To Suffer With Christ, Part 4
We’re going to begin to look, in the book of Mark tonight, right after we get out of Romans. Romans 8:16 says:
Romans 8:16-17 – The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
One of the joys of being in Christ Jesus is suffering for Jesus and participating in the sufferings that are in Jesus Christ. So let’s go right to the book of Mark, let’s go to chapter 1 and let’s just begin to go through the book of Mark. We’re not going to go in great detail with everything. We just want to go through the book and see in what ways Jesus did suffer, and what ways we are going to suffer. That if we are God’s children and if we belong to Him, if we profess His name, then these sufferings will also be in our life. They will overflow in our life. We will participate in them, sometimes to a very, very small degree in comparison to Jesus but we will participate in those. In some ways you can almost say to the degree you participate in the sufferings of Jesus will be the degree that you participate in the glories that are in Christ Jesus. Mark 1:11 talks about the moment after Jesus was baptized He received the Holy Spirit. It says:
Mark 1:1-131 – And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
For God to be well pleased with us we’re going to have to face temptation. The Holy Spirit is going to move us into a place in our lives where He’s going to show us our sins. We’re going to meet Satan head on, face to face. We’re going to move into every area of temptation that the world has to bring except that we’re going to be victorious in it. We’re going to be at a place where it’s thirsty and it’s dry and our faith is going to be tested. We’ll look at that this morning in great detail. We’re going to be with the wild animals, men without reasoning, men who do things by just natural instincts, men who sin without even thinking, who can’t even lay down and go to sleep at night unless they make somebody fall. We’re going to be out there with all those people, but at the same time as the Holy Spirit drives us out into the desert to face temptation, wherever it comes from, whether it comes from within yourself or whether it comes from the world, angels will also attend us. God will never leave us helpless. You will participate in these sufferings of Jesus where you’re out there alone. It’s just really between you and God, that’s where you’re going to stand in glory anyway. When you’re at home and you’re being tempted to sin, when the wild animals are coming toward you and they’re your only company, angels will also be there attending you and encouraging you and strengthening you through things.
I know the more I’ve grown in faith and the more I’ve grown close to the Lord, I’ll be in the process of moving toward sin or even be a little bit into sin. It’s like in my mind’s eye—in my heart—I can just see all these angels looking down. I can see all the saints of the past bidding me on to righteousness. And then I become ashamed of where I’m walking and what direction I’m going toward. So when angels attend they encourage and they strengthen us unto righteousness. But if you want God to be well pleased with you, don’t be running from temptation when He wants you to run into temptation. Now, God isn’t tempting you. God isn’t saying, “Okay, now these are the battles. Here, let Me put this temptation in front of you and Let’s see how you do.” The problem is we all have this sin that lies within us. We have this sinful nature that lives that has to be crucified. And in order for it to be crucified we have to begin to say no to it. We have to begin to suffer in our bodies, as Peter says. So God takes the temptations that are within us, but by the power of the Spirit the Spirit guides us so that we can overcome the sinful nature. That’s why Romans 8 says, “If by the Spirit, you put to death the misdeeds of the body you will live.” We don’t dare run out here and try to conquer temptation and sin of our own power and when we think it’s best. We bow before God and we say, “Okay, God, begin to deal with the sin in my life.” So I won. Once you give yourself to the Lord, once you go down in that baptism water, God then begins to show you the sins that you need to deal with. So in the beginning you deal with the temptation that is in your life, but now you deal from a position of victory. You’ve already won, you’ve already overcome, you just walk in faith in that and you begin to repent of the sins that are there. But people who come to Christ Jesus, who give themselves to God but never face temptation, never deal with that sinful nature will not hear God say, “I am well pleased with you.” In fact, He will be eternally disappointed with us because that means that sin will live within us. We must face the sins that live within us; we must face the temptations of this world and be victorious. We have to allow a prostitute to anoint our feet without thinking any lustful thoughts. We have to go in a position where money is all around us and earn a living and face those temptations head on and become victorious in those and not become greedy. Religion that our Father considers pure and faultless is to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. It’s to be driving back and forth or in town and all you see are advertisements that entice you toward the world and bid you to come and take pleasure in those things and that pollutes you. But religion that is pure in God’s sight is to keep yourself from being polluted. We have to face the temptation. We don’t go down to Ghana somewhere, we don’t go to Brazil somewhere and start our own little community and get off away from everything. You won’t run from temptation anyway because it’ll just change and the form will become different. But nevertheless, God doesn’t bid us to go out there and be alone. He says, “Get out in the desert, get out there and face your temptations; let’s get square with your sinful nature and let’s begin to crucify it. Let’s get one on one, Tim, and let’s begin to deal with that temptation that lives there.”
