We think that the gospel is just for spiritual beginners and is only Matthew to Luke and that we need something more than the gospel for spiritual growth, but the gospel is everything from Genesis and Revelations, and is for everyone in every part of our walk of faith.
Mark, who wrote the scripture reading today, was not one of the first 12 disciples, and was a disciple and secretary of Peter and Paul. He was involved in the disagreement and separation between Barnabas and Paul but God changed him and he ended up playing an important role in God’s work of world evangelism, and the book of the Mark is the product of this critical time. Just like God called Mark, God is calling us to lift up the gospel. Let’s hold on to three thing
1. Yesterday’s Grace/ Today’s Grace
Jesus did not just appear out of coincidence, but his coming was prophesied of since Genesis 3:15 and throughout the Old Testament. The Gospel starts with God who reached out to us first, and our salvation begins with God giving us faith to believe. Mark writes that the gospel belongs to God. Reflect on when you first received salvation, and the love and joy you experienced that day. Regardless of our choosing, we are born separated from God and ultimately enslaved to sin and Satan. That is why Jesus came to the earth as our only solution. There were three offices that were anointed in the Bible, and altogether were titled Christ. Jesus is our true prophet, who showed us the true and only way to meet God (John 14:6). Jesus is our true priest, who shed his blood to pay the price for our sins, so we are no longer shackled by our sins. Jesus is our true king, who destroyed the head and authority of Satan, so we are no longer enslaved by him. All our past(spiritual death), present(Immanuel), and future problems(covenant of world evangelism) are resolved in Christ. Think back on that first love we experienced, and be renewed by the new grace he gives every day.
2. Mystery to pray always and receive answers
The key is to recover God’s word daily in our lives. Just as we heard in the New Years message, when we enter into God’s word waist deep instead of ankle deep, we can be swept by the current of God’s word. We need to hold on to God’s word to the point we can receive strength and grace, changing the way we see our lives. When you first are revived by grace, we revive the people around us. The word of God is living and active and is able to penetrate and change everyone. Our true battle is the spiritual battle in our minds, and God’s word is our weapon. We’re not making a New Year's resolution but completely concluding our lives in God’s word. Recovering God’s word daily starts with writing down notes during the message. This message is something we hold on to as a church throughout the week. When we hold on to God’s word, he works in our lives. We need to personally experience God’s word carrying us, giving us strength and hope in our most desperate hours. Take time to organize God’s word and make prayer topics to reference whenever you pray. God’s word needs to be our GPS, navigating us through our week. Then, we can connect every incident in our lives with God’s word.
3. Blessing of John the Baptist and the Evangelists
The first verse which says “In the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ”, reminds us of the importance of our beginnings. Just as it says in verse 2, we have been called to prepare the way of the Lord. In verse 8, John says “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit”. The blessing God has prepared for us is the power of the Holy Spirit, by which we stand as his witnesses.
As we begin this new year, let’s enter into the stream of God’s living word, and prioritize receiving grace every single day. Let’s experience the blessing and power of God’s heavenly throne in our lives, our church and our field.