Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Sermon / Homily on Mark 6:7-13

What's Behind "Go"?

Mark 6:7-13

In a nutshell: Mark 6:7-13, talks about three major things that are needed to effectively "Go": the Messenger, the Message, and the Mercy. And God placed these concepts in Mark, chapter 6, so we can realize the same power and success when we obey Jesus' command to "go", as His disciples did 2000 years ago.

I. Introduction

A. What it meant to the disciples

Mark 1:16-18 16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.

You know, I don't think that when Jesus said, "Come follow me," those guys had a clue of what was in store for them.

At least the fishermen in the group-Peter, Andrew, James and John-understood what it meant to be fishers of fish. But fishing for men was going to be a whole new experience, altogether. -Fishing for men would require their time, their effort, and their faithfulness to God. -It meant that they would have to leave the comfort of their own little group, and get into the world of the people who lived around them. -It meant that they would have to make a net that would be attractive enough to draw people to want to have a relationship with Jesus. -Being a fisher of men meant that they would have to do more than just start an organization, put a sign out by the roadside, and say, "Ya'll come!" -The bottom line is that being fishers of men meant that they would have to be willing to "Go". That was Jesus' final word before He left this earth, He said… Matthew 28:19a 19a Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…,

B. What it means for us

And friends the command still stands for Jesus disciples today. All of us in this room who claim the name "Christian" are also commanded to "go" and be fishers of men, just like the first disciples were commanded.

And I believe that's why this section of the book of Mark that we're studying today, is so important for us. Mark 6:7-13, talks about three major things that are needed to effectively "Go": The three things are: the Messenger, the Message, and the Mercy. And God placed these concepts in Mark, chapter 6, to encourage us. Because you and I can experience the same power and success when we obey Jesus' command to "go"-as His disciples did 2000 years ago.

II. The Messengers

So, let's first look at these three things, starting with the messengers.

Mark 6:7a 7 Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two...

After Jesus was shown disrespect by the people of His home town (which is recorded in verses 1-6 of this chapter), He left Nazareth, and went around to other villages in the area continuing to teach about the Kingdom of God. But after several days of this, Jesus decided it was important to get alone with His 12 disciples and give them some "fishing" assignments.

These guys were going to be His messengers, representing Him to places He didn't have time to visit. They were going to be His ambassadors to areas He couldn't go to. And as we take a look at these messengers, I want you to notice three things about them… because these same three things need to be characteristic of us as we are Jesus' messengers in the 21st century.

A. Preparation

First, I want you to see how these 12 guys were prepared. There's nothing fancy here. No Bible College or Christian Liberal Arts training. There wasn't a seminarian among the 12. They were qualified to "go" and represent Jesus, for just one reason-they had spent time with Him. That was the extent of their preparation.

After hearing Him teach, having Him explain things they didn't understand, and seeing Him use power that was beyond their scope of comprehension, they were now being given an opportunity to take what they had learned and put it into practice.

Now, to be an effective messenger of the good news of Jesus today, still requires the same preparation. Only people who have spent time with Jesus are qualified to share with others. That's because you cannot give what you do not have; and you will not have anything to share if you don't personally know Jesus.

You don't need a PhD, or a Masters degree, or an accredited program of education. But you do need a living relationship with the living Savior. If you know Jesus as the forgiver of your sins, and are following Him as the leader of your life, then you, just like the disciples, have all the preparation that's necessary to share the good news.

B. Power

The second thing about these messengers that I want you to see has to do with their power. Look at the second part of verse 7…

Mark 6:7b 7b … (He) gave them authority over evil spirits.

These disciples weren't sent out under their own power. They went to their assignments under the power of Almighty God that was given to them by Jesus Christ. It was Jesus who gave them the power and authority over the evil spirits.

Friends, God never calls us to do anything for Him, without giving us the power we need to accomplish the task.

Illustration: Dwight L. Moody is a great example of this. He was a poorly educated shoe salesman, who felt that God wanted him to become a preacher. One day, he and some friends went to a hayfield for some time of praying, dreaming, and encouraging each other. While they were praying, one of the young men, Henry Varley said, "The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully consecrated to Him." Those words had a profound impact on young Dwight.

Not long afterwards, he had the opportunity to hear the greatest preacher of his day, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. This is what Moody said went through his mind…

"The world had yet to see! With and for and through and in! A man! Varley meant any man! Varley didn't say he had to be educated, or brilliant, or anything else! Just a man! Well, by the Holy Sprit in me, I'll be one of those men. And suddenly, in that high gallery, I saw something I'd never realized before,--it was not Mr. Spurgeon, after all, who was doing that work: it was God. And if God could use Mr. Spurgeon, why should He not use the rest of us, and why should we not all just lay ourselves at the Master's feet, and say to Him, 'Send me! Use me!""

