The Pharisees viewed keeping God’s law as the only way to win acceptance with God. Believing Jesus and His disciples were being unlawful on the Sabbath, the Pharisees joined with the Herodians and plotted to kill Jesus, misunderstanding that the Sabbath was given to man for his benefit and blessing. The Pharisees’ belief of religion, “I obey, therefore I am accepted,” was turned upside down as Jesus informed them that Christianity says, “I am accepted, therefore I obey.”Mark 2:23-3:6
In Mark 12:18-27, the Sadducees take their turn trying to catch Jesus in his words. Jesus' response revealed that, like those who had come before, their cynicism was founded on a spiritual problem: they did not believe their own scriptures or understand the power of God.
As Jesus responds to the Sadducees in Mark 12, He shows how the very scriptures they believe hold proof of the resurrection. Knowing God's power and the truth of the Bible will give us a correct view of the believer's future in heaven.
Following Jesus is a serious business. Our discipleship is not an overnight occurance, but instead is an ongoing, refining process. Find out how this process enables us to have an impact in our churches and society.
Through the writings of the Old and New Testaments we discover that Jesus Christ has clearly fulfilled the prophecies of Salvation and God’s Kingdom. As we continue Mark’s gospel, we learn that the Holy Spirit reveals this fact to the priest, Simeon, when he meets the infant Jesus.Luke 2:25-35
When Paul encouraged Timothy to join in his suffering for the gospel, he left no question about what the gospel is. It is not a vague idea that can mean whatever we want, and it cannot be changed to suit our circumstances. As Alistair Begg explains, the gospel is the good news that sinful men and women are given new life and a new calling by faith in Christ, and it reorients how we view every aspect of life and ministry.2 Timothy 1:9-10
Author: Eric Alexander Publisher: N/A
What a picturesque image: shepherds in the field, "keeping watch over their flocks by night." This scene is interrupted by an angel who announces Jesus' birth. As Alistair Begg explains, the key to understanding this dramatic event is in the angel's message: God has provided salvation, in Christ alone, for all peoples.Luke 2:8-12
Most, if not all, are guilty of slander, a sin which should be taken very seriously. The Bible calls those who spread slander “foolish” and warns that we will all have to answer for each careless word spoken. Alistair Begg offers hope in ridding ourselves of this sin: look to the grace extended to us at the cross, and we will begin to see ourselves as no better than anyone else.James 4:11
When Christians say that the Bible is “inspired by God,” what do they mean? Beginning with a classic passage in 2 Timothy 3, Alistair Begg explains that God moved human authors to write His Word and communicated all we need to know about Him and His purposes. All of the words in the Bible are God’s Word, and they have the power to change us.2 Timothy 3:16
What is the basis of authority? Does it lie solely in Scripture or is it Scripture and a little bit of tradition? How much of a role should tradition play? As we continue with Part Two of “Scripture and Tradition,” we consider an example of what can happen when we allow our traditions to become more important than God’s Law.
In this passage of Mark, Jesus points out to the Pharisees how they follow the law of their traditions over the law of scripture. This reminds us that many times in our attempts to keep God’s law, we, like the Pharisees, tend to develop our own rules and regulations – and we think that by keeping them, that we’re actually keeping God’s law!
When God’s Word is proclaimed, people’s responses can be quite diverse. As illustrated in the Parable of the Soils, some respond with intellectual curiosity, but find no need for a Savior in their own lives. Others receive the Word with great emotion and delight, but soon the pressures of life extinguish the zeal they had in the beginning. Alistair Begg shows us that when we humbly trust in the Word of Truth, God’s enabling grace will produce a true and lasting faith.Mark 4:1-20
It's easy for local congregations to become comfortable and allow our outreach to neighbors and friends to wane. But the pattern of our Lord is a passionate commitment to spread the good news of the kingdom of God. In this message from Matthew 9:36-38, Alistair Begg explains that taking our responsibility to share the gospel seriously means making Jesus' priorities our own by seeing those around us clearly, caring deeply, thinking properly, and praying fervently.Matthew 9:35-38
Zaccheus was a rich man who was lost. But he knew one thing: he wanted to see who Jesus was, and when he sought Jesus, He found that God was pursuing him. Alistair Begg explains that in the story of Zaccheus we see the essence of Christmas. This Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, and he has come “to save his people from their sins.” The story of Christmas is the story of God giving himself to seek and save helpless sinners, and he still calls out today to all who will acknowledge their need.
The early Church clearly understood that prayer is at the center of Gospel ministry. Today, however, many churches have lost conviction regarding our urgent need to keep prayer at the heart of our mission. Daniel Henderson explains that praying churches are not primarily a matter of programming, but of a culture of prayer that begins with leaders who seek God earnestly and grows as prayer becomes the center of every aspect of ministry.
