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THE MESSAGE OF THE SERVANT
Intro: Jesus Christ was prepared for His earthly ministry in three special ways. He was prepared spiritually, emotionally and physically. He was anointed by the Holy Spirit for the work He had been sent to do, v. 10. He received the vocal approval of His heavenly Father, v. 11. He was put to the test in the flesh, as He fasted forty days and faced the devil on the mount of temptation, v. 12-13.
The passage we have read today shows Jesus at the beginning of His Galilean ministry. These two verses showcase the theme of the ministry of the Lord Jesus.
While Jesus Christ was on the earth, He did many amazing things. He fed multitudes with a handful of bread and fish. He healed every kind of disease imaginable. He cast out demons, delivering people from Satan’s grip. He even raised people from the dead! The ministry of Jesus was a ministry of the spectacular.
His primary mission in coming to this world was to go to the cross to lay down His life a ransom for sin, Mark 10:45. That was why He was born and that was why He lived. Jesus Christ entered this world to die for lost sinners. That is why He came!
On the way to the cross, Jesus filled His days with ministry. His primary purpose as He made His way to the cross was to glorify His Father by the things He did and said.
We read the Gospels and our souls thrill when we read about the miracles He performed. Yet, the most powerful thing about the earthly ministry of Jesus was not what He did; it was what He said. His miracles were secondary to His message.
When Jesus appears in the Gospel of Mark, He comes preaching the Word of God. He appears with a message of good news for all who will hear Him. It is the message the Master preached that I want to preach about today.
Even though His message was delivered 2,000 years ago, it is still relevant and powerful today. Even though He died on the cross, His message lives on. His message has been preached countless times down through the ages. His message is still being preached all over this world. It is a message as fresh as today’s headlines. It is a message that is more relevant than what is happening in Washington, Hollywood, Baghdad or Moscow. It is a message that must be preached and it is a message that needs to be heard.
Let’s look at The Message Of The Servant. I want to point out some facts about His message that I hope will speak to our hearts. Regardless of where you may be in your spiritual journey today, you need this message.
If you are lost, this message can point you to salvation. If you have grown cold, this message can lead you to the fire. If you have needs this message can offer you hope. Let Him speak to your heart as we examine The Message Of The Servant.
I. v. 14a THE FRAMEWORK
OF HIS MESSAGE
A. Mark passes over more than a year of our Lord’s ministry. Prior to the events in these verses, Jesus had been ministering in the southern parts of Israel in Judea. That first year of our Lord’s public ministry is called The Year Of Obscurity, and if it weren’t for the Gospel of John, we would know almost nothing about those early days.
It was during those early days of ministry that Jesus met with Nicodemus and shared the Gospel with him. It was during those early days of ministry that Jesus began to gain in popularity, as the people left John the Baptist to follow Jesus. John 4:1-3 tells us why Jesus came up into Galilee.
Jesus did not leave Judea to escape the persecution of the Pharisees. He had been preaching in the south and John had been preaching in the north. When John was arrested for preaching the truth Jesus went to the same street corner and preached the same message!
It was during His journey north that He passed through Samaria and met the woman at the well. The life of Jesus is a testimony of a witness! Whether it was a religious leader who came at night like Nicodemus, or a wicked woman at a well, Jesus took the time to share the good news with all He met! We need that same passion for lost souls!
B. Verse 1 tells us that Jesus came into Galilee after John was put into prison. John the Baptist was arrested because he dared to preach the truth. Herod, the Roman appointed king, had married a woman named Herodias, who was his brother Philip’s wife. John rebuked Herod and called his actions a sin. Herod arrested John and threw him into prison, Mark 16:17-20. John was later beheaded in that prison, some sixteen months later. Thus, with these few words, Mark gives us the time frame for the beginning our Lord’s most public ministry.
C. Before we leave John the Baptist today, let me say a word or two about this man and his ministry. John came as the forerunner of the Lord Jesus. John came to announce the coming of the Lord. John came to prepare the way for the ministry of Jesus.
By his own testimony, John knew that his own ministry was destined to fade away. As the crowds that followed John began to go after Jesus, John knew that his star was descending while Jesus was on the rise. He even said as much in John 3:26-36. John graciously pointed people to Jesus.
But, there was something John did not see coming. I do not think he saw prison and death as part of his ministry. After being in prison for over a year, John sent his disciples to Jesus to ask Jesus if He was really the Messiah, Matt. 11:3-7. Jesus reassured John and all was well.
