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Gospel of Mark #56 ~ (14:43-50)

Started by Al Moak, September 27, 2004, 02:30:48 PM

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Al Moak

September 27, 2004, 02:30:48 PM Last Edit: November 05, 2008, 05:05:40 PM by Al Moak
Mark 14:43-50
The Right Response Is All Important

What do you do about the sins you commit? Of course you know that you do sin.  There are those who don't think they do, but John had something to say about that.  He said, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

But if you do admit that you sin, then there are some important things you need to remember to do about it.  They can make a difference in your overall relationship to Christ.  The passage before us today has some things to say about it.

Believe it or not, there are some people who think that Christ's Kingdom can be built upon human wisdom and ingenuity. And there are others who think it can be destroyed by human guile or force. But neither of these is true! We as Christians need to remember that "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal," and that it's "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." (2 Cor. 10:4, Zech. 4:6).

Even our Lord's death on the Cross could not and would not have happened if it were left to human – or even Satanic - intelligence. All of it happened, "to fulfill the Scripture." There was no more accident or chance at the close of our Lord's earthly ministry than there was at its beginning. Every step He took from the manger in Bethlehem to Gethsemane and Calvary was marked out before history began. The 22nd Psalm and Isaiah 53 make it clear that it was all foretold. The wrath of Jesus' enemies, His rejection by His own people, His condemnation as a criminal - all were foreknown and foretold. All of it was only the working out of God's great design to provide a perfect atonement for sin.

And we can rest our souls on the realization that everything that happens around us now is designed by God's almighty wisdom as well. Surely, things often go against our personal wishes, and the wickednesses of the world and the inconsistencies of believers may often be a problem for us, but there's a hand above, moving the vast machinery of His universe and making all things work together for His glory.

As the psalmist says, "The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed," but the resurrection morning proves that, even at the darkest possible times, all things are done in exact accord with the will of God.

And that means ALL things. Sometimes we become discouraged, not only by what others do, but also by what we ourselves do. We sometimes even tend to come to the conclusion that God has cast us off, that we never were really related to Him in salvation. But it shouldn't be surprising to us if that were a lie of the Devil.

The disciples hadn't yet learned such things. They were like us. Not knowing how their Lord could use even the most evil-appearing events.  So when our Lord quietly submitted to be taken prisoner, the eleven "all forsook Him and fled." Up to that moment, they may have thought He would work some miracle to have Himself freed, but when no miracle occurred, their courage dried up! Their former bold statements about willingness to die with Him evaporated! Fear of present danger overcame any faith in eventual outcomes.

But even their fears had been predicted by our Lord. He had plainly told them it would happen. Even such failure was under the sovereign Hand of God. He didn't make them fail - He simply let them do what came naturally. Maybe they needed to learn humility - that they couldn't rely on their own abilities and strength. Maybe they needed to learn to deal charitably with other people, people whom God wanted them to shepherd in the future – people like us! After all, they needed to realize that such people would often fail, and that they were to be dealt with humbly and gently anyway. Or maybe they needed to learn just a bit more about their Lord's sovereignty.  No matter what the reasons were, we can be sure that they were being equipped to serve - even through their failure.

And so are we. We need very much to know that even our worst failures are allowed in the perfect plan of our heavenly Father. Nothing has ever surprised Him. Nothing ever will. He knew all about each of us long before we knew anything about Him. He knew all our failings, all our foolish cravings and habits, all our laziness of spirit - before the foundation of the world. It didn't stop Him from choosing us or from determining that we will be perfected - sometimes even by means of our failures - until we finally stand perfect in His very presence for eternity!

It's not that we should ever assume that whatever we do, we'll finally be secure. That's called carnal security, and it isn't safe. Paul clarifies the matter when he says, "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." God works in you - you can count on that - but He works in you so that you will work. If you're careless, if it really doesn't matter to you, then you are proving that God is not at work in you.

The proof of God's work in the disciples came soon. They all fled and were scattered when Jesus was led away. They failed miserably! But only a few days later they were back together again, having supper together, and it was there that Jesus appeared to them, standing in their midst! They met Him, just as He had said they would, in Galilee. So it must ever be with us: we may fail, but we will return. We will - always - sorrow for our sin and turn to Him again.

