Well...I'm back after a brief hiatus and time of travel as I recently watched my son, Jason - at FSU, swim in his college conference championship. It's good to be back!
This next episode from our systematic study of the Gospel of Mark challenges us to consider our public witness. The world tries to squash the voices of those who follow Jesus. We are told to be quiet and not impose our values or beliefs on our culture. (Of course, the world is asking us to do something they will not offer us...we call that hypocrisy.) So the world says, "Religion and politics should not mix" or "Eternal life is a myth" or "Every path leads to God...whatever works for you is just fine" or you can name your own, and they demand that Christians remain silent and not respond.
Well, Jesus has another thought...hear what it is by listening to this message.
I hope and pray the Holy Spirit touches your heart through this message. May God bless you as you respond. - KM
Fallacy 1 – Religion and Politics should not mix.
ILL: Danbury Baptist and Thomas Jefferson
· Separation of Church and State was for the safety of the Church from State interference…
…not safeguard for the State from theocracy.
** So...the notion of the separation of Church and State, as applied today, is a complete doctrine of revisionist history wherein the "facts" are completely misinterpreted and misapplied.
Mark 12:17 – Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
** See…Pharisees and Herodians hoping people reject Jesus’ teaching…
…Romans were oppressors…Caesar claimed to be God…
** But they forgot what Paul reminds us – that every authority on earth is set up by God for his purposes.
Romans 13:1 – “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.”
Truth: Faithful Christians make great patriots.
Recap: Jesus rejects the notion that Religion and Politics should not mix… rather, believers are to show their faith by being faithful citizens.
Fallacy 2 – Eternal life is a myth.
** Sadducees were the Biblical version of Fatalists today…
…life stops when we take our last breath on Earth.
…did NOT believe in Resurrection
…but willing to twist/compromise own beliefs to satisfy their agendas.
Note: As if they were willing to say anything to stay in power/catch Jesus/satisfy their own agenda.
** But Jesus would have NONE of their gamesmanship – brings them back to Biblical truth:
Mark 12:26-27 – Have you not read in the book of Moses… how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!
Point: Jesus is the author/creator of eternal life…
…telling him how eternity works is like telling Bill Gates how Windows works.
Truth: Anyone who has ever lived on earth, will live in eternity.
Note: The question is, “Where will when we enter eternity?”
1. in the Presence of God (i.e. Heaven)
2. apart from the presence of God (i.e.: Hell)
Recap: Eternal Life is no Myth…
…which is what makes the third vignette/fallacy/truth so important.
Fallacy 3 – Any path leads to eternal life.
** So, in our reading today, a scribe/teacher approaches Jesus with an apparently more HONEST/GENUINE question:
“Which is the most important Commandment?”
** Jesus said, “To love God with all you are… And the second is like it – to love neighbor.”
** The teacher did not fight Jesus, but affirmed the answer…
…but then Jesus says an interesting thing -
Mark 12:34 – When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
Point: Teacher, like most in Israel, was trusting obedience to the Law for his salvation…
…but Jesus knew his heart was on the right path…
…so he encouraged him to keep seeking God on that path.
App: Sadly… In today’s world, people would say about this encounter, “Well…who are you, Jesus, to question this man’s salvation? Who are you to judge someone else?”
Note: We live in a world that believes, “Whatever works for you is fine…whatever works for me is fine”
Problem is… how do you know it works?
Truth: The prescribed path to heaven is through Jesus.
John 14:6 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
** Our world is not that much different than Jesus’ world…
…we have the Skeptics and the Seekers, too.
App: Yet…who is God using to dispel the Fallacies and declare the truth in our world today? - if it is not you and me?
** Earlier…mentioned Mark Burnett and Roma Downey – “Son of God” movie
** Wonder…how might God call us to take a stand?
Note: I cannot make a movie…but I can speak up when the opportunity arises.
App: Be a public Christian…
…don’t give into the world’s demand to remain silent if you are a Jesus follower…
…rather… live a fully integrated live where…
1. Faith and Life fully Mix…
2. we share with seekers the way to eternal life…