Yet, there is a lesson for us in the life, ministry and doubt of John. None of us knows where the path of life will lead us or what will come our way as we follow the Lord. It is easy to get defeated and discouraged because of the valleys we are called to walk through and the burdens we have to carry. None of us are immune to discouragement and doubt.
Let me remind you of a few special truths.
· You are never alone, Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20.
· God knows exactly where you are, Job 23:10.
· God has planned your path for your good and His glory, Psa. 37:23; Rom. 8:28.
· His grace will be sufficient for you regardless of what you might face in life, 2 Cor. 12:9.
· Best of all, He loves you and has great plans for your life, Jer. 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
II. v. 14b THE FOCUS
OF HIS MESSAGE
(Ill. The rest of verse 14 reveals the passion of our Lord’s heart. As Jesus came into Galilee, He came “preaching the Gospel of the kingdom of God. A closer examination of these words reveals much about His message.)
A. Preaching This word means “to carry out the office of a herald. A herald came with important news from the king. He was to be heeded and respected. His message was to be obeyed without question. When Jesus came He came declaring the message of God. (Ill. There are many preachers in our world, but they are not preaching unless they are delivering the message of God, 2 Tim. 4:2!)
B. The Gospel The word gospel means good news. Jesus came to the people of His day preaching a message of hope and glad tidings. (Ill. People make all kinds of jokes about Bible preaching. Some folks complain when a message is a long or a little hard. In truth, all true biblical preaching is good news. If it proclaims the Word of God, then it is a message that must be preached, heard and heeded.)
C. The Kingdom of God Jesus wasnt just preaching any good news. He was preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. The Jews knew from the preaching of the Old Testament prophets that God would one day establish His kingdom in this world. Those ancient preachers told of the wonders of that coming day in vivid and glorious terms.
They spoke of a King Who would reign like David and defeat all the enemies of God. They wrote about a King Who would be like Solomon, Who would usher in a time of prosperity and peace. They wrote of a day when the deserts would bloom like the Garden of Eden. They talked of the lion and the lamb lying down together. They looked to a day when food would be bountiful; disease, war and poverty would become extinct. The prophets told of a time when a man of 100 years would still be considered a child. They were looking to a time when all the nations of the world would gather themselves together at Jerusalem and they would all worship Jehovah God.
D. Jesus came preaching a message of hope to a people trapped in despair. Their religion had ceased to have power. Their leaders were corrupt and self-serving. Their nation had long sense lost its glory. They were a people trapped in lives of hopeless and desperation. They were hungry for a message of hope.
E. Just as it was in Jesus’ day, we are living in times when people need to know that there is hope. We are living in the midst of hopeless and desperate hour. People are looking for answers and they are looking in all the wrong places.
Hope in our world will not come from the Courthouse, the State House, the Capitol or the White House. Hope will not be found in a bottle, a pill, a rolling paper, or a needle. Hope will not be found in religion, philosophy or social change. Hope will not be found in sex, money or power. The world has looked in all of these for thousands of years and has always come away disappointed and disillusioned.
Hope will be found in one place. Hope is found in the message Jesus preached. Hope is found in the message He handed down to His disciples. Hope is found in the message we preach in this church.
What is that message of hope?
· It can be found in John 3:16 God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
· It can be found in Matt. 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
· It can be found in John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
· It can be found in John 7:37 If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
· It can be found in John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
Do you get the picture? Hope is found in one place and His name is Jesus. Hope is found in His death and resurrection. Hope is found in Him alone. He can save you soul. He can wash away your sins. He can take you to Heaven when you die. He can give you a new life and new direction in life. He can change you and everything about you. If you need hope, then you need Jesus! That is the message He came to bring to this world!
III. v. 15 THE FORCE
OF HIS MINISTRY
(Ill. The message preached by Jesus was a message of hope, but it was also a message of urgency. Jesus came to a people who needed help, but help would only come to those who made a choice to follow Him. So, while His message was one of hope and promise, it was also a message of confrontation. He called upon those who heard Him to make a conscious decision to follow Him. Let’s look into the forceful preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ.)
A. The Time Is Fulfilled, And The Kingdom Of God Is At Hand This phrase communicates a sense of urgency. The word time has the idea of a favorable season for action; a golden opportunity.” Jesus was preaching for immediate life change among His hearers. He was calling them to come to Him right now.
The promised “kingdom of God was at hand. They were seeing prophecy fulfilled before their very eyes. They should not delay, but they should turn to Jesus immediately.
