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Jesus in Action (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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March 31, 2021 6:00 am

Jesus in Action (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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March 31, 2021 6:00 am

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

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In 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. 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. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 1, with his continuing study called Jesus in action. 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, but 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.

Well, Progamos, 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, at 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, and 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 a leper, 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 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. And 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 is the disconnect again. I started out again saying, the carnal man cannot receive the things of God. They are 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 to 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, 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? You say, well, it tells us that Pharaoh hardened, God hardened Pharaoh's heart. How did he do that? Very easy.

He withdrew. That's all God has to do. You can do this with clay. Just get some clay, get a lump of clay and just leave it alone and see what happens to that clay. It hardens up. You have to keep it moist.

If you're going to use it, you have to take care of it. But if someone insists, insists, insists that God leave them alone, let us alone, what do we have to do with you? He does. But the Christian, the Christian doesn't do that. The Christian may feel like he wants to do that. You may sometimes feel like you want to retaliate against God.

That's what the atheist does. Fine, I'll show him. I'll act like he's not there. I had a cousin, close cousin. We grew up together. We spent so much time together. And growing up, if you did something to him, he would stop talking to you.

I mean into high school. And it would usually last a day or two. I mean, he'd just shut you off. He'd come out of it eventually. But you'd never know what happened.

And of course, who cares? You know, you're a teenager, you're like, oh, fine, he's back, let's go. And it was just the funniest thing. That was his way of striking back.

He's just going to ignore you. But the atheist is far more vicious than my beloved cousin was. And the atheist wants to strike back at God. We should understand that. In our own lives, we should understand, some of us, maybe you're just one of those nice people. You know, I talk about you nice people sometimes that are sickening to the rest of us who are more down to earth. Just some people that seem so good all the time. I wish that was me.

Well, what are you doing up there? We want somebody that's good all the time. You're not going to find them until you get to heaven. Anyway, the honest thinking man knows that there is no alternative to God. He knows that. And if God is to be loved as God, he must be trusted as God no matter what. So you cannot say, his compassion fails.

No, it does not. You don't understand, you're on that battlefield. And it's about the fact of faith. And it's going to be settled in this life with you, one on one with God, no matter what happens. His existence is settled fact.

And for those who know his touch, you have no dispute about that. This leaves the lopsided, intellectuals, unsettled, irked, and in the dust. They don't like the fact of God, that his existence is settled. And we're here to help them.

And if they don't want to receive, we move on to the next one. Phase one of Christianity is not flight, it is fight. Phase two is flight, no more fight. Long as we are in phase one, that is this life, it is a fight. He is with us. There are many joys in the midst of that, but there's work to be done. And think about these things, I know they're true, but I've got to go live them this week coming. Preaching's not enough. You've got to get up and you've got to go do it. So let's finish this because we have to finish this.

He stretched out his hand and touched him. Only the touch of Christ cleanses because only the touch of Christ is himself without sin. Second Corinthians 5, for he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God. I can't stand before God in heaven and say, well, you've got to let me in, I've been a good boy. Not going to work because the standard is going to be Jesus Christ. Is God the Father would then say, have you been as good as my son?

Of course not. Then you can't earn your way in because if you're going to earn your way in, that's the standard. But if you want to receive salvation, you have to receive my son. All that he says about himself and all that he says about you and all that he says about everybody else. You do that, then it is the grace of God.

Not that any man should boast. You will not whip out an I owe you on God and say you owe me salvation. We receive it and we love it. The leopard, not making this long prayer, he didn't say, I deserve this.

You owe me this. He just asked if the Lord was willing. And he said, I am willing, be cleansed. And just like that, he was cleansed. Verse 42, as soon as he had spoken immediately, the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. Had he not come to Christ like this, he would have died unclean.

But he came to Christ to be cleansed and that is what happened. Verse 43, and he strictly warned him and sent him away at once. This is clear as a bell when it says he strictly warned him. The Greek word strictly has an element of anger in it. That's how the word is used. It can be translated with indignation. It means that when Christ said, look I'm telling you, I don't want you telling this to anybody. That's how he's laying it out. There's that force in the word. He's not saying, oh, by the way, you know, most of the time Christ just makes these, you know, don't do this, don't do that, almost nonchalantly.

