Summary: A surrendered heart stands in contrast to one that is stiffnecked and resistant to Divine authority.
The Virtuous Kingdom: Evidence of the Reign of God in the Human Heart
The Virtue of Lordship
Sermon Objective: A surrendered heart stands in contrast to one that is stiffnecked and resistant to Divine authority.
We have been looking at Mark chapter 11 for the past few weeks. We have chosen to look at it from specific vantage points … to look at some of the Kingdom virtues God has imparted to the believer. The chapter shows our sovereign King making His way into his Holy City and temple for an official inspection. In doing so, He declares His reign.
“The Virtuous Kingdom: Evidence of the Reign of God in the Human Heart” is an appropriate title for such an event.
We have looked at five virtues already.
† In verses 11:1-11 we discovered the power and importance of living a lifestyle of worship
† In 11:15-17 we praised God for the great gift of prayer. There are so few parameters with prayer and so many blessings! We dare not neglect such a privilege.
† In 11:12-14 & 20-21 we sensed the need to take spiritual inventory and make sure that our spiritual fruit gives evidence of spiritual life.
† In 11:20-24 we discovered the power of living by faith. Trusting God to guide us brings strength, hope, and victory that faulty objects of faith cannot produce.
† In 11:25 we discovered God’s reigning grace compels and empowers us to forgive one another.
This is our final virtue … today we will look at Mark 11:27-33:
27They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. 28"By what authority are you doing these things?" they asked. "And who gave you authority to do this?"
29Jesus replied, "I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 30John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or from men? Tell me!"
31They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say, ’From heaven,’ he will ask, ’Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32But if we say, ’From men’...." (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)
33So they answered Jesus, "We don’t know." Jesus said, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things."
Vickie and I were visiting my daughter and son-in-law in Ithaca a few weeks back. I am an early riser so instead of disturbing everyone I slipped out of the house, found a small diner at the top of the hill, and had breakfast. I got there before the newspapers arrived. In fact, I got there before anyone arrived.
The waitress told me to set where ever I’d like so I found a table where I could look down the mountain at the lake, sat with my back to the wall, and just reflected, drank coffee, and waited for breakfast to arrive.
Soon others began to come in. As first I didn’t notice or pay attention.
Then I noticed an entire table of people staring at me. It was quite uncomfortable. I looked at each one, gave them a frown so they’d know I noticed, and looked back toward the lake.
"What are they looking at me for!?" I wondered with intense introspection, fear, and even anger. "What is so interesting that an entire table would turn and stare at me so rudely!?" It was very unpleasant and made me very self-conscious.
Then I saw two more people, at another table, doing it.
Same insecurities, questions, and anger.
I was almost at a place where I was going to just leave! "Maybe I didn’t belong here! Maybe they reserved the room or this was their place for early Saturday morning and I was intruding." All sorts of things like this flooded my mind.
Then ... THEN … I got another thought ... slowly I turned around and looked up and there it was right above my head on the wall ... it was a chalk board with all the specials of the day on it!
It wasn’t about me at all! But I sure thought it was. I thought I was the special of the day! But I wasn’t. They weren’t even paying attention to me.
There is something about that story that informs us about God’s authority. You see, in the final summation, life is about serving the living and loving God. It is about submitting to His authority not our own. Too many times we make ourselves out to be the “special of the day.” But it really isn’t about you.
When we view ourselves differently it changes the entire view of the situation at hand.