Mark 10:17-22 – A Hard Answer to A Serious Question
by Dr. John Davis
What must I do to inherit eternal life? This is a legitimate and important question, which can be rephrased in many different ways. How can I be sure of life after death? How can I as a sinner be ready to meet a holy God? What relationship is there between what I do now and where I will spend eternity?
Matthew tells us this man is young and Luke tells us that he is a ruler. Each of the synoptic gospels informs us that he is rich. Does it seem strange to you that a rich, young ruler is thinking about things that are profound, spiritual, and eternal? Do men like Donald Trump ever consider the state of their soul and the question of the afterlife? Read more »
Above: Christ and the Rich Young Ruler by Heinrich Hofmann (1889)
The following are notes from a sermon I preached today at Grace Church of Philly entitled “Riches and the Kingdom of God” from Mark 10:17-27.
Our text today is nestled within a larger section where the overall emphasis is upon the nature of Christian discipleship. This will be very important to bear in mind as we study these verses today.
Within Mark chapter 10, This text is part of a larger unit of Jesus’ teaching that concerns entrance into the kingdom of God that begins at 10:13 and stretches out to at least verse 31. Read more »
At Grace Church of Philly our weekly celebration of the Lord’s Table visibly and tangibly expresses the centrality of the gospel in the life of the church. At the Table, God places before His people the best nourishment that He can offer – the atoning work of His Son, as represented in the bread and wine. At the Table, we receive that nourishment as we look in faith to Jesus Christ as represented in these elements. As we physically taste and experience the bread and wine in eating and drinking, we also spiritually experience His nourishment in our coming to and believing in the One, who died for sinners and rose again. Read more »
The Gospel and Marriage
1 Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.
2 Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
3 “What did Moses command you?” he replied.
4 They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”
5 “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. 6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Read more »
Frame, John. Apologetics to the Glory of God. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 1994: 265 pages.
An Overview of Chapters 1-5
In Chapter One Frame argues that there is no neutrality in apologetics, i.e. a Christian of necessity must argue from his Christian understanding. This does not mean that there is no common ground between a believer and unbeliever, for all unbelievers have a faded memory of the true God. Furthermore, the success of the Christian apologist is assured because the true God is active in convincing unbelievers. Frame sees the apologist, not as replacing God, but as working with God “practicing a divinely ordained human vocation” (17).
Frame argues that belief in the sufficiency of Scripture does not diminish the value of natural revelation, which he sees as “the word of God” and “authoritative” (23), as long as extra-biblical data is subordinated to the “corrective” measures of Scripture. He sees verbal revelation as meeting man’s need of a saving promise and as a means “to correct our sinful misinterpretations of natural revelation” (22). This is an important point that Frame makes in viewing natural revelation through the lens of Scripture.
In Chapter Two Frame sets forth the message of the Christian apologist establishing the philosophical framework from which a believer argues. A Christian does apologetics from a metaphysical belief in the ultimate reality of a personal God who as Creator is distinct from creation, who is sovereign and who exists as a Trinity. This leads the apologist to argue on the basis of a personal rather than an impersonal plan for the world. This also means that though God is immanent in that He is involved in all of creation, He is yet transcendent in His separate-ness from creation. The Christian apologist stands on the ground of God’s sovereignty in that He rules the world and works all things according to His wisdom. The doctrine of the Trinity preserves the personality of God as well as the oneness and diversity of creation.
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Mark 9:1-13 - Asking the Right Questions About the End of the World
by Dr. Stephen Davis
The previous passage contrasted the honor one might obtain in human society by concealing one’s allegiance to Jesus and his teaching with the shame or repudiation seen in the light of our participation of God’s eternal kingdom. Jesus spoke about dying for the gospel, a real possibility for first-century Christians and for Christians in many parts of the world today. Although I have never faced imprisonment or threats of death for my faith in Christ I have had the opportunity to meet those who have. There can be no dying for the gospel if not living for and in the gospel.
Shame now, sacrifice now, losing your life for Christ’s sake and for the gospel, is a small price to pay for future honor and acknowledgment. You progressively and purposefully grow in what it means to lose your life (translated “soul” in Matt. & Luke, “life” in Mark) for Christ’s sake and for the “gospel” (only Mark). This involves the literal loss of earthly life which we are called to accept as a potential result of following Jesus. We can extend this to the loss of privilege, reputation, advantages, comfort and so forth yet we must not set aside the radical and primary focus of the text. Let us be clear – to cling to life according to that which humanity values most is the way to forfeit true life. The acceptance of the possibility of death, for the right reasons, is the way to real life. Jesus himself in his death and resurrection will be the supreme example of this new perspective, one which we must adopt but cannot without a new and deeper understanding of who Jesus is along with a fresh and ongoing experience of his grace.
The specific mention of the “gospel” in Mark is related to an active role in mission where Christians more often encounter persecution and death. And we will have to ask ourselves – “Living in a time and place where persecution and martyrdom are unlikely how should be lose our lives for Christ’s sake and the gospel?” You may never suffer real persecution or martyrdom for the gospel but if you adopt the attitude of sacrifice and the investment of your life for the gospel you will be prepared to live for Christ or to die for him. The gospel does not call us to ease, to the advancement of our purposes, and to the attaining of our comfort and material acquisitions. That is not the message we find in the Bible. It is not the message the message you will find in this church. It may be too radical for many but by God’s grace we will not lower the bar. We are not about buildings, about programs, about entertainment, about Christian consumerism or health and wealth prosperity, about meeting all our felt needs. We are about the gospel, about worship, about mission, about the glory of God.
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