Volunteer Spotlight: Kevin Boose

We are so thankful for each of you who serve each other at Gateway Church. One area that people serve at Gateway is in the area of Worship Tech. Kevin Boose serves in this way at our N Main campus. Check out what he has to say about serving, and check out ways you can serve at Gateway, too!

Kevin Boose serving at the sound board at our N Main campus.

Kevin Boose serving at the sound board at our N Main campus.

How long have you attended Gateway?...been a volunteer in Gateway’s Worship Tech ministry?

I have been attending Gateway since the beginning of 2014. I started serving on the Tech team at CR9 by operating the video camera.

In what capacity do you volunteer?

Currently, I serve at North Main taking care of the lights and slides during the services or by operating the sound board. Doing the sound is something new for me that I think I'll be doing more of in the future. Occasionally my wife, Samantha, and I will volunteer in the North Main nursery, too.

Why did you initially volunteer to serve with worship tech?

We talked about serving during a Life Group meeting once and it got me thinking about the people who make the services what they are. I was inspired to look into a way I could fill a need or at least help lighten the load for those who were already serving. My Life Group leader (Dave Lehman) also volunteers for the Tech team, so I thought that would be a good place for me to start.

What do you enjoy most about serving with worship tech?

I really connect with the music at Gateway, and this is a way for me to be involved with it without being a musician or singer.

Do you have a favorite memory of working with worship tech at Gateway?

I enjoyed being on the Tech team the weekend that Ray Ortlund , Jr. visited and preached. I had a chance to meet him and be a part of a unique experience at Gateway.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not connecting people to Jesus Christ and to one another as a volunteer?

I enjoy spending time with my wife, Samantha, and my son, Owen, reading, and growing vegetables in our garden.

What would you say to someone who has been feeling a tug to serve, but who hasn’t taken the plunge yet?

Pick an area that interests you and give it try! It may be a way God is trying to help you grow and help others grow as well!

Songs for the Weekend

We have been talking about Jesus’ unexpected power. How has Jesus show His power in unexpected ways in your life? As you dwell on this amazing though that He uses His power to love His children, sing His praises with these songs.

CR9

We Will Feast in the House of Zion - Sandra McCracken
Beautiful Scandalous Night - Derald Daugherty
Open Up Our Eyes - Elevation Worship
Is He Worthy - Andrew Peterson
Oceans - Hillsong United

N Main

This Is Amazing Grace - Phil Wickham
Lord I Need You - Matt Maher
Death Was Arrested - NorthPoint InsideOut
Cornerstone - Hillsong
Great I Am - Jared Anderson

Check out all of the songs we sing at Gateway on our Spotify Worship List.

We also have created a Beyond Sunday Spotify playlist with songs we commend to you for your enjoyment beyond Sunday. Check it out!

Prayer

Prayer

Way back on January 6, 2019, during our evening communion service, Pastor Josh delivered a fantastic sermon about prayer. Personally, our evening communion services are always a favorite for me, but this one was particularly wonderful. One element of his sermon I found particularly moving was the periods of time Pastor Josh allowed in his for prayer. He encouraged us, the congregation, to pray for our pastors and elders. He then had pastors and elders pray over us as a congregation. Lastly, he encouraged us to pray for each other. If you were unable to join us that evening or haven't yet caught up, you can view the sermon here.

In light of his sermon, I wanted to take the opportunity to drill down further into prayer in hopes of helping you grow in your prayer life. I realize his sermon was over 2 months ago now, but I still think it's worth the time.

Unexpected Power, Pt. 2 Q&A

Last week, Jesus told the man that had the demons cast out of him to go tell everyone he knew what He had done for him. But this week, Jesus tells the family of the little girl whom he raised from the dead, not to tell anyone. Why are these responses so different?

The people living in the town with the healed demonized man were terrified of Jesus. So sending the man out to spread the news wasn't going to disrupt Jesus' ministry as he is about to move on to the other side of the lake. In other stories, we find people wanting to make Jesus king when they witness His power (instead of being afraid, the people think they've now got someone who can kick the Romans out of power). So asking the family to keep what had happened a secret would prevent such a commotion among the people in Capernaum and allow Jesus to continue doing His ministry without the people demanding Him to become king.

