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Showing posts from January, 2017

The Sower, Part 1—Satan Comes | Mark 4:1–4, 14–15

Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. … 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.
As we saw in the previous chapter, Jesus began teaching in parables—the parable of the sower here.  Though the image of a farmer scattering seed was common enough, the parable confuses His listeners, even His disciples (v. 10).  Though He’ll explain to them privately (vv. 13–20), the explanation of the parable isn’t for those on the outside (vv. 11–12).  As we see in these verses, even if He had explained e…

Family Matters | Mark 3:31–35

And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
By this point, Joseph seems to have died, but not before fathering children with Mary.  Matthew 1:25 suggests that they engaged in marital relations after the birth of Christ, and Luke 2:7 says that Jesus is her firstborn.  Over the years, the Roman Catholic Church developed the false idea that Mary remained a perpetual virgin, a theory never taught in Scripture and disproved by this text.  Jesus had siblings, but there are even more powerful truths here.
First, Jesus’s earthly family weren’t His first priority.  He sought to turn His mother’s ey…

Sermon: Jesus’s Temptation | Mark 1:12–13

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We're going to be talking about the temptation of Jesus from Mark 1:12–13. We can’t have a savior who might falter. If He’s the Second Adam, will He eventually sin like the first? What if He isn’t obedient to the Law His whole life? What if He isn’t obedient to the point of the cross? What if He decides not to save those the Father gives to Him? Even given all of that, how can He be a sympathetic High Priest if He’s never endured temptation? In order for Christ to launch His earthly ministry, He had to be tested and proved.

I. Jesus had to be tempted
II. Jesus had to be tempted worse than we are
III. Jesus had to be tempted and emerge victorious

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Jesus’s Temptation | Mark 1:12–13
Shaun Marksbury | Morning Service | 22 January, 2017 Heavenly Father, ·As we read about Your temptation, we think of our own temptations.   ·Help us to see how Your victory changes our own times of temptation. I.Introduction This change in mood surprises us.  After all, in the previou…

John MacArthur at the Truth & Life Conference

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Because of a very busy week, I'm running a bit behind on the devotions.  So, in lieu of a Psalm devotional today, here is the first video from The Master's University 2017 Truth and Life Conference.  The theme this year was The Solas: The Five Pillars of the Reformation, and here is John MacArthur leading the opening session of the conference:

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit | Mark 3:28–30

28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
God forbade blasphemy (Ex 22:28), and demonstrating its seriousness, He commanded death for those blaspheming in ancient Israel (Lv 24:10–16).  Coming from Jerusalem, the scribes now blaspheme Jesus as demon-possessed (3:22)—though not to His face, for He had to call them over to Himself (v. 23).  They recognize and resolutely reject their Redeemer, and now they remain without hope.
They believe He works wonders.  This highlight from the Jewish Talmud notes “the ministry of Jesus: ‘On the eve of Passover Yeshu [Jesus] was hanged. And an announcer went out in front of him for fourteen days [saying], “He is going to be stoned, because he practiced sorcery and led Israel astray!” ’ (b. Sanh. 43a, cp. 107b; b. Sota 47a; t. Sa…

Wednesday Study: The Person and Ministry of the Holy Spirit | Part 2

NOTE: In light of my previous post, here's the audio from last week's study.  I'll post last night's audio here next Wednesday, and then we'll be rolling on a schedule!

The Person and Ministry of the Holy Spirit | Part 2
Series:  The Fundamentals of our Faith
1/18/2017 (WED)

In this session, we study the divinity and work of the Holy Spirit.
(Based on _Fundamentals of the Faith_ by John MacArthur)

A Tweek to the Devotional Schedule and a Prayer Request

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We're really enjoying our weekly, Wednesday night studies at church!  I've started posting them over at Sermon Audio, and what I'm going to do is post the previous week's study here on Wednesday mornings in place of the devotional. I hope it will be a good review for those attending Wednesday nights and edification for everyone else.

Having one less devotional to prepare a week will also help me a bit as we are actively working toward our next stage of ministry as a church.  We're planning a big move in the near future, so please be in prayer for that.

The Truth about His Parables | Mark 3:23–27

And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
A parable is a true-to-life story that metaphorically illustrates a spiritual reality.  It’s hard to believe that there would be a negative side to their usage, but that is exactly their context.  Rather than simply a creative outlet for Jesus’s instruction, He used them to hide truth from those rejecting Him.
Jesus used smaller illustrations in His teaching in the past.  In the Sermon on the Mount, He called His disciples “the salt of the earth” (Mt 5:13) and the “light of the world” (v. 14).  Still, He i…

A Major Ministry Malfunction | Mark 3:22

And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”
Facing opposition from His family, Jesus now must contend with hostility from the one quarter that should have recognized Him.  The religious elite should have been awaiting the Messiah, doing their part to shepherd God’s people in preparation of His arrival.  Now that He is here, drawing His crowds, they respond with betrayal. 
They fail in their task.  Scribes, or lawyers, were experts in interpreting the Law of Moses.  Many of them were Pharisees, though they also worked with the priests, and they would have known the specifics about the Messiah.  However, God sent John the Baptist to spark this ministry, and they refuse him.  The Messiah comes, and they discuss in Jerusalem what the official Word against Jesus would be.  It seems their only goal is to remain comfortably seated in authority over the people.
They slander the God they claim …

Some Occasional Realities of Ministry | Mark 3:20–21

20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
After His time away, Jesus returns to where He had been staying in Capernaum.  However, nothing is as it was.  Whereas the ministry had been smaller and localized, everyone now comes to Him.  Opinions are formed, and we see in these two verses two undesirable, yet true aspects of our Lord’s ministry.
First, it’s hectic.  In v. 20, we see a bit of what Moses must have felt in Exodus 18.  Even with the apostles assisting, they cannot find the time for a meal.  This teaches us that a hectic ministry schedule isn’t always the result of sin or mismanagement.  As Galatians 6:9–10 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
S…