How is it with you? Do you sometimes fail? Do you also eventually sorrow over it and confess it to Him? Do you still want Him to be your Lord? Then be sure of this: even your failings will be used for your eternal good!

But there's another kind of failure, a kind that produces eternal ruin for the one who commits it. It isn't used for eternal good at all. It's used by God for His eternal glory, and it still falls into the category of the "all things" that He "works after the counsel of His own will," (Eph. 1:11) but it results in eternal ruin for the sinner.

I'm speaking, of course, of the kind of sin Judas committed in his betrayal of our Lord. But he's not the only one. Every one of us could be a Judas if God just left us to our own devices. What Judas was going to do was known by our Lord from all eternity (see the many times Jesus spoke about it beforehand). It was not caused by God - God is not the author of evil. He simply left Judas and his mentor Satan to do as they desired. It's far worse for anyone in this universe when God withdraws His hand from him than it is when God lays His hand upon him! The prophet tells us that, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!" What he didn't say is that it's a far worse thing to fall out of His hands! God knew what Judas and Satan would do: He simply let them do it.

But it resulted in our Redemption - in the salvation of all of God's people in all ages! That wasn't Satan's desire or objective. He intended only evil. He intended only the destruction of the Savior. It didn't work out the way he figured! It wasn't Judas' desire or objective either. He desired only to make a little money, and he probably figured that Jesus would escape anyway. It didn't work out the way he figured either.

There's a very important lesson for us in all this. It's a lesson about the one characteristic of both Satan and Judas that was terribly, terribly tragic: neither Satan nor Judas ever repented. Neither was sorry for his sin. Oh Judas was sorry all right, sorry he had gotten himself into the mess he was in. He realized he had "betrayed innocent blood," and he wished he hadn't - he assumed there was no forgiveness for him, and he killed himself in remorse. But it wasn't a "godly sorrow that produces repentance." (2 Cor. 7:10)

The passage here in Mark, then, has a vital application. The application is that there are two kinds of repentance. We can draw some conclusions about it.

The first conclusion we absolutely must draw is that there needs to be repentance - even for Christians (or perhaps especially for Christians!). It needs to be one of our characteristics. You and I need to be so sensitive to sin that we often find need for it. Some Christians, in fact, actually become gradually convinced that they're becoming more sinful with every year of their lives. The truth is, though, that they're becoming more sensitive to their Lord's will and to the awfulness of even "small" sins.

Secondly, Christians need to realize that their sins have not derailed God's plan for them, and that He is still on His throne. We need always to believe that He still determines good for us. We need to be convinced that He's sovereign - that He uses all events in this world - even our sins - for His own glory. In other words, we need to trust Him as GOD.

Thirdly, we all need to realize that there's no place for neutrality, no place where any of us can rest in "carnal security" - in a false relationship to Jesus Christ. If there's no sensitivity to sin and to our Lord's will, then there's no life of the Spirit, and where there's no life of the Spirit, there's no eternal life either. We need to guard against a comfortable, uncaring disposition.  It may be proof of death.  It certainly isn't proof of life.

Finally, we Christians need to learn to quit fretting - worrying - about the awful things that happen in this world. They will all finally result in the glory of God and our good. God's sovereign power will see to it, and it will never fail. As Daniel 4:35 puts it, "All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, 'What have You done?'" Our Lord is Lord of all. Praise His Name!



Finally, we Christians need to learn to quit fretting - worrying - about the awful things that happen in this world. They will all finally result in the glory of God and our good. God's sovereign power will see to it, and it will never fail. As Daniel 4:35 puts it, "All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, 'What have You done?'" Our Lord is Lord of all. Praise His Name!

Amen Al!  But this is so difficult to do at times.  I know it's correct but my "human-ness" often kicks in.

Thanks so much for these studies, Al!

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Chris & Margit Saunders

We should be so very glad, that He who sits in the heavens laughs at the schemes of men!!!!

Al Moak

Quote from: Chris & Margit Saunders on September 28, 2004, 04:22:41 PM
We should be so very glad, that He who sits in the heavens laughs at the schemes of men!!!!

Yes - especiall if we're on His side and not the other side!  We shall one day participate in His triumph!

Thanks, Pat.  At least, when these things happen, we have an answer.  Most of the world has no answer at all - except to rail against God.