Archive | August 2012

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Mark 10:38

But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask.  Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”              NKJV

 

When James and John asked Jesus to give them the place of highest honor in His kingdom, He did not refuse their request.  Instead, He let them know that the place of honor would be given to the one who could suffer for His cause.

Are we willing to compete for God’s best, with the knowledge that the best things are always achieved by the most difficult paths?  We must endure treacherous cliffs, dense jungles, and the Enemy’s chariots of iron and waves of fiery arrows, since hardship is the price of the victor’s crown.  Wreaths of triumph are not made of carnation blossoms and fine strands of soft silk but of fierce blows and bloody scars.  The hardships you may be enduring in your life today have been given to you by the Master, for the express purpose of enabling you to win your crown.

Therefore do not set you sight on some distant ideal situation in the future, but rather rise up today to face the circumstances in which the providence of God has placed you.  Your honor in the Lord’s kingdom is hidden in the heart of these things—the trials and sufferings pressing in at this very time in your life.  Beloved Christian, your crown lies there.  May the Lord help you to overcome and to wear it.

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Mark 10:32-34

Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed.  And as they followed they were afraid.  Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him: “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him.  And the third day He will rise again.”                        NKJV

 

Since Jesus first began His earthly ministry, His disciples had misconceptions about His reason for coming into the world.  They believed that He was going to deliver their nation from its domination by Rome and set up an earthly kingdom in which Israel would be restored to its former greatness, and Jesus would reign as king over the entire earth.  The disciples were right, but they were mistaken about the timing.

 

The disciples believed that these things were about to happen in their lifetimes.  They failed to understand that Jesus came the first time to accomplish something much greater than the establishment of an earthly kingdom.  On two previous occasions Jesus had tried to tell His disciples that He had come into the world to die (Mark 8:31, 9:31), but they simply could not comprehend the truth that the Messiah would have to die to accomplish His divine mission on earth.

 

In this passage, we see Jesus going where no one else could go; about to do what no one else could do.  The perfect, sinless Son of God was about to die for a world of sinners.  He was about to provide salvation for all of those who would place their faith in Him and receive Him as their personal Savior.  Then He would rise from the dead, conquering the power of the grave forever, and giving eternal life and victory over sin, death, Satan, and Hell to all those who have their faith in Him.

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Mark 10:31

But many who are first will be last, and the last first.              NKJV

As Christians, after Jesus returns to take us home with Him, we may be surprised at the seating arrangement at the marriage supper of the Lamb.  Most Christians will have never preached or sang before a large congregation, had a book published, or achieved public fame.

Some who are considered insignificant may well sit nearest the throne of Jesus, such as those who often enter into their prayer closet as opposed to those who pray for public effect and display (Matt. 6:5-6).  It will likely be those who give from need rather than those who give from abundance ((Luke 21:3).  It will probably be those who have led their immediate family members to saving faith in Christ instead of those who have pushed their public ministries at the cost of their own immediate family members’ souls (I Pet. 3:20).  Those seated nearest Jesus could be the mentally and physically handicapped who love the Lord with all their hearts and are often not taken seriously when they try to express their faith (Luke 14:21-24).

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Psalm 31:7-8

I will be glad and rejoice in your mercy, For You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities, And have not shut me up into the hand of my enemy; You have set my feet on a wide place.                  NKJV

In this Psalm David expresses a supreme confidence in the preserving power of his God.  He doesn’t say, “I have set my feet in a wide place,” or “My faith has set my feet on a wide place,” or “My devotion for the Lord has set my feet on a wide place,” but rather, “You (the Lord) has set my feet in a wide place (as opposed to a narrow precipice).”  David understands the great truth that he can rest on nothing but the Lord’s preserving work in his soul.

It is the Lord who has begun a good work in us; it is He who has carried it on; and it is He alone who will finish it (Phil. 1:6).  If we were left to our own strength, we would surely perish, but thanks be to God, who give us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (I Cor. 15:57).

If there is one stitch in the celestial garment of our righteousness which we are to insert ourselves, then we are lost; but this is our confidence, the Lord who began will fulfill.  He has done it all, must do it all, and will do it all.  Our confidence must not be in what we have done, nor in what we have resolved to do, but entirely in what the Lord will do.

Charles H. Spurgeon