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Mark 6:1-29

David cried and it explains in Psalm 34, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord." We had that on the little cookies we gave out to the fathers last week. "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord." Do you believe that? Do you believe that 'Blessed, happy, a life of blessing is the man or woman who trusts in the Lord? I do. You know at times it's been a challenge for me to accept that. I've been learning over time that indeed "blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord." There was a time, I was working in ministry, a man came across my path. This particular man had a financial need. He'd come to the ministry I was a part of and asked if we could help him a little bit. I said, "You know we love to help people who are in need. But let me pray with you." I've learned that giving financially to somebody isn't always helping the need. So I said, "Let's pray together, and I want to talk to your pastor who's attending another church." And I said, "I'll get back to you in a day or so and let you know if we can help. I'd like to, but let me just pray and seek the Lord on it." So I prayed about it, and was saying how the Lord provides for his kids, and then talked to his pastor. And his pastor explained to me and said, "You know there's a genuine need, I'm sure, in his life. He's not one of these guys who's just trying to take advantage of people." But he said, "I am concerned for him because there's been a cycle in his life. He seems to have a job for a season and then for some reason he no longer does, and then goes through a time of unemployment, and then bills stack up and then he needs help and then eventually he gets a job again. But it's a cycle that just continues to repeat itself. So a number of times he's asked for assistance from us and he's a brother and we love him...for that reason...he's gone to you to ask for assistance." Well anyway I went back to this person and I said, "The Lord I think has led us to help you, but we're only going to give you help with your immediate need, because I feel the Lord has a greater work he wants to do in your life. You know I talked to your pastor and he's just concerned for you because of this cycle that's going on. And that says to me that there's something that God wants to do in your life." When I was taught to council at the headquarters of our fellowship in San Diego I was taught right up front to ask three things. Ask the person if they're in the Word, regularly. Ask them if they're in prayer. And determine if they're attending a church that teaches the Word. If those aren't in line, forget about what the problem is. Deal with that, because the problem may actually be related to that. And I believe, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord." And this particular gentleman that came across my life that one time, you couldn't say that about his life. There was a cycle going on, even though he was a believer. Evidently he wasn't trusting in God and was in this cycle. And God wanted to show him that 'blessed is the man, blessed is the woman who trusts in the Lord.'

Jesus said in Matthew, as is recorded in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Seek first the kingdom of God and all the things--he says 'don't worry, don't be anxious, God will take care of you.' Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 17:5-8, "Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord, for he shall be like a shrub in the desert and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness and the salt land which is not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is in the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its root by the river and will not fear when heat comes. But its leaf will be green and will not be anxious in years of drought nor will cease from yielding fruit." Jeremiah contrasts the two types of people, like the shrubs in the desert, one struggling, starving, but blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. Blessed is that [other] man, he's going to be like a shrub in the nice watered, well tapped into life, even when it's a drought he'll be tapped into the good stuff and be yielding fruit. You know David said in Psalm 37, he said, "I've been young and I've been old, yet I've not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread." Indeed, blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. Do you believe it? I believe it. Sometimes it's more of a challenge than others, but it's always true I believe. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. I had the privilege this morning, somebody gave me a check, said, "Hey, I'd like so and so to go to Israel." I said, "Cool, I'll go tell 'em" So I went to this person. This person is really just seeking God and I said, "Hey, are you going to Israel? Would you like to go to Israel?" He said, "I'm not going to Israel, I can't afford it." I said, "Yes you can. Somebody's paid your way, man, and was just able to extend that blessing." But I believe blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. Without a doubt we experience that blessing of God as we trust him and as we walk by faith. And as we seek his kingdom, Jesus said all these things will be added to us [read Matthew 6:25-33]. Of course that's a life of obedience, obedience to his Word. And Jeremiah said though, for those who don't trust, for those whose hearts are departed from God, who do not obey his Word, they're going to reap the things of the life of unbelief. And the reason why I say that is, that's kind of a backdrop for this Mark chapter 6, as we look at it, that blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. We're going to be able to contrast the life of belief, the fruit of the life of belief and against the life of unbelief as we go through this chapter. So consider that, consider David's words as we look at this chapter.

