Summary: Two part sermon on Mark 5:35-39 that deals with drawing close to Jesus and dealing with the storms of life that come with a life of discipleship.
Scripture: Mark 4:35-39
Proposition - Sermon 1 of 2
Steps to drawing close to Jesus - obedience, separation and invitation.
Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus!
In the COTN hymnal, Sing to the Lord, there is a selection of songs dedicated to sharing the message of Sanctifying Grace. These songs begin with hymn # 455 (Take My Life, and Let It be Consecrated by Francis R. Havergal) and go all the way to hymn #498 (More About Jesus by Eliza E. Hewitt). Forty-one songs are dedicated to sharing what it means to desire, pray and experience a consecrated sanctified life in Christ Jesus. Listen to the titles of some of those songs and you will quickly understand why they have been placed in this section:
I'd Rather Have Jesus
Lord, Be Glorified
Be Thou My Vision
I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
I Am Thine, O Lord
Where He Leads, I'll Follow
I Surrender All
Each of these songs are dedicated to sharing what it means to Born Again and baptized with the Holy Spirit. They share with us what it means to be a genuine human being1 living out a sanctifying life here on earth. I challenge you this week to look over some of these songs and you will experience inspiration as well as enlightenment. Allow their words to speak to you soul and you will discover new ways to deepen your own walk with the LORD. These songs are more than just words put to music. They are words of inspired theology that have been partnered with beautiful music. Each song has been written to enable us to praise God and experience transformation as we sing them and make them our own.
Our passage here in chapter four of Mark's Gospel is dedicated to teaching us how to live a life of discipleship, namely, a life of sanctification and consecration. Mark's goal for us in reading his gospel is for us to be born again, that is, to experience redemption, renewal of heart and soul and to be restored to God's original plan for human beings.
Mark started writing his gospel at a very pivotal time in Early Church history. Approximately forty years had transpired since the Day of Pentecost. In that time span, the Church had experienced incredible growth. People were coming to faith from all avenues of life. The message of Jesus was beginning to be spread all over the world and the church entering into its second generation of disciples and leaders.
The Holy Spirit was working through the ministries of Peter, Paul and the rest of the Apostles to share the message of true salvation. All across the Middle East and the Roman Empire people were discovering the truth of what it meant to be a genuine human being through Jesus Christ. Lives were being transformed and people were experiencing the baptismal fire of the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God was coming to pass here on planet Earth.
All over the capital city of Rome, the message of Jesus was being preached and received with open hearts and minds. Soldiers, political leaders and leading citizens were being drawn to Jesus' message of redemption, renewal and restoration. Jesus' Great Commission was coming to pass as the world was being transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Mark was writing in the midst of all this excitement and evangelism. As stated, his mentor and friend, St. Peter was starting small disciple groups all over Rome and surrounding cities. The Apostle Paul was writing and sending his letters to assist the young Roman Christians in their faith walk. Paul was looking forward to coming to Rome to do his part in preaching and teaching. Everything was progressing at an amazing rate. The Gospel of Jesus was on the march and it looked like nothing could stop the advance of the message of Jesus and the coming of the Kingdom of God.
However, the Early Church also understood that the Devil would stir up trouble. Every time the Church of Jesus advanced they also began to experience demonic attack. It was no different at the time of Mark writing his gospel. The Devil began doing his best to stop the message of Jesus. We see that there arose some stiff opposition to the advance work of the Early Church. Priests and worshippers of the old pagan gods began to protest the sharing of the message of Jesus. They did not want their fellow Romans to hear about Jesus' love, grace and mercy. They did not want them to hear about Jesus death and resurrection and the baptismal fires of the Holy Spirit.
Rome was headquarters to an overabundance of polytheistic, pantheistic and animistic faiths and worship. All around the city there were temples and buildings dedicated to all kinds of gods and goddesses. One could easy find a temple dedicated to the worship of Zeus, Hera, Athena, Minerva, Mars, Jupiter and Venus. In fact, historians tell us that more than 20 different gods at one time had major congregations and temples in Rome. Sacrifices of bulls, cows, pigs and sheep were a common sight all around the capital city. Rome was seen as one of the most religious cities of the ancient world.