Sermon Archive

Mark's gospel ends in controversy. Not only the controversy of the Resurrection, but a controversy regarding its original ending. Most Bibles set verses 9-20 in brackets noting that they are not included in the earliest copies of the Gospel of Mark. Let's open our Bibles to Mark 16.

Direct download: 2016-0717_sent_to_serve_nelson.mp3
Category:Sent to Serve -- posted at: 8:30am PDT

This morning we consider the three most important hours in human history. For it was in those three hours that the eternal destiny of millions was altered.

-The Darkest Hours (15:33-34)
-Elijah (15:34-36)
-Temple Curtain Torn (15:37-38)
-The Centurion (15:37-39)
-The Women  (15:40-41)
-Jesus’ Burial (15:42-47)

Direct download: 2016-0626_sent_to_serve_nelson.mp3
Category:Sent to Serve -- posted at: 10:45am PDT

In the early years of our marriage, Cathy and I did not own a television. That was our choice. Being in graduate school and working, our lives were busy. What free time we had we thought best to spend together talking or walking or reading.

At least twice in the first three years of our marriage we received televisions anonymously on our doorstep. All we can think is that in the course of conversation when it had been shared that we were without a television it had been interpreted as a complaint. I suppose it was and perhaps is, difficult for some people to imagine anyone not wanting a television. What these dear people thought was an unfortunate circumstance was, in fact, what we wanted.

Such was the case for our Lord Jesus. Thinking Jesus was an ordinary man, His enemies assumed that He would do anything necessary to escape the cross. But as we will see, such was not the case.

Our text picks up the story at the point that the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council, ratified its verdict and delivered Jesus to Pilate.

Direct download: 2016-0612_sent_to_serve_nelson.mp3
Category:Sent to Serve -- posted at: 8:30am PDT

With Judas' help, the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of Israel, accomplished its goal in Gethsemane, arresting Jesus for the purpose of killing Him (14:1-2, 43-50). Jesus was lead to the home of Joseph Caiaphas, high priest and head of the Sanhedrin.

Direct download: 2016-0605_sent_to_serve_nelson.mp3
Category:Sent to Serve -- posted at: 10:45am PDT

Have you ever wondered how you would hold up under persecution for being a Christian? We will never know for sure until we go through it; but I suspect that all of us would like to think we would stay faithful to Jesus. But the fact is that not all of us will. Even Jesus' disciples failed under persecution.

One of the reasons we know the Bible is reliable history is because of its honesty. Unlike myth or legend, the people in the Bible do not always win or even do the right thing. In fact, I believe that in Mark 14, John Mark, the author of the Gospel of Mark, purposefully highlighted the failure of Jesus’ disciples in the hours just prior to His arrest.

Before we read verses 22-52, quickly scan verses 1-21 and notice the emphasis upon the conspiracy of the Jewish leaders (vv. 1-2); Judas' agreement to betray Jesus (vv. 10-11) and Jesus' announcement that He would be betrayed (v.18).

As we continue reading chapter 14:22-52 notice the amount of space Mark gives to the announcement that all the disciples will abandon Jesus (vv. 26-31); the failure of the disciples to watch and pray (vv. 32-42) and finally, the betrayal and abandonment of Jesus by His disciples (vv. 43-52).

Direct download: 2016-0515_sent_to_serve_nelson.mp3
Category:Sent to Serve -- posted at: 10:45am PDT

Jesus knew full well what awaited Him in Jerusalem. On three separate occasions Jesus foretold His rejection, murder and resurrection (8:31, 9:30-32,10:32-34). What's more, His death and resurrection were essential elements of God's redemption plan. Even as Jesus' enemies schemed to arrest and kill Him, Jesus was aware and took steps to protect His disciples.

