This is the first of a new series of sermons on Mark.
The gospel according to Mark tells how John the Baptist was sent to prepare people for the coming of Jesus, exactly as the prophets had said and takes us with immediacy into the life of Jesus. No doubt is left as to the deity of Jesus, not just a good man or teacher but the Son of God.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 4th March 2018|
(1) The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
(2) As it is written in the Prophets: "Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You."
(3) "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.'"
John the Baptist was preparing 'the way of the Lord'. He wasn't a street preacher. He was in a physical wildnerness preaching in a spiritual wilderness but people came to
listen to him.
People today may have so many things of this life but are living in a spiritual wilderness. Whatever they have is 'empty' without Christ.
John gave a two part message. He preached repentance from sin and he pointed people to Christ.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 18th March 2018|
(4) John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
It is not merely regret or remorse. True repentance is a change of mind and purpose. This only comes about by a true sense of one's own guilt and
sinfulness. People cannot repent unless they acknowledge their sins. There is a problem in the society of our country in that many sins are not only legal but are seen as part of
a helpful healthy lifestyle.
We also have many mainstream churches that do not recognise sins or continually debate how they can accommodate sin in their doctrine.
How can people know what is sinful? Honest and sincere people need to share the gospel with love and concern for others.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 25th March 2018|
(5) Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
This is Easter Sunday and Ian reminds us of the events up to and including the resurrection of Christ and His appearance to His disciples.
The disciples struggle to comprehend His appearance despite the number of times they had been told by Jesus beforehand. It was all in the scriptures that they knew well but had not fully understood. There are many today who have studied scripture and may have been to theological college but remain blind with a veil over their eyes.
Ian concludes with explanation of why Christ had to suffer and die instead of using His power to remove the Romans and make Himself king.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 1st April 2018|
(44) Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."
(45) And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
The bible tells us of various baptisms. John's baptisms were those of repentance. Jesus was sinless and perfect. He had no need of repentance so why did He come to John to be
Our baptism is a public declaration of our faith identifying ourselves with Christ. Jesus was publicly identifying Himself with humanity.
Ian also reads Joshua Chapter 3 and explains a 'river of death and judgement'.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 22nd April 2018|
(9) It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptised by John in the Jordan.
(11) Then a voice came from heaven, "You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
. . .
JOSHUA CHAPTER 3
The Spirit drives Jesus into the wilderness where satan tempts Him in the same way we are tempted and described by John as the 'lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life'. We are all tempted to put ourselves first - before the will of God.
Why was it necessary for Jesus to suffer such temptations? Does temptation have any benefit for us?
What is our response to temptations?
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 29th April 2018|
(12) Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness.
(13) And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.
Looking at people are you able to tell who will become a disciple of Christ?
This evening Ian looks at why four fishermen left their boats and followed Jesus. What brought this about - what had happened prior to this event and what did they know of Jesus?
A few people may have an instant conversion but for most it doesn't happen like that. People generally have to hear the gospel and their faith grows over time as they come to understandng. At first a convert doesn't have all the answers but they know enough to recognise Christ as their saviour.
We are all called to be disciples and are to follow the teachings of Christ.
What do we have to do to be 'fishers of men'?
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 20th May 2018|
(16) And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
(17) Then Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men."
(18) They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
(19) When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets.
(20) And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him.
In this one day Jesus heals, casts out demons and brings people to salvation. He continues to bring people to salvation throughout the world.
Man cannot determine his own salvation. He cannot 'decide' Christianity is the way to go. Man may have been to Theological College. He may be extremely kowledgable of the bible but only Jesus can bring salvation.
The demons recognise who Christ is and so should we. Some would say He was a good man and a good role model for us to emulate but they do not recognise and know Christ.
Anyone, even Satan can SAY Jesus is the Saviour but it doesn't follow that a person knows Him as THEIR personal Saviour.
In knowing Jesus do we recognise the priveledge of serving Him like Simon's wife's mother? How can we serve Him and others?
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 17th June 2018|
(24) saying, "Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!"
. . .
(27) ... "What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him."
(30) But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once.
(31) So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them.
In these verses we see two aspects of Jesus.
The importance of prayer.
Prayer was essential for Jesus so shouldn't it be essential for us too? We are not born with the ability to pray but every born again believer should know how to pray and have a prayer life.
