Dishman Baptist Church
Untitled Service (8/9/2020)
  • Forever
  • Unashamed Love
  • He Will Hold Me Fast
      • Colossians 3.1-4CSB

      • Colossians 3.5-7CSB

      • Colossians 3.8-10CSB

      • Colossians 3.11CSB

  • Introduction

    Good morning and welcome to Dishman Baptist Church. If you have your Bibles, please take them and open them with me to Mark 10. Mark 10. It is a blessing to be with you this morning. If your joining us for the first time, whether online or in person, would you please take a moment to fill out a contact card so that we can get to know you and help you as we continue to pursue the goal of maturity in Christ.
    We have slowly been making our way with Jesus from Caesarea Philippi through Capernaum and into Judea. He is on His way to Jerusalem and along the way He has been instructing His disciples about discipleship. First there was the cost of discipleship that came soon after Peter’s great confession of Christ as the Messiah and Jesus first teaching regarding the suffering that was waiting for Him in Jerusalem. The cost of discipleship involves self-denial, taking up one’s cross (the recognition that discipleship could lose to the loss of everything and in some cases the loss of life), and following Jesus.
    The Transfiguration revealed Jesus’ heavenly body and established His precedence over even the Old Testament saints and prophets. It also served to confirm that what He said regarding His impending passion was not only important but also God ordained as God’s own voice comes from the cloud telling the disciples present “This is my beloved Son; listen to Him.”
    We saw three characteristics of a disciple in the events immediately following the Transfiguration. The incident surrounding the disciple’s failure to cast out a demon revealed the necessity of a life characterized by faith and prayer. The revelation that they were arguing on the road about who was the greatest reveals the need for a disciple of Christ to be humble.
    Sandwiched in between those events was another prediction of Christ’s death at the hands of men but with the added caveat that He would be delivered up according to the foreknowledge and plan of God.
    Last week Chuck did a great job exposing that the nature of discipleship often calls for ruthless measures - not in actual physical mutilation but to the lengths that we should go in our own lives of removing temptations that would hinder our growth and development as Christians. It also speaks to the idea that anyone who willfully lives in open (or even hidden) unrepentant sin is in danger of actually missing out on Heaven.
    This morning we’re going to continue to see principles of discipleship demonstrated for us in Jesus teachings. This time through a challenge brought to Him by the Pharisees and then actions on the part of the disciples that show they were slow to learn some of the lessons Christ has been teaching them.
    Let’s read Mark 10:1-16 and then explore this well known text to see what the Lord has for us today.
    Mark 10:1–16 CSB
    He set out from there and went to the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Then crowds converged on him again, and as was his custom he taught them again. Some Pharisees came to test him, asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He replied to them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted us to write divorce papers and send her away.” But Jesus told them, “He wrote this command for you because of the hardness of your hearts. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” When they were in the house again, the disciples questioned him about this matter. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. Also, if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” After taking them in his arms, he laid his hands on them and blessed them.
    Jesus begins the journey south towards Jerusalem following the route that most devout Jews took from Galilee to the southern portions of Israel. Previously when leaving Jerusalem and heading north toward Galilee He had taken the route that led Him through Samaria - a route that very few Jews would be willing to take - but He did that for divine reasons as He had an appointment with a woman at a well there. Now He takes the more acceptable route through a region known as Perea. Just as with all of Jesus travels through Galilee crowds are drawn to Christ. There have been a few forays into southern Israel by Christ and the word of His ministry had spread throughout the region first drawing crowds to Jesus
    Mark 3:7–8 CSB
    Jesus departed with his disciples to the sea, and a large crowd followed from Galilee, and a large crowd followed from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and around Tyre and Sidon. The large crowd came to him because they heard about everything he was doing.
    Jesus has traveled to each of the areas the crowds came from having recently returned from a trip through Tyre and Sidon and is now entering into the area beyond the Jordan. As is His custom, Mark tells us, Jesus begins to teach the crowd. This is an open air arena much like when He taught the crowd on the seashore in Mark 4. Notice that Mark says that “crowds” are drawn - this is the only reference in Mark to crowds being in the plural. It would seem that Mark is giving a summary statement here that anywhere that Christ went a crowd developed and He would teach them. He is on His way to Jerusalem, He will not be prevented from getting there but He is in an area where He may not have had the opportunity to minister before and He will not pass up the chance to share the message that had been proclaimed in Galilee for the last two and a half years with these people as well.
    We should take note of this as we look at this passage - Jesus was resolute, resolved in His desire to get to Jerusalem and the events that would take place there - but He wasn’t so driven, so focused that He overlooked the opportunity to continue to share the message He had been charged to proclaim. How often do we have opportunities to share the Gospel with someone - whether by word or action - and we are so wrapped up in what we must accomplish or the next event on our schedule that we miss it? May we be a people who seeks opportunities to share rather than those who are too busy to stop for a moment.
    All of this passage returns to the concept of discipleship and how it manifests itself in the life of a believer. This entire middle section of Mark should challenge us in our maturing process in our faith as we seek to live a Christ exalting life. In fact the principles of this center section are the elements that make up the Christ exalting life or as Paul might have put it the Christ exalting walk. Our concept of walking is different now than in the first century. When they went for a walk they had a destination in mind - they were trying to get somewhere and that is what Paul had in mind as he would refer to the life of a Christian in terms of being a walk. Too many of us have the idea that a walk is something we undertake for recreation or for fitness - we’re walking but we aren’t trying to get anywhere. Too many of us have embraced treadmill christianity - we are doing things, activities that positive (we pray, we read our Bible, we attend church) but we aren’t growing, we aren’t striving toward the call of Christ the way Paul refers to it in Philippians 3. We aren’t practicing the ruthless discipleship practices that cut things out of our lives that while they are Christ honoring - they are not explicitly wrong or what we would consider as sinful - they are far from Christ exalting.
    We will see three more aspects of the life of a disciple as we continue further through this passage - we will progress through under the idea of What Is Your Point, Who Is Your Authority and finally What Are You Thinking?