You know I was thinking about my wife recently. And when we moved here, you know it was easy for me to do. God had called me and put a passion in my heart, I was getting what I desired. But with my wife it was a bit more of a challenge. She didn't get the vision and her family is very close, so it was a challenge for her to leave her family and move here. My family was here so it was easy for me. And when we got here the Bible studies started, you know God has blessed this church with a lot of children and just continues to do that. So because of that, being the pastor's wife, she seems to be on Sundays serving the children and only now and then gets to be part of the worship service. She loves to worship the Lord. And I'm not trying to exalt her in any way. I'm just trying to make a point, because I was thinking about this recently. My wife, whose close [to her family], every now and then, between six months to a year it seems she really begins to miss her family. And her family is very close. They're not Christians, necessarily, and this thing just starts to happen. And every single time she gets to that point, somewhere or other a free ticket comes in the mail or something. It's yet not to happen. We've been here five years. I won't tell you the number of times she's been to San Diego--but every time, every time. Now trusting the Lord doesn't mean you're going to get an airline ticket. I've given you two examples of God giving airline tickets to people. That's not necessarily the case, but I do believe 'blessed is the man who trust's in the Lord.' One time my wife was wanting to go to California and see her family, and I was like, "You know, Paula, it's not the time--but we'll pray." And we began to pray and somebody gave my wife a free ticket. Then my wife got on the airplane and disappointed that I wasn't going with her. I said, "Hey, just be happy you're going." But believe it or not, before she got to San Diego she stopped at a city, somebody else got on the plane and gave her a ticket for me, so I could go out and join her in San Diego. Recently she was in the same place, just at a point missing her family. They're very close. And I told her this time, "The Lord has blessed you so much with these airline tickets." I said, "Not this time, you know, we've got Noah, he needs a ticket now and it's just financially no do-able." But she was just having a difficult time. So finally I said, "All right, I'll pray with you." So I pray, "Lord, if you want her to go, it seems one of these times you're not going to do it Lord, but if you want her to go, you know, please provide the way." Well, I was coming up the stairs in our house a week later and I heard her on the telephone and I just knew what was going on. One of her family members had called. Didn't know where we were at or anything, and said, "Hey, a couple of us have been thinking and we'd like to fly you out to San Diego, and pay for Noah too." And I do believe, very much, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord." Now there's a false doctrine that's going around. It's very prevalent, that if you have enough faith and you want something, you'll get it. That's heresy. That makes a mockery of God. But where God comes to you and says, "I promise you this", where God comes to you [in Scripture] and says "I will do this."--blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. When God says he's going to do something you believe him for what he says he's going to do. There are many things God has said to you in his Word that he wants to do in your life. "Seek first his kingdom and all these things shall be added unto you [Matthew 6:33]."

Abraham, when God appeared to him, God said to him, "This is what I am going to do." It said Abraham believed and it was accounted to him for righteousness. It's a life of blessing to believe God and to trust in the Lord. So we're going to use that as our backdrop this morning as we look at Mark chapter 6. Let's say a word of prayer. "Lord indeed you tell us 'Blessed is the man who trusts in you, blessed is the woman who trusts in you.' I would pray by your power through you Holy Spirit, your mercy and grace as we study your Word this morning that we would leave, all of us, with a greater faith in our hearts toward you. Indeed that we would trust you for the things that you've told us you want to do in our lives--that we'd trust you Lord for the things you want to do in our families--that we trust you Lord even for the things you want to do in our community. So I pray that we would leave as men and women that trust you Lord, seeking first your kingdom. I pray in Jesus name, Amen."

Mark 6:1-6, "Then he came out from there and came to his own country. And his disciples followed him. And when the Sabbath had come he began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing him were astonished, saying 'Where did this man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to him that such mighty works are performed by his hands? Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas and Simeon? And are not his sisters here with us?' And they were offended at him. But Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.' Now he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. Then he went about the villages in a circuit, teaching."