The importance of preaching.
Our society expects personal choice in everything including beliefs. Those who want a church will shop around to find one that supports their way of life and gives them what they want. Many churches today have more concern for filling seats than for the word of God and do not preach anything that man isn't happy to hear. Popularity has become their priority.
Preaching is God's chosen way of bringing His word to others. We may not be natural preachers but we are all able to share the gospel with people.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 1st July 2018|
(35) Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.
(36) And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him.
(37) When they found Him, they said to Him, "Everyone is looking for You."
(38) But He said to them, "Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth."
(39) And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons.
Leprosy is a progressive disease that begins with minimal symptoms and Ian describes how the condition changes a person. In the time this was written there was no cure.
As the person changed and could be seen for what he was he was separated so as to be with others like himself.
This leper had heard something of Jesus and looked for Him believing that He could save him from his affliction and return him to 'life'.
Sin can be seen as like leprosy. The first difference is that we are all infected with it at birth. Even a 'perfect' baby has sin that will grow and become apparent to others and as that baby grows up it will have a numbness to its own condition. There is no cure available from man.
The leper was obviously aware of his sorry condition. When healed by Jesus he was to show himself to the priest as it was only the priest who could declare the man as 'clean'.
The sinner is unclean and will remain separated from God until he is made aware of his own condition and after healing is declared by the High Priest - Christ - to be cleansed.
The leper went away and told everyone of the miracle that changed his life. All born again Christians have experienced a similar miracle and should be telling everyone about their healing.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 15th July 2018|
(40) Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, "If You are willing, You can make me clean."
(41) Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed."
(42) As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.
(43) And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once,
(44) and said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."
(45) However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.
Many healings were done by Jesus in Capernaum and the people were priveliged to have Him there but the majority were critical and did not repent. Seeing miracles and
hearing good preaching does not save. A person does need to hear the gospel but the individual must repent.
The paralytic had no strength to move of his own accord. The sinner has no strength to do anything pleasing to God. He cannot be more paralysed than spiritually dead.
The scribes thought Jesus blasphemous because they knew that only God can forgive sin. Knowing what they were thinking Jesus demonstrates that He does indeed have the power to forgive sin by healing the man - an act that the scribes would not have believed possible but they can see evidence for themselves.
The paralytic would not have got to Jesus without the faith of his friends who made the effort to get him there. Does your faith motivate you to get your unsaved family and friends to Jesus for healing?
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 22nd July 2018|
(5) When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you."
(6) And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts,
(7) "Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
(8) But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, "Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?
(9) Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Arise, take up your bed and walk'?
Matthew (Levi) was a tax collector and a sinner. He didn't change his sinful ways of his own accord. Christ called him, saved him and changed him. The transformation
of Matthew can be appreciated in his gospel where it is clear he had a deep love of Christ the Messiah.
When Christ invited Matthew to follow Him he did not hesitate and he did not look back. Ian looks at why an intelligent well paid person would go with Jesus in response to 'follow me'.
What Matthew did was 'throw a party' so that all his friends could meet Jesus too. It can be difficult talking to people about Jesus especially those who have known you well. If you are a believer do you make an effort to introduce your family and friends to Jesus?
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 29th July 2018|
(14) As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me." So he arose and followed Him.
(15) Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi's house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him.
(16) And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, "How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?"
Jesus answers the scribes and Pharisees with an analogy. He comes to heal the sickness of sin. The truly righteous have no need of healing but there are no men
who are not sinners. We are all born sinners and there is nothing we can do for ourselves to cure that infection.
Many don't recognise that they are unwell, Ian describes a simple test that gives an instant self diagnosis but even people who acknowledge their illness as a result still refuse to go to the one who has a cure.
Man often chooses to ignore the cure offered by Jesus. They die - separated from God for eternity.
Those who accept the healing become new people and will live forever in heaven.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 5th August 2018|
(17) When Jesus heard it, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."
Ian begins this sermon by referring to Genesis and the relationship between God and man that was broken by Adam and Eve with sin being brought into the world as a result.
God told them what He would do in sending a saviour to bring about an even better relationship and that they must believe on that saviour.
Sin is more than just doing a wrong. Sin is a power that corrupts.
