GOSPEL OF MARK – ROBBY GALLATY – Program 7
By: Dr. Robby Gallaty
|By: Pastor Robby Gallaty; ©2010|
|It is important to meet the physical needs of the people to whom you ministry, but it’s even more important to meet their spiritual needs.|
Distributing Demands of Ministry
The title this morning is “Distributing the Demand of Ministry.” Let me give you kind of a recap of what has happened in the book of Mark up to this point. Up to this point, Jesus Christ walked by the Sea of Galilee and He saw four fishermen. And He asked them to leave behind their jobs, their family, and their business—“Drop the nets. Come follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” Then He walks into the synagogue in Capernaum and He heals a man who is a paralytic. The four friends bring this man, they lay him before Jesus and Jesus says, “Which is it easier to say? Your sins are forgiven or take your bed and walk?” Jesus says, “To prove to you that I can forgive sins, rise, take up your bed and go home.” Then all of sudden, the crowd is outraged.
They’re following Him to the house of Peter’s mother-in-law. Everybody is in the town looking for the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus walks by a low life man named Levi who is a tax collector; the scum of the earth. He says, “Levi, leave the tax table and come follow Me.” The Pharisees are appalled at this if you can imagine. And to make matters worse, Jesus goes to Matthew’s house to hang around with his friends who nobody would associate with and He invites His disciples for a going away party for Matthew. The disciples are eating with a man the Pharisees would never come in contact with.
In order to push the envelope even further, Jesus begins to teach on the Sabbath, as we saw at the end of chapter 2 and chapter 3. He allows His disciples to pick grain as they’re walking through the fields and eat it on the Sabbath. And in addition to that, Jesus walks into the synagogue and heals a man with a withered hand.
All of this leads to verse 6 of chapter 3. Notice how we ended the last message in Mark. Verse 6: “The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.” That word means “to kill him.”
Is it safe to say Jesus has caused conflict with these men? On four instances, these guys have been stood up against by Jesus and are now blown away at what Jesus is doing. In just a few moments, I’m going to give you an opportunity today. It’s a two-fold opportunity. I want to demonstrate through Scripture that the call to follow Jesus is not a call to come and sit, it’s a call to come and to go. Look at the scripture, Mark 3:7:
“Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee [notice where the people are from] and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, ‘You are the Son of God.’ And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.
“And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.”
Let me give you two sections. There are two different sections here that I want to motivate you as a church to partner with me to help with the distribution of the demands of ministry. The first one is this in verse 7, and if you’re taking notes, here it is: Jesus engages the mission. Jesus in essence plants Himself right in the middle of ministry. And the first point, the sub-point is: Jesus looks at the crowd and He sees a physical need.
Look at it in the text. Verse 7, “[He] withdrew with his disciples to the [Sea of Galilee]….” Now don’t miss this. Jesus is not a coward. Jesus is not fearful. In fact, this is a ministry of courage. He’s in total control at all times. But the reason He withdraws is because it’s not His time. He’s in essence protecting the mission. He’s protecting the disciples. And He’s protecting Himself from the time that would happen for Him to go to the cross. It’s not time yet. And all of a sudden He withdraws and the crowd follows Him.
Now I want you to notice where the people are coming from. It says Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. That’s the surrounding area. And even as far reaching as Jerusalem to the south. And then it says Idumea, which is about 120 miles due south. Then it goes even further. The region of Tyre and Sidon, which is about 50 miles to the northwest.
Now, what does that mean to us? Notice this. Jewish believers would have come from Jerusalem, Judea, and Galilee. Idumea and beyond the Jordan, you would have had people who are a mix between Jew and Gentile. And then it shows us that even from Tyre and Sidon that there were people who were strictly Gentiles. Jesus’ ministry at this point from the text is far reaching beyond John the Baptist’s ministry. Why? Because John the Baptist only focused on Jerusalem and Judea. And it shows us that the overwhelming amount of people that were coming to Jesus. Jesus sees people from all over.
Can you imagine the scene? I mean, imagine if you were there and you were one of His new disciples and you see this overwhelming crowd approach. In March of 2009, the Dutch artist Johan van der Dong decided to give God a cell phone. I don’t know if you read about this. But he decided that God needed a number for people to call Him. If He was a God that was supposed to be anywhere at any time and any circumstance, he felt it important to give God a number. And so he bought Him a cell phone and he put an ad in the paper. Now you can imagine what anybody called. Within the first month or the first week, I think, he had 1,000 phone calls. People had called looking for God. The only problem was when you called the number, you got an answer machine. “This is God. Sorry I’m not able to take your call right now but if you leave a message, I’ll call you back.” The problem, although it was a good intention in the beginning, the problem was he showed that the God who was anytime, anywhere and any circumstance, was unavailable.