Direct download: 2016-0424_Sent_To_Serve_Nelson.mp3
Category:Sent to Serve -- posted at: 8:30am PDT

This year, Passover will be celebrated April 22-30 with another reenactment of the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb. What I wanted us to see is that there is a committed movement to rebuild the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and reestablish the worship prescribed in the Law of Moses. As we study the end-time prophecies revealed by our Lord, we should realize that we are a generation privileged to see that some of these prophecies have already been fulfilled (e.g. worldwide conflict) and that current events are shaping up for the fulfillment of prophecies yet future. The bottom line is that as we study these prophecies we should realize this is not theory or make believe, but the very course of human history. We are living in the time of the birth pains. Are we living for things eternal or temporal; are we living ready for Jesus' return at any moment?

In response to a disciple's admiring comment about the Temple, Jesus revealed its destruction such that one stone would not be left on another (13:1-2). History confirms this prophecy was fulfilled by the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70AD.

Returning to Bethany for the evening, Jesus paused on the summit of the Mount of Olives overlooking the Temple complex. Peter, James, John and Andrew approached with questions about His prophecy. Their questions were not about the timing and sign of this thing, but of these things (vv.3-4). This indicates their assumption that the destruction of the Temple would correspond to the end of this age and the inauguration of the Messianic Age.

The destruction of the Temple however, is not the sign of the end of this age.

Direct download: 2016-0417_Sent_To_Serve_Nelson.mp3
Category:Sent to Serve -- posted at: 8:30am PDT

The Temple was a source of national pride for the Jews. It was one of the wonders of the Roman Empire.

As we will see in this passage, the disciples were proud of the Temple, but Jesus revealed that the beauty of the Temple would be short lived.

Jesus and His disciples were in Jerusalem celebrating Passover 33AD. They were staying in the village of Bethany east of Jerusalem on the far side of the Mount of Olives. After a day of teaching in the Temple, Jesus and His disciples left the Temple to make their way to Bethany for the evening.

Direct download: 2016-0410_sent_to_serve_nelson.mp3
Category:Sent to Serve -- posted at: 10:45am PDT

Scribes factor large in our study today so let's get some background on them. The origin of the scribes as a professional class began during the time of Exile following the Babylonian Conquest of 586BC. The Temple had been destroyed and the Jews scattered throughout the Babylonian empire. The scribes, who were responsible for copying and preserving the Scriptures, became, by virtue of their contact with the Scriptures, experts in the Law of Moses. They provided leadership and guidance during the Exile when there were many questions about how to obey the Law in the foreign countries where the Jews settled. The scribal profession continued after the Return and, in the days of Jesus, scribes were highly respected as experts and teachers of the Law. They were also referred to as "lawyers" because they were trained in applying the Law in judicial matters (Matt. 22:35). Unfortunately, the scribes opposed Jesus and collaborated with the chief priests and elders to have Him killed.

But among the scribes there was an exception.

Direct download: 2016-0403_sent_to_serve_nelson.mp3
Category:Sent to Serve -- posted at: 10:45am PDT

Many people in our culture believe that the universe and all that is in it is the result of natural forces acting over billions of years to produce life as we experience it today. One of the implications of evolution is that we are simply physical beings and when we die physically, we cease to exist. There is no afterlife, no heaven, no hell, no God. These beliefs don't surprise us; they are logical conclusions of evolution.

What may be surprising are the people we're going to meet in our study this morning. They were theists, they believed in the existence of God. They served in God's Temple and spiritually led the nation of Israel in the days of Jesus. But they, like evolutionists today, believed that when a person died physically, they ceased to exist. They did not believe in an afterlife and they certainly didn't believe in that which we are celebrating today - the resurrection.

Before we meet these people, let's put our passage in its historical context. Jesus and His disciples were in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover 33A.D. (11:1-11). Three times Jesus foretold that this journey would result in His rejection, murder and resurrection (8:31, 9:30-32, 10:32-34). He specifically predicted that the chief priests, elders and scribes of Israel would reject Him and hand Him over to the gentiles (Romans) to be executed (8:31, 10:33). Mark records three occasions on which the chief priests, elders and scribes or their representatives attempted to trap Jesus (11:27-33; 12:13-27). In this third attempt, they sent a delegation from the party of the Sadducees.

Direct download: 2016-0327_sent_to_serve_nelson.mp3
Category:Sent to Serve -- posted at: 8:30am PDT