[The Sabbath-keeping Churches of God use this as one of their proof texts for believing the Sabbath command has not been abrogated or transferred to Sunday.  To learn why, log onto:
http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/Has%20the%20Sabbath%20Been%20Abrogated.htm ]


When we lack faith, we don't trust in God, trust him for his word, don't believe in him, we're not going to see God do many works in our lives and through our lives. Jesus has gone back to his hometown with his disciples, back to the city of Nazareth. And as is his custom, has gone to the synagogue on the Sabbath and is teaching. Those hearing him and others are astonished. They're astonished by his wisdom. They're astonished by the mighty miracles he's performed. He's healed a few sick and they've heard of the things he's done before. They're absolutely amazed, just at the power that's working in him. They attest to the fact that there's power in his life, wisdom in his words--power and miracles that he's done. But as you read there, sadly those that have known him, known him when he was growing up, they take offense to him. Admittedly they're amazed by his power, the power of God working in him, but they can't seem to get beyond his humanness. They grew up with Jesus, they saw him when he was a young boy, played with him on the playground, went to school with him. As his neighbor they saw Jesus as a young boy growing up, and they saw he was very man, very human. Indeed he was, but they didn't accept the Divine, they couldn't accept that he was the Son of God. So here, very sadly you realize, they rejected him. They saw him as this carpenter's son, that's all they could see him as. They saw that something was going on in his life, yet refused to put their belief in him. And as a result, you read there in those verses, that Jesus could not do any mighty work among them because of their unbelief. And that is a truth that you see in Scripture. Faith, faith pleases God. Without faith it's impossible to please God. Faith is the requirement to release the power of God--to release the power of God in salvation to us--but also just the power of God in our lives. There's a relationship there with faith. God will not work in our lives if we refuse to believe him for that work. Here, those that knew Jesus when he was young, they see his power, they see something is going on in him. They attest to that, and yet they refuse to accept him as the son of God, and for that he doesn't do many miracles as a result, and even marvels at their unbelief. Only twice in Scripture do you see Jesus marveling, once here and another time he marvels at the belief of the Centurion. But Jesus didn't do much mighty works there because there was no belief in their hearts. To not place our trust in God, to not believe Jesus, is to not see the power, his power work in our lives. Again that includes his power in bringing us salvation, but also just in working in certain areas of our life. Do you want to see the power of God manifested in your life? Well, blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. Believe him. Believe him for what he said he'll do in your life. Accept it in faith. Maybe you don't see it today. Abraham didn't see it at that moment, but he took God at his word and it was counted to him as righteousness. But he trusted God for his word. But if you don't want to see the power, if you want to miss out on the power of God, then don't believe, don't trust.

Has Jesus done a mighty work in your life? Or maybe you're caught in some kind of cycle, some kind of thing that just continues to spin around. Has Jesus done a mighty work in your home? Maybe there's a cycle that goes on, round and round in your home too. Could it be because you're not trusting God for what he wants to do?--not believing in him for what he can do? Maybe you're trusting in man instead and if you are, I'd exhort you, Jeremiah said, 'Cursed is the man who trusts in man, he's going to be like a starving shrub out in the desert if his trust is ultimately in man.' But blessed is the man who trusts in God. When we lack faith, when we lack belief in God, when we don't put our trust in him, we're just not going to see many mighty things take place in our life, as a result. Faith releases the power of God. God wants to work, but yet he's pleased by faith, and without faith he's not pleased.