God comes and He attends each of us. He sends His angels. Satan is there tempting us and trying us and testing us. In fact, Jesus told Peter, He says, “Satan has asked to sift you.” You see Peter get out there and face the temptations, face the sin and the turmoil so that’s what he does. And eventually Peter is victorious, even though it leads him to the very pits. He takes that which Satan would use to trip us up and uses it to refine us and to purify us and to make us like Jesus Christ. One sign of a true baptism of the Holy Spirit is when that person is led to face temptation to face sin. If somebody says they’ve been baptized in the Holy Spirit, they’ve been slain in the Spirit, the next question you can ask them and say, “Okay, what sins did God show you that you need to deal with? What temptations did you face immediately after you were baptized with the Holy Spirit?” A true baptism of the Holy Spirit always leads to righteousness, it always leads to purity, it leads to going out in the desert. And yet how backwards that is in most people’s thinking. It’s like you’re baptized in the Spirit and for the next six months you live on a spiritual high. Jesus was baptized in the Spirit and at once that Spirit made Him go out in the desert where there was no spiritual high. He fasted for forty days and for forty nights. He was without food, He was with wild animals and the angels had to attend Him because He was so worn out physically and spiritually. He faced Satan head on. That is a real baptism of the Spirit. Other places in the gospel says when Jesus was done with His trial and this particular testing He returned in the power of the Spirit. There’s a difference between a baptism of the Spirit and walking in the power of the Spirit. A baptism of the Spirit can last for a moment but walking in the power of the Spirit is a life-long goal that’s in Christ Jesus. If we want God to be well pleased with us, we want God to say, “I love Him, and I love you,” then let’s not run when the Spirit leads us to face those sufferings. And those sufferings are within each of us. Those temptations, those sins, those thoughts, that greed, that sexual immorality, that folly, the times we take our lives into our own hands, the self-effort, the self-sacrifice that we put out that doesn’t come from the Spirit. Let’s face ourselves as God leads us to do that. Mark 1:35 gives us another suffering in Jesus. It says:
Mark 1:35 – Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
One of the first sufferings in Christ Jesus, after you come back in the power of the Spirit, is praying at the most inconvenient times. Praying, to the world, is the most ridiculous of things; it’s getting out of your house where you’re comfortable and warm. It’s leaving the people that you’re familiar with. It’s getting out while it’s still dark. It’s very early morning; it’s a very inconvenient time to pray. Now there’s a legalistic rule that says, “Okay, I’ve got to get up before the sun comes up. I’ve got to leave my house and go to a solitary place to pray.” Now that would be legalism at its finest because it would appear to be righteous, it would appear to be holy. If God calls you to do that, if the Spirit leads you to that then do so. The point that God is showing us is that you will pray at the most inconvenient of times. You may be in a dark room at work developing pictures and that will be your quiet time, that will be your prayer time, and you’ll go off and you’ll be alone with the Father. It won’t always be convenient. You may have to pray with all kinds of noise going on. You may have to reach out and touch God with multitudes around you. You might have to say, “Who touched me and where did the power go out from me?” But you’re in tune with the Father and you know what’s going on, but the praying is going to come out at all manner of times and places. It won’t be when it’s convenient for you; it’ll be when it’s convenient for God. When you want to fellowship and commune with Him, you’re going to be found praying at the strangest places and at the strangest times. People are going to think you’re kind of different and kind of strange. In fact, I think in heaven it ought to be discovered how great with our prayer life was. I think all of us are going to turn to each other, if we’ve been living in the fullness of the Spirit and say, “You mean you prayed then? You prayed how often? You prayed this at that moment?” Because it’s in secret where God rewards us. It’s when nobody else notices that we’re rewarded. God in a solitary place. It’s when your left hand doesn’t know what your right hand is doing.
I know I got a thing back from World Vision that says, “Thank you for your $20.00 and your contribution.” And I said to Carla, “When did I send this in?” And then I was joking, but I was joking in the Spirit and saying, “Well, my left hand didn’t even know what my right hand was doing.” I was totally surprised at that. Still don’t know if I really wrote it or not but I assume I did. But it ought to be a surprise in heaven in realizing how much we prayed, when we prayed, and how much we communed with the Father. If we let the Spirit really do its work, if that’s the suffering, who gets out of bed early in the morning? Who gets out of bed when they’re sick and not feeling well? Who comes and searches after God when things are in motion, when things have to be done? Who forgets those things? That’s one of the sufferings of Jesus. Verse 36 says:
Mark 1:36-17 – Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
How amazed everyone is going to be that you rejected the attentions of the world and instead gave your attention to God. They’re going to say, “Look, everybody’s looking for you.” You sacrifice that pride that wells up within you. You sacrifice that attention getting that wants to be known for getting close to Jesus or close to God. They come to you and say, “Look, everybody is looking for you!” And what immediately begins to well up within you is, “Oh, they’re looking for me. Oh, I’m the spiritual man,” or “I’m the spiritual woman.” You begin to wrestle with the sinful nature that is there. One of the secret ways that we suffer in prayer is that you’re praying and you pray for an hour and just feel really great and you walk away feeling really spiritual, but only in self-righteousness. You feel so good that you prayed and sacrificed the full hour in prayer. It’s the attention that comes from the world and it’s a surety that comes because we pray at a certain time or because we sacrificed or because we prayed this many tears. One of the sufferings is pulling away when the world says, “Come on, everybody’s looking for you. Come on, we want you to be a part of this. Come on over and eat. Come on over and do this.”
Mark 2:15 says:
Mark 2:15-16 – While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the “sinners” and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
One of the sufferings of Jesus Christ is being looked down upon by the religious of society. And I guarantee you it will happen. If you really begin to follow God in truth and spirit, the religious, the teachers, the Pharisees, the accepted ones, the ones that are looked up to will reject you. You’ll be looked down upon. They’ll say, “You associate with questionable people.” Even the society and church will think there’s something strange about you. “You associate with tax collectors and sinners. You sit down and eat, you’re elbow to elbow with these people—what’s the matter with you?” One day you’ve got three men living in your house, the next day you’ve got three women living in your house. There must be something immoral going on in that place. Why do you associate with sinners and tax collectors and drunkards? One of the sufferings of Jesus is going in to the bars and the pool halls and places where sinners hang out. You sit down and you talk. And you participate not in their sin, but you participate in some of their activities without sin. You go into a bar and you drink a coke. But you go in to bring the words of life. You begin to follow Jesus and the religious will look down on you. They’ll look down on your company, they’ll look down on who you associate with. But count that as a joy. You suffer when men reject you and say all kinds of false things about you.
