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Summary: A call to seek Jesus with passion and believe that he welcomes those who seek him.

Whatever it Takes

Mark 2:1-12

Who am I?

I was talking to a pastor friend on the phone recently and he said listen to this – ‘who is this denomination? See if you can guess.

I am a newly formed denomination that has been in existence for a few decades. We came out of the mainstream church because we didn’t believe there was enough emphasis on being ‘born again by God’s spirit’. Our leadership is young (late 20’s – 30’s) and we are working on the cutting edge of ministry. At our leaders meetings we make decisions that require big steps of faith. We emphasise in our teaching the work of the Holy Spirit more than any other denomination in our time. Most mainline churches are suspicious of us and believe we are almost cultish. Its true that some of our churches have gone too extreme, but we are not deterred by this. We push on because we are reaching people for Jesus faster than any other denomination of our time

Who am I?… I am the Baptist church… of the 16th century – I am the first generation of the Baptist movement. Wow!!!! Does that sound like us now? Something changed somewhere didn’t it!

As I read that I thought its like discovering that your dad who works 9-5 at the office and wears a suit used to play centre half forward in AFL football – its almost like discovering that Clarke Kent really is superman!

That’s an exciting picture and yet we would have to say that most of our churches don’t look so much like that any more. Now I’m a baptist with a small ‘b’ – I don’t place a high priority on the name tag that hangs above the door. But that excites me that those things could define the Baptist church – that the Baptist church could be so dynamic – and we did have our roots in non-conformity and adventurous faith and passionate evangelism.

I said to him send that to me – I love that – so he did and the note accompanying the screed said this ‘its ironic that conservatives say we are becoming ‘less’ Baptist by changing. In fact conservatism is an indication we became less Baptist a long time ago.’ Quite true!!!

I have a pretty strong feeling that the church just described is a wee bit closer to the picture that Jesus might have had in mind than much of what we see in Baptist churches today.

A movement that challenges the status quo – that isn’t content just to exist

A movement that is working on the cutting edge of ministry – innovative and risk taking.

A movement where the leaders make decisions that require big steps of faith – where there is a big picture of God.

A movement that emphasises the work of the Holy Spirit and his power.

A movement that is reaching people for Jesus faster than any other denomination of the time.

I want to be part of something like that! A vibrant and faith filled movement that is effective in reaching people with the gospel. I think we all want to be a part of that kind of church. And yet that kind of a church will be a challenge to us and a constant stretch for all of us. It won’t be a comfortable cosy place where all is familiar.

Bible Reading

Two weeks ago after I had finished preaching about the issue of repentance and what it meant, I was sitting at home reflecting on where to go next. Normally I have an idea I want to communicate and then I go from there. And I had a few ideas – but I actually felt God directing me to a particular story in the book of Mark and I started to wonder why???

And it wouldn’t leave me. I felt God was saying ‘preach on this’. It’s a really exciting and intriguing story and its one where I can see now where God wants to speak to us. I think it’s a story that might have excited those early Baptists – it smells like the kind of people they were.

Its in Mark Ch 2.

(Mark 2:1-12 NIV) A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. {2} So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.

Luke adds importantly – Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. So Jesus had a pretty tough crowd to speak to!

{3} Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. {4} Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralysed man was lying on. {5} When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." {6} Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, {7} "Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" {8} Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things? {9} Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ’Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ’Get up, take your mat and walk’? {10} But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . ." He said to the paralytic, {11} "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." {12} He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"

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