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Revisiting Mark 9!

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews
The Truth Network Radio
November 21, 2020 1:00 am

Revisiting Mark 9!

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews

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November 21, 2020 1:00 am

Revisiting Pastor Russ Andrew's sermon "Don't Waste Your Life" from Mark 9: 30-48, as Pastor Russ nears the end of his series on the book of Mark.

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Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. Do you feel like your efforts to reach God, find God, and please God are futile? Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, a local triangle ministry glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living.

For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at or connect with us on Facebook. Now let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. Let's go to the Lord in prayer. Heavenly Father, thank You for this night.

Thank You for the day You've given us. And Lord, thank You for what You're doing in the world. I know to the vast majority of people in the world who are unbelievers, it looks like it's in chaos. And probably to a lot of believers it looks the same way, but Lord, we know from Your Word that You hold all things together and that You're in control of everything, history, political events, elections, each one of us.

Everything happens according to Your sovereign will. Lord, we thank You for Your grace and mercy. We thank You for giving us Your Word, the Holy Bible. I pray, Lord, that Your Word will go forth tonight and accomplish the very purpose for which You intend. It's in Your name that I pray. Amen. Okay, I've entitled tonight's message, Don't Waste Your Life.

We're going to be looking at Mark chapter 9 verses 30 through 48. Now I want to set the record straight before I tell you this first opening story. I'm actually on a boat. I'm blessed to have a boat. And my two oldest sons and I love to go out to this place called Shark Island. And I see a couple of guys out here who know all about Shark Island. And they like to go out there and fish. And they make fun of me because I like to walk around the island, collect shells.

Does that sound real manly? Well, I just want to tell you that before I share this story with you in a minute. You'll see why I'm telling you that. In John Piper's book, Don't Waste Your Life, he shares about the death of two elderly church members. In April of 2000, by the way, John Piper spoke in May of 2000 to about 40,000 students in Tennessee. It's called Passion One Day. And so this story right here comes from that message and from his book, Don't Waste Your Life.

If you have not read the book, get it and read it. In April of 2000, Piper shares that Rubia Leison and Laura Edwards were killed in Cameroon, West Africa. Rubia Leison, she was over 80. Single all her life. A nurse. Poured her life out for one thing.

To make Jesus Christ known among the sick and the poor in the hardest and most unreached places in the world. Laura Edwards, a medical doctor in the Twin Cities and entering retirement, she decided to join Ruby. She was also pushing 80. One day the two of them were going from village to village in Cameroon and the breaks give way and over a cliff they go and they're dead instantly. And Piper asked those 40,000 students, is this a tragedy? Two women in their 80s, a whole life devoted to one idea. Jesus Christ magnified among the poor and the sick in the hardest places. And 20 years after most of their American counterparts had begun to throw their lives away on trivialities in Florida and New Mexico.

These two women fly into eternity with their deaths in a moment. And he asked, is this a tragedy? And then he says, I'll tell you what a tragedy is. And he held up an article that was written in Reader's Digest. And the title of the article was Start Now, Retire Early.

Doesn't that sound good? In February 1998, Bob and Penny took early retirement according to this article from their jobs in the Northeast five years earlier. When he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida where they cruise on the 30-foot trawler, play softball and yes, collect shells.

I hope he wasn't talking about me. They're living what is called the American dream. Live a good life, build a nice house, get a nice new truck, save up for retirement, then move somewhere really nice and indulge yourself for the rest of your life. He says, think about it. You come to the end of your life, the one life that God has given you to prepare for eternity and what do you do with it? You let the last great work of your life before you die and stand before God be this.

Playing softball and collecting shells. Can you imagine what it will be like for this couple when they stand before God on Judgment Day and they say, look Lord, here's our shell collection. Don't waste your life, men, on things that have absolutely no eternal value. If you want to stand before the Lord one day and hear Him say to you, well done, my good and faithful servant, then take my advice. Don't live the lie that is called the American dream. And by the way, there are people who are spending billions of dollars to get you to buy into it and it's a lie.

The American dream is all about self and it promises something that it cannot deliver. In Matthew chapter 6 verses 19 and 20 Jesus says, Do not store for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and with thieves break in and steal. But store for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and with thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Where's your heart tonight?

Who or what is your treasure? So from Mark chapter 9 we're going to look at verses 30 through 50. And I want to give you three ways, men, that you can live a life that God rewards. Here's the first way.

Live your life in service to others. Look at verses 30 through 37. Jesus and His disciples left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were because He was teaching His disciples. He said to them, The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.