Why does Jesus tell the parents of the girl he raised from the dead “43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this,”.

Thank you for your question. Please see the response to the question above, as it is a similar question.

Is there a coincidence between the women suffering 12 years from her sickness and the girl being 12 years old? Does that number have a specific significance? 12 disciples, etc

The number 12 does have significance in the Bible. In this story, though, I don't know that the number has the significance on the same level as the 12 tribes of Israel or 12 apostles. I think Mark is letting us know a detail about the life of the woman and the young girl so we know they are real people (as opposed to made up characters).

Jubilee Recap

facebook.jpg

The college ministry’s annual conference, Jubilee, was held this year in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from February 22– 24, and Engage was able to take along 10 college students. The conference brings together thousands of college students from across the country to experience powerful worship, incredible speakers and engaging workshops on a variety of topics. Jubilee is held to help college students understand how to live faithfully in every area of their lives. As Paul wrote, “Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” (Romans 12:1)

Year after year, Jubilee is held because we believe that Jesus uses it to change lives…and this year was no exception! This year at Jubilee, one student who came with us took a step of faith by deciding to devote her entire life to serving God! She first became a believer when she was in high school. Then, during the summer of last year, she walked away from God and decided she didn’t want to be a Christ-follower anymore. While at Jubilee, she felt the Lord’s presence and the Spirit moved her to confess her sins and return to the Father. Praise Jesus!


Unexpected Power, Pt. 2 Manuscript

SERMON TITLE: Unexpected Power (pt 2)
TEXT: Mark 5:21-43; 6:53-56 (ESV)
SPEAKER: Josh Hanson
DATE: 3-9/10-19

Unexepected_Facebook.png

WELCOME

It’s good to be with all of you this weekend at Gateway Church. And one thing I want you to know — even if it’s your first time with us — I want you to know that God loves you and I love you too.

SERIES INTRODUCTION

And we’re in week four of our Unexpected series — as we’re finding Jesus doing and saying things that are unexpected in the gospel of Mark.

So if you have your Bible with you, please turn with me to Mark chapter 5. We’ll be looking at verses 21-43 and a few verses from chapter 6.

And, if you’re a guest with us, something I like to do is answer your questions. So if you have a question you can text it in to the number printed on the bottom of the sermon notes sheet or you can submit it on the Gateway app.

TEXT INTRODUCTION

One of the amazing things about the Bible is its consistency. The Bible is one big story written over the course of a few thousand years, by dozens of people who were all inspired by God to write the words in this book — which makes it a book like no other. And one may expect — in a book written by dozens of people over the course of thousands of years — for the Bible to have some inconsistencies. But not so.

It’s one consistent, continuous story of God’s great love and compassion for His people and the extent to which He was willing to go to save us from our greatest problem — our disease of sin and rebellion against Him.

Jesus made this clear — earlier in Mark’s gospel — when He said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor — sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Mark 2:17b NLT)

Jesus says He came to make healthy — to make righteous — to make right with God — people who know they’re eternally sick because of their sin disease.

So let’s turn to our story for today and see how this truth plays out in an encounter Jesus has with a woman and a little girl. A story of power displayed in God’s love and compassion towards those who are sick.

RE-ANNOUNCE AND READ THE TEXT

Here are the words found in Mark 5. Beginning in verse 21.

“And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live." 24 And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, "If I touch even his garments, I will be made well." 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, "Who touched my garments?" 31 And his disciples said to him, "You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, 'Who touched me?'" 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease." 35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?" 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, "Do not fear, only believe." 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, "Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping." 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, "Talitha cumi," which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise." 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.” (Mark 5:21-43)

And in Mark chapter 6 we again see Jesus’ power to heal. “When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. 54 And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him 55 and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.” (Mark 6:53-56 ESV)

SERMON INTRODUCTION

For three weeks we’re looking at stories from the life of Jesus where we catch glimpses of His power. And the overarching theme — for these three weeks — is this: Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must rely upon His power above all others. Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must rely upon His power above all others.

