Hello Project Ezra! First off I want to thank those of you who participated in Mission Good Friday this last weekend. It was great to see so many returning participants, as well as a number of new ones, heralding the gospel in the open air. Several of you have already posted on the event page and in your personal blogs regarding what happened Easter weekend, and I will be contacting several of you for permission to use your stories and pictures in our event re-cap, and I would love to see more pictures and video. I would also encourage all of you to look at the event page and the main page when you get a chance and read through some of the reports. They are always a huge encouragement to me. Remember, you are not alone out there!
This week our suggested reading is Mark 11. This chapter is another good example of a theme we have addressed several times before, that those who deny Christ do so not for lack of evidence or based on ignorance, but based on sinful, selfish motives. By this point in the book of Mark, Christ had made His identity clear through His teachings and miracles. He had preached with power and authority, He had healed many, He had cast out demons, and He had miraculously fed thousands using only a child’s lunch. Jesus identity should have been clear, and the people who saw Him for who He was welcomed Him into the city as a king at the beginning of the chapter. But the Jewish leaders, blinded by their sinful desires, chose to challenge Him anyway.
I believe the last few verses of the chapter, where the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees challenge Him regarding the source of His authority, are key. As He often did, Jesus answered their question with a question of His own. He asked about John the Baptist and what they thought of him. The Jewish leaders, because of their ulterior motives, refused to give Him an answer. As with Jesus, John’s identity and authority as a prophet of God was clear, but because he was a challenge to the established order and to their authority, they had rejected him. Jesus’ question revealed their true motives.
As in Jesus day, many, if not most, of those who reject Jesus Christ today do so out of pride and selfishness. Personal autonomy is the true religion of many people. They would rather live for themselves and for what they falsely call freedom, and the ability to control their lives and destiny, even if it kills them, than live for Christ. This is exactly what the “religious” Jewish leaders did. They will not change through our efforts. We must pray for the working of the Holy Spirit in their hearts and minds, and preach God’s word accurately and passionately. And we must pray for divine appointments, that God will bring to us those He has prepared to hear His word. It is amazing what you will see, when you are faithful to His call and leave the results in His hands.
I pray this outline is an encouragement and a blessing.
All for His glory,
Read Mark 11
In this passage, Jesus’ authority is both publicly pronounced and publically questioned.
Jesus’ authority was clear to all who chose to look
Jesus’ authority is just as clear now to those who choose to look
Many people today deny Him, either with their words or with their actions, for the same reason the chief priests, scribes and elders did. They have personal motives for rejecting Him.
The Jewish leaders chose to deny Christ out of pride, selfishness, and fear.
RE-READ VS. 27-33
The Jewish leaders really didn’t want the truth. What about you?
Are you looking for a better answer, or a stronger question? If I were to answer every question about God you had, would you truly be satisfied?
Realize that on the day you stand before God, you will have not acceptable excuse for not believing in Him. He is your Lord and judge, whether you choose to believe in Him or not.
God’s word says that who He is and what He has done is clear. Consider these passages:
Psalm 19:1-4 - The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
Romans 1:18-23 - For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Romans 2:15-16 - They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
Indeed God’s law is written on your heart, as it is on mine. Not only should you know that God exists, your heart tells you that you are not right with Him.
I plead with you to examine yourself in light of God’s law, as I have.
GO THROUGH THE LAW TO BRING CONVICTION OF SIN
We know there is a God, and that we are guilty of breaking His law. And God is a God of justice who must punish sin
Some people think that they are safe from punishment because of God’s goodness. But it is because of God’s goodness that hell exists. A good God must punish evil.
Hell if very real, very painful, and very eternal.
Revelation 21:8 - But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."
Revelation 14:10-11 - he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night
But God, because of His goodness, is also merciful, and thus He provided a way for us to be made right with Him
PREACH THE CROSS AND RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
So there are two possibilities. You will either turn to Christ, and his sacrifice on the cross will pay your penalty, or you will deny Him and pay it yourself.
So please, don’t be foolish, as the Jewish leaders were. Don’t let pride and sin blind you and kill you.
God has told us how we can be made right with Him. We must repent of our sins and trust in Jesus Christ.
Only Christ is God in human flesh. Only He died to pay the penalty for our sins. And only He rose again, defeating death and proving who He was. Only He is seated at God’s right hand as our advocate, to speak for us on the Day of Judgment.
Examine these things to see if they are true. Look at God’s amazing creation. Look at the moral law, which is written on your heart, and which you know you have broken. Look at Jesus Christ, and the historic and prophetic truth that shows who He was and who He is. Then throw yourself on His mercy.
God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked but that they turn and live. He is mighty to save. Turn to Him and be saved today.