Archive for March 13th, 2009
Mark 6:14-29 “Religious, But Not Saved”
Sunday 26 March 2000 AM
Thesis: Many are entertained by the Gospel but choose to be religious without repenting and trusting in Christ. Sadly, many in our churches are religious but not saved.
I. Herod’s Difficult Situation
II. Religious But Not Saved
III. The Results of Sin
IV. The Hope of the Gospel
14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.
21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Herodias’s daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison 28 and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
Introduction: We are getting ready for revival by going through the book of Mark, story by story. The idea of revival is not to focus on what God may or may not do with other folks, the idea is to prepare our own hearts for what God wants to do with us! The same is true of preaching or studying the Bible. It is good to study and preach for what we need. I should not direct my sermons to folks who are not here or who may not be here; I should preach for the glory of God first, preach what I the preacher need, preach for what you the congregation need. As soon as we start thinking, “That sermon sure did apply to Mr. so and so” instead of thinking “I needed to hear that sermon” then we miss the blessings that God has for us.
Entertainment, while not inherently evil, can certainly be misused and overemphasized. We live in a leisure oriented society that seeks thrills and fun in a desperate way. Our fallen human nature will twist pleasure into a false god very easily. It was the same in Herod’s day. Sadly, many lost people in our day, just like Herod, are somewhat entertained by spiritual things, by the gospel even, but never repent and commit to the Lord Jesus Christ. Sadly, I believe that many religious folks in churches are merely religious without being truly saved! Today’s sermon is designed to help You think through the condition of your soul to examine your heart and see if you are really trusting in Christ alone for your salvation or if you are merely religious.
I. Herod’s Difficult Situation.
1.”King” Herod- Who is Herod? This is Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch,
son of Herod the Great who ruled Palestine when Jesus was born. Herod the Great died around 4BC and his kingdom was divided between 4 sons. The Herod of our text today, Herod Antipas, ruled Galilee and Perea (the land East of Jordan River) from 4 BC to AD 39.
Mark refers to Herod as “King” probably as an insult because Herod Antipas was not technically a king, in fact, Herod was deposed by Caesar Augustus specifically refused to give Antipas that title which his father had enjoyed. In AD 37 Emperor Caligula gave Antipas’ nephew (Herod Agrippa of Acts 12) the title “King” and Herodias was so jealous she urged her husband Antipas to request the title for himself from Caligula. For this, he got in trouble and banished. Mark would have been familiar with this of course and so he uses the title King to contrast the pretender with the Real King, Jesus, and the announcing of the Kingdom of God. Dr. Garland writes, (p.243), “Mark may be scornfully mocking Herod’s royal pretensions by giving him the title he coveted and that led to his ruin.”
Herod’s wife, Herodias, was also a descendent of Herod the Great, hence her name. (This family is very complex!). She is Antipas’ neice and sister-in-law, having been married to Antipas’ brother, Phillip. Kent Hughes writes, (p.140), “Herodias was the daughter of Herod’s half brother Aristobulus, and was thus Herod’s neice. Further, when he met her in Rome she was the wife of another of his half-brothers, herod Philip, and therefore his sister-in-law. This was totally unallowable under Jewish law (Lev.18:16; 20:21).”
John the Baptist was the son of the Priest Zechariah and Elizabeth (a relative of Mary mother of Jesus). A Nazirite from birth, a prophet, whom Jesus said of, Matt. 11:11 “I tell you the truth: Among those born of women, there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist…” John would confront the Pharisees, Matt.3:7-10, “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Saducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘WE have Abraham as our father’…” John was in your face, confrontational preacher, who did not hesitate to point out sins personally.
