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January 4, 2021 3:00 am
The there's no question 2020 was a year like like no other and well most of us are desperate to get back to normal. Normal is not what will fix our greatest dilemma. As believers we need to be a light in the darkness and today on Truth for Life. Alistair Begg begins a new series by describing our dire condition, apart from Christ by the we come to you as those who are tempted and tried and sometimes failing to ask for your help as we study the Bible.
Now meet with us. We pray beyond the voice of a mere man. Maybe hear from you, the living God by your spirit through your Word, the Bible, we pray in Christ name, amen. Okay. I invite you to turn to Mark and the fifth chapter as you're turning there may, let me say what an important and special day.
This is for our church family.
But each time we send out export models as we do tonight in a formal and purposeful way. We are reminded of the importance of obeying the command of Jesus to go out into all the world and to make disciples and to teach them everything that he is commanded to baptize them and to see them established in the truth, and when, as we gather tonight and lay our hands upon this young couple we will be confronted by the question, what about eyes in our own streets in our own offices with her within our own sphere of influence and among our friend. If it is of value, and if it is significant to take a young couple uproot them from the security of their lives and dispatch them into the heart of a very very alien environment. Then, if it is significant enough to do that with that I find myself saying and what is it that you're doing bag as it relates to the cause and the cost of telling others about Jesus in 1936 Archbishop William Temple wrote as follows. It is clear that the church only fulfills its function as the body of Christ. If it is constantly thinking how those who are outside can be insight. The preoccupation of the church should be with those outside we think immediately incorrectly. If we think in terms of a building. Temple was not suggesting that the issue was to get people who are outside of the building inside of the building was talking about the distinction between being in Christ or outside of Christ. Men and women by our very nature's do not know Christ, do not lengthen bow to his dictates in the preoccupation of those who do is to be with those who don't, so that those who are presently outside may actually be placed inside of Christ and within the invisible church. I say to you again. It is worth taking these people sending them into the Andes Mountains to translate the Bible sending them into the Czech Republic with one of the most difficult environments that you can find in central Europe that it demands it demands of us to face up to the question in our online Jesus. Remember, had to settle the issue for the religion preoccupied Pharisees when they bemoaned the fact it's actually look as well just in chapter 4 when they bemoaned the fact that he was attending this event at the home of Levi and Jesus says to them I did not come to call the righteous people, but I came to call sinners to repentance is not people who are healthy to go to the doctor. He said it is people who are sick. When this is our focus for looking at these first 20 verses of Mark chapter 5 and as I say to you, you will be helped by having your Bible open. Here we have a living, walking, vivid, unanswerable demonstration of the transforming power of Jesus Christ and I want simply to take the lion and follow along with you as we work our way through these 20 verses within the time that we have.
They went across the lake to the region of the garrisons and when Jesus got out of the boat. A man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. Mark gives is immediately in these first five or six verses, assertive identikit picture of this individual is important that the readers understand the condition of this man. He tells us where he lived.
He lived in the tombs. He did not live in a normal community.
He did not live amongst his family or his friends. He lived isolated from all those relationship and people who I've never seen him may well according to verse five have hared him because night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stone.
He lived in the tombs and he was on restrainer will as well. Verse three is all about. No one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain.
They tried that in the past they use the usual methodologies to deal with an individual that was as messed up as this man was heat often been chained hand and foot with his demonic power. He tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet and there was no one who was prepared to go into the graveyard.
No one who was prepared to go in among the tombs with any attempt to try and restrain this individual because he was clearly on restrainer will what lay behind. This was something very significant. That's the significance of their student when Jesus got out of the boat. A man with an evil spirit. This man was held in the grip of demonic powers in these demonic powers had turned in upon this man and that's the significance of his self-mutilation at the end of verse five. What kind of individual lives in the tombs screams in the night runs around naked and cuts himself with stones and what possibility is there for any be any help to be given to such a man when the normal issues of society and all of the attempts, the isolation plans and the restraining plans of all common to a grinding halt.
As a result of their inability to contain him is utterly alone. He is alienated from his community and in a realistic sense, alienated from himself, he breaks the bones in every way of Paul Simon's most peculiar man remember him the most peculiar man. That's what Mrs. Reardon said she lived upstairs from him. She said he was a most peculiar matter. While, however peculiar that man was an Paul Simon song.
This man has gotten beat this man defines peculiarity. This man defines isolation this man defines an individual greatly in need of help. Now, just when were sitting here saying to ourselves well I sell quite a picture. I'm glad that I'm not remotely like this man. I have my clothes unable to reason with things. No one's had me tied up or need to have me tied up in the last little while.