They will kill Him and after three days He will rise. But they did not understand what He meant and were afraid to ask Him. They came to Capernaum. When He was in the house He asked them, What were you guys talking about back on the road? But they kept quiet.

You know why? Because on the way they'd argue about who was the greatest. Sitting down Jesus called the twelve and He said, Listen, if anyone wants to be first he must be the very last and the servant of all. Then He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking this young boy in his arms He said to them, Whoever welcomes one of these little children in My name welcomes Me.

And whoever welcomes Me does not welcome Me but the one who sent Me. The path to true greatness in the eyes of God begins at the cross. And Jesus is our example. Jesus knew at this point where He was headed. And He had to humble Himself, submit to His Father's will and actually head back to Jerusalem where He knew pain and suffering and death were waiting for Him. He knew this and yet He was still willing to go to the cross to be crucified.

Do you know why? Because He knew that if He did you and I would be sitting here tonight worshipping Him. But the disciples didn't understand what He was talking about and they were afraid to ask Him. I don't think they wanted to know.

I think they were afraid of the truth. Because Jesus had just said to them that He was going to be betrayed into the hands of men. By the way guys, the Greek word for betrayed that's used here is pareiditai, which means to deliver up or to hand over. It's use of God the Father delivering His own Son over to be killed by His sovereign will. And so by God's sovereign will He handed His Son over to be killed.

And we must never lose sight of this truth. In Acts chapter 2 verse 23 Peter writes, talking about Jesus, This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge. And you with the help of wicked men put him to death by nailing him to the cross. So guys this was God's plan before He made the world in case you didn't know that. He knew we were going to blow it. It was always plan A that God Himself would come to this earth in the form of a human being, live a perfect life, die for you and me, and that would be a perfect sacrifice that would satisfy His wrath and His justice, and then He would have a way to pardon us, to forgive us. But you have to believe that.

You have to place your trust in Him. Danny Aiken the president of Southeastern explains, God purposely killed His Son in order that He might not kill us. Think about that. Jesus said if anyone would come after Me, He must deny Himself, take up His cross and follow Me. See here's the truth. The path of the Christian life takes us through valleys and deserts. It involves pain and suffering. And the closer you walk with Jesus' men, the more you're going to feel the heat. But Jesus promises eternal reward in the end. They want to go to church and hear a wonderful, uplifting, encouraging message.

So they can go back and tee them up on the golf course and talk about football. They don't really want to hear the truth. And this is why so many people flock to someone like Joel Osteen because what Joel Osteen is sharing is a gospel that is devoid of the cross. And Paul warns about this and this is the day that we're living in. In 2 Timothy 4 verse 3, Paul says, For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.

Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. You know what people want to hear? I'm okay. You're okay.

Have a great day. The Bible tells us that we're not okay. Achan puts it like this. Jesus points the way to true greatness. Die to self, serve others. Care for those no one else cares for.

Receive them in Jesus' name and you receive Jesus and his Father too. The way up is down. The way to get is to give. The way to be first is to be last. This is the way of Jesus and this is the way to true greatness.

It is. Jesus flips upside down everything that the world teaches us. See, the life that God will reward is the life of a man who serves others in the name of Jesus.

But here's a warning. You can serve others and if you're doing it for your own glory and in your own name and without faith in Christ, in other words, if you're just a great philanthropist, guess where you're going to get your reward? Here and now and that's it. The Bible said it is impossible to please God without faith. So philanthropy without Christ has absolutely no eternal value. Jesus put a little boy into his arms and said, whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me.

Jesus was trying to make a point which William Barkley explains. A child has no influence at all. A child cannot advance a man's career nor enhance his prestige.

A child cannot give us things. It's the other way around. It's easy to cultivate the friendship of the person who can do things for us and whose influence can be useful to us. It's easy to carry favor with the influential and the great and to neglect the simple, humble, ordinary people. Do you know who God tends to use in ministry?

Ordinary people, sinners. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. It's not too late.

Don't waste your life. Do you want to hear the words, well done, good and faithful servant? Then live your life in service to others. And secondly, live your life devoted to Jesus.

Look at verses 38 through 41. Teacher said, John, we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop because he was not one of us. Do not stop him, Jesus said. No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me. For whoever is not against us is for us.

I tell you the truth. Anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward. See where it says something about reward?

Come to that in a minute. See, when you do anything in the name of Jesus, that means that you do it because you have faith in Jesus and you have faith in God's Word. Moreover, what you're doing carries His authority because you're doing exactly what He's told you to do in this book. This book tells us how to live our lives, right?