This is not one of those times. It is strict. It is strict. It is strict.

It is firm. He doesn't really care what this man thinks. He just cleansed him. He says, look, I'm telling you, don't go blabbing this. Go to the priest, follow the processes of the law, and be restored. Verse 44, and he said to him, see that you say nothing to anyone, but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded as a testimony to them. Verse 45 is going to fill this in for us, but just a moment on verse 44, and he said to him, see that you say nothing to anyone about who cleansed you. Why?

Why? Why does Jesus veil his identity? Well, we're going to find out in verse 45, one of the problems, but he kept his identity obscure in many ways. I mean, it was there.

All the evidence was there. If you knew how to read it, you got it. Nobody can do this but the Son of God. This is matching what the prophets said, said, especially Isaiah. This is the Messiah, God the Son in human form. All of the info was there, but no one was picking it up.

In fact, quite the opposite. People were resisting, and it was not until he was ready to suffer and die that he really pulled off the veil. But for now, his work is preaching, and to get that preaching done, he withholds his fuller identity in his humanity. This happens in Mark 5, Mark 7, Mark 8, and Mark 9.

Mark records this repeatedly. He says, go your way. Show yourself to the priest. That's the Aaronic priest, the Jewish priest. This entire process would take more than a week for him to be restored, and the rules were laid down in Leviticus 13 and chapter 13 and 14. He doesn't say to him, you have been a leper.

Everybody knows this. I just cleansed you. Now we're going to make you a celebrity. See, we see sometimes celebrities get saved and become celebrity, what, converts? I think we damage them. We damage the ministry. We invite them to speak in churches. We pay them to tell their story, and they haven't paid their dues yet. And many times it ends up in disaster. Many times they slip backwards.

They cannot handle it. What we really need of celebrities who convert to Christ is for them to line up with the rest of us and be celebrities no more. My point is, we don't see Christ parading the individual around.

We see him putting a cover on it. 1 Timothy chapter 3, verse 10, let these also first be tested. Then let them serve, being found blameless.

A lot of people get offended by that. Well, anyway, he has them go to the priest. That is in accordance with the law. Jesus said, think not that I've come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. In verse 45 now, however he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the matter so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places, and they came to him from every direction. So on his way to the priest, he goes public. He blabs it out. He does not obey. The man was humble in his approach to Christ, but disobedient in his departure.

How much truth is packed into that? How often do we see that? How often does someone go to church, behave themselves, but then they go away and they're no longer behaving themselves? How often does it maybe someone behave themselves in front of the pastor, but it's not behaving themselves with people in the pew? Maybe they're obnoxious.

Maybe they're just arrogant or whatever it is. This is a warning. There's a lesson here. That's why we're watching Jesus in action. And we see that here he just simply sternly warned this person, and Mark remembers it. Well, Peter remembers it. Mark makes sure it gets recorded. He could have said, you know, I won't put that in, but the Holy Spirit said, no, you're going to put that in.

I don't want to act like Mark was rejecting it or anything like that, but the Holy Spirit impressed it upon Mark to retain it, and Peter, after all those years, remembered it. He spread the matter. Disobedient because he was euphoric. He just couldn't contain himself. Not a good enough excuse. There are consequences to disobedience.

So that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in the deserted places. Who else is annoyed by this guy? I'm annoyed, but with an asterisk. It's not like I'm so good. That's the asterisk. It tempers, you know, the annoyance. Yeah. Yeah, mess it up for all of us.

Like, I get it all right all the time. So Christ withdraws, as did John the Baptist, to the wilderness, and they came to him from every direction, and there we see that principle, you know, saying, ah, he's too far. You know, I don't want to church this. I've got too much headaches going to church. It's not an excuse. Blabbermouth made it difficult for everyone, but enough of them still came. And again, Mark blamed him.

Mark holds him up. He said, don't be this guy. Not that he's going to hell or anything like that. He just, he hampered the ministry of Christ.

What Christian wants to do that? 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. Cross Reference Radio dot 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 could 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 / 2023-12-07 23:40:23 / 2023-12-07 23:50:02 / 10

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