2019-10-06 – Mark 3.7-21 – The Crowd, the Disciples and the Appointed
Bible Text: Mark 3:7-21 | Preacher: Pastor Jerry Higdon | Series: Mark | 2019-10-06 – Mark 3.7-21 – The Crowd, the Disciples and the Appointed
(NISBY, Creation Science, QCABA Annual Meeting, Show Video)
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.
As you might derive from the title of today’s message, The Crowd, the Disciples and the Appointed, today in scripture we are going to see that there are really three different classes of church attenders. There is the crowd, who are basically onlookers or casual attenders. There are the church members, or body of believers, and then there are the ones who are specifically Called-out or Appointed for service to the church and to the Lord. So the question is: Which one are you? As we go through these next verses from the Gospel book of Mark and talk about the subject, I invite you to consider what position you have within the church. Are you a casual believer? Are you an involved and connected church member? Or do you feel maybe that God is calling you to be a more vital instrument for His plan and glory?
Please turn in your Bibles to Mark 3.7, pew Bibles pg 889 in God’s Inspired, Infallible and Living Word, but let us first start with Prayer.
Last week we completed a short series on the topic of Religion or Relationship in regards to our faith walk. The Pharisees were again attempting to enforce their self-made religious practices upon the followers of Jesus. We addressed the subjects of Fasting and the Sabbath. Jesus was radical in His overt display of compassion for the people, and the Jewish authorities didn’t know how to contain Him. Our last weeks verses ended at verse 6 of the third chapter of Mark, where it says “Immediately the Pharisees went out and started plotting with the Herodians against him, how they might kill him”. They were angered and insulted at how Jesus had made a mockery of their religious practices and ideas.
Now continuing at verse 7, Mark wrote:
7 Jesus departed with his disciples to the sea, and a large crowd followed from Galilee, and a large crowd followed from Judea, 8 Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and around Tyre and Sidon. The large crowd came to him because they heard about everything he was doing. 9 Then he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, so that the crowd wouldn’t crush him. 10 Since he had healed many, all who had diseases were pressing toward him to touch him. 11 Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God!” 12 And he would strongly warn them not to make him known.
So after a busy ministry, Jesus decides to go to the sea. We know from the previous verses that the synagogue was getting crowded and He was probably drained from all the healings and debates with the people, so Jesus decided to get away for a time to perhaps regroup and relax. Jesus was God in the flesh but He was also human and He needed rest. We all need to rest from our labor at times, Amen? When I worked at John Deere, there was a term we used a lot called “Work Life Balance”. The idea is that the successful employee or manager would maintain a good work-life balance. It was good for the person and it was good for the company. Just like God Himself instituted the day of rest which we talked about last Sunday, we too need to maintain a balance of work and rest.
However, unfortunately the people were not about to give Jesus a break. They were coming from all around to see this perspective Messiah Savior and perhaps witness His miraculous healings. This was a very large Crowd of people. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that the crowd is a bad element, but it isn’t necessarily a good element either. In our church activities as well, we will sometimes draw a crowd. It is just a group of people that are either curious or perhaps want to be entertained in some manner. The crowd is generally a group of people that come from the world at large. Most all of us were probably part of a church crowd at some point in our early life. This is before we knew and understood what being a Christ follower is all about. But from that crowd is typically where the church gets its members from. It is important for us to engage the crowd smartly so that we might have the privilege of positively impacting our culture, and perhaps leading a few of them to consider becoming church disciples themselves.
So that is the Crowd that was surrounding Jesus in these verses. Now another category of people mentioned are the church Disciples, which are also mentioned in these last verses, “Jesus departed with his disciples to the sea” and “he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, so that the crowd wouldn’t crush him”. So what is a disciple? Well I am agonna tell ya J
The Greek term for “disciple” in the New Testament is mathetes, which means more than just “student” or “learner.” A disciple is also a “follower,” someone who adheres to the teachings of another. The Pharisees prided themselves in being disciples of Moses (John 9:28). John the Baptist also had disciples, and Jesus’ followers were called “disciples” long before they were ever called “Christians.”
Christian Discipleship requires a committed life. Jesus was quite explicit about the cost of following Him. He said in Luke 14:33: “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple” And sacrifice is expected if you elect to be a true disciple: “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’” (Matthew 16:24). Now I will argue that “giving up” doesn’t mean you throw it all away or sell everything to the lowest bidder, it means that you give up ownership of what you have to belong to the true Giver in the first place. You acknowledge that you don’t own anything, everything you have belongs to the Lord and you are His caretakers.
I am a humbled and happy to deciare to you today that I am a true Disciple of Jesus Christ, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that many of you here today are also true disciples of Jesus Christ as well. It warms my heart to see how much you all give for the furtherance of the Gospel, and to the love and care for one another and for all of God’s children too. I thank you for serving with me.