I want to remind you to be careful—even Peter and Barnabas were led astray in hypocrisy because they were fearful of associating with certain people. Remember who that was? It was the Gentiles. They pulled away from the Gentiles because the Jews came in saying that they needed to be circumcised. And even Peter and Barnabas were pulled away into hypocrisy because of that. So before you say, “Look, I’ll associate with anybody,” be careful if there isn’t welling up within you that sinful nature that says, “I don’t like being around that person.” And unconsciously you begin to pull away from that person, you won’t talk to them, you won’t give them the same attention you give somebody else. And so a good measure is whether you talk to someone who is despised or a little different or a little unusual. When you give them the same attention as you give the favorite brother and sister that you love in the Lord, you associate in a very deep and loving way. Mark 3:20 says:
Mark 3:20-21 – Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
His family is going to think He’s strange—we’ve been over this one in great detail. People are going to wonder why you don’t take care of yourself. You don’t even eat normal food, you don’t eat at normal hours, you don’t do what normal people do. And that’s when they begin to say you’re out of your mind. When you begin to do things different, as you do them unto God, it doesn’t matter if you eat right at five, or when you’re not consumed with talking about food and what’s going on in the world. I mean we put away our TVs and people say, “Well, you don’t even know what’s going on in the world.” Yeah, I do. It’s called sin and it will continue until Jesus returns. I have no need to even bother looking. It just increases in its intensity. Verse 21 says,” When his family heard about this . . .” you can be sure that your family is going to want to come and take charge of you. They’re going to think that you’re out of your mind, that something strange is happening to you and it will happen. Unless you happen to have parents of noble heart and good heart that love the Lord. Give up your savings account, your health insurance—if that’s what the Lord calls you to do. Don’t put any priority on school or work. Act like, “Work. Huh, take it or leave it.” I serve there because God has me there. School. I may be there until I have one more class to graduate and God may call me to quit going. It doesn’t matter to me—wasting my talent as long—as it’s God’s will. “You’re out of your mind. You don’t even take care of the basic necessities of life. God gave you a mind, He wants you to use that mind, and He wants you to grow up, get out there and get a job, have two cars and a two-car garage and have three kids” and whatever it is that we’re all supposed to have; a dog and a cat and a hamster. We’re just out of our mind because we don’t care anything about those. Verse 22 says:
Mark 3:22 – And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
Most of the religious people of this world are going to think you’re serving Satan and not God. You’re going to go into a town, you’re going to go visit somebody and they will really, literally, think you’re serving Satan. And if anyone of them have any guts at all, which a lot of times they don’t, they’re going to accuse you of that to your face. Most of the time they hint at it.
I had a man sit in front of me and he was just going over my life and he just threw in this passage out of the middle of nowhere. He said, “You just win weak-willed women over.” But he wouldn’t tell me to my face, he just kind of hinted at it as if I’m supposed to pick up on it. I did pick up on it but I knew he didn’t know what he was talking about. But they’re going to say that you’re just winning over weak-willed women—that you’re serving Satan, that you don’t really belong to God. When you start talking about hating your father and mother and your wife and your children, your father, mother, wife, and children might say that you’re out of your mind; that you’re serving Beelzebub; that you’re listening to Satan’s message.
We just got letters at church here not too long ago with somebody saying that Satan is our God and we’re deceived by him and following him and that he’s leading us around. Of course, then they wanted to fellowship with us and I didn’t quite put that one together. But they are literally going to think that it’s by Beelzebub that we have any power. Isn’t that kind of strange? We don’t make somebody well. There are a lot of churches where you can do this. You can go in and make a cripple walk and they would say it’s by demons that you do that. I guarantee you, speak in tongues and they’re going to tell you where it comes from, it comes from Satan, is what they’re going to tell you. That doesn’t really have to be that fact, you can just begin to serve Jesus, you can just begin to share the truth. You can talk about strange policies like Christmas or Easter or First Fruits or birthdays, those kind of unusual things and apply the word of God to them and they’re going to think that you’re bringing in some satanic gospel. The truth is you really serve God. One of the sufferings of Jesus is being rejected, and not only being rejected, but being told that you’re actively serving Satan, that he is your master.
You go into some towns, you go into some people’s houses, you bless them. You’ll actually do good to them. You’ll serve them, you’ll bring the peace of Jesus there, you’ll bring the fragrance of Jesus Christ into that place. You’ll love their children. You’ll sit down and listen to some tapes with them, you’ll speak to them with words of life, you’ll read scripture to them, you do all manner of things. Verse 15 says:
Mark 5:15-17 – When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
Here He blesses this man, this man who has legions and legions of demons within him. The pigs received the demons and they ran off the cliff and down in the ocean. No one could pass his way because he ran in the tombs. He was naked, he would break chains, he tried and did this many times. Jesus blesses him by getting rid of those demons and instead of being thankful for that, instead of saying, “Oh, here comes the Son of God, here comes power, here comes the man who put our lives together,” they ask Him, plead with Him to leave. They ask Him to get out. And how strange it’s going to be, you’re going to go in and bless the people and they’re going to ask you to leave. All you’re going to do is do good and they’re going to ask you to leave.
You’ll take over one scripture, you’ll write a letter. You write a letter to someone who claims to be a Christian about encouraging the saints and they’re going to say you’re rebuking them. They’re going to plead with you to leave. Don’t send me any more of that stuff. And yet all you brought were the words of life. All you’re seeking to do is take that which was a lie and turn it to truth. People are going to plead with you to leave. Sometimes they just don’t have the faith to accept God and we can pity them for that and pray for them. Sometimes they just can’t handle what you bring to them, they’re just not at a place like that so they can do it. We don’t always call down fire from heaven, we don’t always condemn. We know that we planted seeds, we know that we brought the message in, so don’t get discouraged and don’t become all down and out because they pleaded with you to leave. Go in and plant the seeds and love them. Go back again when God calls you to.
