Friday, November 30, 2012

Lesson 12 Discipleship in Everyday Matters ~Mark 10

Lesson 12 Discipleship in Everyday Matters ~Mark 10
Chapter 10 is filled with conflicting statements called paradox- a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true. Its purpose is to arrest attention and provoke fresh thought.
Poem credited to an Unknown Confederate Soldier
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey . . .
I asked for health, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things ...
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise ...
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God …
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things ...
I got nothing I asked for--but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I, among all men, am most richly blessed!
Lesson 12 Discipleship in Everyday Matters
Lessons from Paradox
1.     Two Shall Be As One (10:1-12)
2.     Adults must become as Children (10:13-16)
3.     The Impossible Is Possible (10:17-30)
4.     First Shall be Last (10:31-45)
5.     The Blind can  See (10:46-52)

1.    Two Shall Be As One
On the way to Jerusalem Jesus attracts crowds once again. This area of Judea is ruled by Herod Antipas (beheaded John the Baptist for preaching against his adulterous marriage). Pharisees pick a question about divorce to trap Jesus. “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
Jesus turned the question back to the Pharisees focusing on the WORD of God.
 Verse 4-They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.

God allowed the Bill of Divorcement to restrain divorce and protect the wife, who had legal rights, from being cast aside and treated as a harlot. Adultery was not a ground for divorce because the punishment to both caught in adultery was death by stoning.

Genesis 1: 27 So God created man in his own image, … male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them,
 “Be fruitful and multiply”
can only be true of a man and a woman.
2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one.
Warren Wiersbe in Be Diligent states the “Most intimate relationship in the human race, for the two to become one flesh.”
Matthew Henry- “God himself joined man and wife together. The bond which God has tied is not to be lightly untied.”
Illustration: A braid appears to contain only two strands of cord. But as you know it is impossible to create a braid with only two strands. If the two could be put together at all, they would quickly unravel. Herein lies the mystery: What looks like two strands require a third. The third strand, though not immediately evident, keeps the strands tightly woven. In a Christian marriage, God's presence, like the third strand in a braid, holds husband and wife togetherCathern Paxton
2.    Adults must become as Children
14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
Jesus was much displeased with his disciples for their mistreatment those binging children. Just like in the children song, “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” It was a pleasure to Him to receive and bless little children. Plus, the disciples had already forgotten the lesson taught in Mark 9:37“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,”
Mark 10:15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And she took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
He cares about children and uses them to illustrate good qualities of faith, innocence, honesty, and trust. Childishness is not what Jesus is referring to. Jesus asks us to be childlike; open, trusting, and responsive. Jesus wanted the disciples to embrace powerlessness rather than seeking power.
Remember ~Jesus entered the world not as a mighty warrior but as an innocent babe.

Forest E. Witcraft (1894 – 1967), a scholar, teacher, and Boy Scout administrator. His quote was  first published in the October 1950 issue of Scouting magazine.
“One hundred years from now, It will not matter,
 What kind of car I drove, What kind of house I lived in,
How much I had in my bank account, Nor what my clothes looked like.
One hundred years from now, It will not matter
What kind of school I attended, What kind of typewriter I used,
How large or small my church,
But the world may be a little better because...
I was important in the life of a child.”
3.     The Impossible is Possible (10:17-31)
The rich young ruler came running to Jesus and knelt before Him. Running was not dignified for someone of his position. Kneeling before Jesus also showed humility. When he called Jesus “Good Teacher,” he was signifying that he knew Jesus was God.  For no one is good but God alone.”
The young ruler was diligently seeking to earn eternal life. As Jesus listed the laws of Moses, the young ruler was earnest in his desire to be obedient to the laws. “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” Jesus beheld him and loved him. (After all was trying so hard! just like Ann.)
21Jesus said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 
 Jesus offered the young man the gift of eternal life.v.22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
It is difficult to receive a gift when your fist is clenched around money and the things money can buy.

