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Never Before (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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December 16, 2021 6:00 am

Never Before (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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December 16, 2021 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the Gospel of Mark (Mark 16:1-11)

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Having looked up to God and depending upon Him, are you now developing in your walk without Him by looking at each other or something else?

Absolutely not. Having begun in the Spirit, we continue forward in our faith dependent upon the Holy Spirit and this relationship we have with Christ. This is so easy to become, you know, sort of get Christian savvy. You know, I know how to do this, I'm a Christian.

And you lose that sense of looking up. 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 book 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 his message called Never Before as he teaches through Mark chapter 16. The world thinks that the Gospel writers have no right to tell history, to be honest and give the truth.

They're not accredited by the world. And again, that's where we come in. No matter what you're struggling with in your life, no matter what sin you're facing, no matter what hard times you're facing, you are still required to preach the Gospel when you are given a chance to preach the Gospel. You do not get out of preaching because of your pain.

You're still in it. You identify totally with those who are under the curse, in the midst of pain, and yet still preaching the truth. Verse 1, Now when the Sabbath was passed, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome, bought spices that they might come and anoint him. Now this Sabbath, of course, is over. Their Sabbath ran from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown.

This is our Sunday morning. Mary Magdalene, as mentioned, you know, she was demonically possessed. She, you know, the Lord delivered her. Verse 9, it comes out again, but anyway, Mary the mother of James. This is James known as James the Less.

Not a very flattering title, right? I don't want to be known as James the Less. But anyway, he's one of the twelve disciples, and it uses to distinguish him from James, the brother of John. And he did not take it as an insult, nor as it intended to be. There was nothing uptight about this distinction for him. He may have even been flattered. Anyway, this name James, of course, comes by way of the Greek, Jacobus, and from the Hebrew, Jacob.

It's a variant of Jacob. Salome, one of the ladies who also witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus, is also present. They bought spices that they might come and anoint him. Well, they did not believe that he would rise again.

They did not believe that he was already risen. Otherwise, they would not come with these perfumes for the body. And incidentally, Nicodemus, you know, he came with over 100 pounds of spices. That was sufficient. That was an adequate amount to care for the body. But they wanted to do their part.

They wanted to express their love nonetheless. In the book of Acts, speaking of the resurrection, just this one little short line from Acts chapter 13. This is the chapter where the Holy Spirit says, Separate unto me Barnabas and Saul for the work of ministry.

And just a very beautiful chapter. But there we read, But he, that is the Christ, whom God raised up, saw no corruption. His body did not decay.

There was no need for any of these spices, whether they were from Nicodemus or the women. They were a waste of material things, you could say, but it was an expression of love and therefore not a waste. Love compelled these women to do more as love still compels us to serve Christ. But again, none of the believers or followers of Jesus Christ, not one of them expected him to rise up from the dead. Verse 2, Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. Again, an eagerness. They couldn't wait to get there. They probably did not sleep well that night, as evidenced in Mary Magdalene to me, just running ahead of the women. You guys are walking too slow. I'll meet you at the tomb.

She takes off. She must have been younger than some of the ladies in Spry and just had to get there. And you have to admire that as a believer and contrast that if you were once living in the world, you did not run to the things of Christ. But now that you are a believer, things have changed. Well, they still loved him like no other. They came looking and prepared for a dead man who was not going to be there. Their understanding had fallen short, not knowing the Scriptures, not listening to Christ, and yet they still had this love. It makes me stop and think when I read about this story and ask myself, am I missing something from the Scripture in my own life? All of these heard him preach this. They knew the prophets had spoken about these things, and they missed it in a big way.

Am I doing the same thing? On the first day of the week, little did they know that from this point forward, the first day of the week would replace Sabbath or Saturday worship for us. Sabbath does not mean Saturday.

