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Sunday, 27 April 2014

'THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS'

Rev. Brent Russett
By Rev. Brent Russett
Pastor of Sunnyside Wesleyan Church in Ottawa:
http://www.sunnysidechurchottawa.com/   

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PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, April 27th, 2014:
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The Authority of Jesus’

             Good morning. And welcome to good news in the morning. My name is Brent Russett. I am the Senior Pastor at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church. It is my pleasure to look at some of life’s challenges, and then bring you some good news in the morning.


            This program is sponsored by Good News Christian Ministries. If you want to look us up on the internet, or to re-listen to this program you can find us at Goodnewsinthemorning.ca

             So today we are going to look at Mark 1-5. Sometimes it is helpful to look at small portions like a verse or two. Sometimes it is helpful to take a wide swath of scripture so we see the panoramic view. This morning we are quickly going to walk through the first 5 chapters of Mark.

             If you know the New Testament a little bit, you will know that it’s first four books tell the story of the life of Jesus from different perspectives. Mark was the first of these four books to be written. What Mark wants more than anything else is to help his readers understand who Jesus is.

            Matthew was written so that the Jews could understand who Jesus is. Luke was written so that non-Jewish people could understand who Jesus is. John was written to help us believe in Jesus.

            But this morning we are in Mark. The way that Mark shows who Jesus is, by showing the authority of Jesus.

            Now I don’t know about you but I don’t give all that much time thinking about authority. Now if you are in the military you probably get authority better than most. You understand what you are responsible for an not responsible for.

            If you have been in prison, then you have experienced the severe limitation of your authority. Your choices are minimal.

            But if you are going to understand this passage it is helpful to understand that we all have some measure of authority.

            I have authority over my visa card- well kind of I have to negotiate with my wife – and technically the bank owns the card itself if you read the fine print on the back – but go with me for this illustration.

            I can choose what I buy with that credit card. I can buy clothes or I could buy a groceries or if the price was right I could buy a motorcycle with my credit card. I have the authority to use that credit card in whatever way I see fit.

            But it is not unlimited authority. I do not have unlimited credit. So I have authority within limits. But for the most part I can make decisions about how my credit card gets used.

            But I don’t get to make decisions of how your credit card gets used. If I made decisions about how your credit card gets used, that would be identity theft. That would be illegitimate authority.

            Another word for authority is power. I have the power to make a decision. Now we don’t all have the same scope of power and authority.


            You get the idea. The amount of authority you have dictates what you can and cannot choose.

            Now the people that Mark was writing to understood authority well. You see the Romans ruled the world. The Romans by the power of their armies had authority. Because of this people’s government and people’s behaviour were subject to Rome. The people could not crucify Jesus without Rome’s consent. The people were forced to pay taxes to Rome. They didn’t have any say in the matter. The authority of Rome limited their own authority and they felt it.

            I feel the limit of my own authority all the time. I watch someone who is sick, and I don’t have the authority to make the choices to heal them. I watch someone who is struggling emotionally and I don’t have the power to remove the struggle. There are often times that I wish I could just wave my hands and take the struggle away – but I can’t.

            With that as a back drop let me remind you of some stories in the first 5 chapters of Mark.

            You may remember when Jesus was baptized and then coming out of the water God’s voice was heard from heaven:

Mark 1:11 (NIV)
11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.

            The first thing that Mark shows us is that Jesus has God’s stamp of approval.

            Then Jesus starts his teaching ministry. But on one Sabbath day in Capernaum he was teaching and a person who was demon possessed started screeching. Jesus said to the demon, be quiet come out, and the demon obeyed him. And this is what Mark records
Mark 1:27 (NIV)
27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.


            Jesus went from there and continued his preaching ministry and his ministry of exorcism and he also starts a healing ministry and people were flocking to him from all over the place. I want to pick up the story in chapter 2

            Jesus was again in Capernaum and was in someone’s house and the house was crowded. There was a paralyzed men who some of his friends carried to Jesus, but they couldn’t get near him, so they cut a hole in the roof and lowered the man down in front of him.

