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Sunday, January 24, 2010

How To Get Along

Show Others You Care

Mar 9:33 They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, "What were you discussing on the way?"
Mar 9:34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest.
Mar 9:35 Sitting down, He called the twelve and *said to them, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all."
Just as pride got in the way of the Rich Young Ruler, pride was taking the focus of the Spiritual and Kingdom truths that Jesus was working to teach His disciples. Although they were shamed to tell Him, Jesus knew what the subject had been and went right to the heart of the topic. Jesus had been demonstrating that He was the servant of every man and the disciples had the same battle that all of us must fight, the ingrown urge to put ourselves first.
Here in the US we have a set of individuals marked out and anytime we are found in their presence we want to acknowledge their presence and their giving of themselves. Most of the men of this distinguished group died in the performance of the tasks that earned their membership into this group. These men have earned the Medal of Honor, the Silver Cross or the Bronze cross. In each of their cases they, for what-ever reason thought more of their fellow men than they did of themselves. They cared so much for their fellow man that they jumped on a grenade or saved the lives of others by some totally foreign act of care that took or unnecessarily endangered their own lives. This is the care and love for fellow man that Jesus demonstrated and wants from His followers.

Mar 9:36 Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them,
Mar 9:37 "Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me."
Jesus is painting a picture of unconditional love. Couple these verses with Mark 10:15 and we have a good basis for understanding faith. When I was a child and the world had not it's later input into my life, when my dad said something I took it for just what was spoken. My perception was that my father, my dad, knew everything and always spoke the truth. It is this same child-like faith that God, the Father finds so valuable. Having taught the primaries, soon after my conversion, I understand the importance of hanging out with the kids. When we hang out with the children they model the faith we need and they have no other motive than they love. When we examine the Love of The Father that Jesus demonstrated for us we see pure love.

See Others As Coworkers

Mar 9:38 John said to Him, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us."
Mar 9:39 But Jesus said, "Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me.
Mar 9:40 "For he who is not against us is for us.
Mar 9:41 "For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.
As Christians we tend to think we are an exclusive society. This is true of the Baptists, the Pentecostals, the Bible Church groups and all the other individual congregational groups of Christians. Jesus, on the other hand sees us as His followers, God's children. It is, because of our life experiences, sometimes difficult to accept folks that are different from us in their method of worship and it is then that it's important to personalize the teaching of Jesus. One of the most despised people groups of the ancient Hebrew was the half breed Samaritans. They were so despised that it astounded the disciples of Jesus that He took a drink from and then spoke to the Samaritan woman, a woman steeped in sin, no less.
When this woman was found in the company of their LORD the followers of Jesus did not know what to think. Today, when we meet a lost person, unlike the example of Jesus we launch right into the Gospel message instead of going for a relationship first. If we will take the time to get to know a person we will know better how and when, even if we need to witness to them. The Samaritans, like the JWs, the Mormons, and the worshipers of Mary, today, need the message of the truth. Some groups of the Baptists, Pentecostals and others also need the message explained to them. We must learn to be wise like the serpent. One of the most important lessons a Diamond-Back Rattler ever learns is when to lie still and when to run.

Sacrifice For Other's Sake

Mar 9:42 "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.
This is a lesson that is often not considered in the full context of the scriptures. It is wonderful to apply this to children but when we see that God's perfect will (Rom. 12:2) is applicable to this passage, it becomes obvious that there is a much wider application here. There will be the simple minded, the ones known as retarded but there are also those that are new to the faith, the babws in Christ.

Mar 9:43 "If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire,
Mar 9:47 "If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell,
There was recently a question asked about these verses. The person asking wanted to know if he should actually pluck out his eye. I do not know of many that can actually cut a part off their body and live to tell of it. Rather, that, Jesus is giving us a graphic illustration of just how important it is for us to be holy. Jesus is teaching the same lesson that Paul teaches in Rom. 14:15, we will, at times, need to sacrifice something to keep from being an offense. i.e. One does not open a bottle of wine in a Baptist Church regardless of the truth that all things are legal. Verse 48 reminds us of where those that choose not to be holy will reside for eternity.

Mar 9:49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.
Mar 9:50 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.
In Texas, most everyone is familiar with salt pork. In the past salt was a very good preservative that kept meat from spoiling and while the Jewish believers did not use it for pork they would have used it for other meats and fish. Much like salt, fire is used to purify fine metals such as silver and gold so that the illustration in verse 49 is one of purity. If salt, as mined in the past, has no flavor, it also has no ability to preserve anything. The final admonishment of Jesus is to have salt in ourselves. If we take the salt of the Gospel into ourselves we will not only have peace among ourselves, we will be peace makers.