But that’s not Jesus. See, the God we serve, He’s always available. He’s here now. He’s always aware. He’s in every situation, every circumstance in your life, in my life, in the whole world at the same time and that’s what Jesus does. He comes on the scene and He’s available.
Now imagine if you were there. This is a trauma center, church. Imagine. There are lepers there in the midst of the disciples. There are people walking into people who are blind. The deaf are there. Diseases are there. Leprosy is there. People are there looking to meet with Jesus, and Jesus is not about to turn anyone away. In fact, in verse 9 it even becomes scary at one point. Even hostile. The crowd is jostling the disciples. Look at 9: “And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him….”
That word for “crush” is “to violently push.” It is the word “to squeeze against.” They were pressing in on Him, and Jesus, much like having a getaway car ready with the engine running, “Hey, Peter, we might want to get that boat ready so we can sneak out of here.” That’s what in essence is happening.
Jesus sees the physical need of the people, but I want you to understand something. Jesus also understands that there is another need beneath the surface. And it’s a greater need. And I want to submit to you that the need of the crowd back then, although they thought it was physical, they had a spiritual need much like you and I today. Do you know that the greatest disease that you can ever face, the hardest illness you can ever walk through, the biggest financial difficult you can ever journey through, fails in comparison to the spiritual needs you have being a sinner who needs a savior? Do you know that?
Every person in this world was born in to the world as a sinner. Paul tells us in Romans there is no one righteous, no not one. There is no one who seeks after God. They have all turned away. They’ve all together become meaningless. There is no one righteous, no not one. Any questions? For we have all sinned—emphatic—all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That means every person in this church, all have the same problem. We have a spiritual need.
Jesus sees the physical needs but He targets the spiritual needs. That’s the second point in the text. Look what happens in the text. Now, we can’t see it from here. We have to go to Matthew. Hold your place here. Turn to Matthew 4:23. Now watch this. The crowd’s coming for a healing, but Jesus provides an interesting insight into their real need. Verse 23; same passage, different gospel. Same story: “And [Jesus] went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues [here it is, underline it] and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.” The people came to Jesus for the wrong reason but Jesus always connects the real reason, which is a spiritual need.
One thing that’s pretty amazing about the church is that through the years we’ve got people throughout the age and even today who get caught up in the social gospel. Has anybody ever heard of the social gospel? The social gospel is because Jesus came to the world, we as believers who love Him, should love others; and so we should go out and do social works of kindness for people. I’m all for—let me say for the record—social works. I’m all for the social gospel if it contains the gospel. This is the problem. Most of the time, social work by Christians does not contain the gospel, which Paul says if it doesn’t contain the gospel, then it’s no gospel at all, right?
See, in the world and in church planting you see this a lot. You see people, especially on the West Coast, they’ll go out and do a lot of social ministry. They’ll feed the homeless. They’ll cloth those who need help. They’ll help the helpless and I’m all for that. But the problem is they forget to tell people why they do these things. Listen, it’s the love of Christ that compels us to go do these things.
Now in Chattanooga we don’t have that problem. See, the problem with Chattanooga—that’s that side of the pendulum; the social gospel—you’ve got the gospel with social ministry. This is sadly where we are. We don’t fight for the social gospel. I don’t have to pull you back from doing too much. I’ve got to motivate you to do something, right? Because we’re over here. We want to fight for the truth and so we sit over here and we tell people all the reasons why they’re wrong, but we don’t do anything. “You’re going to hell!” Are you loving that person? Are you serving that person? And so the balance is we have to be careful we don’t err on this side.
Jesus was a man who reads both the physical needs and the spiritual need and He realized that these people had a deeper issue. Yes, they were coming to Him for healing, but they had a deeper issue. Now we know Jesus was preaching the gospel and the reason we know that was, look who is in His midst. Look at the next verse. Who was there in His midst in chapter 3? Look what it says. The demons cried out and fell at His feet. “You’re the Son of God!” What’s interesting is, the demons get it right. In fact, all throughout Mark on three different occasions in chapter 1, and chapter 3 and in chapter 5, the demons correctly identify Jesus as God’s Son.
