Resources

Sermons, Articles and News from Redemption Hill Church in Lawrence, KS

The Gospel of Mark - A Fitting End

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: December 4, 2016 | Text: Mark 16:9-20

Sermon Summary

Most scholars agree that Mark 16:9-20 was not original to Mark's gospel, but was added later. If that is the case, how should we approach these verses and how should we understand the seemingly abrupt ending in verse 8? As we sort through these issues we discover a powerful truth that is intended to impact the reader of the text.     

Suffering and Scorn

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: November 13, 2016 | Text: Mark 15:16-32

Sermon Summary

Following the sentencing of Pilate, Jesus is taken to be crucified. The true king is mocked, ridiculed and scorned as He suffers a humiliating and painful punishment. Why did Jesus willingly submit Himself to such treatment? Because through His agony and shame God's plan of redemption is accomplished. 

Peter on Trial

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: October 30, 2016 | Text: Mark 14:66-72

Sermon Summary

Why did Peter deny Jesus? And how can we avoid failing as disciples when opposition and fear arise? Consider the contrast between the failed disciple and faithful Savior.

**the first few minutes have been re-recorded due to missing audio**

Rejection of the Messiah

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: October 16, 2016 | Text: Mark 14:53-65

Sermon Summary

As Jesus stands trial before a corrupt Sanhedrin, He reveals His divine identity and destiny as the Son of God. One day the roles will be reversed when Jesus stands not as the accused but as the judge of all the earth. On that day only those who responded to the gospel in repentance and faith will be acquitted. 

Betrayed and Abandoned

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: October 9, 2016 | Text: Mark 14:43-52

Sermon Summary

As the conspiracy to arrest Jesus unfolds, He is betrayed by Judas, misunderstood by the crowd, and abandoned by the disciples. But in the midst of this seeming tragedy His strength is shown in submission, His glory in suffering and His sovereignty in His surrender. . 

Agony in the Garden

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: October 2, 2016 | Text: Mark 14:32-42

Sermon Summary

In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus experienced a deep anguish of the soul in the hours preceding His betrayal. Why was He so filled with dread? He was painfully aware of the profound event that was about to take place. More than the physical suffering of the cross, Jesus would soon take upon Himself the burden of sin and experience the outpouring of God's wrath that such sin deserves. Though the first Adam declared in another garden "Not your will, but mine be done," bringing sin and death into the world, Jesus would obediently submit Himself to the Father, praying, "Not my will, but yours be done," bringing salvation to a cursed humanity. 

Grace for Deserters

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: September 18, 2016 | Text: Mark 14:26-31

Sermon Summary

After celebrating Passover with His disciples, Jesus predicts that they will all abandon Him. Though they protest and express their allegiance to Him, Jesus knows their weakness. They will soon fall away. But against the backdrop of their great failure, the grace of Christ shines brightly. Though He will soon be crucified, Jesus promises to rise again, gather His scattered flock and restore them. 

The Last Supper is the Lord's Supper

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: September 11, 2016 | Text: Mark 14:22-26

Sermon Summary

As Jesus celebrates Passover with His disciples the night before His death, He assigns new significance to the elements of the meal, illustrating His sacrificial death, revealing the purpose of His suffering, and indicating the power of His sacrifice. The death of Jesus inaugurates a new covenant, and He extends the blessings of participation to all who will come to Him in faith. 

** Audio for this sermon is not available, but notes are available upon request **

Sovereign Lord, Suffering Savior

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: September 4, 2016 | Text: Mark 14:12-21

Sermon Summary

As the time for Passover arrives, Jesus makes two predictions that reveal His divine knowledge of the future and providential control of its outcome. Though mankind is held fully responsible for sin, God is completely sovereign over the affairs of men. This sovereignty is expressed most powerfully as a display of love through the sacrificial death of the Son of God. 

