Gospel of Mark Chapter Twelve (Part One)

Introduction: A key idea in the Gospel of Mark is that Jesus is the servant of God. Today, we hope to discuss Jesus' teachings concerning the Jewish Nation and taxes.

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Read Mark 12:1-12
3. Concerning the Jewish Nation.
Jesus presents a parable. The parable talks about a land owner's expectations being violently disappointed. He is expected to kill the disappointing tenants and find new ones. The religious leaders are upset about the teaching. However, they left because they feared the people.

Applications –
- Effective communicating.
Notice in vs. 1 of this Gospel of Mark Jesus' use of parables. He often used them to help people understand what He was talking about.

As those who should be speaking to people about how live by God's will, we should work on speaking so people can understand what we are saying. Let's work on being great communicators for the Lord.

- Profitable investing. Notice in vss. 1-9 of this Gospel of Mark the idea of investing and expecting return on investment. Jesus understood and urged the idea of investing and expecting return on investment. Jesus has invested gifts and testimonies in us with the expectation that we would now serve as trained discipled servants in His work.

And it is also true that we should invest in assets with a mind to receive a return on our investment. In spite of the discrimination that many Black believers suffer on their job, it should also be said that we would be so much further down the road, if we were better investors with the few dollars that we have.

If our young people would get focused, they could position themselves to put $300 a month into an 8% a year investment system from ages 25 to 65. This would give them $1 million at age 65 without regard to any other retirement or Social Security.

A good way for a young person to do this is to get some post secondary preparation (i.e., after high school – college, trade school, etc.) in something they love to do and pays at least $40,000 a year. Give God 10%, pay yourself 10%, and live on 80%.

As you get raises, you can stay with the formula and speed up the day when you will have $1 million or simply stay at the $300 a month. Let's work on giving God a good return on what He has invested in us, and let's work on being better investors of what God has placed in our trust.

- Complying or being punished. Notice in vss. 9-11 of this Gospel of Mark that as gracious as the landowner and symbol of God was, he arrived at a point where enough was enough. We should not think that God will continue to except our half baked excuses for not carrying out His will.

At some point, our patient, understanding, and gracious God sends pain and replacements. Let's comply with God's will, so we don't have to experience His pain and being replaced.

Think about your level of profit as a member in your church. Think about your level of profit as a resident in your community, member of your family, and worker on your job.

- Applying God's word. Notice in vss. 10-11 of this Gospel of Mark the idea of reading the scriptures for applications. The religious leaders were probably familiar with the text but not how it applied to them.

We should make sure that we prayerfully study God's word for not only interpretation but most of all for application. The Bible is not simply for our information. It is for our instruction in righteous living. Let's work on studying and obeying God's word.

- Responding to divine chastisement. Notice in vs. 12 of this Gospel of Mark that the religious leaders were offended by the application of the text but feared the people so much that they simply left. On one hand, let's be aware that there are people who hear the application of God's word and are offended, instead of repentant.

On the other hand, let's make sure that when the word shows that we are wrong that we repent, instead of simply get upset. When we get finish being upset, we are going to have to still deal with how God sees our wickedness.

Read Mark 12:13-17
4. Concerning taxes.
Religious leaders followed Jesus with trapping questions. This time the issue was taxes. Jesus taught them to give to Caesar what belonged to him and the God what belong to Him.

Applications –
- Trapping questions.
Notice in vss. 13-15 of this Gospel of Mark the use of trapping questions. We should be careful how we answer the questions of those who are trying to trap us.

And then we need to keep the devil from using our mouths to ask and say those things that cause confusion and division. Let's work on responding wisely to trapping question and keeping the devil from using us.

- Paying taxes and using political influence. Notice in vss. 16-17 of this Gospel of Mark Jesus' attitude towards paying taxes. Specifically, as American citizens we have a Christian duty to pay our taxes in obedience to those whom God has ordained to have rule over us (see Rom. 13:1-7).

Even though tax avoidance is good stewardship, tax evasion is sin and criminal. Let's be a wise steward and pay our taxes. A part of stewardship includes deducting from our income what we give the church. This deduction calls for the use of envelopes and requesting tax statements.

While in this neighborhood, I remind us that God ordains those who have rule over us. Government and politics are not necessarily evil. Evil people make them evil. And "righteous people" contribute to the dirtiness of government and politics, by not being involved.

Where there is an absence of light and salt, darkness and decay will always rule. Let's work on using our political might to put good people in positions of influence, so that our communities, society, and world can be godlier.

Conclusion: Let's work on being servants of God. God has much for those who obey His will.

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