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Summary: God’s love should lead us to serve Him. Or are we just faking it?

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Wearing or Bearing The Cross

January 25, 2009

Mark 1:14-20

14After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15He said, “The time has come, the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

16As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.

17Jesus said, "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." 18At once they left their nets and followed him.

19When He had gone a little farther, He saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20Without delay He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed Him.

How would you describe a color to someone who had been blind since birth? Have you ever tried to describe a color to someone?

SLIDE -

What can you say about BLUE or RED or GREEN or a host of other colors to someone who has no concept of color, of bright, light or dark?

You would have to use examples from the senses the blind person did have - touch, smell sound, and taste.

And it can be pretty tricky, because two people may describe a color in 2 very different and unique ways. For example, we can describe BLUE as being cold. Isn’t that how BLUE is designated on faucets? Yet, you can also describe BLUE as a beautiful cloudless day. Or you can say BLUE is the color of depression, as when we say “someone is feeling blue.”

It’s not quite so easy.

Let’s try RED. We can say RED is the color of heat. A fire is RED, we can even say love is RED. But RED is also the color of blood and on the one hand blood is life giving, but blood can also be associated with pain.

YELLOW can be sharp and pungent, as we describe the taste of mustard. Yet, the sun warming you is also YELLOW. A flower can be a beautiful YELLOW.

PURPLE may remind you of a black and blue mark, which turns PURPLE; and is painful. But PURPLE is also the color of royalty and honor.

ORANGE is a sweet tasting fruit, and it also is the sun warming your face.

Explaining colors to the blind may seem next to impossible, and that seems to mirror the mission of the church as we seek to describe the mission and message of Jesus.

How could Jesus communicate the amazing depth of His love to human hearts?

How could Jesus present the fullness of time to a world broken into days, hours, minutes, seconds?

How could Jesus get His message across to people of different colors and cultures . . . to nations at war, fractured communities, not to mention broken families?

To get His message across Jesus preached and taught about “the kingdom of God.” The first-century world understood the concept of “kingship” all too well. Nations were ruled by kings, and kings were absolute authority figures with unquestioned control over their subjects. The Old Testament refers to the kingship of God more than any other divine quality. Israel was God’s first kingdom, and in a future day, all the nations will recognize God’s kingship and will bow down before Him.

So when Jesus spoke of the “kingdom of God” his audience, especially the Torah-learned Jews, thought they knew what he was talking about. A new kingdom which will begin on earth, more specifically in Jerusalem, as the Jews would defeat their Roman persecutors and rule this part of the world. That was their expectation of what it meant for the inauguration of the kingdom of God.

But surprise, they didn’t get Jesus’ point.

Jesus was not talking about establishing a place with borders, a kind of divine fiefdom. The kingdom of God wasn’t a political pie-in-the-sky, utopian dream-scape . . .

It was a new world reality in which people served one another because of the love they received from God and gave back to God.

Jesus spoke about a new kingdom, one that would change each individual who came into the gates of this kingdom, one that would radically change the world. It would be a new world because the person who walked in would not be the same person who walked out.

SLIDE - Remember the words of 2 Corinthians 5:17, when Paul said, “if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation, the old is gone and the new has come.”

This is an important passage for us to understand, because when you break it apart, Paul is telling us when the old is gone, it points to a definite place and time when the old stopped. But when Paul talks about the new has come, he is talking about a newness that never grows old or outdated, it is a newness that is everlastingly new. Do you get that?

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