Mark 5:39 – He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.”
Here a child had died. He goes in and you can just see the people mourning and they’re wailing and they’re down, they’re depressed. And He says, “The child is not dead but asleep.” And so in the grace and compassion of love they turn to Jesus and explain to Him that this child is really dead. No, that’s not what they do at all. They laugh at Him! Now look at the evil in man. One minute everybody is weeping, one minute everybody’s on the floor, they’re just upset that this girl is dead and in the very next second they’re laughing. Now how is that possible within the human mind and within the human body? It must be the ugly sin within man that one moment to be weeping because of death and yet turn to Him who is the resurrection and life and laugh at Him in His face. In the midst of people’s weeping you’re going to go in and you’re going to offer them life. You’re going to tell them about faith in Jesus Christ and they’re going to laugh to your face. So, you’re going to sit down and go to lunch with them and they’re going to tell you all their problems, all the woes they have in life, all the turmoil they’re facing, all the depression they have and you’re going to say, “You know what you need? You need to put your trust in God. God can deliver you out of this. He can bring you through any of this. Let me tell you what He’s done in my life. Let me tell you Jesus is the resurrected life,” and they’re going to laugh. They’re going to laugh. You think that doesn’t hurt? You’re going to go in and share the word of life with people. They’re going to pour out their life, they’re going to show you the dead girl. They’re going to take you into the funeral home. They’re going to take you where people are really hurting and dying. You’re going to say, “Look, all you need to do is put your faith in God,” and they’re going to laugh. Tell a psychologist sometime that all he needs to do is put his faith in God. He doesn’t need all the other words and all the other mumbo jumbo they come up with. People would rather have their self-pity and their woes than respond to an offer of faith, sometimes. They’d rather keep all the misery in their lives than they would respond to Jesus Christ and to say, “Yeah, raise us from the dead.” But they’re not smiling and saying, “No, I don’t want you.” They’re going to laugh, they’re going to snicker, they’re going to mock. They’re going to go behind your back and they’re going to begin to talk about you in a very joking and funny way. Not too funny sometimes. They’ll say, “You just trust God to provide the food, don’t you? You’re not going to work, you’re not going to do nothing.” It’s just kind of a mocking, just kind of a laughing, of saying “Oh, you put your trust in God.” “What do you mean? You pray about everything in your life? You even pray about going to the bathroom?” I don’t know how many people I’ve heard that come out of their mouths. What a thing to say about God in the first place. Or, even if it’s just asking God’s word. I mean, it’s not even a logical, loving discussion. You’ve got a dead girl here. We’re talking about life and they just laugh. And they ask you the most absurd questions. You can be sure you’re talking to a foolish heart.
In Mark 6:5, Jesus goes to His hometown. So Mark 6:3 says:
Mark 6:3 – Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Jesus goes into His hometown—people who ought to know Him. People who have seen Him grow up. He presents the words of life to them. At one point in the gospels it says everyone was kind of in awe of His words. And then in the next breath they took offense at Him. You may go to people you know, people that you work with and you share the words of life and they’re offended rather than excited. Verse 5 says:
Mark 6:5-6 – He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.
If you live by faith you’re going to be amazed at the lack of faith in other people. People that ought to know better. People that are Christians, people that really are your brothers and sisters. Not everyone has the faith to be made well. Not everybody has the faith to trust God. Not everybody can listen to your words and recognize that it’s the Spirit speaking to you. They look at you, they look at your family, they look at the fact that you grew up and all these mistakes you made. They look at you and they’re jealous of what’s there and so they’re offended by the relationship you have with God. So instead of being able to accept the words they reject them until there’s no faith there. And one of the most terrible sufferings in Christ Jesus is to go back and share the message with people who know you, that have seen your life, whom you care very deeply for, that they ought to know that you love them, and instead they are offended by you. Your own family, sometimes your own hometown. And verse 6 says that Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith. He was amazed at their lack of faith. One of the sufferings of Jesus is just walking away, just kind of dumbfounded, shaking your head and going, “I can’t believe they don’t have any faith. What’s the matter?”
Are we willing to suffer with Jesus to go in and preach the message and share the words of life and then walk away because nobody is willing to have any faith? Mark 6:27. John the Baptist’s head is going to be chopped off. It says:
Mark 6:27-29 – So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
In Matthew 14:13 it says:
Matthew 14:13 – When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.
One of the worst sufferings in Christ Jesus, I think, is to watch someone that is godly, someone that you love, someone that you would protect and die for be killed by sinful man. One of the worst tortures that I can imagine in Christ Jesus is for someone to break into my house and begin to torture my family because I belong to Jesus, knowing that God has legions and legions of angels that could easily take care of the situation. One of the sufferings of Jesus is watching John the Baptist, the greatest born among women, having his head chopped off by a man who was nothing as far as in Jesus’ sight. A man who was sinful and corrupt. A man who was willing to chop off John’s head because he was pleased with the dancing of a young woman. No wonder Jesus withdrew to a solitary place. Jesus had the power to stop what took place. He knew what was going to happen and yet He watched it take place. One of the worst sufferings is to send your children out to school knowing that they’re going to be persecuted and knowing that God could do something about it, but letting them go because it brings glory to God.
