Here is the outline of the message taught from Mark 1.9-15 on October 14:
Text: Mark 1.9-15
Introduction: The Bible is a book full of both devastating and delighting truth. It is relentless in its indictment of sinful humanity, and it is relentless in seeking to move sinners from devastation to delight in Jesus Christ, the only remedy for our devastation. Three devastating truths taken up in Mark 1.9-15:
1. No human being is the object of God’s familial love and pleasure (apart from Jesus Christ), vv. 9-11.
2. The reason for this is that every human being is captive to sin and to Satan, vv. 12-13.
3. Therefore, every human being deserves the King’s just condemnation (and yet He calls His coming “good news”), vv. 14-15.
Now consider how this text moves us from such devastating truth to delight in Jesus:
1. Jesus, only, is the object of God’s familial love and pleasure, vv. 9-11.
2. Jesus, only, is able to overcome and bind Satan and, thus, set captives free, vv. 12-13.
3. Jesus, only, is both King and Ransom, in Whom is the forgiveness of sins (hence He calls His coming “good news”), vv. 14-15.
The rest of our time together will be spent simply opening up the gospel of Jesus in these 7 verses, moving us to delight in Him.
1. Delight in Jesus who identifies with and is yet distinct from sinners, vv. 9-11.
Jesus identifies with sinners by being baptized with John’s baptism (Mark 1.4). This identification will be ultimately realized in the cross. We know it is only an identification with sinners because of vv. 10-11, where the unique testimony of God the Father and the Spirit is that Jesus is the Son, perfect in righteousness (hence, beloved and well-pleasing to the Father). The rent heavens, the descending Spirit, the voice of the Father testify to the Messianic person and work of Jesus. The most significant point to be made is that here, at the baptism of Jesus, heaven is only opened to Jesus. The love and pleasure of the Father is only uttered of Jesus. That is because God does not delight in the wicked (Psalm 5.4) and all human beings are unrighteous (Romans 3.10-12), which means that none are the object of God’s delight, familial love, or pleasure. But here at the baptism of Jesus, Jesus is declared to be all of these things, and that is devastating news for any not named Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee. But Mark leaves us a significant gospel clue. The Beloved Son here is the same as on the cross, but there the Father forsakes Him. Why? Because there He has taken upon Himself our sin. The transaction is astonishing. Mark uses a word in v. 10 for the “opened heavens” that he only uses one more time in the entire gospel. It is in Mark 15.38. When Jesus breathes His last on the cross, the temple veil, that which separated sinners from God, that which was but a shadow of the substantive barrier between sinners and God, is torn or “opened.” Sinners may now be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus. Heaven is opened for Jesus . . . and all who place their trust in His redemptive work. And the divine utterance, “you are my beloved son; with you I am well-pleased,” is declared of you and me, even as it is of Christ! Amazing! And this moves us from devastation to delight in Him.
2. Delight in Jesus who assaults the Kingdom of Satan and sin, vv. 12-13.
Mark only provides a snapshot of this encounter. He simply wants us to know: 1. the kingdom of God and that of Satan are diametrically opposed, and Jesus is clearly aligned with God. 2. God is the One on the offensive in Jesus. Jesus is the One being led into the wilderness by the Spirit of God and saying to the devil, “Here I am! Put ’em up! This is your open invitation to come and get pillaged and bound and plundered!” Jesus is the triumphant King! He is the One with the power to set Satan’s captives free — free from sin and death and hell. Satan has no hold on Jesus. He cannot make one justifiable charge. Jesus is sinless. We, on the other hand, are all born as his captives. We love sin. We are dead in it. We are part of his house. And we are too weak to overcome him. We need a stronger Champion. We need One who can slay the serpent. We need One who can take away our sin. That is Jesus. In Jesus, God justifies us. No charge can stand against one who has had their sins taken away and dealt with by Christ. We are truly free indeed! This moves us from devastation to delight in Him.
3. Delight in the ransom of King Jesus, vv. 14-15.
If we are Satan’s house and a King has come and defeated him, the proclamation of His victory would be a sound of terrible judgment (and it is!), and yet Jesus proclaims it as good news or gospel! How so? Because this King is also our Ransom. Jesus came not to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. We have rebelled against the King and merited the penalty of just execution, but the King is also the amnesty for all who will take hold of it. This makes His victory cry the sound of both judgment and grace. Judgment to those who continue in their rebellion. Grace to all who embrace His merciful offer. We know that He will be a ransom in this text because of the ominous context. John has been arrested in Mark 1.14. The preacher of Christ has been arrested and will be executed (Mark 6.14-29). What then will sinners do with the Christ, the One Who when He preaches preaches not another but Himself? We know, don’t we!? They (we) will crucify Him! And in the sovereign plan and purpose of God, that will be the very means of His redemptive triumph! A command is annexed to this gracious gospel: repent and believe!
Applied: One application tonight for CCC: How shall we advance the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in Newton? There is a heavy emphasis in Mark’s prologue (Mark 1.1-15) on public proclamation. John is called “the voice of one crying out,” and in 1.4 and 7, John is said to preach. Likewise, in v. 14, Jesus preaches the gospel. There is a thought in our own day that prioritizes lifestyle evangelism, or preaching the gospel with one’s life. This is important! Everything that Jesus does in this Gospel undergirds and supports what He is saying. But it is a support! The main thing that Mark wanted us to see, as it relates to advancing the kingdom of God on earth, is the emphasis that Jesus, Himself, placed upon the preaching of the gospel. And I suspect that in our early stages, we have had much opportunity and much failure to testify with our lips. Let me encourage us tonight. We can be discouraged from testifying to the gospel of Jesus because we think we do not know enough about Jesus, or about God, or perhaps we fear we do not have all the answers for all the questions that may be presented to us; and this can bring about paralysis in proclamation. But I want to challenge us in this, for this paralysis is really the result of pride. It is not because we do not know enough that we do not share. Every Christian knows the gospel! It is, rather, that we fail to believe in that gospel simply told. The eyes of our hearts get drawn away from the power of God in the gospel, and is placed upon our own abilities, knowledge, craftiness, or the lack thereof. Proclamation is not a matter of knowledge as much as it is a matter of faith. The gospel saves people. You know the gospel. Preach it! Jesus puts it this way: “A sower went out to sow . . . and the seed was the Word” (Mark 4.1-20). Are we trusting in the Word? Are we hoping in the gospel alone? Are we believing in the God who said that the message of the cross is His wisdom and power? In the context of kingdom advancement, Jesus said, again, “A sower went out to sow . . . and the seed was the Word.”