What Jesus do you know?

 Mark 1:1-3 What Jesus?

Introduction

My weekly preaching and public teaching ministry now span over 15 years. Over that amount of time, one of the major themes of my ministry has been to correct misunderstandings of the identity of our Lord Jesus Christ. American Christianity, including the Bible belt, has often created a Jesus of their own. This is a Jesus who is the Genie wished upon to win the Friday night football game; a Santa Claus called on when something is wanted; a Batman for whom the signal is sent up if one is in trouble; or the Hippie friend who accepts everyone just as they are. There are many more variations of the Jesus of America’s creation, but they all have one thing in common: they all are violations of the first three commandments of the Decalogue because they are not the true Lord Jesus.

 

What Jesus do you know? What God do you worship? There are many who think they know who Jesus is, but they have never truly known him. There are many that think they know what Christianity is, what the Gospel message proclaims, but they’ve never genuinely heard. Just this week, I talked with a very intelligent, spiritual, and educated man. He grew up Roman Catholic, and all of his family still is, but he rejected the tradition. I asked if he actually looked into the claims of Christianity or if he merely rejected the Catholic tradition. His response was the latter. He has thrown the baby out with the bathwater. He has rejected Christianity without even really knowing what Christianity claims.

 

Here is my point this morning: I want you to know the true Lord Jesus—the Christ revealed in the pages of Holy Scripture. He is Creator and Sustainer. He is Savior, and he is Lord. He offers the words of eternal life.

 

READ Scripture- [Mark 1:1-3] This is the Word of God

 

Connective

Let us “prepare the way of the Lord and make His paths straight.”

 

I realize that the world is a bit of a mess, to put it mildly. As Bible-believing, upright, moral, traditional Christian people, we are feeling bombarded and overwhelmed. I want to acknowledge those feelings as correct and significant. You are right. Church services are not nearly as full as they used to be. Divorce rates are high. Children are rebellious. Addictions to alcohol, drugs, pornography, social media, and more run rampant in our society. Schools are failing. Homosexuality and transgenderism are everywhere. Mental illness and suicide rates are skyrocketing. There is moral anarchy. There is no leadership in families, churches, communities, or the government. Everyone is doing what is right in his own eyes.

 

You and I see all this decay of society, and even the church (to speak broadly), and we feel helpless. We feel beatdown. We think all is lost. We turn negative and eventually cynical. We get to the point that we cannot see any good or any hope. We stop fighting.

 

Let me tell you something: That is not Christian. That betrays all that we know about our God as revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

 

The True Lord Jesus

Let me remind you that the true Lord Jesus is the one who restores health to the sick and wholeness to the disabled (Mark 1-2). 

 

The one I know takes two fish and five loaves and feeds thousands upon thousands (Mark 6:38-44). 

 

I worship the one who brings life out of death (Mark 5:41). 

 

That is why we are told that a little faith can move great mountains. It is not us but Christ in us (Mark 11:22-24).

 

Conclusion

That is why we are told to not worry (Matt 6:34).

 

*So, women, love your husbands and respect their leadership.

*Men, love your wives as Christ has loved the church, sacrificially.

*Parents, raise your children in the training and admonition of the Lord.

*Children, obey your parents for this is good and right.

*Work hard on the job, provide for your family and be generous to others.

*Be a good neighbor, one that can be relied upon.

*Be a good church member, attending worship and other gatherings on a regular basis; serving, loving, forgiving your fellow members; giving what you can to financially support the local church; reaching out to the lost.

*Love your enemies and pray for them.

*Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.

*Be full of faith, prayerfully, and joyful. Pursue holiness without which you cannot see God. Read your Bible, study it, memorize it, and live it.

*Fight back the darkness. Receive the light of Christ. Put to death negativity in your mind and life. Pursue the joy of the Lord. Be hopeful and trustful and positive.

 

*You know the Lord. Don’t forget who he is.

A Poem by E. Brontë: No Coward Soul is Mine

 No Coward Soul is Mine

by Emily Brontë

No coward soul is mine
No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere I see Heaven's glories shine
And Faith shines equal arming me from Fear

O God within my breast
Almighty ever-present Deity
Life, that in me hast rest,
As I Undying Life, have power in Thee

Vain are the thousand creeds
That move men's hearts, unutterably vain, Worthless as withered weeds
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main

To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by thy infinity,
So surely anchored on
The steadfast rock of Immortality.