So we need to pick it up and read it. Pour it into our minds. Furthermore, when you do it in the name of Jesus, it carries His power. And because you serve others in His name, He will use what you're doing both for His glory and guess what? For your glory. Now you may not seek glory this side of heaven, but glory will be waiting for you in heaven.

See, here's the truth. Whatever you do in the name of Jesus comes with a promise of eternal reward. How many of you men are working for earthly rewards?

And listen, there's nothing wrong with that. We're supposed to work hard. And if you work hard, earthly rewards will come. But when you get an earthly reward, what should you do? Look how great I am.

Now what do you do? You give glory to God. I love it when those guys score a touchdown and they point up. I think I know what they're doing.

They're trying to say, He's the one that gave me the ability to run a football across an end zone. One day, every single believer who has ever lived will stand before Jesus Christ in what is known as the judgment seat of Christ. Now unlike the great white throne judgment, which will be a place of eternal condemnation, the judgment seat of Christ will be a place of honor and glory and reward. And I believe it will be a gathering of all believers of all time.

I don't know how exactly it's going to work out when you've got that many people. But do you want to be at that ceremony empty-handed? Because there will be plenty of believers who pass through the flames, but they'll be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. That's 1 Corinthians 3.15. So in 2 Corinthians 5, verse 10, Paul describes this very event here, the judgment seat of Christ. He says, For we, he's talking to the believers in Corinth, for we believers must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.

Why? That each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. I've had the privileged men of going to Greece and I've been to Corinth. I've walked through Corinth several times. And I'll never forget the first time that I walked through it and I came face to face with this huge section of stones that were stacked on each other.

It was probably 20 or 30 feet long and about 5 or 6 feet tall and about 10 feet thick. And I was standing face to face with this bronze plaque that said, Bama, four Greek letters. And that Greek word is translated judgment seat.

And what the Bama is, it's a raised platform where the judges sat during the Greek games and they gave out awards to the victors, gold, silver and bronze. And that's a picture of what Paul says is in store for believers. And did you know the Bible tells us that there are five crowns that you can receive as a reward?

Listen, works don't save you. But once you become a believer, works determine your reward. So here's the first crown. It's called the crown of victories in 1 Corinthians 9, 25 through 27. This crown will be given to believers who turn away from the pull of the world and truly live for Christ. See, serving Jesus is the only way to have a victorious life. In the end, those who serve Jesus win. Secondly, the crown of rejoicing, 1 Thessalonians 2, 19. This crown awaits those who are soul winners for Christ. See, there will be a crown given to those who take people to heaven with them. So let me ask you a question. Have you ever shared your faith with your friends?

If not, why not? Then there's the crown of righteousness. This is 2 Timothy 4, 8. There are those who live every day with an eye to the sky. One eye on earth, one eye looking up with why? They're waiting for the clouds to part. They're waiting for the trumpet to sound. They're watching and waiting for the Lord to appear.

Why? Because they love Him and they long for His appearing. Right before Paul was going to be executed by Nero, he wrote this word of encouragement to Timothy.

Now there's a store for me. Paul knew that he was getting ready to be beheaded. He's sitting in a prison and you know what he's thinking about? His reward, which is really Jesus. Now there's in store for me, Timothy, the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day. And not only to me, but also to all who've longed for His appearing. Do you long for His appearing?

I do. I've been looking for it for 40 years. And I'm going to keep on looking. Then there's the crown of life. This is James 1, 12. This is a very special crown that will be awarded to believers all around the world who endure humiliation, bitter persecution, and even death for their faith.

Right now while we're sitting in this church in perfect safety, there are Christians right now imprisoned, who are being tortured and executed because they will not deny the name of Christ. Finally there's the crown of glory, 1 Peter 5, 4. This is a very unique crown that awaits those who faithfully teach the word of God and shepherd God's people.

Faithful pastors, like the one we have here, Grant Castleberry, who faithfully teach the word of God. They will get their crown of glory. So you guys, a lot of you guys have played on a basketball team or a football team. Weren't you, or golf or whatever, weren't you working and striving because you wanted to win a prize?

Nothing wrong with that. God created competition. I believe we're going to have competition in heaven. And I don't think I'll ever lose.

I lost my hair. But anyway, I actually believe there will be competition in heaven, but that's another sermon. You see God loves, I believe He loves athletics, He loves us to strive to be successful, but He wants us to do it in Christ and for His glory. Now listen, remember the runner, what was the movie, Chariots of Fire, Eric Lytle? He said, when I run, I feel God's what?

