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Showing posts from February, 2017

The Demoniac, Part 6—Two Responses to Christ’s Work | Mark 5:16–20

16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.
The townsfolk come to see what happened to the herd, and they’re stricken with fear.  Even though the “fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Pv 1:7), unfortunately, they didn’t move forward in knowledge.  On the other hand, the demoniac, now set free, develops an instant affection for the Lord.  We see both begging Jesus in these verses, and we note in them two different responses to His work.
Note the people who begged Jesus to …

The Demoniac, Part 5—Christ Sanctifies | Mark 5:14–15

14 The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.
Often, when we talk about salvation, we think about justification.  That’s an essential and vital doctrine teaching believers that God declares sinners righteous because of the righteous work of Christ.  There’s no salvation for our sinful souls unless we sinners are justified before the Judge of all the earth.
What we see with this man is another doctrine tied to the gospel—sanctification—whereby God delivers sinners away from their sin to Himself.  Much of sanctification happens over time with us believing the gospel and obeying what God commands so we can grow.  Even so, it happens primarily because of the work of God within us. 
The sanctification of the demoniac puts the glory of God on display.  The legio…

Sunday Sermon: The Healing Ministry of Christ | Mark 1:29–39

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The Healing Ministry of Christ | Mark 1:29–39
This morning we’re going to look at the healing ministry of Christ. What did it look like? What did He model in it? What was the point behind it?
His Power in His Healing Ministry
His Prayer in His Healing Ministry
His Purpose in His Healing Ministry


Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrBToV4VmLI


Audio: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=220172020491
Notes: PDF: http://playpdf.sa-media.com/media/220172020491/220172020491.pdf
The Healing Ministry of Christ | Mark 1:29–39 Shaun Marksbury | Morning Service | 19 February, 2017
Heavenly Father,
•We thank You for Your healing ministry, and I pray that we would see it with greater clarity as we study.

I.Introduction
A fifth-century church was constructed over the supposed residence of Peter, based on second-century graffiti, and excavations have uncovered a residence there.  One commentary notes the following: “In the 1970s and 1980s a house that may have been Peter’s house was excavate…

Where Has God Gone? | Psalm 10:1

Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
The most common question we ask in difficult times is why.  We wonder why God would allow such a thing to come to pass.  We wonder why we deserve such trials.  Has God abandoned us?  While the answers to these questions vary depending on person and circumstance, we can take comfort that this question appears in the passages of Scripture, as well as some probable answers.
The first thing we must keep in mind is that this psalm was meant to be read with Psalm 9.  There’s no title on this psalm, and the Septuagint combines these two psalms—they are meant to be read as one.  With that said, and with what follows in this psalm, the psalmist isn’t stating doubt in what God does as much as simple confusion.  As we continue to track with Psalm 10, we’ll see David’s regain his confidence, and so should we.
God is here, so why does it seem like He’s not?  Again, the psalmist affirms that God won’t forsake or forg…

The Demoniac, Part 4—Valuing a Human Life | Mark 5:13

So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.
One of the trends within Evangelicalism of late is animal activism.  It’s true Scripture that teaches proper stewardship this world, and that those who lack empathy for other living creatures become cruel beasts themselves (cf. Pv 12:10).  Even so, we must also affirm the principle of the imago dei of man—that human beings bear the image of God universally and uniquely.  These principles come to bear in this account.
Jesus knew that the spirits wanted to remain for their own nefarious purposes.  These wicked spirits begged Him in v. 10 not to send them out of the country, screeching with disrespect all the while.  So, their request to remain in the country and go into the herd of pigs would seem to indicate they sought to somehow further interfere with Christ’s work.  That the people then asked Je…

The Demoniac, Part 3—The Demons Must Obey Him | Mark 5:9–13

And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.
The level of demonic activity here boggles the mind.  It also sets a unique stage for our Lord’s authority to be glorified.  Jesus had been casting out individual demons until this point, and now we see His command of an entire horde of them.  As such, we see clearly and definitely the control He wields over the spiritual realm.
The demons have no advantage over Him.  The demons identify Jesus by name (v. 7, cf. 1:24, 34)—though they presumably never met—and they claim to be a legion in number (6,000 me…

Doctrines Worthy of Death and Scripture Worthy of Preaching | Josh Buice | 2017 G3 Conference

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As we don't have a Wednesday study from last week, here is the first session of the G3 Conference.  Josh Buice preached this session on the subject, "Doctrines Worthy of Death and Scripture Worthy of Preaching."

The Demoniac, Part 2—False Prayers | Mark 5:6–8

And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”
One of the most terrifying passages in all of Scripture is from the Sermon on the Mount.  There, Jesus doesn’t just say that He will cast out unbelievers, but also many calling Him “Lord, Lord” (Mt 7:21–23)!  Here, we see pictured false prayers to Jesus from the demons in this man, and we must learn from their negative example. 
The demons “worship” as they speak to Jesus.  The term “fell down” is a term that means “bowed down” (NASB) and can mean that they “worshipped” (KJV, NKJV).  Even so, the mere act of prostrating oneself before Jesus doesn’t constitute true worship—the Roman soldiers would also bow down, but in mockery (15:19).  Assuming a physical position of kneeling or bowing before Jesus does…

The Demoniac, Part 1—The Man | Mark 5:1–5

They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.
Many problems in this world bring us low, and many (if not most) are of our own, sinful making.  Sometimes, others are responsible for our current trials (although, not as often or to the degree that we claim).  In relatively few instances, though, the blame lies in the demonic realm.
This account follows the storm at sea, which itself came at the end of the Lord’s busy day of teaching in chapter four.  They’re just arriving at the eastern…

Sunday Sermon: Astonished by His Authority | Mark 1:21–28

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We begin Jesus’s long Sabbath-day ministry in Capernaum with this visit to the synagogue. During the service, He astonishes them with His authority—with His authoritative doctrine and even more with His authority over the demonic realm. We see today that He is Lord, and that is how we should worship Him.

Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XulrfIqdQUA
Audio: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=215171129194
Notes: (PDF - http://playpdf.sa-media.com/media/215171129194/215171129194.pdf)
Astonished by His Authority | Mark 1:21–28 Shaun Marksbury | Morning Service | 12 February, 2017 Heavenly Father,
•We thank You that You came to serve, not to be served.  And we thank You that You are Lord.
•May we bow to Your Word this morning.  Help us to understand it and apply it in all that we do.

I.Introduction
Remember that Jesus was preaching, calling everyone to repent and to believe the gospel (vv. 14–15), and He then called His disciples to this ministry (vv. 16–20).  They were willing…

God Remembers and Judges | Psalm 9:15–20

15          The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;             in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught. 16          The Lord has made himself known; he has executed judgment;             the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah 17          The wicked shall return to Sheol,             all the nations that forget God. 18          For the needy shall not always be forgotten,             and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever. 19          Arise, O Lord! Let not man prevail;             let the nations be judged before you! 20          Put them in fear, O Lord!             Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah
Some wonder if being rich or powerful is sinful since so much in Scripture addresses it.  As Jesus said, though, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required” (Lk 12:48).  It’s not that there’s special virtue in being needy and poor, as sins such as sloth can lead to or perpetuate p…

Who Then Is This Jesus? | Mark 4:35–41

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
One of the historical debates concerning Jesus Christ concerned His nature or, more accurately, His natures.  The early church struggled to see that He indeed came in human flesh.  Of course, many also wondered at His divine…

Mustard Seed and Kingdom Growth | 4:30–34

30 And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade. 
33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. 34 He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.
While it’s not the smallest of all seeds, the mustard seed is the smallest of all kosher seeds sown into the earth.  A large plant (from which we get everyone’s favorite condiment) sprouts from this seed, even though it’s only a tenth of an inch in diameter.  Similarly, the kingdom of God begins small, with the Word and the work of twelve, but it grows exponentially.
The kingdom is large enough for all peoples.  Jesus’s wor…

Steve Lawson - Truth & Life Conference 2017 - Session VII

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We won't have a Wednesday study to post this week or next, so here's another session from the 2017 Truth & Life Conference.  This is the final session, and Steve Lawson teaches how doctrine and truth shaped the ministries of John Calvin and John Knox.


The Mysterious Growth | Mark 4:26–29

26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
While we know a good bit about the growth cycle of plants, we don’t know everything.  That’s not to say that we can’t know much more through investigation, but we must admit that we have neither observed nor concluded all there is to know.  In a similar way, Scripture gives us need insight into spiritual botany, but God alone knows the full mystery of kingdom growth.
First, we must note the spiritual mysteries of our own growth.  It’s clear that salvation is monergistic, worked by God alone (Eph 2:8–9).  Still, Scripture presents tension between repentance and regeneration—some places seem to describe one giving rise to the other…

Measuring Mustered | Mark 4:24–25

24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. 25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
We sometimes confuse the theology of justification and sanctification.  When God declares us righteous based on Christ’s work, we sinners are justified, and it is completely the work of God alone.  God sets us apart for Himself at that point, or sanctifies us, but we must also strive to be sanctified in every area of our lives.  In other words, the work of justification is done by God without our help, but the work of sanctification is done by God with our faithful living.  That is what we see in passages like this one.
First, be careful to live according to His Word alone.  He commands, “Pay attention to what you hear.”  As the children’s song says, “Be careful little ears what you hear,” and Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the wor…

Let's have some scammer email fun

From time to time, I get some crazy, unsolicited mail.  I thought you might enjoy one such item, and I hope that you would not fall prey to such a scam.  My comments are in parentheses, and the original letter is in bold. ________________________________________ Dear Pastor, (Not that I need to see my name after "Pastor," but this nameless greeting this is the first sign of a form letter.)
Please accept my deepest apology for any disturbance this letter may cause you. (Oh, it's been no disturbance.  I've found it to be quite entertaining!)
My name is Joseph I known we don’t know each other yet, but let me first say that I am a follower of Christ. I believe wholeheartedly in Christ’s work of redemption, restoration, and reconciliation that was completed on the cross.  I love the Church (the whole Body of Christ, regardless of denominational affiliation) and believe God chooses to use the Church to carry on His work of redemption, restoration, and reconciliation. (Okay,…

Dropping Everything for the Call | Mark 1:16–20

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Last Sunday's sermon: Dropping Everything for the Call | Mark 1:16–20

In today's passage, Jesus calls His disciples to absolute commitment. In a similar manner, He calls us to follow Him above all else—no matter who you are. We’ll notice who He calls and what He calls people to.


Video:
Audio: 

Notes (PDF):
Dropping Everything for the Call | Mark 1:16–20 Shaun Marksbury | Morning Service | 5 February, 2017
I.Introduction
Peter tells his story through Mark, and the words here have all the marks of an eyewitness.  As we read, he takes us beside this lake and describes what was to be a normal day of work.  As such, we receive a vivid picture of the power of Jesus’s call.

Now, you might assume that this is the first time these men meet Jesus.  That would makes this a strange episode, however.  That would mean experienced and successful fishermen decide to abandon their trade because someone they never met walks up and says, “Follow me.”  It is not as though He wowed them with His appeara…