Gospel of Mark Chapter Eleven (Part Two)
Introduction: A key idea in the Gospel of Mark is that Jesus is the servant of God. Today, we hope to discuss Jesus' teaching concerning faith and authority.
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Read Mark 11:20-26
C. Teaching on Tuesday. 1. Concerning Faith. As Jesus and His disciple past the cursed fig tree, Jesus taught about faith. He taught about prayer. And He talked about how forgiving is tied to being forgiven.
- Faith based praying. Notice in vss. 22-24 of this chapter in the Gospel of Mark the power of faith based prayer. We should remember that biblical faith is based on hearing the word of God (see Rom. 10:17). Consequently, faith based praying is praying for God's will to be done, not simply what we want.
To be clear, when we pray for something that God doesn't want us to have, God is not obligated to provide, because it is not according to faith in His word. However, when we pray for that which is in accord with His will then He is promise bound to provide.
We should always remember that we don’t perfectly understand the will of God. We surely don't perfectly understand His timing. Therefore, we should pray as best we know how to pray, with a confidence that God's will is best for us, and our greatest desire is for Him to have His way.
Let's work on faith based praying. Prayerful study and obedience with the support of other believers can help us with our faith based praying.
- Forgiving and being forgiven. Notice in vs. 25 of this chapter of the Gospel of Mark the relationship between forgiving others and being forgiven by God. (Verse 26 is not in the NIV of the Bible because it is not in the earlier manuscripts.)
To forgive is to release the request and expectation for a person to try to make amends for their wrong doing. In accounting, it is to write "paid" on a bill, not because it has been paid, but because you are going to stop collection efforts. A measure of forgiveness is when we can do good to those who have mistreated us.
First, most of us can testify about someone who has mistreated us. Second, forgiveness is not urged because they deserve it, it is urged because we need it. We need to forgive, so we can be forgiven for all of our dirty. We need to forgive, so we can use our energy for something more positive.
And we need to forgive, so God can handle the situation (see Rom. 12:19-21). Let's work on forgiving others, so we can continue to receive forgiveness.
Read Mark 11:27-33
2. Concerning His Authority. Jesus and His disciples went back to the Jerusalem. The religious leaders challenged His authority, not righteousness. Jesus maneuvered around their questions with His own.
- Attending to righteousness, instead of just power. Notice in vss. 27-28 of this chapter of the Gospel of Mark that the religious leaders were more concerned with the question of authority than with righteousness. There was no mention of was the previous practices wrong. The conflict is over who gave Jesus the authority to fix what was wrong.
It is so unfortunate that there is still too much attention given to who is in charge than to what is the will of God. Let's work on giving more attention to righteousness than to power struggles. It is important for procedures to be developed and complied with. It is important for authority to be exercised by the right people.
However, it is more important that whoever has the power use it to carryout God's will, instead of simply being offended by being disrespected or ignored.
Examples of this idea include not only stopping bad things from happening in the church (e.g., misappropriation, disorderly conduct, murmuring, etc.) but also stopping bad things from happening in our communities (e.g., providing emergency services in spite of lack of coordination, etc.).
- Trapping questions. Notice in vs. 28 of this chapter of the Gospel of Mark that the religious leaders used trapping questions. The questions were designed to get Jesus to say something that was worthy of His being arrested without triggering a riot because of His popularity.
On one hand, we should be aware of trapping questions. Especially as people of influence, leaders, we should make sure we listen carefully before we respond.
On the other hand, we should not be guilty of using trapping questions. Don't let the devil use you to cause grief and stress for those whom God is using to do His will.
Bad things happen to those who cause stress for those who are doing God's will (see (see Heb. 13:17; Num. 12:1-15; Rom. 13:1-5). Let's be aware of trapping questions and keep the devil from using us.
- Responding wisely. Notice in vss. 29-30, 33 of this chapter of the Gospel of Mark that Jesus had a wise response to the trapping questions of the religious leaders. He knew that the opponents were more concerned with public opinion than with truth. So He raised a question that put them in tension with popularity and perceived truth.
First, we should be careful about valuing public opinion more than what we believe to be true. In other words, let's strive to be theologically correct more than politically correct. This is important in these times of homosexuality and sex outside of marriage becoming more and more normal.
Second, let's learn to respond wisely. If we are not careful, we can get so upset and move so fast that we make a bad situation worst. Learning to be prayerful and calm can be helpful. Let's work on responding wisely.
"How many of you all believe that God has sent me (i.e., Pas. Baines) to be the Pastor of this church?"
– If "yes," why don’t you obey my instructions to study, serve, and give?
We need more trained discipled ministry managers and teachers (i.e., active Training Union graduates). We need more tithers and gold supporters of the 2014 Campaign. We need more registered reachers who are actually reaching loved ones for Jesus.
– If "no," why are you here? Find a person who you believe God is working through and cooperate with God's will.
Conclusion: Based on this study in the Gospel of Mark, Let's work on being servants of God. God has much for those who obey His will.
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