Jesus never gives up on us. Rather, it is our unbelief and hardness of heart that stand in the way.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing Alright today? Oh, I trust so. Oh, I’m fine, thank you for asking. I feel great. Hallelujah. [chuckle] Oh, it’s wonderful to wake up and be eager to live another day and have something challenging just like this that I can start in the early morning hours and share with you from the Word of God.
Let me finish up my comment on the last chapter of Mark, and that will finish then our complete summary of this precious book in which we’ve been living for a while. I told you that the angel said, “Tell His disciples and Peter.” Peter had disowned Him, denied Him, and so he’s now being especially classified. “Tell His disciples and Peter, ‘Peter, you didn’t wanna be a disciple but Jesus wants you anyway.'” I think there have been times in each of our lives somewhere along the line where we fudged a little on our Christian testimony. We tried somehow to be unnoticed, or to be anonymous, or not to be picked on because we were a Christian. Hasn’t that been true of you at some time or other? I think that’s true for most people.
I want you to know as you read this passage, “Tell His disciples and Peter,” that Jesus doesn’t give up on you. He doesn’t give up on you because you may have failed or you may have backed out of a situation where you should have been true to Him. He doesn’t give up. Paul says, “Though we fail, He abideth faithful. He cannot deny himself.” Oh, faithful Savior, how He loves, and how He guides, and how He holds on. How many times have you and I had to say, “Thank you, God, for holding on to me.” Yes, He does. He hath said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” Is somebody feeling wobbly today in your faith? You feel like you’re just about to fall off the wagon of faith, so to speak? You’re feeling wobbly, you don’t know where you stand. You’ve failed here and there. You think to yourself mournfully, “Well, I blew it. That’s it, I can’t expect God to bless me after that.”
Oh, Jesus is still hanging on to you, my friend. He hasn’t let go. He wants you to turn your heart back in complete submission to Him. He wants to give you back, as the prophet said, “I will restore unto you the years that the locust hath eaten.” He wants to repair the damage, in other words, and give you His blessing instead. Turn to your Savior today.
Dear person who may have failed at some point or other in your life, turn to the Savior and realize that He’s there, He’s waiting. “The Father seeketh such to worship Him,” Jesus said, “God is out looking for you.” If you have any inclination at all to turn to God, please do it this minute, because He has not, not that is, has not given up on you, nor will He.
Well, we go on in Mark 16. “Now Lord Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection,” and notice in verse 14, it says, “Afterward He appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat.” Just a small thought as we go by those words. It’s the eleven now, it’s not the twelve. Judas is gone. Judas is gone, it’s the eleven. And I have to remind you that if you back out of your relationship with the Lord Jesus, no one else will quite fill your place. No, you’re unique. Judas, in all of his infamy and failure and greed and betrayal, was a unique person. And he wasn’t replaced. I know they had a vote later on and Matthias was chosen to take his place. But Judas was gone. And when you and I fail, it’s not the twelve anymore, it’s the eleven.
Well, it said, “He appeared to them and upbraided them,” that’s our word ‘scold.’ “Scolded them because of their unbelief and hardness of heart because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen.” I talked about this the last time that we stopped on this passage and we spent a little time on it, so just to touch the truth, as my father used to say, “Touch the high spots. You gotta hit the high spots, boy,” he would say. He called me boy, he couldn’t remember my name. [chuckle]
Unbelief and hardness of heart, what does that mean? Unbelief means the unwillingness to take God at His word. Hardness of heart means that your presuppositions are based upon human ideas. It can’t possibly happen. I give you an illustration what I mean when I say hardness of heart and unbelief. Elijah said, “Tomorrow at about the same time in the gate of Samaria, three measures of flour, three measures of barley for a shekel, and a measure of fine flour for a shekel will be sold in the gate of Samaria.” In other words, the siege will be over and you’ll have food. Now, the nobleman said, “Behold, if the Lord might make windows in heaven, could such a thing be?” He didn’t believe. He was unwilling to take God’s word at His word. That’s unbelief. But he had also hardness of heart. He said, “It can’t happen.” Not only it may not happen, but it can’t happen. That’s hardness of heart. Why? That is proceeding on the basis of human cognition. That is proceeding on the basis of human experience heretofore.
