Mark 1-5 Continued...
Four Principles of Ministry
- Healthy sheep produce sheep. This is a chief part of what
Jesus did for three and a half years. Thus we see that a
dynamic ministry is focused on the Word of God, preaching
the Word of God.
- A dynamic church and/or ministry is composed of those
full of faith, those who are always stepping out in faith,
even radically. God is great and God can do the impossible
is their motto. A ministry can start as a dream, a desire
in your heart. Then you've got to be willing to step out
in faith. Then the dream turns into a vision. You've got
to be willing to step out in faith. Some times when you
step out in faith, God really is leading you. Not
every time, but some times. Don't be afraid to take chances
for the Lord.
- A dynamic ministry and church is friendly.
- A dynamic ministry and church is not a rigid one but a
dynamic one. Don't become institutionalized. It's a danger
to avoid. We have to be flexible, focused on the Spirit
and where he's leading us. [The Brooklyn Tabernacle is a
very good example of a dynamic ministry and Christian church.
Be sure to read about this church in Fresh Wind, Fresh
Fire, available on http://www.amazon.com
Mark 2:1-12. "A few days later, when
Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had
come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not
even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some
men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of
them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the
crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after
digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was
lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
'Son, your sins are forgiven.'
Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking
to themselves, 'Why does this fellow talk like that? He's
blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?'
Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they
were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, 'Why are
you thinking these things? Which is easier to say to the paralytic,
'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat
and walk?' But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority
on earth to forgive sins....' He said to the paralytic, 'I
tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.' He got up, took
his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed
everyone and they praised God, saying, 'We have never seen
anything like this!'"
A ministry needs to be focused on the Word of God--not healing,
not drama, not music--but it must be a feeding ministry, feeding
God's sheep with the Word of God. Healthy sheep beget more
sheep. 2 Timothy 3:14-18. "Keep reminding them of these things.
Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is
of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best
to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who
does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the
word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge
in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will
spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,
who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection
has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some."
Beware of false teachers and prophets who are not into the
Word of God, but into fables. Today's New Age movement is
our present-day version of these fables. 2 Timothy 3:1-9.
"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful,
proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful,
unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control,
brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited,
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--having a form
of godliness but denying its power. They are the kind who
worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed
women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all
kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge
the truth. Just as Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men
oppose the truth--men of depraved minds, who, as far as the
faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very
far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will
be clear to everyone."
In the midst of this house (Peter's house) full of people
listening to Jesus giving this Bible study are some Pharisees
and Scribes, religious leaders of the day. As the story unfolds,
remember they're sitting there.
If you really want something spiritual, you go for it in faith,
and you've got it. These four guys bringing a paralytic couldn't
get in because of the crowd. So they went up on Peter's roof
and start disassembling it, making a hole so they could lower
this man on a stretcher down into the room below. They had
just made a hole in Peter's roof--fiery Peter's roof, to lower
this man into Jesus' presence! They took the risk of being
embarrassed, chased away or being beat up for vandalizing
Peter's house. Verse 5 says, "When Jesus saw their faith..."
You have to have faith, step out in faith, be willing to risk
failure and embarrassment. Understanding the difficulty of
doing a work is measured by the one doing the work. If God
is doing the work in you, great things will result--if you
step out and continue to step out in faith. Faith is real
when it takes risks, takes steps.
A ministry starts out as a desire in the heart that then turns
into a vision. The vision then turns into a ministry.
Now something happens as a result of this healing. Some churches
get distracted on healings or financial prosperity--on the
physical--and not on the spiritual. 1 John 1:9, "If we confess
our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our
sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." Jesus knew the
heart of these Pharisees and Scribes. Their attitude must
have really bothered Jesus. Psalm 139 says God can read thoughts.
Jesus' prime message was that he came to forgive sin. He has
the authority to and came so that all of us could have our
sins forgiven. It wasn't the healing alone that was important
here, but the point Jesus was making, verses 6-12. "Now
some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves,
'Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who
can forgive sins but God alone?'
Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they
were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, 'Why are
you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the
paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take
your mat and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of
Man has authority on earth to forgive sin....' He said to
the paralytic, 'I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.'
He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them
all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, 'We
have never seen anything like this!'"
Four key points. A Christian Church and/or
Christian is focused on:
- The Word of God,
- Being full of faith,
- Being friendly,
- Being flexible in the Lord's hands.
