Recorded on February 7th, 2021
Knowledge does not equal faith. You can take all of Jesus in, but unless you decide to do something with it, there will be no change in you. It requires intentionality every single day.
Transcript of Sermon:
we are in our journey through the book of mark we are in mark 1 21-28 we are following the ministry of jesus and today we are going to be exploring the idea of authority and the question we want to ask ourselves as we are going through today’s sermon is now that you know dot dot dot what are we going to do about it so let us read mark 1 21 through 28 they went to capernaum and when the sabbath came jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach the people were amazed at his teaching because he taught them as the one who had authority not as the teachers of the law just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out what do you want with us jesus of nazareth have you come to destroy us i know who you are the holy one of god be quiet said jesus sternly come out of him the impure spirit spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with the street the people were all so amazed that they asked each other what is this a new teaching and with authority he even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him news about him spread quickly over the whole region of galilee this is the word of god for the people of god thanks be to god all right it’s time for me to do a little pastoral confession again and i you know i don’t love confessing things to you that uh might make me seem a little bit less i don’t know authoritative or a little bit less not cool i don’t know i know i’m none of those things anyway but i hate confessing things to you because saying them out loud makes me feel one vulnerable to sometimes like a little bit of an idiot and today what i’m going to confess to you totally makes me feel like an idiot but i’m going to say it anyway i am a sucker and have been for years for all sorts of fad things fad self-help things the newest coolest habit-forming journal love it you should see every year i have a new journal in terms of like my day keeper this year i have the passion planner last year i had the christian planner the year before i had a different kind of planner and every year i think this thing is going to be the thing that gets me all planned and organized because i love organizing but i don’t always love following through with my love of organizing if you know what i mean then i also love love don’t love i don’t know you would think i love it by the way i follow them but new fad diets because every new fad diet has the promise of being the one that is going to save you from yourself right if you just follow this new plan then you will be free from all of the things that keep you broken down in this world in terms of eating because food and i we have kind of a relationship i don’t know if you’re like that but i am some people have a relationship with food where they don’t like to eat it or they stay away from it some people have a relationship with food where they eat too much of it that would be me some people have a relationship with food where they eat too much of it and then they purge it and all of those things are destructive and we’re always looking for answers quick answers that will get us to where we want to be and boy this world is full of them aren’t they fad self-help things and there’s always a new wave there’s always a new answer i love listening to them this world is full of them i love listening to people who have been really successful podcasts oh my gosh you have to shut down my phone sometimes because i’m a podcast hound and i love ones that have to do with ways to lead businesses or to be successful or listening to ways that old successful people not old successful people but people who are successful have done things in the past because then maybe i can learn from them and i can put everything that they’ve learned into practice in my life or in my ministry or in my work but the reality is that even though i listen to all these things i read these books i i make myself available to the teaching of all these new fad teachings very rarely very rarely does one of them really take hold and create change in my life and that’s the thing that makes me feel a wee bit shameful to share all this with you it’s one thing if i could say hey i learn this stuff i put it into action and i change and i’m you should do the same thing but i can’t tell you that because that’s not the way it works with me i go i learn the thing i say that’s really awesome i should do something about that but then i move on to the next thing and i learn about that and i say that’s really awesome i should do something about that and on and on again and when i look at the world around us i see unfortunately that i’m not very unique in fact i think the world is full of lots of people like me they may not look for the same kinds of information that i’m looking for they may not seek the same kind of news or readings that i look at but they still are out there maybe they’re news junkies and they watch every newscast that there is to be had on fox news or cnn or msnbc they watch everything that anderson cooper puts out or that bill o’reilly puts out or that sean hannity puts out and if they don’t watch these things they feel a little bit left out they feel like they’ve lost a day that they’re behind on the news yet even though they know all of this stuff they don’t really know what to do with the information that’s coming in even though we’re taking information in and not doing anything with it that information is still forming us you see when we take in all this information whether it’s intentional by going and looking for it or unintentional by just being a child of the culture around us or a human in the culture around us watching tv listening to the news listening to the radio going to work and hearing people talk about certain things we become formed by the voice and the authority of culture and if we were to ask each other and if we were honest with each other we would probably all be able to say some pretty similar things about what we believe we would probably all have to fess up that there’s a certain ideal body type maybe not that we have but that we agree is probably the best body type and that we’ve been trying or that we or that maybe we just know we can never live up to if we were to be honest with each other we would probably have to fess up that there’s a certain level of