Mark- The Gospel of Action - A Genuine Move of God
July 17, 2019, 1:51 PM

“Send your revival God!” – is a statement commonly called out in church settings – “Send your revival.” I can identify with this charge –oftentimes I desire more than what is happening in the church and in my own life. I grow weary of my own complacency and I want God to do something. I want to feel God and experience His presence. I am not sure that it is an unhealthy desire, after all isn’t it good to want more of God. “Send your revival, God.”


Maybe, though, He already has sent it. Maybe revival is here for the taking, but I have just missed something. While I am shouting, “Send Your Revival, God!” He is at work in the small details and mundane aspects of life. Maybe as I cry out “Send Your revival, God.” He is saying open your eyes. I am busy binding up all that the devil is doing with Pentecostal vibrato and yelling as punctuation, “Send Your Revival, God”, while all along He is saying, “Revival is here!”


Discernment is one of those words that seems at times to be illusory. We all tend to think of ourselves as discerning, which makes it difficult to discern whether or not our discerning is really discerning or not. Can you discern what I just said?
 

As Christians we are called to discern between what things are of God and what are not. Often this can be quite a chore – and in my attempt here to address discernment of a genuine move of God it is possible that I may be clouding it up even more for some – and maybe even for me for that matter.


Nevertheless, it is important to recognize that there is a difference between what is from God and what is not from God and you and I, in our limited fallen human perspective, are left with the chore of discovering what is what.


This is what was happening when Jesus came. People struggled in their discernment. The religious leaders, the common Jew, even Jesus own family were looking for something different – crying out “Bring us revival, Lord!” – when in the person of Jesus Christ God had brought in Himself the way, the truth and the life for us – the ultimate in revival.


John 14:6-7 (NLT)
6 Jesus told (Thomas), "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
7 If you had known who I am, then you would have known who my Father is. From now on you know him and have seen him!"

It is like that common depiction of a man splashing around in the water yelling, “I can’t swim! I can’t swim! Save me? (Bring us Revival!)” and someone yells from the shoreline, “stand up!” (Revival is here!) and when the direction is followed the drowning victim realizes that he is only in knee high water.


In today’s passage we see the difficulty that it is for us in discerning – and how we often need to just open our eyes to the works of God that are happening in our lives every day. Revival is here!

In a recent post we were looking at the two passages that serve as bookends to today’s passage in Mark chapter 3. If you remember, as we’ve seen repeatedly, Jesus is a busy man who is in great demand from many people through the region of Capernaum and beyond. Wherever Jesus went crowds gathered. The Religious Leaders had begun to plot Jesus demise and Jesus own mother and brothers had thought that he had completely lost it, mentally – that He was spinning out of control. Their discernment was off.

Mark 3:20-30 (NIV)
20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat.
21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind."
22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons."

 

Do you see the lack of discerning perspective here? His family says, “He is out of his mind!” The religious leaders in concert say, “He is demon possessed!” Here they are in the presence of God, Himself, incarnate in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. They are able literally to reach out and touch the Hand of the divine and yet their instincts, their discernment, their worldview was betraying them as they missed this most important opportunity.
Come on you dopes! What are you blind? You dimwits - how could you miss this?

All too often we miss God’s handiwork in the same way. While they had Jesus in the flesh with them, we have been given the gift of knowing the full revelation of not only His humanity, but His deity – fully God, fully man. And yet so often we stumble. We struggle in our faith and in our belief in Him.

Often our own instincts, discernment, worldview betrays us as we miss the opportunities of God at work in our lives.
Have you ever thought that God was crazy? “He is out of His mind.” Have you ever questioned God – “What are you doing?” God isn’t bound to the same rules we are. For instance, the idea that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. God never works like that – at least not often – He moves us around and takes us through the obstacle course of life, until at some point we end up at point B. Normally He does this in a completely different way than we could have imagined. We may end up at points Q – T – L and V before we ever get from A – B. “What are you doing, GOD? – Send us revival!”

 

We have these little conversations with God – presuming that we have some critical piece of the puzzle in informing Him and His decisions. “Hey look, God I think that You really need to do something about these bills that keep piling up on me.” “God, You need to get this boss off my back.” “God, when are you going to actually breakthrough in my dad’s life?” “When is my husband or my wife gonna finally surrender and get saved?” “When is that preacher gonna be sensitive to what this church really needs?” - “Send revival now God!”

We are discerning here with the wrong set of eyes. We are examining what God is doing through the lens of our own experiences - tainted, scratched, broken lenses. We see God as crazy – or perhaps the things He is doing as lacking. We attribute His work in our midst as subpar, diluted power. It’s not that we blame God, but we think that He is just not moving for some reason. Just like the religious leaders we don’t even recognize Him or what He is already doing.

Mark 3:20-30 (NIV)
23 So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: "How can Satan drive out Satan?
24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.
27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.