It means rest, but it takes place on our Saturday. And it's disappointing to see that there are still some Sabbatarians out there that, you know, when a Christian confuses their role as a New Testament believer and the life in the Old Testament, a lot of stuff gets out of whack. It's just, you know, and you tend to become legalistic or prone to legalism versus grace. We are New Testament believers. Ministers of the New Covenant, said Paul, and that does not diminish the Old Testament.

That strengthens it. Jesus said, don't think I've come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. Well, the fulfillment of that law is what we call the New Testament theology. And, you know, Jesus does not have to itemize and say, well, I'm against, you know, stealing and I'm against sexual perversity. He doesn't have to itemize it. When he says, think not that I've come to, don't think that I've come to destroy the law, means that he is upholding the moral teachings, the commandments of God. Which one?

All of them. And some of them are certainly developed by Christ and his work. And one of them is, is the replacement of Sabbath worship with what we do on Sundays. It's not a sin to do it on a Saturday, but this is why we do it on the Sundays. Because this is the day the Lord showed himself risen and the New Covenant that Jeremiah spoke of, for example, is now fulfilled. And so, believers, we rest not in a Sabbath but in a Savior. That's what Paul was trying to tell the church in Hebrews chapter 4. There remains a rest for the people of God. It is Christ, the Savior.

These distinctions are to be stark in our lives. Well, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. Someone felt, and of course it is the writers and the people who told the story, that this was worth repeating.

And you picture it. They set out, it's dark. They don't have flashlights. They may have lamps or torches with them. But here they get to the tomb, the group of women. And there may actually have been two separate groups of women that left from wherever they originated from.

There's space for that. But they get there and the sun is rising. And of course we see that in artwork sometimes. We see the empty tomb and the sun is rising. And it strikes us and it evidently struck them also, and that's why it is pointed out. In verse 3, and they said among themselves, who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?

Well, expecting to find Jesus dead and in the grave. The door was a very big obstacle for these women. They didn't think about that earlier. The door of the tomb was a very heavy stone wheel that was rolled over the opening. It was put in a groove and the groove rolled downhill, well at least pitched downwardly, so you could easily roll it shut. It would take more effort and it would take a few strong men to roll it back open. And so they had a valid concern. It's much easier to close that tomb door than it is to open it.

It's much easier to die than it is to rise again. I guess you could say that, but this was a real concern. Why were they not concerned about the Roman guards and the seal of Pilate, the governor, on the tomb? Well, they either did not know that these orders had been given, which is likely what happened, or they lost sight of it, or they just dismissed it.

Easy to understand why that would not have been a concern. This resurrection, as we know, the greatest miracle known to man, not only because Christ got up from the grave without the help of any human being, but also what it means to this very moment, was also the most painful of all miracles that has ever been. Verse 4, But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, for it was very large. And so there's the emphasis. But when they looked up and they saw it was rolled away, well, what did they say?

Sweet! Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord. This is one of the most powerful beginnings of a sentence that we can have. But when they looked up, we Christians try to get unbelievers to look up, to see the Lord. That disjunctive, but when they looked up, well, that means there's a continuation, there's a stone blocking it, but then when they did this, that appointed moment, they, it's personal, each one, they looked, it's practical, and they looked up. Those things don't mean anything to the unsaved.

They mean so much to us. You look at these things, you know, you have your devotional times, you're just plodding along, rereading a section of Scripture, and all of a sudden something like this jumps out. But when they looked up, and maybe you've been going through some struggle in your life, and you've not been looking up, you've been fighting these things by looking straight ahead.

The horizontal view, not the vertical. And then this verse can strike you and say, but they looked up. And then you begin to look up. I'm looking up to the Lord. As you roll forward in your faith and develop and mature, don't forget what Paul told the Galatians. Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect in the flesh? Having looked up to God and depending upon Him, are you now developing in your walk without Him by looking at each other or something else?

Absolutely not. Having begun in the Spirit, we continue forward in our faith, dependent upon the Holy Spirit and this relationship we have with Christ. And it is so easy to become, you know, sort of get Christian savvy.