You know, I've had the privilege of spending some time with a friend yesterday, a friend and his wife. They were part of our home fellowship (out in San Diego). And this man was just on a rocketship of spiritual growth when I got to know him. His name means 'man of God' and he really is a man of God. As a young believer when I got to know him, in a short time he just grew in the Lord and became part of the staff out there and was given the job of being the principle of the church's school out there, which is about 1500 students, and just a big part of the ministry out there. Well he and his wife, a year ago--I was surprised to hear it--but they felt called by God, and God worked them through a situation to take them to the east coast and to work with a school, a Christian school on the east coast. Well he didn't quite know what he was getting into. But he went to this school that was supposed to be this Christian school and he said "Our motto is basically this, and this is going to be how I lead this school, but our motto is this: "Just Jesus."" We're going to teach these kids and we're going to teach them academics and all that, but the heart and the thrust of what we're going to do is "Just Jesus." Well, believe it or not, people got very upset. A lot of teachers and staff were very upset. In fact they had a 25 percent reduction in the staff of this school that had hundreds of students. And as time went on, some of the local churches had trouble with that too and started to teach about him on the pulpits. It turned out to be a real challenge initially. This motto of 'Just Jesus.' But in time, folks began to leave, things began to transition (there was even a lesbian affair going on in the staff in this supposedly Christian school). The school, it was about 330 students I think, but the next year there was over 580 attending. That's significant growth for a school. But not only that, they had a $250,000 debt when they started and they ended up the year $15,000 in the plus. And by the end of the year 85 people--students and staff--had accepted Christ. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. He went on to tell me stories of getting there and the step of faith and just knowing God was going to provide and how they lived the first six months in a 2500 square foot home, but they only paid $300 (a month) for it--"but seek first his kingdom"--and God will just work in your life. It's a truth, it'll happen. I could tell you many stories, I'm sure you've seen many stories.

So maybe there's a cycle of something going on in your life and maybe you're even questioning the mighty work of God. God will do what he said he will do. He's true to his promises, but he wants you to walk by faith. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.

Mark 6:7-13, "And he called the twelve to himself and he began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff--no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts--but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics. Also he said to them, 'In whatever place you enter a house, stay there till you depart from that place. And whoever will not receive you, depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!' So they went out and preached that people should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them." To walk by faith is to see God do mighty works as you read there in that passage. But in contrast--you see a contrast in that passage we just read--to reject Jesus is to bring judgment upon our lives. Here Jesus calls together the twelve disciples and he sends them out on a short-term mission project, you could say--pairs them up, gives them the power that is needed to go out to do this ministry for him. But also he says in there, he says, "Take nothing with you except for your staff and the clothing you're wearing, just take that." Now why did he instruct them to do that? Well I believe that he wanted them to learn what it is to walk by faith and to step out in faith so he told them, "Just take a staff and your clothing and I'll take care of the rest." (I knew some missionaries that did that in India. They had really neat stories of what God did.) He wanted to show them that if they seek his kingdom first, they're not going to lack any good thing. He wanted to show them that ultimately he--he was their provider. He was Jehovah God, the provider. He might use some people there, some homes, as an instrument, but he was ultimately the provider. If you're seeking first the kingdom of God, God will provide for you--he will provide, without a doubt. I believe it wholeheartedly. God has, a number of times, shown me, and I'm sure he's shown you. But when you seek him and his kingdom, he provides and takes care of his kids. I shared a story two years ago, and I've since learned the other part of the story, so for those that haven't heard the whole thing, I'll tell you the whole thing this morning. But this is just an example. There was one particular time the first two years my wife and I were ministering here, where God was just challenging us to trust him. And our income wasn't enough to pay for our bills, and we had a small stipend. Well anyway, this one particular day money ran out, bills stacked up, refrigerator was empty, and it was a challenging day, a challenging week, I don't remember how it all worked out. But I remember, eventually this one day we were just really struggling with trusting God for his provision. And the whole day went by and we were just pretty much with a bad attitude and it got to that point where we were just out of faith and out of trust and just having a hard time. Well at the end of the day, it was early evening, I finally said to my wife, you know just feeling all yucky from just my heart, I said "Let's go pray and just go before the Lord. Why are we in this rut?" "Let's just go before the Lord." So we went to an office that was in our apartment at the time, got on our knees and you know I said to my wife, I said, "You know we don't need to pray for food and clothing, we just need to pray for faith." So we got down and began to pray. I said, "Lord, you do provide, I know you do. Please give us the faith to trust you for it." And as I was praying...Someone came to our front door. My reaction was to get frustrated, of course, because I had a yucky heart and I was trying to get clean and now I was getting interrupted as I was trying to get clean, so I was just frustrated, you know. So I went to the door frustrated and I opened the door and there's this man standing there at the door and he's got a box on his shoulder. He says, "Hey, you don't necessarily know me, I've met you before, but my name is so and so." And he says, "Here." And he gives me this box. So I said, "Alright." He says, "I gotta go, my wife's in the vehicle." So he ran back to the vehicle and they drove off. And here I had this box. So I went back into the office and lay this box on the floor, and of course it was filled with food, right to the top. My wife even admitted, she says earlier in the day as we were talking about it, "I prayed that God would even bless us with a voucher to go shopping." And there was an envelope on the top of this box, with a little voucher to go shopping at Market Basket. Well, I've since learned the other side of that story. And this is how God works...that person a couple of years later, I got to know a little bit. We crossed paths again and somehow we were talking and that story came out and we started to talk a little about it. He said, "This is what happened on my end. I was part of this church" and he said, "we had this little route we were going to do that day and went out shopping and got all this stuff we were going to provide for certain families in our church that had financial and physical needs. So we went out shopping and got all these things and got all these boxes. And we had a little route we were taking throughout these two towns and giving food to folks." He says, "So I went out the door of the church and had all these boxes packed up, and as I was getting ready to leave I just thought, there was a few pieces of food left, and different things and even a voucher, they had an extra voucher." And he says, "Well, we don't really have need of it, we've got enough here to provide for the families so he says, well I'll go back anyway and put this stuff into a box and take it with me. Who knows what I'll do with it, but I'll take it with me." So they did. And they had to drive around the little route and stop at the different families and gave them the food and things that they needed, and blessed these families. And when they got done, he says "Here I've got this extra box of stuff we threw in there, of different things and this voucher. What'll I do with it, Lord?" Well I don't know if he was listening to the to the radio station or what (our local Christian radio station), but suddenly he got this thought "Why not the people that run the radio station?" So he went around and somehow determined were we lived and happened to show up at the door while I was on my knees with my wife. And our refrigerator was empty, and we were praying "God give us more faith to trust you." And it's true, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord." It's true, if you trust him. If you're not seeing the blessing maybe it's because there's a lack of trust in your life. But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. And indeed, seek first his kingdom, God will provide for you. Now maybe there are exceptions, I know often we can come up with, and God does test us and yes, the life of blessing is also a life of trial and challenges and fire as God builds up our faith to our good.