Adoration and Exploitation

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: August 28, 2016 | Text: Mark 14:1-11

Sermon Summary

In the final days of Jesus' life, two characters provide a stark contrast between humility, and hostility. One sees Jesus as someone to be worshiped, the other as someone to be used. One is willing to sacrifice everything for Jesus, the other to sacrifice Jesus for money. One will be remembered forever as a model of true discipleship, the other as the one who betrayed Jesus.  

The Beginning of the End - pt 2

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: August 14, 2016 | Text: Mark 13:14-27

Sermon Summary

When the disciples ask Jesus about the end of the age, He tells them about the great tribulation that is to come, and about His glorious return. Christ's teaching about the future guards us against deception, provides us with hope and motivation, and stokes the flames of faith with the promises of God.

The Beginning of the End - pt 1

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: August 7, 2016 | Text: Mark 13:1-13

Sermon Summary

Though the disciples are impressed by the magnificence of the temple, Jesus tells them it is scheduled for demolition. Religious hypocrisy is being judged, and religious symbols are being replaced. When they ask a question about the sign of things to come, Jesus warns them not to be deceived and to remain steadfast in persecution.

Beware and Behold

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: July 31, 2016 | Text: Mark 12:38-44

Sermon Summary

Jesus not only confronts the scribes' teaching as theologically insufficient, He also condemns their character as being morally deficient.Then He shows by contrast the kind of whole-hearted devotion that truly pleases God, as demonstrated by a remarkable widow. It is truly a contrast of characters in the temple.

The Greatest Commandment

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: July 17, 2016 | Text: Mark 12:28-34

Sermon Summary

Though many are familiar with Jesus' teaching on the greatest commandment, this familiarity can cause us to miss the impact it must have upon us. Jesus ties together doctrine and practice, theology and emotion, as He lays out our ultimate obligation to love God supremely. 

The audio recording begins a few minutes into the sermon. 

Taxes and Theology

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: June 26, 2016 | Text: Mark 12:13-17

Sermon Summary

When the Pharisees and Herodians come to trap Jesus, this time He answers their question. But neither group leaves happy as Jesus once again raises the bar and exposes the real issue. Our submission to the state is an expression of and subordinate to our ultimate obligation to submit to the supreme authority of God. 

The Authority of the Son

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: June 12, 2016 | Text: Mark 11:27-33

Sermon Summary

Throughout the gospel of Mark, Jesus has displayed remarkable authority. When He clears out the temple it leads to conflict with the religious leaders, whose unbelief is evidenced by their refusal to acknowledge His authority. But eternal life depends on submission to the authority of Christ through faith and repentance. . 

A Dead Tree and Living Faith

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: May 22, 2016 | Text: Mark 11:22-25

Sermon Summary

The cursing of the fig tree not only illustrates the danger of spiritual hypocrisy and mere externalism, it also provides an object lesson of the power of prayer. As Peter expresses surprise at the immediate withering of the fig tree, Jesus takes the opportunity to teach them, calling the disciples to a geniune faith that experiences the power of God. 

The Son of Man Came to Serve

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: April 10, 2016 | Text: Mark 10:32-45

Sermon Summary

For the third time Jesus predicts His impending suffering and death. For the third time the disciples fail to understand the nature of His divine mission, and fail to understand the implications for those who would follow the Suffering Servant as disciples. The truth is that those who are ransomed by Christ are called to serve like Christ.

One Thing You Lack

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: April 3, 2016 | Text: Mark 10:17-31

Sermon Summary

When a wealthy young man approaches Jesus with an urgent and sincere question, Jesus lovingly exposes his faulty assumption and hidden idolatry. Further discussion with the disciples reveals much about the danger of wealth, the nature of discipleship, and inability of man to achieve salvation. 

Come Enter as a Child

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: March 20, 2016 | Text: Mark 10:13-16

Sermon Summary

When the disciples try to prohibit people from bringing children to Jesus, He responds with righteous anger and makes a startling pronouncement. Those who desire to enter the kingdom must receive it like children. Jesus loves and saves the humble and helpless who look to Him in faith.  