Jesus points out the flaw in their reasoning, here.
It is like an Atheist calling Religion immoral, “Um, Mr. Atheist where does your morality come from?” If there is no God, no Creator or Designer, then there is no purpose, with no purpose then there is no value, no value then morality is a crapshoot. Thus, who are you to judge me calling me immoral? Is truth relative or not? You see that statement alone lacks any good reasoning – because how do you know if it is a true statement or not – it is self-defeating.

Our Reasoning is flawed apart from the Truth found in Jesus.
People haven’t changed. When you choose God as your enemy, you have chosen an unwinnable war. There is truth! Jesus is truth. His family said He was nuts. These leaders said He was possessed. Their reasoning, just as the atheist, was flawed, because they didn’t really think it through. Their “discernment” was off.

Jesus walks them through this warped reasoning to its conclusion.

“Hello! If Satan is casting out Satan – what kind of strategy is that.” This is worse than the Kamikaze strategy – at least in a Kamikaze, although you are giving your own life you are taking the lives of your opponent.

Jesus points out that essentially what they are saying is that the strategy of our enemy is to defeat himself - that doesn’t work. By defeating yourself, you are allowing the other side to win. Sometimes I do that if I am playing a game with my kids, but this is life and death, here.

How about this strategy – If you ever get burglarized by a dangerous criminal, instead of reaching for a bat/ a gun, why not tie yourself up and yell down the hall hey the jewelry is in the safe the combination is 555 -55 -55.

No you would never do that. If someone comes into your home you would protect yourself and your family. You would do what it took to stop anything bad from happening to you.
Satan is no different. His strategy is to steal kill and destroy you and I and Christ’s mission in us, not to defeat himself (John 10:10).

Jesus moves on though and begins to reveal what it is that He is actually doing. He is not possessed, he is not in cahoots with the enemy, He is not even a spy – He is boldly attacking the enemy.

Mark 3:20-30 (NIV)
27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.

Jesus is tying up the strong man. This is what he came to do – Revival is Here! Tying up the strong man (Satan) - this is what He is in the business of doing – when His own family called Him out of His mind and the Religious Leaders said He was possessed – He was tying up the strong man (Satan).

He is busy tying up the strong man (Satan) so that He can rob his house – so that He can steal back the lives that the strong man (Satan) has claimed. Revival Is Here!

You remember a few weeks ago in an earlier post I told you that Jesus never called us to be balanced. He called us to be extreme. He called us to action.

I read from the late Mike Yaconelli’s book “Messy Spirituality” this passage…
“Beware of balance. Balance is a dangerous, illusionary characteristic and a temptress. Disguised as normal and sensible, it is silently destructive, crushing the unbalance of giftedness, taming the extremes of passion, smothering the raging fire of a genuine relationship with Jesus.”

 

In Revelation Jesus said to the Church in Laodicea…

Revelation 3:15-16 (NLT)
15 "…you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other!
16 But since you are like lukewarm water, I will spit you out of my mouth!

Following the mission of Jesus in tying up the strong man and robbing him of the lives he has claimed often forces imbalance in life, as we see in Jesus busy life of action. This mission forces you to be extreme (Hot or Cold) because you make your life about the pursuit of those things which have the greatest importance.

This is where discernment gets tough, because we often discern based on the guidelines of what “feels” right. What feels right usually finds its criteria in comfort – what “feels” good. In order to discern what Jesus is doing in our lives we have to sometimes set aside feeling and trust His leadership.

Jesus stated His mission in front of everyone one Sabbath morning from a pulpit as He read from the words of Isaiah saying…

Luke 4:17-21 (NLT)
17 The scroll containing the messages of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him, and he unrolled the scroll to the place where it says:
18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors,
19 and that the time of the Lord's favor has come."
20 He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. Everyone in the synagogue stared at him intently.
21 Then he said, "This Scripture has come true today before your very eyes!"

He came to tie up the strong man and to set the captives, the blind, the oppressed and the downtrodden free.

His mission is our mission – to tie up the strong man and to set the captives, the blind, the oppressed and the downtrodden free.
That is our mission – it is what Jesus was all about. It was a genuine move of God – and guess what He is still moving.
Revival is Here! We need to recognize it – discern it and we need to proclaim it to others.

Mark 3:20-30 (NIV)
28 I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them.
29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin."
30 He said this because they were saying, "He has an evil spirit."

Discernment begins with faith in the one who calls us by His Word – and doing what He says. Jesus said…

John 10:27 (NIV)
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

The Spirit of God is at work. Stop crying out for God’s revival to come. Instead pray to God that you will recognize Him. Pray that He will empower you to join Him. His revival is here – start proclaiming it!

As we endeavor more and more as a Church to put the priorities of God to action in our lives – “Loving God, Loving Each Other and Loving the People of Our World!” – The great revival of Jesus, which is already here and available to us will become discernable not only to you and I, but to the people all around us.
Paul encouraged Timothy in this way and it is a challenge for us. He said…

1 Timothy 4:16 (NIV)
16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
 

Revival is here! Let’s live it.

By Carl Friedel


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