Don't allow familiarity with Jesus to lead to taking Him for granted. Be close to Him, honor Him and pray. Depend on the Holy Spirit, so that He will in turn guide you.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. Well the typical greeting, how in the world are you? If we miss that someone is certain to write in and say, “What’s the matter? You sick or something? You didn’t say, ‘How in the world are you’”. All right so I said it and I’m glad. Okay? We’re looking now at Mark chapter 6. The Lord Jesus went out and came into His own country. Now, He’s been brought up in Nazareth as you know. His disciples followed Him and on the Sabbath day He began to teach in the synagogue. Many hearing Him were astonished saying, “From whence sayeth this man these things? And what wisdom is this which is given unto Him that even such mighty works are wrought by His hand? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joseph and Judah and Simon, and are not His sisters here with us”? They were offended at Him. What’s the point there? Well the assumption is that if you know a person well, you need never expect anything but what you’re accustomed to, that which fits within the matrix of your own habit patterns, and anything here she does that’s different is an attempt to start arrogate himself or herself to a position higher than the rest. He said, we know, they said, “We know about Him, He’s the carpenter, the son of Mary and His brothers here, James Joseph, Judah, Simon, and his sisters”. Interesting ladies, they name the men but not the women. Aren’t you glad that you have a place now and your name is known and recognized, not just, “And his sisters”, or is it says elsewhere, “And the women”. Ah yes. You’ve got lots to thank God for and so have I. Anyway, the assumption is that because we know Him, because He grew up here, because He’s one of us, He doesn’t have any right to be different from us. Now, that’s what Paul called later on, the psychology is the same, he called the reproach of the cross. That is to say that when you make the Lord Jesus Christ Lord of your life, you do become different, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new”, and so people around you who know you well, are going to criticize you because you are different. The idea being, what right do you have to be any different from us because you’re one of us. You see the point? Now, what do you do about? Paul says, “Our job is to hold for the word of life among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life”. All you have to do is to shine. The light doesn’t make any noise, you just shine, makes a difference. Don’t make noise, make a difference, that is the operating principle by which you can counteract the criticism of people who know you best. You understanding that? You don’t have to argue with them, you don’t have to justify yourself, nor indeed does it do any good to go away and grieve because they’ve rejected you. You feel rejected because they’ve criticized you because you’re different from them. That doesn’t do any good, just makes you feel bad. What do you do? Keep on shining, keep on smiling, keep on serving God, keep on praying, keep on meeting your Lord, day by day in His word, keep on following the guidance of the indwelling Holy Spirit, keep on shining. You’ll make a difference.
Now, there’s another thought here that I want, just to pause just for a moment to bring out. Says, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary”. You know that neighborhood gossip had it, that Mary’s firstborn was not sired by Joseph her husband. You know that, and so, all through those 30 years, our Lord Jesus is now beginning His ministry’s, He’s about 30 years old, all through those years it was tacitly whispered here and there, well you know, they had to get married. Today even people who are either malicious or ignorant or both are whispering that the Lord Jesus was not born of the virgin Mary, born of the Holy Ghost, and that Mary, yielding her body to the Holy Spirit of God, was inseminated by that divine seed of which came our Lord Jesus Christ, altogether God, and yet altogether man. A lot of unbelieving people lift an eyebrow say, “Oh yeah we know”. What they did there, “Is not this the carpenter? Look, He worked with His hands, what’s He doing now teaching? The son of Mary, we know where he came from. What right does He have to say anything to us?”, and it says, “They were offended at Him”. The offense of the gospel, the offense of a shining life, the offense of a life given to the will of God, is still there. “Don’t be surprised”, Jesus said, “if the world hate you, for they hated Me before they did you”. If you know and love the Lord Jesus Christ you’re going to come under the same type of criticism or animosity or even hatred, shown toward Him. You’ll come under that same type of thing inevitably, if you belong to your blessed Lord. Don’t be surprised and don’t be hurt or panicked or embittered. Don’t engage in a big pity party for yourself, self-pity, why does this happen to me, realize that the opposition you and I face in this old world comes because we know and love the Lord Jesus, and the natural, means the unsaved man, “Receiveth not the things of the spirit of God for their foolishness unto Him neither can He know them because they are spiritually discerned”. So, don’t be surprised if you face opposition beloved, just keep on shining. Don’t lose your cool as the kids say, just keep on shining. The Lord Jesus had an answer. He said, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country and among his own kin, and in his own house”. He knew, as do you and I, that the people who know you best tend to discount you, because they know you so well.
