Damariscotta Baptist Church
Monday, May 21, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

09/14/14 Sermon - Spiritual Relationships

“Spiritual Relationships”

Mark 3:20-34

 

Here we go with the crowds again.

 

The word “crowd” appears in the Book of Mark in

14 out of the 16 chapters.

 

Even in chapter 1, the word itself does not appear but Mark writes

“the whole city gathers around the door” (1:32-33),

“everyone is searching for Him”(1:37), and

“He can no longer go into a town openly”(1:45).

 

And by the time we get to the end of Mark’s gospel, a crowd will arrest him (14:43)

 

And a crowd will call for Barabbas’ release and Jesus’ death (15:8,11,15)

 

Last week we read that the crowd was pressing against them so hard, that Jesus asked for a boat, and when we get to chapter 4 we will read that Jesus will have to get into the boat, in order to teach the crowd.

 

Today, the crowd has entered the house where Jesus and his disciples are and they can’t even eat!

 
 

When Jesus’ family hears about this, they decide things have gotten a bit out of hand and that Jesus has gone crazy. They have come to take him home and to get him to stop this ridiculous behavior.

 

Okay, time to stop …..and go back in time. This is where I am going to ask you to imagine what life was like for the people involved in today’s story, back in the 1st Century.

 

What would you think?

 

The Nazarene carpenter’s son has been a normal Jewish boy for 30 years, he goes out into the desert one day to visit his cousin, John the Baptist, who was a bit strange himself, walking around wearing animal skins and eating locust and honey. Jesus disappears alone into the desert for 40 days and when he returns he starts preaching, expounding on the Old Testament like he has studied to be a Pharisee, when in fact, it turns out he actually knows more than the Pharisees. Now he has started this preaching tour and it has become a success. Maybe too big a success.

 

I think many of you have seen this type of behavior. In the 20th Century, think back to the 60’s when four young men from Liverpool, England become the craze and had thousands of girls and women screaming at them wherever they went.

Who would of thought? Especially those people who had grown up with Ringo, John, James Paul and George. There is nothing new under the sun.

 

Now back to Jesus. As far as his ministry goes, it looks like he is at the top of his game,

at least from a human perspective.

Or is he?
 

His family doesn’t quite understand this Son of God thing. You see, his brothers remember playing on the streets of Nazareth with him, going to school with him and probably sleeping in the same bed with him while they were growing up.

 

Their concept of “GOD” did not include such behavior. And this preaching and healing and getting the religious leaders angry with you, doesn’t fit their concept of God either.

 

Jesus is not only proclaiming that the Kingdom of God is near, he has been demonstrating firsthand what the Kingdom of God will look like, by driving out demons and healing all kinds of different illnesses.

 

So it makes sense that his family and close friends would be asking such questions as,

 
 

Is Jesus a little crazy?

Has all this success gone to His head?

Is He out of His mind?

 

Now mind you, these are questions being asked by people who actually like Jesus.

 

They aren’t the only ones asking questions about Jesus.

 

What about the big wig, religious men, from Jerusalem?

 

They have been wherever Jesus has been and after their investigation they too have come to a conclusion.

Jesus is not acting like their concept of God, either. Jesus is not just crazy,

He’s possessed!

The only reason he can cast out demons, is because he has a demon inside him, and not just “any” demon, but the head demon, “Satan”!

 

Now I think things are getting a little crazy here.

 

Let’s look at how Jesus responds to his family and the religious leaders.

 
 
 

First let’s examine what the scribes are saying.

 

Jesus responds to the teachers of the law with the parable of the strong man.

Jesus makes his point very clear.

Jesus has come to plunder Satan’s household

and to bring about its end.

He is not going to do this by division from within,

but by a mighty force from without.

 

What a great mystery novel is woven here.

God creates everything.

One of His creation, Satan, decides he wants to be like God and turns to evil.

Satan doesn’t go by himself, but takes his share of angels with him and they all go to the “dark” side.

God has a plan to annihilate Satan, and part of that plan is for His only begotten son, Jesus, to go to earth and become human and become the final sacrifice.

And even while this is happening on earth,

and Jesus is at his final hour,

and it looks like Satan has won,

Jesus is crucified,

killed, and buried, for three days.

Yet, God’s power remains greater and Jesus conquers death.

 

This is the stuff best sellers are made of!!

 

In Jesus’ response to the religious leaders accusation, Jesus goes so far as to say, that when anyone claims the Holy Spirit, is in cahoots with Satan,

 

they are guilty of an eternal sin.

 

Now we still have Jesus’ mother and brothers outside asking for Jesus. And remember, they have come to save him from himself because they are sure he has gone mad.

 

And when Jesus hears that they are asking for him, Jesus responds with a question,

 

“Who are my mother and brothers?”

 

Then he answers his own question by stating that “whoever does the will of God is my brother, sister, and mother.”

 

Wow, a lot has happened in today’s Scripture.

 

Jesus isn’t fitting in, anywhere. He is at odds with everyone.

 

It seems he has even disowned his mother and brothers and

 

He hasn’t been fitting in with the religious authorities ever since he has started his preaching tour, but today the scribes have stated slanderous words about him and he has come back fighting, condemning them with an eternal sin.