There is still a sense of urgency in the Gospel message. God calls people to come to Him today, 2 Cor. 6:2. He also warns people of the dangers of delay, Gen. 6:3; Pro. 29:1; Pro. 27:1.
If you have never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are standing on dangerous ground today. You never know when the golden thread of life will break and you will slip out into eternity. You are one heartbeat, one breath away from Hell today. Do not presume on tomorrow! Do not think that you will have another opportunity. If you are not right with God, the time to get right is now! Not after while, not later, not tomorrow, not even in a few minutes, but now!
Get to God while there is still time! Get to God while the door of salvation still stands open and the invitation to salvation is still being extended to you. Come while you can and be saved!
(Ill. When Jesus told the Jews that the “Kingdom of God was hand He was not misleading them. They were looking for a physical kingdom. That kingdom and that promise will be fulfilled in due time when Jesus Christ comes back to reign on the earth.
Jesus was calling lost people to salvation. If they would come to Him, He would save them and bring them into the kingdom of God. They would become the redeemed subjects of God. His kingdom would be established in their hearts.
If you are saved today, the kingdom of God is in you! Jesus has redeemed you out of the bondage of your sins and He had “translated you into His kingdom, Col. 1:13; Rom. 14:17. Are you in Jesus? If so, rejoice. If not, come to Jesus today. This is your golden opportunity!)
B. Repent Ye And Believe The Gospel - These two phrases reveal the heart of the Master’s message. To miss either is to miss it all. To bypass one or the other is to miss on the power of God’s salvation.
· Repent This word means to think. It has the idea of changing one’s mind. In the Bible repentance means a change of mind that results in a change of action.
Repentance is not feeling sorry for your sins. Repentance is not turning over a new leaf. Repentance is a change of mind.
When a person repents of their sin they change their minds regarding the nature of sin. Sin is no longer something to be desired, pursued and held onto. Sin is seen as it really is: dark, dangerous and offensive to God. Sin is no longer something to be enjoyed; it becomes something to be avoided. It is not seen as a source of pleasure, but as a pathway to destruction, death and Hell.
· Believe This word has the idea of accepting something as being true. Here, Jesus uses it in regard to the Gospel message. The Gospel is a simple message. Here it is in its simplicity: 1 Cor. 15:3-4, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.
When this simple message is received as the truth and believed on with sincerity from the heart, salvation is the result. Romans 10:9-10, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
C. The message Jesus preached is a simple message. It is a message that is life changing for everyone who hears it and believes it. But, for His message to be effective in your life, you must have both parts. There must be repentance and there must be faith.
Repentance prepares the heart for belief in the Gospel. Repentance deals with the sin question. Repentance shows the willingness of the sinner to turn away from sin. There can be no salvation apart from genuine repentance.
If you are not willing to let go of your sins, you cannot exercise genuine faith in Jesus. Therefore, you cannot be saved. To make a profession without genuine repentance of sin is a dangerous matter. It shows contempt for the Gospel and for the cross of the Lord Jesus.
Belief simply accepts what God says about Jesus to be the truth. Belief places itself upon the promises of God and accounts that they are able to do all they have promised. Belief in Jesus looks to Jesus and to Jesus alone for salvation. Belief embraces the good news of the Gospel and receives the salvation that comes by faith. Belief is not a onetime event, but it is an ongoing state of believing that produces a changed life in the believer. You cannot repent of your sins and believe on Jesus and remain as you were. That is a total impossibility!
Have you repented of your sins? Has there been a conscious desire to make a break with you sinful past? Do you trust Jesus and His finished work at Calvary for your soul’s salvation? Are you saved?
Conc: The message of the Servant is a message of hope and salvation! It is a message filled with promise, power and potential. But, it is a message that must be believed! It is a message that must be accepted. It is a message that must be proclaimed in these days!
Have you repented of your sins believed the Gospel message? Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Savior? Can you, lost friend, sense the urgency of the hour? Oh, the hour is later than you might imagine. The shadows are longer than you realize. Time is of the essence! Repent and believe the Gospel so that you might be saved. Come today. Come now. Trust Jesus Christ and be saved today!
Dear Christian friend, can you sense the urgency of this hour? Are you doing what you can to see that the message is shared in these days? Have you kept the promises you made to Him when He saved you, or have you gone back from Him in some areas of your life? There is a need of repentance among the people of God as well.
Is He calling you right now? If He is, please come. Whatever the need, you come. Hear His voice. Heed His voice. Honor His call!