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The Gospel — More Than You Think

The Climax of the Story  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The message: The Gospel — More Than You Think, introduces the Ultimate Protagonist (Good Guy), Jesus, to the reality of God's Epic Story. Jesus is the "Good News" everyone needs to defeat the Antagonist (Bad Guy) in us and the world. It's the "Fantastic Four" known as the Gospels that presents us with Jesus, the main character of the Bible, and who he is the climax of the story personally and collectively to meet the domains of reality, now and for Eternity.

Gospel — More Than You Think
Mark 1:1
Drake Hunter – June 26, 2022
Join me in prayer as we go into our message time at Elevating Life Church.
Let's pray:
LORD, we praise you for Good News, and say, “We love you for it, we adore you and worship you because of it, and now we bow down before you to understand your Divine Goodness. We ask for your grace to fill in the gaps where we don’t understand it and yield to the Spirit of Truth to gain the Good News of life. In Jesus' Name and for His sake we pray.
Hello and good morning!
Today we will begin our message in the book of Mark; Mark chapter 1 continues our year's theme, "Understanding the Bible – God's Epic Story!"
As you know, I like starting off with something humorous or funny…well, at least my wife likes me to start off that way. It’s the reason I do it. I think she may be watching way too much of Joel Olsteen, if you know what I mean. For whatever that is, here's some funny thoughts first and foremost to keep my marriage alive and well and to begin our message time.
Since it is the month of June, here’s a few funny thoughts to appreciate the month we’re in. Ready:
What makes pirates hate June…they hate it because June doesn't have an Arrrrr in it.
Here’s, another one.
Do you know the reason why June is Pride month…It always happens before the fall.
In June, what do snowmen do? Chillout
One more.
During a hot June day, what is a frog’s favorite drink? Croak-o-cola.
It’s fun to laugh. If you’re not laughing then you’re taking yourself way too serious and know it's okay to find humor and laugh together. It’s part of the delight of the LORD. Lighten up. Why? We all know we are "Mo-Better Together" when laughing together.
On three, everybody says, "Mo-Better Together!" 1…2…3
For those who may be wondering who I am, my name is Drake, one of the Pastors here at the church.
Let me say, "Welcome!" I'm thrilled to share God's Word today. [Invite new people to "eLc" Orientation moment]
Today I want to talk to you about the Gospel or Good News of God’s Epic Story. Of course, we know the Good News of God’s Story is Jesus, the ultimate Protagonist or Good Guy of humanity. Jesus is the hero of Life, and this means so much more than most can even fathom.
Read with me our opening verse that directs us to our message I’ve titled: The Gospel — More Than You Think:
Mark 1:1 (NIV)
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah the Son of God
With our main verse read, I have a question for you. Here it is:
In your life, do you sense the pursuit of a Good Life is directing, aligning, and acting in accordance with the Good News of Jesus? Or, is it in order of your likings, preferences, and wishes? Which one is it? One leads to fulfillment and fruitfulness over all, and the other walks you to disappointment and emptiness.
I ask this question because I want you to know that even when a person pursues a good thing it can become an idol if not in accordance with God.
So, I guess a greater question to ask is, have you ever considered the fact that even a good thing, as you’re pursuing it can become an idol?
The reality is that even a good pursuit or a good thing can become a bad thing when it becomes the ultimate thing in your life when it’s designed based on your likings, preferences, and desires.
You see, when anything or anyone becomes more important than God, to include your wishes, dreams, and appetite, even if it is a good thing, it will eventually turn into an idol or golden calf in your reality. A reality that lowers your faith and degards the good reality of God.
There is only one ultimate thing in life and that is God.
Please understand, if God and His Way is not ultimate in your pursuit of Goodness, it will come crashing down not only on you but for generations to come.
When a good thing, even a good thing like pursuing a good life, turns into a bad thing – an idol, people are going to get hurt and relationships are going to be damaged because of our selfishness and wanting to do it our way.
Selfish and idol worship always leads to damage and destruction in our wake if we don’t turn things around and honor God according to His Good News through Jesus.
It’s the Gospels that teaches the human being how to be in pursuit of a Good Life as a protagonist in God’s Story rather than being an antagonist in the storyline of God that causes hate, self-pity, confusion, restlessness, and so on and so forth.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term protagonist, simply know it’s an advocate or champion of a particular cause or idea. Like the cause of Jesus. In the comic book world the protagonists are the good guys or heros like Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, The Human Torch and The Thing. You know, the original Fantastic Four comic book characters.
On the flip side, the antagonists are the villains, villains like Doctor Doom, the Puppet Master, Dragon Man, and Psycho-Man. In God’s Story line the antagonists, the bad guy, are those who bully their preferences, wishes, and traditions on other people to get their way, especially in the faith. Wolves in Sheeps Clothing.
Matthew 7:15
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
The antagonists are the wolves in sheep's clothing in the church and the wolves that Jesus sends the true followers out into the world to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves among them.
By the way, you can always tell a wolf in sheep’s clothing, an antagonist, they come to church acting innocent, but once they leave and in their preferred setting, innocent as doves goes out the window and they are as guilty as the world in who they are and what they do. The funny part is these folks think they are fooling the naive and stubid leadership. The antagonist thoughts are obedient towards their way and doings.
Now, I want to make sure we understand who these wolves or antagonists are so you, first, can make sure we are not one, and second, be aware of the false prophet or wolves among us.
It is the prophet Jonah in the Old Testament and Judas in the Gospels who were antagonists. Today, we call these types of leaders authoritarian or autocratic leaders. This style of leadership towards goodness, as they prefer it, is when a person or leader dictates policies and procedures, they decide what goals are to be achieved, and they direct and control all activities without any meaningful participation from the subordinates. One up one down mentality. You see it in all types of relationships and/or partnerships in the world: marriages, families, churches, businesses, social clubs, ect. These types of people want full control of the team. They say things like, “It’s lonely at the top” or “You need to have special traits or characteristics to lead.”
On the other side of the coin, followers of these autocratic leaders prefer it this way. “Just tell me what to do and give the goals to be achieved and it’s Good with me. It’s amazing how many people have been conditioned to be antagonists, a villain or follower of one without even realizing it.
The sad part is, in our day, most people prefer it this way. They prefer a villain, an antagonist, an autocratic leader to control their thoughts, emotions, and tasking over being in control of their own life based on how God designed it to be. You know who they are because they get things done under very close supervision and respond to orders that either punish or reward them. Autonomy of the team is nowhere to be found. As you have already surmised, we live in a very autocratic time. The enemy. The wolves. The antagonists, it seems, have taken over.
What to do? What to do? What to do? [dramatic pause: Looking around]
Look! Up in the sky! It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s the ultimate Protagonist, Jesus! The decisive and lasting Superman of all time. So super it took four layers of storytelling to understand the bigger picture of who He is, and who he is, is the ultimate Protagonist of God’s Epic Story. Not a protagonist in how the world defines him, but how the story of God defines him in the Gospels.
It’s the Gospels or the Fantastic Four known as Matther, Mark, Luke, and John that give us the insight of this Holy One.
Ending where we began:
Mark 1:1 (NIV)
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah the Son of God
Church, the message: Gospel — More Than You Think. Amen!
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