This is exactly what got him in trouble with Herod. Mark 6:17ff. Keep in mind that Antipas was the ruler, the “king”, the tetrarch, he was the chief executive, much as our President is, except with more power. John was pointing out the sins of the chief executive. This is perfectly fitting for the role of OT Prophet. See the relationship of Elijah and Ahab/Jezebel in 1Kings18:17; or Micaiah the prophet and his relationship with Ahab in 2Chron.18. The job of prophetically critiquing rulers according to scriptural truth is still important by the way. This is one of the jobs of the church, of individual Christians and faithful ministers- we must, like John the Baptist, confront our culture, our political leaders, with the Law and the Gospel. If you let political party affiliation blind you to the blatant sins of our politicians, then you need to re-evaluate your position. John did not hesitate to correct Herod Antipas for his incestuous marriage that was wrong on two counts. When it comes to preaching on sin and issues John did not hold back. It was not popular then, it is not popular today. It got John in trouble then and it gets me in trouble today! (I included this line because many in my church hated it when I brought up issues like abortion)
II. Religious But Not Saved
Enough of the background stuff!! Here is the meat of the text and sermon. Herod Antipas had placed John the Baptist in prison because Herodias was incensed that John was pointing out their sin in his sermons in a public way (presumably). Herodias, like Jezebel of old (notice how much of the OT shows up in Mark’s gospel? I included this line because many in my church despised OT preaching and constantly complained anytime I preached from the OT) “wanted to kill John but she was not able to because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.”
Herod was a typical hedonistic sinner who lived for the pleasures of sex, drunkeness, money and power. He divorced one wife in order to steal his brother’s wife. She was so evil that she even sent her own daughter out to dance as an exotic dancer for Herod’s wild party. The teenage step daughter danced a lascivious dance for her step father and his guests when that was normally the job of royal prostitutes. His marriage was incestuous, and this dance had incestuous overtures as well. Herod was deeply perverted, but that was normal for pagan culture.
Yet Herod knew John the Baptist to be a righteous and holy man. As deeply into sin as he was, Herod was not oblivious to holiness. He saw holiness in John and appreciated it. He was drawn to it. This is a curious truth that I have seen in my experience as well. There are some lost sinners who have a degree of appreciation for that which is true, holy and righteous. Some sinners are like Herodias and Jezebel, totally mean, wicked and vicious. Others, like Antipas and Ahab, like to hang out with the prophets. They see something in them they like. It is this tendency that I want to focus on, this sin of being religious without repenting.
In our present day this sin is very prevalent in that most Americans believe in God and generally believe in Jesus and in the Bible. There is a renewed interest in things “spiritual” whether it is angels, reincarnation or prayer walks on ancient labyrinths. But surveys and studies have shown that behaviour amongst church members is no different from those who are not church members. In fact, Baptists have a higher divorce rate than those who are not in any church. It seems that, like Antipas, we like to have our sin and enjoy getting preached at as well!
In reading a history book I have come across some startling things about the church in America. Let me quote from Henry Steele Commager’s book, The American Mind: An Interpretation of American Thought and Character Since the 1880’s. In his chapter on “Religious Thought and Practice” he writes, “Few things were more remarkable than the unanimity with which Americans professed a religious faith, for the most part Calvinistic, and the indifference which they displayed to its doctrines…in everything but law, America, at the opening of the twentieth century, was a Christian nation….Every people makes God in its own image, and the Americans were no exception….It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that during the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth, religion prospered while theology went slowly bankrupt…Certainly by every test but that of influence the church had never been stronger than it was at the opening of the twentieth century…Everyone was a Christian, and almost everyone joined some church…. The typical Protestant of the twentieth century inherited his religion as he did his politics, though rather more casually, and was quite unable to explain the differences between denominations. He found himself a church member by accident and persisted in his affiliation by habit; he greeted each recurring Sunday service with a sense of surprise and was persuaded that he conferred a benefit upon his rector and his community by participating in church services. The church was something to be supported, like some aged relative whose claim was vague but inescapable….Never before had the church been materially more powerful or spiritually less effective….religion became increasingly a social activity rather than a spiritual experience…. ” Preach it brother Commager!
