2019-08-25 – Mark 1.12-20 – Being Called Out
2019-08-25 – Mark 1.12-20 – Being Called Out
(QCABA Annual Picnic 7 Sep 11am, Fall Festival Plans?)
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
Franklin Graham has never been shy about his rebellious past. In fact, he often uses his story in sermons while sharing the Gospel around the world. He said, “I believed in God. I just didn’t want Jesus running my life. I wanted to run my own life… But I was miserable”. (From billygraham.org)
As a teen, Franklin was sent to an alternative school in New York. He was later kicked out. Smoking, drinking and defying authority soon became his norm.
“I took pride in my individuality and tried to see how far I could stretch rules before getting reprimanded,” he wrote in his autobiography, “Instead of getting my esteem from achieving within the system, I got my thrills and identity from challenging the system.” But living by his own standards proved to be unfulfilling.
“The more I tried to fill my life with things I thought would make me happy, the more empty I felt inside,” Franklin said while preaching the Gospel in Thailand in November 2013. Despite his father Billy Graham’s dedication to a life of ministry, Franklin knew that wouldn’t get him into heaven. Eventually, he got tired of running from God and gave his life to Christ at age 22. In the book Rebel with a Cause, he wrote about the experience that changed his life:
I realized for the first time that sin had control over my life. And there was absolutely nothing I could do in my own power to overcome it.… I felt I was a Christian. I was the son of Billy Graham, I went to church, and I memorized Scripture. What more did it take? Suddenly, I had an overpowering conviction that I needed to get my life right with God … I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. My years of running and rebellion had ended. … It was finished. The rebel had found the cause.
God called him out, just like He called-out his father Billy before him.
That’s Franklin Graham’s story. What is your story? I surely would love to hear it some day.
The title of today’s message is Being Called Out. Have you ever been “called-out” before? Now there are a lot of different ways one can be called-out. Some are called-out for good reasons and some call-outs can be considered a challenge.
I remember when I was a young child in Detroit, I would get called-out by my mom on occasion as I was running around the neighborhood. It could be embarrassing sometimes for sure, but thankfully most of those were just calls out for me to come to dinner or maybe come in for the night. But its amazing that you can mostly tell by the tone of the one calling if it was for something good or something maybe not so good J.
Please turn in your Bibles to Mark 1:9. Pew Bibles pg 887, in what we call God’s Inspired, Infallible and Living Word, and let us start with Prayer.
We just started last week going through the first paragraphs of the New Testament Gospel book of Mark. So again, who is this Saint Mark? I would suggest that you picture him as an apprentice of Peter, Barnabas and later Paul. He was blessed to witness and serve alongside the other disciples as they started new mission churches all around the world. This book of Mark is considered one of the best authorities of the Gospels, and that is why he deserves our attention as we now make our way forward. Last week we got through the first chapter, verses 1-11, where John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan river. God Himself called-out to Jesus starting at verse 9:
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. 10 As soon as he came up out of the water, he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased.”
God was “well-pleased” with His Son Jesus and we should be well-pleased too. Here we see the three persons of the Trinity, God the Son, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit. This signified the starting of Jesus’s ministry here on earth.
It is a most significant event indeed, and Jesus getting baptized sets a pattern now for us as well, we should choose to be baptized as believers. It is a public profession of our faith, just as it was a public profession of for Jesus some two-thousand years ago. But God called-out to Jesus that day, and indeed He was well pleased. God is also pleased when we turn to Him, in Luke 15:7, Jesus said, “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents”
What we are going to see next here in this book of Mark are some short mentions of significant events in Jesus’s ministry. Like I said last week, this book of Mark is like the Readers Digest condensed version of all that happened to Jesus as he was ministering to our world.
So right after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and then He was called-out by Father God, verse 12 says:
12 Immediately the Spirit drove him into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and the angels were serving him.
Again this is a very brief narrative of what had occurred. The Gospel of Matthew has much more to say about this event. So if you will, please turn with me in your Bibles to Matthew chapter 4, (page 857 in the pew bibles). Mathew wrote:
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 Then the tempter approached him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, had him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: He will give his angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” 7 Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 And he said to him, “I will give you all these things if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and began to serve him.