Mark 2:5–12 (NIV)
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.
Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?
Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!

            So now we see that Jesus has God’s approval, and now he does what only God can do and he forgives sin. So he has authority over demons and authority over sickness now he shows he has authority to forgive sin.

One Sabbath Jesus was walking through grain fields with his disciples and they began to pick some heads of the grain and eat them. In that time that was viewed has harvesting and breaking the Sabbath. The Pharisees called him on it. This what he said,
Mark 2:27–28 (NIV)
27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.

            So now he has authority over the Sabbath as well.

            Come with me to chapter 3:13. Jesus goes up to the mountain and he chose those who would go up after him.
Mark 3:14–15 (NIV)
14 He appointed twelve  that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons.

            He has the authority to appoint preachers and he gives them the authority he has to drive out demons. So he appoints the twelve disciples/ apostles.

 One last story found at the end of chapter 4.

            Jesus had been teaching the crowds. He had been teaching and storytelling all day. When evening came he got into a boat to go over to the other side of the sea of Galilee. A furious squall came up and the disciples thought that they were done for. They went to Jesus who was asleep and said, don’t you care if we drown.

Mark 4:39–41 (NIV)
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!

            Not only has Jesus been validated by his heavenly father, not only does he have power over demons, and power to heal and authority over the Sabbath, and authority to delegate his authority, now he demonstrates that he has authority over nature.

            If we were to take the time to read chapter 5 w would see  how Jesus raises someone from the dead, demonstrating that he has authority over death itself.

            The gospel of Mark is trying to let us know who Jesus is by telling the stories of Jesus. One of the themes of Mark is that Jesus has authority over the various realms of life.

MUSIC
Guy Penrod: Rock of Ages - I Stand Amazed

            The gospel of Mark shows us that Jesus has authority over all realms of life. The way the gospel of Matthew sums this up at the very end of the book is
Matthew 28:18–19 (NIV)
18 Then Jesus came to (his disciples) and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations….

            Jesus seemed to think that because he has authority in various areas of life, well really all areas of life – that should make a difference in how we live.
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples...
           
            So what difference does the fact that Jesus has authority over all the realms of life make in your life?

            I guess we should probably note some realities here. The provincial government of Ontario has the authority to set the speed limit on highways.

            But does everyone travel the speed limit on the highway.  No. Just because one has authority does not mean that everyone acknowledges that authority. – Until they get a speeding ticket, then they have to acknowledge the authority with their pocket book.

Philippians 2:9–11 (NIV)
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

            There will be a time when everyone acknowledges the authority of Christ. But right now – this is not so. Although Jesus has been given all authority – people don’t always acknowledge it, or live with it, at least not yet.

            But for those of you who are disciples of Christ, followers of Christ, what difference does it make to you that Jesus has all authority.

            For followers of Jesus it has meant acknowledging the Lord’s authority in our own life.

Romans 10:9 (NIV)
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

            Part of what it means to become a Christian is acknowledging the authority of Jesus in your own life. When you say Jesus, I give you my life, you are saying he has authority to say what goes in my life.

            I also recognize the struggle in that. Often people become Christians, they give their lives to Jesus and Jesus comes into their life – but it takes some time where every area of their life comes under the authority of Jesus. Some struggle with money or time or career or relationships or behaviours – and it takes a while to say Lord what you say I will do I every area of my life – but that is the beginning of real life. Those who would save their life will lose it, but those who lose it for Jesus sake will find it. What it means to lose your life for Jesus sake, is to surrender your own authority to him. He gets to be the decider for your life.

            Maybe that is where you are at with the authority of Jesus. You know that he has all authority, but there are some areas of your life where you are still not  minding the signs. The wages of sin, - and a good definition of sin is not heeding the authority of Jesus, is death.
            Whenever you don’t mind the authority of Christ it is toxic to your soul, because the whole reason why Jesus came is to bring life and have it to the full.