The fact is that many people want a thin veneer of religion, want a taste of Christ without wanting to repent and follow Him. Human nature tends toward settling for superficiality instead of real commitment. Jesus faced this when in Mk.10 the rich young man approaches Jesus asking about eternal life. Jesus confronts him with his love of riches and the man leaves. Superficiality earns a rebuke from Christ. Look at Rev. 3:1-3, 14-20.
Folks, if we are going to experience revival, if this church is to grow strong again, we must own up to being like Herod Antipas. We have some who may be religious but not serious, outwardly faithful, knowing some of the Bible and a lot of Baptist, but not committed to Christ, unrepentant of sin.
What a horrible shame it would be to have attended this church for years, decades, and only to have served this church and never having served the Savior; to have done lots of good deeds to each other and to the neighbors, but never to have been truly born again.
Do you like to be preached at, but have you never repented? That is what Herod did. Where does that lead?
III. The Results of Sin
Let us look at the horrible descent of Herod down the drain of sin. We see his lust leading him to divorce and an incestuous marriage. We see an evil influence (his wife) that leads him to imprison God’s prophet; and then he listens to the Word of God repeatedly without heeding the Word, thus bringing condemnation upon his soul. (One of the biggest sins in the church is always this one of hearing the Word but not obeying the word). Herod hosts a normal party with lots of drinking and now an exotic dancer, his own step-daughter (incestuous again) and his pride exceeds his intelligence and he makes a rash vow which his scheming wife takes advantage of. This is where we get the crude saying “I want his head on a platter!” Now, facing humiliation before his guests, he sends the executioner after the court preacher. John dies a martyr’s death.
Herod’s sins do not stop there. Look at Lk. 23 and you see Herod again, this time examining Jesus whom he had heard of for years. “When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer… Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him.”
Herod wanted Jesus to perform like a court jester, actor or a trained dog. The entertainment factor again. Religious, but only interested in the sideshow stuff. Sadly many folks go to modern day “healing crusades” to see the show, to see God perform. There is an entire theology and church movement now that emphasizes making God perform on demand- just what Herod tried.
How does it end? Herod mocks and ridicules the Creator himself; the Lord of lords is made fun of by a petty tyrant. Jesus is sent back to Pilate and crucified. One sin leads to another: from lust and drunkenness to treating the Word of God with contempt to murder of a prophet, now to the murder of the Son of God.
IV. The Hope of the Gospel
Another biblical character, a king, was inflamed with lust that led to a murder. David. The difference is that David heeded the prophet Nathan when his sins were pointed out. David repented.
The gospel is that God is holy and we are sinful to the core, unable to save ourselves. Jesus died as a perfect sacrifice in our place, bearing the full wrath of God against our sins, so that we could be forgiven. He paid the penalty for our sin so we could be declared righteous. The very righteousness of Christ is credited to our account and we are in fact adopted by God. The judge declares us righteous and then welcomes us into his family.
We must no longer be content to be religiously entertained. We must repent of our sin and follow Jesus in faith. We must pick up our cross daily and follow Christ, walking in the Spirit, living by faith, pursuing holiness and sanctification.
Being on the church rolls will not save you. Being faithful in attendance will not save you. Tithing will not save you. Studying your SS lesson will not save you.
If you want to experience revival, if you want this church to experience revival, it begins with repentance and turning to Christ in faith.
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News from Outer Space: China Building Military Space Station
Wednesday, March 3, 2009– While Amerika is about to phase out the elderly and dangerous Space Shuttle (which nonetheless has a distinguished record of service despite its two disastes) the Chicoms are readying their new military space station, the Tiangong 1. This 17,000 lb station will be launched next year and will be for the purpose of military research. The Chicoms will be using their Shenzhou space taxi (their equivalent to our Space Shuttle) but they are now building an assembly line for the Shenzhou spacecraft indicating their desire for a longer term use and cheaper production for the spacecraft.