Matthew’s narrative here clearly shows that Jesus was called-out by Satan in three different temptations: A temptation of Food and Lust of the Flesh;
a temptation for Pride and Power; and a temptation for Wealth and Materialism. These are the same temptations that satan calls us out for today. And I would argue that all the sins of man fall under one of these three categories.
Our Bibles tell us that satan is always on the prowl to see who he can devour. And it is so typical of satan to attack Jesus and mankind right after we choose to start our ministry. As soon as you start making your Christian walk a priority, it is as if satan’s demons put a target on our backs, and they will do anything within their powers to trip us up. Notice also how satan tempted Jesus. He had been fasting in the wilderness for 40 days, then he tempted Jesus at His weakest point with the thing that would be most tempting to partake, food. This is a great lesson for us today. I would propose that when we have the privilege of leading folks to follow Christ, than we should also prepare them for that calling-out by warning them about satan’s schemes. This truly is a holy battle brothers and sisters, and we shouldn’t ever take satan lightly.
The next example of Being Called Out is by Jesus Himself: Mark 1, verse 14 says:
14 After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
So the first thing we see here is that John the Baptist, who was the one that was calling-out to the people in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord, was then arrested for doing so. We know from the other Gospels sadly that John was beheaded for his emboldened and critical statements. Without going into the details today, just know that we too, as we are spreading the Gospel, might also be persecuted as well. Jesus and the disciples later all knew they would be subject to persecution if they continued to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, but they continued anyway.
John the Baptist insisted that the people repent, and now Jesus was insisting upon repentance as well. It was and still is that important. Notice also the explanation point at the end of verse 15; that means Jesus wasn’t just casually sharing the Good News Gospel, He was boldly proclaiming Himself as being the Savior Messiah that the Jews were all waiting for, and He was calling them out in doing so, “Repent and believe the good news!” For those that don’t know yet, the word repent literally means to turn away from or “the act of changing one’s mind.” True biblical repentance goes far beyond remorse, regret, or feeling bad about one’s sin. Repentance in the Bible means to make an about-face, a heart-directed turn away from self to God, from the past to a future ruled by God’s will and acknowledging that He reigns supreme even over our own desires and longings.
Now in verse 16 we will witness the last examples today of Being Called Out:
16 As he passed alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew, Simon’s brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 17 “Follow me,” Jesus told them, “and I will make you fish for people.”18 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 Going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat putting their nets in order.
20 Immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
This was how the first set apostles were “called out” by Jesus. They were specifically chosen for the tasks ahead. These were not “well qualified saints” from the world’s standards, they were not scholars and scribes. They were all instead rough and tumble fishermen, however in God’s eyes they were perfectly qualified for the difficult mission ahead. God knows what and whom they are.
I remember when I first got involved in ministry, I surely didn’t fit the standard from which I thought was expected of a minister. I didn’t grow up in a solid Christian home. I didn’t hardly ever visit a church let alone worship in one. I wasn’t from a house of plenty and I probably figuratively smelled a lot like these fishermen. Many of my friends and family were far from being considered upright and righteous. So ministry work was the farthest thing from my ideas and my goals in life. But then Jesus got a hold of me.. He called me out, and the rest is history. God knows brothers and sister, God knows indeed.
So in these few verses of Mark we read here today, John called-out Jesus;
God called-out Jesus; Satan called-out Jesus; then Jesus called-out the people to repent; and He called-out the Apostles to serve His mission.
You listened also as I presented how Franklin Graham was called-out and he surrendered to Jesus and turned his life around. He now is the President & CEO of both the Billy Graham Evangelical Association and Samaritan's Purse. He is helping and changing lives all around the world. He came here a few years ago and I had the privilege of giving him a big bear hug. The Rebel was called by God and now he has a new life, new purpose and new mission.
Jesus Christ is also calling-out to you and I to also share His Good News message. People need to hear about the hope and joy that only He can bring. Are you willing?
Jesus said according to Matthew 28, said “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Are you ready to do that? Like me and Franklin, I am sure some of you think maybe that Jesus must be calling somebody else, but you are wrong. Jesus is calling you out today dear Christian. Calling you to start living the Born Again, New Creation life He gifted you with the day you accepted His calling.
He wants you to make this Christianity thing real, starting today. Are you willing?
But it all starts with accepting Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord. As John and then Jesus said in these verses today, He wants you to choose Him and Repent.
Would you consider that today?