But it's true man, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, blessed is the woman who trusts in the Lord." If you've not been seeing that blessing and provision of God in your life, maybe it's because you've not been seeking his kingdom first and foremost. Maybe you're not trusting him and therefore not seeing the result in blessing. Well, here in the verses we read, the disciples are really given a project of faith in a sense, to step out in faith. And they step out in faith, later they come back and as we go on a little bit more in Mark next week, they come back excited about what God had done in and through them. They stepped out in faith and man, God just blessed. And they just had exciting stories to share of blessing when they came back. And indeed it's exciting to step out in faith and walk by faith and see God do mighty works.

But here in this passage we see a contrast, a different type of heart. Jesus said, "as you go to different houses and different villages, those that do not receive you and those that do not hear you, depart from there. Just depart from there. And not only that, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them." And then he says in the New King James, it's not in the NIV, but it is in other accounts of this in other gospels, but he did say this, "Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city." That's what God thinks of belief. It's amazing that he would say it. It would be more tolerable for those who did those wicked things in Sodom and Gomorrah than those who reject Jesus. That is what he says. To reject when he comes knocking on the door of your heart is to bring judgment upon your life. In fact, if you've been told about Jesus and still deny him, Jesus says, Sodom and Gomorrah, those folks will be better off than you in judgment day. And the reason why, and you may wonder, "Why would he say such a thing?" I guess the best I can tell you is, Light creates responsibility. The people in Sodom and Gomorrah had light, light enough to be judged for their sins, as you read in Romans, but they didn't know about Jesus. They knew a little about God through seeing creation and God speaking to them through the creation and a little bit through the Old Testament [which they probably didn't have much access to, since this was the time of Abraham, what, some generations from Noah or something like that. As a matter of fact, Noah's son Shem was still alive when Abram was born if you trace out the genealogy.] All those apart from Christ will be judged for their sin, but those who have been given a lot of light, it appears there may even be a varying degree of judgment. [Differing Christian denominations have differing beliefs on the final judgment, the Great White throne judgment and the disposition of the "unsaved dead." Much of this is prophecy where, as Paul said, we see through a darkened glass. Jesus upon his return will clear up all the differences in interpretation on this subject. For unity's sake, it's better to wait than speculate.] Those who have been given more light are more responsible for that light. What a contrast. The life of faith and blessing, yet the life of unbelief and rejection is a life of judgment.

