“From the Pastor’s Office”
Week of September 8, 2019
ENTER TO WORSHIP:
· SERMON REVIEW (9/8): “Enter to Worship. Depart to Serve.” / Mark 12:28-34
-Biblical Context: In this week’s passage, we still find ourselves in the Temple, in the Court of the Gentiles, where Jesus has repeatedly been challenged by the various groups within the Jewish leadership: the chief priests, the scribes and the elders (11:27); the Pharisees and Herodians (12:13); the Sadducees (12:18). Again, we cannot understand this week’s passage in isolation from the larger context of Jesus’ confrontation with the Temple and the Temple leadership. We see this in the chronology that Mark is providing, but we also see it in the curious mention of “whole burnt offerings” and “sacrifices” by the scribe, which is absent in Matthew’s account of this same incident.
The careful reader of Mark would expect a scribe to be hostile to Jesus, since we have seen this already throughout the Gospel, in the immediate context of 11:27, and the subsequent pronouncements against the scribes as a whole in 12:38-40. However, here we have “one” of the scribes that stands out from the scribes as a whole. This one is impressed with Jesus’ previous dialogue with the Sadducees, and approaches Jesus to ask what commandment is the foundation of all the commandments. Interestingly, Jesus does not quote from the ten commandments, but will instead quote from Deut. 6:4-5 and Lev. 19:18.
Jesus begins with Deut. 6:4, also known as the Shema, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” This supported the central tenant of Judaism that set it apart from all the pagan religions- the belief in one God, which is also know as monotheism. This is central for Christianity as well, though we understand the one God to exist as three distinct persons: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. The foundation for the commands that follow is an understanding of who God is.
Jesus then follows with Deut. 6:5 and Lev. 19:18 and concludes with “There is no other commandment greater than these.” Loving God, then loving our neighbor. We must get the vertical relationship correct before we can rightly live out the horizontal relationships with others. The scribe agrees with Jesus and adds, “…is much more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” By making this statement, he is echoing previous Old Testament passages such as 1 Samuel 15:22 and Hosea 6:6. However, by making this statement, he is also agreeing with Jesus’ previous actions in the Temple that the Temple is no long the place of true worship. Temple sacrifices were now obsolete because of the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross.
The scribe has said more than he realizes and Jesus tells him that “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” He is close, but not there yet. What will it take for him to enter into the kingdom? It will take: 1) Repenting and believing the gospel (1:15); 2) Understanding the gospel-Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection (8:31, 9:31, 10:32-34); 3) Leaving everything to follow Jesus (1:18, 1:20); 4) Denying oneself, taking up one’s cross to follow Jesus (8:34).
-Application for New Life:
A) Enter to Worship
1) Knowing who God is: We must be clear on Whom it is that we worship. As Christians, we also hold to monotheism, the belief in one God. However, we understand through New Testament revelation that God is one God, yet He exists as three separate Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We call this the Trinity. The Trinity is foundational in Christian theology. It is not up for debate!
2) How to Love God with My Entire Being: This begins with the gospel of Jesus Christ: His death, burial and resurrection on our behalf for the forgiveness of our sins. We must recognize that God is Holy and that we are sinners in desperate need of a Savior. We can only love God once we have experienced His love for us in Jesus Christ (1 John 4:19).
B) Depart to Serve
3) How to Love Others: It always goes back to the gospel! If we have received the love of God in the free gift of salvation in Jesus Christ, how can we not love others? 1 John 4:20-21 tells us that it is impossible to love God whom we have not seen and hate our brother or sister who we see!
4) Urgency of the Gospel: Being near to the kingdom will not save you! Have you trusted in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross as punishment for your sins, that He took the wrath of a Holy God that you deserve? Have you trusted in His glorious resurrection, defeating death for all time? Does your life represent that? Furthermore, do we see the urgency in our mission to make sure those in our community hear the gospel and do not meet Jesus only being near to the kingdom?
· WEEKLY THEOLOGICAL CONCEPT: MONOTHEISM– The belief in one God.
· WEEKLY BIBLE FACT: Matthew, Mark and Luke are known as the SYNOPTIC GOSPELS, meaning that they are “seen together” – SYN (Together) OPTIC (Seen).
· WEEKLY MEMORY VERSE: Mark 12:17b = “[give] to God the things that are God’s”
DEPART TO SERVE:
· Back-to-School Bash 2019: If you know of anyone who needs school supplies, please let us know and come to the Fellowship Hall and fill as many book bags as you need. Next, we are asking those with connections in the local schools to inquire of needs of teachers, and we will begin compiling care packages for teachers with a note that New Life supports them and is praying for them. Finally, what is not distributed in that manner will be placed in the Guyana Supply Barrel (with the exception of any liquids).
· Women on Mission Monthly Bible Study: Mrs. Peggy Kelley is leading this great equipping ministry for those women who are available during the day. It begins Thursday, September 12 at 1:00 P.M. in the Fellowship Hall. The theme will be Jesus’ teachings about prayer and His prayers in the Gospels.
· Operation Christmas Child: Registration to work at the Charlotte Processing Unit begins the first week in October. If you would like to volunteer to work for 4 hours on December 6 or 13 (these dates can change if necessary), please sign up in the foyer no later than Sunday, September 29.