Grace Covenant Church Pottstown
Sunday, January 2
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        House of Prayer

        October 14, 2021 - 8:00 PM - 8:00 PM
        You may participate by worship through song, reading Scripture, and praying
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        Young Adult Winter Retreat

        January 7, 2022 - 9:00 AM - January 9, 2022 - 2:00 PM
        DO YOU BELIEVE? 12 Historic Doctrines to Change Your Everyday Life
  • Worthy, Worthy
  • Hymn of Heaven
      • 1 Timothy 6:6–9ESV

      • 1 Timothy 6:11ESV

      • Galatians 2:20ESV

  • He Will Hold Me Fast
      • Mark 10:35–45ESV

  • Thank You Jesus for the Blood
      • Mark 14:22–25ESV

  • Be Thou My Vision
  • The Purpose of Life Mark 10:35–45 (ESV) 35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38 Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Some years ago one of the world’s renowned scholars of the classics, Dr. E. V. Rieu, completed a great translation of Homer into modern English for the Penguin Classics series. He was sixty years old, and he had been an agnostic all his life. The publisher soon approached him again and asked him to translate the Gospels. When Rieu’s son heard this he said, “It will be interesting to see what Father will make of the four Gospels. It will be even more interesting to see what the four Gospels make of Father.”1 He did not have to wonder very long. Within a year’s time E. V. Rieu, the lifelong agnostic, responded to the Gospels he was translating and became a committed Christian. His story is a marvelous testimony to the transforming power of God’s Word. Experiences like this have been repeated time and time again. What will it make of me? What will it make of the people I influence? What is this in-depth study of the Gospel of Mark going to make of you and me?
    Mark is the oldest of the Gospels. Matthew and Luke made such great use of it in writing their own Gospel accounts that between them they reproduced all but a few verses of Mark’s Gospel. So in this Gospel we have for the very first time in history a systematic account of the life and words of Jesus. Mark was the beginning of a distinct and original literary form which we refer to as “Gospel.”
    Mark had a shaky beginning in the Ministry John Mark, a young man who had a shaky beginning in the ministry when he abandoned Paul on the apostle’s first missionary trip and decided to return home (Acts 13:13). Paul was so unhappy with Mark that he refused to take him on the second journey, thus beginning a bitter quarrel between Paul and Barnabas which ended with Paul and Silas going one way and Barnabas and Mark another (Acts 15:36–41). Although intimate details are lacking, Paul and John Mark later reconciled when Paul was in prison in Rome. Mark served as his aide and then as a delegate on an important mission to Asia Minor (see Philemon 24 and Colossians 4:10). Later Paul would ask Timothy to bring John Mark back with him to Rome because he was useful in service (2 Timothy 4:11). When the Apostle Peter was writing 1 Peter in Rome, he affectionately called Mark his son (1 Peter 5:13). It was Mark’s close relationship with Peter which motivated and enabled him to write an intimate portrait of Christ. What a recovery Mark made! He rose from failed follower of Christ, to devoted disciple, to premier biographer and honored martyr. After a promising start, some of us too have stumbled, and now our confidence is gone. For us, John Mark’s triumph is an immense encouragement.
    Mark wrote his gospel right after the death of Peter and the Neronian persecution, sometime between a.d. 60 and 70. According to the Roman historian Tacitus, Nero made the Christians scapegoats for his burning of Rome and butchered them wholesale, so that the Church was driven into the Catacombs.4 It was during this time of misery that Mark wrote the Gospel.
    The purpose of John Mark’s writing was to encourage the Gentile church in Rome. He wanted them to see Christ as the Suffering Servant-Savior, and so arranged his material to show Christ as One who speaks and acts and delivers in the midst of crisis.5 Mark has no long genealogy, no birth narrative, and only two of Jesus’ long discussions. Mark used the historical present tense 150 times. Jesus comes, Jesus says, and Jesus heals—all in the present tense.
    There are more miracles recorded in Mark than in the other Gospels, despite its being far shorter. · Everything is in vivid “Eyewitness Newsbriefs,” brilliantly vivid and fast-moving. · Mark uses the Greek word for “immediately” some forty-two times (there are only seven occurences in Matthew and one in Luke). · The conjunction “and” is unusually frequent (beginning twelve of Mark’s sixteen chapters) and adds to the rush of action. · Christ’s life is portrayed as superbusy (he even had trouble finding time to eat—see 3:20 and 6:31).[1] It takes a slow reader about two hours to read Mark through at a single sitting; and if you take the time, you feel surrounded by crowds, wearied by demands, and besieged by the attacks of demons. You are also repeatedly brought face to face with the human emotions of Jesus and the astonishment of the multitudes. Mark is the “Go Gospel”—the Gospel of the Servant-Savior. The key verse, the one which summarizes the Gospel of Mark, is 10:45—”For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” This verse is part of the answer to the question,
    “What will the gospel make of us?” It will make us servants like the Master, effective servants who do not run on theory but on action. He was (and is) Christ for the crises! Power attended his every action. This same Christ brings power to life now, and a serious study of Mark will bring that power further to our lives.
    The Disciple’s Failure to Learn Jesus’ Servant Approach Mark 10:35–41 (ESV) 35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38 Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John.