            It may be that some of you are here today and you know you haven’t come under the authority of Christ, or you have only done so in part – I want to urge you to confess Jesus as Lord.

            But for others of you, what the authority of Christ will mean in your life is real freedom, just like it did to the disciples who were harvesting on the Sabbath. Jesus says, I know that there are people who say you can’t do that – but I want to let you know that it is alright.

            There are people who will tell you that you are crazy to dump the career path you’re on, even though you know it is the right thing to do. Jesus may come along and say – it is alright to follow the heart that I have given you rather than the expectations of the people around you.. There is a profound freedom in following Jesus rather than the expectations of others. Knowing that Jesus has a greater authority than the authority of other people’s expectations can be freeing.

            There are people who will give you religious expectations. Jesus loves the church. Jesus called the church his bride. Jesus wants the church to be healthy strong and beautiful. But there is often a big difference between the church Jesus loves and the religion that operates in his name. Coming under the authority of Jesus, helps when it comes to getting mislead by religions that add or take away from what Jesus has said.

            There is a freedom that comes from the authority of Jesus.

            We saw how Jesus had authority over the demonic and how he delegated that authority to the disciples. Does Jesus still delegate his authority.

            That is what Ephesians 1 and 2 are driving at.

Ephesians 1:19–22 (NIV)
19 … power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,

            So Jesus has ascended into heaven and he has been placed far above every authority in this world both now and the world to come. God has appointed him head over everything – for the church.

            Now look what chapter 2 says,
Ephesians 2:6 (NIV)
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

            Where is Jesus seated, far above all authority in this world, and then he says come here and sit with me – and because of your connection with me – I am giving you authority to do things in my name.

            That is why Jesus invites us to pray in his name. There is authority that comes in being connected to Jesus. In fact that is what it means to pray in the name of Jesus – Jesus is giving his authority to answer your requests.

            There is something very profound about that. Jesus gives us the authority to do what he has called us to do. So when he says – go and make disciples- we can do that because his authority and the authority that he has given to us.


            The gospel of Mark show how Jesus has authority over ever sphere of life. Jesus says because he has authority we are to go make disciples – In fact he shows in Mark where he give authority to his followers.

             I wonder what would happen if you took up the authority that he has given to you. I wonder what would happen if we took up the authority given to us. I suspect we might just see God power at work in our lives in an ever increasing measure – and that we would make more disciples of Jesus.

My prayer for you is that you will walk in the authority that you have been given.        
           
Let’s pray…

Thank you, Jesus, for all the authority that you have. All authority has been given to you. You have authority over every sphere of life. And my prayer is that you would, indeed, come and give each person here who knows you, just a sense of what it means to live out that authority in their own life.
I pray that their prayer would take on new meaning and new power because they know that they have authority in you, because they’re connected to you.
I pray, Lord, that that they would be able to move into all that you call them to do.
I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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            Listeners I want to tell you about a special event that is happening Friday May 9th at 7 p.m. Good news in the morning is putting on. We have invited Dr. Rick Reed President of Heritage College and Seminary and former pastor at the Met to come and speak about the Good News about getting out the good News. Redemer Alliance’s worship team will be there – as will the speakers that you normally hear on this program. It is going to be an evening worth going to. So mark it on your calendars Friday May 9th at Parkdale United Church. At 7 p.m.

Thank you, Listeners for your words of encouragement, and for keeping us in your prayers. Keeping this program on the air continues to be a work of faith. If you can help with that, please make out a cheque payable to Good News Christian Ministries, Box 184 , Rideau Ferry , On. K0G  1W0. Or you can give online by going to goodnewsinthemorning.ca

May you know Jesus Christ personally and profoundly.  May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart.  And may the heavenly Father surround you with His constant and abiding and accompanying love

MUSIC
Hillsong - My Redeemer Lives

- Rev. Brent Russett
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To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link:
http://proxy.autopod.ca/podcasts/chum/6/21638/good_news_102_apr27.mp3

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