Date: 12 May, 2017
Text: Mark 10
Title: God used them! He'll use you!
Theme: God's ability to use you for His glory.
ill. Banksy - Political street artist - was in the news this past week. He had painted the European Union stars with a man on a ladder chiseling one out and there were suttle cracks heading in several directions.
(Whether you like his political statements or not - he is a clever artist. I would call him a master of street art.)
Even though his art work is on the street - his work is valuable. Many of his pieces have sold for half a million dollars.
He is an amazing artist when you think about the conditions he works in.
He can paint the side of an old building or a rusty door. He's up on a ladder close to his work and painting on a large canvas. He isn't in a pristine environment free, from dust, wind and rain. He doesn't have a lot of time - the EU one appeared overnight. But, he can make an incredible work of art.
I want us to look today at the canvas which God uses. What I want us to observe is that God is a Master at what He does. He doesn't need a perfect canvas to paint on.
GOD can paint on anything and MAKE HIS GLORY KNOWN.
Before we look at these canvases I want to point out that God CAN NOT and that God WILL NOT use a dirty canvas.
ill. Even Banksy has to clean the surface of whatever he is painting on. If it isn't free from dust or other contaminants - his work will be spoiled and bring dishonor to his name.
2 Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
app. If you are willing to get clean with God - God will use you - EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE AND I ARE NOT THE BEST CANVASES - GOD IS THE BEST PAINTER.
OUR TEXT - is Mark 10. I was reading Mark 10 this past week and was struck by the way in which this chapter points out the faults of God's servants.
I was reminded of WHO GOD CHOSES TO SERVE HIM.
I Cor. 1:6 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
exp. Before you get proud that you have been chosen to serve God - you better be reminded of WHO GOD CHOSES. Can you be proud of lacking human wisdom (not many wise men after the flesh) lacking human strength, (Not many mighty) Lacking human status (not many noble), NO HE CHOSED - THE FOOLISH THINGS, THE WEAK THINGS, THE BASE THINGS, THINGS THAT ARE NOT....
THE TWELVE IN OUR STORY WERE - fisherman, a tax collector, a medical doctor, ( their future associate Paul (probably the best qualified to preach) was a false religious leader who killed Christians.)
They have been 3 years in the School of Jesus.
Graduation is the following week as they enter into Jerusalem for the final week before the death of Jesus.
I'm struck by the fact that Jesus did not give up on these men (as we will see they failed often.)
I'm encouraged because THEY WERE USED OF GOD (DESPITE OUR AWARENESS OF THEIR FAILURES) IF GOD USE THEM, HE CAN USE YOU AND ME. Have you begun to think that God can't use you? May God use this message today to encourage you not to quit - because God will use you if you don't quit. (Mark 10)
I. GOD used them even though they did not know everything.
1 And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again.
2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?
4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.
5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.
11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
exp. The disciples didn't have a PHD in theology. They were learning as they went along. They heard what Jesus taught and then they had to have some private tutoring to make sure they got it.
ill. God has chosen some men who are WISE AFTER THE FLESH.
- William Carey - translated the complete Bible into 6 languages and portions of it into 29 others.
- Adonirum Judson - Judson entered the College of Rhode Island & Providence Plantations (now Brown University) when he was sixteen, and graduated as valedictorian of his class at the age of nineteen. JUDSON COMPILED THE FIRST EVER BURMESE ENGLISH DICTIONARY AND TRANSLATED TEH BIBLE IN TO BURMESE.
app. You can read those biographies and think - how could God ever use me. I'm just a simple person that doesn't have great academic abilities.
ill. In college I made some verse signs, lamenated them and taped them to my bunk and the back of my door. One was, "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13
app. These men whom God used, didn't know everything, but they knew where to go for anwers. You don't need to know everything to serve God.
II. GOD used them even though they didn't do everything right.
13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
exp. ouch, it hurts to fail. They saw displeasure in the eyes of the Lord and heard it in his voice as he reproved them.
ill. This same week - Peter has really messed up as reproved Jesus.
Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
32 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.
33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.
ill. The Following week - Peter is going to deny JESUS (EVEN THOUGH HE REALLY DIDN'T WANT TO FAIL AND HE IS GOING TO WEEP BITTERLY and all the disciples are going to forsake Him and flee.
question: Have you ever known the heartache of failure? Don't you hate it when you fail?
ill. Working at McDonalds on drive through - having a car come through where the driver was obviously intoxicated. Speaking to my friend and boss and convincing him to let the police know. Pulling the car over and having them wait until the police arrived - I was wrong. I was devestated that I had put that man through that and that I had let down my friend and boss.
exp. I don't like messing up - but guess what - we are human. There are times where we are going to blow it.
note. Jesus didn't say to them, "How can I use you? I want to minister to those kids and you are driving them away!" However, He lovingly rebukes them to help them to properly minister. The disciples could quit - or they could change and submit.
app. If you are a proud person, you won't be able to handle the rebuke of the Lord. But, if you are humble enough to admit failure - God will lovingly help you overcome WHEN YOU GET IT WRONG. Heb 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
III. GOD used them even though they vocalized unbelief (frustration at results).
17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
note: If I was a disciple I would be thinking - if Jesus can't reach them HOW CAN I?