Well, you know, I know how to do this. I'm a Christian. And you lose that sense of looking up and dependency. And where does that put you? Well, one place it puts, at least me, is I can say sometimes about a trouble in front of me, I don't care.

I don't care. God's got this. And whatever He's going to do, He's going to do out of love. And I believe that. And I'm not going to let me or anybody else take that away. I'm going to trust the Lord. Because having begun in the Spirit, I will be perfected in the Spirit. To me, as I read this, it struck me, but when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away. Problem solved. Still, no thought of the resurrection, though.

Again, is it not a lesson in that for us? They're coming to anoint a dead body, and the tomb is open as they are solving one problem, and they're still not thinking that maybe He is alive. The angel who rolled the stone away, he did so not to let Jesus out, but to let witnesses in. He could have just left the shot, and Jesus could have appeared. Well, you know, wow, He's alive. He didn't really have to have an open tomb, but He did.

I prefer this way because He preferred this way. And so, not to let Jesus out, but to let witnesses in, that's why the stone is rolled back. And the wise guy angel sitting on top of it, right there in front of the Roman guards, it's comical. Now the earth shook when the angel rolled the stone away.

Matthew 28, verse 2. There was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door and sat on it. Well, did the ladies feel the earthquake? No, it had happened.

It was likely local to that spot. Well, you say, well, how could anybody have known? Well, maybe others did know, and they put the pieces together.

Or, the Roman soldiers. They told the story. You think that was the end of it? You just don't shut up. If you've ever experienced something phenomenal, you talk about it for the rest of your life from time to time.

It just doesn't go away. I still, I remember seeing a car get broadsided at a stoplight and do a complete 360 in the air and land on its tires, and it just, just below the elevated terrain, I mean inches away from hitting it, and everybody was fine. In 15 minutes, it was all gone. Everybody just swapped insurance cards, got back in their cars, and rolled away. But you had to see it.

It's like, this is crazy. I don't think the Roman soldiers just had this experience and then forgot about it over, you know, a cheeseburger or something later on in life. I think that they spoke about these things, and I think sensitive ears of Christians picked them up. And Luke, of course, when he does his gospel, it opens up that he really investigated what he had to write before he wrote it down for us. Verse 5 now, And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe, sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. The angelic messenger from another dimension, the spiritual realm, of course, too occupied with this.

How could you be? It would be taking away from the centerpiece of Jesus Christ to be too caught up with what the angel's doing. But Luke, he mentions that there were two, but Mark concentrates or concerns himself only with the one who spoke. And they were alarmed at the presence of the angel, this whole thing. The Greek word there for alarmed, ekthambio, which you won't hear every day, greatly amazed, sort of amazed like never before, and that is the Greek word used there for alarmed. Verse 6, and that comes back into the story, and that's why I point it out. But he said to them, do not be alarmed.

Do not be blown away. To him, this is casual. This is Christ. He's not here.

What's the big deal? He's God. But anyway, he says, do not be ekthambio. You seek Jesus of Nazareth who is crucified. He is risen. He's not here.

See the place where they laid him? So he says to them, don't be utterly amazed at something that is utterly amazing. Astonished, utter wonder. But Matthew adds this. He said, this is not a fear, a terror fear. It is a fear involved, but it is a fear with joy. Matthew chapter 28, verse 8. So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy and ran to bring his disciples word.

Now Matthew uses the word fear, and it is where we get our English word phobia from, and it is fear. But it is a fear that has a joy attached to it. They know something's going on. They know this is spiritual. They don't know what, and they don't know where to go with this. It's so exciting.

Where on the scale of excitement would the needle read with these women at this point? And the angel says, you seek Jesus of Nazareth who is crucified. Let's make no mistake, he's saying. Let's get the identity right. This is the Christ that you saw on the cross three days ago. He's up. He's risen.

He's not here. And this angel, well, angels announced the birth of Christ. They announced the resurrection of Christ. In Acts chapter 1, they will say that this same Jesus that you see taken up will return in like manner.