With wide-embracing love
Thy spirit animates eternal years
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates and rears

Though earth and moon were gone And suns and universes ceased to be And Thou wert left alone
Every Existence would exist in thee

There is not room for Death
Nor atom that his might could render void Since thou art Being and Breath
And what thou art may never be destroyed.

A Poem by St. Hilary: Jesus, Light of All the Nations

 Jesus, Light of All the Nations

Jesus, devoted redeemer of all nations, has shone forth,
Let the whole family of the faithful celebrate the stories

The shining star, gleaming in the heavens, makes him known at his birth
and, going before,
has led the Magi to his cradle

Falling down, they adore
the tiny baby hidden in rags,
as they bear witness to the true God by bringing a mystical gift

Jesus refulsit omnium by Saint Hilary of Poitiers (368) Translation by Kevin Hawthorne

Saint, Bishop, and, according to St. Augustine, "the Illustrious Doctor of all the Churches," was born of heathen parents of an illustrious family and great wealth, at Poictiers early in the fourth century. He received, as a heathen, an excellent classical education, so that St. Jerome says of him that he "was brought up in the pompous school of Gaul, yet had culled the flowers of Grecian science, and became the Rhone of Latin eloquence." Early in life he married, and had a daughter named Abra, Afra, or Apra. About 350 he renounced, in company with his wife and daughter, the Pagan religion of his family, and became a devout and devoted Christian. After his baptism he so gained the respect and love of his fellow Christians, that in 353, upon a vacancy occurring in the see of his native town, he was, although married and a layman, elected to fill it, and received ordination as Deacon and Priest, and consecration as Bishop.

A Poem by L. Tribble: Awake

AWAKE

by Lawrence Tribble

possibly written during the Great Awakening

 

One man awake, awakens another.

The second awakens his next-door brother.

The three awake can rouse a town,

By turning the whole place upside down.

 

The many awake can make such a fuss,

It finally awakens the rest of us.

One man up with dawn in his eyes,

Surely then multiplies.

A Poem by G. M. Hopkins: God's Grandeur

God’s Grandeur
by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889)

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod? Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;

And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil, And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell; the soil Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went,
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

A Poem by E. Guest: No Place to Go

 No Place To Go

by Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)

The happiest nights I ever know
Are those when I've no place to go,
And the missus says When the day is through: 
“To-night we haven’t a thing to do.”

Oh, the joy of it, and the peace untold Of sitting ’round in my slippers old, With my pipe and book in my easy chair, Knowing I needn’t go anywhere.

Needn’t hurry my evening meal
Nor force the smiles that I do not feel, But can grab a book from a near-by shelf, And drop all sham and be myself.

Oh, the charm of it and the comfort rare; Nothing on earth with it can compare; And I’m sorry for him who doesn't know The joy of having no place to go.

Lord's Supper Meditation form 1 John 1:5-7

 Lord’s Supper Meditation—Aug 20, 2023

 

1 John 1:5-7

5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

 

The Lord Jesus Christ has revealed to us through his life, teaching, ministry, death, and resurrection that God is absolute moral perfection. There is no evil in him. There are no character flaws or ethical faults. God is light and in him is no darkness whatsoever.

 

So then, if we claim to have a relationship with God but keep on walking in darkness, that is, in waywardness and transgression, then we are lying and not practicing the truth.

 

The Christian Way is into the light. We are to enter the light and keep on walking and living in it. We are to behave uprightly, morally, lovingly, and obediently as the Holy Spirit leads and enables us. We are in the light, just as God is in the light. This is how we have fellowship with one another in the apostolic community, per Jesus himself (“heard from him”).

 

The second result of walking in the light is that the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. Cleansing (or purifying) refers to more than just forgiveness but that God erases the stain of sin (Stott). The present tense shows that it is a continuous process (Stott). But what sin needs to be cleansed if we walk in the light? Cleansing indicates sanctification distinct from justification (Alford). As people living in God’s light, we have forgiveness of sins (justification: eternal salvation) and ongoing cleansing from sins (sanctification: growing mature and ridding our lives of sin now). We also have fellowship with one another in the Christian community.

 

As we eat and drink of the Lord’s Supper today, remembering Christ’s blood and body that was given at Calvary for us and the whole world, let us bask in the light of God and His Son. Let us also resolve to continue walking in the light.


A Poem by J. R. R. Tolkien: The Riddle of Strider

 The Riddle of Strider

by J. R. R. Tolkien

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.