Opposition to Jesus – Part 1 (Mark 3:20-35)

Sunday, August 12th, 2012
Sermon Series: Mark

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Opposition to Jesus

and standing against opposition for you, part 1

Mark 3:20 to 35 part one, 20-22

 

Unless you’ve lived in the deep South or studied botany, I doubt the word Kudzu means anything to you.  It sounds more like something you’d say when someone sneezes, than an imported, green plant that’s achieved celebrity status.  Kudzu is a leafy, fast-growing vine found in the southeastern US.  It is so fast-growing, Kudzu is also called “Mile-a-Minute Vine”, “Foot-a-Night Vine”, and my favorite, “The Vine that Ate the South”.

Kudzu entered the US in 1876, the year America celebrated its 100th birthday.  The Japanese government imported kudzu as part of a garden planted in honor of the centennial.  American gardeners were drawn to the plant’s sweet smell and large leaves, and began planting it for decoration.  The nation had no idea it was grabbing a plant that would grab back and not let go.

In the 1920’s, nursery operators in Florida began selling kudzu to farmers through the mail.  Concerned about soil erosion in the 1930’s, the government began paying men to plant it in their fields.  But eventually it became clear kudzu was neither helpful nor harmless.  The charming plant that had once decorated gardens was taking over.

Kudzu can grow a foot a day, and swallow power poles, buildings, gardens, roads, abandoned vehicles–anything in its path not moving.  It grows so dense, it can kill a forest by choking off sunlight.  It smothers all other growing things, and as for killing kudzu, conventional ways don’t work.  Chopping, digging, and burning were a waste of effort.  Most poisons had little or no effect, and some chemicals designed to kill the plant actually made it grow faster.

Finally in 1972, kudzu was officially declared a weed by the Department of Agriculture, but it was too late.  What some a century ago had thought was a lovely decorative plant today covers nearly seven million acres of twelve states.  Today they are battling kudzu.  They’ve declared war against a plant, and must resist it or kudzu will win.  Kudzu will not stop unless it is stopped.  And those who live close to it can never rest, but must continually oppose this plant.  If they don’t, it will smother all life around them.

Like that, you Christians are being opposed as well.  There is a creeping, always growing, needing resistance kudzu.  You have to oppose or it will smother your life and ruin you.  Each one of you is facing opposition every single day.  And you know what they are.  There are spiritual forces of wickedness you must be aware of and stand firm against.  You live in a fallen world with things, values and ideas you must continually reject.

And worst of all, your own flesh, desires, dreams and feelings must be resisted, if you are to live for Christ.  The devil, the world and the flesh are like kudzu.  They never stop pressing, they never cease to be an opposition.  You can never escape them or find release from the pressure.  And if somehow you escape the allurement of the world and resist the devil, you can never escape your own flesh–until heaven.

Opposition is felt in many ways.  Sometimes it actually comes by well-meaning believers, family members and friends who care about you.  Sometimes those who love you forget the pressure they place on you with the questions they ask.  “Why aren’t you married yet?”  “Why don’t you have kids yet?”  “Are you going to have more kids? . . . When?”  Isn’t that a little personal?  “Well my husband and I are planning to have sex next week!!!”

“How come you homeschool, public, private, don’t school?”  “Why is your kid going to ‘What’s a matter U?’ University?”  “How can you afford a Lexus?”  Accountability is a good thing.  Transparency can be healthy, but not with everyone and not all the time.  But sometimes we ask questions that feel more like opposition than care, affection and love.  It is a good thing when Christians ask each other about serving Christ, about giving, even church attendance, since those are all commands–but sometimes we pressure people with questions that are wisdom issues or personal choices and not Biblical commands.

But there’s also an opposition that comes from those who hate you, because you love Christ.  They mock you publicly, slander you privately, pass you over for promotion, distort what you share, misrepresent your motives, and work against you in every way they can.  But no matter where it comes from, opposition is a way of life for the genuine believer.