Last week we looked at Jesus’ power over the demonic. Next week, Ben will show us His power over nature. And today we’re going to catch a glimpse of Jesus’ power over disease and death. And the big idea for us is this:

Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must trust Him with our mortality. We must trust Him with our mortality.

So what does it mean to trust Jesus with our mortality? Well these two intertwined stories — of an older woman and a sick young girl — help us understand what it means to trust Jesus with our mortality. And the first thing we learn is this.

TRUST HIM WITH OTHERS

Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must trust Him with the sickness of others. We must trust Him with the sickness of others.

Let’s begin in verse twenty-one. “And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live." 24 And he (Jesus) went with him. ” (Mark 5:21-24a)

Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must trust Him with the sickness of others.

Jesus and His disciples are back on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. They went from this side of the lake to the other side last week — and now they’ve gone back — most likely to the town of Capernaum.

And when they land, Jairus — the man in our story with the sick daughter — approaches Jesus. And we learn that Jairus is a synagogue ruler — a respected position in the community. He wasn’t a priest, but as the synagogue ruler he oversaw the care of the synagogue as well as the administrative duties — sort of a modern day church office manager.

Yet Jairus didn’t let his position keep him from humbling himself before Jesus. For when he approaches Jesus — we read — that Jairus fell at Jesus’ feet. He humbled himself. He’s a father in a desperate situation and he wasn’t going to let his pride or position get in the way of his daughter being healed of her sickness.

So he tells Jesus, “My little girl’s at the point of death.” “Jesus she’s dying. She’s at death’s door.” And he believes that Jesus can do something about it.

Now we don’t know if Jairus had seen Jesus heal before. But what we do know is that he believed in Jesus’ power, so he approaches Jesus trusting that He can do something about his daughter’s situation.

And I love how this part of the story ends. “And Jesus went with him.” (Mark 5:24a, ESV) Jesus shows compassion. He doesn’t have to go, but He does. He may’ve had other plans, but He drops them to go with Jairus to see his sick little girl.

Jairus believed that Jesus had the power to heal his daughter. And this belief compelled him to go to Jesus, humbling himself as he asked Jesus to go with him to see his dying girl. Jairus trusted Jesus with his daughter’s sickness — he trusted Jesus with her mortality.

And because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must trust Him with the sickness of others.

Now if you know this story, you may be thinking, “Well of course it was easy for Jairus to trust Jesus. His daughter’s going to be healed.” But remember, Jairus had no idea what would happen.

Now something very true is this: Not everyone experiences the healing we hope they will experience. I pray often for my boys to be healed of their diabetes, but — and don’t miss this — more importantly I pray that God would be glorified in their life.

So if their diabetes keeps them dependent upon the Lord — giving Him glory — because they know their bodies are not the way they should be — then God don’t take away their diabetes. But if in healing them, they won’t lose their dependence AND will glorify You more because of the healing — then Lord heal them — but do what brings You the most glory.

But what I don’t want, is for my boys to be healed of their diabetes only to become rebellious towards the Lord as they live independently of Him. Being healed of diabetes isn’t worth their eternity. They’re mortal. Diabetes isn’t their biggest problem — their sin and rebellion against God is. “So Lord if having diabetes keeps my boys dependent upon You, then thank you for diabetes.”

And I tell you this — not to make much of me and my prayer life — but because it took me a long time to be able to pray this way — that’s not how we want to pray for people who are sick. We often think that someone being healed of cancer, or diabetes, or a heart condition, or depression, or whatever it may be — is always what’s best for them — when instead — we should be praying for what would glorify God most in their life.

But when we pray, we must pray trusting that Jesus does have the power to heal them — He can heal — as we’ll see. He has the power to heal, so we must go to Him believing and trusting that — as we pray — He does have the power to conquer any sickness those we love are facing. But His healing them and — God being most glorified in their life — might not be the same thing.

And I know it can be frustrating not knowing with certainty whether them being healed or not will bring God the most glory. But never forget…He can heal — oh can Jesus heal — He has the power to do so. Pray for them to be healed — but pray with God’s glory being what’s most important in their life.

But there’s more.

POINT 2

Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must trust Him with our sickness. We must trust Him with our sickness. Now this becomes personal.

