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Mark Part 1: Opening Statements

The Gospel of Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  40:20
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Introduction
I am going the preach through the book expository which means we will cover every verse of the Gospel, in the order it is written. Expository preaching is the King of preaching styles as it lets the Bible speak, and when we let the Bible speak we are hearing from God. It also helps us to build context, as that is key in Bible interpretation and study.
I am going the preach through the book expository style which means we will cover every verse of the Gospel, in the order it is written. Expository preaching is the King of preaching styles as it lets the Bible speak, and when we let the Bible speak we are hearing from God. It also helps us to build context, as that is key in Bible interpretation and study.
Also as we preach through this book, and you feel like the message on a particular Sunday is directed at you, specifically dealing with what you are going through, you would be tempted to think somebodies told Pastor whats going on in my life, or that Pastor has wrote that message to pick on me. Well when we are going through an entire book expositroily, then as we said, the sermons develop from the course the Bible takes, so you can be in no doubt God is speaking to you when you feel that the sermon is directed at you.
Now, without further ado, let us begin our journey through the Gospel of Mark, which i have entitled “The Matchless Power of The Mighty Miracle Worker”
If you have your Bibles please open them to Marks Gospel Chapter 1 and verse 1, where we the opening statement of the Book.
Mark 1:1 KJV 1900
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
Now at this point in most sermons that are introducing the book of Mark, you will find a portion of time given over to the various thoughts of when Mark was written, some says its the earliest, others say not. Or you may find time taken to discuss wether Matthew and Luke, in their respective Gospel accounts, used Mark as their source.
I’m not going to do that this morning, because here is the simple truth, I don’t care! Now, some of you may be shocked at that, you may have just fallen off your chair even, but let me explain myself.
I don’t care about those things, but I believe with all my heart
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2 Timothy 3:15–16 KJV 1900
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
I believe that God has given us his word and he has preserved his word and that it most accurately translated in the Bible version I have in my hand and that we use in the public ministry of this Church.
I believe that this book is inerrant, authoritative and sufficient for faith and practice of each and every church and each and every believer that walks the earth today and tomorrow.
I believe that this book is the word of God, and that is what I care about. So when the higher critics come in and want to use fancy words, and academic titles and put forward theories about when and who wrote it and this person copied this part and there is another secret document that they used, I say away with !!!!
This is Gods word and thats what really matters.
So, was this Gospel the first Gospel written? I don’t know and I don’t care because its irrelevant. All thats relevant is that is the very word of God and we need to accept it as such and not be distracted by periphery debates about things that don’t matter, what matters is what is contained in this book.
So that said we want to introduce the book this morning, and firstly we want to think about the Author
When we come to the author of this book, given all I have just said i have no problem stating that Mark is the author of this book, and indeed Church history confirms this to us.
Writing at the end of the first century, the early Church father Papias of Hieropolis, tells us Mark was the author and he got his material from the Apostle Peter.
The second century apologist Justin Martyr, also described Marks gospel as the memoirs of Peter.
Now that makes a lot of sense when read through Marks gospel as it is faced paced, its and action Gospel, and Peter was a man of action, indeed impulsive at times, his character is not that of a an that sits about and waits patiently. Remember Peter in John 21, the disciples are meant to be waiting on Christ, but Peter gets impatient
John 21:3 KJV 1900
Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.
The Gospel of Mark emphasises the deeds of Jesus, he presents Jesus as a man and servant of action.
Forty-two times Mark used a Greek adverb euthus, which In English is often translated as ‘immediately’, ‘at once’, and ‘straightway’. Mark wrote his gospel for readers who were impressed with; Power, action and simplicity.
But what about the author, who is this Mark character?
Well his name is actually John Mark, but he is often just called Mark He was a believer in the early church mentioned directly only the book of Acts. To his Jewish name “John” (Johanan, “the gift of God”) was added, according to the custom of the time, the Latin surname “Mark” (Marcus, “a hammer”). This name is interesting when we think of the form of this Gospel and its a rapid fire narrative, bang, bang, bang! impact
Of Mark’s father nothing is known; but his mother, Mary, was evidently a woman of some note among the early disciples at Jerusalem (Acts 12:12).
John Mark is first mentioned in Acts 12
Acts 12:12 KJV 1900
And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.
Here he is mentioned as the son of a woman named Mary , whose house was being used as a place for believers to gather and pray., and its interesting that its this house that Peter goes to after he escapes prison thats to divine intervention.
As we have said Mark material for the gospel comes from Peter and their close relationship is evident
1 Peter 5:13 KJV 1900
The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.
Mark is also the cousin of Barnabas, making him of the tribe of Levi. We gather that information from
Colossians 4:10 KJV 1900
Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)
In Acts 12:52 Mark is mentioned as a companion of Barnabas and Paul during their travels together
Acts 12:25 KJV 1900
And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.
John Mark was a helper on Paul and Barnabas’ first missionary journey
Acts 13:5 KJV 1900
And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.
However, he did not stay through the whole trip. John Mark deserted Paul and Barnabas in Pamphylia and left the work
Acts 15:38 KJV 1900
But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.
