From the Desk of Will Spokes, Senior Pastor
Christ The Solid Rock
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
His oath, his covenant, his blood,
support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
Welcome to the Red Mountain Sunday Recap!
The Sunday Recap is a brief fly-by of what we did during Sunday worship. Did anything land with you from worship on Sunday? What did it make you think? How did it make you feel? Did you find God's word especially sweet or challenging in any particular way? Did we sing, read, or pray anything that left an impression on you?
Q&A: Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 12. What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the estate wherein he was created?
A. When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience; forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death.
The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. - Genesis 2:15-17
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification for all men. For as by one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. - Romans 5:18-19
Food For Thought:
“Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.”
- Anne Lamott
“A perfect faith is nowhere to be found, so it follows that all of us are partly unbelievers.” - John Calvin
“The gospel is not a doctrine of the tongue, but of life. It cannot be grasped by reason and memory only, but it is fully understood when it possesses the whole soul and penetrates to the inner recesses of the heart.”
- John Calvin
Sermon Text: Mark 6:30-44
30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, andthey had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven andsaid a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.
The priority of Jesus' compassion
The character of Jesus' compassion
The satisfaction of Jesus' compassion
As remarkable as this story is, the very heart of it is found in v. 34. "...he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd." Therefore, it is really about Jesus' compassion for lost sheep. The word translated "compassion" is almost exclusively used of Jesus in the New Testament and means literally "to have the bowls yearn." It's also the same word used to describe the Father of the prodigal son when, seeing his son far off, hikes up his robe and runs to him to welcome him home. (Luke 15:20)
However, at the very beginning of this passage we are confronted with a tension between the need for rest and endless demands. "And [Jesus] said to them, 'Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.' For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat." (v. 31) But even as Jesus and his disciples try to get away for some rest they are met with an eager crowd waiting for them. I suspect the Disciples were expecting Jesus to send the crowd away or go to another place for rest. But he doesn't do that. He had compassion on the crowd because they were like sheep without a shepherd. The unfolding of the story highlights an important point. Jesus' compassion takes precedence over rest. Now if I am honest rest and compassion are more competitors than friends. But Jesus is teaching us something fundamental about discipleship. Jesus' compassion is not the enemy of rest; it is the path to rest. "And they all ate and were satisfied." (v. 42)
But how do we grow to see the priority of Jesus' compassion? In short, any rest - deep soul rest; deep contentment - we long for comes from his care and instruction as the faithful shepherd. (v.34) But as the Disciples illustrate, Jesus' compassion exposes us. It exposes our frustration (v.35-36) and insufficiency (v. 37-38). Jesus is leading the Disciples - despite their previous success (v. 30) - to see their only option is to rely upon him. They can't feed the sheep in their own strength. (v. 37b) They can't look to the sheep to give them what they are supposed to give the sheep. (v. 38)
The great irony of this story is in the end the Disciples do feed the sheep. "[He] gave them to the disciples to set before the people." (v. 41) The point is obvious. No, the disciples can't feed the sheep. No, we can't follow Jesus and serve him and others in our own strength and with our resources. But the good news is through Jesus we can "feed the sheep". We can sacrifice rest for Gospel compassion knowing that in doing so Jesus will satisfy us. He will provide for us. He will take care of us. (v. 43)
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
How can you be sure? He took bread, he blessed it, he broke it, and he gave it.... (v. 41; 14:22) The great feast on the hillsides of Galilee point to the breaking and giving of Jesus' body and blood for us! This is the good news of the gospel...the compassion of Jesus for sinners, for lost, vulnerable, exposed, desperate sheep.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32)
What was new or compelling to you? What stood out to you from this passage?
What questions does this passage raise for you?
Was there anything that bothered you?
What is your reaction to the tension between v. 31 and v. 34?
What stands out to you from the interchange between the Disciples and Jesus in vs. 35-38?
Why do we need Jesus' compassion even more than rest? (v. 41-42)
Suggested Resources & The Week Ahead
There are some books I find myself reading every year and some times several times a year. I recently came across one of those books and wanted to share it with you. It was written by one of the great pastor-theologians in the history of the Church, John Calvin. It is short and clear and rewards many reads of digesting and absorbing the riches in it. Originally entitled The Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life, it now goes by the title A Guide To Christian Living.
I also wanted to share four brief little books for kids that Meg and I have found extremely helpful with our boys. They are all written by Sinclair Ferguson, who by the way, has written a number of extremely helpful children's books.
Jesus Teaches Us How To Be Wise
Jesus Teaches Us How To Be Happy
Jesus Teaches Us How To Be Good
Jesus Teaches Us How To Pray
Songs for this week:
How Firm A Foundation
We Will Feast
Hark! The Voice of Love and Mercy (It is Finished, part II)
Abide With Me
Until next time,