God promises you will be opposed.  Second Timothy 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”  Philippians 1:29, “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”  Ephesians 6:10 to 12, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Whatever you do for God’s glory is going to be opposed.  Why is it so easy to watch Netflix, play video games, and hide in our homes, yet why is it so difficult to serve Christ, get to church on time, and do everyday tasks to please the Lord–because anything you do for God’s glory is going to be resisted.  Which is why we need–to know the Word of God for direction and authority, to depend on the Spirit of God for power to resist, and to intertwine ourselves with the genuine Christians in the church for accountability, support and encouragement.

Be honest—this week, have you been relying on the only way you can please God in your Christian life.  Are you humbly relying on the Holy Spirit?  Are you saturated with the Word of God, dependently stepping out in obedience to God’s Word in all you do?  And are you close enough to other Christians where they can encourage you, help you, confront you, and hold you up when you struggle in that dependent effort?

Don’t play church, don’t take the summer off from living for Christ.  You are always going to be opposed, and it is always a labor when you seek to live for Christ.  Christ was resisted, opposed, attacked–and if we’re His servants, then we’ll be opposed and resisted as well.  In fact, the more you aggressively pursue Christ, the more you will be resisted.

Open to Mark 3 and take the outline found in your bulletin.  We are now moving on in our verse-by-verse study of Mark.  Now starting in Mark 3:20, the apostle of action, writing his go gospel is describing how Jesus is being opposed.  And to our shock, it is not merely the religious leaders who are working against Christ, but his friends and family members are resisting Him too.

Verse 21 describes Jesus’s friends.  Look at these well-meaning buddies—“When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, ‘He has lost His senses.’”  In verse 22 the Lord’s foes seek to discredit Jesus with evil slander, “The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul,’ and ‘He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.’”  Then look at verse 31–even Jesus’s own family doesn’t understand His purpose, mission and why He works so hard—“Then His mother and His brothers arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him and called Him.”

So the point is, verses 20 to 35, this entire passage describes the different kinds of opposition Jesus faced, and helps us prepare for the different kinds of resistance we will face.  This entire passage contains the same incredible message.  Jesus Christ, God in a bod, King of all Kings, the authoritative proclaimer of God’s Word, the One who shares the good news that God can forgive you–the One who speaks the truth so graciously that harlots and tax gatherers love being with Him.  The instantaneous healer, so powerful He can raise the dead, so strong no devil can oppose Him, so smart no scholar can debate Him, so wise no question confuses Him.  He sees all, knows all, loves all and is the bringer of new life.  He is the most wonderful, only awesome person who has ever lived.

Yet Jesus is being opposed.  Can you imagine, these verses tell us God, who was born a man in the person of Christ, is being opposed by friends, foes and family?  So be encouraged–those of you who experience opposition from friends or family, know you’re not alone in this battle.

Those growing weary in well-doing, or feeling the weight of continual resistance just living for Christ–get fired up to fight the good fight.  Those of you with enemies at work, school or elsewhere–follow the example of Christ’s dealing with opposition.  Because we believe every word is God-breathed, God’s Words, and because we’re only interested in the author’s intended meaning, we will not complete all sixteen verses today, but we’ll begin this week and continue until we completely draw out Mark’s message to us.

Picture what’s happening–the religious leaders are trying to kill Christ, and if they can’t find a way to kill Him, in the meantime they want to discredit Him to the people.  They want the people to stop following Christ–they’re jealous.  In fact, the crowds are so large, Jesus needs official representatives, twelve men who can assist Him in caring for all the needs and teaching, plus to spread the message after He ascends to heaven.

He’s just picked His twelve men in verses 16 to 19, and now at the height of His popularity, He faces the misunderstanding of friends and family.  Along with the slanderous opposition of religious leaders, Jesus Christ is getting hit by friend and foe, and family–if it happened to Christ, it will happen to Christians.  You have a growing kudzu to resist–how will you do it?

Look with me at Mark 3:20 and 21, “And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. 21 When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, ‘He has lost His senses.’”  The first thing that happens, once Jesus picks His “A-Team” is . . .

