He Appointed Twelve

Today we return to our series in Mark and see something amazing.  As we have been studying this gospel, we have already been seeing plenty of amazing things.  We’ve seen Jesus perform a number of miracles, which he does more of today in our passage.  In verses 7-12 Jesus heals more people and casts out more demons.  And yet what I think is even more amazing is what follows in verses 13-20.  In those verses Jesus appoints twelve men to be in his inner circle, to be discipled by Christ, with the ultimate goal of evangelism – to use these men in bringing the good news of the kingdom to the world.  Jesus hand picks twelve men, a diverse group full of unlikely candidates, eleven of whom will ultimately become his apostles.  And it will be through these apostles that Jesus builds his church, and brings his gospel to the ends of the earth.

Passage: Mark 3:7-20
Author: Rev. W. Reid Hankins, M.Div.
Sermon originally preached during the Morning Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church (OPC) on 03/30/2008 in Novato, CA.
Other Scripture Readings: Isaiah 55:1-7; Genesis 12:1-4; Revelation 7

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If Christ Is Not Risen – A Defense of the Resurrection

In the words of verse 1 from 1 Corinthians 15, I “declare to you the gospel;” this very gospel which has been preached from the apostles, recorded in the Scriptures, and handed down through the centuries.  The gospel that was foretold in the Old Testament; the very gospel which declares that Christ died for our sins on the cross, was buried, and then raised from the dead on the third day!  And yet as we look at this passage in 1 Corinthians 15, we are reminded that the fact of the resurrection has not always been well received, even in the church.  Paul in this letter is confronting an issue in the Corinthian church.  Evidently some in the church had been teaching that there is no resurrection of the dead.  In other words, people who claimed to be Christians, were saying that there is no resurrection of the dead!  And so Paul instantly responds by showing that such a view is not consistent with the Christian faith.  Paul hypothetically considers what it would mean for Christians, if Christ had not been raised.  His ultimate conclusion comes in verse 19.  He concludes by saying that if Christ had not been raised, then we of all people, as Christians, would be most to be pitied.

Passage: 1 Corinthians 15:1-19
Author: Rev. W. Reid Hankins, M.Div.
Sermon originally preached during the Morning Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church (OPC) on 03/23/2008 in Novato, CA.
Other Scripture Readings: Psalm 16; Matthew 28:1-15; 1 Peter 1:3-9

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