The Permanence of Marriage

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: March 6, 2016 | Text: Mark 10:1-12

Sermon Summary

Divorce is a sad reality in our broken and fallen world. Nearly everyone has been affected by it in some way. When the Pharisees come to trap Jesus with a question about the lawfulness of divorce, He makes some statements that are hard. Not hard to understand, but simply hard to accept. God's will for marriage is the permanent union of a man and woman until death. But the good news for sinners like us is that the gospel marriage is meant to portray also brings grace, healing and forgiveness. 

A Sober Warning of Judgment

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: February 21, 2015 | Text: Mark 9:42-48

Sermon Summary

God is a God who speaks. And our relationship with Him depends on whether or not we hear and respond to His word. When Jesus speaks about the reality of hell, we dare not stop our ears. We need to consider the reality of judgment. But it is gainst this dark and sober backdrop that the gospel of grace shines brightest.

True Greatness

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: November 29, 2015  |  Text: Mark 9:30-37

Sermon Summary

As Jesus heads for Jerusalem, teaching His disciples about His impending death and resurrection on the way, the disciples are more concerned their future than His. In response to their argument about who is greatest, Jesus teaches them about true greatness. Their cultural assumptions needed to be challenged and their undestanding of greatness redefined. Though the things of God may seem like a paradox to our ears, it is really our perspective that needs to be adjusted. 

Help My Unbelief

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: November 22, 2015  |  Text: Mark 9:14-29

Sermon Summary

AS Jesus returns from revealing His glory to Peter, James and John on the mountain, He encounters a chaotic scene of conflict and crisis. When a man begs for compassion and help for his spiritually oppressed son, Jesus makes clear that what is lacking is not Jesus' compassion or ability, but rather faith. What this man needed, and what the discouraged disciples needed as well, was faith in Jesus as their only hope.

Glory Revealed

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: November 15, 2015  |  Text: Mark 9:1-13

Sermon Summary

After revealing the necessity of His suffering as messiah and calling all who would follow to likewise deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow, Jesus gives His disciples a gracious promise and glorious vision in order to strengthen their faith. Suffering is not the end of the story for Jesus or for those who share in His suffering. There is glory coming. This reality gives warning to those who oppose Christ and comfort to those who belong to Him.

The Cost of Discipleship

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: November 1, 2015  |  Text: Mark 8:34-38

Sermon Summary

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, "When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die." His statement captures the essense of Christian discipleship and echoes the words of Jesus in Mark 8. The call to follow Christ is a call to self-denial rather than self-expression or self-fulfillment. It is a call to carry our cross and identify with Jesus no matter the cost, even if it feels like throwing your life away. But Jesus holds out for us the truth that while discipleship is costly, it is worth it. The disciple must have a faith-filled expectation of reward, knowing that the value of what is gained for eternity far surpasses whatever might be lost for the sake of Christ.

Seeing A Suffering Savior

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: October 25, 2015  |  Text: Mark 8:27-33

Sermon Summary

When Jesus asks His disciples a crucial question about His identity, Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ. THough plagued by spiritual blindness to this point, they are beginning to see. But it is not enough to understand who Jesus is, we also must understand and embrace what He came to do. His identity cannot be separated from His mission. It would take more time before the disciples were able to see this crucial truth.

Blind Unbelief

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: October 18, 2015  |  Text: Mark 8:11-26

Sermon Summary

A confrontation with the Pharisees, a conversation with the disciples, and the healing of a blind man. What do these three scenes have in common? The common thread of blindness. If faith is like seeing, unbelief is like blindness, and it takes the healing touch of Jesus to open blind eyes.

Jesus is Enough

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: September 27, 2015 | Text: Mark 8:1-10

Sermon Summary

As Jesus returns to Galilee He once again finds Himself surrounded by eager crowds who have nothing to eat. Having fed a Jewish crowd already Jesus again feeds the crowd, this time made up largely of Gentiles. Receiving more than just than just "the crumbs from the table," they all eat and are satisfied, leaving seven baskets left over symbolizing the sufficiency of Christ to satisfy a hungry world with the bread of life. Jesus is enough. He alone is sufficient and He alone can satisfy.