#1  The opposition of friends  Verses 20 to 21

Just as Jesus officially picks his twelve, school begins.  Summer break is over and class has begun.  “Pull up your chairs, men, and let’s begin.”  But with Christ there is no curriculum, no books and no paper.”  His school is the curriculum of life–Christianity: 101.  And today is Lesson #1  What do you do when you’re criticized–how to react when you’re opposed by foes or by family.  There are two types of opposition that occur when you become the threat, the competitor–when you could take their position on the team, or get the job they want, or become well-known in an area they’ve given their life to.  At that point, you will experience misguided or malicious opposition.  Mark begins with misguided friends and family who come to stop Christ, since they believe He’s lost his mind.

Read verse 20 again, “And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal.”  Christ came home?  Where’s that?  Mark told us back in 2:1, “When He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home.”  Christ had a house in Capernaum at the top of the Sea of Galilee–possibly He lived with Simon Peter or used someone else’s house, but He made His ministry base of operations in Capernaum.

After being away in ministry, Jesus returns to base and immediately verse 20, the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal.  At this point in Jesus’s ministry, the crowds were always around.  Even as the spiritual leaders of the nation intensely oppose Christ, the crowds are flocking to Christ–they’re hearing God’s Word–they’re seeing God work.

And this crowd is growing in number—remember . . .

1:33, “And the whole city had gathered at the door”

1:37, “They found Him, and said to Him, ‘Everyone is looking for You’”

1:45, “But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news around, to such an extent that Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city, but stayed out in unpopulated areas; and they were coming to Him from everywhere.”

2:1 to 2, “When He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, not even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them.”

2:13, “And He went out again by the seashore; and all the people were coming to Him

6:31, “’Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.’ (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)”

So now, a massive crowd has gathered again around Christ and the press is so great, the horde so large, the need so demanding, the ministry so busy, they can’t even stop to eat a meal.  Mark uses the Greek word “not able”, there is no opportunity to eat, no chance to grab a snack, no break from the demand, no brief moment to restore your physical need.  Meal is the Greek word for “bread”, and you’d think they’d be able to carry some small roll in their robe, like Napoleon stored his tots.  But verse 20 gives us the idea, even if they could have eaten, they would have chosen not to.

Turn to John 4–after Jesus ministers to the Samaritan woman, she stirs the city up and they come out to hear from Christ themselves.  Things get really busy really fast, so John 4:31 to 34 says, “The disciples were urging Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, eat.’ 32 But He said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ 33 So the disciples were saying to one another, ‘No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?’ 34 Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.’”

Christ is modeling a life that’s all in–a heart that says nothing in this life is more important than seeing others come to Christ, or become like Christ.  Jesus isn’t modeling the importance of inconveniencing His schedule, nor the difficulty of serving faithfully every week, nor even the sacrifice of giving Him the first and best of His finances to God.  Even more, Jesus is saying even the required needs of the body–the very things necessary to live, to survive, to keep going, all those are secondary to impacting these lost Samaritans with the Gospel, and equipping my chosen men with the Word.  This is extreme to some, excessive to others—insane.

Do you know someone like this?  Have you ever experienced this?  I knew a potential Olympic athlete–a discus thrower who would insanely train through meals, sleep, school and more.  I knew a woman who gave herself away to needy young moms who were on required bed rest during pregnancy–her commitment to them was insane, yet she was in the middle of God’s will.  I knew a man who pursued medical school for years, but couldn’t get accepted, no matter what he tried–he was insane about being a doctor.  And to my shame, as a friend, I tried to stop him–I was wrong.  After years he made it in, graduated, and is an incredible doctor.

Sometimes we’re afraid of commitment, dedication and a passionate devotion to faithful ministry because there is risk, sacrifice, and expending oneself to the point of exhaustion, doing without.  Yet you can still be in God’s will and pleasing Him in every way, but there will always be some who will not understand.

This is what happened back in Mark 3 verse 21, “When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, ‘He has lost His senses.’” They’re saying, we love you Jesus–therefore, we’ve got to stop you.  You are hurting yourself, and because we care about you, we’ve traveled all this way to stop you from doing permanent damage.  To be truthful, Jesus, we think you’re out of your mind, so we’re prepared to tie you up and lock you away.  Verse 21 is actually an early attempt at deprogramming.