We want to do everything that is within our power to get back what was done wrong. And withdrawing to a solitary place is “Okay, God, it’s within Your hand. Take away the vengeance and the hatred that is welling up within me.” That’s one of the reasons, I know. Another suffering was if you read in Matthew it says that Jesus tried to get to a solitary place but He couldn’t because the multitudes were coming to Him. Jesus isn’t even given the privilege of mourning for John the Baptist. He doesn’t even have the privilege and the joy to be able to go and cry and weep for John.
Mark 6:48, it says:
Mark 6:48-50 – He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
You’re walking on water, you’re walking by faith, you’re walking in a position of power and people think you’re from some different planet. In fact, if they had a rocket they’d ship you off to that particular planet where they thought you came from. Your brothers and sisters may not even understand your walk in the faith. They may not understand your actions. Here you are walking on water in the power of the Lord and they think you’re a ghost and they’re terrified of what’s taking place. I dare say that a lot of people would turn to me and say, “Get back in the boat. You know those things don’t happen today.” In fact, they literally do that. You speak in tongues, they’re going to turn to you and say, “Don’t do that anymore because it doesn’t happen.” You step out of the boat, you start living this life by faith, you start walking, you start getting victory in your life and I guarantee you people are going to want to know what’s wrong. Nobody can be that happy. Nobody can be that hopeful—everybody’s got problems. You start really walking by faith, everybody else is in the boat and they’re rowing and the wind’s against them and the waves are against them and you’re walking and you’re just going to walk right on by them in the faith of the Lord. And they’re terrified of that kind of thing and they’re not going to understand what’s going on. All it is, is a relationship with God. You’ve finally risen above the circumstances, you learn self-effort doesn’t really do any good at all, you might as well pray back there and let everybody else row across, I’m going to walk across with Jesus. It doesn’t matter to me. You can get in there and row all day long. I’m not going to do anything by self-effort. You can row for the next six days, it’ll only take me twenty minutes to walk the whole thing. Better to pray for six days and get the faith and walk than to be out there rowing for six days and say, “Why are we doing this?” And you’re out in the middle of the lake by that time. Your family may think you’re a ghost instead of being like Jesus Christ. You may come to people with the message of life and they’re terrified of it. You may be walking on water and think all that yelling and screaming is revival and it’s not—they’re terrified of you. They just scream for you to get away. They think you’re a dead spirit instead of alive. And that’s your brothers and sisters. That’s your fellow disciples. They misunderstand you. They can’t even recognize the power of God when it works in your life.
Let us be careful how we rebuke one another. And let’s be awfully careful about how we correct one another. If somebody is walking in faith, be sure we recognize it if it is God or not. Be very, very careful when you bring a correction that really comes from the Lord. But those of you that are walking in faith and you really know it’s from the Lord, you walk humbly that way. You just keep on walking. Of course, you know you may have to get in the boat with them and let them finish rowing on across and teach them about faith. You may have to stop your walk on that lake. Jesus could have walked on by. Instead He gets in the boat with them. And shows them to continue to put their trust in God. So be willing to get in the boat. Be willing to be thought a little strange for a little while. Other people might learn.
Mark 7:6. Another suffering is speaking the truth about hypocrisy.
Mark 7:6 – He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’”
I mean I don’t know how much clearer you can put it. “Isaiah was right when he talked about you hypocrites.” No doubt in their mind who he was talking about. Verse 7 says:
Mark 7:7 – They worship me in vain; Their teachings are but rules taught by men.
One of the most truthful things to speak against is hypocrisy in the form of rules that come from men. Well your church is nothing but tradition and you turn and say, “You hypocrites!” But you do it in love. You’re going to, let me tell you, participate in the sufferings of Jesus if you begin to do that. You can’t speak those kinds of words to people in love and not get some type of suffering back from that. Some may repent, some may come to their senses, some of them may really come to God but for the vast majority they’re going to reject you, they’re going to hate you because you spoke those words.
Speaking the truth about hypocrisy and rules taught by men, I think, is one of the most joyful sufferings in Christ Jesus. For those that are righteous in their spirit, they rejoice in the truth. It doesn’t matter what people think, it doesn’t matter what sufferings come, the truth is lovely and it’s pleasing. As Proverbs says, it’s like a garland, it’s like a crown. It’s more precious than gold and silver, like fine rubies. The truth is a very precious thing. Most of the people in the world mock and like Herod they say, “What is truth?”
Mark 8:11-13 – The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.” Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.
I guarantee you the Pharisees, your friends, your neighbors, your teachers, are going to come and ask you questions, but only to test you. And you’re going to get weary with the testing. There isn’t anybody who begins to walk in the Spirit and begins to speak the truth and live it that won’t get weary with all the questions they bombard you with. And you know what most of us do when we’re really young Christians? You might be a Christian for thirty years but you might be a young Christian. Most of us jump in and try to answer all their questions. We just, we let them trap us and stomp all over us and do whatever they feel comfortable with doing. They come to us with all kinds of questions and we feel like we have to defend ourselves and make our points clear. We read Proverbs that to answer a fool according to his folly you’ll seem wise in your own eyes. It also says, “Don’t answer a fool according to his folly.”
Verse 12 says—look what Jesus did—it says He sighed deeply. Now can’t you just imagine that? You’ve got a group of people coming at you. You’re visiting some relatives or friends and they’re asking all kinds of questions, but only to test you, only to trap you. And you just sit there and go, “.” They’re going to accuse you of being a smart alec. I’ve done this unconsciously, been with other ministers and other people and they’re just firing questions at me and I’ll just sigh. And they accuse me of being smart alec-y, of not taking advice and being unsubmissive. And I bought it for a while. I thought, “Well, maybe I am.” And I felt guilty. It didn’t dawn on me until a long time later, that’s just Jesus sighing. He’s weary with the whole game. You’re just simply trying—you’re not after truth here—you’re just trying to trap me so that I’ll agree with you and if I were to stand up and say, “Yeah, I agree with everything you just said,” we’d be the grandest of brothers, wouldn’t we?