Pop quiz: who’s the only other person up to this point in the gospel of Mark who correctly identifies Jesus as God’s Son? Who is it? God. God’s the only one who gets it. Go back to Mark 1:11. When Jesus is being baptized and a voice came from heaven and said, “You are My beloved Son.” The crowd missed it! Is that crazy? The disciples even don’t get it at this point. The Pharisees don’t get it. The scribes don’t get it. The Herodians don’t get it. The Sadducees don’t get it. It’s the demon-possessed men who say, “You’re the Son of the Living God.”
What’s even more scary is that people today in 2010 in America don’t get it. Does that blow your mind? With all the evidence of scripture, with all the testimony of believers, there are people in our church this morning who don’t get it. Now many scholars believe that the reason the demons cried out that “You’re the Son of God” is they wanted to avert from His authority over them. We don’t know it all. But the interesting thing is Jesus silences them. The reason He silences them is this: Jesus will never let—don’t miss this—holy message come from an unholy vessel. Did you see that? He will not stop a holy message—the Son of God—coming from an unholy vessel. Same thing goes for our lives as believers.
Jesus sees the mission; He engages the mission. Notice what He does secondly if you’re taking notes: He enlists the men. Look at it in verse 13: “And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired….”
Now, notice. Jesus is not going to the mountain to sightsee. It’s not like going up to Lookout Mountain to look at the different states. He’s not even going bird watching on the mountain. Jesus, whenever you see that “up to the mountain,” is for a reason. Go to Luke 6. Let me show you the reason. Luke adds one interesting fact that Mark leaves out. Luke 6:12, “In these days he went out to the mountain to pray….”
“God, I’m just too tired tonight. I’ll pick up tomorrow with You. I know I had a meeting to get up and pray with You in the morning, God, but I’m just way too busy to do that with You, God.” The Lord convicted me about my own life. We will get and put aside meetings in the world and we’ll treat Him second-best. Let me ask you. Do you have a regular time with the Lord? Think about this. When was the last time you truly got alone with God and said, “God, I’m just going to clear my day and I want to hear from You”? You know, sometimes the silence of being still can be deafening.
Jesus got alone with the Father. In fact, this was a big day, because He was about to call the 12 men who would forever take the message to the world. And that’s the sub point A, He calls them. He enlists the men by calling them. Look what He does. The verse says, “He appointed twelve men… so that they may come and be with Him.” See, the disciples just saw this overwhelming demand of ministry. Talk about experiencing ministry first hand. I mean, they’re surrounded by ministry.
And then Jesus does something interesting. He distributes the demands of ministry. He says, “I can do it all, but I’m not. I need you guys to help me take the ministry to the world.” The success of any church and church pastor is dependent upon how well the pastor distributes the demands of ministry to the people. Let me say that again. Our church will only grow as large as the leadership of the church will allow it. That works in your business; that works in our Sunday Schools classes; that works in your ministries. The church or the organization will only grow as big or as large as the leader will let it.
Just imagine, as your pastor, if I come in this week and I’m going to do everything. “Guys, give it all back to me. I’m going to do it all. In fact, from now on, I’m going to make every hospital visit there is to make. I’m going to make every counseling session. I’m going to handle it. I’m going to visit every person in our church that isn’t able to come to church. I’m going to go to every assisted-living center and I’m going to preach there on Tuesday and Thursday. I’m going to counsel every person that comes to the church. I’m going to make every visit to every church member for every issue in the church. I’m going to conduct every marital counseling issue in the church. I’m going to do every appointment. I’m going to make every funeral. I’m going to go to every wedding. I’m going to make every phone call. I’m going to meet with every missionary that comes to the church. I’m going to contact every new visitor that ever comes to Brainerd Baptist Church. I’m going to call the television viewers and the radio viewers and I’m going to do it all.”
Now, what’s going to suffer? Everything, right?! The main thing that will suffer is the preaching of the Word of God to the people of God by the Spirit of God. Erwin Lutzer, I was telling him some of the struggles as a pastor. And the thing is, I want to do everything. That’s the thing. I love being with the people of God. I love being with our church. This is the issue. Erwin Lutzer, Dr. Lutzer, was sitting across from me at breakfast with Dr. Ankerberg, and he said these words to me. He said, “Robby, what’s the one thing in church that you can do, that God’s gifted you to do, that no one else can do?” I said, “I don’t know. I guess, I guess it’s the proclaiming or the preaching of God’s Word.” He said, “You have to do that well.” He said, “Because if you don’t, your church will let you know.”