Man laid aside what God promised and made his own plans for what he can do for himself that he thinks will gain God's acceptance. Cain is the first example. He thought his offering acceptable because of the labour he had put into it but it was his idea to offer the work of his own hands and contrary to God's instruction. Since Cain man has continued doing the same thing in making a whole variety of religions which are all versions of the same thing - man making himself acceptable to God.
One day of the year is specified for fasting. A day of solemn rest. A day to consider the seriousness of sin and the cost to God.
The verses 18-22 in Mark 2 refer to the regular fasting held to by the Pharisees perhaps two or three times a week using this as yet another religious burden they can lay on people and impress God.
The word 'bridegroom' used by Jesus indicates the covenant relationship with His church that He has brought us into. When we have Christ in our life it is a feast, a celebration.
Jesus did not come to add to any religion. He came so that we can have this special relationship with Him.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian|
(18) The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were fasting. Then they came and said to Him, "Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?"
(19) And Jesus said to them, "Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
(20) But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.
(21) No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse.
(22) And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins."
There are those who would change what the bible says and dispute that miracles ever happened but the Pharisees witnessed miracles. At no time did they try to say that miracles
hadn't happened and they acknowledged that no man had ever spoken like Jesus spoke.
Jesus was in the synagogue on the Sabbath and there was a man with a withered hand. This presented an opportunity for Jesus and for the Pharisees. Jesus knew their hearts and what they were plotting. The question is raised as to whether healing should occur on the Sabbath - would this be good or would it be bad?
Sin changes what is good into what is bad and what is bad into good as can be seen in society today.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 26th August 2018|
(2) So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.
(4) Then He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they kept silent.
(5) And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.
In these verses we see that there were six differing responses to Jesus and in our society today everyone, without exception has a response to Christ. People either
believe in Him or they do not and either way affects their behaviour and the person they are. The consequences are eternal.
Paul writes of those who would destroy Christ. They did not accept Him as Saviour. They knew His teaching but hated Him. There are those today who would rather not hear the name of Jesus or the gospel.
The disciples went with Jesus. Are you a true disciple following His teaching and abiding in His word?
Multitudes followed Jesus. People possibly follow Jesus for a variety of reasons. Maybe out of curiousity or wanting to see a miracle but not as true disciples.
The sick reached out to Jesus. Faith gives the connection to Christ. Those who are sick in sin can reach out in faith to Christ.
Demons obeyed Christ. Some people today who call themselves Christian don't obey Christ. They change God's word to suit what man wants.
The twelve Apostles. Those called to a unique ministry. What a privilege but one was an unconverted man. We should be aware that there are those who appear as ministers of God's word but are themselves unconverted men.
Which of these groups of people do you belong to?
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 2nd September 2018|
(6) Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.
(7) But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, ...
(10) For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him.
(11) And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, "You are the Son of God."
(14) Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach,
There are people today who would deny there were any miracles of Jesus despite them being seen by His disciples, onlookers and His enemies. Those who hated Jesus would not
accept Him as the Messiah and because they couldn't deny the miracles actually occurred they claimed Jesus, 'has Beelzebub'.
What would you say about Jesus? Was he a 'Beelzebub', a deceiver, or perhaps nothing more than a talented preacher? The evidence leads to only one possible conclusion.
The man who was blind and could not speak was in a position where he was controlled by the devil. Sinners are in the same situation - they are under Satan's control and cannot be healed without Christ.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 23rd September 2018|
(19) . . . And they went into a house.
(20) Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.
(21) But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, "He is out of His mind."
(22) And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebub," and, "By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons."
Jesus said there is one sin that is never forgiven. It is important that we should understand what He meant. What is blaspheme 'against the Holy Spirit'?
The Holy Spirit gives us the introduction to Christ. We do not find Christ on our own it is the Holy Spirit that leads us to Christ. Ian reminds us of the healing of the demon possessed man (the sermon of last week) where all those who encountered Jesus saw and heard the same things and were exposed to the Holy Spirit but there were those who rejected Him.
We have all sinned and those who come to believe in Christ as their saviour have had the Holy Spirit move in their lives. When the Holy Spirit speaks to a person they can respond positively which leads to salvation or they can refuse to hear.