In our verses today, Jesus had true disciples and they gave up everything to become a student learner and follower. And follow Him they did. Jesus chose to depend upon their good works as He was sharing His Good-News Gospel message. In this small section of verses, Jesus knew that the crowd was going to overcome them, so He had them to be prepared with a boat for when that time came. We also should be smart or shrewd about how we deal with the crowd and the world as we are doing ministry. In this church we endeavor to prepare you to go to the ends of the earth and carry out the Great Commission of Jesus.
Matthew 28:19–20 contains what has come to be called the Great Commission.
It says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Jesus gave this command to the apostles shortly before He ascended into heaven, and it essentially outlines what Jesus expected the apostles and all those who followed them to be doing in His absence.
And that takes us to our next section of verses, starting at verse 13 where Jesus Appoints the The Twelve Apostles:
13 Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, to send them out to preach, 15 and to have authority to drive out demons. 16 He appointed the Twelve: To Simon, he gave the name Peter; 17 and to James the son of Zebedee, and to his brother John, he gave the name “Boanerges” (that is, “Sons of Thunder”); 18 Andrew; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
I find it very interesting here how Mark lists these Apostles in these verses. The first on the list is Peter and James who were the first leaders of the church after Jesus. And along with John, these three were considered Jesus’s inner circle. Then the last one listed is Judas who later betrayed Christ and was later replaced. All of them though, have see Jesus do many miracles. They all at this point knew beyond a shadow of doubt that they were stepping into a very challenging mission and life ahead that eventually would lead to most all of them being murdered as Jesus was also murdered. So tragic but true.
So at this point is Jesus’s short 3.5 year ministry, He knew that His time on earth was short. The Pharisees in our verses last week said they were already plotting to kill Him, and kill Him they did shortly thereafter. So Jesus chose this time to appoint His Apostles so the mission would continue on after His death.
Now you should know that every apostle was first a disciple, but not every disciple became an apostle. The Greek word for “apostle” literally means “one who is sent” and can refer to an ambassador or anyone sent on a mission. An apostle is given the authority of the one who sent him, and in this case it was Jesus Christ Himself. What an honor it must have been to have Son of God, God in the flesh call them out and appoint them amongst a small select group of twelve apostles. As these last verses convey, the Apostles were to be evangelists and preachers, but also so much more than that. They were also appointed special and unique abilities for the tasks ahead indeed. As a testimony to their unique appointments as apostles, in Revelation 21:14, speaking of the future New Jerusalem or Heaven on Earth restored, it says:
“There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south, and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations bearing the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb”. So these were special appointments indeed.
Today there are no longer any Christ appointed apostles in the special sense of the word. There were only twelve appointed by Jesus that day, and they had a special task and gifted abilities used in the founding of the new church. Now you might find some Christian groups today that use the title apostle, however I would argue that these people do not have same qualifications as the original Christ appointed twelve apostles listed here. They were chosen by Jesus himself, but also notice that they were not born and bred special or elite people to anyone’s degree. They were mostly fishermen and common folk, who Christ used for His great purpose. God can use anyone He pleases to do His work and will. He even chooses to use me in this capacity as your Pastor. And of that, even I am a bit surprised, lol. God is Good? All the Time, indeed.
So, in our text today, Mark wrote about the Crowd, the Disciples, and now about the ones that were Appointed. These are kind of progressive in nature; I was once just part of the Crowd, then I became a Disciple, then I was later appointed as a pastor and now I am so blessed to be your pastor. Praise the Lord.
As Jeremy read this morning from Ephesians 4, I will now repeat. [SLIDE]
It says, “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ”. These are just some of the gifted appointments we have in this church. I will encourage you to consider steping into those rolls.
The next verses, Ephesians 4:14-16 continues that thought, it says: [SLIDE]
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
There are many appointed positions in our church. As a matter of fact, on the back of your bulletin we have listed some of those appointments. Keep in mind we are always deliberating on the rolls and appointments we have in the church, as our church is wonderfully growing, and we want to engage and appoint smartly as we are blessed with new people and new members.
I would ask you to look over those positions, do an audit of what you feel God is gifting you to be part of, and let me know where you might want to plug into as we are continuing to prepare this church family and body for the bright future we have together ahead. We all can and should contribute something. This is your church. You own it. And God is expecting you to run it well, for His glory and purpose. Are you with me?
Finally, I want to remind you of our most important purpose and goal. As Jesus told those newly appointed Apostles, He also gave us that Great Commission.
He commanded us to get busy in making Disciples. He didn’t tell us to just make believers, He said make Disciples. He doesn’t want you to be part of the Crowd, He doesn’t want you to be a casual believer, His desire is for you to be true Disciples who make Disciples. He wants each of you to consider being a part of His purpose and mission. Saving lost souls from an eternity in Hell. It is so important that God gave His one and only Son Jesus to die on the cross for you and for me. Will you consider joining up with this band of believers to make and impact on this town, this state, this nation, and this world for His glory and purpose alone?
Please Rise.. Let us now pray together to that end.