Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part I: Certification Of God's Servant For Service
(Mark 1:1-15)
  1. Introduction
    1. The Christian has been saved not only to anticipate heaven and its many blessings, but to use his time on this earth to serve God and promote His eternal kingdom. According to the Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, the Gospel of Mark was written for Christians in Rome who were in need of reviewing the implications of Christ's example as God's servant in their lives. They were facing a hostile environment, and needed pastoring on how to serve God as Jesus did in His trying times! (Ibid., p. 101).
    2. Of particular need in many believers who want to serve God is the need to be settled on getting God's clear call or leading into a specific assignment. Mark 1:1-15 provides us with that information as follows:
  2. Certification Of God's Servant For Service, Mark 1:1-15.
    1. Before Jesus ever stepped out to do His ministry, He was Biblically certified in that calling, 1:1-9:
      1. The one God used to introduce Jesus into His ministry before Israel was Biblically certified:
        1. John the Baptizer was the one who introduced Jesus to Israel as the Messiah, cf. Jn. 1:29; Mk. 1:7-8.
        2. However, John had full Biblical credentials to do just that: (a) Mark records the words of two Old Testament prophets to describe the message of Messiah's forerunner, the words of Malachi (3:1) and Isaiah (40:3), see Mark 1:2-3. (b) Additionally, John was described as wearing camel's hair with a skin girdle about his waist , eating indigenous foods (locusts and wild honey) while living in the Jordan Valley, a description fitting to that of the Old Testament prophet, Elijah, cf. Mk. 1:6 with 2 Kings 1:8; 1 Kings 17:2-6 . This description also fit the Messiah's forerunner in Mal. 4:5. (c) Also, John reached out with a baptism of repentance to the whole nation, Mk. 1:4-5, an activity also predicted about the Messiah's forerunner in Malachi 4:6!
      2. When John ministered, he predicted the coming of Messiah whose shoe latchet he was unworthy to unloose, who would also baptize the people with the Holy Spirit, indicating Him to the Messiah of absolute ly sterling spiritual qualifications, Mk. 1:7-8. Thus, when Jesus arrived on the scene, the stage was set for John to indicate His certification as the Messiah with even more force!
    2. When Jesus came on the scene, several events occurred to certify His calling for service:
      1. First, Jesus was baptized by John, identifying with the Biblically certified forerunner of Messiah, 1:9.
      2. This announcement was made before Israel, indicating Jesus' credibility by formal decree, 1:5: Jn. 1:29.
      3. We know from John 1:26-34 that at this event, the Biblically certified John verbally clarified that Jesus was indeed the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world! John certified Jesus!
      4. God also gave a visible sign of a dove landing on Jesus, indicating He was Messiah, cf. Jn. 1:32-33.
      5. Most important, the heavenly Father verbally asserted Christ's credentials as "my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," Mark 1:11.
    3. After Jesus had been identified as the Messiah before Israel in John's ministry, Satan took Jesus out into the wilderness to tempt Him and hopefully find a chink in His spiritual armor to undue this certification, cf. Mk. 1:12- 13 with Mtt. 4:1-10. However, Satan could not trip Him up, and left Jesus in failure, further indicating Jesus' certification as Messiah, Mtt. 4:11.
    4. Thus, when John ended up in prison unable to continue his ministry, Jesus BEGAN His ministry, filling the void of John's ministry, Mk. 1:14-15. He even waited for the time to be right to begin His service aright!
Lesson: Since the Lord Jesus is the example of perfect Christian service (cf. 1 Pet. 2:21), it behooves us like Him not do our own thing, but (1) to be fully CERTIFIED by (a) recognized, Biblical leadership as to our calling, and then (b) publicly affirmed in that ministry by said leadership, and then (c) affirmed by God HIMSELF in that ministry, and (2) demonstrate some degree of spiritual victory over the Evil One to succeed in ministry and then (3) see the opportunity to minister in a way that fi ts God's timing (John in prison before Jesus preaches) before serving the Lord. Christian service that God certifies is not an impulsive thing where one does his own thing apart from the Christian establishment; it is formed in established, godly circles.