By John Ulrich, Senior Pastor
April 19, 2015
In this expositional series in the Gospel of Mark, the sermons are driven by working our way through the Bible, to help us understand the Bible better in context, and to force us to talk about doctrinal issues which might be uncomfortable. Today is one of those harder to hear topics.
The warning of Jesus has been building in Mark 1-4 when His conflict with religious leaders became more open as he performed miracles and told parables.
In Mark 4:11,12 Jesus explained, concerning the parables, that there are those people on the “outside” who “..may be ever seeing but never perceiving, ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven.” The Truth was clearly hidden from some of them.
Lamp on a Stand Parable (Mark 4:21-25)
21 ”He [Jesus] said to them, ‘Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? 22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. 23 If any one has ears to hear, let him hear.’
24 ‘Consider carefully what you hear…; With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. Whoever has will be given more and whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.’ ”
A parable means literally “to cast along side”; it is an every day situation to illustrate spiritual Truth. In the Lamp on a Stand parable Jesus was teaching that “light” of His teachings were meant to expose/reveal what was in the dark.
Yet here Jesus recognized that not everything about him was yet revealed to everyone (or they would kill Him), and He was concealing Truth from some. He was warning the people that He was not going to withhold His Truth forever, and that ultimately they would face God’s judgment in how they received or rejected the Spiritual Truth He taught.
Jesus warned that those who reject the Truth at any point, will lose not only that Truth, but even more: “even what he has will be taken from him” (Mark 4:25). Unbeliever’s hearts will be hardened so that they will be “ever seeing but never perceiving, ever hearing but never understanding”(Mark 4:11,12).
God takes away Truth. We do not like this idea, but God is God – not subject to our approval. He is not a forgiveness machine or a formula, but a Person, relating to us as a person. Just as with Pharaoh in the Exodus, those who reject God may have their hearts hardened by God so that they will not even recognize the Truth.
God gave the life of His Son to reconcile us to Him, but if we reject God’s Truth, there are eternal consequences when Jesus returns. In these end days, God will even give the wicked a powerful delusion so that they believe lies, not see the Truth, and be condemned (II Thess. 1+2).
How Do We Resist God’s Truth?
1. Our Individual Responses to God’s Salvation
God has given everything He has for us – His Son. If we reject Christ and do things “our way”, we will lose the Truth we already have.
2. Our Corporate Response
A community can become hardened and lose Truth from its refusal to believe (See Romans 11). As a nation, we are entering a new phase of a post Christian era, where we have lost some of the Truth we had.
3. Individual Truths in Our Own Lives
When God’s Spirit convicts us, as Christians, of areas needing change in our lives, He will remove Truth (even in other areas of our lives) if we ignore the voice of God’s Spirit.
Jesus Also Offers Promise:
“With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. Whoever has will be given more” (Mark 4: 24,25).
Those who receive Spiritual Truth will get more Truth. The softer and more receptive our hearts become toward God, the more Truth He shares with us. Jesus is looking for receptive hearts to learn more Truth from Him. Jesus comes not to scare us, but to offer us the Gospel, the Good News.
All it takes is one decision: to turn to God by softening our hearts in repentance and obedience. Each of us needs to hear Jesus’ warning and His promise in Mark 4 so that we will look at the condition of our hearts daily and turn to Him.
As we put it off, we lose Truth. Do not put it off!