    Immediately upon Jesus talking about the horrible suffering He would face, James and John come to Him and say, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” How amazing is that? “Jesus, we would like to hand you this blank page and have you endorse it.” The irony is this: though Jesus had been with the disciples for three years as the ideal Servant, though the end was near and he had just given them a detailed forecast of his death (10:32–34), though he had taught them that his way was to be the model for their lives, Mark 10:32–34 (ESV) 32 And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, 33 saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. 34 And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”
    The disciples (represented by James and John) make a request which revealed that their way of thinking was virtually the opposite of Christ the Servant. The request was outrageous:Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘we want you to do for us whatever we ask.’ ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked. They replied, ‘Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory’” (10:35–37). They dimly saw that the end was near and that it involved the possibility of thrones for the disciples. As part of the inner circle (Peter, James, and John), these two hoped to get the best thrones. Perhaps they wanted to “ace Peter out,” because he no doubt would try for the top. So they approached Jesus privately. Matthew tells us they even had their mother do the talking (Matthew 20:20, 21).
    What they actually need, desperately need, that they are now proving that they need, is the very redemption that Jesus has come to offer them; they have no sense in this request of their spiritual need. no sense of how desperate their condition is apart from the work of this Jesus. And that enables them to make this incredible request. Sin loads us with self-interest. This request, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory,” has nothing to do with the plans and purposes of the Kingdom of God. The pride, the incredible self-confidence of this moment; again, no sense of their own vulnerability and weakness, no sense of the lameness that sin leaves us with, no sense of need.
    The Cross is Necessary The Cross begins the passage; the Cross ends the passage; and what's in between is really an argument, a very pointed, clear, at some points, shocking argument, for why the Cross is necessary. Because you see in the life of the disciples, even though they’re chosen ones, even though they’ve been following Christ, even though they've been in His school of discipleship, even though they've seen His power and compassion, you see a case study of what sin does to us. And you realize that there is no hope for us; there is no hope for these men apart from the power of the transforming grace of the Lord Jesus Christ; they need the Cross; we need the Cross; every day, your living argues for the necessity of the Cross. And every day, in some way, all of us give empirical evidence that the Cross of Jesus Christ is the only place for our hope. This all sounds pretty contemporary to me. “The Lord takes care of those who take care of themselves,” some say. Name it and claim it,” that’s what faith’s about! You can have what you want if you just have no doubt. So make out your “wish list” and keep on believin’ And you find yourself perpetually receivin’.6 Despite their association with Jesus and despite their piety, these disciples saw greatness according to the world’s definition.
    Self-promotion is manifested in their arrogant overconfidence (10:38–40)
    Warning the ignorant brothers of the magnitude and folly of their request, Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” The cup (cf. Matt. 26:39; John 18:11) and baptism (cf. Luke 12:50) are references to the Lord’s suffering. To drink the cup is an Old Testament idiom meaning to fully experience something, in this case God’s wrath (cf. Pss. 11:6; 75:8; Isa. 51:17, 22; Jer. 25:15–17; 49:12). Christ’s point is that reward and honor in the kingdom are relative to the degree of earthly suffering endured.
    Displaying the same overconfidence that Peter would when he adamantly insisted that he would not deny Jesus (both in the upper room [Luke 22:33; John 13:37], and in Gethsemane [Matt. 26:33; Mark 14:31]), James and John insisted, “We are able.” Their answer revealed that they did not understand the ramifications of what they were asking. When the moment of crisis came, their overconfidence was exposed, and they fled along with the rest of the apostles (Matt. 26:56).
    Jesus went on to tell them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized. But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” James would be the first of the Twelve to be martyred, executed by Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:2); John would be the last, near the end of the first century during the reign of Emperor Trajan. They would suffer, but the Father (Matt. 20:23) will sovereignly decide the places of honor in the kingdom. Jesus’ acknowledgment, it “is not Mine to give,” affirms His submission to the Father during the incarnation.[2]
    We Need the Cross Because of the Condition of our Heart. I cannot deliver myself from these things. It's these things in my heart that make me a law breaker, that make me want to write my own rules, to be a sovereign over my own life; and because of those conditions of heart, I am not able to escape my own sin; I'm not able to live in a way that's pleasing to God; I stand in desperate need of His rescue. The Lord, of course, was not going to leave James and John, or the rest of the disciples for that matter, in their delusion. A bit later (v. 42), Jesus described the world’s viewpoint: “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.” James and John had fallen to the world’s idea that seeking the place of authority and personal power was right for them. Shortly the remaining ten got wind of what James and John had tried, and a major blowup ensued.
