Here is the outline of the message taught from Mark 1.1-8 on October 7:
Text: Mark 1.1-8
Introduction: Infancy is an important stage in development. An infant needs the right diet, good sleeping patterns, the proper vaccinations, the 24/7 care of parents, etc. Christ Community Church is in infancy. What we need more than anything else for proper development is Jesus Christ. We do not want the life of CCC to be built upon anything that gives the illusion of victory and success, nor do we desire it to be built upon the egos and personalities of temporal men, but upon Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Studying Mark’s Gospel provides us with the proper diet for biblical growth: the person and work and glory of Christ.
5 Truths from the text:
1. v. 1, There is good news that Mark calls “the gospel.”
Unfortunately, the gospel is often assumed. Clearly, the Holy Spirit does not want that to be so. The worst news in the world is that human beings are sinners separated from God. The main problem for the paralytic in Mark 2.1-12 was not his physical paralysis but his sin against God (and Christ). Therefore, the main remedy, that which he was most immediately in need of, was the forgiveness of his sins in and pronounced by Jesus Christ. That makes the gospel of Jesus Christ the best news in the world.
2. v. 1, This gospel is about the Person and Work of Jesus.
Mark’s Gospel is not a mystery novel. Mystery is present in the narrative, but only after all is revealed in the very first verse. In Jesus, we are witnessing the Messiah, God’s own Son, bringing salvation to sinners. From the beginning, Mark wants us to rest assured that Jesus is the Redeemer. The importance of this is related to the irony of the Messiah’s suffering, the means of His victory. Human wisdom has no room for a crucified Savior. But this is the wisdom and power of God. And Mark means for us to rest assured, that as Jesus is challenged, rejected, forsaken, and crucified, we are witnessing the Christ. He also means for us to see in all that Jesus says and does all the evidence necessary to conclude: “that is good news, that is gospel, that is the Christ, that is the Son of God, that is my Lord and Savior.”
3. v. 2, This gospel of Jesus is according to the Scriptures.
It is not a human invention. It is the the gospel of God (Mk 1.14). It is not novel. It is as ancient as the heart of God Himself. It is not plan B. It is God’s only plan for the redemption of sinners. Jesus goes as it has been written of Him.
4. vv. 2-3, The gospel of Jesus is the fulfillment of the gospel promised.
In the OT quotes, Mark has sought to relate two things and make one point. The two relationships: Exodus 23.20 and Malachi 3.1: In Exodus, God is telling Moses that He will send a messenger before His people, Israel, to bring them into the Promised Land. It would be salvation for Israel, judgment for the nations. In Malachi 3.1, the context concerns the nation of Israel asking about the justice of God. Malachi responds by answering that the God whom they seek will soon come to His temple, following a messenger, to establish justice — but not on the nations, primarily; rather, upon Israel. Israel has become like the nations around them. The messenger, thus, comes before the Lord to prepare a righteous remnant in Israel lest the Lord totally devastate them. The second relationship: Isaiah 40.3 and Malachi 3.1: Isaiah is a couple hundred years prior to Malachi. Isaiah has promised a New Exodus, and it is clear that the captor is not simply another nation, but sin. Sin is humanity’s true captor. From sin we must be delivered. But this New and greater Exodus has not happened in the days of Isaiah or in those of Malachi. Malachi relates the messenger of Isaiah 40.3 to his own in 3.1. A messenger will precede the coming of the Lord to effect this New Exodus. That is the last word Israel receives from God until John the Baptist showed up preaching these things in the wilderness. Point: John is the messenger and the One coming after him is the Lord, even God. And that is Jesus. In Christ, God effects the New Exodus. In Jesus, there is the forgiveness of sins and freedom from it’s guilt, stain and power. This is the whole framework for Mark’s narrative.
5. vv. 4-8, (if we get truths 1-4), the gospel, in practice, is about testifying to the supremacy of Jesus Christ in all things.
Mark does this by showing the greatness of John in vv. 4-6, then the central content of John’s preaching ministry: Jesus! John does not preach himself but Christ. By comparison, Jesus doesn’t preach any other but Himself! There is an irony in the infinite worth that John places on Jesus (I say infinite because it is clear that John, in some mysterious way — being an orthodox Jew, believing the shema, believing the first of the ten commandments, etc. –, believes that Jesus is, in being and prerogative (He baptizes with the Holy Spirit), God! John is aware that this sort of servitude and prerogative attributed to Jesus would have come close to, if not actually committing, blasphemy and idolatry . . . if what it means for Jesus to be the Son of God is God the Son. The irony, as I mentioned, is that this Jesus, Whom John considers to be of such a worth that he will not consider himself worthy to stoop down and untie His sandal straps, will stoop down and wash our feet! The One who made us will serve and redeem us. Jesus came not to be served but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10.45).
1. For the unbeliever, you are left with a decision to make about Jesus. Over and over again in the Gospels this decision is set before you, whether to receive or reject Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and to respond properly or not to the message of John. Will you repent and believe in the gospel about Jesus?
2. For believers, we are heirs of the great salvation that Jesus has accomplished on our behalf. Are we rejoicing daily in Jesus? Are our lives evincing the reality that we have been set free from sin to display the glory of Christ and the quickly coming realization of His salvation?
Also, we must push out contemptible familiarity. Familiarity breeds contempt, the saying goes. The Gospel of Mark challenges us in every narrative to grasp this: Christ is deeper still! So we need to come to this Gospel with great expectations concerning the inestimable Treasure of Jesus Christ. Let’s be amazed and astonished by Christ.
One last thing to come full circle. We want CCC to grow from the head down, that is, from, in, through, for Christ. Our mission statement goes like this: We exist to magnify the glory of God’s grace in Jesus Christ by proclaiming Him to all peoples for their everlasting joy in God. This requires a biblical faith in the supremacy of Christ. We exist for this. We desire to magnify this. We want to testify to God’s grace. It’s in Christ. We want to openly proclaim Him, and to do so indiscriminately in Newton and to the nations. And we believe that by such, all peoples who respond to Jesus in repentance and faith will come into everlasting and ever-increasing joy in God.