Forget the Naysayers

This record in Mark Chapter 6 is full of great principles that we can learn.  Jesus Christ set the ultimate example for us as he lived his life and taught the Word of God despite opposition.

He trusted God fully to meet his needs …and the needs of his disciples.

Before we start in verse 7, let’s go to the first part of the chapter.
The story takes place in the land where Jesus Christ grew up as a young boy.  It is now during his 1 year ministry and he was 30 years old at this time.  The people in the city knew him when he was younger.

Mark 6:1-6
And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. 2 And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. 4 But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

You would think that the people closest to you would always be your biggest supporters, but in fact the opposite can be true at times.  When you set out to accomplish something great, people will sometimes question your motives.  That was the case here.
What was his response to this treatment?    We read it in Verse 7:

7 And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;

Jesus directed them to go by “two by two” and speak the Word because there is strength in pairs.

8 And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: 9 But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats. 10 And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.

He instructed them to completely trust God for their immediate needs to be met.  They were to take only a staff, sandals, and a coat.  God would provide everything else they would need as they went along.

Matthew 6:31-34
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Jesus Christ understood this principle and was teaching it to his disciples.  He wanted them to literally trust that they would have all of their basic requirements taken care of.

How easy it is in our culture to allow our jobs to be our “sufficiency” and determine how our needs are met.  God is so much greater!

11 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. 12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent. 13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

14 And king Herod heard of him [Jesus] (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. 15 Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.

Herod Antipas was actually the son of “Herod the Great.”  He was not as powerful, only overseeing a portion of his father’s kingdom and was never actually a true king (although he is referred to as a king here)  He was actually a Tetrarch, meaning he ruled a quarter of the kingdom. During this time he built the city called “Tiberias.”

He was extremely superstitious, was easily bribed and influenced, and seriously lacked integrity, morals, and honesty.  There were some major character flaws here!

He was responsible for the death of John the Baptist and would ultimately be responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  Let’s read on:

16 But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.

Herod thought Jesus Christ was John the Baptist back from the dead because he was doing great works for God. (Superstition)

17 For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife: for he had married her.

The king’s brother had died and Herod married his wife Herodias.

John spoke out against this – it was against the law to marry your brother’s wife, not to mention it was adultery because they both got divorced to marry each other.

18 For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife. 19 Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not:

Herodias wanted to execute John but she could not have him killed.  Here is the reason in verse 20:

20 For Herod feared [respected & admired] John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. 21 And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee;

22 And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee.

This was the king’s first mistake.  He allowed his new wife’s daughter Salome to manipulate him.

23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. 24 And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.

So the daughter manipulates the king and with some prodding from her mother…

25 And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist. 26 And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her.

Now you would think that if the king respected John (although he had no trouble breaking the law and marrying Herodias) he might have ignored her request, but no:

27 And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother. 29 And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb. 30 And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.

This was a very negative situation but the disciples carried on anyway.

In the beginning of the chapter Jesus Christ ignored the naysayers of his home town and continued moving forward.

He commissioned his disciples to go out in pairs teaching, sharing, and healing.

He taught them how to trust God fully to meet their needs

They had such an impact that the king heard of their work

And finally, the disciples reported back to Jesus Christ of their victories, despite the loss of a dear friend and fellow believer.

Truly great principles are shown in this section of scripture.  We carry on with the things of God despite setbacks and negativity from others who may believe differently.  When God is our sufficiency, the words and actions used against us have no power.

God Bless You!

From a Teaching on:  Mark 6:7-30
 March 14, 2009
[brackets indicate my comments]

The Fellowship in the Home

God has given us the ministry of reconciliation.  It is our privilege and responsibility to be witnesses for God and to live his Word – Not just on Sundays, but every day.

This teaching is a practical topic, not as much on “how” to move the Word, but “where” to move the Word.

[This sermon was taught in the home] for our fellowship meeting.  The home is a warm, inviting environment and provides fertile spiritual soil for us to plant the seeds of God’s wonderful Word.

Likewise, the disciples in Acts 2 did the same and had a great impact in their communities.

Acts 2:41-47
Then they that gladly received his [Peter’s] word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear [respectful reverence for God] came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, [Amplified: both their landed property and their movable goods] and parted [distributed] them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Imagine 3000 people all born again in one day!
What a huge impact!

The apostles sold everything they didn’t need and devoted their lives to moving the Word

They routinely visited many homes as part of their fellowship and outreach.  As they met together regularly, the one-on-one setting in the home became integral to the movement of the Word in that day.

Acts 5:42
And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

One of the first miracles ever recorded, occurred in a house:

Matthew 8:14
And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. 15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them. 16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself [referring to Jesus Christ] took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

Peter’s wife’s mother was sick with a fever and Jesus Christ ministered healing to her.  Then it says she ministers to them.  This means she served them; She may have got them something to drink or food to eat out of respect and thankfulness for her deliverance.