ALL sins can be forgiven except that rejection of the Holy Spirit.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 30th September 2018|
(28) "Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter;
(29) but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation"
Satan uses many techniques in his attempts to steer people away from God and some are more subtle than others. All true believers face some form of persecution where the
influence of Satan is obvious but he may also attack through family and friends. Those who are close to us and have concerns for us may be used in attempts to divert us from
our intended path. We feel concern for those we care for and have no wish to offend them but now we belong to Christ.
We have to expect the Christian life to be a narrow and difficult way (Mat 7:14) but we know where this path leads - a wonderful goal. Is it worth it?
Is your mind settled and resolved?
Who are your family? Who are your friends? Choose your friends carefully. What about your non-believing friends from your past that you may have known for many years?
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 7th October 2018|
(31) Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him.
(32) And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, "Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You."
(33) But He answered them, saying, "Who is My mother, or My brothers?"
(34) And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers!
(35) For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother."
One of the best known parables of Jesus and requiring little explanation as Jesus explains it Himself. We are to apply this parable to ourselves and ask which of the four types of ground we are.
People who are the 'wayside' hear the word of God but have no interest in it at all. They may even attend a church for some reason, perhaps for the singing or because their friends are there. The message comes to them but is immediately lost.
Those referred to as 'stony ground' are happy to receive the gospel and appear to be growing in faith but they do not develop the roots and when the inevitible trials or persecution comes along as they will, they whither away.
There are people who are 'among thorns'. They hear and receive the message but worldly things are of more concern and dominate things of God. Their faith is choked.
The 'good ground' is that which allows and encourages the roots to grow deep into Christ. These people will not try to keep one foot in the world - they have something infinitely superior and they will bear fruit.
The good news is that if you are in one of the first three groups you can change and become 'good ground' bringing salvation.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 21st October 2018|
(14) The sower sows the word.
(15) And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.
(16) These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
(17) and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.
(18) Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word,
(19) and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
(20) But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, [e]accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”
The primary purpose of a lamp is to give light so you would not hide it away somewhere. Our world is in spiritual darkness and only the gospel of Christ can bring light.
Jesus said He is the light of the world and He also told believers that they are the light of the world. All believers should be letting their light shine and it should be obvious to all of where we stand. The gospel is to be made known.
In verse 24 we are warned to be careful of what we hear. Ian explains how all people are influenced by what they listen to. What should we be listening to?
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 4th November 2018|
(21) Also He said to them, "Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand?
(22) For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.
(23) If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."
(24) Then He said to them, "Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given.
The sower represents the preacher, the evangelist and any believer who sows the seed, that is those who share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. Believers may sometimes wonder whether what they have done has ever produced any fruit.
When the right seed is sown what happens afterwards in how it grows is a mystery. As sowers we do have some responsibilities. We must prepare our 'field', we must ensure our seed is the true biblical gospel and we sow where God has put us. Prayer helps us prepare the field. Prayer will water the seed. The actual growth of the seed is out of our hands.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 11th November 2018|
(26) And He said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground,
(27) and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how.
(28) For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.
(29) But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come."
With another parable Jesus continues to tell us the importance of the word of God and this one shows how the gospel began as something 'small' and has spread to the whole world.
Ian indicates how we can see the gospel throughout the Old Testament from Adam and Eve, through Abraham, Noah and so on and how it developed and is explained in the New Testament with the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Christ continues to spread despite the many enemies without and within the church.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 18th November 2018|
(30) Then He said, "To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it?
(31) It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth;
(32) but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade."
Some of the disciples were no strangers to sailing on the Sea of Galilee and dealing with the sort of storms that could suddenly arise and they would initially have no problems in coping with it. Ian likens this to the Christian life where everything is going smoothly but a time comes when we face one of the storms of life. A storm may be a health issue, a relationship problem, unemployment, persecution, etc.
When a storm arises people initially tend to try to deal with it themselves and of course there are some things that we can fix on our own or with the help of friends but it may be that there is nothing we can do for ourselves.
Believers have Jesus in the boat with them. Do you think He is aware of your storms? Do we need reminding to ask Him for help?
The church of true believers is constantly facing storm and Chapel House Christian Fellowship has been taking a battering for some time now and so this coming weekend we will make a concerted effort to do as the disciples did and cry out to our Lord with a day of prayer.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 2nd December 2018|
(36) Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him.
(37) And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling.