Meanwhile, here in the new Amerika, our Space Shuttles are being phased out by 2010 and we will have to depend on the Russkies to fly our astronauts until we have our next generation of Space Shuttle, The Constellation Program using the Orion/Aries system, ready to go, by 2015 at the earliest (I wouldn’t count on it! I doubt the Obama administration has much interest, and now they won’t have much money, for space flight).
HERE IS THE KICKER PEOPLE: AMERICA, WHO WAS FIRST TO LAND ON THE MOON, WILL NOW BE WITHOUT SPACEFLIGHT, WILL BE BEHIND BOTH THE CHICOMS AND THE RUSSKIES AND TOTALLY DEPENDENT UPON THE LIKES OF VLADIMIR PUTIN FOR MANNED SPACEFLIGHT.
This is not merely about national pride, although that is an important component. A vigorous space program is crucial for national defense, scientific research (both of which, by the way, support the industrial base of the country, create jobs and technology that expands into the private economy from the government economy) and the future of the country and the world. WE MUST expand our horizons from this small globe and reach the stars (well, the Moon, Mars and the Asteroids first).
Obama has stated that he is against the Militarization of Space. Idiot. Space has been militarized since the first communications or spy sat went up. If you think for one minute that the Chicoms and Russkies aren’t developing anti-satellite weapons you need to go back to sleep.
A couple of other reasons we ought to have a vigorous manned space program. When God gave Adam the command and blessing to exercise dominion over the earth, I believe that can logically be expanded to outer space, the Moon, Mars, and everywhere else in God’s creation we can reach. God gave man an inner drive to create and explore that reflects the imago dei in each one of us. Psalm 19 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God…” Let us explore space for God’s greater glory!
Here is the news story that got me going on this topic this morning:Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Friday the 13th, 2009- I have had a keen interest in political affairs since I was in Mr. Ron Carter’s 8th grade American History class at Madison Jr. High in Bartlesville, OK. (Mr. Carter went on to go to law school after a couple of years of teaching, but his class was so much fun that I ended up majoring in History at OU. Mr. Carter’s claim to fame back in the day was that in High School, he played Safety in football, and in one game he was the only defensive player between the famous Steve Owens and the goal line. He said he still has cleat marks from that encounter!) That was the year of the Watergate Hearings and we would occasionally watch some of that on TV in the class on Fridays which was Current Events day.
The point is, my interest in politics was born watching a scandal. Over the years I have seen countless scandals, real and imagined. I watched the Iran-Contra hearings back in the 80’s with LTC Oliver North sitting there day after day in his USMC uniform and that chest full of medals. That was a particularly good scandal, real in the sense that laws were probably deliberately broken by the good guys trying to what was right, contrived because Congress was flat out wrong in how they were handling Nicaragua, etc.
The scandals of the Bush administration were virtually all contrived politically by the Bush hating syndrome afflicting Congress. Bush should have pardoned Scooter Libby the day after his conviction. And I take Bush’s side in the scandals of his administration, not because I am a Bush supporter. I did not vote for him in the primary of 2000, and I opposed more of his policies than I supported. Bush was the best Demoncrat President since JFK. He was no conservative. He bungled some aspects of the war and the economy.But he DID KEEP US SAFE!
Now we get to the scandals of the Obamasky administration, 52-53 days old now. In my 36 years of watching politics, this is the most amateurish, ethically challenged administration I have seen. Go to my link below to Atlas Shrugs for a good list, I will just dwell on a few.
Most recently we have Vivek Kundra, Obama’s pick as Chief Technology Officer, who formerly ran that office for Washington DC. Kundra’s office was raided by the FBI who had been running acorruption investigation. Kundra himself was not the intended target, just his underlings. Right.
Next we have a couple of cases of “Oops, I really don’t want to serve in this administration!” Dr. Sanya Gupta of CNN (note: there are a high number of news media that end up serving in Demoncrat administrations, why?) first agreed to take the Surgeon General’s job, but then backed out. Officially, he had not yet been nominated, but he was the leading candidate. He then decided to back out as it would be detrimental to his family and surgeon’s career. Uhmm Hmm…wonder what his taxes look like?