 

** We were unable to capture the audio for this sermon, but notes are available on request **

 

Hearing Restored by the Compassionate Christ

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers | Date: September 20, 2015 | Text: Mark 7:31-37

Sermon Summary

When Jesus returns to Galilee from His journey into Gentile territory, He miraculously heals a man who is both deaf and cannot speak. The unique language used and the unusual actions Jesus performs give us insight into His divine identity and His compassionate mission of redemption. Jesus is the Son of God who came to save.

Unlikely Faith

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: September 13, 2015  |  Text: Mark 7:24-30

Sermon Summary

When Jesus travels to a Gentile region in an attempt to avoid attention, He is approached by a woman who is the unlikeliest of people and asked to deliver her daughter from demonic oppression. In the intereraction between the Jesus and this desparate mother we gain insight into the nature of His mission and are presented with a beautiful picture of genuine faith.  

True Defilement

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: September 6, 2015  |  Text: Mark 7:14-23

After exposing the hypocrisy and twisted priorities of the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus takes the opportunity to teach the crowds the true source of defilement. When His disciples ask Him later in private about His statement, He explains that the problem is not outside us, but within. Our hearts are the source of the sin that pollutes and corrupts. And if this is the case, then no amount of hand washing will do. We need more than simple improvement, we need transformation. We need a new heart.

 

Hypocritical Hand Washing

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: August 30, 2015  |  Text: Mark 7:1-13

As the scribes and Pharisees approach Jesus to accuse Him, they get more than they bargained for. Jesus exposes their corrup character, faulty assumptions and twisted priorities. Heartless worship is never pleasing to God, and we must never allow human tradition to trump the authority of scripture. 

 

Risk, Revelation, and Rescue

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: August 23, 2015  |  Text: Mark 6:45-56

After a long day of preaching and feeding the multitude, Jesus sends the twelve across the Sea of Galilee and retreats to the mountain alone to pray. Seeing that they are struggling through the storm, Jesus goes to them on the water. He intends to pass by, like God did before Moses in Exodus, revealing His glory. But upon seeing their fear He comes to them and speaks to them, encouraging, informing, and instructing them. Jesus says, "It is I," literally, "I AM." The One who walks on water, the One who calms the storm, the One in the boat with them is none other than the Great I AM. The disciples are astounded and still do not understand. Their hearts are hardened. Faith requires more than being presented with sufficient evidence; it requires a change of heart. What is the condition of your heart towards Jesus?

** audio is unavailable, but the sermon manuscript is available upon request **

 

The Good Shepherd Feeds the Sheep

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: August 16, 2015  |  Text: Mark 6:30-44

Although in need of rest and recuperation Jesus looks on the crowds that follow His every move not with frustration, but with compassion. He sees that the sheep need a shepherd. His compassion moves Him to speak the truth that their hearts so desparately need and to provide a miraculous meal to meet to their physical need. For those who have eyes to see, He is the Good Shepherd who fulfills what God Himself promised by doing what only God could do. 

 

Martyr of a Messenger

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: August 9, 2015  |  Text: Mark 6:14-29

As the truth about Jesus spreads through ministry of the twelve, even the ruling class hear about it and are forced to come to a conclusion - who is Jesus and how do you explain His power? Herod is haunted by the fear that John the Baptist whom he executed has returned with supernatural powers. Mark gives us the sordid backstory of John's execution, a sad tale of immorality and intrigue that led to a brutal end. The one who preceded Jesus in ministry also precedes Him in death. But while it may be costly to speak the truth like John did, the story points us forward and reveals that the truth may be opposed, its messengers be killed, but darkness can never overcome the Light who has come into the world. 

 

The Disciple's Mission

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: August 2, 2015  |  Text: Mark 6:7-13

Those whom Jesus calls, He also sends. Jesus promised to make His disciples fishers of men, He called them with the intent of sending them out to expand His ministry of preaching the gospel. One day after His resurrection He would send them not just to the villages of Israel, but to the nations. And Jesus intends to further His mission through His disciples in this generation as well.

