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Summary: Jesus proclaimed a radical message, applied a reliable method and created a remarkable ministry. It requires commitment from His disciples.

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Mark 1:14-20

Answering the Call

Believers are called to serve. Once our salvation is secure in Christ, we become His body on earth. We serve Him because of His grace which has been freely given. Occasionally, our messages are unclear. Consider the following:

Introduction – Answer Machine Messages

A College student had the following message on his dorm answering machine: "Hi! This is Fred. If it's the phone company, I sent the money. If it's Mom or Dad, please send money. If it's the financial office, you didn't loan me enough money. If it's my girlfriend, leave a message-- and don’t worry, I've got plenty of money!”

John the Baptist and Jesus left no doubt what the message was. Their message was clear. They…

…Proclaimed a Radical Message 14-15

It was a radical message because it called for people to forsake their sin in repentance. They were to live lives in obedience to the Father.

For John and Jesus it was not an Unusual message!

It was a call to repent! It had nothing to do with religious stuff! They were to acknowledge their sinfulness and trust Him by faith.

To the people it was an Uncomfortable message!

There was both an inward and upward look. It was inward because people had to understand who they were in God’s eyes. It was an upward look because only He could redeem them. They had to experience a changed life!

It was also an Unattractive message!

For man, it was not the norm. Man wants to do it on their own. As Frank Sinatra sang, “I did it MY way!” We don’t like to think we have to rely upon someone else. Yet, our reconciliation to God comes only through trusting Jesus Christ.

Finally, we note it was an Unmistakable message!

There were people who did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. Scriptures tell us that even the demons knew Jesus was God. “For they knew that He was the Christ” Luke 4:41. Jesus knew who He was. He knew His purpose. He came to seek and save those who are lost. “For this purpose I have been sent” Luke 4:42-44

Illustration – Will Smith Equates Bible & Scientology

Will Smith conquered space aliens in "Independence Day," and now he apparently believes they are real.

Smith admits in the issue of Men’s Vogue on sale Tuesday that he has studied Scientology with Tom Cruise and doesn’t disagree with its basic tenets.

In doing so, he finally "comes out," joining Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and a handful of other Hollywood types in their devotion to this controversial religion.

For a long time, Smith has denied joining the Church of Scientology with his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, explaining that it would go against the beliefs of his late grandmother. But for some time, insiders in Hollywood have insisted the Smiths were, indeed, brought in by Cruise.

Smith concedes that his kids are being home-schooled, just as are those of Cruise, Travolta and other Scientologists.

In the article, Smith refers to "Thetans," who are space aliens in the vernacular of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

"... in all of the experiences I’ve had with Tom and Scientology, like 98 percent of the principles are identical to the principles of the Bible," Smith tells Men’s Vogue writer Hudson Morgan.

"The Bible says, 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' And you know, there’s a Scientology principle: 'Do not create experiences for others that they cannot comfortably perceive.'"

He continues: "The Bible talks about your spirit being immortal, that you were created for existence beyond your physical body. Well, that’s no different from Scientology. I don’t think that because the word someone uses for 'spirit' is 'thetan' that the definition becomes any different."

I have a feeling that clergy and practitioners of both the New and Old Testament might take umbrage with that idea. Scientology is considered a dangerous cult in some countries, including Germany.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

There are strange doctrines in the world today. One can believe in “Thetans” and be considered normal but to believe that Jesus is the Messiah…

When Jesus called His disciples He…

Applied a Reliable Method 16-17

Jesus met the people right where they were but He radically changed their lives. He did that by doing four reliable methods.

First, we discover that His method was Personal.

Jesus went one-on-one with people. He treated them as an individual. They were not treated as an object or number. He was real and relevant to them.

One thing which seems to be missing from ministry today is the personal touch. Churches are pursuing ranchers or CEO’s rather than pastors or shepherds. Jesus was and is a personal shepherd to His people.

Second, we note that His method was Practical.

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