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Preview: Expository Studies in the Book of First John

Mark: He Came to Serve

The Gospel of Mark, the second book in the New Testament, is 16 short chapters long, the briefest of all the Gospels, and therefore easy to read in one sitting. Its brevity is probably the reason it is the most often translated book of the New Testament.

Copyright: 2010 Ray Stedman Ministries

The Place to Begin (Mark 1:1-8)

Wed, 29 Sep 10 23:00:00 +0000

I have just spent two weeks in Mexico with the Wycliffe Bible Translators, and I have realized anew that the Gospel of Mark is the most translated book in all the world. No other book appears in as many languages. Almost all Wycliffe translators, after they have reduced a language to writing, begin their translation of the Scriptures with this gospel. I am sure that the fact it is the shortest of the gospels has something to do with that decision! Bible translators are human beings like the rest of us, and no one wants to start with a gospel as long as Matthew or Luke.

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Jesus Came (Mark 1:9-15)

Wed, 22 Sep 10 23:00:00 +0000

We are studying Mark's record of what happened when Jesus came to Israel. Those two little words, "Jesus came," are always a formula for dramatic and radical change. I spent a delightful evening this week listening to a man tell about what happened in his life -- the changes in his home and family -- when Jesus came into his heart.

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A Day in the Life of Jesus (Mark 1:16-39)

Wed, 15 Sep 10 23:00:00 +0000

It is a popular literary style today to trace through the events of one day in the life of a person. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn has given us a remarkable book in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Perhaps you have read some of Jim Bishop's books, like The Day Kennedy Died or The Day Lincoln Died.There is something similar in the gospel of Mark, as Mark traces for us A Day in the Life of Jesus.

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The Healer of Hurts (Mark 1:40 - 2:12)

Wed, 08 Sep 10 23:00:00 +0000

We resume our study of the gospel of Mark, this remarkable witness concerning the servant of God -- his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ -- as seen through the eyes of Mark and Peter.

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The Scandal Maker (Mark 2:13 - 3:6)

Wed, 01 Sep 10 23:00:00 +0000

Many view Jesus in the way he is often pictured -- as a very weak and mild man who sought always to live at peace with everyone and who avoided controversy whenever possible. But as you read the gospel accounts you see that the truth is that, from the very beginning, he deliberately provoked certain groups. He never hesitated to flout the petty regulations of men, and he knowingly and deliberately offended people. In fact, he became too hot to handle, and the "establishment" of that day finally decided that the only way out was to get rid of him.

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False Forces (Mark 3:7-35)

Wed, 25 Aug 10 23:00:00 +0000

We are beginning the third natural division of the first half of Mark's wonderful picture of the Servant who rules and the Ruler who serves. We have seen that the first division describes the authority of the servant -- the tremendous command Jesus exercised in many realms. The second division brought before us his knowledge of our humanity -- the penetrating, incisive understanding of man Jesus exhibited.

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The Dimming of the Light (Mark 4:1-34)

Wed, 18 Aug 10 23:00:00 +0000

Today we look at the section in which Mark describes how and why Jesus began to use the parabolic method of teaching. A parable is a little story which illustrates a truth. It is a vocal cartoon. We all appreciate cartoons because they drive a point home in a very striking way.

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Seed Thoughts (Mark 4:3-32)

Wed, 11 Aug 10 23:00:00 +0000

Today we want to join the disciples in listening to Jesus explain what he calls the "secrets of the kingdom of God." These "mysteries of the kingdom," as they are often referred to in our Scriptures, are really vital truths about humanity which are not discoverable in secular studies. You cannot find these in any university curriculum, unless it is one related to the Word of God. And yet they are very essential truths which we must know about ourselves, about life, and about the world in which we live, in order to grow and fulfill our humanity.

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Why are you Afraid? (Mark 4:35 - 5:20)

Wed, 04 Aug 10 23:00:00 +0000

I would like to invite you to return to where we left off a few weeks ago in our studies in the gospel of Mark. We will examine two incidents -- the stilling of the storm on the sea of Galilee, and that which follows immediately, the healing of the demoniac. It is very appropriate that these two incidents be brought before us on this first Sunday of 1975, for both deal with the problem of fear, with what to do about fear.

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The Weakness of the World (Mark 5:21 - 6:6)

Wed, 28 Jul 10 23:00:00 +0000

Today we want to look at three incidents in the life of the Servant of God, as Mark records his ministry -- the intermingled incidents of the raising from the death of the daughter of Jairus and the healing of the woman with the issue of blood, as recorded in the latter half of Chapter 5, and then the second visit of our Lord to his hometown of Nazareth, in the opening words of Chapter 6.