Unbelievable Unbelief

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: July 26, 2015  |  Text: Mark 6:1-6

It is only by faith that the saving power of Jesus can be experienced, but not everyone is willing to receive what Jesus has to say. When He goes home to Nazareth the people are astonished at His claims and offended at His teaching. Proximity to Jesus does not always result in faith. Sometimes familiarity breeds contempt. 

Jesus is Lord Over the Spiritual Realm

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: July 5, 2015  |  Text: Mark 5:1-20

After Jesus stills the storm on the Sea of Galilee, He and His disciples land on the other side only to be immediately confronted with a new danger; a man possessed by a multitude of demons. Just as Jesus calmed the storm by the power of His word, Jesus brings peace to the turmoil in this man's soul by speaking with divine authority. 

Kingdom Parables

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: June 14, 2015  |  Text: Mark 4:21-34

The nation Israel was waiting. Waiting for centuries for the kingdom of God to be established and all God's promises of salvation and deliverance to be fulfilled. When Jesus came preaching that the kingdom was at hand many were excited, but they didn't understand. THings were not unfolding as they had expected. As Jesus preaches to the crowds in Galilee He uses parables to teach on the nature of the kingdom of God. In this sermon we will look at five important principles that emerge as we consider Jesus' teaching on this subject.

Called and Sent

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: May 3, 2015  |  Text: Mark 3:7-19

The Pharisees have decided to destroy Jesus. The crowd is more interested in His healing touch than in His life-giving message. The demons are sadly the only ones who recognize His true identity as the Son of God, but this is not the confession He is looking for. They will not be the ones to proclaim this truth to the world. That privilege will be given to twelve men He selects to be His disciples. The call of Jesus creates a community that shares a common Savior and a common mission. 

Jesus - Lord of the Sabbath (Part 2)

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: April 26, 2015  |  Text: Mark 3:1-6

In this fifth and final conflict with the Pharisees during His Galilean ministry, Jesus initiates confrontation in the synagogue on the Sabbath. He confronts their spiritual pride with a question, responds to their spiritual pride with emotion, and rejects their spiritual pride by His actions. The Lord of the Sabbath heals a man with a withered hand, and the Pharisees resolve to put Him to death.

Joy in Jesus

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: April 12, 2015  |  Text: Mark 2:18-22

Jesus and His disciples are feasting, not fasting, and once again they face questions and opposition. Jesus makes clear that His presence is a cause for great rejoicing because of who He is and what He is doing. He is the bridegroom, and what He is doing is something new that will not fit the mold of the people's expectations.  

Jesus, Friend of Sinners

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Speaker: Pastor JD Summers  |  Date: March 29, 2015  |  Text: Mark 2:13-17

Not only does Jesus have the authority and ability to forgive sin, this is actually why He came to earth. As Jesus calls Levi (a tax-collector) and eats with sinners we see how His ministry reveals His mission. For those who would follow Jesus as disciples, our Master has made clear how we also ought to engage in this mission.

The Gospel Produces Followers

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 Speaker: JD Summers  |  Date: February 22, 2015  |  Text: Mark 1:16-20

 

** We were unable to capture the audio for this sermon, but an abbreviated manuscript is available below **

 

Introduction

Our mission as a church is “to glorify God by being and making disciples of Jesus.” That is what drives our priorities as a church and gives shape to our ministry. But I want to ask you a question. Do we really understand what it means to be a disciple? What does it look like? What does it require? How is it lived out? We need to understand this if we are going to be and make disciples of Jesus to the glory of God. Our text this morning helps to answer that question by showing us what discipleship meant for four fishermen.

Mark 1:16-20
16  Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men."18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him. 

Belief in Jesus is demonstrated by following Jesus. We who believe in Him must follow Him. This is what it means to be a disciple. The gospel produces followers. Last week we looked at the proclamation of the gospel as Jesus came into Galilee. He was preaching the good news that God was working and the kingdom was coming. This good news demanded a response – repentance from sin and belief in the gospel. In verses 16-20 we see the impact that this message had on people. Look at how the gospel call affected these men, and consider how it should change us as well.

