Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Jesus earthly ministry shifted into a different realm when he went past meeting the needs of the flesh to forgiving the sins of men. Suddenly he wasn’t just another Rabbi, because only God could forgive sins.

The True Purpose of Ministry

By Pastor Jim May

Jesus was just beginning his earthly ministry. To recap what has been happening in the first chapter of Mark, He had walked along the seashore and called Simon Peter and Andrew, his brother, as they were casting their nets into the sea and they cast aside their nets and became Jesus’ first two disciples. A little further down the beach Jesus saw two more fishermen. They may have been arguing or at least making a commotion as they were repairing their nets. Perhaps they were arguing over whose fault it was that the nets were torn, or how to repair them. Regardless of what was going on, they caught the attention of Jesus and he called them to lay down the net and come with him and become fishers of men. The “Sons of Thunder” laid down their nets, left their father and servants behind, and became the disciples of Christ.

Jesus then went into the synagogue and began to teach the scriptures and there he came into contact with the powers of hell. But Jesus was no stranger to Satan’s domain. He was there when Satan was created and made into the most beautiful and talented angel in Heaven. And Jesus was there when pride entered into Satan’s heart and he rebelled against God. Jesus was there when the army of the Lord conquered Satan and Jesus was there when Lucifer was cast him out of Heaven down to the earth and condemned for eternal punishment.

Jesus was there when Satan’s plans to kill him were stopped at the time of his birth into this world in that little town of Bethlehem. Jesus encountered the powers of hell time and again, even when he was baptized in the River Jordan, and then led into the wilderness for 40 days, he was tempted every step of the way by the Devil and his unholy angels.

No man on earth had ever faced Satan in the fashion that Jesus did. Jesus knew the power that Satan had because he had given those powers to him in the first place. He knew every single one of the fallen angels by name because he had given them each a name at the time of their creation in ages past. Jesus is very God, eternally existent, Alpha and Omega, beginning and the end, from everlasting to everlasting. Satan and his demons are not eternal, but created beings, with eternal existence after their creation. But their power is limited by God. Our all-knowing God knew that those being which he created could never be trusted to be ever faithful and so he limited their power so they could remain controlled.

Jesus now faced the powers of hell right in the synagogue. Don’t ever think that Satan doesn’t go to church. In fact, the church is where he prefers to hang out the most. Chances are that Lucifer, or one or more of his demons, are right here in this service right now, just waiting and watching to see who they can influence enough to hinder the move of the Holy Ghost in our midst. There is no place on earth where the devil can do more damage to the Kingdom of God and to the spread of the gospel than right here in the midst of God’s own people. If he can just get one disgruntled or unfaithful Christian to side with him and allow the devil to control them even for a little while, it won’t be long before there’s big trouble in the church. That’s why Paul warns us in Ephesians 6:14-18 to always be clothed in the full armor of God, that you have on the helmet of salvation to guard your thinking; the breastplate of righteousness to guard your heart; having truth around you holding your armor together so that no false doctrine can turn you away; with your feet ready to teach, witness and obey the gospel and to keep peace no matter what happens. Keep your faith strong and the Word of God in your heart. Be in an attitude of prayer and worship, and watch for every trick of the devil, praying for one another all the time.

Ephesians 6:12, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

I’ve never been to a church where there wasn’t an argument sooner or later. Most of the time, thank the Lord, we can settle our differences and go on to serve the Lord and love one another through it all, coming out stronger on the other side. But sometimes, those who are operating under Satan’s control won’t give up so easily. The arguments escalate into all-out warfare. Hurt feelings abound, gossip and words are spoken that hurt deeply and are not soon forgotten, and unless there is repentance, a church split is soon to come.

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