Monday, December 21, 2009

Implications of the Incarnation

Let us seek to apply Philippians 2:3-11 to our lives this week. It reads

Philippians 2:3-11 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Yesterday we saw three implications of the incarnation:

1. Pursue Humble Service

Christ existed in the very form of God, but did not clinch with a tight fist the equality that He had with God, but instead emptied Himself (made Himself of no reputation) and took the form of a slave.

If Jesus took the is God and yet took the role of a slave, do you think you deserve better?
We ought to humble serve one another in the body of Christ: whether physical needs or spiritual needs (ministerying the word to one another).

2. Pursue Purposeful Sacrifice

The second implication of the incarnon is to purue purposeful sacrifice. Verse 8 says that Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. Christ intentionally sacrificed for others. The death of Christ is an example to us, but not a mere example because it actually accomplished something by bearing the weight of our sin and guilt.

So we too ought to intentionally and purposefully sacrifice for others.

3. Pursue Proper Glory

Christ sought to be obedient to the Father and ultimately all that was done was for the glory of the Father (v.11). So we too ought not to pursue vain or empty glory v.3, but proper glory. We ought to pursue the glory of God and ultimately God will vindicate Christ and His exaltation and glory will be our exaltation and glory.

Let us fix firmly the glorious incarnation of our Lord to our hearts this week.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Questioning the Authority of Jesus

Mark 11:27-33 27 They came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to Him, 28 and began saying to Him, “By what authority are You doing these things, or who gave You this authority to do these things?” 29 And Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question, and you answer Me, and then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 “Was the baptism of John from heaven, or from men? Answer Me.” 31 They began reasoning among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ 32 “But shall we say, ‘From men’?”—they were afraid of the people, for everyone considered John to have been a real prophet. 33 Answering Jesus, they said, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Three obvious criteria to submit to the authority of Jesus:
1. Jesus is the Authority
• Jesus demonstrates Himself to be the authority all throughout this passage. He controlled the conversation.
• He winsomely stifled the opposition with His question.
• Mark has been demonstrated the authority of Jesus all throughout the gospel through His word and works. The religious leaders should have seen this.
JESUS AUTHORITY OVER DEMONS—Mark 1:27 27 They were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”

JESUS’ AUTHORITY TO FORGIVE SINS—Mark 2:10 10 “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic,

JESUS’ AUTHORITY OVER SABBATH LAW—Mark 2:28 28 “So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

JESUS AUTHORITY DELEGATED TO TWELVE—Mark 3:14-15 14 And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach, 15 and to have authority to cast out the demons.

JESUS AUTHORITY TO BIND THE STRONG MAN AKA SATAN—Mark 3:27 27 “But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.

JESUS’ AUTHORITY OVER CREATION—Mark 4:41 41 They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
• FEEDING OF 5,000 AND 4,000.

JESUS’ AUTHORITY OVER DEATH—Mark 5:41 41 Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, “Talitha kum!” (which translated means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”).

• WHAT IS ASSUMED IN THEIR QUESTION? The assumption is that they are the authority. They were the religious leaders of Israel. If they wanted to change the setup of the buying and selling in the temple, then they were the ones to do it. If someone was truly the Messiah, then they had to approve of it. Do you realize that we are all born into this world as our own authority. We do what we want, when we want, and how we want it, until we see the beauty of Jesus as One who is worthy to submit our lives to. He is the Kind King who is worthy of our submission. He then becomes the authority of our lives and there is then a radical shift in our thinking and out living.
But even if we have self-consciously submitted to Jesus, then we must admit that sometimes we begin to live outside of the authority of Christ.
• Is Christ the authority in our marriages?
• Is Christ the authority in the way you raise your children?
• Single folks, is Christ the authority in who we choose to date?
• Who is your authority when it comes to what you wear? Sure, the NT does not give us a dress code like Muslim tradition does, but certainly there are principals.
• Who is the authority when it comes

2. Jesus Sees Through Rejection of His Authority
You see, the religious leaders tried to publicly ride the fence for a long time, but Jesus knew their real motives. Jesus knew that they rejected His authority. Jesus throughout this gospel would try to shove them off the fence:

Mark 2:5-7 5 And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Mark 3:1-6 1 He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. 2 They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3 He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” 4 And He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5 After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.

