The Name of the Lord

Re:Verse passage – 1 Chronicles 28:1-10  (day four)

From the beginning of time, the name of the Lord had been holy.  Following man’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden and the birth of Seth, men began to call on the name of the Lord.  (Genesis 4:26) Following the flood and when God made His covenant with Abraham, men called upon the name of the Lord.  All through Scripture, the name of the Lord was revered and holy.  Now when David seeks to build the temple, God preserves His holy name.  His name will not be associated with the shedding of man’s blood.

Does God’s name cause you to reverence Him?  Do you prepare your heart to come into His presence?  We are not to casually or lightly approach His throne.  Care must be taken not to presume upon His grace and promises.  We are not to demand His response.  The love of God compels us to reverence His name…our God is a Holy God!

True Colors

Re:Verse passage – Mark 3:31-35 (day four)

There will always be someone ‘outside’…someone close to you, related to you, or thrown together with you through circumstances…that will be set on distracting or diverting you from obedience to what God wants you to do.  They may make a frontal assault or present as a caring companion offering a common sense approach.  Even more insidious an enemy though is sin.

Sin masquerades as a harmless distraction that can do us no harm.  (Picture trying to run a race when you are entangled in a fishing net.)  In fact, we must recognize sin as a subtle and pervasive enemy that seeks to rob us of spiritual power and victory.  If we call our sin a weakness or bad habit instead of confronting it for what it really is, we can never have victory.  Hebrews 12:1 warns us to throw off the sin that so easily entangles us.  Thank God there is no sin that entangles us that God’s grace does not abound more!  (Romans 5:20)

Preparation

Re:Verse passage – Mark 3:20-30 (day four)

What is a parable? It is a short, didactic story using people as characters to teach a spiritual truth or principle. Our passage this week says Jesus began to speak to them in parables…but these don’t exactly look like parables. Parables often require the reader to recognize the allegory in the story and then to make the connection to the spiritual truth. These parables seem to be straightforward…no interpretation required here. A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand…you cannot plunder a strong man’s house unless you first bind the strong man. Some of Jesus’ parables went right by the religious leaders of the day…they had no idea what He was talking about. You would think that these parables were very obvious in their truths.

Scripture has many straightforward principles…you must be born again…Jesus is the only way to salvation…I go to prepare a place for you and I will come again. These and many others give a clear message…to the heart that has been prepared by the Holy Spirit! Rejection of the Holy Spirit brings eternal judgment. The heart cannot understand without the Spirit’s enlightening work.

True Disciples

Re:Verse passage – Mark 3:13-19 (day four)

Our passage this week presents a very important period in the life of Christ…the calling of the twelve.  These men would be tasked with spreading the gospel throughout the world.  Jesus invested His entire public ministry time into these men.  They were given great gifts…much was expected of them.  When others fell away, they stood firm.  Following the ascension of Christ, all eleven remaining disciples were still present.

Four of the men on this list are almost anonymous…we know little or nothing about them.  Their mention here in this list of the called is the totality of our knowledge of them.  They had no pedigree…they sought no recognition…they demonstrated no great insight or leadership…they disappeared almost without a trace.

These men were Jesus’ disciples.  They were faithful to the end…they accomplished what they were called to do.  No fanfare, just obedience!  Many of us are called just as they were.  No fame, no recognition, no high profile responsibility…just simple obedience to share the gospel.  God is glorified by our obedience!

Whistleblowers

Re:Verse passage – Mark 3:1-12 (day four)

The unclean spirits knew who Jesus was.  They recognized Him right away.  Their proclamation to the people around Jesus though was not meant as praise.  They had no doubt who He was, but they also had no intention of aiding Him in His mission.  Crowds are not known for making wise and calculated decisions.  The group mind tends to run on emotions, resulting in misdirection and chaos.  The unclean spirits sought to derail Jesus’ mission by confusing the response of the people.  They wanted to pre-empt Jesus’ authority and call for Him to respond contrary to God’s purpose.

You would think that proclaiming Jesus as the Son of God would be a good thing.  The end though does not justify the means.  Jesus faced the same heresy in the desert temptation.  Satan sought to entice Jesus to accomplish His task…just not like God had prescribed.  We fall into these same temptations.  Often, we respond to circumstances with a good end in mind, but not according to biblical instructions.  Seek to serve like Jesus!