And I want to share with you today, God has called each of us and gifted us in individual ways to do something well. And in order for the church to do what God’s created us to do, we need every person in the church doing that thing well. Because Jesus, when He says He calls the disciples, I love that word; that word “call.” Look at it in the text. You can underline it. That word “call” is actually the word not to suggest but to summons. See, Jesus didn’t take a vote. “Okay, who’s ready to be in ministry? I see that hand.” Jesus didn’t take résumés, right? Jesus spent time with the Father and then He summoned the disciples to follow Him. The same way He picks you and I to follow Him today. The voice of God still speaks.
Now this is diametrically opposed to what normally happens. See, in the first century, the Talmudine, or the disciples, would decide on the rabbi they would follow. The rabbi never picked the students. The disciples would go around town much like high school students pick colleges. They would look at this college or they would look at that college, or they would look at this rabbi or look at this rabbi, and they would pick the rabbi. Jesus flips the tables and He goes out and finds His disciples. So the disciples can’t say, “Hey listen, I chose you.” Jesus said, “No, you didn’t choose Me. I chose you.”
And the difference between Jesus and the rabbis is that when you followed a rabbi in the first century, you went to the rabbi so that he could teach you the Torah, the word, the prophets, and the interpretations. Get this, when Jesus calls you to follow Him, He wants you to know what? Him. He said, “You want to be successful? You know Me. You want to be used by Me? You spend time with Me. You want to be sent out by Me? You’ve got to know Me.” See, the call to follow Jesus, before you can go out for the Lord, you’ve got to spend time with the Lord. It’s always a call to come before it’s a call to go.
Now the question is why does He call 12? He calls 12 because, remember in Genesis 35, Jacob had 12 tribes of Israel, right? And then it says in Matthew 19:28 that the 12 not only carry on the mission, but they will sit on the judgment seat and judge the nations.
I thought another interesting word is the word “appoint,” look at it, “so that they might be with Him and He might send them.” It says Jesus appointed the 12. That word “appoint” means to be made. It’s not picking a team or seeing hands raised. Jesus says, “When I call you to come to Me, I make you to be. If I call you, I’ll equip you. If you come to Me, I’ll supply the resources.” It’s the same word, church, used in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth.” Isn’t that interesting? Jesus didn’t appoint them. He made them to be who they would be.
And then He called them apostles. Now why does He call them apostles? That word “apostle” means to be sent out. What’s interesting is another commentator said, “The naming of the disciples reminds us of Adam naming the animals in the garden. There is only one person who is reserved to name animals or name people. It’s the superior master, maker, or parent who determines the existence and the purpose of the things named.” Now God could have chosen any way to take His message to the world. You know, I’ve always wondered why didn’t God just put a cloud in the sky over Jesus with a big arrow and in the clouds have written “Salvation is here,” right? You would have walked by and said, “Wow, that must be where salvation is,” right? It’d have been easy that way. I mean, why didn’t God just speak through a global megaphone in the sky? “Jesus is Lord!” “Okay, I got that, God.” But He didn’t. He decided to entrust the greatest mission and message of the world to 12 ordinary men.
Now, if you and I were picking these guys, I’ll be honest, we probably wouldn’t have picked these 12. When you and I look at the list of nobodies that Jesus calls, the ordinary men that Jesus calls, we realize when Jesus calls a man or a woman to follow Him, He doesn’t look at past experience, He looks at what you can be in Him. Aren’t you glad for that this morning? Aren’t you glad God doesn’t look at our past? Hey, none of us would be here, including me. Aren’t you glad God doesn’t judge us on our past but He sets us on a new path for a future and a plan and a purpose for His life?
Not only does He call, but He commissions. And I want you to see an interesting point of discipleship. Second point: the call to come is a call to be and then to go. And here’s an interesting side note. When you get called in the ministry, it’s always a call from who? God, right? I’ve seen a lot of people in ministry that their mom called them into ministry. “Son, you’ll be a great minister one day.” Their grandma called them into ministry. Grandpa called them into ministry. Dad called. The church said, “Boy, you’d be a good preacher some day.” And they go to seminary and they pastor churches. Listen, the call to follow God is always a call from God.