23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
note: Now - I'd really be struggling - not only have I seen this man TURN AWAY FROM JESUS HIMSELF but the Lord has expressed the impossibility of that man's salvation.
24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
note: They were incredulous and voiced their unbelief and if it was me - FRUSTRATION - WHO THEN CAN BE SAVED?
27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
exp. Now - they have a choice - be frustrated with their human reasoning - or ACCEPT THE IMPOSSIBLE IS POSSIBLE WITH GOD.
question: Had Jesus ever demonstrated this principle to them that GOD CAN DO ANYTHING?
WATER INTO WINE John 2:9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
WALKING ON WATER John 6:19 So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid.
RAISING OF LAZARUS John 11:43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
app. Friends WE NEED A GOSPEL MIRACLE TODAY. I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU, but I FIND MYSELF OFTEN SAYING WHO THEN CAN BE SAVED? With men it is impossible, but NOT WITH GOD - WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!" IT IS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE GOSPEL AND WE NEED A GOSPEL MIRACLE.
Are you frustrated at times because you aren't seeing the results you want to see - God can use you!
IV. GOD used them even though they struggled with pride.
28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,
30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.
exp. Peter started to say, "Well that rich man won't leave everything, but Lord we have." I don't want to read too much into this statement because the Lord doesn't really rebuke him. It just seems that the Lord cut him off. Peter began to say....
- The Lord encourages his disciples who have left all - that they will be more than repaid for any sacrifice they have made.
- But, he also reminds them that many that are first shall be last; and the last first.
exp. Peter would later say, "Though all men forsake thee, I won't." He is the one in the garden whom the Lord reminded with the others, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:41
exp. Careful men - you are overconfident in the weak flesh (pride).
ill. Nearly getting beat up in NYC - said to my mom, "What can happen? It's a beautiful day. My brother-in-law is with me." (OVERCONFIDENCE can hurt.)
1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
app. Pride is sin and pride will hurt us. God will have to deal with our pride. But, the battle against pride is common to God's servants. God WILL USE YOU EVEN THOUGH YOU STRUGGLE WITH PRIDE.
V. GOD used them even though they were afraid.
32 And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him,
33 Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles:
34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.
exp. I'd be afraid as well. They are heading by Jericho on their way up to Jerusalem. Jesus is telling them on the way there about every detail of the crucifiction.
ill. Usually when you are trying to get somebody to do something of which they are afraid you give them words of comfort. My mom struggles with flying - clausterphobia - as a joke I ordered her a fidget spinner (I'm also praying for her.)
- But, I don't talk to her about the man who got dragged off the United flight.
- I don't speak to her about terrorism or plane crashes.
- BECAUSE I WANT HER TO COME TO SCOTLAND.
exp. JESUS isn't make it easy on his men by giving them false assurances. He is letting the facts be known. These men were AFRAID but notice "they were in the way."
app. You may be afraid to knock on doors, tell people about Jesus, take a stand for Jesus. God can use you - if you stay in the way with Him. God will use you despite your fear if you will let Him.
VI. GOD used them even though they were jealous of one another.
35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.
36 And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you?
37 They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.
38 But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?
39 And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized:
40 But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.
41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.
exp. Jesus could have just given up and said - "Enough. I'm not going to continue to put up with your pride and jealousy." He just has them set down and get their heart right.
42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.
43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:
44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
app. Do you need to get your heart right today? JESUS DID NOT COME TO BE SERVED BUT TO SERVE. God can use us even though we get envious - if we let him take the envy out of our life and get back into His work.
conclusion: The Final story - is blind Bartimaeus - there are people trying to silence the man (Hopefully it wasn't the disciples.)
Don't you find it interesting that John under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit reveals to us the human weakness of the men God used. I believe he did that for our encouragement.
IF GOD COULD USE THE MEN IN MARK 10 - HE WILL USE YOU AND ME. LIKE BANKSY, HE DOESN'T NEED A GOOD CANVAS - JUST A CLEAN ONE.
1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Will you trust God to use you even though you don't know everything? You ought to learn.
Will you trust God to use you even though you don't do everything right? You ought to try to.
Will you trust God to use you even though you get frustrated? With God all things are possible.
Will you trust God to use you despite your struggle with pride? As He helps you to get victory.
Will you trust God to use you despite your fear? Stay in the way with Him.
Will you trust God to use you despite your struggle with jealousy? Let Him put you in your place.
God wants to use you - will you be used of Him?