    What Is Your Point

    As usual for Mark he tells us that Christ teaches the crowds without going into the content of the teaching. Instead he details a moment in which the Pharisees, that sect of Jewish religious leadership who have continually dogged the heels of Jesus anywhere He has taught, accost Him with a question.
    Mark 10:2 CSB
    Some Pharisees came to test him, asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
    This seems like an odd question - again leading to the idea of what’s your point. Jesus had already previously expressed His opinions of marriage and divorce during His most famous public teaching - the sermon on the mount
    Matthew 5:31–32 CSB
    “It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a written notice of divorce. But I tell you, everyone who divorces his wife, except in a case of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
    And the Pharisees were not the type of adversary to forget anything - so it is a wonder as to why they would pursue this particular topic to try and trap Jesus. This was their true desire. They really were not interested in what His opinion was with regards to marriage, divorce or any other topic unless it afforded them an opportunity to trap and discredit Him. This is a particularly interesting tact on the part of the Pharisees with regards to the subject matter they have chosen.
    No fault divorce has been very common in our country ever since the first law was passed in California in 1969. One website I consulted on this topic stated that the divorce rate for first marriages in the United States currently sits at about 40%. This is high but it really is not that far different from what was happening in Israel in the first century as Jesus was speaking. Provisions for divorce were a part of the law and a well accepted part of Jewish society. There were even schools of thought regarding divorce. The two most prominent rabbinic schools of thought were the school of Shammai which held that a man may not divorce his wife unless he had found her to be unchaste or unfaithful. Opposing this view was the school of Hillel which held that a man may divorce her even if she spoiled a dish for him. A third opinion offered by a rabbi named Akiba said that a man could divorce his wife for a little a reason as he found another woman to be more suitable to his tastes than his current wife. So divorce was a well accepted practice among the people of Israel, thought to be protected by provisions in the Torah. For Jesus to speak out against this practice would have damaged his credibility among the common people and reduced his popularity.
    The other factor that is involved with this line of questioning is the location where the question is asked. The Pharisees know that they are in Perea which is part of Herod Antipas’ region of reign. They also have been plotting with the Herodians how to put Jesus to death - you may remember back in Mark 3 when we looked at the verses at the beginning of that chapter
    Mark 3:6 CSB
    Immediately the Pharisees went out and started plotting with the Herodians against him, how they might kill him.
    Herod Antipas had a well known divorce from his wife and then a remarriage to his brother’s wife. This is the same situation that led to John the Baptist being arrested and put to death.
    Mark 6:17–18 CSB
    For Herod himself had given orders to arrest John and to chain him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her. John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
    For Jesus to speak out against divorce in this region would be to subject Himself to the same sort of treatment that John had received and for the same exact reason. The point of the Pharisee’s question was to throw Jesus onto the horns of a dilemma in which, depending on His answer, He would offend both the commoners and the royal party of Israel at the same time. This would most likely lead to the demise they had been plotting for Him for months and they would be free of this troublemaker who threatened their power base.
    But of course Jesus sees right through their scheme and He gets to the heart of the issue - and He challenges them with a question of His own.