Head On

Re:Verse passage – Mark 2:23-28 (day four)

One of the tasks of Mark in his gospel was to establish the identity of Jesus.  We are introduced to a new name for Jesus in our passage…”Lord of the Sabbath.”  Jesus was declaring His deity and authority to the Pharisees and it did not go unnoticed by them.

The commandment to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy had been given to free God’s people to be able to focus on and worship God.  In John MacArthur’s commentary, he identifies 24 chapters in the Talmud that regulated the observance of the Sabbath.  The Jews were not freed to worship, they were bound to slavery to a set of extra-biblical rules.  Jesus was confronting, head on, the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.

Jesus was not one to let things slide.  Are we as diligent to confront false teaching and misunderstood truth with those around us?  We may not be faced with the likes of the Pharisees, but truth and understanding of God’s Word are vital to our right relationship with God.  Ask God to surround you with truth!

Fasting

Re:Verse passage – Mark 2:18-22 (day four)

Fasting and prayer are a method to focus our undivided attention on God and to discover His perspective or direction.  The Pharisees fasted because it was part of the law…they did it out of legalistic following of the law of Moses.  They had no desire to really know the mind of God.  They already knew (or thought they knew!) how God’s plan would work out and that a military leader, the Messiah, would come and free Israel from the oppression of Rome.  John’s disciples, on the other hand, fasted because they were truly looking for the Messiah.  They had not yet recognized that Jesus was who they were looking for, so they continued to search.  They thought it was John, but John said no.

Jesus’ disciples recognized Him as God’s Son.  They did not have to ask God to direct them, they just had to listen to Jesus.  The time would come when they would fast and pray, but not while Jesus was with them.  Where are you?  Are you ignoring…are you seeking…have you found…are you serving?

Matters of the Heart

Re:Verse passage – Mark 2:13-17 (day four)

The books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the synoptic gospels.  Synoptic means they each have many of the same parables and stories in them.  John is not a synoptic gospel because it comes from a different perspective…it has no parables.

If we read the account of Matthew’s call as a disciple and the dinner with sinners in the other synoptics, we find that they follow the Sermon on the Mount…3 chapters of authoritative teaching that shook people’s perspective.  The response of Matthew and this room full of sinners was a direct result of the radical teaching of Jesus.

Had the scribes heard Jesus teach?  Probably so.  Had they rejected His teaching and held to their traditions?  Absolutely!  Same words…different ears and different hearts.  How have you heard the words of Jesus?  Have you allowed them to penetrate your heart with truth?  Or…has a barrier in your heart caused you to judge others by your unbelief?  Ask God to check your heart!

Why Do You Come?

Re:Verse passage – Mark 2:1-12 (day four)

Not everyone who comes to church is there because they want a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Here in our passage…even though there were honest seekers of Jesus wanting to get in…there were seats up close that were occupied by scribes who wanted to discredit Jesus.  Their hearts were cold to Jesus and they wanted to find reasons to reclaim their authority over the people.

The people had recognized that Jesus “taught as one having authority and not as the scribes…” (1:22). Now, Jesus’ authority was exemplified by His forgiveness of the man’s sins and the healing of his paralyzed body.  Also, His authority was demonstrated when He told the man to go home.  Suddenly, the crowd that had been too dense for the man to approach Jesus before, found room to create a pathway for his exit at Jesus’ command.

There are many motivations for people to go to church.  What motivates you?  We cannot answer for others, but we are responsible for our own responses.  Are we seeking Jesus for a relationship with Him?

Enthusiastic Witness

Re:Verse passage – Mark 1:36-45 (day four)

The leper was humble…he did not demand that Jesus heal him, he asked.  “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”  He did not exhibit obedience when Jesus told him ‘to tell no one’, but he did demonstrate enthusiasm and thoroughness.  He was so excited when he was healed, he told everyone…to the point that Jesus could no longer enter a city.

Our Re:Verse says “they were coming to Him from everywhere.”  When you have something people need, your location does not matter…they will find you.  The leper’s enthusiastic witness let everyone know the power of Jesus.

3 Questions:  1) Is your witness for Jesus enthusiastic enough that everyone around knows about Him?  2) Does your church demonstrate the power of Christ so that people want to know more about Him?  3) Will you commit in the coming year to live your life for Christ so that everyone will know Christ?  Like the leper, we can impact our city and region for Christ!