Sermons

Summary: A life that pleases God is characterized by an intimate a close connection to Jesus.

Mushrooms or Maple Trees:

Spiritual Growth as God Intended

Sermon #4

Sermon Objective: A life that pleases God is characterized by an intimate a close connection to Jesus.

PRE-SERVICE INTRO

We are in a sermon series called Mushrooms and Maple Trees. Mushrooms sprout up overnight and then wither away in a matter of days. Maple trees, on the other hand, grow gradually while learning to withstand the forces of nature that threaten their existence. They result in a majestic fruit bearing entity that lasts for generations.

So it is with people who follow Christ. Unfortunately some, wither away very rapidly; but others grow deep and strong and produce the fruit of life that God designed for them.

In chapter 8 and 9 of Mark we are discovering elements of a Christ-follower that produce this depth and substance to life.

Just as Jesus was preparing and grooming the first disciples to be Maple Trees so we will discover that as we apply the lessons to our lives we, too, will grow in kind. Maple Tree style followers live lives that please God.

In past weeks we discovered that a life that pleases God is:

A life that pleases God is:

1. A life that follows Him Personally (8:27-33)

2. A life that follows Him in Full Surrender (8:34-38)

3. A life that follows Him in Obedience (9:1-8)

Today we will discover that a life that pleases God is a LIFE THAT FOLLOWS HIM IN CLOSE CONNECTION (9:14-29, NIV)

Mk 9:14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them.

Mk 9:15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.

Mk 9:16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.

Mk 9:17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.

Mk 9:18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

Mk 9:19 “O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

Mk 9:20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

Mk 9:21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered.

Mk 9:22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

Mk 9:23 “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

Mk 9:24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

Mk 9:25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil 31 spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

Mk 9:26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.”

Mk 9:27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

Mk 9:28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

Mk 9:29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer. ’”

SERMON INTRODUCTION

(Special thanks to Larry Brincefield of Belleview Church of the Nazarene for the sermon and intro idea)

This news story snippet will be familiar to you:

August 15, 2003

“Power outage hits Northeast”

The largest power blackout in U.S. history rolled across a vast swath of the northern United States as well as southern Canada on Thursday, driving millions of people outdoors into stifling rush hour streets — then darkness. New Yorkers escaped silenced subways. Nuclear power plants in four states shut down.

The blackouts started shortly after 4 p.m. EDT, engulfing most of New York State and nearby parts of New England, and spreading west to Ohio and Michigan. In Toronto, Canada’s largest city, workers fled their buildings when the power went off. There also were widespread outages in Ottawa, the capital.

Outages ranged over an area with roughly 50 million people.

Nine nuclear power reactors — six in New York and one each in New Jersey, Ohio and Michigan — reported they were shut down because of the loss of offsite power, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Bethesda, Md.

You lived through that blackout. You know its impact personally.

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