Dwight Moody was an ordinary man who wanted to be totally committed to Jesus Christ. And through this one ordinary man, God began to do the extraordinary. During the rest of his adult life, Moody became one of the greatest evangelists of the modern era of the church. During much of the 19th century he preached all over north America and Britain. And thousands upon thousands of people came to know Jesus Christ as their Savior because of his work.

Now, could God do extraordinary things through your life? I say, "Yes He can!" But you may be thinking, "Yeah, but I'm no Dwight Moody." That's good! Because one of those was enough. God doesn't want another Moody. He wants a one and only you. God simply wants you to be you-just like He made you-and let Him do through you whatever He wants to do. In that, there is massive power.

C. Provision

The third thing I want you to notice about the messengers has to do with their provision.

Mark 6:8-11 8 These were his instructions: "Take nothing for the journey except a staff-no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them."

Jesus told these guys to go…, and go in faith that He would provide for their needs. These 12 guys were going to learn an important and valuable lesson. The lesson was that they could trust God to provide for all their needs.

When Jesus told them to "go", not only was He going to provide the spiritual power for them, but He was also going to provide anything they needed to get the job done. You see, Jesus was beginning to teach His disciples how to have faith.

Faith is the single concept that none of us who follow Jesus can afford to neglect. But when we are asked to live our lives by faith, you need to understand something very important-that will always lead us to a crossroads in our lives. And at that crossroad we will have a decision to make-Do I trust God and what I cannot see, or do I trust me and what I can see.

Friends, this is where Christian after Christian after Christian has missed out on experiencing the power of God in their lives. Too many have chosen to walk by sight, not by faith. But understand this axiom: to have God's power to do what God wants, will always take stepping out in faith-never walking by sight. The disciples had to do it, and so do we.

III. The Message

Now, I want to move from this first concept of the Messenger, to the second concept that's taught in this short section of this chapter-the Message…

Mark 6:12 12 They went out and preached that people should repent.

A. Simple

The message was really a very simple one: "Repent."

This is the same message Jesus had been preaching ever since the beginning of His ministry. When He first began to travel around preaching-even before He had a group of 12 guys following Him-His message was the same…"Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near."

From the beginning, the disciples had heard this message. Now, it was their turn to tell it. So when they went out, they understood the message they needed to share. It was the message of repentance.

The message was simple. All human beings, regardless of their religion, or their social status, or their heritage, or their "goodness" or "badness"… had to make a 180 degree turn away from any sin in their life and start to obey the living God. People needed to be willing to quit their present lifestyle, and replace it with a new and better way. This was the message that Jesus taught, and this is the one the disciples were given.

B. Sinners

Now, I'll guarantee you that there were some folks who listened to Jesus, and who listened to the disciples' message who thought they were pretty good people. They weren't THAT bad. What did they have to repent about?

Illustration: But let's take one of those people in Jesus' day, or take a person you know today, who says, "I'm a pretty good person. What DO they have to repent about?" Well, let's do the math. Suppose that a person sins, or falls short of God's perfection just 3 times a day. -One sin in the morning, -One sin sometime during the day, -and just one sin at night. That sounds like a pretty good person, doesn't it?!

But let's think about that for a moment. Let's assume that this person became totally responsible for his or her actions by the age of 10. And let's say that this person lives to be 80 years old. That means that over the course of his or her lifetime, this "really good person" has committed 76,650 offenses against God's perfection. That's almost 80,000 sins! Nearly 80,000 times where he or she fell short of the glory of God.

You see friends, even a "really good person" is still a sinner, and therefore separated from God because of that sin. All sin has to be answered for-that's part of God's justice. And that will happen when every person stands before the sinless, perfect and Holy God at the end of their life.

But sins can be forgiven. And the place where those sins are forgiven, and a love relationship between God and sinful people is established for eternity, happens when the sinner agrees with God about his or her sinful condition.

Friends, that's the beginning of the message that Jesus taught, that's the message the disciples preached, and that's the message you and I must share.

C. Good News

You see, the Good News-the Gospel of Jesus-is that we can now be made right with God. A relationship with God, for which man was created…, but that was destroyed by sin…, can be restored. But we have to first repent-we have to agree with God that we are a sinner deserving of eternal death. Then we believe (or completely trust) in one thing and one thing only.