The Sec. of Commerce position has been snake bit, first by Gov. Bill Richardson bailing out due to some rather serious legal investigations against him in what may be a “pay for play” situation.
Then, there was Republican Senator Judd Gregg (what was he thinking) who withdrew because of political differences with the Obama administration (he just now figures out there is a difference between Dems and Repubs? He has been in the Senate wayyy tooo longgg).
Another nominee that has withdrawn, this one was to be Treasury Secretary Geithner’s chief assistant, is Annette Nazareth. No real reason was ever given as to why she withdrew, but one can imagine…
Now we have the various Tax Cheats who have been nominated, and, remarkably, confirmed (proof the Republicans in the Senate are invertebrates, and some are likely pervertebrates too- Larry Craig, Ted Kennedy, et al). Chief Tax Thief is Timothy Geithner, Sec. of Treasury. If you believe his line about getting his taxes wrong on Turbo Tax because he didn’t understand it….He is either a liar and a thief, or an incompetent, or all the above. So why did Senator Cornyn of Texas vote for him?
The next tax cheat nominated is former demoncrat Senator Tom Daschel who had to withdraw from the confirmation process for Sec. of Health and Human Services because of cheating on his taxes.
Now he has been replaced by the RADICAL PRO-ABORTION Gov. Kathleen Sibelius of Kansas. She is not merely pro-choice, she is radically pro-abortion.
Next is Rep. Hilda Solis, Dem. CA nominated for Secretary of Labor. It seems that her husband is a tax cheat, but that isnt stopping her.
Now we have Nancy Killefer, who was to be appointed as the Performance Czar, who had some pretty good tax problems and had to withdraw. Does anyone else see the irony of the performance czarina withdrawing for something as basic as taxes? Great performance!
Next in line is the former mayor of Dallas (there is a reason we live in Fort Worth instead of Dallas…) who is up for US Trade Representative. He has been confirmed, but, you guessed it, he too had tax issues.
Then there is Adolfo Carrion, Pres. Obama’s choice for Urban Czar (what does an urban czar do?) who is under investigation for bribery and he failed to pay an architect who did work for him a couple of years ago.
The person nominated for Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, Charles Freeman, had to withdraw, he said because of the Israel Lobby not liking him. There were some indications that he was way too friendly with the Chicoms in some financial dealings as well as making some outrageous statements about Israel (perhaps he would have been approved as Attorney General instead?)
Finally, there are 3 people in the Justice Department confirmed who shold not be anywhere the Justice Department. First is Thomas Perrelli, for Associate Attorney General (the #3 spot) who is infamous for being the attorney helping Terri Schiavo’s husband sue to get her starved to death. Second, we have that great defender of Pornographers everywhere, David Ogden, as the #2 at Justice, Deputy Attorney General. Finally, the Top Cop himself, that paragon of ambulance chasers everywhere, Attorney General Eric Holder, who pardoned Marc Rich for Pres. Bill Clinton and most recently embarrassed the administration (is that really possible?) by calling America a “nation of cowards” for not being willing to discuss racial issues more openly. Hoo boy.
Well, that is a pretty entertaining start to a 4-yr administration that should be filled with lotsa libtard lunacy.
May God save the United States!
Oops! Wow! I no sooner publish this than another Obama pick has had to bail out of the bail-out administration. Rodgin Cohen was picked to replace Annette Nazareth (see above) as Deputy Treasury Secretary, but he has now had to leave because of “an issue in the final stages of the vetting process”. Turbo-Tax perhaps? And in this story I found out that another Obama appointee, Caroline Atkinson, Under-Secretary for International affairs, had to withdraw for TAX ISSUES.
At this point one has to seriously question whether any Demoncrat politician pays their taxes?