Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm19961106.htm
MARK: GOSPEL OF THE SERVICE OF CHRIST, GOD'S SERVANT
Part XXXVI: The Route To Having Peace With Fellow Believers
Lesson: (1) Unrest in the Church arises from a preoccupation with protecting and advancing one's own esteem no matter what the cost to others where (2) group peace comes from a self-sacrificing work to promote faith in Christ by others. (3) Truly preeminent people are those who are self-sacrificing, anyway, so it is best to cease seeking our own preeminence for the sake of Christ's glory. (4) Besides, we must adopt this correct mindset or experience judgment for not doing so!
- Christ said that the believers' mutual love toward one another would testify to the world that they were Christ's followers, John 13:35. That is one reason why Christians are to love one another, John 13:34.
- However, there is not always peace between believers, but real unrest.
- Jesus discerned what causes this unrest, how to solve it, and showed what God does to insure it all works:
- The Route To Having Peace With Fellow Believers, Mark 9:33-50.
- Struggling for the supremacy among the disciples led to a lack of peace in their relationships, Mk. 9:33-34.
- While Jesus traveled with His disciples, they argued about who was the greatest of them, 9:34b.
- This argument was probably the result of recent events, Mk. 9:2, 14-18.
- Three of the disciples had witnessed the Transfiguration in the absence of the others, Mk. 9:2.
- The other nine disciples unsuccessfully, and thus painfully tried to exorcise a demon, 9:14-18.
- The selective experience of Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration coupled with the failure and embarrassment of the other nine in exorcising a demon led to feelings of inadequacy and superiority among the men, probably eliciting this argument as to who was the greatest of the bunch.
- Though Jesus walked in front of the others so that they thought He wasn't aware of what they were discussing, He knew and confronted them after the journey about what they had argued, Mk. 9:33.
- In typical rabbinical fashion to signal that He was about to teach important truths, Jesus sat down and called His disciples unto Him for instruction, Mk. 9:25a, cf. Bib. Know. Com., N.T., p. 28, 146.
- The lessons He taught dealt with overcoming the unrest among them by substituting a concern for personal preeminence with a concern for meeting the needs of others around one's self, Mk. 9:35b-48.
- Lesson One - The most important people in God's ministries seek what they can do to serve the needs of others around them though it may cost them in personal fame, Mk. 9:35b.
- In particular, this meant assisting in helping even the most insignificant neighbor come to a greater eternal, faith-saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, Mark 9:36-37, 42.
- Also, real ministry significance meant not even rebuking another who was ignorantly, incorrectly stepping on our toes of ministry jurisdiction lest it hinder him from following Christ, Mark 9:38-41. (a) The disciples were offended because a party not with them was using Jesus' name to exorcise a demon, a task that was their assignment, cf. Mk. 6:7-8 and had failed to do in Mark 9:14,18, Mk. 9:38. (b) Jesus forbade such rebukes as such people were to be given the benefit of the doubt as not tr ying to compete, but to honor Jesus, Mk. 9:39-41. (c) Thus, Jesus ordered even letting others sacrificially trespass one's rightful ministry assignment if it meant protecting their immature faith!
- Additionally, real significance in serving God meant doing everything in one's power to avoid keeping others from trusting Christ, no matter what the cost, that they might escape hell, 9:43-48.
- Lesson Two - Every person is going to be judged by how well he heeded God, whether it be trusting Christ for salvation or honoring Him versus honoring self in service (context), Mk. 9:49, Ibid., p. 148.
- Lesson Three - In view of preeminence being measured in how one exalts Christ, not self, and in view of that we will be judged by how well we practiced this, we must adopt a non-competitive mindset to exalt Christ even at personal sacrifice, Mk. 9:50a. "Have salt in yourselves," Morgan, Mark, p. 214, 216.
- Lesson Four - Following this value system will eliminate competitiveness and produce peace, 9:50b.
Application: Learn to promote group peace by putting aside concerns of protecting our esteem--it's a waste of energy and it's the wrong emphasis! Just focus on Jesus' esteem and all will be well!