The Bible does not say why Mark deserted, but his departure came right after a mostly fruitless time in Cyprus . Only one conversion is recorded in Cyprus, but there had been strong demonic opposition. It’s likely that the young John Mark was discouraged at the hardness of the way and decided to return to the comforts of home.
Now we have all done that at times haven’t we- thrown the towel in! packed up and went home, because of lack of success in our eyes! Listen folks we have to stick at it when it come to the things of God, stand fast and be that good solider you are called to be
Some time later, after Paul and Barnabas are planning a return trip
Acts 15:36 KJV 1900
And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.
No problem says Barnabas, I’m up for that, one condition though
Acts 15:37 KJV 1900
And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.
No way is Paul response
Acts 15:38 KJV 1900
But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.
This get did a runner once before, there is no way he is coming
Acts 15:39–41 KJV 1900
And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.
Barnabas, the “son of encouragement”, desired to forgive John Mark’s failure and to give him another chance. Paul took the more rational view: pioneering missionary work requires dedication, resolve, and endurance.
John Mark sails off to Cyprus with his cousin Barnabas, but that is not the end of his story.
Years later, he is with Paul, who calls him a “fellow worker”
Philemon 24 KJV 1900
Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.
. And near the end of Paul’s life, Paul sends a request to Timothy from a Roman prison:
2 Timothy 4:11 KJV 1900
Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
A few things we can draw out from this:
From the relationship of Paul and Barnabas we can draw an important lesson.
Here were two godly men, loved by the churches, filled with the Spirit, enduring persecution together, seeing people saved, and enjoying an effective ministry.
Yet they were fallible and did not see eye to eye on everything. They quarrelled and parted ways.
Even the best and most faithful among us are prone to the interpersonal conflicts and mistakes. We are all fallen human beings.
Strong leaders and personalities have their flaws
Barnabas had wonderful strengths
he was the son of encouragement, it was Barnabas who contended for Paul when he came on the scene, it was Barnabas that contended for Mark.
Barnabas had a heart for restoration of others to service, he saw past the failure and saw the potential.
Barnabas also had weaknesses
he went a little astray and had to be corrected by Paul
Galatians 2:11–14 KJV 1900
11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
Barnabas’s great strength his love for others, was also the source of his greatest weakness
Paul had wonderful strengths
His love for the truth
Paul had weakness
Sometimes in the desire for truth he left the wounded behind
Mark was eventually restored and became a valuable part of the ministry and indeed the author of a Gospel
Yes he failed but that failure wasn't final.
For those Barnabas’s out there this morning I want to say you are vulnerable to minimising the importance of truth for the sake of relationships, and you have to be guarded against that.
For you Paul’s out there I want to say you are vulnerable to missing the person in the pursuit of truth and you need to be guarded against that.
The ideal path to walk is the balanced path between the two, which means at times you will have to make judgment calls, which do by the word and through the spirit of God within you.
Let’s move now from the author to...
If you think about great books you have read or indeed films you have watched, the initial stages of either medium is crucial. You can be hooked or lost depending on how the opening goes.
When we compare the gospel or Mark to the two it is sandwiched between, Matthew and Luke, we find a very different opening statements.
In Matthew and Luke we have the genealogies, which while essential in relation the theme and target audience of those particular Gospels.
Matthew writing to a Jewish audience presents Jesus as King, and therefore begins detail Christ’s line back to King David.
Luke’s Gospel presents Christ as a Man, therefore the lineage detailed take us back to Adam the first man.
Mark presents to us Christ the servant, and his target audience was gentile believers at Rome, so we don’t have the genealogies as they are not relevant, the message of this Gospel is Christ as the suffering servant.
The keyword in this Gospel is immediately or straightway as we talked about earlier and thats the way the book flows, its fast paced and punchy all the way through.So this fast paced book begins with and announcement, that captures the attention​
So are opening statement from Mark under inspiration of the Holy Spirit is straight in there and what and opening statement it is!!
Mark 1:1 KJV 1900
1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
The word that Mark uses for “gospel” is euangelion. It was used in the Roman world (which so attracted Mark) to announce that a new emperor had ascended the throne. That was supposed to be “good news.”
The Holy Spirit appropriates the word. A long-announced Saviour had come, and that indeed was good news because this Saviour would be both a Sovereign and a Servant.
Mark gives this long-awaited Messiah His proper title—“Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
The Jews needed some good news badly because God had not spoken to them for four hundred years, and terrible years they had been.
It had all come down to the fact that, in Jerusalem, an Edomite monster of a man named Herod the Great sat on the throne of Israel.
The Promised Land itself had dwindled in size and importance to a small and despised province in a vast and alien empire.
Moreover, the land was ruled from Caesarea on the coast, a wholly Roman city. A pagan Roman governor (Pontius Pilate) presided over the local interests of a Gentile emperor (Augustus) in far-off Rome, and the emperor was demanding that divine honours be bestowed on him.
It was all bad news for the Jewish people. Moreover, it was a mystery to them.
Were they not the chosen people?
Was not Palestine the Promised Land?
Why had God been so silent for so long?
Was there to be no end to their sufferings and humiliation?
But good news came at last! The Gospel of Jesus Christ The Son of God
Conclusion
Our Greatest Need If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If your greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist. If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer. But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Saviour
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