Messages from Pastor Raddatz
January 24, 2021 Mount Olive Lutheran, Houston TX Other readings: Jonah 3:1-5, 10 and 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS HERE, Mark 1:14-20,
Main Idea: He will make you fishers of men
Grace, Mercy and Peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In today’s reading from Mark, Jesus calls his disciples to follow him by proclaiming the good news that the Kingdom of God is near! He calls all who have ears to hear to “repent and believe the good news!” He calls Simon and Andrew to follow him. He also calls James and John to follow him. We are told immediately they left their business and their father to follow Jesus. Jesus will make them fishers of men.
TWO KINGDOMS: GOD’S AND THE CIVIL GOVERNMENT
The Kingdom of God is here! The Kingdom of God finds its source in the work of Jesus Christ. In the midst of the kingdom of God there are other things going on, like duty to family and business. We daily deal with temptation and our struggle against our own sinful flesh, death and the World. We can feel like there is a war going on inside of us, a war of good and evil.
There are two kingdoms we are part of: one is the Civil kingdom and the other is the kingdom of God. The Civil Kingdom is the government and its’ duties. All are part of that Kingdom. We are part of the Kingdom of God where spiritual realities are lived out.
EVEN WHEN WE ARE TEMPTED, WE CAN BE SURE GOD IS AT WORK!
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you…” 1 Peter 4:12f (ESV)
The Kingdom of God can be misunderstood? John the Baptist told people that the Kingdom of God is at hand or nearby. The Israelites of Jesus' day misunderstood God's kingdom as a restoration of the power and glory that Israel enjoyed during David's reign––God ruling through his chosen people, Israel. Jesus tells of a vastly different kind of kingdom––a kingdom that "is at hand" (v. 15) ––a spiritual kingdom that is realized when we surrender our hearts to God––a kingdom that began with Jesus' first coming, but which will be fully manifested only in his Second Coming.
Any communication requires a sender and a receiver. The sender speaks a message, and the receiver interprets the message. Sometimes the way a sender sounds out the message confuses the message or the way the receiver filters the message complicates a simple message. At such times like these there is confusion. This is why many arguments that happen in relationships and in homes are not about the subject but can be about some unrelated feeling or emotion that comes through the communication.
The Kingdom of God is at work in Jesus. Sometimes it brings false accusations by the Civil Kingdom. It is good to know that while John, the cousin of Jesus is wrongfully executed that the God’s kingdom work continues. It is the same when Jesus is falsely accused of being a traitor to Caesar. Jesus is arrested with a kiss from Judas. Jesus is tried and found guilty and he is crucified. God’s Kingdom will use the Civil Kingdom to do its’ work. Through the false conviction of Jesus as a traitor of the Civil Kingdom, He was being used to purchase forgiveness for us in the eternal Kingdom of God.
The purpose of the civil kingdom? “The governing authority protects the body and external possessions against open injustice and rules men with the sword and with corporal punishment in order to guard civil righteousness and peace.” Augsburg Confession XXVIII 11.
The Civil Kingdom requires respect and obedience. The requirement to be obedient to its commands and laws ceases when it commands something which can only be done with sin. Then the apostolic word applies: “One must obey God rather than men” [Acts 5:29]. THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE OF THE AUGSBURG CONFESSION AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE PRESENT By Hermann Sasse, 1930
GOD CALLS US TO DAILY REPENT (turn from sin) AND FOLLOW JESUS
“…To you (his disciples) is given the mystery of the Kingdom of God, but to those who are outside, all things are done in parables, Mark 4:11. (WEB)
Jesus still calls us to “REPENT AND BELIEVE THE GOOD NEWS”. We tend to think of repentance as feeling guilty, but it is really a change of mind or direction––seeing things from a different perspective. Once we begin to see things rightly, we will probably feel bad about having been wrong––but repentance starts with the new vision rather than the guilt feelings.
While Jesus was being crucified for a crime he never committed, God was saving the world. This is a mystery, but it is a mystery that we receive through faith. It is not a complicated belief, to believe in a mystery, but it does infer that we are called to accept what we do not understand. I think this is why Jesus said, “Allow the little children to come to me! Do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (10:14). Little children quickly accept what they do not understand as long as they trust the person. So, we are called to trust Jesus that he is over all the creation, even when we do not understand.
We must put kingdom issues first. "The great tragedies of church history have occurred in those periods when Jesus' theme of the kingdom of God was made secondary or was forgotten" (Luccock).
When Jesus called these men, they “immediately” left their fishing nets (v. 18) and “at once” left their father (v. 20) and followed Jesus.
JUST AS THE FIRST DISCIPLES “LEFT” NETS AND FAMILY TO FOLLOW JESUS, WHAT IS JESUS CALLING YOU TO “LEAVE BEHIND”?
Mark 10:29f, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time-… with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Sometimes we think we have to change something to follow Jesus. Jesus calls us as we are, but he does call us to put all things after him. He is most important.
Recently, I read a story about a girl applying to college. Her heart sank when she was asked "Are you a leader?" Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, "No," and returned the application, expecting the worst. To her surprise, she received this letter from the college: "Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms reveals that this year our college will have 1,452 new leaders. We are accepting you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower." Source unknown
Jesus is looking for followers. As we sang earlier, take my life and let it be consecrated (set aside) Lord to thee… Jesus has made your life (created you as a gift to this world). He has saved your soul and mine through the cross. He will bring you through what you are facing because he is your leader. May his voice rise above all other voices and may his presence give you peace because he has promised to never leave you and to never forsake you. Amen
May this peace, which passes every single human understanding, keep your hearts and your minds in the one true faith in Christ Jesus, to life everlasting, Amen.
Soli Deo Gloria=To God be The Glory-Reverend John F. Raddatz-Texas
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