It’s possible the crowds were so great these friends were afraid Rome would see this throng surrounding Christ as an insurrection and violently oppose it, which would involve immediately killing Christ as the leader.  And notice who this is, verse 21, “His own people” is used in the New Testament to describe friends, associates, agents and possibly family–the Greek word is literally the ones alongside of Him or His own people.

Most believe “His own people” refers to his earthly family, but it could be a mixture of brothers and friends from Nazareth.  Who is it?  Look at verse 21—“they went out” means to go out.  They left one region to get to another region, and since the end of the chapter actually describes Jesus’s family in verses 30 to 35, most believe they are traveling from Nazareth to Capernaum.  I believe it is His brothers and buddies from Nazareth.  You ask, “Why do you believe that, Chris?”  I’m so glad you asked!

1  because his general family members, mother, brother and sisters are specifically listed in verse 35, but they’re only generally described as His own people here in verse 21

2  because this is only the first attempt to rescue overcommitted Christ from His incessant ministry, therefore the entire family would not come the first time in verse 21, but the second time in verse 31

3  because they’re coming, verse 21 says, to take custody of Him–it probably meant his brothers and possibly some buff buddies had come to take him by force

The Greek “to take custody of Him” literally means the power to control or to have supremacy over.  It later came to mean, “arrest Him, seize Him or take hold of Him.”  They came to take control of Christ’s actions.  They wanted to “take charge of Him.”  This same Greek word is used repeatedly in Mark for arresting people.  Mark 6:17, “For Herod . . . had John arrested and bound in prison.”  Mark 12:12, “And they were seeking to seize Him.”  Mark 14:1, “The chief priests . . . were seeking how to seize Him by stealth and kill Him.”

They leave Nazareth to stop Christ–to arrest Him, to restrain Him for His own good, to tie Him up and drag Him off, to bind Him and haul Him off to a jail of their own making.  Why do they want to snatch and grab Christ?  Look at verse 21–they heard of this . . . others have reported to them of Christ’s incessant ministry with no regard to His own personal needs.  People have reported to them how Christ gives Himself away with no concern for His own health.  They were deeply concerned that something was very wrong.

So verse 21 tells us, His family heard what He was doing–some brothers and potentially buddies travel thirty miles from Nazareth to Capernaum to stop Jesus from killing Himself with too much work, or prevent him from being killed by the religious leaders, or even Rome itself.  And these friends are not silent about their concern.  At the end of verse 21, they are speaking out–“He has lost His senses, He’s beside Himself, He is crazy.”  In the modern vernacular, He’s one French fry short of a Happy Meal–He’s out of His mind.

They seek to do what they think is best.  But even though they have a deep concern, they lack true understanding.  They could not explain His willingness to be constantly imposed upon by crowds of people, except that He’d lost His mind.  They didn’t understand His ceaseless service to people.  What’s missing?  They didn’t embrace His commitment to the reality of eternity.  They missed Christ’s continual commitment to minister to people because they are ignorantly and defiantly headed to Hell, unless they’re rescued by the Gospel, which is what Christ came to accomplish–the only way to get right with God.

These friends were only looking at the human needs of hunger, the tension between Christ and current external religion and the potential for conflict between Christ and the current government.  They were concerned for Christ personally, but ignorant of His purpose.  They were only thinking about this temporary world–they were not thinking about the genuine torment in Hell where all sinners who are not in Christ spend eternity.

They were not living the truth that only Christ alone can rescue someone from their sins, making them right before God, and give them a new transformed heart to live for God now, and live with God forever in heaven.  Christ gave Himself to this ministry to people because these people were drowning spiritually, and He had the only lifeboat.  And Christian brothers and sisters, your family, your friends, even some fellow Christians will not understand your commitment to Christ and the message of eternity spent in Heaven or Hell.