Mark 11:18 18 The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching.

• The religious leader had been trying to publicly ride the fence for a long time. Jesus refused to allow to ride the fence. Jesus could see through them and He knew the malice and wickedness which they were plotting against Him in their hearts. Do you realize how easy judgment day will be for the Lord?
Jesus sees right into their hearts. Jesus knows they reject Him and they reject the bapism of John. You can try to ride the fence of Christianity, but Jesus knows where you stand.
Matthew 12:30 30 “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

Jesus is the Kind King, but He must be submitted to. Failure to submit to Jesus in this life will have eternal consequences. All who do not bow the knee to King Jesus will burn.
Bonar says, “It is not the importance of the thing, but the majesty of the Lawgiver, that is to be the standard of obedience...Some, indeed, might reckon such minute and arbitrary rules as these as trifling. But the principle involved in obedience or disobedience was none other than the same principle which was tried in Eden at the foot of the forbidden tree. It is really this: Is the Lord to be obeyed in all things whatsoever He commands? Is He a holy Lawgiver? Are His creatures bound to give implicit assent to His will?” Andrew Bonar, referring to the laws found in Leviticus, quoted J. Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness, p. 23.
3. Jesus Sees Through Fear of Man
29 And Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question, and you answer Me, and then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 “Was the baptism of John from heaven, or from men? Answer Me.” 31 They began reasoning among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ 32 “But shall we say, ‘From men’?”—they were afraid of the people, for everyone considered John to have been a real prophet.

• “they were afraid of the people”—Oh, how powerful the fear of man is. It is so powerful that it restrains other sins. The fear of man was so powerful in their hearts that they were unwilling to openly reject John the Baptist.
Mark 11:18 18 The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching.

Mark 12:12 12 And they were seeking to seize Him, and yet they feared the people, for they understood that He spoke the parable against them. And so they left Him and went away.

• Mk 14—when they finally go to arrest Jesus, it is not in the temple that they arrest Him, but in the middle of the night while Jesus was in the Garden of Gesthemane.
In Matthew 6 Jesus says they blew the trumpet when they gave money to the poor. They would stand and pray in the synagogue and on the street corners. They loved to let everyone know that they were fasting. Jesus saw right through their hearts and used the fear of man as a noose to hang around their necks. Jesus knew that they would not reject the ministry of John the Baptist because the people regarded John as a prophet, but they couldn’t endorse John because to endorse John would be to endorse Jesus.

John 12:42-43 42 Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.

Proverbs 29:25 25 The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.

Beware of people-pleasing. Jesus sees right through it. People-pleasing is a cruel master. You can never please everyone.

Last night, after rigorous evening of obstacle courses and sliding down 20 blowup slides at Tommy and Gianna’s birthday. An obstacle course so rigorous that my brother broke his nose on it. We came home and I flipped on the TV and watched some America’s Most Wanted. They had a sad but beautiful story of children who were growing up in a horribly abusive home. The children were beaten regularly. They were held under water almost to the point of drowning. Then one tragic day an older sister was told to watch her infant younger 2 year old sister who would stop crying. The older sister shoved the two year old and it led to her death.
The death of this little girl led to an investigation of this family. The police uncovered all the atrocities that were taking place in this home. The 6 children were delivered from the home and adopted by appeared to be Christian families. You couldn’t help but think that the death of this child led to the deliverance of her brothers and sisters. I thought what a beautiful picture of Christ. His death led to our salvation.
He is a Kind King and worthy for us to submit to His authority.