Monday, June 2, 2014

Study in the Gospel of Mark

It is my privilege to teach an adult Sunday school class at Grace Bible Church in Colorado Springs. Our pastor, and therefore our church, emphasizes the preaching and teaching of the Word of God above everything else. This is a situation I greatly apreciate, since my Sunday school teaching has always been studying through a book of the Bible, verse by verse. No other activity of the church is as important as the study of the Scriptures.
This past Sunday, we began a study in the Gospel of Mark. Never does anyone get as much out of a study than the teacher does. Each time I study to teach a book of the Bible, the old, unchanging Word of God is new and fresh in the things I see and learn. While there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9), the Scriptures are inexhaustible, and there is always room for more complete understanding. I am looking forward to the continued study as we work our way through Mark.
It has long been taught that the four Gospels each have a different emphasis. There is nothing new about that. It is amazing that the four Gospels put together give us a tremendous, complete picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Matthew, He is presented as the Messiah, the King of Israel. In Mark, He is presented as the suffering servant of the Lord. In Luke, He is presented as the perfect man. In John, he is presented as the Son of God – or even more specifically, as God the Son. It is interesting to note that all four Gospels, regardless of emphasis, present all four of these characteristics of our Savior.
The Gospel of Mark, which presents Him as the suffering servant of the Lord, actually starts out by stating the other three characteristics. The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1, NKJV). Notice:  The beginning of the gospel of Jesus (His human name), Christ (His title:  The Messiah, The King), the Son of God (his Deity – He is the Creator-God of the Universe). None of the four Gospels leaves out any of these important characteristics of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are three important “beginnings” in Scripture, as follows:
(1)   Many have made an effort to put together a chronological Bible. I believe that in such a Bible, the very first verse should be John 1:1, which tells us of the first of these three “beginnings.” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This is eternity past. Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the Eternal God, the self-existent one, who has no beginning and no end.
(2)   Genesis 1:1 says, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. This is the beginning of time, and indicates the first part of Day One of creation week. As difficult as it is to grasp, time is a created thing. It would be impossible to mark and measure our lives without it. God is in no way constrained by time, because He dwells in eternity.
(3)   Finally, Mark 1:1 says, The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This tells us of the beginning of the events that led to the gospel message – beginning with His coming out of eternity into time and space, and culminating in His death, burial, and resurrection. The message that began with His earthly ministry finished with his great work that brings salvation. I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved … that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (I Corinthians 15:1-4).
If you live in or near Colorado Springs, I invite you to join with us in Bible-centered worship and study. Sunday morning services are at 8:00, 9:00, and 10:45. There are two Sunday school hours during the 9:00 and 10:45 services. There are four adult classes during the 9:00 hour:  First Peter, Hebrews, “The Cost of Discipleship,” and the Gospel of Luke. There are three adult classes during the 10:45 hour:  Revelation, Romans, and my new study in the Gospel of Mark. I encourage you to attend both a worship service and a Sunday school class. Our evening service is at 6:00.

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