Some of you have felt the sword of division in your own home, as you chose to follow Christ, and they chose to follow a comfortable false Christianity.  They accused you of being in a cult, but you were merely following Christ.  They tell you to lighten up, and you hear that suggestion as a compromise.  You and I live in a difficult tension–one is to be accepting, loving and gracious to those who go to churches, where the Gospel is not clear and the Word of God is not taught exposing the author’s intended message.  And on the other hand, to be confrontational, direct, zealous, calmly convinced, pointing out that if they choose to continue under a weak gospel and poor teaching, it’s bad for their spiritual health, and even scarier as it relates to their spiritual destiny.  A little poison might not kill you, but a steady diet will kill you.  A little fast food is not damaging, but a lot of it is devastating.  Christ was maniacal in His ministry to people, because people needed eternal rescue through the Gospel and spiritual health through God’s Word.  Do you have any maniacal in your ministry?

When the Apostle Paul preached before Festus, Festus cried out in response in Acts 26:24, “You are out of your mind, Paul” he shouted, “Your great learning is driving you insane.”  Throughout history, those who have been most committed were also those who were the most misunderstood and the most opposed.  Don’t misunderstand!  There is nothing wrong with being refreshed or taking a vacation–but our lives are to be given away in service to Christ.  There should be some misunderstanding by others about your commitment.  There should be some people who are concerned about your love for Christ and commitment to serve Him.  There should be those who do not get why you’re so passionate.

There should be some non-Christians and some Christians who just don’t understand why you give your extra time, money, efforts, life, words, to the person and work of Christ?  Read again what happened in verses 20 to 21, “And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. 21 When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, ‘He has lost His senses.’”

The Lord’s misguided friends didn’t get Christ’s commitment, and they loved Christ enough to try to stop Him from hurting Himself.  They were afraid His zeal was going to ruin his health, and they were concerned He was too radical, like when He stayed up all night in prayer, ministered all day without food, causing the religious leaders to oppose Him, and Rome to possibly consider Him a threat.

These were loving, misguided friends–can you handle friends like them, or do they wipe you out and cause you to lose heart?  Because believer, if you can’t stand being opposed by the misguided, then you’ll never handle being attacked by those who’re malicious.  In a sense, if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen, cause the comments and actions from the misguided are nothing compared to the accusations and attacks of the malicious.  Mark now leads us to a description of some malicious foes.

#2  The opposition of foes  Verses 22 to 30

The religious leaders want to stop Christ.  They don’t want the crowds following or listening to Him.  They’re trying to kill Him, and until they do, they want to discredit Him.  But they have a problem–Jesus is loving, gracious, compassionate, serves to the point of exhaustion, and only speaks the Word of God.  Plus Jesus actually executes genuine miracles.

Embrace this fact.  Jesus is not helping people with back pain, or fixing a limp, fuzzy vision or halitosis.  Jesus is replacing a limb when one was not there before.  Those who were born blind can see, rotting lepers are fully cleansed, people who were dead come back to life, those enslaved to demons their entire lives, are now delivered–true miracles.

The religious leaders cannot deny His miracles–everyone knows they’re amazing, undeniable, and legit.  In fact, Matthew 12 tells us immediately prior to this accusation Jesus heals a blind and mute demonic, and the public loves it.  Matthew 12:22 to 24, “Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw. 23 All the crowds were amazed, and were saying, ‘This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?’ 24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, ‘This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.’”

Also not listed in Mark, because He is writing to Romans who are men of action, Jesus just taught the Sermon on the Mount, and Matthew 7:28 says the people were amazed at His teaching.  So the external hypocritical leaders are panicked, because the crowd starts to think Jesus is the Messiah–so the leaders come up with a hateful accusation to try to discredit Christ.  They reject Christ.  Then Christ responds with a rebuttal–but first . . .

First  The Rejection of Christ  Verse 22

Look at how they attack Christ in verses 22 through 24–the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying He was possessed by Beelzebul, and He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.  They attack Christ’s person–“He is possessed by Beelzebul” . . . then Christ’s work—“He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.”

The scribes are the bigwigs of the religious elite, and coming down from religion central, Jerusalem, means this is serious.  They mean business–Christ is in trouble . . . the big boys have come to town.  To discredit Christ, these scribes didn’t just accuse Christ once, but the Greek verb “saying”, in verse 22, is continual action–they continuously repeated this lie, over and over, until somehow people would believe it.

