FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Take My Life, and Let It Be
Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in endless praise,
let them flow in endless praise.
Take my silver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as thou shalt choose,
every power as thou shalt choose.
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? What did you find especially sweet or challenging from God's word? What did we sing, read, or pray that left an impression on you?
Food For Thought:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:19-21
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. – 2 Corinthians 8:9
Gaze upon Christ long enough, and you’ll become more of a giver. Give long enough, and you’ll become more like Christ. – Randy Alcorn
Confession of Sin:
Prayer of Confession
Loving and gracious Father, the more we delve into the depths of our sin, the uglier and more heinous it becomes. If we promise to do better, we lie. If we try to clean ourselves up, we are frauds. If we give because we feel guilty, we are schemers. If we serve to feel good about ourselves, we are self-righteous. If we pray only to get what we want, we are self-serving. If we read your Word so you will be pleased with us, we are manipulators. The selfish motivations of even our best actions condemn us. They are un-holy, un-pleasing, and un-like the One in whose image we are created. Please forgive us and help us to look only to the life-saving, life-changing, life-giving power of your grace and mercy through Your Son Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Words of Grace
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.
Confession of Faith: The Children’s Catechism Question 64-67
Q. 64: How long ago did Christ die?
About two thousand years ago.
Q. 65: How were sinners saved before Christ came?
By believing in the promised Messiah.
Q. 66: Before Christ came, how did believers show their faith?
By offering the sacrifices God required.
Q. 67: What did these sacrifices represent?
Christ, the Lamb of God, who would come to die for sinners.
Sermon Text: Mark 12:35-44
35 And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet.”’
37 David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.
38 And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces 39 and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
1. The question Jesus asks (v. 35-37)
2. The warning Jesus gives (v. 38-40)
3. The faith Jesus sees (v. 41-44)
Conflict with the religious leaders of his day is something Jesus has encountered throughout his public ministry and it has only intensified since his arrival in Jerusalem in chapter 11. Throughout chapter 12 Jesus countered the Religious Leaders and their onslaught of questions so successfully that no one dared to ask him anymore questions. (12:34) This last section before the events leading to Jesus' death detail his opposition to the religious leaders and their failure to trust in him.
The passage begins with Jesus asking the question of questions. "How can the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David?" (v. 35) Jesus challenges the scribes (experts in the law) understanding of the Messiah, that is, God's only chosen king who would save his people and set the world to rights. It's fundamentally a question about identity...Jesus' identity as the Son of God (1:10-11). To do so Jesus quotes from Psalm 110 in order to confront current views of the Messiah with what the Scriptures teach. So he says, "David himself, in the Holy Spirit, says...." Jesus quotes the Bible to show that even David understood the Messiah was greater than he was and therefore to say that the Messiah was the Son of David must mean something much more wonderful and profound.
The challenge to the scribes comes to us as well. Do you know Jesus as he is revealed in scripture? Will you sit at his feet and discover his glory and grace? (Acts 2:29-36; Romans 1:1-4) Why is this important? Why does Jesus lead with this question? Because without an accurate understanding of who Jesus is as the Messiah we will always make life about us rather than God and his grace. Or to put it differently, we will never be free from our self-absorbed hearts that lead to the guilt, pain, and suffering in our own lives and the world at large.
This is precisely the problem Jesus confronts head on in his warning against the Scribes. (v. 38-40) Those called to lead and care for God's people were using God's people to serve their own selfish ends. To put it succinctly, without a true understanding of who Jesus is the ministry of God's people falls apart. (re: Ezekiel 34; 1 Peter 5:1-4) We've already seen one example of this with the disciples when they were arguing about who was the greatest. Jesus responded, "[W]hoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (10:44-45) The point for us to lay hold of is this: the key to a vibrant, faithful, and fruitful church is to behold Jesus in all his glory! How can we do that? It begins by admitting we aren't all that different than the Scribes when you get right down to it, and yet it's not always easy to see, let alone admit. Therefore we need the scriptures to not only reveal to us who Jesus really is but who we really are. "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account." (Heb. 4:12-13)
The last story in this passage is intended to help us discern the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. You might be thinking why does Jesus draw attention to this poor widow? Why does Mark include it in his gospel at this point? When we stop and think for a moment the answer is clear. She stands in stark contrast to the pride and ambition of the Scribes as the model of a true disciple of Jesus. In the same way Blind Bartimaeus stood in stark contrast to the Disciples (10:46-52) so too the poor widow to the Scribes. Among the most striking features of this story is Jesus comment in verse 43. "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box." He says this after watching many rich people put in large sums. Why does he say this? Because they all gave out of their abundance, but she gave out of her poverty...all she had to live on. (v. 44) Here we have an illustration of what Jesus taught in 8:35, "Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever would lose his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it."
What is your reaction to this story? One reaction might be guilt and shame, "It scares me to see Jesus affirm and honor this poor widow because I don't think I could ever think about my life and my resources like that." But another reaction is possible when we reflect on what moves a person like this poor widow to live with such trust, such hope, such freedom. She has discovered that nothing in this life whether a lot of it or a little of it can truly satisfy her soul, can restore her soul. Only God can do that and so she gives all she had to live on. In other words, only the gospel can bring such trust and freedom into our lives so that we no longer need the things of this world to be safe and secure. Why? Because of free grace! "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich." (2 Cor. 8:9)
Are you challenged or convicted by this passage? If so make your aim this week to meditate on Jesus and his grace toward you. Ask him to help you to see and behold his love and grace as more precious to you than all the gifts he gives.
- 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?
- Why is it so important to accept who Jesus is according to scripture?
- What is your reaction to the story about the poor widow?
- Where does this passage pinpoint in your life, your need to believe the gospel?
Last week I mentioned a little piece on prayer written by Martin Luther to his barber. I thought I would follow it up this week with two resources that Meg and I have found helpful for praying with and for our children. The first is calledJesus Teaches Us How To Pray and the second is called Praying the Scriptures for Your Children. Even if you don't have children, don't be fooled. There is much to learn about prayer from these two little gems even for adults.
Songs for this week:
Hail to the Lord's Anointed
Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
All Things New
Come, O Come Thou Quickening Spirit
Sermon passage for this week: Mark 13:1-37
Until next time,
Take My Life, and Let It Be
Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne,
it shall be thy royal throne.
Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee,
ever, only, all for thee.