Let's look at verse 14-29, "Now King Herod heard of Him, for His name had become well-known. And he said, 'John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.' Others said, 'It is Elijah.' And others said, 'It is the Prophet, or like one of the prophets.' But when Herod heard, he said, 'This is John whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the dead!' For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; for he had married her. For John had said to Herod, 'It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife.' Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not; for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee. And when Herodias's daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, 'Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.' He also swore to her, 'Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.' So she went out and said to her mother, 'What shall I ask?' And she said, 'The head of John the Baptist!' Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying, 'I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.' And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her. And immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took away his corpse and laid it in a tomb."

Here is definitely a warning about unbelief. And here in this passage there's unbelief because of a man's heart, because he loves the world and the things of the world more than he desires to know God. And that love of the world is a great love in his heart. And what a warning to you and I when the world begins to beckon us and passions begin to flair up and we begin to fulfill those passions. And here you see Herod, a man that loved the things of the world and yet God began to speak to move him, and yet he still loved the world so much more. And you see the fruit of that, the fruit of this life of unbelief too. Unbelief because he refused to take John at his word and put his faith in those words. And this fruit that he saw was predominantly about guilt and shame. When Herod hears about Jesus, he's like, 'Oh man! That's John the Baptist! He's come back to life!' This guy must have been ridden with a lot of guilt and shame because he had taken off John the Baptist's head, so here he believes upon hearing Jesus, that a headless man has come back to life. And the reason why he believes that and is just in fear of that is just because of tremendous shame and guilt is in his heart for what he did, and it's just plagued him day in and day out. When he had John the Baptist beheaded it just consumed his heart, and the shame and guilt day in and day out gnawed at him. And eventually when he heard about Jesus, man, he's like, 'Wow!, John the Baptist has come back to life!' Because he knew what he'd done was wrong, and he knew that he'd be judged for what he had done. You read in these verses that Herod feared John and in these verses you see that he knew that John was a just and holy man. Evidently, initially he wanted to kill John, as you read in the other gospels, then he feared the people, so he didn't do that because they thought he was a prophet [Herod was well tuned into public opinion, just like our modern politicians of today--no different.], but he did have him arrested. He had him arrested because of his relationship with Herodias who was his brother's wife. And he had him put in prison, but then in prison, evidently, he must have gone down and visited John. John being a straight shooter began to share with him. You get a sense that there was probably a lot of meetings because he listened and began to say, 'Wow, this guy is a holy and just man.' He was really infatuated and drawn to these words and what this man was saying to him and then began to protect him. But he made some compromises, he was a man of lust for the world, and because of that he allowed Herodias to come into his life, his brother's wife. And what a wicked woman this was, Herodias you see what she does. She actually takes her daughter and lets her daughter really play the part of a prostitute. Her daughter dances before Herod. That's what prostitutes did. Just a wicked woman. But he allowed that woman into his life, you know he lusted after her and marries her, and John begins to address that but then he's convinced of that, yet he's got this woman in his life. Really opened up his heart to a foothold of Satan and eventually, still having lust in his heart, began to lust after Herodias' daughter, she danced, and then he made an oath, and with that, man, Herodias just went for the throat, and really brought a hard thing into his life and eventually John the Baptist's head came out on a platter before him because of it. What a warning. If you have a love for the world, there's a lust in your heart for the world and the things of the world, and if you're a Christian, be warned, man. Because I tell you, if you play with fire you get burned. You open your life up to a Herodias or some sort or another, then you're gonna feel the pain of it later. Jesus said, 'Better to pluck out your eye, if you struggle, better to pluck it out, then bear the fruit of that lustful eye. And he gave us other parables like that. I wouldn't encourage you to take out your eye if you struggle with lust. But it would probably be less painful to take that eye out then to bear the shame and the guilt and the fruit of the sin that eye is going to make you, if you have a lustful heart. And that's what happens here with Herod because of just a lust and love for the world. He just gets into situations he ultimately didn't want to be in. But Satan, he gave him a foothold, and Satan went for it. But what a warning to you, if you are struggling with the world, you're a believer, and yet the world is calling you and you've got this area of your life, I encourage you, man, take heed to the Word of God and take measures if necessary. If you struggle with lust of the eyes, get rid of the T.V. if that is what's necessary. To keep you from stumbling get rid of the Internet if that's what's necessary. Get rid of the magazines, whatever it is. Get radical if you need to do it, because you can go down a road and really regret it later, if you let that desire and passion get started, and fulfill that desire and passion. Man, the enemy wants to get a foothold in your life, and he does here to Herod. So just a warning. And maybe you have another struggle in your life in another area, and you're doing a "Lot" thing and got your tent pitched toward Sodom. And you know Lot ended up in Sodom later. I encourage you to let the power of God work in your life, and go to the cross and pluck out your eye [symbolically] or whatever it is, spiritually speaking. Well, Herod loved the world more than he was interested in the things of God. There was a stirring in his heart, but he rejected that to continue to fulfill his flesh. And let's look to Luke chapter 23. "When Pilate heard of Galilee," (this is when Jesus had been handed over to Pontius Pilate) "he asked if the man [Jesus] were a Galilean. And as soon as he knew he belonged to Herod's jurisdiction he sent him to Herod who was also in Jerusalem at that time. Now when Herod saw Jesus he was exceeding glad for he had desired for a long time to see him because he had heard many things about him and hoped to see some miracle done by him. Then he questioned him with many words, but he answered him with nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. Then Herod, with his men of war, treated him with contempt and mocked him, arrayed him in a gorgeous robe and sent him back to Pilate. That very day, Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been at enmity with each other." Here you see the ultimate fruit of unbelief.