We believe that Jesus took the consequences of our sin on Himself when He was put to death on the cross. He was a perfect man, who had no sin, but He died in the place of all the sinful men and women, boys and girls who would ever live. And when He rose from the dead three days later, proving He was God, He proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that He could and would make an exchange take place. If you give Him your sins through repentance, He will give you His righteousness through His love.

The message of the good news is the message that… …we can be made right with God, …that our lives can be transformed, …and our inner character can be completely changed. The message of repentance is a message of hope. It is a message of a new beginning. It is a message that every single sinful person can find new life in Jesus Christ.

IV. The Mercy

Finally, after understanding the messengers, and the message, we come to the third concept behind the command to "Go"-that's the mercy…

Mark 6:13 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

The disciples were prepared because they had been with Jesus. They knew the message of repentance. Now, they were privileged to be a conduit for God's Mercy. You see friends, God is interested in more than just forgiving our sins. He is interested in making us whole people.

What we see in this verse is that God wants to heal the total package-spirit, soul and body.

The ministry of the 12 disciples didn't end when they preached the Gospel to the people in the villages. As people repented and re-established a relationship with God, the disciples were able to minister to their spirits and their bodies, as well as their souls.

-They cast out demons who were tormenting their spirits, -and many sick people were healed as they anointed them with oil and prayed for them.

Verse 13 makes it so simple and so clear: God is interested in the whole person. He not only wants to forgive our sins; but He wants to deal with our problems regardless if they are on an emotional level or a physical level.

I think this says something very important to us about our ministry to others. -Not only must we never neglect to give people the life-changing Gospel which will meet their eternal needs. -But we must also never neglect to reach out to them with the healing power of God to meet their present needs as well. This is where our witness will really be seen.

Illustration: Last week at the prayer offensive at Community Church, we had a visitor who had never attended one of our gatherings before, although he had been invited by many of us, on a number of occasions. Mayor Wil Kleindienst, the mayor of Palm Springs, showed up. If you've been following in the paper, or have attended City Council meetings, you know that Wil has taken a lot of "heat" from the homosexual community, because he expressed a strong concern about illegal activities taking place at the White Party while they use the convention center each year. He wasn't criticizing homosexuality, he wasn't singling out a certain group of people, he simply didn't want to condone breaking the law on city property. For that he has been cursed, vilified, threatened, and his family's business interests have suffered. When he came last Sunday night, he was hurting. He needed encouragement and ministry to his spirit.

I sensed God wanted us to single Wil out for prayer, so I asked Pastor Mike and Pastor Keith what they thought of the idea. They concurred with what I felt God wanted us to do. So, we asked Wil to sit in the middle of the group, and the 50 or 60 people who were there gathered around him and prayed for him and his family.

Afterwards, Wil was in tears, he was so moved by the expression of love and concern for him. He told me afterwards, "Tom, I needed encouragement, and I received it 'big time', tonight. Thank you."

You see friends, salvation isn't the only part we take with us when we "Go". We also take the mercy of God. That's what encourages people who need encouragement and provides healing in their spirit and their body. The mercy of God reaches into all areas of human existence. -When people were hungry, Jesus fed them; so should we. -When people were suffering, Jesus ministered to their need; so should we.

V. Conclusion

I listened to a tape not long ago, by Joe Aldrich, a man who's commitment to prayer for revival across America has inspired me over the years. He talked about some Christian's view of evangelism. This is what he said: -For some people, evangelism is an evangelical mugging mission, where we go into a phone booth, come out with a big red S on our chests and charge out into a neighborhood, seldom our own, to win it for Christ. -For others, it's some kind of evangelical ambush where we lure the honest, unsuspecting victim to some type of an event, lock the doors, and sing twenty-two verses of "Just as I Am." -For others, evangelism is herding fish into the stained glass aquarium where the big fisherman throws the lure from the pulpit. (Joseph Aldrich, "How to Be a Redemptive Person," Preaching Today, Tape No. 113.)

Friends, if you believe any of that, then you aren't on the same page as Jesus. I think Dwight Moody captured Jesus' idea of evangelism with the words on the front of your WIG's…

If this world is going to be reached, I am convinced that it must be done by men and women of average talent. After all, there are comparatively few people in the world who have great talents.

I don't know everyone in this room this morning. But the ones I do know I can say with a great amount of certainty, "Each of you are average." But even though we are average, God still says to each of us, "GO". -Everyone of us average people are messengers of God. -Everyone of us average people have a message from God. -And everyone of us average people can extend the mercy of God to someone who is hurting. And armed with those three simple things we are told by our Lord Jesus Christ, "Go, I am with you always." Amen.


See Also:

Sermons and Bible Commentaries for the 11th Sunday after Pentecost

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