Every week, on Monday, we will have a blog for you with resources for diving deeper into the sermon.
In week two of the A Story Unfolding series, our campus pastors pointed us to the incredible thing that belief is in seeing the kingdom of God go forward. The main idea was this: belief and unbelief change the story of the world.
Up until Mark 6, Jesus’ mission appears unstoppable. Everywhere he goes, people are getting healed and having their lives changed. This story in the beginning of Mark 6, though, shows that when Jesus came into his hometown of Nazareth, the people heard his wise teaching and saw his amazing miracles, and yet, they refused to believe anything special about Jesus because they felt like they knew him. They were familiar with Jesus as a hometown boy; there were probably rumors flying around that he was an illegitimate child. Certainly, there could be nothing special about this Jesus. But being familiar with Jesus is not the point. Being familiar with Jesus can make us immune to the truth of who Jesus really is.
In verse 5, we see that the unbelief of Nazareth stopped the kingdom of God from advancing in their midst. The story of Nazareth was forever changed by their act of unbelief. Just like with Nazareth, unbelief cuts us off from God, and therefore, cuts us off from the power of God.
In verse 6, we see that Jesus was shocked at their unbelief. The fact, that they didn’t believe seemed almost absurd to Jesus. And truly, unbelief is not logical. Many people want God to appear to them and do miracles to prove his existence, and then they say they would believe. But Nazareth shows us a people who had all the evidence they needed to believe and still didn’t.
But if unbelief stops the kingdom of God from advancing, then belief can advance the kingdom of God. The main application of this text for us is that we would believe in Jesus and advance the kingdom of God. Belief itself advances the kingdom because God’s kingdom is where Jesus is Lord. As people come under the lordship of Christ by believing the gospel, the kingdom of God advances through us.
But we have to ask the question: is what I believe about Jesus advancing the kingdom of God? Does my life look like I truly believe? Are we praying for kingdom advancement among us? Are we giving of our possessions towards kingdom advancement? Are we going on mission for kingdom advancement? The extent to which we believe in Jesus and our life is an active pursuit of seeing his kingdom advanced on earth, the more we will see it.
Not God Enough: Why Your Small God Leads to Big Problems by J.D. Greear
“We like God small. We prefer a God who is safe, domesticated, who thinks like we think, likes what we like, and whom we can manage, predict, and control. A small God is convenient. Practical. Manageable. The truth: God is big. Bigger than big. Bigger than all the words we use to say big. Only a God of infinite power, wisdom and majesty can answer our deepest questions and meet our deepest longings. Ironically, many today seem turned off by the concept of an awesome, terrifyingly great God. We assume that a God you would need to fear is guilty of some kind of fault. For us, thinking of God as so infinitely greater and wiser than we are and who would cause us to tremble in his presence is a leftover relic from an oppressive, archaic view of religion. But what if this small version of God we’ve created is holding us back from the greatest experience of our lives–from genuine, confident, world-transforming faith?”
Jesus the King: Understand the Life and Death of the Son of God by Timothy Keller
“Keller unlocks new insights into the life of Jesus Christ as he explores how Jesus came as a king, but a king who had to bear the greatest burden anyone ever has. Jesus the King is Keller’s revelatory look at the life of Christ as told in the Gospel of Mark. In it, Keller shows how the story of Jesus is at once cosmic, historical, and personal, calling each of us to look anew at our relationship with God. It is an unforgettable look at Jesus Christ, and one that will leave an indelible imprint on every reader.”
-Alex Nolette (Equip Coordinator/Community Groups)