Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Yeast Problem

Exodus 17:1-7; Mark 8:11-21 / 1 Corinthians 10:1-22

I. Perform a Trick

A. The Pharisees were genuinely serious religious people who thought they knew all the answers; exposing Jesus was more important to the religious establishment than learning from Him. “And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him.”(Mark 8:11)

B. Even the religiously well educated make deadly mistakes when elevating their opinions and expectations above Biblical realities; Jesus does miracles, but He does not perform tricks.
Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.” (Deuteronomy 6:16)

C. The resurrection is the only sign God proposes to give; no sign could be more expressive of the gospel of sovereign grace. “The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.” (Matthew 16:1-4)

D. The God of the Bible is big enough to triumph over sin and death; He does not need to beg, negotiate, or plead to accomplish His objectives. “And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.” (Mark 8:12)

E. Salary-men and sycophants are well equipped to advance in the dying world of sin, but they do not understand Christ or the power of His resurrection. “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)

F. When God speaks, seize the moment; the silence that comes when He does the Heavenly equivalent of counting to ten can be ominous. “And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side.” (Mark 8:13) “And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” (Genesis 6:3)

II. Why Are We Talking about Bread?

A. The disciples looked at themselves and jumped to a false conclusion. “Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf.” (Mark 8:14)

B. Jesus warned against all the ways in which worldly thinking substitutes for unreserved reliance on God. “And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.” (Mark 8:15)

C. Inability to simply take Jesus at His word kept even the disciples themselves in the dark. “And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread.” (Mark 8:16)

D. The ways the world uses to get ahead kill the soul; they are subtle forms of idolatry. “And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?” (Mark 8:17)

III. Think Like Christ

A. When people set the wrong goals or use ungodly methods, they demonstrate lack of attention to the mighty works and wonders of God; there is no way but grace to accomplish the tasks set by God.Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve.” (Mark 8:18-19)

B. It was not the thinking and planning of either the religious or the secular world-views, but rather the power of God which accomplished the impossible—repeatedly—for the Church of God. “And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven.” (Mark 8:20)

C. The people of God accomplish nothing until they grasp the reality that with God all things are possible and without Him every effort and resource expended will only make things worse. “And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?” (Mark 8:21)

D. Jesus could have left an efficient Roman form of church structure and He could have left an evangelical converter kit, but instead He left us the testimony of a murderer turned evangelist.I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)

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