(38) But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
(39) Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.
(40) But He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?"
A man possessed by many demons. Today we still see demonic occurrences in our country and the world. Some behaviours are promoted by the media as entertainment, others may be diagnosed as someone having mental health issues. What does society do?
The use of drugs to control such behaviour may be likened to the use of chains to restrain the man in the biblical account. If drugs have no effect then again as per the biblical account the person is removed by some means so as to protect society.
Others in society are in bondage to sin. Satan is satisfied if a person is controlled by sin. He doesn't care whether a person is addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling or whether embracing sexual perversions.
However society reacts to demonic things it can do nothing more than exercise some control. It cannot cure. The cure can only come through Jesus.
Does today's society welcome Jesus?
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 9th December 2018|
(2) And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
(3) who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains,
(4) because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.
(5) And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.
There is a difference between those who exhibit sinful behaviour and those who are demon possessed. This man has been banished by his society but with his self harming and crying out they were ever aware of him. The demons in this man recognised Jesus and bowed to His authority. Jesus knew what was wrong with the man.
Can we diagnose that a person is demon possessed? Can we diagnose that a person is sinful? Society makes rules to try to accomodate what people want and so what was seen as sinful not many years ago is now promoted as a choice of lifestyle.
Like attracts like and sin gravitates to sin. Ian looks at why the people wanted Jesus to leave the area instead of celebrating the cure of the man and why this still happens today.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 9th December 2018|
(6) When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.
(7) And he cried out with a loud voice and said, "What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me."
. . .
(16) And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine.
(17) Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.
This event immediately follows the healing of the demon-possessed man. The people wanted Jesus to leave and He did. Jesus will not stay where He is not wanted but He left the man to tell everyone his personal testimony of what had been done for him.
We now read the account of more people who have the life changing experience with Christ.
The woman was healed and left to tell others what had happened but Jesus instructs those who witness Jarius's daughter being brought back from death not to tell anyone. We are not told why Jesus gave that command but in applying this to ourselves as believers we know that we have not been told to keep quiet about our salvation. We too have been healed. We too have been brought back from death in our sins.
Do you take every opportunity to tell others of your experience with Christ?
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 6th January 2019|
(23) "My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live."
(35) While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue's house who said, "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?"
. . .
(42) Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement.
(43) But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat.
All scripture is relevant to us. What do we learn from this miracle? We are to understand how this woman is feeling. Her condition is regarded as unclean in Jewish society and she is excluded socially, probably living an isolated life. She has paid to be seen by many doctors but all without a cure and causing her greater suffering. She is a woman without hope until she hears about Jesus.
She had heard somebody somewhere speak about Jesus and she has the belief that He is the Messiah and has the power to heal her. She believes she will be healed if only she can touch Him and she accomplishes this in secret but Jesus delberately exposes publicly what she has done.
He did this so that her life would be completely changed and all would see this.
This is exactly the same today. The world is spiritually sick and in need of healing. People look to drugs, money, etc. thinking they will find the cure for everything that is wrong in their lives but only Christ can heal. They won't find their cure unless somebody tells them about Jesus.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 13th January 2019|
(25) Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years,
(26) and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse.
(27) When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment.
(28) For she said, "If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well."
(29) Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.
(33) But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.
A little girl died. Why did she die? Why does anyone die? What desease are we all infected with?
Jarius knew his much loved daughter was dying and he came to Jesus for help. He did not care what anyone else thought. He was not too proud to earnestly beg. Jarius stated his needs clearly, he presented his request and he declared his faith.
Jesus responded by setting off to go with Jairus but got diverted with a woman who needed healing. How would Jairus feel about such delay? How would he feel when he was told it was too late - his daughter was dead?
Was Jairus to accept the logic of man and stop bothering Jesus or was his faith to remain strong?
How strong is your faith?
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 27th January 2019|
(22) And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet
(23) and begged Him earnestly, saying, "My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live."
(35) While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue's house who said, "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?"
(36) As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, "Do not be afraid; only believe."
Jesus returned to His home town of Nazareth where people knew Him as an honest skillful carpenter with a great knowledge of scripture. The people were astonished to hear Him in the synagogue but being astonished by His teaching and knowing of miracles does not bring salvation. They were offended as they knew Him as merely a carpenter. They knew His family. How could Jesus speak with authority when He was just one of them?
