Whoever Desires to Come After Me

Have you ever thought you knew someone, because you had learned something about them? Maybe you learned where they were born or what their job was, and you assumed you knew everything about them. Those kinds of assumptions can certainly get you in trouble. In our passage, we find the disciples thinking they knew Jesus. You see, they finally learned something critical about Jesus — that he was the Christ!

And yet, just because they finally knew this important truth about Jesus, didn’t mean that they really knew him. No, no sooner do they make that momentous confession do we find them confused about what that meant. They thought they knew Jesus because they thought they knew what the role of the Messiah would be. However in this passage we find Jesus challenging their assumptions. We see Jesus calling into question what they thought they knew about him and his role as Messiah.

If we are to follow Jesus, we must understand his mission and role as the Messiah. Let’s look at what this passage says about that mission and how that affects how we follow him.

Passage: Mark 8:31-9:1
Author: Rev. W. Reid Hankins, M.Div.
Sermon originally preached during the Morning Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church (OPC) on 07/27/2008 in Novato, CA.

Click here for the manuscript.

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You Are The Christ

In the Old Testament, the prophets rebuked God’s people for their spiritual dullness.  And when they did this, they often described the people’s problems in terms of the senses.  The people had eye and ears, but they weren’t truly seeing and hearing.   Obviously God was not speaking in a physical sense.  He was speaking in a spiritual one.  The people were spiritually blind and deaf.  They were dull to understanding the spiritual truths of God.  In our passage for today we see that the disciples fall into this same category.  In verse 18, Jesus rebukes the disciples concerning the same thing – having eyes but not seeing, having ears but not hearing.  The disciples show that they are typical Israelites, and typical humans – spiritually blind and deaf; hard hearts; unable to understand the things of God.  That is the state of all of us without Christ.  And yet the good news is that this passage shows how Jesus is the solution for our spiritual blindness and deafness.  As truly as he brought sight to the blind man in our passage and hearing to the deaf man, he can bring true vision, true hearing, and true understanding to our spirits.  So let’s dig into this passage and see God’s message for us today.

Passage: Mark 7:31-8:30
Author: Rev. W. Reid Hankins, M.Div.
Sermon originally preached during the Morning Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church (OPC) on 07/20/2008 in Novato, CA.

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That His Spirit May Be Saved

The Reformed tradition typically identifies three marks of a true church: one, the preaching of God’s Word, two, the administration of the sacraments, and three, the exercise of church discipline.  And so church discipline is an important aspect of a church.  It means that each of us as Christians are not out there on our own as Christians, just you and God, but that we are part of a community of fellow believers.  And this community includes accountability, especially as Christ has entrusted this job of shepherding the flock to the elders of the church.

And so as we look at this passage in 1 Corinthians 5, we find this subject of church discipline being addressed.  Paul is rebuking the Corinthian church for not administering church discipline for a wayward Christian.  Paul then steps in on their behalf and tells them how they ought to handle this issue.  Paul uses his special apostolic authority to render a judgment in this church discipline case.  And so let’s take a look at this passage for today and see what it tells us about the nature and importance of church discipline.

Passage: 1 Corinthians 5:1-13
Author: Rev. W. Reid Hankins, M.Div.
Sermon originally preached during the Morning Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church (OPC) on 07/13/2008 in Novato, CA.

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Even the Little Dogs

Why did Jesus call this Gentile woman a “dog”?  Was he just being racist and culturally elite?  No.  As we look at this passage we’ll see how Jesus is teaching an important lesson about the inclusion of the Gentiles.  He then demonstrates this compassion by exorcising the demon from this Gentile woman’s daughter.

Passage: Mark 7:24-37
Author: Rev. W. Reid Hankins, M.Div.
Sermon originally preached during the Morning Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church (OPC) on 07/06/2008 in Novato, CA.

Click here for the manuscript.

 

 

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