He claims to have kept the law since his youth, but he forgot the first commandment. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Money was his god.
But no one can keep all the laws. God knew that from Creation and had a plan to provide the perfect sacrifice once and for all men. Jesus! The man did not see sin in himself. We cannot be forgiven until be admit we have sinned.
25 “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”“Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
Illustrate-Imagine a door into wall around Jerusalem through which a camel cannot enter unless he were unloaded, and made to kneel. A rich man cannot enter heaven unless he is willing to part with the burden of his worldly wealth and stoop to be an humble servant.
DISCIPLESHIP truly does MATTER when we are hindered by trappings of this world.
4.     First shall be Last 10:31-45
This is third time Jesus tries to prepare his disciple for the cup of sorrow He must endure. But this is the first time the disciples were told it will happen in Jerusalem, the Holy City and Jesus will be handed over to Gentiles for his death.
Greg Laurie of Harvest Church : “When Jesus spoke of His own impending death, about how he would be betrayed and then handed over to the Gentiles to be mocked, spit upon, scourged, and ultimately killed, (Don’t you know the despondency you would feel.)
James and John blurted out, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask. . . . Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory” (Mark 10:35, 37 NKJV).
Seriously, was that a good time to bring this up? It would be like saying, “Really? Could I have your car?” to someone who just found out they had one week to live. These guys just said what they thought.(Just like Ann) And they were just like us: hopelessly human and remarkably unremarkable.”
Matthews’s account of this event may soften our opinion of the Sons of Thunder. After the discussion of the rich young ruler, Matthew 19:27   Peter replied, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”
Matthew 19:28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Matthew 20:20 also tells it is the mother of James and John was doing the asking.
Jesus replies But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, FOR 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
I recently discovered we have a big race fan in our class. It seemed appropriate to use a racing illustration for this point.
At the Daytona 500 in 1979, as 100,000 fans watched, Richard Petty ended his 45 race losing streak and won stockcar racing's largest purse--$73,500.  
Petty's win was a complete surprise. Going into the last lap, he was running 30 seconds behind the two leaders, Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison. Struggling to gain first place, Cale tried to pass Allison on the inside. But Donnie blocked him and ran Cale into the dirt.  Without slowing down, Yarborough came back onto the track and collided with Allison.  Both cars fused together and plowed into the third turn wall.  The cars slid down the banking and came to rest in the infield.
Petty, who had offseason surgery to remove 40 percent of his stomach, was racing against the advice of his doctor.  For Petty, it was a miraculous victory “I didn’t know what happened that last lap.  I saw the yellow light flash.  I radioed my pit crew and asked them where the wreck was.  All they said was ‘Go, go, go’.  I couldn’t believe it when I saw both them cars sittin’ in the grass.”
This 1979 event was the first time that the Daytona 500 was broadcast live on television. The incident helped spark an interest in NASCAR that no amount of advertising could ever match.
DISCIPLESHIP MATTERS everyday on the racetrack and in our lives.
5.     The Blind can See
It was the season for Passover and many Jews were traveling toward Jerusalem. Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside hoping to receive charity from those passing by.  When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” He knew of the miracles of Jesus. Blind Bartimaeus saw what others could not. This was the Messiah from the linage of David. He would not be quiet. Jesus stopped and called him.50 And throwing off his cloak which might hinder his coming. He sprang up and came to Jesus. The cloak has been spreading out for almsgiving on the street.Blindness did not prevent Bartimaeus from recognizing Jesus as Rabboni, my great master, the most honorable of all titles. (Only Mary at the tomb used term.)
 “Go your way; your faith has made you well. And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. Warren Weirsbe says this is the last healing miracle recorded in Mark. We see Jesus Christ, God's suffering servant, on His way to the cross, and yet He stops to serve a blind beggar. What love, what mercy, what Grace!
Are we bold enough to speak out for Jesus? Do we throw off all that encumbers us and leap to follow Jesus, Son of David? Do you trust Jesus to show you the way.
The poor, weak and blind matter to Jesus. DISCIPLESHIP MATTERS EVERYDAY
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy
.    Isaiah 35:5,6.

In everyday matters it means dying to self, putting needs of other before our own, and living by faith in Jesus! Trusting He knows was is best.
Will you choose to put others first in everyday matters?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lesson 11 The Importance of the Least

Driving to Denver twice a week gives me a chance to sample some of the best radio broadcasts on Christian living. What a boost to my spiritual life! As I work on my lesson and read the commentary each week sometimes the LORD just lays it out for me-Boom. And it flows faster than I can write it. This week not so much! As I chatted with Mary Alice on the phone I remarked, “I work so hard! but it just oozes out of you.” As I replayed that conversation, I am surprised she did not respond with, “That is your problem!” With a new take on a quote I made last week;   “When we work, God watches; but when we pray, God works!”

 I am sure God has watched me running around trying to fix everything and everybody! How quickly we forget that peace and serenity we had on the mountaintop when we walk down into the routine on daily life.

Roy Hession admits, ”As long as self is in control, God can do little with us, “One must be broken to be used by God.”  Calvary Road by Roy Hession is a classic, originally written in 1950 with millions in print.  Camilla Seabolt (Executive Director at CBS National in Colorado Springs that appeared in the video last week is our) gave everyone this small book at a conference. 

She admits, “When I was a new Christ follower (over 35 years ago) a godly woman gave me Roy Hession's book "The Calvary Road." That book has impacted my life more than any other apart from the Bible.”
At that time the book could not hold my attention. My mind was on overload with new information crammed in my brain that weekend. However, when I picked up this small book this week it stirred my soul and in fact it chastised me to pray more. During the teaching time you will hear quotes from the preface and chapters on brokenness and servanthood.

How many of you read e-books? Well, I found this classic free as an ebook. It is short and jammed packed with nuggets of pure gold. Do a search and you can find links download it to iBooks, Kindle, or Adobe.
"If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." PRAY

The Importance of the Least
·        Discipleship requires self-denial (9:30-32).
·        The disciples seek self-exaltation (9:33-41).
·        Jesus desires childlike humility (9:42-50).
Back in Mark 4:34 Jesus spoke to the “crowds” in parables, but  privately he explained everything to his own disciples.  9:30-31 They were passing along Galilee, not through the cities and he did not want anyone to know, for he was teaching his disciples,

Now Jesus shares the most essential truth of His Ministry "The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise."
Mark 9:32 But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him
Matt 17:23  And they were greatly distressed. KJV “they were exceeding sorry
Their most cherished ideals were completely dashed by such an announcement, they were afraid being rebuked for questioning Jesus. Remember the strong language for last week’s lesson. This week some of His illustrations are quite graphic.

