Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm19960417.htm
MARK: GOSPEL OF THE SERVICE OF CHRIST, GOD'S SERVANT
Part IX: Working Within One's PRACTICAL LIMITATIONS In Serving God
Lesson: God expects us to serve Him most effectively by PACING our use of the limited resources we have so that we can serve Him for the long haul. That way we avoid either doing nothing or burning out prematurely. In so doing, we maximize our ef fectiveness in serving over the long haul.
- God has commanded us to go out into all the world and make disciples of all men, Mtt. 28:19-20. That means the whole world, a world of billions of people, many of whom have yet even to hear the Gospel!
- The erroneous tendencies for us who face this task is to react in one of two extreme ways: we may either conclude that the task is impossible and don't try to disciple others at all or we can resolve to burn ourselves out in the process of trying to disciple the earth's billions.
- When Jesus walked this earth amidst the throngs of people who clambered around Him to hear His teaching and be physically healed, He exampled the better approach described in Mark 3:7 -21.
- Working Within One's PRACTICAL LIMITATIONS In Serving God, Mark 3:7-21.
- Jesus put practical limits on His exposure to crowds so He could be effective in service, Mk. 3:7-19.
- When Jesus served the Father's will by healing the people He met, it naturally attracted huge crowds.
- As proof of His identity as Messiah, it was the God's will for Jesus to heal people, Isa. 35:4-6; 61:1.
- As Jesus did the Father's will in healing, huge crowds understandably thronged about Him from Jerusalem, Idumaea, across the Jordan, Tyre and Sidon, Mk. 3:8.
- Additionally, when Jesus entered a house with his disciples to eat, the people so thronged about Him, requesting healings that neither He nor His disciples could even eat the meal, Mk. 3:19b-20.
- However, Jesus knew that things could get out of hand in practical terms like some modern soccer matches do where people so throng that they can harm one another.
- Thus, Jesus put limits on His exposure to the crowds to remain effective in serving God, 3:7,9,13-19.
- As an initial step, Jesus withdrew Himself with His disciples to the shores of Galilee, Mk. 3:7.
- At that location, He drew up a contingency plan to have a boat ready in case the crowds began to throng dangerously so He could withdraw into the sea from them to ease the chances of stampede, 9.
- He also then chose the twelve to delegate out the healing ministry that attracted so many people as a practical means of dividing up the crowd into twelve separate locations, Mk. 3:13-15 with 16-19.
- Jesus put practical limits on demonic expressions about His identity to remain effective for God, 3:11f.
- The demons repeatedly (imperfect tense) were crying out through demon-possessed people that He was the Son of God, Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, p. 116.
- These confessions by demons were exposing Christ's true identity, but since that true identity was coming from false spirits, the onlookers could conclude that Jesus was being promoted by demons, thereby leading them to conclude that Jesus was from SATAN! The fact that this conclusion was actually make by the religious leaders in Mk. 3:22 illustrates this to have been a problem.
- Also, the fact that His identity was exposed so quickly this way could have upset the timetable of the Father regarding the crucifixion, something Jesus did not want to do, Ibid.
- Jesus thus limited the expressions by demons, charging them not to make Him known, Mk. 3:12.
Application: (1) We need to limit the time we take to serve God in His assignments so that we can take care of human refreshment needs such as eating and sleeping that are essential for continued service, Mk. 3:20,7-9. (2) We need to withdraw geog raphically from those we serve at times for recuperation, Mk. 3:7,9. (3) We need to keep our means of transportation (car, boat, etc.) in ready condition to meet our human needs for service effectiveness, Mk. 3:9. (4) We need to be patient in unleashin g all of the knowledge we have about Scripture so that others we disciple can accept our input as they should, Mk. 3:11-12. (5) We need to let other believers share in carrying the load of discipling lest we get burned out by overwork, Mk. 3:13-15 with 1 Cor. 12:21-25.
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