In verse 12 “He sighed deeply and said, ‘Why does this generation ask for miraculous signs? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.’ Then he left them.” He left them. He turned from that testing and that prying and that trying to put Him down and He just walked away from it. You don’t have to answer everybody. But one of the sufferings of Jesus is everybody pounding on you and pounding on you and pounding on you and wanting question after question after question. They’ll test you, they’ll look for every little crack and fault in your life. They’ll find you in one little sin. In fact, you may even confess to sin and they’ll stomp on it for the next thirty years. They’ll twist what you do and make it look evil. They’ll mock your failures. You’ll say that you hear the Spirit clearly on this and it won’t look like it and they’ll mock you in it. They weren’t home praying, “Hey, God, fulfill what they thought they heard.” They weren’t home praying, “Oh, God, give them clear ears so that they can hear.” And “Oh, God, is this something else You’re trying to work here that I don’t see? Give meaning to it so that I can go and encourage them.” That’s what made me so sad whenever all the multiple times I said that we were hearing the Spirit, whether that be in North Town or my own life, everybody ridiculed, everybody mocked, everybody tested me, everybody wanted to know the scriptures and where that was justified. Everyone wanted to tell me that but nobody went home and prayed and asked God to fulfill it. Nobody went home and prayed and said, “Okay, God, tell me what You’re working there. And, God, work it. I pray that Your name is glorified.” Nobody did that. Everybody wanted, I mean really wanted, and probably prayed that it would fail in order that I could see the light. No wonder He sighed deeply. You’re living a life of faith, you’re walking close to the Lord, you’re listening to the voice of the Spirit in everything, you’re not perfect in it and all they do is test you and cry at you and they come in with smiles. They come in saying, “We know you’re a man of God and you love God and we’re both brothers and sisters in the Lord. And we really love you and we appreciate your work and you’ve done all these fine things. And we’re just really here in the love of the Lord…” and it’s just flowery mush and then they start putting the pressure on. They start asking the questions in the most general and sly ways. They don’t always come barging in just mowing you down. Man, they come in with sugar, they come in with honey.
One of the things that I used to be taught was that when you go to rebuke somebody always say something positive to begin with. Well, if there’s something positive he said, I’ll say it, but if there’s nothing positive to be said I’m not going to make it up just to somehow get the door open. I get weary, and the Lord gets weary, with people testing all the time. Get in your boat and go on somewhere else and don’t be messing around all the time. Now I walk close to the Spirit. I can’t tell you there are times to answer their questions. There are times when you’re going to say, “Well, are you trying to trap me?” You’re just going to bring it out in the open. “If we’re going to walk in the light and if you’re trying to trap me we’ll just talk about it. Why are you trying to trap me?”
One time Jesus says, “Why are you trying to kill Me?” And do you know what they turned to Him and said? “You’re demon possessed. Who’s trying to kill you?” They’re going to tell you you’re lying; you don’t know what you’re talking about. That’s when they’re really going to say, “You didn’t hear the Spirit. Nobody is trying to trap you.” You’re going to sigh deeply and you’re going to hurt for those people. Let them be. There’s too much good work to be done. Oh, you suffer for them and you get worried with the testing and it drives you lower in the dust. You come home exhausted. You say with David in the Psalms who says, “My zeal is gone because everybody ignores Your word.”
I don’t know how many times I’ve gone, at the end of the day, just weeping, just falling in bed and saying, “Oh, Lord, all the things we put out and all the things we do, who pays any attention?” The worst thing I can’t stand right now is nobody’s paying any attention; I’m not even getting any persecution back. I can’t stand it. I mean, do something, one way or another. In fact, I wrote somebody, “Either disfellowship me or love me, but let’s do something.” Let’s not ignore the word.
Mark 9:19 – “O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
You’re going to be amazed at your brothers’ and sisters’ lack of faith. These are disciples here. He’s saying, “O unbelieving generation,” to the disciples. And He says, “How long shall I put up with you?” to the disciples. He’s saying, “How long do I have to stay with you?” to the disciples. You’re going to be amazed, I mean literally amazed at your brothers and sisters, those who really do have a relationship with God. You’re going to be amazed at their lack of faith. And you’re also going to be hurt because when you come down off the mountain and you see what’s going on you see that there’s a demon-possessed boy that has had to remain demon possessed because your brothers and sisters did not have the faith to cast the demon out. Not only did they not have the faith, they won’t even apply themselves to get the faith. Or they even go one step further than that. They say that there is no need to have that kind of faith because even if I had the faith God wouldn’t do it. It’s one thing to admit we don’t have the faith to do what needs to be done and then to seek after that and to take years to get it, but it’s quite another thing to lie to ourselves and say, “I don’t need the faith,” or “I’ve got the faith.”