In our country we as British people have had great preachers and Christian churches for many years but today the majority of people are offended when they hear the word of God preached without being changed to conform to what they want to hear.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 10th February 2019|
(2) And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, "Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands!
(3) Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?" So they were offended at Him.
Jesus instructed His disciples as to how to take the gospel to others. When they did this they always made reference to scripture, ie. what we know as the 'Old Testament' where the coming Christ is clearly identified. The words used are so often, "according to the scriptures". Many received the message preached but others rejected it.
What was that message - vitally important then and vitally important today?
Ian reminds us of the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah and the punishment that befell them so how can it be that Jesus says that it will be worse for those who reject the gospel?
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 24th February 2019|
(8) He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts —
(9) but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics.
(11) And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!"
Herod Antipas (the son of Herod the Great) was privileged to have known John the Baptist and he had met Jesus.
At some time John had told Herod he had committed adultery by having his brother's wife and this resulted in John being imprisoned. Herod would listen to John ('heard him gladly') but his wife Herodias wanted John dead and took opportunity to ensure she got what she wanted.
John is silenced, Herodias is happy and Herod has added murder to his catalogue of sins but now there is another man going around preaching, a good man knowledgable in all scripture.
Who is this man Jesus?
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 3rd March 2019|
(16) But when Herod heard, he said, "This is John, whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the dead!"
(17) For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; for he had married her.
. . .
(19) Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not;
. . .
(24) So she went out and said to her mother, "What shall I ask?" And she said, "The head of John the Baptist!"
The feeding of the five thousand is one of the best known miracles of Jesus and is documented in all four gospels. Ian looks at what lead up to this event when disciples had taken the gospel to others and had returned. Preaching effectively and taking the gospel to others cannot be learned just as theory. It develops by experience and Jesus wanted to prepare the disciples for the future.
What do people think the Christian church is for? Do they say it is pointless or perhaps exists to do good in the community? Society is full of empty souls. People constantly search for something to feed their needs, to give them what they believe will make them happy but no matter what they acquire there remains an inner emptiness. They are not 'filled' (verse 32).
John the Baptist had been recently beheaded. What effect did this have on Jesus and His disciples? What is needed for healing and to fill the emptiness in hearts?
Many people came to Jesus and He never turns anyone away. A busy day was coming to an end and the disciples recognised that the crowd were in need of feeding and logically suggested it was time for the people to be dispersed but Jesus tells the disciples to feed them. How would you react to such an instruction?
The bible tells us Jesus is 'the bread of life'. He feeds the hungry who turn to Him and fills that emptiness within. He told the disciples to feed the people and that is the message to us. As Christians we have something nobody else has and we are to feed the people with Christ.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 10th March 2019|
(34) And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.
(35) When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, "This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late.
(36) Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat."
(37) But He answered and said to them, "You give them something to eat." And they said to Him, "Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?"
(38) But He said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see." And when they found out they said, "Five, and two fish."
We are meant to learn from the things God does in our lives and He gradually moulds us to be the person He wants us to be. The disciples were in a boat during a storm at the darkest hour. They were alone, straining on the oars and would be concerned that Jesus was not present. How often do we feel like that? That we are struggling with an ordeal in a storm of life?
The disciples could not see Him but Jesus never took His eyes off them. It is the same with us. Jesus does not take His eyes off us.
Is it surprising that when Jesus was aproaching they 'supposed it was a ghost'? Jesus does not always come to us in a manner that we expect. Whether we can see Him or not Jesus will never foresake us. True faith has three elements. The disciples heard the word of God, they believed the word of God and they received Christ into their boat.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 24th March 2019|
(45) Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away.
(46) And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray.
(47) Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land.
(48) Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.
(49) And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out;
Last week we heard how those who received Christ into their boat were saved from danger just as believers today are safe from danger when they receive Christ into their life.
If you are a believer, when people see you do they 'immediately recognize Him' (verse 24)?
The important message in these verses is that people were aware of Jesus. They had heard of Him by word of mouth from someone already healed, friends, etc and all those who 'touched' Jesus were made well. We are to tell others about Jesus but how are they to reach out and 'touch' Him to be made well? All those who reach out to Christ in faith will be saved and sharing our personal testimonies shows others how we have been set free.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 31st March 2019|
(53) When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret and anchored there.