Mark records that Jesus had come to the region of Galilee (14). The Sea of Galilee was about seven miles wide and twelve miles long. It was a prime location for fishing. There were many towns and ports that had sprung up around the lake that depended on this industry. Jesus meets two sets of brothers who are involved in the fishing trade. Simon and Andrew (16), and then James and John (19).

Jesus came into Galilee proclaiming the gospel (14). Mark’s gospel is always emphasizing that Jesus in on the move, Him messianic mission is shown to have a sense of urgency. He was preaching as He went, in the city, on the roads and hillsides between towns, and here in v16 alongside the seashore. These men had no doubt been exposed to the message Jesus was preaching. They heard the good news of God’s coming kingdom and they believed. Their belief was now about to make some demands on their lives. Belief in Jesus is demonstrated by following Jesus.

Following Jesus requires allegiance to a new master

Jesus sees Simon Peter and Andrew, along the shore casting their nets and He initiates this interaction. No miracles, no parables, just an authoritative call. It is very unlike the typical Jewish rabbis who were sought out prospective students and selected those who applied and met the requirements. But Jesus chooses these men. While rabbi’s taught people to follow the law, priests upheld God’s ways, Jesus says follow ME. He initiates the relationship and commands them with authority to literally follow.

Who does that? Who walks up on people in the middle of their work and tells them to walk off the job and become His followers, His students, His disciples? Only someone with the authority of a King. He has the authority to call for their obedience and allegiance.

Jesus was announcing a kingdom (14), but there is no kingdom without subjects. Here He is inviting people to submit to His rule and reign over them. These men believed what He said about the kingdom and their belief compelled them to embrace Jesus as their new master. He said follow, they obeyed. They recognized His authority and submitted to it. They left everything and followed Him.

The obedience of Simon and Andrew was immediate (17). The obedience of James and John is complete (20). No longer would their master be their boss or their dad, no longer would they be their own master, but the King of the coming Kingdom.

When you come to Jesus you renounce any other competing allegiance. Jesus said you cannot have two masters.

Matthew 6:24
"No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other…

This is what the gospel hard to swallow for so many people today. We may be interested in what Jesus can do for us, but our flesh wants to rule. We want to be king. This was Satan’s downfall. And it is ours. Ever since the garden we have wanted to take God’s job, to declare what is good and evil for ourselves. Like William Ernest Henry’s Invictus, we defiantly proclaim:

“It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”

That may seem like a cool tatoo but it is a terrible way to live your life! Jesus comes to us as the true King. Belief in Jesus is demonstrated by following Jesus. It means obedience. It means submission. This is why Paul and Peter and James and John and Jude repeatedly introduced themselves as servants of the Lord. Following Jesus requires allegiance to Him as our new master. 

 

Following Jesus requires embracing a new mission

The call to discipleship is ultimately a call to ministry. Jesus promised to make them fishers of men. Their aim in life, their goal, their primary purpose changed when they responded to the call of Christ. As they submitted to this new master it meant accepting the agenda He gave them. This is central to being a disciple.

To be a disciple was to be a student. And Jesus promised that He was going to teach them to advance the same message Jesus was preaching - the message of the gospel and its demand for a response of repentance and faith. This imagery of fishing not only was a fitting metaphor to these men who were actually fishing at that moment, but it also echoes Jeremiah 16. In Jeremiah 16 God promises that judgment is coming for Israel because of her sin, but that God would one day gather them in.

Jeremiah 16:14-16
16  "Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when it shall no longer be said, 'As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,' 15 but 'As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.' For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their fathers. 16 "Behold, I am sending for many fishers, declares the LORD, and they shall catch them…

Jeremiah 16:19
O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in the day of trouble, to you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth …

Do you hear the echo of the great commission there? The context of Jeremiah is one of judgment and restoration. Jesus is telling these men from Galilee that God plans to use them to warn people of judgment and call them to return to God. This kind of fishing is now necessary because the kingdom is at hand (15).