One of the sisters just called a friend of hers and he gave all kinds of excuses of why he didn’t go visit somebody in the hospital. He said it was inconvenient. It was an uncomfortable situation. Since when is being with demons ever comfortable? Instead of standing up and saying, “I just don’t have the faith, I’m a fearful man, I’m not a man of God, I haven’t learned that yet,” we hear all these worldly things. We’re amazed at the lack and yet how they boast they love the Lord. How they boast of their faith and their faith healings among their congregation. I think you’re going to be amazed at your lack of faith but also the lack of faith in your brothers’ lives. Not only that, you’re going to be hurting because the job they could have done, you have to do it. The job that they could have done Jesus has to do. He says, “Bring the boy to me.” Now brothers, some of you that are being given leadership positions, get out there and do what Jesus is calling. Don’t burden the leaders who have the faith and say, “Okay, look I’ve got to do it,” and then they wind up doing everything. Jesus is weary with putting up with our unbelief. Let’s become weary with each other with our unbelief. Even the brother that she called up may be a fine brother in the Lord, but it’s right and it’s proper and it’s holy to be weary and to say, “Look, how long do I have to put up with you? You’re supposed to be up at the hospital. You should have called me and told me. I mean, how long do I have to stay with you? What’s the deal? Bring the boy to me and let’s take care of him.” And if neither one of you have the faith, then you say it to each other and let them say it to you, until we get to a place where that boy is made well.
Mark 9:33-34 – They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
Oh, you’re going to be weary, you’re going to be suffering. You’re going to find people in the Lord talking about the most absurd things. They’re not talking about this demon possessed boy and why they didn’t have the faith. They’re not agonizing over that. They’re saying, “Hey, man, who’s going to be the greatest here?” And, “I’ve got more faith than you.” And “I’ve done this and I’ve spoke this and I’ve cast out more demons and I’ve done all these works.” That’s what they’re talking about. And you’re going to suffer because of the conditions of the church. You’re going to suffer because of your brothers and sisters in that. You’re going to find people being wrapped up in the second coming when they’re not even prepared for it when it gets here. They can tell you all the versions of what the beast is supposed to look like and what the number is supposed to be and where it’s supposed to be—as if to know what’s going to happen; as if they’re ready for it.
The reason the Lord hasn’t led me into the second coming and He’ll lead some of you is the Lord has impressed upon me that He’s not so concerned about us knowing all those fine details. You store those up; you put those in your heart. But are you even ready for that? Now some of you God will lead you into that and you need to do that.
Mark 10:32 – They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him.
People are going to be amazed, not only at your gospel that says, “I want to rejoice and I want to know the sufferings of Jesus Christ,” but then they’re going to be astonished and they’re going to be afraid that you’re walking right into it, and you know that it’s going to take place. You know to walk into a situation that means disaster, means suffering, means hardship in Christ Jesus. “You mean you’re going to do that? You’re going to fast on New Year’s Eve? What’s the matter? Pick a different day but not New Year’s Eve.” “You’re going to go into what church and say what? You’re going to head up to Jerusalem and do what?” “Don’t you know that if you go and talk to your boss about Jesus Christ you’re going to get fired?” Say, “Look, I’m on my way up to Jerusalem, I’m going into the manager’s office and I’m going to walk in and I’m going to say, ‘Now look. These are the words of life. Do you want it? I love you, I plead with you.’” And he says, “You’re fired, goodbye.” And everybody says, “See, I told you so.” And you say, “I knew so.” But they’re astonished. You just walk right in to it and say, “Here I am, do it.”
You go apply to be a foster parent and you just lay the gospel out truthfully and honestly. You know what the result is going to be. You know they’re going to send it up to the head office in because nobody wants to take the responsibility for saying no. Never mind that some of the state got to hear the gospel written down. You head right in for the trouble, you head right in for the suffering and people are astonished and you, as verse 32 says, are leading the way. You’re showing people the way to get there. You’re not falling behind and if you get some persecution or flack, it rolls off somebody else’s back. You’re leading the way. You’ve moving right into it for the gospel. You want to suffer for Jesus? That’s why Paul writes to Timothy and says, “Join with me in suffering with me for the gospel.” “What do you mean ‘Join with you’?” Get in to the process and begin to lead and to suffer. Get out there and do some things. Write some letters, call people, get in and talk to them. Wrestle with people. You get in and do the work and you’ll begin to suffer, you’ll begin to live a life of faith and you’ll begin to suffer. You lead the way. Verse 32 says in the very last part, “again he took the Twelve aside.” Again. Not only did He explain to the disciples once that He was going to suffer in Jerusalem, or twice, or three or four times, He did it many, many times. People will think, “You’re kind of fascinated with suffering, aren’t you? Don’t you kind of have a sadistic trait about you?” I mean one guy told a sister this week, he says, “You guys have everything there except living sacrifices.” He thought that our gospel is so tough the only thing we don’t have is actual living human being sacrifices. We don’t just build an altar out there and sacrifice bodies or babies or whatever it is. Now barely does he know things aren’t that tough. But that’s what he looks at. He’s astonished. We just keep walking right into it. We love it. I mean, we’re not satisfied with coverings. We want to start calling our husbands “Master.” I mean, we really want to suffer for the gospel. It’s like you’d be happy with that but don’t go deeper than that. I mean what’s next? What’s next is your husband is going to begin to take leadership. Then you get to have somebody to submit to.
A lot of them are going to flat out oppose you when you start heading toward Jerusalem. They’re just not going to want you doing that. Especially moms. I love moms. They love me but they don’t like seeing me suffer. Jesus loves too, and I love to suffer. They want to make sure Timmy is taking care of himself and he’s getting his sleep and his vitamins and everything’s okay. Some people are going to oppose you fiercely on it but you keep pressing on toward Jerusalem.
Mark 12:15-16 – “Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.”