Small thought here; are you familiar enough with the things of God to take them for granted and discount them? I find that happening in churches all over the country. People are habituated to certain things and they take them for granted. The preaching of the gospel for example, they say, “Yes, that’s the gospel so what?”, the habits that they have formed in terms of church attendance and church programs and rituals, deeply ingrained, they follow those habits, Sunday after Sunday, but they take it all for granted. They don’t give any thought to it particularly. How familiar are you, does familiarity breeds contempt as they say, in your case are in mine? Are we so familiar with going to church and praying and singing and testifying and giving in the order in which those events come up? Are we so familiar with at that it doesn’t move us anymore? It doesn’t stir our hearts. There’s no tear either of penitence are of joy in our eyes. There’s no heart cry toward Almighty God who hears prayer. There’s just a going through with routines anymore. Has that come into your life? If so God is pleading with you to get real with Him. Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. “You shall seek Me and find find Me when you shall search for Me”, God says, “with all your heart”.
Well, many a time I found myself praying what may have sounded to an observer as an acceptable prayer, but I will come to the fact that my heart really wasn’t in it, and hopefully on those occasions I’ve cried out to God and said,“Oh God I’m praying poorly and I want to be real with you, and I want to be sincere, I want really to reach God in my prayer. Help me”, and at that moment as I was honest with God about my own shallowness, the Holy Spirit of God helped me really to pray. Try that for yourself. When you’re aware of mere formalism and coldness and shallowness and spiritual deadness, even as you go through a spiritual exercise which may include praying, and you’re aware of a deadness about it all the shallowness about of it all, oh tell God, confess it to Him and tell Him and ask Him for the help of His indwelling Holy Spirit to pray in you and through you. Romans 8 says, We know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered, and he that search the hearts that’s God the Father”. He that search the hearts, that’s God the Father, knoweth what is the mind of the spirit because He the spirit, maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God, and John says, “We know of we ask anything according to His will He hears us, and if we know that He hears us, we know also that we have the petitions we desired of Him”, and so you can move beloved from shallow thinking and praying, to deep, sincere, effective praying if you’ll ask God the Holy Spirit to pray through you and He takes control then of your thinking and of your praying, as well as of your deciding. Don’t be so familiar with the with sacred things that they become secular. God’s quarrel with people as recorded in Malachi was that they wouldn’t, they wouldn’t do anything for nothing, they won’t even shut the doors for nothing, he said and he said, “The altars and the sacrifices, you’ve sniffed at it”, and said, “what a weariness”. Oh, I’ve often heard that in churches, “Oh I’m so tired of all these meetings”. Oh, I wanted to say, “Well, bless your heart stay home”, but I didn’t, aren’t you glad? No, we do, we get tired of routine, but you never, bless God, you never get tired of the real contact with your heavenly father, as the spirit of God Himself lifts that prayer to the presence of Almighty God. Learn to pray in dependence upon the Holy Spirit. Will you? Learn to pray in dependence upon the Holy Spirit. If sometime you find it difficult to start praying, go to the word of God and read some of the Psalms which are prayers out loud before your Lord. You’ll find that it warms your heart gets you into a mood of real praying, and then as I told you moment ago, just ask God by His Spirit to pray through you according to the Will of God you find that He answers gloriously and you will be verbalizing your requests in line with the Will of God and as a result, His wonderful answer will be coming your way. Don’t take Jesus for granted. His relatives and friends did and as a result it says, “He could there do no mighty work. They tied His hands because of their unbelief”. We’ll start again the next time we get together with Mark 6 verse 5, and go on.
Dear Father today, help us to be so close to Thee that we can never take Thee for granted, in Jesus’ name I ask, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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