Summary: consequences of what happens when we model ourselves after Jesus in seeking the good of others.

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Note: This sermon was introduced with scenes 12 & 13 of "Traveling Light"

Jesus pursued the good of other people. He did it in his healings; he did it in his teachings. Jesus poured his life into the lives of others. Ultimately Jesus pursued our good by dying in our place, taking upon himself the full weight of our sins. Jesus lived his entire life for the good of other people.

And if you become a follower of Jesus, you’ll find yourself pursuing the good of others too. In fact Life Bible Fellowship Church’s mission statement says that we exist to help unchurched people discover a relationship with Christ and to help Christians grow into full devotion, so they love God and other people. Helping you love other people means helping you pursue other people’s good as you live your life.

Christians use different words we use to describe this process. Sometimes we call it "ministry," "service," or "outreach." Whatever we call it, following Jesus means being like Jesus in this respect.

Pursuing the good of others is what happens when a Christian sees a coworker who’s beaten down because she’s going through a painful divorce. So the Christian offers a word of reassurance, a hand on the shoulder, an encouragement that God can bring hope to their hopeless situation.

It’s what happens when a Christian student notices that his teacher is discouraged because the students don’t seem to be learning. So this student stays after class to let his teacher know how much he appreciates the teacher’s effort. In fact, a few years ago we saw a junior high science teacher come to faith in Christ through her Christian students. That’s pursuing other people’s good.

Christians pursue the good of others in a variety of ways. We do it through our giving, sharing of our resources to help other people. We do it by starting ministries like orphanages, hospitals, and hospices for AIDS victims. We do it through our words, as we share the hope we have in Jesus Christ with others gently and compassionately. Whether you call it ministry, service, or outreach, the bottom line is that following Jesus changes our relationships with other people. Jesus pursued the good of others, and if you hang around Jesus long enough, you will too.

We’ve been in a series based on the New Testament book of Mark called Following Jesus in the Real World. Last week Pastor Bruce did a wonderful job talking about how Jesus creates all things new. Today we’re going to talk about pursuing the good of other people. Today’s message is going to center around three different scenes: A synagogue, a lakeside, and a mountaintop. In these three scenes we’re going to find out what happens when we pursue the good of other people.

1. The Synagogue (Mark 3:1-6)

The first scene occurs back in the synagogue of Capernaum in vv. 1-6. This is the second time we’ve read about Jesus doing a miracle in this synagogue. I mentioned a few weeks ago that archeologists have actually unearthed this synagogue.

The fact that this miracle takes place in a synagogue on the Sabbath day clues us in on the fact that the setting for this first scene is a worship setting. Going to the synagogue on the Sabbath was the rough equivalent of us going to church on Saturday or Sunday.

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