    Who Is Your Authority

    Instead of answering their question He responds with a question of His own - What did Moses command you? This is an interesting question on many levels. First Moses wrote the entire Pentateuch and so the Pharisees have a wide range of responses that they could pull from. The second is that it drives to the heart of who the Pharisees saw as the true authority in the situation. Their response speaks volumes about their religious practices.
    Moses permitted.
    Moses permitted.
    This stems from Moses writings in Deuteronomy regarding the issue of divorce:
    Deuteronomy 24:1–4 CSB
    “If a man marries a woman, but she becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, he may write her a divorce certificate, hand it to her, and send her away from his house. If after leaving his house she goes and becomes another man’s wife, and the second man hates her, writes her a divorce certificate, hands it to her, and sends her away from his house or if he dies, the first husband who sent her away may not marry her again after she has been defiled, because that would be detestable to the Lord. You must not bring guilt on the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.
    The Pharisees were concerned with two points - first what was permissible rather than what was commanded. Second they were more concerned with honoring the letter of the law than the heart of the One who was ultimately behind the law.
    First they were concerned with what was permissible rather than what was commanded. The Pharisees, for all of their desire to keep the law, were also well recognized as those who would skirt as close to the edge of the law as possible. Earlier in Mark we saw how the Pharisees had traded away the teachings of the Word of God in favor of human tradition.
    Mark 7:10–13 CSB
    For Moses said: Honor your father and your mother; and Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death. But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or mother: Whatever benefit you might have received from me is corban’ ” (that is, an offering devoted to God), “you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.”
    Let me ask you Christian - who is your authority? Do you give lip service to the idea that the Lord is your authority but then spend all your time searching the news or trying to figure out just how close to the line you can come and still remain within the circle? Even more do you cite Scripture as your authority but then spend more time perusing news channels and social media feeds trying to determine how to think about masks, quarantines, ethnic issues or any other contemporary hot topic? Look at Jesus response to the Pharisees:
    Mark 10:6–9 CSB
    But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
    Yes - all of Scripture is God breathed and profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness but some Scriptures carry more weight on subjects than others. In citing the passage from Deuteronomy regarding divorce the Pharisees had tipped their hand that instead of resting on the firm Word of God regarding the subject they were looking for loopholes to find what was allowed or permissible and in so doing demonstrate the viewpoint that in their view the covenant of marriage was really little more than an negotiable contract. Jesus goes right to the original source, the institution of the marriage and of the marriage covenant to demonstrate His source of authority and the inviolability of marriage under this pact. Incidentally, by appealing to these verses from the earliest chapters of Genesis Jesus confirms their truth and that events actually took place as the Bible says they did. He doesn’t allegorize the first marriage covenant but instead holds it up as the pattern for every subsequent marriage.
    For Christ the authoritative voice in the subject of marriage and divorce was God’s own - and this passage is so clear in it’s intent that He doesn’t have to go to the even clearer text of Malachi
    Malachi 2:16 NASB95PARA
    For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the Lord of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”
    The real tragedy of the Pharisees question is that they reveal that their source of authority was based on Moses and not on the more clear, more firm word of God. And yet how often are we guilty or in danger of the same thing. Rather than standing firm on the Scriptures we look for the loop holes, we look for how closely we can come without necessarily crossing the line, we seek how we can be Christ honoring rather than Christ exalting. It’s okay if I read that book - there’s only a few anti-God comments in it. It’s okay if I watch that movie there’s only a few things that would violate a Christian’s conscience. That social concept really seeks to build a better society so I can marry my Christianity to it and not lose anything - despite the obvious inequalities that it espouses, the obvious unbiblical ideals that it teaches.
    What is our standard? Christ’s point here not only affirms the sanctity of marriage and the value of this sacred union in the eyes of God but it also reinforces that the foundation of every Christian’s discourse should be the clear teachings of Scripture. There are so many today who are twisting and turning the Bible to find the loopholes so that they can allow for weak, man centered worship, follow government mandates, bring God down to our level.
    Yet what is the disciple called to - our authority is not found within ourselves but instead in the One who bought us. The One who created us and the One who wrote this book - we don’t get to interpret or twist it however we want. In fact in Matthew’s rendition of this story Jesus starts off with the scathing accusation “have you never read” - too many of us haven’t read the Bible or if we have read it we read it with an eye that finds only what we want instead of seeking what it actually says.
    Who is your authority Christian? Is it Ceasar or Christ?