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Who is This? (Mark 6:7-52)

Wed, 21 Jul 10 23:00:00 +0000

Today we begin the last section of the first half of Mark's Gospel. You will remember that when we began these studies we divided this gospel into two major divisions: The Servant Who Rules, and the Ruler Who Serves. The theme of this last section of the first division is given to us in the words of the disciples when Jesus stilled the storm on the Sea of Galilee.

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When Rite is Wrong (Mark 6:53 - 7:30)

Wed, 14 Jul 10 23:00:00 +0000

By this time most of us have seenFiddler On The Roof, and will remember how Tevye, the leading character, opens with the song,Tradition! The whole Jewish community was built upon and governed by the long-standing, unbreakable traditions of the past.

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Do you Not Yet Understand? (Mark 7:31 - 8:21)

Wed, 07 Jul 10 23:00:00 +0000

In the section of his Gospel we have been studying, Mark is dealing with our Lord's training of the twelve disciples, as he seeks to instruct them who he is. Last time we saw how he left the nation of Israel and went into Gentile regions, into Tyre and Sidon on the coast of Palestine. In the passage we come to now there is further ministry among the Gentiles. Perhaps it is startling to realize that Jesus spent almost a third of his three-year ministry among Gentiles. This fact has been obscured by the emphasis upon his ministry among the Jews.

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The Turning Point (Mark 8:22-33)

Wed, 30 Jun 10 23:00:00 +0000

The passage we come to now in Mark's Gospel involves one of the strangest and most remarkable miracles of Jesus. It is the only one he ever performed in two stages, the only one which involved a process instead of immediate healing. Mark is the only one who records this miracle for us, and for that reason it is rather obscure. Nevertheless it is a very significant miracle, and it has direct bearing on the startling change in the message of Jesus which follows this incident.

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The Way of the Cross (Mark 8:34-38)

Wed, 23 Jun 10 23:00:00 +0000

I had anticipated studying the Transfiguration with you at this time, but, as I worked through the passage, I found that the closing paragraph of Chapter 8 is so important, so central to the message of this entire Gospel, that we dare not hurry over it. With it we begin the second half of our study in the Gospel of Mark.

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The Glory that Follows (Mark 8:38 - 9:29)

Wed, 16 Jun 10 23:00:00 +0000

Today we come to one of the most dramatic events in Scripture -- ranking perhaps only after the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord -- the transfiguration of Jesus. This event follows his announcement of the cross, and of the way of discipleship -- both what it would cost those who are to be his disciples, and what the blessings would be as well. It is evident from Mark's text that Jesus knew the transfiguration was coming. He announced it at least six full days before it happened.

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The Child in Our Midst (Mark 9:30-50)

Wed, 09 Jun 10 23:00:00 +0000

In the section of Mark we are studying, we have been watching Jesus gently but very firmly leading his disciples to face up to the implications of the cross. This is very instructive to us, because, if you are like me, you do not like the cross in your life. We Christians often make much of the joy and love and the glory of Christianity. But usually we avoid the thought of suffering and persecution, of discipline, and of dying. Much of the church today is trying to avoid these implications of the cross.

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What about Divorce? (Mark 10:1-12)

Wed, 02 Jun 10 23:00:00 +0000

In the tenth chapter of Mark we have the account of a new journey our Lord took with his disciples, leaving Galilee for the last time. The first verse sets the scene:

And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again; and again, as his custom was, he taught them. (Mark 10:1 RSV)

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The Plight of the Overprivileged (Mark 10:13-31)

Wed, 26 May 10 23:00:00 +0000

Our passage in the Gospel of Mark today brings before us two familiar stories: Jesus' blessing of the children, and the story of the rich young ruler. Mark links these two stories together; preachers seldom do. Almost always these are treated in separate messages. But it is very helpful to see how these two incidents tie together, and how they will lead us into an understanding, from the lips of Jesus, of what money and riches and the pursuit of wealth will do to us. We start with the story of the blessing of the children, found in Mark 10, beginning with Verse 13:

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The Ambitious Heart (Mark 10:32-52)

Wed, 19 May 10 23:00:00 +0000

Our study in the Gospel of Mark finds Jesus and his disciples now on the road to Jerusalem, heading for the tense drama of that last action-packed week before the cross. As we read this account we will see how clearly the Lord Jesus foresaw the cross and all that it would involve, and how resolute was his determination to go ahead and face what was coming. We will also see how blind and foolish the disciples were, how stupidly they acted in the face of the revelation which was given to them.

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The Rumor of Hope (Mark 16:1-8)

Wed, 12 May 10 23:00:00 +0000

Dr. Carl F. Henry, one of America's leading contemporary theologians, said recently of Jesus, "He planted the only durable rumor of hope amid the widespread despair of a hopeless world." It is from this sentence that we take the title for our study this morning -- "A Rumor of Hope."

