Sunday – August 26, 2012

August 26, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Sermons by the Sea from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Jesus continues to teach the crowds around the Sea of Galilee in parables. Describing the Kingdom of God in parables to keep those who are only looking for the miracle man in the dark, but providing illumination for those who are seeking the truth, Jesus continues to place the emphasis of His ministry on teaching. Join us this Sunday as we look at Mark 4 verses 21 to 41 and listen to Jesus’ “Sermons by the Sea”.

Word On Worship – August 26, 2012 Download / Print

Mark 4:21-23
And He was saying to them, “A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand? “For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

God rarely makes headlines in the world today. But is that really surprising? His gentle touches seem inconsequential to humanity because God works silently and in ways human eyes overlook. The parables by the sea bring the hidden Kingdom of God into full view — for those who have the faith to see it. All parables of Jesus require faith, which can only be given by God, before we see God’s purposes are being fulfilled; even when there appears to be no empirical evidence to be gathered, quantified or measured.

The world tells us the only certain things are death and taxes. Jesus tells us in the parables God’s Kingdom is certainly at work in ways we do not know and accomplish His purpose in a manner that is beyond human formulation. From our finite perspective, we are ignorant of God’s grand design even when we are in the midst of it. In the eye of the world, how can the imprisonment of the Apostle Paul be a good thing? Yet God uses the imprisonment of Paul to advance the gospel so the entire palace guard heard the good news of Jesus Christ while Paul inspired others through his epistles to preach the gospel even more boldly! God draws straight lines using what seems, from our perspective, to be crocked lines.

God’s purpose is revealed in the cross, a road of suffering, which leads us to the resurrection. Yet many remain blind to God’s plan of redemption. Those who look for certified proof see the cross as foolishness. But the weakness and apparent foolishness of God is transformed into the power of God to bring future triumph in the reign of Jesus Christ. It takes faith on our part to take such a step, to risk trusting your whole life to something that lies hidden, like a seed in the soil.

Often God’s children suffer from spiritual myopia because we lack the spiritual vision to see what God is doing in the soil. We cannot see next week, much less all eternity, and so become impatient waiting for God’s purpose to bear fruit. The parables illustrate the purpose of God and when we sow God’s seed, it will accomplish His purpose. We may not harvest the crop, but it was never our crop to harvest to begin with. It is and will always be God’s harvest. The gospel must be preached to all nations, disciples must face suffering, and judgment continues to rest on Jerusalem as we wait for our Lord’s coming- in God’s time.

Sunday – August 19, 2012

August 19, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Parable of the Soils from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Four soils, four seeds…. Simple math right. Nothing is as simple as it seems when it comes to the parables of Jesus. In Mark chapter 4, Jesus begins to change His teaching style to teach in parables. And the most essential of the parables to understand according to Jesus is the parable of the Sower. Join us this Sunday at 8:45AM as we continue in our study of the Gospel of Mark in Mark 4 verses 1 to 20.

Word On Worship – August 19, 2012 Download / Print

Mark 4:11-12
And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, so that WHILE SEEING, THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE, AND WHILE HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR AND NOT UNDERSTAND, OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT RETURN AND BE FORGIVEN.”

The fourth chapter of Mark is often referred to as “the parables by the sea” section of the Gospel of Mark. The key to all the parables of Jesus is the phrase “to hear” which appears 13 times in this chapter alone. The command “to hear” is the heart of the great confession of faith for the Jews, the Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4:Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” The issue of hearing is the heart of parables and is the key to bearing fruit, the essential mark of the Kingdom of God.

As a pastor, I have to admit: sometimes people respond to the proclamation of the word as airline passengers responding to flight attendants’ instructions before takeoff on what to do in case of an emergency. Before every flight, they invite the passengers to watch and follow along with the card in the seat pocket in front of them. But more often than not, passengers ignore the instructions while being preoccupied with looking out the windows, reading a magazine or even sleeping. No airline will allow the flight attendant to skip the instructions just because no one appears to be listening because the instructions are a matter of life and death.

The power to bring fruit to a plant is not in the hand of the sower. While it is easy for all who sow seeds in the soils of friends, family and co-workers to despair over apparent failure or vicious opposition, the power to bring fruit is in the hands of God alone, no matter which soil we scattered His seed in. If some seed falls on hearts of stone, that is God’s business, not ours. We will never know if the heart does not have ears to hear unless we speak to them. Whether or not it is received does not affect its power to transform lives. Truth is truth, regardless if it is popular in the polls or pursued by the masses.

There is still an important truth for those who believe they are the good soil and have received the seed. For many, the words of Jesus go in one ear and out the other. We can all agree the first soil was bad and the fourth soil was good. But the seed received in the second and third soil never produced fruit. Like the fig tree of Mark 11, churches are filled with people who have leaves, branches and external signs of life. But the fig tree with no fruit is cursed by Jesus. Bearing fruit is the expectation of the Lord. Do not let the Word of the Lord be something your spouse or child fails to hear. The admonition of our passage is for you this morning: “They hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”