 

What exactly is Jesus doing?

 

Because whatever it is-----He has everyone around him confused.

 

Not much has changed in 2000 years. The words of Jesus still don’t seem to fit in.

 

We still have God, offering eternal life and where is everybody?

 

It sounds like a great offer to me.

 

Have you ever wondered why?

 

I have. And I’m not sure God’s words will ever fit into society.

 

You see, Jesus’ words in Mark 1: 15 were,

 

“The kingdom of God is near”. Not,

 The Kingdom of God, is here.
 
 
Meaning,
Jesus,
God’s Son

was on earth to reveal

what the kingdom of God looks like.

 

This is not our home, heaven is.

 

But in the meantime, while the Holy Spirit is here on earth with us, we see glimpses of what heaven is like.

 

But let’s face it, they are only glimpses.

This world is full of disasters.

Things are happening, and have been happening, on a global level and on a personal level that stink.

 

From natural disasters of tsunamis and forest fires to human made disasters like, World War II and today’s war on terrorism and ISIS.

 

We have political battles that make a mess of our government and then we have family battles where fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters argue, say terrible things to each other and never forgive each other.

There isn’t a person sitting in this room that hasn’t experienced this type of pain for themselves or has someone close to them who has experienced this pain.

 

So where is God in all of this?

 

By looks of things in today’s Scripture, he was in the middle of things

 

and he was being called the “crazy one”, or “Satan”.

 

He wasn’t understood by his family and he was misunderstood by the religious of his day.

 

But I want you to pay close attention to what Jesus said. He said that

 

“whoever does God’s will is my brother, sister and mother.”

 

Which means, part of my family. Which means belongs in my home,

 
Heaven.
 

What exactly does that mean?

 

That means God allows anyone who is willing to do his will to be in his family.

 

That means that even though we may be biologically connected or connected by adoption, or marriage to the families here on earth,

 

what really counts for eternity is whether or not we are in the family of God.

And the criteria for being in the family of God is choosing to do God’s will.

 

If that’s the case, then what exactly is the will of God?

 

Well, God tells us, in His Word, you can read it for yourself in the book of Micah, chapter 6, verse 8,

It reads,
 

 “He has shown you, O humans, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you?

 
To act justly

And to love mercy,

And to walk humbly with your God.”

 

To act justly means

justice is more important than the written law.

 
Mercy means

compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone when you have the right and power to punish or harm them.

 
And humility

allows us to grow and keep growing in our relationship with God and with each other.

 

The religious people of Jesus’ day, had replaced their relationship with God with religion.

 

The way they performed became more important than the reason they were performing it.

 

Jesus came to earth to remind them and us,

that it was our relationship with God and with each other that is more important.

 

The rules God has given, were given to us, to get more out of life, not to regulate our relationship with God or how we treated each other.

 

And let’s face it, if we act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God today, there are many who would call us a bit crazy.

You see, it doesn’t fit in.

The Kingdom of God is near, not here.

This is not our home.

 

I think one of the reasons why there are so few people going to church today is that church has become a place where certain things are done and they are only done in church.

 

The majority of this generation has been brought up “not going to church on Sunday”.

 

There is this misunderstanding that whatever is happening in “here”, is different, from what is happening, “out there”

For people who have never experienced it, church is unknown and not comfortable.

 
That is sad.  
 

Church should be a place, and I am going to borrow a phrase from the TV show “Cheers”,

Where “everybody knows your name”.

 

Why is it people feel more comfortable walking upstairs at the Damariscotta River Grill at 4pm Happy Hour than the Damariscotta Baptist Church at 10:30 on Sunday morning?

 

I think it is because religion has taken over relationships.

 

At the Damariscotta River Grill it seems easier to strike up a conversation and some people have  developed a relationship with the bartender there. You can bet the bartender at the River Grill is developing relationships so people will keep coming back.

 

Are we developing relationships with our friends and acquaintances and centering them on God?

 

In other words, are we doing what we do here –

out there - during the week?

 

It’s a fact that people go where they feel comfortable. And people feel comfortable going to a new place, or an old place they haven’t been to in a while, when they can go with someone they know.

 

Let’s try to put this all together.

 

Jesus looked crazy. And in a way, he was. He was trying to explain heaven and act out heaven in a place and for people who didn’t understand. And in a place where the very opposite had been in control. Satan was alive and well.

 

The religious leaders, who had been watching Jesus, believed in Satan, and they had come to the conclusion that the only way Jesus fit was by having him possessed, not by any demon, but by the number one demon himself, Satan.

 

Jesus’ family tried their best to take care of Jesus but Jesus claimed only those who do the will of the Father are his brother, sister and mother.

 
 
 
 
 
What about today?
 
Where are you?
 

Are you knocking on the door of the house claiming Jesus is crazy?

 

Are you joining the religious leaders and thinking Jesus is possessed?

 

Are you doing the will of God, by acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with your God?

 

I recommend the latter.

 

I also recommend you keep doing the will of God, even when you walk out this door.

 

It may mean your friends and family might think you’re a little crazy,

 

but if they do, after reading today’s Scripture,

 

it looks like you would be in good company.

 
Let’s pray.