It hasn’t rained, therefore it won’t rain. The siege hasn’t lifted, therefore it won’t lift. I haven’t been healed, therefore I won’t be healed. That is hardness of heart. You wanna be on your guard against that? Unbelief is the “What if” factor. What if God doesn’t do it? Then what? Unbelief. Not being willing to risk everything on His Word. Hardness of heart says, “It hasn’t happened in all of my experience, and so based upon what I know, I’ll say it can’t happen.” Watch out for that, because that really keeps God from working. It says of our Lord Jesus in one particular place, “He could there do no mighty work.” Couldn’t do anything, and He marveled because of their unbelief.
You see, you and I get in God’s way when we don’t exercise true faith, which believes God’s Word and acts on it. Today, be a person, will you, who really believes God’s promises and who takes them in and puts them into action? Jesus scolded the disciples. Very few places where you find Him scolding them, but this is one. Why? Because of unbelief, that’s the “If what if” factor. What if it’s all a hoax? And hardness of heart, it can’t possibly happen. See? Watch out for those factors in dealing with these things you and I meet in daily life, Alright? Now, He said, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” We call this the Great Commission, and all I wanna do is to remind you, at this point, beloved, that that so-called Great Commission has never been rescinded. It is still extant. It is still in force. It is still an obligation to be faced by every believer.
You wanna remember that? Into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. You and I still have that obligation. Now, thank God we’re living in an age where, now, it’s possible to talk to almost everyone in the world at the same time through satellite broadcasting, all of the modern technology that has been made available. And so, we are closer than ever to the fulfillment, the literal fulfillment, of that command. Let’s keep working at it, shall we? Do all you can, beloved, to support Gospel radio and television broadcasting the Gospel to all the world. Start with your own local church first and then reach out to those people who are getting the Gospel out, because that’s part of obeying God’s command. The Gospel to every creature.
Now, just one more concept that I want to share with you, and that is down in the last verse of the last chapter of Mark. “They went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming His Word with signs following.” Now, some people say the age of miracles is past. I don’t, myself, agree with that because I’ve seen too many things happen in answer to prayer where God sovereignly intervenes in human life. What I want to guard against is the idea that you can demand a miracle, that you can say, “Well, the Lord will do this.” You can’t demand this. You have to trust God for it. He’s sovereign.
But you can depend, here’s what you can depend on. You can depend upon God’s working with you when you are busy sharing the Gospel with people. The key to a miraculous ministry is world evangelism. If you are busy getting the Gospel out to all the world, sincerely sharing Jesus Christ with other people, you can expect that God will work with you. Do you follow that? Just to sit around and employ some kind of religious magic and say, “Well, now we’ll have a miracle. We’ll pray and God will do this or that.” It doesn’t necessarily follow. He is not a heavenly office boy that you can demand. You’re to worship God. “He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” “Worship in spirit”, Jesus said, “And in truth.”
So, there’s the framework within which you and I work. We worship, and we depend on God to see us through, and we do not demand, but we worship. He’s the creator, we are the creatures. All of that is true, but I have to tell you, and I believe this with all my heart, if you will specialize in getting the Gospel out to all the world, when you are busy sharing Jesus with other people, God works with you and He does whatever is necessary to make your message credible. Isn’t that a great concept? The Lord working with them and confirming His Word. It is as though when you and I in our feeble way say, “Jesus saves,” God stands by and says, “That is the truth.” God confirms His Word.
So, let me put it together once again, in a little package that you can carry with you and put to work. When you and I, when we are busy sharing the Lord Jesus with other people, in obedience to this command, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature,” when we are busy obeying that command, God works with us and He does whatever is necessary, be it miracle or not, He does whatever is necessary to make that blessed message credible in the eyes and hearts of those who listen to it. You can depend on God to back you up, that’s the point. Oh, today, would you dare to speak of Christ to someone? You may be timid, you may be fearful, you may think, “Oh, I don’t have the expertise in all that.” Listen, you don’t have to be an expert, all you have to do is be a channel. A channel doesn’t make any noise, it just lets God flow through. Good idea? You try it.
Dear Father today, may we share Thee and the blessed message of salvation with our friends everywhere, I ask in the name of the Lord Jesus, Amen.
Well, dear friends, until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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