Summary: Sometimes people fail to respond to God's word because they simply don't understand.
The Book of Mark
A. Last week we discussed the tragic consequence of someone who refuses to believe and heed God’s word.
B. It starts by not believing and can ultimately end in judicial blindness
1. The unbelief we were confronted with last week was a settled refusal to acknowledge and believe God’s word (Jesus) which ultimately manifests itself after the resurrection Matt.28.
2. Voltaire: --- "I am abandoned by God and man; I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months' life." (He said this to Dr. Fochin, who told him it could not be done.) "Then I shall die and go to hell!"
C. The other half of our passage deals with a different kind of unbelief or spiritual blindness as illustrated by the disciples.
1. This is a temporary thing.
2. It can be treated and is cured by a deeper understanding of God’s word.
D. We need to make a distinction between doubt and the kind of unbelief that was expressed by the Pharisees.
1. Doubt happens when we fail to trust in God’s word.
2. All of us have experienced doubt at some point in our walk.
3. Henry Drummond made this observation with regard to doubt and unbelief “Christ never failed to distinguish between doubt and unbelief. Doubt is can’t believe; unbelief is won’t believe. Doubt is honest; unbelief is obstinacy. Doubt is looking for light; unbelief is content with darkness. Loving darkness rather than light—that is what Christ attacked and attacked unsparingly. But for the intellectual questioning of Thomas, and Philip, and Nicodemus, and the many others who came to Him to have their great problems solved, He was respectful and generous and tolerant.”
4. The same is true for people who are dull in their understanding as the disciples are here.
5. There is no question that they were committed followers of Christ.
II. Curable unbelief: blindness caused by lack of understanding.
A. A warning.
1. In vs.12 Mark sets up the conversation that follows.
2. He gives us insight into the mindset of the disciples.
a) They have been with Him continually for many months now.
(1) Observing His works.
(2) Listening to His teaching.
(3) Being taught personally by Him as He clearly explained his teachings.
b) But some how they had failed to internalize it all.
c) They were sincere hearers of the word but had up to this point failed to internalize it.
(1) As a result they were Dull in their faith.
(2) As a consequence when Jesus began to warn them about the influence of the religionists and secularists they didn’t make the connection.
(3) Instead they were thinking about eating.
3. He charged them, take heed, beware.
a) These three words together define the seriousness of the warning that follows.
b) Charged =
(2) It is imperfect in tense meaning that it was not just a one time command it had continuing action.
(3) He kept charging them.
(4) An indication of how serious the matter was.
c) Take heed, beware.
(1) Take heed.
(a) Pay attention –
(b) Lit.; to become acquainted with something by experience.
(a) To see with the mind’s eye.
(b) Consider what you observe.
d) Both are present imperative = be constantly paying attention and considering what you are presented with.
e) In this particular case it has to do with the actions and teachings of the unbelieving people He had just spoken with on the other side vs.13.
4. The leaven etc.
a) Leven is used in baking to react with dough to make it rise.
(1) It is a fermenting agent.
(2) Its purpose is to permeate the dough and react with it.
b) Leaven in and of itself is not bad.
(1) Jesus refers to the Kingdom of God being like leaven in bread Matt.13:33.
(2) The Kingdom will one day fill the whole world.
(3) The influence of the Gospel is far reaching.
(4) The corrupting leaven of the Pharisees and Herodians is another matter all together.
c) Jesus is referring to the influence exerted by these people.
(1) It was insidious.
(2) It was destructive.
(3) It ultimately will lead to the total corruption of the people who associate themselves with them.
d) Col.2:8. Beware lest anyone take you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
(1) Paul is making the same point that Jesus was.
(2) These people were attempting to take Paul’s readers captive to their false doctrine whether it is religious liberalism, legalism or secular thinking.
e) If we fail to understand and believe God’s word we will be influenced by them 1Pet.3:13-15.