(54) And when they came out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him,
(55) ran through that whole surrounding region, and began to carry about on beds those who were sick to wherever they heard He was.
(56) Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well.
The Pharisees appeared to society as the ultimate religious group in their observation of all their traditions and rituals. Most of the traditions which they enforced and passed from generation to generation impressed people but such things are not found in scripture and they did not impress God. These people were blessed Israelites but were following the traditions imposed by men rather than understanding and following God's word. They had degenerated to nothing more than an outward appearance of worship. It is the same today with many denominations teaching their own doctrines of rituals and others embracing what is pleasing to man but an abomination to God. As individuals how do we avoid becoming part of this mindset?
We need to have our own personal time with the Lord every day - not as a religious duty but in enjoying our relationship with God.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 7th April 2019|
(3) For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders.
(4) When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.
(8) For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men — the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do."
According to the Pharisees a person would be unclean or polluted if any of their imposed religious rituals of cleanliness or suitable foods were broken.
We see the same today with certain religious groups insisting on their own man made rules eg. not eating pork, food must be halal or abstaining from eating meat on Good Friday. None of these things are biblical.
Jesus gives a simple parable (verse 15) but even the disciples failed to understand and asked Him to explain. It is not what is eaten that defiles a man because that does not enter the heart but it is the evil that comes from a man's heart that defiles him before God.
Bad influences are everywhere and society tends to attribute evil thoughts according to upbringing, peer groups, whatever. Is that really where the influence originates? Can something be done to 'cure' what is actually defiling man?
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 14th April 2019|
(18) So He said to them, "Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him,
(19) because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?"
(20) And He said, "What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.
(21) For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
(22) thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.
Does a superficial reading of this passage suggest Jesus is being offensive towards the woman's daughter in referring to her as a dog?
Ian gives insight to the woman's pagan background living in an area of multicultural influences much as we are today in the the UK. Despite her background the woman has at some time heard the gospel and has become a believer. 'He could not be hidden' - the woman was able to find Him because people knew of Jesus.
The woman pleads with Jesus and was not getting the immediate response she wanted but she did not give up. The disciples wanted her to be sent away but Jesus did not do that.
Ian gives further biblical references to explain what is happening with regard to, 'the Jews first and then the Gentiles'. Gentiles were referred to as 'dogs' and Ian explains why.
Jesus responds to the woman's great faith.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 5th May 2019|
(24) From there He arose and went to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And He entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden.
(25) For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him, and she came and fell at His feet.
(26) The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.
(27) But Jesus said to her, "Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs."
These verses give an account of the miraculous healing of a deaf man with a speech impediment but why did Jesus heal this man in the manner He did when we know He could have simply spoken? This is yet another way of us being taught something.
The physical condition of this man represents the spiritual condition of sinners who are spiritually deaf and have an impediment in that they can only talk nonsense about spiritual matters.
Jesus takes the man to one side and deals with him as an individual in a one to one situation just as He has done with all of us who have been saved. Then Jesus identifies Himself with the man before looking to heaven and sighing. A sigh for all humanity. Why did Jesus spit and touch the man's tongue?
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 12th May 2019|
(32) Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him.
(33) And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue.
(34) Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened."
(35) Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly.
Verse four suggests that the disciples are ignoring the fact that Jesus has fed a multitude before and there is no reason He should not do so again. What are we to learn from this?
For the disciples and for us this is a faith building experience. What God has done in the past He can do again.
Ian describes the mixed multitude of people who had been there for three days and Jesus had compassion on all of them, that includes those who were not believers and even those who had perhaps come along to critcise and condemn.
Our nation used to be known as a Christian country but that is no longer true. We are a multi-religious multitude but there remains some true Christian believers. There are those who are indifferent, those who are curious and sadly there are also those who hate Christianity.
Many can be described as hungry in that they do not yet know Christ. Does God have compassion on them?
Our country has seen God do miraculous things in the past and we should understand that He can do it again in our current wilderness.
|Listen to this sermon preached by Ian on 19th May 2019|
(1) In those days, the multitude being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said to them,
(2) "I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat.
(3) And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar."
(4) Then His disciples answered Him, "How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?"