This is our mission. To seek to reach people with the gospel, the good news. How will they believe unless they hear, and how will they hear unless someone tells them (Rom. 10:13-15)? The Apostle Paul tells the church at Corinth that we are called to be ambassadors for the kingdom. We are to preach the message of reconciliation with God through Christ to the world.

2 Corinthians 5:17-20
17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Coming to Christ means we have a new master and a new mission. The King wants to use us to build His kingdom through the proclamation of the gospel. As these fishermen responded to the call of Jesus He promised to make them fishers of men. It would be a long and sometimes difficult process, but these men would one day go far beyond Galilee with the message of their master.

John would lead the church in Ephesus, Peter went to Rome, and Andrew went as far as the eastern border of what is now Russia. At the end of His earthly mission, after equipping and training these fishers of men, Jesus told His disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel. They did. They committed their lives to advancing His mission. We can do no less when we understand who Jesus is and what He has done:

2 Corinthians 5:14-15
14  For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Belief in Jesus is demonstrated by following Jesus, and following Jesus requires embracing a new mission, His mission of gathering people in through the preaching of the gospel. 

 

Following Jesus results in the establishment of a new community

 

“God’s reign does not operate in a void.
It assumes people – a people subject to that rule.
It involves the formation of a community.”
– Walter Wessel

 James and John left their father, in the boat with the hired servants and followed Jesus (20). This was culturally shocking, that they would abandon the family business, leave their household behind, family behind, all to follow this teacher. Discipleship comes at a great cost. They left behind their old way of life, their livelihood, their future plans, and their place in that community. This is a massive identity shift. They were leaving everything they knew behind and becoming part of this new community of people who believed in Jesus and followed Him.

This is why Jesus came. He is gathering people in to himself to create a new community, and following Him means we are part of that.

Titus 2:14 [Jesus] gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

We are a people. Discipleship requires personal commitment but it is NOT a personal experience. In this early fellowship of disciples we see the seeds of the church. In the NT the church is described always in terms of many making up one. Like a building with many stones, like a family, like a body. Peter points out that we are a community with a new master and a new mission as well:

1 Peter 2:9-10
9  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

In following Jesus we stand side by side with others who are following. Our faith has the same object. Our hearts are hoping in the same gospel. We share the same master and the same mission. And the bible tells us that we share the same glorious future:

Revelation 7:9-10 
9  After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"

This morning we are getting a little foretaste of that day. We are a community of disciples who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. A community of people who are turning from sin and believing in the gospel. We are disciples, followers of Jesus. 

Sometimes this discipleship is costly. Many of you have left things behind to follow Christ. Friends. Family. Opportunities. Money. Self-righteousness. But none of that compares. Jesus is better. He is worth any sacrifice. Like Paul we say:

Philippians 3:7-8 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

 

Conclusion

If we would follow Jesus we must embrace Him as master. He is Lord and must be recognized as such (Phil. 2:9-11). We must embrace the church as our new community. And we must embrace our new mission; calling others to repent, believe, follow, and join us in this new community.

What is keeping you from following Jesus? Sometimes their is sin that we must let go of (Heb. 12:1). Sometimes there are things that are good in and of themselves, but they must be held with open hands. There is nothing wrong for instance with boats or nets or fishing or family. In fact those things were good and necessary. But there came a point where these four men faced a choice; and they could not follow Jesus without leaving those things behind. 

Do you believe His message? Do you believe He is who He says He is? Then we must also be willing to follow Him. He is our master, He gives us a new mission and makes us part of this new community centered around Himself and His work of redemption on the cross.

The good news is that Jesus initiates this call. He seeks us out and calls us. And the good news is that He is the one who ultimately changes us. He makes us fishers of men. He does not require us to become fishers first and then come. If we let go of all that holds us back, He does the work in us. The process is long and sometimes painful, sometimes it feels like taking up your cross, like losing your life (Matt. 16:24-25), but it is worth it (Romans 8:18).