There's no cure, but there is a treatment for it, and a treatment is as good as a cure. And here we find in those days Christians who are not panic-stricken in the face of such threats, but remain focused on what their calling was, the simplicity of God's word. I don't know what you're facing. I know you will face things. God will face them with you. I know you may think the clock is running down, that you are suffering great losses that are irreversible. God's not moved by that, nor is he limited by that.

You could be, but you don't have to be. We endure. We continue no matter what comes our way because we believe the things that the Holy Spirit has preserved for us in his scripture and points out as often as he can. And as you hear God's word, may you digest it.

May as you eat, as you consume God's word, as you take it in, may you digest it, lest you just be a bloated Christian walking around knowing about these things, but never really entering in. It gets ugly sometimes being a Christian. Sometimes it's just downright, you know, you're fighting resentment toward God. You're just tired of God's delays and his methods and his ways, and then you default, though he slay me, I will trust him anyway. What can Satan do?

You just punched him out. You just took from him his biggest weapon, the weapon that will destroy your trust in God. Now, Alephra, verse 40, came to him, imploring him, kneeling down to him, and saying to him, if you are willing, you can make me clean. Remember, God the Son knows this is going to be put in print. He knows countless Christians are going to read this over the ages. He knows Christians are going to be looking to be healed from all sorts of things and not get it and still trust him. But right now, he is showing everyone that he is indeed God the Son, the same yesterday, today, and forever. And while his methods change, his heart never does.

The one person that never has to apologize is God. We've got to learn that. It's not easy. How much can be preached from that single statement a leper came to him? How much is in that if anyone wanted to walk down the street and they wandered into the space of the leper? What did the leper have to do? He had to say, unclean, unclean, don't come near me.

I may contaminate you. This is how they had to live, warning people to keep away from them. They were excommunicated from their religion and from their society. Their only companions were other lepers, other people who were as pitiful as them, who had no hope just like them. He could not work. Who would hire him? Who would want to touch anything that they touched? Who would want to be anywhere near what they had their hands on? They endured a living death until death.

That was the life of a leper. And here he is coming to Christ. The crowd was moving out of the way as he's making his approach. No one wanted to catch whatever it is that he had. Imploring him, kneeling down to him. This man was desperate. He was not arrogant. He was not greedy.

Right? At this moment, he's humble in the presence of God the Son. There's more to the story of the ban. We're getting to it in a moment. But contrary to the devils in the church that we read about in verse 34 and were implied in just, I think, verse 39, contrary to the devils that said, let us alone. Let's read that if you have your Bibles open. Mark chapter 1, verse 24.

Let's start at verse 23. Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit and he cried out saying, let us alone. What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth?

Did you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God. And people are still saying that with their behavior, with their attitudes against Christ to this day.

Well, this man, he does not have that attitude. He's not saying, Jesus, leave me alone. He's coming to Christ. Now a leper came to him imploring him, kneeling down in his desperate state. He knew Jesus had cast out demons and that he had cleansed lepers. He knew that Christ had overcome obstacles to both holiness and health. That is the cleansing of the lepers' understanding of Jesus Christ.

And he came for healing and Jesus made time for him. And saying to him, if you are willing, you can make me clean. Notice he did not ask for things except that cleansing that he wanted so much.

He didn't give a long drawn out prayer. He simply said, I want you to make me clean and I know you can do it. I feel sometimes when I read about these lepers that it's me in my unclean state, especially before salvation.

That I'm the leper that had come to Christ asking to be made clean. And just like that, with the snap of a finger, he cleansed me. And he keeps me clean, even when I fall. That recurrent grace, it just flows right through my life. It flows over my life.

It allows me to keep pressing forward. Paul said, not that I've already attained or imperfected, but one thing I do, I press towards the mark for the prize, for the high calling in Christ Jesus. It's almost as though Paul says, I got no time to cry over spilled milk about what I did wrong yesterday. Today is another shot and I'm taking it.

And if I fall today, today becomes yesterday and I keep moving forward toward tomorrow. That's what Christianity is supposed to be doing. Causing us to press towards the mark. This leper was no fool.

He knew where to go. Those ready for the touch of Christ upon their leprosy come to him without terms admitting that they need to be cleansed. Admitting that they are unclean.

And there's the disconnect again. I started out again saying, the carnal man cannot receive the things of God. They're foolishness to him. Many times because they don't want it. They don't want to be made clean.

They like the dirt. And it is heartbreaking to us and it is heartbreaking to God, but the fight is on and that's what it is. And it is nothing other than a fight. It is not a play. It is not a ballet. It is not a sport. I don't care how rough the sport may be.

It is not a sport. It is a fight for souls. And you are part of the fight. Whatever hardship you are going through in your life as a Christian is part of the fight. And Christ expects you to win because he's not going to let you go. And so verse 41, then Jesus moved with compassion, stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, I am willing be cleansed. Jesus moved with compassion. See, when I became a Christian, that, those are the things that got me. Those are the things that moved me to repentance. Seeing who he was and seeing his compassion, but why does life so often include events that shake my confidence in a compassionate God?

Why do events cause me to doubt his compassion? It is because this life is the one battlefield upon which everything is settled. Everything of eternal importance is settled on the battlefield of this life. It is called the fact of faith. And you're either fighting it or you're running from it and losing on the battlefield.

That answer is true. But it's not enough to take away the problems. But it softens the blows. It helps us to endure, to understand that God is doing something. And it is by faith we can finish the fight. You younger Christians, hopefully you've got a long road ahead of you. And hopefully you are going to litter that road with altars of worship as Abraham did. Follow Abraham in the Old Testament. See how many altars he made and walked away from and made another one. See that wherever Abraham went, he worshiped God, no matter what was going on. In fact, when God was ready to judge the Sodomites, it was Abraham praying for them, trying to find a way to keep the judgment back.

But it had reached a tipping point. How about us? When we look at Sodomites, when we look at other-ites, other people that are just the wretched of the earth, is there any love left in our hearts? For them, their souls? I'm not talking about their ways. We can hate what they do.

I mean, you don't just, you know, excuse a serial killer, for example. But if you let your heart get hard, who's doing that? Who hardens the heart? Thanks for tuning in to Cross Reference Radio for this study in the book of Mark. Cross Reference Radio is the teaching ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. To learn more information about this ministry, visit our website, crossreferenceradio.com. Once you're there, you'll find additional teachings from Pastor Rick. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. When you subscribe, you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross Reference Radio. You can search for Cross Reference Radio on your favorite podcast app. That's all we have time for today, but we hope you'll join us next time as Pastor Rick continues to teach through the book of Mark, right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-09 22:11:14 / 2023-12-09 22:20:30 / 9

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