    What Are You Thinking

    One way that you demonstrate who your authority is is by the actions you take as a disciple. There are two types of disciples - you are either a part of bringing new disciples to Christ or a part of barring people from getting to Him. And in reality you can be both at different times. Andrew is a great example of this. In the beginning of John’s Gospel Andrew is one of the first disciples exposed to Christ. Immediately he went to find Peter his brother and brought him to Christ. When they were faced with the challenge of feeding 5000 people, it was Andrew who brought the young man with the five loaves and two fish. So whenever it was someone that Andrew desired to come to Christ - a family member in this case or it would fulfill a need he was quick to bring people to Christ. Sometimes we are the exact same way - we want our family members and friends to come to Christ and so we are energetic about bringing them. We eagerly embrace someone who might fill a need for the church - someone like Kanye West or Justin Bieber who would boost the image of Christianity in the public eye comes to mind.
    But what about those we aren’t so excited about? Andrew stood side by side with the other disciples when the parents start bringing their children and they tried to keep them from Him. They proclaimed themselves the gatekeepers and determined who could approach Jesus or not. Their intentions may have been pure - Jesus had had a long day of walking and teaching. He was resting after the Pharisees had accosted Him. He couldn’t always be bothered by the next person or the next need. They had missed the point of His teaching about treating children as valuable just a few days ago in Capernaum. Now they were seeking to keep them away.
    Mark 9:36–37 CSB
    He took a child, had him stand among them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one little child such as this in my name welcomes me. And whoever welcomes me does not welcome me, but him who sent me.”
    I remember reading a story about a young lady who was feeling conviction of sin on a college campus. She attended a Campus Crusade meeting and heard the Gospel preached. Raised in the church, she admits that she wasn’t living the Christian life. Following the meeting they were told to go to one of the corners of the room to talk more about the promise of Christ. She found the corner with the most girls and went there. One of the waiting girls in the corner asked if she could help her. She explained that she was struggling with sin and wanted to get her life right with Christ. The waiting girl took her through Campus Crusade’s “God on the Throne” diagram twice - once and then again after the girl mentioned that she was a backslider. The girl took her hands and looked her in the eye and said “Darlin I just don’t think we’re the group for you. I think you might be better suited for one of the other campus groups.”
    Jesus was indignant with His disciples when He saw them attempting to keep these children away from Him. He would have been indignant with that young woman who told someone “this isn’t the group for you.” And how often He would be indignant with each of us as we avoid witnessing to those we come into contact with or worse shunning people away from churches or gatherings where we should be welcoming them.
    Jesus says let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Kid’s are so trusting - so believing, so accepting. They are also so easily hurt. So easily wounded.
    Now this is a passage about how we should respond to Jesus with the faith of a child - but more importantly in the case that Mark has been making over the last few chapters it is about how much damage we believers do when we determine who can and cannot have access to Christ. When we appoint ourselves as the gatekeepers of Heaven and decide who we are going to let in or not.
    Jesus provides His disciples with a visual demonstration of His love for those who seek to be near Him - He takes the children, so often overlooked, neglected and marginalized - and wraps them in His protective arms, lays His hands on them and blesses them.

    Conclusion

    How is your discipleship today. What are you seeking from Christ? What is the point for you - is it so that you can live as close as you can get to the line? What is your source of authority? Is it the authoritative commands of God or what is permissive? What are you thinking as a disciple? Are you the gatekeeper? Are you seeking to only bring those you determine are worthy to the Kingdom or do you welcome all who Christ calls as His own? Mark has been asking us hard questions and they require hard answers. This is not an easy walk that we are called to. This is not treadmill Christianity - but you have to determine what your destination is.
      • Mark 10:1–16CSB

      • Mark 3:7–8CSB

      • Mark 10:2CSB

      • Matthew 5:31–32CSB

      • Mark 3:6CSB

      • Mark 6:17–18CSB

      • Deuteronomy 24:1–4CSB

      • Mark 7:10–13CSB

      • Mark 10:6–9CSB

      • Malachi 2:16CSB

      • Mark 9:36–37CSB

  • It Is Well With My Soul

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