The Choosing of the Twelve, Part 5—Judas Iscariot | Mark 3:19

and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
There’s something about the human condition that makes traitors and turncoats interesting, especially the one that betrayed Jesus Christ. 
For instance, theories abound as to what “Iscariot” means.  For instance, the Reformation Study Bible notes, “Some believe that Judas was a political revolutionary because “Iscariot” may have been derived from the Latin itsicarius, ‘assassin.’ ”  The Faithlife Study Bible Aramaic slur, ishqarya', meaning “the false one.”  Perhaps the best and simplest explanation is that it’s a transliteration of Hebrew ish qeriyyoth meaning “Man from Kerioth” (located in Judea).  The bigger question, though, is what his inclusion among the disciples teaches us.
First, God knew what would happen, and He still used Judas.  Mark acknowledges Judas’s betray, not shying from it, even though it could be embarrassing for our Lord in the world’s eyes.  Acts 2:23 says that Jesus was “delivered up according to the definite plan and…

Wednesday Study: The Person and Ministry of the Holy Spirit | Part 1

The Person and Ministry of the Holy Spirit | Part 1
The Fundamentals of our Faith
1/11/2017 (WED)

We switched from Thursday groups to Wednesdays, and this is our first meeting on the new night. Previous sessions were not recorded. In this session, we study the Personhood of the Holy Spirit. (Based on _Fundamentals of the Faith_ by John MacArthur)

Sermon: "Why Jesus Had to Be Baptized" | Mark 1:9–11

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Why Jesus Had to Be Baptized | Mark 1:9–11 Shaun Marksbury | Morning Service | 15 January, 2017 Heavenly Father, ·We thank You for sending Your Son and revealing Him to us.  ·As we study this passage, may we grow in understanding how Jesus’s baptism is part of the good news of Your kingdom. I.Introduction As we noted last week, John the Baptist could have followed his father into temple service.  That wasn’t what the Lord had for him, however.  According to Luke 1:80, John the Baptist had grown up in the desert, living the life of a Nazarite, until it was time for his ministry to begin.
Jesus, on the other hand, had lived a few different places.  Remember that He was born in Bethlehem Ephratah (Mt 2:1; Lk 2:4), fulfilling scriptural prophecy (Micah 5:2).  After being visited by the wise men perhaps some two years later (cf. Mt 2:16), His family flees to Egypt from King Herod (Mt 2:13–15).  At some point, Joseph and Mary move back to Nazareth with Jesus (vv. 22–2…

The Battle Has Always Been the Lord’s | Psalm 9:3–6

3           When my enemies turn back,             they stumble and perish before your presence. 4           For you have maintained my just cause;             you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment. 5           You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish;             you have blotted out their name forever and ever. 6           The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins;             their cities you rooted out;             the very memory of them has perished.
David begins this psalm exalting the Lord, and he now turns to the reasons for praise.  His “I will” statements of vv. 1–2 turn into “you have” statements in these verses.  These verses, then, give us a picture of the thanksgiving that should accompany our petitions to God.
First, the Lord has always done what’s right.  In dealing with the enemies of David, God upholds the righteous position of David as king.  He recognizes that David has a “just cause,” that he has a righteous standing. …

The Choosing of the Twelve, Part 4—Ordering the Twelve | Mark 3:17–18

James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot,
Jesus promised that, upon the rock of Peter’s confession, “I will build my church” (Mt 16:16–18), and we noted last time that the apostle’s teaching ministry comprises the church’s foundation (Eph 2:20).  Jesus gives divine offices to His church forming its structure, building it upon that foundation (Eph 4:11–12).  He’s the cornerstone of the apostolic foundation, and all God’s people are living stones in His spiritual house (1 Pt 2:4–8).  The twelve men in vv. 16–19 are those Christ chose as His foundation.
He organized the structure.  While it’s popular to disparage “organized religion” (and sometimes right), our Lord did not create an unorganized faith.  As Paul said, “God is not a God of confusion but of peace,” and “all things shou…

The Choosing of the Twelve, Part 3—Simon Peter | Mark 3:16

He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter);
Our Lord appointed twelve to assist Him in the work of His earthly ministry.  Let’s focus today on the first of those—Simon Peter.  This is the first time the name “Peter” appears in Mark, even though he’s mentioned in the previous chapters.  From this point forward, Mark refers to Simon as Peter.  As Peter himself is likely speaking through Mark’s writing, it appears that Peter saw this moment as a turning point for Him—the point at which the Lord began to change him.
The Lord gives new names.  God frequently changes the names of His saints.  Abram (a former idolator who had no children but whose name meant “exalted father”) became Abraham (“father of many nations”).  Jacob (“deceiver”) became Israel (“God’s fighter”).  Jesus says in Revelation 2:17 that the overcomer in Him receives “a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.”  If we are in Christ, we can be ne…

The Choosing of the Twelve, Part 2—Why They are Chosen | Mark 3:14–15

And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons.
Many disciples follow the Lord at this point.  Even so, He calls only twelve to send out with His message.  He does so for two main reasons, and their appointment will become the bedrock of the entire church. 
Our Lord wants those He chooses to be with Him.  They’ll be trained by spending time with Jesus, eating and walking with Him for the remainder of His earthly ministry.  All involving themselves with the Lord’s ministry must spend time learning from Him. 
All must also know the security that comes with being with the Lord.  He tells the disciples in Mt 19:28, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”  As our Lord says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hb 13:5).  W…