Now, here’s a side note. All of us who are members and believers are called to ministry. Did you know that? We are all called to minister and be in ministry. Every person in the church has a purpose. Every minister or member. Jesus calls them and tells them to do two things. What’s the first thing? Look at it in the text. Preach. How many of you are saying, “Well, thank God that’s not me. I’m not a preacher, Pastor.” You may not be called to be a preacher but you’re called to share the hope that is within you, right? You’re called to give testimony of the goodness of God within you.
Now what is the message that they would have preached? Health, wealth, and prosperity? “Come to Jesus! You’ll be rich” Did they that preach that? “Come to Jesus! He’ll heal any disease!” “Give your life to the Lord! It’ll be a bed of roses!” Is that what He preached? No. Mark 1:15. Remember, we memorized it. After John was put into prison, Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God saying the time has come. The kingdom of heaven is near. And here it is: Repent and what? Believe in the gospel of God. The message of Christ was always a message of repentance, turning from sin and believing.
Let me ask you, have you done that? Can you remember a time in your life when you can look back and say, “Pastor, this day at this time; it was significant.” I remember somebody saying, “Well, I just think I did that.” My question to them was, “Don’t you think if you came in contact with the God of universe to change your life, you’d remember that?” Do you remember the time in your life when you repented of your sin and put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? That was the message He gave them to go with.
But don’t miss this: The power’s not in the messenger, the power is in the message. You may be saying, “Well, I don’t have the power to do that. I’m not a speaker.” It’s not in the messenger as much as it’s in the message.
John Stott, the British theologian and preacher and pastor, was called to preach in Sydney, Australia, one time to a bunch of college students, and pastors and preachers had come as well. And as he was flying over there on the plane, he lost his voice. When he got there, he told the people. He said, “I don’t think I’m going to be able to preach.” They said, “You don’t understand. We’ve rented out this school university. We’ve got the whole amphitheater. Hundreds and thousands are going to come to hear you. You’ve got to preach.” So he called everyone together and he said, “Alright. We need to pray that God would allow me to be used by Him. Let’s pray like Paul prayed. God, I pleaded three times to take the thorn in my flesh away and will ask God to take and remove the problem with my throat.”
And at the end of the prayer, John Stott jumped in and he said, “Well, let me just pray one more thing. God, if you choose to be glorified in my infirmity, I pray that You’d be honored through that.” He said, “I got up to preach,” and he said in his words, “It turned out I had to get within one inch of the microphone.” He said, “I croaked through the gospel. I was unable to use any inflection in my voice or to express my personality. I was just speaking in a monotone voice. And all the time we were praying that God would use me and be powerful in my infirmity.” He said, “I can honestly say that that was a far greater response that night than any other night that I’ve ever preached.” He said “I’ve been back to Australia ten times, and on every occasion, people come up to me and say, ‘Mr. Stott, do you remember the time you lost your voice and preached? That was the night I gave my heart to the Lord.’”
It’s not in the power of the man. It’s not in the inflection of the voice. It’s not in the tone or the tempo. It’s not even in the messenger. It’s in the message. “The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of your soul, discerning the thoughts and the intentions of our hearts.” God said, “My word will not come back to me void but will accomplish what it intends to accomplish.”
Listen, when you go out and speak to people and proclaim the good news of God, every time we use His Word, there’s a promise; not only to preach or to proclaim the Word, but to cast out demons. Look at the second authority Jesus gives them. Up to this point, Jesus is the sole exorcist, right? He’s the only guy doing exorcisms. And now He says, “I want you guys to go out and to cast out demons.” Now, this is pretty interesting, church. I don’t know if you’ve thought about this. Out of the 12 guys that are going out empowered by God to cast out demons, there’s one that’s unique. Who is that? Judas. Judas is an unbeliever. In fact, in John 6:70, Jesus said, “I’ve chosen you twelve. One of you is a devil.” What is going on here? Jesus sends 12 guys and one of the 12 is a devil. Satan was using Judas as an unbeliever. Now you may be saying, “Well, why did Jesus let Judas stay in the group?” Because it was not time. Jesus is using Judas as an example to teach an object lesson that He will teach at the Last Supper, at the right time in the right situation.
Now, here’s the point. The invitation of the Lord Jesus, the same way as He invited the 12, the same as He called them to come and sent them to go, is the same invitation He offers today.