Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Gospel of Mark: A Serving Savior 2015-2016 / Lesson 4 - "Crowds and Conflicts" - Mark 3:7-35

Lesson 4 --“Crowds and Conflicts”--Mark 3:7-35
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”)
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.)
WS: Word Study (Understanding definition, theological meaning, and usages in other passages.)

The WORD: What does the Bible say?
Context:  Read Mark 3:1-4:3 to help understand the context of this passage.  Read Mark 3:6-35 in a more literal or more dynamic translation than you usually use. 
Context: Mark 3:6 highlights an important transition as the Pharisees (ISBE-WBE) and Herodians (ISBE-BLB) begin planning how they might destroy Jesus.  What five conflicts in chapters 2-3 led up to this opposition?  Do you see any common themes developing?
1.     ID: (3:7-10)  Where did great multitude come from to see Jesus?  Why did they come?
2.     ID/CR: (3:11-12)  How did the unclean spirits respond to Jesus? (James 2:19-20)  What did He warn (order) them not to do? (Mark 1:23-25, 34)
3.     ID: (3:13-19)  Who did Jesus appoint as His disciples (Matthew 10:1-4; Luke 6:12-16)?  Why did he appoint them (14)?  What did He give them power to do?
4.     WS: (3:21-27)  What accusations were made against Jesus?  By whom? What was His response to scribes’ reasoning?
5.     ID/CR/WS: (3:28-35)  What does it mean to blaspheme (blasphēmeō) the Holy Spirit? (Matthew 12:22-32; Luke 12:8-12)  To whom did Jesus direct that warning? (Comb the text for clues before you refer to the article below.)
6.     ID/CR: (3:21, 31-35)  Who was in Jesus’ family (Mark 6:3)?  Why did Jesus’ family want to take him back home?  Who did Jesus claim as his family?

The WALK: What should I do?
1.     What do you think brought two opposing groups together to oppose Christ?  How do we prevent those thoughts and attitudes from taking root in ourselves?
2.     The multitudes came to Jesus because of the things they heard He did.  What causes you to turn toward Him?  Who would you want Jesus to heal?
3.     Are Jesus’ two purposes for His disciples in 3:14 taking place in your life?
4.     Think of an area where it is difficult for you to “do the will of God.”  What concrete step can you take to this next week to bring that area more under His control?
5.     Where in this passage do we see Gospel truths about God, Man, Christ, and our response?  Have your sins been forgiven?
Going Beyond:  1. Read some of the articles about the “unpardonable sin.”
2. Update your Mark charts.  What areas of theology are touched on in this passage?
q The Bible   q God  q God the Father   q Jesus Christ    q The Holy Spirit    q Man   q Salvation   q The Church         q Angels & Satan   q Future Things

What is the “Unforgivable Sin”?
By Andy Rau on his October 10, 2012, blog
Last week’s Monday Morning Scripture post highlighted Jesus’ response to accusations that he was in league with the devil himself. In answering his critics, Jesus refers to something that has troubled Christians ever since: the so-called “unforgivable sin.” Here are Jesus’ words:
I promise you that any of the sinful things you say or do can be forgiven, no matter how terrible those things are. But if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven. That sin will be held against you forever.” — Mark 3:28-29 (CEV)
Different Bible translations word this differently; some use the phrase “eternal sin” or “unforgivable sin.” In some, the sin is to “blaspheme against” or “curse the Holy Spirit.” Whatever the wording, what troubles many readers is the suggestion that there is a type of sin that God will not forgive. Doesn’t this contradict verses like 1 John 1:9, which state that God will forgive all of our wrongdoing? What exactly is the sin that can’t be forgiven—and is it possible that you’ve committed it, even unintentionally?
These are serious questions. For an answer, I turned to author and apologist Lee Strobel’s Investigating Faith newsletter, where earlier this year he published a thoughtful reflection on a difficult Bible passage. Here’s Lee’s response to the question, “What is the unforgivable sin, and how do I know I haven’t committed it?”
“If you’re worried that you may be guilty of the unforgivable sin, you almost certainly are not,” Rick Cornish aptly points out in his book Five Minute Theologian. “Concern about committing it reveals the opposite attitude of what the sin is. Those who might be guilty wouldn’t care because they have no distress or remorse over the possibility.”
Jesus talked about the unforgivable sin in Matthew 12:31-32: “And I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
Let’s face it – that’s a very sobering teaching! But let’s put it into context. Note that Jesus didn’t address his comments to his disciples or a mere crowd. He was talking specifically to Pharisees who had personally witnessed his miracle of completely and instantly healing a blind and mute demon-possessed man (Matthew 12:22). Rather than acknowledging the obvious fact that Jesus was exercising divine powers, the Pharisees were so spiritually depraved that they attributed his power to Satan (v. 24).
“Their problem was not blind ignorance, but willful rejection,” pointed out Cornish. “That deliberate refusal to believe, even though knowing the truth, seems to be what Jesus called the unforgivable sin.”
As the Quest Study Bible puts it, “Jesus gave the solemn warning in these verses to people whose hard-heartedness placed them on the brink of disaster. Blasphemy against the Spirit evidently is not just a one-time offense; rather, it is an ongoing attitude of rebellion – a stubborn way of life that continually resists, rejects and insults the Holy Spirit. This is what makes it, in effect, an eternal sin (Mark 3:29). Blasphemy against the Spirit is not unforgivable because of something done unintentionally in the past, but because of something being done deliberately and unrelentingly in the present.”
So if you’re an authentic Christian, don’t spend time fretting over whether you have accidentally committed this unforgivable offense. “There is no biblical evidence that a genuine Christian can commit this (unforgivable) sin,” says the Apologetics Study Bible. “Fear that one has done so is probably a good sign that one hasn’t, for full-fledged apostasy is a defiant rejection of everything Christian and lacks the tender conscience that would be worried about such an action.”
·       You Asked: What Is the Unforgivable Sin?” -- Jonathan Pennington
·       What Is the Unpardonable Sin?-- Clay Jones
·       What is the “unpardonable sin”? / How does sin become “unforgivable”? -- Paul S. Taylor

Lesson 4 – Mark 3:6-35
I have been reflecting on the phenomenon of Jesus being popular with the masses and in conflict with the power brokers in first century Israel.
Context: From time to time there are context questions to help us focus on and understand the bigger picture.  This is important.
1. The Chronological Life of Christ indicates that the locations listed would mean that people could have traveled as much as 120 miles to see Jesus.  This says something about how widespread his reputation was at this time.  Note, while the dedication to travel that far was remarkable, the reason given was not that they believed in Him or wanted to hear his teaching.
3.  Some of the disciples were known by more than one name.  The second part of this question will be revisited in the WALK questions.
4.  This question is not meant to get into the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. That is the next question.
5.  This is an issue that is clarified by Scripture as a whole, but push the men to glean insights from the text itself before branching off into systematic theology or general concepts from the articles linked from this lesson.
2. The second part of this question may give men an opportunity to share about themselves or someone in their life who is hurting.  This could be an opportunity for you men to get to know each other on a more personal level. 
I picked the article by Andy Rau primarily because it was so short.  There are links to three others that will provide more food for thought.


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