As Pastor John took us through Mark 9:32-37, He discussed Jesus' well-known teaching on the first being last and the last being first. With a small child on His knee, Jesus taught that to be a disciple is to represent Christ. To represent Christ is to represent His heart. To represent His heart is to care for the least of these.
After the mountain-top experience during the transfiguration, Jesus and His disciples are immediately confronted with a father pleading for the deliverance of his demon-possessed son. In this sermon, Pastor John considers the authority of Christ and how through Him, all things are possible, if we believe. Like the father in Mark 9:24 crying out, "I believe, help my unbelief!", it is the cry of the Church, and here at Normandy, that God would help our unbelief as we follow Him and make disciples.
One of the most supernatural and visually descriptive passages about Christ is the Transfiguration, found in Mark 9:1-8. This event further reveals to us the majesty and glory of Jesus. This passage is also the fulfillment of prophecy found in Daniel 7. When we see Christ, our ultimate purpose is revealed to us and we can take hope in the fact that He has dominion over everything and His kingdom will never end.
Out of Mark 8:34-38, John compares the philosophies & values of this world to the one mandated by Jesus. We ask God to examine our hearts as a family like David in Psalm 139:23-24, "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!" Our prayer and hope is that God would lead us toward the eternal things, the Word of God and men and women’s souls.
This sermon is on Mark 8:34-38, where Jesus plainly lays out His terms for discipleship. Jesus intends that His disciples be willing to relinquish all rights to determine the course of their life, entrusting themselves entirely to the goodness and grace of God. John's exhortation for us is to not simply see this passage as an intense command to come and die to selfish desires, but as an invitation to find true life in Christ as His life becomes increasingly more apparent in us. The more we decrease, the more He increases in us. We're reminded again that the gospel is not only an amazing gift of salvation, but that God himself comes to reside within us promising to give us abundant life. Death leads to life. Life is found in Christ. Christ in us is the hope of glory.
In this message, John continues our series in Mark - The Call of Discipleship. John takes us through Mark 8:31-33, Genesis, and Hebrews to reveal God's ultimate plan. God declares the beginning and the end and He alone will cause it to come to pass. Hebrews tells us that the cross was the joy set before Jesus. That is entirely strange unless it is connected to God's ultimate plan of redemption and love for the world. The cross is death, but on the other side of the cross is glory and life. God's plan and man's plan usually don't align, yet, because of God's goodness, we can confidently walk by faith, trusting that His ways are greater and will be for our joy.
In this message, John resumes our series in Mark - The Call of Discipleship. John recounts the miraculous work of Jesus leading up to Peter's declaration that Jesus is the Christ. Every day we must also answer Jesus' question to His disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" in Mark 8:29. Our understanding of Jesus determines how we respond to Him.
This week John preaches from Mark 8:11-21 where Jesus is confronted by the Pharasees demanding a sign. Jesus then warns his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod, meaning, to beware of their deceptive thinking that leads many astray into legalism or licentiousness. Rather, God desires us to love Him and then live by faith. John then concludes the sermon reminding us of Abraham's faith in Romans 4: No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness."
John takes us to Mark 8:1-10 when Jesus uses the disciple's meager amount of food and multiplies it to feed the four thousand. John uses this passage to illustrate how the Lord calls his disciples to willingly trust Him to not only provide for them, but to provide for others through them. Our Father is the most generous giver in that "He gave His only begotten Son." His desire is that we would not only recieve abundantly from His hand, but that we would also demonstrate His love and generosity through joyful giving to our families, our church family, and to the world around us. (Acts 4:32-37, Malachi 3:6-12, Matthew 6:25-34, Acts 20:35, 2 Corinthians 9:8)
Pastor John takes us into Mark 7:31-37 where Jesus heals a deaf and mute man. The people are astonished at the power of Jesus and remark that "He does all things well." John uses Isaiah 35:1-7 and Psalm 145 to show that everything that God does is good because He is good and desires to bless His people. We're reminded that "The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made." Because of God's goodness we can confidently trust that when we follow Him, it is ultimately for our good and our increasing joy.