They will announce his return prophetically. See the place where they laid him. And so he invites the women to come in to the tomb, which they do to look in. And there was the evidence of the grave clothes and the headpiece in a separate place, which impressed John the apostle very much, and he writes about that in his account of this story. After all, John looked in also. And no doubt about it, the Lord was risen right through those spice-soaked clothes.

He just came right through them. This was a spiritual deal. Mary, again, she's already telling the apostles this. She supposed robbers because she didn't look in the first time. And she at first thought, even later, she thought, robbers, where have they taken him? They've taken the body of the Lord. She says to the supposed gardener, if you tell me where he is, I'll go get him.

And so, man, what a morning. Verse 7, but go tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you into Galilee. There you will see him as he said to you.

Verses 6 and 7 announce the crucifixion and the resurrection together, and we must, I think, be careful to do that. But the Lord does not forget to start rebuilding Peter, and he's going to finish that job. And Jesus knew that the best of men are molded by failure. I'm pretty moldy myself, but it is true. Failure, it can mold us if you let it or you cannot let it. You can waste it or you can get back. I mean, if you fail and you say, that's it, I quit, then that's it.

But if you get back in there, that's where work gets done. He is going before you into Galilee. There you will see him as he said to you. And so these, you know, he's telling the disciples that he wants them to go to Galilee. But they're going to be slow in doing that.

Surprise! They're going to be almost reluctant to get back up to Galilee. I mean, it's a week later and he's still appearing to them when Thomas was with them in the vicinity of the cross.

That was ground zero. And so he's trying to nudge them back up. Well, there are more followers there and there's less combatants in Galilee than there was in Jerusalem.

So it's a practical thing. 1 Corinthians tells us in chapter 15 that he appeared to 500 at one time. And that would more than likely be the majority of people from Galilee. Verse 8, So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Good that they didn't have cars. Could you imagine with that excitement?

It would be like demolition derby. Anyway, they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. The Greek word there, phobia, from where we get phobia from, means fear.

And that's what they were. But Matthew has told us yet, but this fear included joy. Mark just doesn't put that in. And there has been a lot of effort by Bible scholars to insist that verse 8 ends the Gospel of Mark. It's a frenzy defense, I think, which is a condemnation of their argument when you get all excited about something you're trying to insist upon without facts. I do not believe them. Thank God it's not all the scholars. But there are many that are otherwise good scholars, and they'll say the Gospel of Mark closes with chapter 8.

I want to talk about that just a little bit, but not too much. They do this because they think that older manuscripts from ancient Egypt, or Egypt in the days not long after the apostles, about 300 years after the birth of Christ, they think that because those manuscripts are the oldest manuscripts, that they're therefore the best manuscripts. But that is not the case. They think because they're older, they're therefore trustworthy. They think that because these older manuscripts don't carry Mark chapter 16 verses 9 through 20 in it, that therefore somebody added them later.

But there's a great amount of evidence to disprove that. Irenaeus, an early church leader who wrote before those old manuscripts were written, he quotes Mark's Gospel chapter 16 verse 19. So he came before those older manuscripts, and he's quoting this section that they said Mark didn't write, as being written from Mark. You can read that if you want to do some research in Irenaeus against heresies. Book 3, verse 10, section 5.

And he's not the only one. There are other church fathers that adjusted barter, for example, who he came even before Irenaeus. And there are others. So I don't believe the Holy Spirit concluded the Gospel of good news, of Mark, with the disciples in fear.

That they said nothing to anyone for they were afraid. End of story. I don't believe that. It doesn't make any sense.

I conclude that Mark's Gospel concludes with verse 20, which says, And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word, through the accompanying signs. Amen. So again, I strongly disagree. I don't care how much formal training they have. You know, scholars can indoctrinate other scholars. That happens in seminaries and universities.

Not just the liberals do this. 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, 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 / 2023-07-08 17:36:18 / 2023-07-08 17:45:52 / 10

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