Verses 13-17, "Once again Jesus went out
beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to
teach them. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus
sitting at the tax collector's booth. 'Follow me,' Jesus told
him, and Levi got up and followed him.
While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors
and 'sinners' were eating with him and his disciples, for
there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the
law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the 'sinners' and
tax collectors, they asked his disciples: 'Why does he eat
with tax collectors and 'sinners'? On hearing this, Jesus
said to them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but
the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'"
Jesus leaves the packed house of Peter's and walked along
the lake, and these people, this large crowd of people, follows
him. As he's walking, he passes this tax collector's booth
and says to it's occupant, "Follow me." Tax collectors were
known for making their wallets fat. They were a despised element
in Hebrew society. The Jewish tax collectors were really despised
by the Jews. They were excommunicated from the Temple, and
couldn't serve in any official capacity in Jewish society.
Matthew (Levi) had a feast to honor Jesus. He's a wealthy
guy. He gave up his job and wealth to follow Jesus. Jesus
probably changed Levi's name to Matthew, which means "a gift
of the Lord to the people."
So Jesus is sitting down with these outcasts of Jewish society,
"breaking bread" with them. Now to the Jews, the breaking
of bread, eating with someone, was a very symbolic thing.
When you "broke bread" with another person, because you and
that other person were eating of the same "bread," that food
became a part of the two of you, part of your bodies. You
were symbolically linked in that manner. That is why the Jews
were so against eating with those they looked down upon or
despised. It was symbolic of a sort of spiritually linking
with another person. The Jew would never want to be linked
in a spiritual union with a Roman or pagan. The tax collectors
and sinners, to them, the dregs of society, fell into this
despised lot the Jews wouldn't eat with or spiritually associate
with. The Jews got downright unfriendly about this. The Christian
Church, on the other hand, both corporately and individually,
should be friendly. Jesus embraced all kinds, but especially
the down and out--the outcasts of society. He was and is not
accepting of sin, but he accepts sinners so he can embrace
them and work a work in their lives. The church often gets
isolated from those Jesus wants to reach out to and save.
That is the attitude of the Pharisees. Calvary Chapel is a
sinner's hospital. A good book to get and read is Larry Taylor's
"Doing Ministry Right." [See if it's available online at:
] Matthew 9:12-13. "On hearing this, Jesus said, 'It is not
the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn
what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' [Hosea 6:6]
For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'"
Jesus embraces you right where you're at.
Point four says that Christians and Christian churches must
be flexible in the hands of God. Jesus says we're to go out
to those in need and reach them with the gospel. Don't expect
them to come to you. A prime example of a church doing this
is pastor Jim Cymbala's Brooklyn Tabernacle, where someone
would feel moved by God to go into a real bad section of New
York City, or Brooklyn, and minister directly with the people,
providing food and blankets, and then busing them to services
on Sunday for a church service. The living active gospel of
Jesus Christ was effectively brought to these people, right
to their doorstep, which in many cases was an alleyway or
a cardboard box they were living in. To read of this dynamic
ministry and Christian church congregation be sure to order
pastor Cymbala's book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire. [Available
online from: http://www.amazon.com
Verses 18-22, "Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were
fasting. Some came and asked Jesus, 'How is it that John's
disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting,
but yours are not?' Jesus answered, 'How can the guests of
the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so
long as they have him with them. But the time will come when
the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they
will fast. No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old
garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the
old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into
old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he
pours new wine into new wineskins.'"
This is the symbolic Monday or Thursday fasting that had been
set up and observed regularly by the Pharisees, to make a
religious show. The Jewish custom was, that after a wedding,
the guests stayed around for a week of celebrating with the
bride and bridegroom, and that everyone attending was exempt
from this religious fasting requirement or custom the
Pharisees had set up. Jesus was making reference to this when
he spoke of the bridegroom's guest's not fasting, and that
he was the bridegroom. He was also making direct reference
to the coming putting away of the old covenant for the new.
God was about to do a new work, and Jesus was saying that
it wouldn't mesh with their old religious system, the old
covenant. The wine represents the gospel, the old wineskin
represents the old religious system, and the old covenant
itself. The Jews weren't flexible. Jesus' point was that the
new system, composed of Christians and Christian churches
must be flexible in the hands of God! As I brought out before,
Jesus says we should be going out to those in need and reaching
them with the gospel. Don't expect them to come to you.