Voddie Baucham teaches from Paul’s final letter to Timothy (2 Timothy 1) where he opens his heart up before God. Voddie encourages preachers to not only preach, but to pray. A shepherd who preaches must be a shepherd who prays, and therefore the shepherd who prays will always be a shepherd who preaches. If the preacher finds himself at a point in life where prayer is absent, it’s directly indicative of one who is moving away from dependence on God.2 Timothy 1:3
With passion and conviction, Voddie Baucham urges pastors everywhere to hold firm to the Word that has been taught and entrusted to them. The preacher, the shepherd, the overseer of God’s flock must not shrink back from preaching the true Gospel because it is only through the Gospel that God’s Word can be proclaimed. Using Paul’s instruction to Titus (Titus 1:5-9), Baucham lays out the characteristics of God’s shepherds whom He calls to the high order of preaching and shepherding. Baucham warns that those who seek to go beyond what the Gospel teaches and proclaims ...Titus 1:9
Against the backdrop of the powerful Roman Empire and reign of Caesar Augustus, God chose for Jesus to be born in humble circumstances, announcing his birth to a group of common shepherds. In this message Alistair Begg explains that the sign of His humble beginning foreshadows his ignominious death on a cross and burial wrapped in linen. The peace with God proclaimed by the angels overshadows the Pax Romana and finds its significance by those who see with the eyes of faith and make room for the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.Luke 2:12-17
Most of the time, when the topic is "the end of the world," you hear a lot of speculation about dates and events and meanings. Mark 13 shows us a stiking difference in the way Jesus approached this subject. Instead of speculating about dates, the Lord provided His followers with practical instruction - actions and attitudes that will equip us to face the future He has planned.Mark 13:5-13
Author: John Dickson Publisher: N/A
We live in a culture that has grown accustomed to toying with sin and trivializing any notion of hell. Jesus took sin and its consequences very seriously though and issued stern warnings to his followers about how they should fight sin in their lives.
Our celebration of Good Friday marks the point at which Jesus Christ finishes His earthly mission. His cry, "It is finished" was not a cry of anguish but one of triumphant completion, and in this sermon, we learn why.
In Galatians 3:10-4:7, we see that even obeying God's Law perfectly can bring us no closer to Him than being slaves. How then can we gain a better standing with God? Because the Lord Jesus fulfilled the Law on our behalf, in Him we are no longer slaves but sons, adopted into God's own family.Galatians 4:7
The reality of the life of Christ in the believer doesn’t produce complacency. Instead, Romans 8:12-17 reminds us of our responsibility to live as debtors to mercy, enabled by the Spirit of God, and of the riches of life as God’s adopted sons and daughters.Romans 8:12-17
By Thabiti Anyabwile - Basics 2013
As they do in all human institutions, disagreements and conflicts sometimes arise in the local church. When that happens, how should church leaders respond? In Titus 3:9-11, Paul teaches that the voice of the shepherd must be both gentle a loud: gentle to comfort the wounded and frightened, and loud to warn of danger when necessary.Titus 3:9-11
Becoming a Christian does not mean that we no longer need God’s cleansing power. Alistair Begg explains that as God corrects our thoughts and behavior, we learn what it means to submit to him. True Christians will feel genuine sorrow for their sin, which will lead to authentic joy as we consider our freedom from sin’s penalty through Christ.James 4:7
A truly humble Christian obeys God out of joyful adoration. Alistair Begg teaches us that submitting to God involves continually resisting the devil by prayer and the reading of God’s Word. Intimacy with God is not something that happens automatically. It must be purposefully cultivated by the means He has provided.James 4:7
Earthly wisdom is not true wisdom at all: it is unspiritual and comes from the devil. Such “wisdom” is characterized by envy and selfish ambition, and it does not humbly acknowledge that everything we have is a gift from God. Alistair Begg reminds us that earthly wisdom eventually results in disorder and confusion, but heavenly wisdom brings peace.James 3:14
The Gospel of Jesus Christ can be difficult to talk about; its message is foreign to others - even offensive. In his second letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul exhorted him to not be ashamed, but to be willing to suffer for preaching the truth. Suffering for the gospel in this way exposes our own weakness, but provides an opportunity for God’s power to be displayed through us.
When Jesus ate dinner among the company of tax collectors and sinners, the Pharisees were quick to criticize His actions and to diminish His legitimacy. Jesus responds by reiterating His mission, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” This message serves as a reminder that the church itself is a refuge for all, without exclusion.Mark 2:15-17