I am not demon possessed. While I would imagine that I would be true of virtually everybody here, although we never know the Bible does not say that the human condition of men and women is that we are by nature demon possessed by the Bible does say that's why this man is an illustration in part of the human condition. The Bible does say that men and women, by their very nature are ruled by dark and sinister forces in Ephesians chapter 2 when Paul describes the life of these Ephesian believers in relationship to what the ones where listen to how he describes he is describing now what they wear outside of Christ before they had come to know Jesus and to trust in him and to discover his life and his forgiveness and his mercy, and they were not unique because they lived in Ephesus. This description is a description of every man and every woman outside of Christ.
As for you, you would dad in your transgressions and sins in which you used to live past tense when you follow the ways of this world you just went down the same roads as everyone else just doing the same thing as everyone else is with the same worldview as everyone else. When you follow the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of ours also lived among them at one time. This is the description of being outside of Christ, as opposed to being inside of Christ. I don't want to camp on this beyond saying this if our notion of genuine Christian experience is untaught by the Bible ungrounded in biblical truth that it may come out something like this. I've been a fairly decent fellow. For most of my life and my wife and I have been living here in the Sherin Valley area for some time. We had some kind of church background in the past and we've never really done much about it ever since we've been married are children of come along and we decided now would be a good time to add a little religion in our lives. We shopped around we found a number of places and although we don't particularly like your preaching refund of the children's ministry here is very very accessible to us and so we come along.
In short, I would been fairly purposeless in relationship to religion and we decided that now is the time to get serious about okay Julie would be worth taking that package that you've just described how dueling it will sound out in Prague with a residual impact of atheism ruling the country and how interested you think people will be in this story of having discovered purpose and adding a little religion. Of course it would be no reason to go anywhere with that because it's just is just something as an add-on isn't is not something as life-changing or absolutely essential is just a decision that is been made along the journey. We were in the same way that somebody could say, and I've been very very lax when it comes to exercise, I decided to join a club and do a little running around because I think it would be good for me and is a good example for my children. All that is funny, but that's not what the Bible is describing in terms of becoming a Christian to see what it says outside of Christ. You are a dead man outside of Christ. You are a dead woman you are now live dead person has the drama of an that you were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you used to live what is you are dead in which you used to live here, you and the living dead. You are the walking dead outside of Jesus, and you may not be held in the grip of dark demonic forces, but by your very nature. You are in the control of that which is dark and sinister and completely counter to the life and the freedom and the joy that is provided in the Lord Jesus Christ and the only question is the extent to which that rule and reign of sin has placed its manacles is dropped, the dust of its debt down upon our hearts and minds and lives. So I say to you that this man is not actually as far removed from ours here as we think order very distasteful picture. Is it not, after all, we have nice places to go home to. We have nice coaches on which the said were not running around the loop the graveyard negative tall. No were not the fight to the matters we are outside of Christ dead in our trespasses, so the message of the gospel is not one you turn over a new leaf.
Why do you get a little purpose in your life while you shake your leg and get all relative. The message of the gospel is your dead man.
And furthermore, you can make yourself alive. The message of the gospel is your a blind woman and you can make yourself see and I don't to alarm you, because some of you sit here Sunday after Sunday and this is how your mind works when I'm good and ready. I'll get this thing sorted out, but I'll be my decision and that will be my time and that'll be my place.
You don't even know what a day will bring. You don't even know if you'll make it to your bed this evening.
That's why the Bible always says if you hear the voice of God. If you feel the prompting of the spirit of God you respond to it right there and then, because now is the accepted time, and behold, now is the day of salvation I say to you again. This man's condition may be vastly different from ours in the sense of his demon possession, but it is not so dramatically different from ours in terms of our nature outside of already nice as it I will find a particularly nice to say to look at on my neighbors and my friends and tell them hey I don't know where you are but if you are not in Christ. You're a dead man is another way to gain friends and influence people and and and build a congregation. So why would you ever say that only Renee would say it if it's if you have to say a look at this encounter than it takes place with Jesus. If you've if you read that wonderful book on this compilation of the Oxford English dictionary professor and the madman than that phrase may come to your mind as you look at what takes place here only.
This is the Savior in the madman and is quite a drama that unfolds verse six when he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him and then he said to them. Verse 7B. Swear to God that you won't torture me contradictory forces at work in this man's life. On the one hand, compelling him and on the other hand leapt telling him Jesus. Verse eight tells us has already called out to the evil spirit to come out of this man and this is set up this great dialectic in his mind and in the very core of his being shunting verse seven of the top of his voice what you want with me, Jesus, son of the most high God, you got this dramatic phenomenal encounter between the light and life and power of Christ in the darkness and the deadness of the power of evil Jesus at the end of chapter 4 has established himself as the Lord of nature.