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The King is Coming (Mark 11:1-25)

Wed, 05 May 10 23:00:00 +0000

We return now to where we left off in our series of studies in Mark. As Chapter 10 ended, our Lord and his disciples were making their way to Jerusalem, toward those climactic events of his last week there which ultimately would issue in his death and resurrection. And now we find the Lord and his disciples approaching Jerusalem.

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By What Authority? (Mark 11:27 - 12:27)

Wed, 28 Apr 10 23:00:00 +0000

In our study of our Lord's visit to Jerusalem -- that last, climactic and fatal week of his life -- we see the Lord in confrontation with various authorities of the area. He is dealing with the central issue of all time, the basic question of everyone's life: What is the final authority of life? Should I obey the state, or should I obey my conscience? Which is higher, the church, or the secular government? Should I walk by reason or by faith? Should I follow science or religion?

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Top Priority (Mark 12:28-44)

Wed, 21 Apr 10 23:00:00 +0000

I am sure that this time of the year finds you, like me, feeling something of the pressure and the complexity of life. I think I could have gone to a graduation exercise every evening last week, and probably should have, but, because there were other demands upon me, I did not attend them. Sometimes life can get so full and busy that you wonder how in the world you can ever handle it all. Well, the answer to this complex riddle of life is what we will be looking at this morning in this passage from Mark's gospel. Where to begin? What do you do first? And where do you go from there?

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Watch! (Mark 13)

Wed, 14 Apr 10 23:00:00 +0000

Now we come to the great prophecy of Jesus which deals with the last days of the planet Earth just before the return of its King in power and glory. It is found in the thirteenth chapter of Mark's gospel. This passage is familiarly called the Olivet Discourse, because Jesus gave this great message as he was seated on the Mount of Olives, looking out over the city of Jerusalem, just a day or two before his crucifixion, and as he was contemplating the fate of the city in response to questions his disciples asked him. We have those questions in the opening verses of Chapter 13:

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Love's Extravagance (Mark 14:1-25)

Wed, 07 Apr 10 23:00:00 +0000

In our series of studies in the gospel of Mark, we have come to the fourteenth chapter. As you recall, Mark is bringing us to those eventful moments of the last week our Lord spent in Jerusalem and its environs just before his crucifixion and resurrection. In this chapter, Mark does what he has done frequently throughout this Gospel -- Mark brings together certain events and themes which occurred at various times during this week and deliberately places them side by side so that we might see the contrast in certain emphases.

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Smite the Shepherd (Mark 14:26-52)

Wed, 31 Mar 10 23:00:00 +0000

We return to our studies in Mark, stepping again into the infinite mystery that always gathers around the events in the closing days of our Lord's earthly life, the scenes that lead to the cross. I am sure that the twenty-third Psalm, the Shepherd's Psalm, is the best-loved psalm of all.

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Jesus and the Priests (Mark 14:53-72)

Wed, 24 Mar 10 23:00:00 +0000

These studies in Mark's gospel have taken us to the action packed week of our Lord just before the cross and the resurrection. To some of you, these events that occurred 2,000 years ago and so far away may seem rather remote from your own experience. Sometimes we are so caught up in our daily lives that these events seem rather dull because of their familiarity, especially in contrast to the exciting events of this week, such as the capture of Patty Hearst, the continuing trend of inflation, the events of the Middle East, and the visit of the President to our community.

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Jesus and the Rulers (Mark 15:1-20)

Wed, 17 Mar 10 23:00:00 +0000

We are nearing the close of Mark's account of the life of our Lord, this marvelous servant who came to rule among men, this ruler who came to serve. The fifteenth chapter of Mark's gospel is the account of our Lord's appearance before Pilate. The events around the cross are more than simple narratives told by the gospel writers. You can read them that way: the simple tragic story of a man who laid down his life on behalf of a cause. But if you read the gospel accounts carefully you will see that there are very strange and marvelous forces at work behind the scenes.

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The Awful Penalty (Mark 15:21-47)

Wed, 10 Mar 10 23:00:00 +0000

Mark 15 brings us to the account of the crucifixion. Because of the sacredness of this incident, let's pause for a moment and pray together before we look into this passage.

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Those Signs Following (Mark 16:9-20)

Wed, 03 Mar 10 23:00:00 +0000

I suppose one of the most controversial movements in the church today is that called the charismatic movement. I do not like to use the word use the word "charismatic" for a movement that stresses just one or two gifts of the Spirit, for all the gifts of the Spirit are charismatic. In First Corinthians 12 the apostle clearly says that every Christian has one or more charismatic gifts. I would prefer to call this group we are observing in the church now the Pentecostal movement, or, perhaps even more accurately, the glossolalia movement.

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