Herod, you could maybe say, came close, confronted with the truth of God's word, it began to move his heart, yet he said, 'Now--the world.' He kept going back to the world, and eventually you see that life of denying God and denying Christ, where it leads--it leads to blasphemy. That's the ultimate fruit of unbelief. And there in Luke you see a Herod later on with just a seared conscience as he's standing before Jesus. Definitely he seems to have a different heart and different mind than when he was with John because he stands before Jesus and really wants to see a magician work and cast spells and things, and then he just begins to mock Jesus and ridicule Jesus and you just see a change in heart. For a moment there he seemed to have a soft heart and a soft conscience, at least to a degree. But he didn't, he didn't respond in faith, he rejected, rejected the Word of God, and that's where he ended up.

And my encouragement to you, as Jesus speaks to your heart, as the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart this morning, the ultimate fruit of unbelief is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and that's the only sin that God won't forgive. If you reject Jesus, when the end comes, the Bible said as we read, it will be better for Sodom and Gomorrah than for you in the day of judgment because you've been given a lot of opportunity, and heard the Word of God and Jesus has spoken to you and has called to you and yet you continue to reject him, and a life of rejection, of rejecting Jesus is a life of standing in judgment alone without the Advocate, Jesus, and then having to endure the fruit of your sin which is death, spiritual death. Well, blessed is the man [or woman] who trusts in God, as David said in Psalm 34, verses 8-10. "O taste to see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who trusts him. O fear the Lord you his saints, there is no want to those who fear him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger, but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing." David said, 'Ah, blessed is the man who seeks the Lord, blessed is the man who puts his faith in him, blessed is the man who trusts in him. He doesn't lack a thing.' Sure there might be some challenges, some testings, some trials, but he's blessed. It's a good life to walk with the Lord, it's a good life to walk in faith. Well that's where we're going to end our study this morning. That's where I ended the first service, so we'll end right there."

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