Pleasure. God created us to do all these things. That's why we love doing them.

And there's nothing wrong with them. We just want to do them for His glory. Finally, if you want to live a life God rewards, then here's the third way. Live your life pursuing holiness.

And this is not easy. Because we live in a very fallen world. Look at verses 42 through 48. And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it will be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.

That's pretty drastic, isn't it? It is better for you to enter life main than with two hands to go into hell where the fire never goes out. This is from the mouth of Jesus now. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.

So, man, here's the bottom line. How can you and I live holy lives in this world we live in? Well, what he's telling us here is to take drastic measures because sin is a serious matter.

So how can we do it? Well, let me share just a few verses from Colossians chapter 3 where Paul writes, Since then you've been raised with Christ. Set your hearts on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died and your life is now hidden in Christ in God.

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Do you believe that? But, he says, put to death therefore whatever belongs to your earthly nature. Sexual immorality, impurity, lust. Don't you find that interesting that those are the first three things he mentions? That's probably what more of us here struggle with than anything else. Sexual immorality, impurity, and lust.

Evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. So there's a lot I could say about this. Time is limited. Let me just give you three things, man, to help you. And listen, I'm preaching to myself to live a life of holiness because I've learned one thing, guys, about holiness. That's where you'll find happiness and joy. First, set your hearts and your minds on things above.

How do you do that? Spend a lot of time in God's Word. And spend a lot of time in prayer. And ask God to help you. Listen to Christian radio. Second, get rid of it or at least build a hedge of protection around anything in your life that causes you to sin.

Your television, your computer, your cell phone, which is like a computer. Certain places and certain people. John Owen said, be killing sin or sin will be killing you. And it will.

We're to take drastic measures. And third, join a God-fearing, Spirit-filled, Word-preaching church and then develop friendships with godly men who can and will hold you accountable. If you take these three steps and you ask the Lord, man, to give you strength to live a life that's pleasing to Him, He will.

He will help you. Because one day the Lord Jesus Christ is going to return to this earth, man. When He comes back the second time, let me tell you something.

He's not coming back as a baby wrapped in a manger. He's coming back as the judge of the world. And the Bible says He's going to separate the sheep from the goats.

He's going to separate who? Believers from unbelievers. Believers will stand at the judgment seat of Christ to be rewarded. But unbelievers will be summoned to the great white throne judgment.

If you want to read about that, you can read about that in Revelation 20 verses 11 through 15. Let me just read that and we're going to close with this. John writes, and I'm not trying to scare you, but guys, you want to... I share with some 20-year-old guys the other day that if you were new here to America and you've never been down Niagara River and you didn't know that Niagara Falls was a mile ahead, would you want to know about it? You know you would. And if you were out there on the river headed towards Niagara Falls, what would you want to minister on the bank be telling you?

Hey, have a good day. God loves you. And that's what most churches are doing.

No. Hey guys, turn around or you're going to die. And so this is what will happen to those who refuse God's grace and mercy. See, John's given a vision from the island of Patmos of this coming judgment. Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it.

Earth and sky fled from his presence and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them. And each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Guys, Jesus said more about hell than he did about heaven. And he described hell in vivid detail. Why do you think Jesus did this?

He didn't want anybody to go there. He loves us. He says, warning, repent, come to me that you might have eternal life. And then I'll help you live your life in a way that pleases him so that you will have great reward in heaven. So men, as I said a few minutes ago, today is the first day of the rest of your life.

It doesn't matter how old you is. You want to finish well. That's what I told the Lord a few years ago. Lord, I've messed up a lot. Like Stefan, we've messed up a lot as Christians. I want to finish well.

Do you? Don't waste your life. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for this day. Thank you for your word. Thank you, Lord, for everything that you're teaching us. Thank you that these men came here tonight to hear a word from you.

And I know that they did, Lord. Lord, take this word, penetrate their minds and hearts as well as mine. Help us to live as the men that you created us to be, as your sons. And help us to live a life that pleases you. It's in your name that I pray.

Amen. Being a Christian is not about being religious, but about having a dynamic, alive relationship with Jesus Christ. You've been listening to Finding Purpose with Pastor Russ Andrews, a local triangle ministry glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. You can discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the resources at or connect to Finding Purpose on Facebook. Pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him and over 300 other local triangle men to study God's Word together every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Raleigh. Find out more at This is the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-26 02:18:26 / 2024-01-26 02:30:16 / 12

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