income that is the best a certain type of house a certain type of car a certain type of phone a certain level of education because we’re children of the world and because we live in this world we are filled daily with the authority of this world and it starts to form beliefs inside of us that we allow to become our beliefs whether or not we act on them it becomes the authority authoritative voice inside of our heads and the difficulty the danger with that is that we judge ourselves by that authority not only that we judge others by that authority and that leads us to the world that we live in today a world that is divided a world that is at war with each other because we think that there’s only so many goods and services we think that there’s only certain people that can be good and that the others are bad we think that there’s certain things that are good and that other things are bad and do we really know that to be true but what we’re living out of is this assumed authority of the culture around us the stuff that we’ve taken in so as i looked at this week’s teaching the teaching of mark a few things became really clear to me first is this every single one of the gospels matthew mark luke and john are written by different people written by matthew mark luke or john right and each of the authors had a different viewpoint that they were writing from that’s why some of the stories are different that’s why the perspective on similar stories is slightly different it’s because they want to teach you something important about that particular story and what mark wants us to know he comes out really quickly you see the first thing that mark teaches us he gets at when jesus goes and does ministry and the first thing that we see in jesus’s ministry is this moment right here last week we looked that jesus was gathering disciples to follow him on his journey and the very first thing that they do together in ministry is this moment right here they find themselves in synagogue teaching now let me describe to you what that looked like culturally because that is really important for us to understand what mark wants us to understand for our lives you see a synagogue in this time and place was a cultural mecca a synagogue was a place that they came to worship but it wasn’t the typical place that they came to worship you see israelites in the beginning all worshiped in one temple in jerusalem but when different rulers came to jerusalem and forced israelites out of that area israelites were so far away from the temple that they had to find different ways to worship because they couldn’t go to the temple to worship and so they started to form groups and in the beginning a synagogue was any place where ten men yes men were gathered together but then after a while they started to build buildings in different cities that held the synagogue that were places of worship and we believe that’s what we see here with jesus that they were so far along in this process of worshiping away from the temple that jesus was at an actual building a synagogue and this synagogue would have done a few things in the lives of the israelites it would have been a place where they went to worship once a week a sacred holy place just like we do here at church it would have also been a place where they educated children where the educated adults and it also would have been a place where they held all court manners a place where somebody mediated all disputes it was the central place of the jewish life the synagogue and what was really interesting to me to learn was that synagogues were not led by rabbis during this time they didn’t have rabbis which were like pastors or priests during this time synagogues in a typical service a worship service was led by a scribe or a teacher but then people in the audience participated lay people participated in that service so when he would go to this sacred hour the sacred time it was something they did together as a unit as a community and so what’s scandalous about this time with jesus being there and teaching is not that jesus stops the service and teaches because that’s what i originally thought when i read this for the first time in the beginning of my journey in faith when i would read this i would think oh my gosh jesus just showed up and took over from the rabbi who was there because that’s what it would be like today if somebody came into church here and i was teaching and they just took over teaching or another pastor was teaching it would be scandalous it would be weird but that’s not what is odd here that’s very normal jesus might have even been asked by one of the teachers or the scribes to read from the scrolls or to teach from this particular passage of scripture that they were on now what a scandal is here is that a man who was unclean who had spirits living inside of him was able to enter the synagogue you see that they had clear distinct rules keeping out people much different than we try to be today maybe not than who we are as the church but who we try to be is people who accept all people but in the synagogue they kept out unclean women during certain times of the month they kept out unclean humans who who might have had demon possession who who might have had special needs they kept out people who were different and this man managed to make his way into the synagogue during a sacred time and sacred worship this is the scandalous moment and what does jesus do when this man comes in you see this man comes in to confront jesus because what we understand about spirits is that they recognized from the very beginning who jesus was and that was is what mark wants us to see here anytime mark talks about spirits they recognize the sonship of christ they recognize that jesus is the son of god but anytime you see mark talking about the disciples or the followers of jesus they may recognize that he’s the messiah but savior can be separate from son of god in this culture they don’t have the same eyes that we have they don’t get to see history it’s they’re living it in the present and so this spirit names jesus for what jesus is and jesus in a moment without any magic without any special words without anything that’s um flamboyant at all jesus says to this man be still and remove yourself from this man and the spirits obey immediately and this makes the people stop and take notice you see what happens here is that everyone who is watching has seen people teach in the synagogue before they’ve seen the scribes teach now scribes were people who worked at