We learned [in a prior teaching] about some of the nasty diseases and ailments that people suffered from in biblical times.  Remember that they could not go to the doctor when they got sick like we can.  For this woman to have a fever was a very serious condition.  She was thankful to be healed!!!

Let’s look at another example of healing in Matthew:

Matthew 9:23-26
And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels [flutes] and the people making a noise, 24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. 25 But when the people were put forth, [asked to leave] he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. 26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.

Notice that Jesus removes all distractions and unbelief from the situation and then God works a miracle to heal the young girl.  Sometimes we need to remove distractions from our lives too.

Galatians 6:10
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

In Matthew 9, Jesus Christ illustrates how we are to be good unto ALL.

Matthew 9:10-13
And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans [tax collectors] and sinners [wicked men] came and sat down with him and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole [healthy] need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

They were all eating together in a house and the Pharisees (as usual) were trying to find fault with Jesus.

[In the culture of that day, it would have been “socially unacceptable” for Jesus to associate with these people.]  BUT – He was demonstrating the love that God has for all people regardless of their past or social status.

These records show great examples of fellowship, healing, humility, and love by Jesus Christ and the disciples as they took the Gospel into the houses of people who wanted deliverance.

The disciples were committed to love and serve people in their own homes.  They had a great impact in the lives of many people.

This is one of the reasons we use this same model for fellowship in the home today in our Ministry.

The chapter is summarized beautifully in Acts 19:20

Acts 19:20
So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

God Bless You!

From a February 2009 Teaching
[brackets indicate my comments]
Adapted from the book Outreach Strategies of Jesus Christ, American Christian Press

Fellowship is the Secret

This topic is so important to our walk with God.  Having Fellowship with God and with one another is not only a blessing, it’s necessary in order for us to be our best.

“The principal key to a successful Christian life is fellowship with the heavenly father.  Christians manifest the more abundant life in direct proportion to the fellowship they keep with Him.  But before a person can have fellowship, he must have sonship. We cannot have fellowship with the father until we have become His sons.  Sonship makes us righteous before God, and starts us out in perfect fellowship with our Father; but sustained fellowship depends on the renewing of our minds according to his Word”

The reference to renewing our minds is in Romans 12:2:

Romans 12:2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Not conformed — but transformed by the renewing of our minds.

The opening paragraph states: “Sonship makes us righteous before God, and starts us out in perfect fellowship with our Father; but sustained fellowship depends on the renewing of our minds according to his Word”

Let’s think about an example for a moment:
Imagine that you just paid cash for a brand new car.  Just right from the factory.  It’s clean, shiny, runs perfectly, and no one has even sat in it yet.

You drive it for the first time, how do you feel?  You are excited right?  This represents sonship.  When we were born again it’s like we get a brand new “spiritual car”

Will that car stay clean forever?

Of course not.  The first puddle you drive through will dirty up everything.  That’s just how it is.

The “dirt” could represent broken fellowship.  When we sin, we “dirty up” our fellowship with God.  We are still his children, but our fellowship is not spotless like it was when our car was new.

Thankfully, God has unlimited grace….AKA the “Car Wash” and is ready and willing to clean our car.  All we have to do is ask.  God makes your fellowship perfect again, just like it was when it was brand new.

Psalms 103:12As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

God does not remember our sins.  He is ever willing to forgive us.  He wants us in fellowship with Him.

John 5:24Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth  [hearing is not enough, it must be accompanied with believing or corresponding action]  on him [God] that sent me,  hath  [already has]  everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

We don’t have to wait until Jesus Christ returns to know that we are born again; we know that we are born again NOW.  We have the proof of the manifestations! (I Corinthians 12)

But Rob!  I feel bad!  I have guilt over my past!
Well, God covers that subject too:
Romans 8:1 says: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…

Continuing to confess weakness and inability after knowing you have been forgiven denies God the opportunity to bring us abundance.

“Fellowship…with the Father is the secret to spiritual happiness…” and the abundant life.

When is your relationship the best with your friends or family members?

When you are in good standing with them, right?

If you spilled grape juice on their white carpet…
Or accidentally lit their cat on fire…..
That might temporarily put “dirt on the car” right?

Like our fellowship with God, we can have great fellowship with those around us.  We show grace and are quick to forgive one another – just as God does for us.

I John 1:3 – That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

This verse lays out God’s plan for us so beautifully.

We are so blessed by what we have seen and heard that we can’t help but declare it.

Why?

So that people may have fellowship with us.

And our fellowship is with God, and his son Jesus Christ.

So get your car washed, and go out in the following weeks knowing the “secret to spiritual happiness” is Fellowship.  First, fellowship with God, and then with those around us.

From a January 29, 2009 teaching
[brackets indicate my comments]
Adapted from the book entitled: The New Dynamic Church by Dr. Victor Paul Weirwille