    The Lord’s Rebuke of His Disciples Mark 10:42–45 (ESV) 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The Lord called all twelve together and in a few brilliant moments set the record straight for all time and eternity: “Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (v. 43). Then (v. 44)
    Jesus told them that preeminence among God’s people would go not to rulers but to slaves: “and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” Why is this so? Here he gave the ultimate rationale and the key verse of the Gospel: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (v. 45).
    The Purpose of Life The Kingdom that Christ calls us to be part of does not operate the way the kingdoms of this world operate. It's not, about prominence, and power, and possessions, and your pleasure as a result of all those things. Here's what we’re called to: we’re called to be a slaves. “There's nothing in the life of a slave that he determines. Every aspect of the life of a slave is determined by the will of another. Every aspect of his life is a picture of dependency on another. All the boundaries of his life are set by the rules of another; all of his energies are lived for this success, glory of another. The whole life of a slave is expending personal energies for the sake of another.”
    “It will never be about you; it will never be about you; it's about Me; it's about My plan; it’s about My glory; it’s about My grace; it’s about My Kingdom. And I've called you to lay down your will, lay down your way, lay down your plan, lay down your dreams for you, and to find joy in every aspect of your life being dictated by the will of Another.” Paul David Tripp
    Do you find joy in that? That God lays claim to every aspect of my life; He lays claim to my mentality, my emotionality, all of my gifts, all of my relationships, all of my possessions, all of my private and public moments, all of my moments of leisure and work, all of my joys, all of my sorrows, all of the things that make up our lives He lays claim to.
    The rule of His Kingdom is this, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and in order for that to happen, my will must die!
    That's what His grace is doing. His grace comes to release you from your bondage to you, from your slavery to your own will, so that you would find joy in the thing for which you were created; you would find joy in living in every moment of your life, public and private, for the sake of His glory, for the furtherance of His Kingdom, for the success of His will. “That’s the Kingdom I've called you to; you get it all wrong, boys!”
    And I think we do too. We can turn the message of the Gospel into a system of theological- always-right-ism that is about the pride of knowing; and somewhere, this glory of the Savior is lost in that because it’s about human glory. And I can argue you into a corner because I know more than you and I feel the buzz of having done that. That pollutes the Gospel of the Kingdom!
    We can think that because we are seeking to live inside of God's boundary's, because, by His grace, He has taught us things about how we are to live, that we’re better than other people, and this message of grace can end up being a message of condemnation. The church can be a place where people seek power and prominence rather than the life of a slave.
    Here are the rules, the way of this Kingdom: “My will, and you find joy in the daily moment-by- moment, every place in your life, service of the plan, purposes, will, glory of Another.”
    Now listen, that will only happen in the lives of self-serving sinners by means of transforming grace. And Jesus ends by saying, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many.”
    “Even I have not come to escape suffering; I have come to suffer; I have come to do the will of My Father - that will, formed before the foundations of the world, that I would be the Lamb, and I would give My life a ransom for many.”
    Would you find joy in praying, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, right here, right now, in my marriage; right here, right now, in my finances; right here, right now, in my thoughts; right here, right now, in my desires; right here, right now, in my relationships; right here, right now, with my gifts; right here, right now, with my parenting; right here, right now, with my career; right here, right now, at my university. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done?”
    That's where transforming grace is taking us - finally delivered from our own sovereignty, to find joy in every area of our lives being submitted to the will of the King of kings.
    May the gospel of our Lord make something out of us. All of us have tremendous opportunities. If you are ruling in the community, your opportunities for service are infinite. If you are a student laboring through your books, or teaching a Bible class, or pastoring, or whatever you are doing, your opportunities to serve are more than you can possibly imagine.
    The Ideal Man, the Man for all men, did not come to be waited on, but to wait tables and to live a life of sacrifice. May this sink into our minds so we can be used of God. [3]
    1 1. J. B. Phillips, The Ring of Truth (London: Macmillan, 1967), p. 74. 4 4. William L. Lane, The Gospel According to Mark (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1975), pp. 15, 16. See Tacitus, Annals, XV, 35–38, 44. 5 5. Ibid., p. 25. [1]Hughes, R. K. (1989). Mark: Jesus, servant and savior (Vol. 1, p. 13). Crossway Books. 6 6. John G. Stackhouse, Jr., “The Gospel Song” (an unpublished parody). [2]MacArthur, J. (2015). Mark 9–16 (pp. 106–107). Moody Publishers. [3]Hughes, R. K. (1989). Mark: Jesus, servant and savior (Vol. 1, pp. 13–19). Crossway Books.
      • Acts 13:13ESV

      • Mark 10:35–41ESV

      • Mark 10:42–45ESV

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