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Lent 2 (2)

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Mark 8:31–38 NIV
He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
Today’s sermon is about setting goals and working toward them.
The ministry of Jesus shows that he had certain goals that he wanted to accomplish. It started with his baptism. Remember when John the Baptist resisted baptizing Jesus?
(NIV)
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
Jesus’ response summarizes one goal of Jesus’ ministry. He came to fulfill all righteousness. He cam to keep the law of God perfectly in our place so that God’s righteous requirements would be met. This means that Jesus never sinned and that he fulfilled all the prophecies in the Old Testament about the Messiah.
Jesus’ goal was soon put to the test. Immediately after his baptism we read: (NIV)
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
This would not be the only time that Jesus was tempted. (NIV)
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Application: We considered temptation last week, didn’t we? What is temptation? It is an attempt to get us to deviate from our goals. Hopefully, our goals are in line with God’s will for our lives and we are determined to accomplish those goals in a God pleasing way. Temptation is any deviation from that path.
What goals do you have in your life? Answers will vary depending on your age and circumstances.
A student will have goals which include completing assignments, staying awake during class, avoiding detention, passing tests, and matriculating to the next grade and eventually graduating.
Those in their teens may start planning on the goal of continuing their education or getting a job in order to earn a degree or to earn money.
Young adults may have the goals of getting married and then starting a family.
Parents have the goal of raising children to become responsible adults.
Older people may have the goal of retiring with enough resources to live comfortably.
In some cases the goal of a person is to be cared for when they can no longer care for themselves.
Are you a goal orientated person? PAUSE Do you have certain things that you want to accomplish in your lifetime?
Jesus had some very specific goals during his ministry. We heard what it was in general. He would at times also express immediate goals that coinciding with his (or more specifically his Father’s) plans.
Luke 4:42–44 NIV
At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Jesus says that he “must” preach the Gospel. The Greek word “dei” is short but very powerful. This term denotes the element of necessity in an event. The “dei” represents for Jesus a rule of life and leads him to suffering and glory. Its basis is God’s will as laid down in scripture. His disciples and the church stand under the same “dei” ; , ; . The will of this dei is a saving will, so that its demand is a demand for obedient faith in every situation of life. In a sense it means you have no choice.
Luke 12:11–12 NIV
“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
Acts 9:5–6 NIV
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
Acts 9:15–16 NIV
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
Acts 14:22 NIV
strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.
Do we understand what is being said here? We have many freedoms in our nation which also apply to our goals. We can choose where to go to school, what career path to take, whether we will marry, how large our family will be, when we will retire, how to invest our money, even where we will spend our golden years. These are long range goals. But we also have a myriad of choices in short term goals as well. Most of us can choose what we are going to do the rest of today. We can choose what we will be doing next Sunday morning at 10:00 AM. We can choose what books we will read, what sites we will go on the Internet, what we will eat, wear, drink, say etc., etc., etc.
In reference to the recent tragic shooting in Florida, one of the hot topics is again gun control. There are those who would seek to limit access to weapons and others who fiercely protect the right to bear arms and the interpretation of what that means.
But because we enjoy so many freedoms, sometimes we loose sight of what the word “must” means.
Jesus did not. He was controlled by the word “must”. Because he knew that he had to do his mission in order to save us. And he did it not because he was afraid of the consequences if he did not. He did it out of love for His Father and love for mankind.
And so he told his disciples here what he must do
. (NIV)
31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Peter objected. Jesus recognized that this was no less than an attempt by Satan to deter him from completing his goals.
Jesus then continued with teaching again what God’s goals are for his disciples — what God’s goals are for us.
(NIV)
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
Do you consider yourself to be a disciple of Jesus? PAUSE. Do you understand what Jesus’ goals are for your spiritual lives? Do you realize that these are things you must do or do you consider them to be options? Do you realize that any attempt to be deterred from these goals is no less than a sin against God?
I would assume that many Christians today no longer realize the power of the word must. This is evidenced in a lack of commitment, consistent choices to despise the means of grace, refusal to repent, and excuses given to not live as God intends.
Because of our sins, Jesus did what he must and we thank God for that.
How did the disciples respond to the demands that Jesus made on them? Well, we know that Peter would continue to struggle. But in the end they were empowered by the Holy Spirit to carry out the goal that Jesus gave them of going into the world to make disciples by preaching, teaching and baptizing. Peter certainly passed on to us the importance of responding to what Jesus did for us by teaching us what we must do.
1 Peter 3:8–18 NIV
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
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