Mark 4:21-34 – “God is Growing His Kingdom through the Hearers and the Sharers”

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Mark 4:21-34

A Lamp Under a Basket

21 And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? 22 For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”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.”

The Parable of the Seed Growing

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.”

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

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.

Mark 4:1-20 “An Evangalist’s Encouragement”

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Mark 4:1-20

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. And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

The Purpose of the Parables

10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that

“‘they may indeed see but not perceive,
    and may indeed hear but not understand,
lest they should turn and be forgiven.’”

13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 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. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.[a] 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

Mark 3:7-35 “Jesus, forming the Family of God”

Assurance – confidence that we are truly in the family of God (Christians) – is something that many, even mature believers, struggle to have.

In seasons of doubt we may wonder if we truly believe.

As we struggle with ongoing sin, we may wonder if we are filled with the Spirit.

Experiencing a lack of assurance can be unsettling, depressing even debilitating.

Mark, as he records for us the many interactions Jesus has, wants to demonstrate – not say, like you might see in 1 John – what it looks like be a true Believer.

Through this, Mark wants to dispel any uncertainty, leading to a clarity either way.

Mark wants us to see that neither Acquaintances – familiar with Jesus but not faith filled followers – nor Enemies of Jesus are in the family of God.

He also wants us to see that genuine Disciples of Christ – having a sure commitment to follow Jesus, despite their imperfections and need for salvation – are in the family of God

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Mark 3:7-25

Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, 10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.

The Twelve Apostles

13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 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. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 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,[a] 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

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.”

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

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.” 23 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.

Mark 2:23-3:6 – “Encountering Jesus, Lord of the sabbath”.

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Mark 2:23-3:6

One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 how he entered the house of God, in the time of[d] Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand.And they watched Jesus,[e] to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

Mark 2:18-22 – “Fasting as we await the feast”

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Mark 2:18-22

Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.

Mark 2:13-17 “A Doctor for the Spiritually Sick”

Today we encounter Jesus – the Doctor for the Spiritually Sick. Jesus is not ashamed to be in the presence of Levi the Tax Collector, in fact, far from it. Jesus goes to Levi, a man who worked in a notoriously corrupt occupation, a man who people knew was morally corrupt and welcomes him to follow him. Like Levi, we have been welcomed, as the morally corrupt, to draw into a relationship with Jesus. To enjoy the blessing of the Gospel in Jesus Christ.
Jesus isn’t corrupted by us, He provides healing for our morally corrupt heart.

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Mark 2:13-17

He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.16 And the scribes of[a] the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat[b] with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Mark 2:1-12 “The Power of Christ”

 

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Mark 2:1-12

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

Mark 1:21-28 “Jesus is more than compelling, he is able”

In the last two week’s we’ve heard several extraordinarily compelling speeches.

Imams, Bishops, Presidents of Student Groups, Local leaders and our own Prime Minister have all called for the community to respond with love, unity and tolerance.

All of these speeches have been compelling, yet at the same time can leave you asking the question, How? How will genuine change happen? How will heart change happen?

As you ask the question ‘How’ it becomes difficult not to feel cynical, hopeless or discouraged about their ability to make genuine change.

On Sunday we asked ourselves if we were feeling a similar, hopelessness, discouragement or cynicism towards Jesus? We were also reminded – as we looked at Jesus’ authoritative ministry – that Jesus is both compelling and able. Jesus is able to make genuine change because He can speak and heal with authority.

Jesus is more than compelling he is able.

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Mark 1:21-28

 And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out,24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

Mark 1:14-20 “Big Call”

In Mark 1:14-20 Jesus is making some ‘big calls’. He makes two specific claims regarding God’s
Rule and Discipleship which necessitate a response. The particular response Jesus expects is for us to acknowledge his Kingship/Kingdom, to repent, believe and follow him. In reality we can either treat Jesus’ claims here as either fictional self promotion or the truth.

How will we respond?

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Mark 1:14-20

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand;[a]repent and believe in the gospel.”

16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”[b] 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.

Mark 1:12-13 – “Encountering Jesus, One who passes the wilderness test.”

What made JesusWilderness Test so extreme?  This only becomes clear when we understand the Biblical reality of the Wilderness.  The Bibles idea of the Wilderness, combines several ideas.

In the Wildernesswe will experience spiritual tension – often arising out of a physical situation, have our faithfulness tested and be exposed to Satanic temptation.  As a result we might begin to doubt our commitment to God and our faith in the goodness or even existence of God.

During a Wildernessseason we will often realise just how fragile our faith really is.  In Mark 1:12-13 we see Jesus in his Wilderness experience – the only difference being that he remained perfectly faithful.

This is encouraging for us as we remember/realise that if we are in Christ – because of his faithfulness – we have been declared perfectly faithful, are welcomed into a blessed relationship with God and fight in a spiritual war that has already been won.

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Mark 1:12-13

The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.

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