He just brings it out in the light. Again, they’re going to seek to trap you. And why I want us to see this again is because entrapment is a constant problem. It happens to you over and over and over and over again. That if they can nail you on anything they will do it. They’ll nail you on it if they can. That’s why if anyone speaks, let him speak the very words of God. If you speak scripture very often they can’t trap you. Now you know where they like to get you? Off of scripture, or they like to get out here with scripture but they get it on their turf, get in their “context,” get out here in their church tradition. Get out here in practicalities. “Let me ask you question about taxes. I mean, should we pay the taxes or not?” They’re not really interested in whether they’re going to pay taxes or not. Most of them are probably cheating anyway. But they’re not really too interested in whether they’re going to pay taxes or not, they just want to trap you. They just want to see if you can’t answer a question. Now when somebody’s doing that to you and you’re getting weary with it and the Spirit of the Lord is saying, “Now look, they’re just trying to trap you,” what you need to do is to answer and say, “Why are you trying to trap me?” Now He goes ahead and answers the question this time. He doesn’t get in the boat but he answers the question. But He at least reveals the hypocrisy that’s within them. So if you’re going to answer someone, now listen to me, if you’re going to answer someone that is trying to trap you at least say, “Why are you trying to trap me?” and then answer their question. At least be honest and be in the light. If someone writes you a letter and they hint at all the sins in your life, you say, “Is this what you’re talking about? And since you hinted at it in the letter I’m going to bring it out in the light. So let’s just talk about it openly, straight forwardly. And let’s talk about my life, your life, and everybody else’s.” But they’re going to seek to trap you.
Mark 14:4-5 – Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
One of the sufferings is watching someone bless you and someone do good to you and somebody else comes along and they rebuke a small one in Christ Jesus. They rebuke them harshly. They put them down for the good they’re doing. The fact that you’re serving and anointing Jesus with everything you have and you’re just lavishly putting it on Him and they just rebuke you for it. And all this is cloaked in a robe of holiness and righteousness and saying, “What? This money could have been given to the poor. There’s a better cause here.” One of the sufferings is watching the good things you do to Jesus when you go and you break an alabaster jar and you give everything to Jesus and people just rebuke you harshly for it. Serve Jesus and you’ll know this suffering. Serve Jesus and really begin to give everything to Him and break the most precious thing you have and people go, “What a waste. What a waste.” Go to school, go to college for four years and do something else with it for the Lord and say, “What a waste.” They rebuke you sharply for it and say, “Foolish.” Let someone in the body serve you and they say, “Why are you sponging off them?” It takes someone’s love and kindness and mercy and they make it look terrible and you sit there and you listen to that. Of course, Jesus says, “Leave her alone.”
Mark 14:6 – “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.”
And you know that has to hurt. It’s like if a child came in and he brought in a painting and he’d worked all day on it and he cut little pieces of paper out and he put a nice design on there and it’s not a Rembrandt, it’s not anything that you’re going to hang as far as in a gallery and people are going to pay millions of dollars for it. But he works on it with all the love and the compassion that’s in a child. And you’re sitting there at the table and you’re eating with some company and the child comes in with the picture. He shows it to you and the company starts laughing. “That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. What a waste of time that was. He should have been out playing instead of making that gross kind of picture. Boy, it’s amazing what kids can do and how goofy it looks.” That just tears your heart out. To suffer with Jesus is to suffer with other people when other people are being rebuked harshly and they don’t deserve it. You know how selfish most of us are. There are people being put down. There’s the poor being downtrodden, people being taken advantage of and we don’t hurt like that. We don’t go to the doctor’s office and hurt because people are being taken for all their money. People are hungry and have no money to pay for it. We don’t walk into a church and look around and see who is being neglected. Jesus suffered with those who were being put down for the love and the kindness that they showed. Suffer with those that suffer. Jesus took on those rebukes. Let’s take them on ourselves as if they were being given to us or being given to Jesus Christ. Let’s begin to defend the fatherless and the weak and the poor.
Mark 14:10, it says:
Mark 14:10-11 – Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
Some of your brothers and sisters, whom you at one time fellowshipped with will betray you for the most unimportant and insignificant things in the whole world. They’ll hold grudges against you for the smallest of things and they’ll blow them way out of proportion. You’ll walk out those front doors and they’ll blow out of proportion some little incident that happened and they’ll justify every course and every evil sin that lives within them. One of the sufferings of Jesus is to fellowship with a Judas, to have loved a Judas, to have poured out your life to a Judas. To have allowed him to share in the ministry, only to have him take and betray you for something that doesn’t even mean anything. If you’re going to begin to suffer with Jesus you’re going to have brothers and sisters betray you. You’re going to be out in the middle of Asia and they’re going to leave and desert you.
How sad it is when people leave, and leave for the most foolish of things. When they look at your life and they accuse you of all manner of things. Some will desert you in your time of need. You can be stuck in the worst of situations and they won’t be there. Part of the sufferings of Jesus are when your brothers and sisters aren’t dependable. All of us have a little bit of Judas within us, or maybe I should say Peter, not Judas. I hope none of us have any Judas within us. But we have a little Peter in us that deny each other sometimes, deny Jesus. Unless of course, you’re willing to forgive and pour out grace on that. But this is a close brother, this is Judas who has walked with Jesus and betrays Him. And of course, verse 11 says, everyone was delighted to hear this. People love to hear it and there are a lot of people delighted that they left. A lot of people are delighted that they can finally get the inside scoop of what’s going on. A lot of people I know have sat back in their hearts and been delighted when things look like they’re falling apart. Who will be delighted if things go bad for you in your life? People that you fellowshipped with and loved a great deal, but once they become your enemy, they delight in your downfall. They’ll delight in your crucifixion.
Well, this is just a little bit of suffering for Jesus. We’ll pick up next week in Mark and look at some more but these are all things that we’ll experience in our own life if we really begin to follow Jesus.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.