the synagogue they transcribed the scriptures they they wrote the scriptures out they wrote the scrolls they were teachers they were educated they were of high esteem they’ve seen teachers teach they’ve seen lay people teach about scripture but what they see here with jesus is something different and they recognize it immediately that there’s something different about this man there’s something different about his teaching and when it says here that they were amazed the word in hebrew actually literally means that they were blown away as if their senses were blown out of them so amaze doesn’t even come close to telling you what it was they were feeling they were sitting before somebody that they had never experienced before and they knew that something was different they knew that his teaching was different and as they start speaking to each other they start to be able to put words what the difference is and they realize that what it is that’s different about jesus is that he speaks with authority and the authority that they talk about is not an authority he got from learning from being educated from being taught by other scribes or being taught by other leaders no his authority is innate his authority was something that he was born with his authority is something that obviously comes straight from god it’s something they could feel viscerally in their bones and when they get a glimpse of this they realize that his teaching has more authority than anything they’ve ever seen before now i have to tell you in my life with jesus i have had similar moments i didn’t grow up in a churched home i didn’t grow up going to church but the first time that i really sensed this glimmer this glimmer that there was something different about jesus that there was something authoritative about jesus was when i was living in my college dorm i went to a christian school on accident and the people that are around me in my college dorm were mainly believers and the way that they lived the way that they called out to jesus the way that they walked with god it was something i had never experienced before in my life and i knew just by watching that that there was something different that there was something for me in that i knew that there was something authoritative something real about the teachings that jesus had for me in my life but the reality is i was in college i accepted christ into my life but i wasn’t baptized until i don’t know maybe six seven years later and what i realize as we look at how we take knowledge from self-help books and when we look at what these people did here with jesus’s teaching is that knowledge does not equal transformation knowledge does not equal faith you know we can take in all the self-help books we want we can take in all the sally jesse raphael that’s a super old reference i don’t even know if half of you know who that is how about dr phil or oprah we can take it all of that that we want we can take in all of jesus that we want but just like these people who saw jesus who recognized that his authority was different unless we choose to do something with it there is no transformation there is no change and that was true in my life and what we need to realize in our lives is that if we want to be transformed if we want to live under the authority of jesus who really is the only authority we should be living under that we have to make a choice to live under that authority now we want to believe that that’s a once in lifetime choice that moment when we accept jesus into our lives as we begin our journey of faith and for those of you who haven’t made that decision yet i tell you the time is now jesus loves you you were created as a child of god on purpose for a purpose and before you is the opportunity to make a decision for christ to say yes i believe i want you to be the supreme authority in my life i know that i’m a sinner but there’s more to it than that once we get started and it’s not all that difficult it just requires us being intentional you see in order to make the authority of jesus activated in our lives we have to choose daily to let jesus’s authority be the authority in our lives in order for transformation to happen in order for us to live into what is possible we have to choose jesus’s authority over culture’s authority almost every moment of every day and you want to know why it’s because of the world that we live in we live in a world that is full of ideas and opinions and answers to all of our problems but the reality is the only authority that should matter in our lives the only authority that we should follow is the authority of jesus but knowledge does not equal faith knowledge does not equal transformation choice equals faith choice equals transformation so now that you know how are you going to make that reality in your life now that you know just because you know transformation doesn’t happen what are you going to do about it how are you going to make the knowledge that jesus is your supreme authority a reality in your life i have a few suggestions the first is to make prayer and scripture reading just a small passage every day a priority the second is to take all the labels that you give yourself and push them aside and accept child as god as your only label you are no longer father mother a republican democrat all of those things you are a child of god first and when you look in the mirror you’re not skinny fat smart ugly stupid you are child of god and as you live out of that out of the authority of christ in your life you get to experience the freedom that this man experienced because then christ can start to unpeel the strongholds of your life christ can start to set you free and christ can lead you to the path that you have been intended for your whole life can you imagine what that would look like if every single one of us in this church in our community if every christian in this world allowed jesus in jesus only not republican jesus not democrat jesus not male jesus not father jesus just jesus to be the authority in their life so i encourage you this week to prioritize your time with the one who has the power to give you all those things that you’re seeking but most of all to give you the peace that you were created for let us pray god we thank you for creating us we thank you for sending jesus to be an authority to be the authority and we ask you lord to please help us to choose you actively day in and day out to be the only authority in our lives help us lord give us strength it’s in your name we pray amen