I Discipleship requires self-denial (9:30-32)
      Salvation costs you nothing, Discipleship will cost you everything.
      Salvation occurs the moment you believe. Discipleship takes a lifetime to develop.
      Salvation is something that God does for you. Discipleship is something God does through you.

Philippians 2:7  He emptied himself, taking the form of a (bondservant) slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.

But Jesus allowed the twelve to travel along the road discussing things and perhaps even arguing among themselves. Perhaps so they might be encouraged to reflect together and prepare themselves for the horrible events which He had announced to them.

II-The disciples wanted self-exaltation (9:33-41)

33 They came to Capernaum. And when JESUS was in the house he asked them, "What were you discussing on the way?" 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all."

In the Old Testament there are two types of servants: hired servants receive wages and have rights. Bondservants are property. They have no rights, receive no wages, and have no appeal. Our Lord Jesus Christ used the Greek word for bondservant to illustrate the position. We have no rights, no petitions, we’re the absolute property of the master to be treated as he wishes.

Beth Moore
in her book about John: The Beloved disciple. This arguing by disciples about which of them would be greatest is after the three came down from the mountain. Maybe the others felt left out or Peter, James and John could have exhibited pride because they were chosen.
Jesus was still trying to get them to see and accept their position as servant, when He introduces a child into the lesson.

36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not (only) me but him who sent me."
William Barclay writes: “Now, a child has no influence at all. A child cannot advance a man’s career, nor enhance a man’s prestige. A child cannot give us things; it’s the other way around. A child needs things. A child must have things done for him.

Jesus is saying, ‘If a man welcomes the poor, ordinary people, the people who have no influence, and no wealth, and no power, the people who need things done for them, then he’s welcoming me. And more than that, he’s welcoming God.’” How we treat those who have no status determines our heart.
John replies inappropriately, as if Jesus had not shared a great truth. His response to Jesus’ call for a humble demeanor is more childish than childlike:

38 John said to him, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us." 39 But Jesus said, "Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.  

Seriously, the 9 could not cast the demon out of the man’s son, but they want to stop this man who is casting out demons in Jesus’ name. Are we sometimes like John? Are we are so occupied with what another person is doing wrong, that we do not see our own sins?
Ladies, there will be no special corner in Heaven each of our denominations. Community Bible Study invites all followers of Christ to worship and study together in unity.
Chapter 1 Brokenness Roy Hession says, The Lord Jesus cannot live in us fully and reveal Himself through us until the proud self within us is broken. This simply means that the hard unyielding self, which justifies itself, wants its own way, stands up for its rights, and seeks its own glory, at last bows its head to God's will, admits it’s wrong, gives up its own way to Jesus, surrenders its rights and discards its own glory - that the Lord Jesus might have all and be all. In other words it is dying to self and self-attitudes.
"If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all."
III Jesus desires childlike humility (9:42-50).
And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men
shall be brought low, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.   Isaiah 2:17
1 Peter 5:5,6 Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for x“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” xHumble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
Jesus drives home the importance of 42 "Whoever causes one of these little ones (Weak believers) who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.

Clarke's Commentary on the Bible Drowning a person with a stone tied about the neck was an ancient mode of punishment.
43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 'where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.' Extreme words of our LORD and Saviour.

Rather than mutilation, I expect the Jesus is talking about “pet sins,” (pride, greed, jealousy, selfishness, dishonesty) that we need to get rid of. Like a Cancer-we need drastic measure to expose the threat and remove these sins in our life.

49 For everyone will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."

Our table salt, ‘Sodium chloride,’ is a stable compound. But Salt in Jesus’ time was extracted from Salt marshes rather than by evaporation of Salt water, and thus contained many impurities which diluted the taste. Such Salt was thrown out to the road where it was trampled by hundreds of pedestrians.
If we guard our witness as Christians less we become good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled by everyone. Remember we are less than perfect people. Daily we face the temptations of the world. Compromising our beliefs will dilute our influence as Christians followers of Christ.
A property of salt is it’s useful in seasoning. Likewise our usefulness is to flavor the world with acts of kindness showing the love of Christ to those who are homeless, poor, and in need. Jesus says we’re supposed to be like salt. We are to intentionally preserve His witness in this world by enhancing the lives for those less fortunate with our service, our time and our money.
Can you be salt and Light to a needy world.
This Christmas Season is a perfect time to share the Blessings God has bestowed upon you. Work at a soup kitchen, provide food or  toys for an organization that serves others, volunteer to help the elderly, spare time to assist a caregiver.
"If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all."

F B. Meyer says “I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves one above the other and that the taller we grow in Christian character the more easily we could reach them. I now find that God's gifts are on shelves one beneath the other and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower.”

Are you willing to use your blessings to serve others?