Hence, the coming of the storm. If your Bible is open, you will see that in verse 39 of chapter 4, he said to the winds and the waves be quiet and be still in the wind died down and it was completely calm and now here in chapter 5 he walks into this environment and he establishes himself as the Lord of man and the one who overcomes the power of darkness. Only Jesus can set such a person three. Only Jesus can set such a person free when you look at verse seven.
It's almost as though this man knew that Christ could set them free, but he was at the same time, afraid of what that change would mean running and falling on his knees in front of and then at the same time saying what is it that you want with me please. I can spend anymore torture I can start if if an encounter with you is to be tortuous in any way I can stand that Jesus here I am on my knees before you, but at the same time recoiling from. That's not so far removed from experience that I've encountered in 30 years of pastoral ministry because we failed to understand the grip that sin has on people that Satan has on people. When we suggest to them or to ourselves that one is confronted with their predicament. It will just be obvious for it will just be natural for them to surrender to Christ rule but experience tells us that it isn't so obvious, and it apparently isn't so natural. If you have dealt with people who will become increasingly enslaved to sexual sin increasingly trapped in the choices that they've made in relationship to the substances that they put into their bodies, you will have noticed, as have I the royal battle that takes place in the psyche and the soul of that man or that woman wear on the one hand there say Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, but I cannot face the tortuous implications of what it will mean for me to meet for no way am not upon which I have developed such independence for all these years of my life. Somebody feels a call. The touch of God upon their life does come on out, I messed up sinner and you need to trust in Christ but there living with a woman and she's attractive to him and he likes her and he is going to depend upon her.
He shouldn't be with me comes as it were, to the knees of Jesus and he knows that Jesus has something to say to but he knows that if he says yes to Jesus is going to be no to her. We better not be superficial in the way we deal with our friends and neighbors concerning these things as if somehow or come along now. Give yourself a shake after a look at this info. Come on, let's get this dealt with. No, it's not as easy as that. It's not just as easy as that Jesus is the one who breaks the power of canceled sin. He's the one who sets the prisoner free for the singlet Ferguson are good friend says no man yields to Jesus easily by nature. Tragically, like Legion man often hold onto their bondage and evil rather than yield to the pain of transformation by Christ's power and grace.
That's a very important phrase. The pain of transformation by Christ's power and grace want to say to people on this is easy and there's nothing in this we made light of where people are coming from.
We devalue the very work of Jesus. When we seek to represent the gospel in such a superficial way. Why else would Jesus say if anybody wants to become my disciple should take up their cross every day and say no to themselves and follow. Why would he say to the rich young ruler who comes and falls on his knees is a good master, what must I do to have eternal life in Jesus is keep the commandments, he said. I kept all the commandments ever since I was small as her.
Jesus is all I need to sell everything you have given to the poor and then come and follow me and the guy goes on the prepared to do that. The issue was in the money. The issue was that he wanted both Jesus and his other little God and Jesus will allow no other gods before the man was unprepared for the painful transformation brought about by the grace and power Jesus and some of us remain unconverted today here at Parkside church absolutely routinely unconverted because you're clever enough to recognize what is involved in buying your need to Jesus, compelling message today from Alastair Beck title go and tell them your listing to Truth for Life series is called a light in the darkness.
You often hear Alastair ask God to use the voice of a mere man to reveal his truth to all who were listing. In fact, God has ordained the preaching of his Word to be one of the main methods he uses to communicate to us. It's how men and women come to know and believe and love the Lord Jesus Christ. This is why we teach directly from the Bible each day on Truth for Life, so that God will use his word through these daily messages from Alastair to challenge the hearts of unbelievers to encourage believers and to strengthen both pastors and local churches.
Today's message is a stark reminder of just how lost we are apart from Christ and how important it is for believers to be a light in the darkness during our faith with others and introducing people to Jesus can be intimidating.
In fact, many of us don't know where to begin.
We have a book recommendation today that can help you with that. It's a book called facing a task unfinished cultivating personal evangelism week by week.
This is not just how to evangelize book with step-by-step instructions. This is a 52 week devotional that is intended to help keep you focus on praying for people who need to know Jesus facing a task unfinished is designed to be read once a week during your quiet time each weekly entry includes Scripture passages prayers and hymns that will help grow your passion for sharing the gospel requester copy of facing a task unfinished when you donate today a Truth for Life.org/donate or by tapping on the image you see on your mobile app or you can call us at 88858878848858878 and if you'd rather mail your donation along with your request for the book right to Truth for Life at PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, OH 44139 Bob Lapine to join us again tomorrow as Alastair Beck continues his message title go and tell them with a look at how one man's dramatic transformation made him an evangelist Bible teaching of Alastair Beck is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living