Christian, when accusations start flying–it’s the work of the enemy.  When you hear slanderous accusations, don’t merely stop listening—stop them from speaking.  Demand the speaker stop spreading damaging words, and require them to go to the source alone.  Tell them, “By saying these words you are sinning—this is wrong.  Make this right.”  These religious leaders, the so-called best in Israel, the spiritual giants of the land, were continually spreading lies . . .

1  About the person of Christ

They’re trying to tell people Jesus is possessed by Beelzebul.  They’re saying Jesus is continually empowered, indwelt and controlled by the enemy.  Christ is being used by the enemy to accomplish these undeniable, supernatural acts.  Beelzubul could be a distortion of the god of Ekron—“baal-zebub”, the lord of the flies, the god of dung, the king of poop and lord of excrement.  Makes you wanna flush those guys.

But more likely, Beelzebul is the lord of the dwelling, that is, the dwelling of the evil spirits, the house of evil spirits, accusing Jesus of being controlled by the evil one who controls the demons.  They can’t deny the miracles of Christ, so instead of admitting that Christ is God come in the flesh, they try to explain away His amazing miracles by saying, “Christ does all this because Jesus is indwelt with the evil master of the house of demons.”

It was a vicious attack on Christ’s person, and it was also an attack on His work.  Look at the second half of verse 22—“He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.”  The scribes are also spreading lies.

2  About the work of Christ

Yes, Jesus does cast out demons, it really happens, it is genuine . . . “But,” they say, “He does it only because Satan does it through Him.”  They say all His amazing miracles come from a satanic source.  This is a caustic criticism of sophisticated Jews from the capital.  They refuse to accept the truth that Jesus is God, and that He casts out demons by the Spirit of God, the power of God.  They refuse to believe that His compassion drives Him to deliver people who are enslaved to sin and Satan. They refused to admit that God had invaded history, and now everything must change—that they have to change, they are wrong, they need salvation.

No, it is much simpler to explain away the amazing miracles of Jesus and ignore or deny the evidence of His sinless life.  It is far easier to say Jesus is in league with satanic powers than to say He is God come to rescue you and I from our sins.  Some of you could be the same–you’d rather have Jesus be a nice fire insurance policy than one who claims your life.  You’d rather accept Christ through an easy prayer than to surrender to Him as the Lord of all and the only way to be saved.

Do you believe Jesus is your Creator, who became a sinless man, took your punishment for sin on the cross, rose from the dead, and requires you exchange all that you are for all that He is?  Turn from your sin and turn to Christ today.  Cry out to God to open your heart, and surrender your life.  Put your whole life in His hands by faith, and turn from your way, your choices, your lifestyle, your dreams, your plans, your sins in repentance and seek now, to follow only Christ.

And Christian, everything you seek to do for God’s glory in the power of the Spirit is going to be resisted.  In this life, there will be constant kudzu pressure against you from the enemy, this world you live in, and from your own body of flesh.  You will never be free of from evil pressure until Heaven.  At times, the pressure will come from well-meaning friends.  Other times, the attack will come from those who are your foes.

What does God say to do?  Ephesians 6:10, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.”  “Be strong” is a command you have to obey, but it’s passive, meaning it must happen to you.  Again, a command you have to obey, but it has to happen to you–not “be strong”, but “be strengthened”.  It’s not that you strive in your own strength to be strong–God says you depend upon me to be strong in this spiritual fight.

You step out in obedience, take your stand against the enemy, but you do so dependently, completely reliant upon the power of the Holy Spirit in you, to be strengthened by the might of God.  Be dependent with everything you do for His glory–from worship, teaching, discipleship, singing and fellowship, to driving, working, cooking, cleaning, parenting–all of it.

Be strengthened–rely on the Spirit.  Say to Christ every single moment, “I can’t do this, but you can through me.”  Christ is all-powerful, and no friend or foe can defeat Him, and as long as you are in Him you can’t be defeated either.  So how should we respond when we experience opposition?  How did Christ respond?  Find out next week–let’s pray.

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ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.
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