Look with me in end of verse twenty-four. “And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, "If I touch even his garments, I will be made well." 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, "Who touched my garments?" 31 And his disciples said to him, "You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, 'Who touched me?'" 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease."” (Mark 5:24b-34)

Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must trust Him with our sickness.

Jairus went to Jesus with his daughter’s sickness — this woman goes to Jesus with her own trouble.

  • She’s sick.

  • She’s suffered.

  • She’s sought medical help to no avail.

  • In fact, her condition has only gotten worse with time.

Other things about her — that aren’t quite as obvious — are things like her uncleanness.

According to the Jewish law, her medical condition would’ve made her ceremonially unclean. This would have resulted in her being isolated from other people because anyone who had contact with her would become ceremonially unclean.

Why does this matter? Well being unclean would’ve kept her from participating in the Jewish feasts and sacrifices — her ability to worship God was affected by her medical condition. She would’ve been just as much of an outcast — in this town — as the demonized man was in our story last week.

So this helps us understand why she approaches Jesus the way she does — she wasn’t allowed to be in such close proximity to other people. So she did the only thing she could do in her desperate condition. She approached Jesus secretly. Sneaking up from behind. Putting everyone in the crowd at risk of being made ceremonially unclean — including Jesus.

But she believed Jesus’ power could heal her. And like Jairus, we have no idea where this trust of hers came from. But she believes — she trusts that Jesus has the power that could heal her of her sickness.

And when she touches Jesus’ garment — she’s immediately healed.

And I love the details Mark makes sure we’re aware of. Jairus wants Jesus to go and touch his daughter to heal her — this woman wants to touch Jesus. Both Jairus and the woman know there’s something powerful in the touch of Jesus.

Which leads us to an important question. Have you been touched by Jesus’ healing power? I know you may not have a medical condition that you need to be healed of — oh except for this little old thing we call mortality — but your and my biggest sickness isn’t a physical or mental condition — it’s a spiritual one. We’re dead in our sins — the Bible says. We’re unholy. We’re all in a hopeless condition without being touched by the healing power of Jesus.

Like the woman in our story, have you reached out to Jesus in order to experience His healing power?

  • You may feel unacceptable.

  • You may be an outcast in society.

  • You may feel unclean.

  • Like the woman you may feel like you have to sneak up behind Jesus — but regardless — have you reached out to Him and experienced His healing touch?

Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must trust Him with our mortality.

Now the woman’s story doesn’t end here, so we can’t leave her just yet. As soon as she touches Jesus’ garment she “felt” — that means she “knew” — something had happened to her. She knows she’s been healed — yet Jesus seems to not know something. So He asks a rather odd question. Jesus asks, “Who touched me?” What’s up with that?

Now we’ve seen that the woman has faith — she believed Jesus had the power to heal her — but in the Bible — faith always requires confession — belief requires a public declaration. So — in asking “Who touched me?” — Jesus is giving her an opportunity to confess — to make public — her faith in His power. “I’m the one who touched you,” she’d have to say, while the crowd gasped that the unclean outcast was among them. And in confessing to Jesus that it was her — did you see what she did — she fell down at His feet.

The demonized man — last week — fell at Jesus’ feet. Jairus — when he first meets Jesus — falls at His feet. And this woman does to.

In the midst of a crowd that would’ve been in shock — and probably angry thinking they’re now all ceremonially unclean because of her actions — Jesus tells her she’s been healed. “Go in peace,” He tells her. “You’re healed.” And she believes Him.

And not only does she know she’s healed, but the crowd knows it too. She’s no longer to be an outcast. She’s no longer to be considered unclean. She’s no longer sick — for she trusted in the healing power of Jesus and she was made whole.

And — like her — we must trust Jesus with our mortality. I came across a quote by a pastor that’s really helpful in applying this story to our lives. And the quote is helpful when you remember that the woman isn’t the only person in close proximity to Jesus — there’s a large crowd. So imagine people being all over each other — an introvert’s nightmare — no personal space — a large crowd around Jesus.

Like someone coming out of a courthouse for a high profile case and the news cameras and journalists are all on top of them. There’s a lot of crowding going on. Everyone’s trying to get their camera and microphone right in the face of the person.

So the woman isn’t the only person close enough to touch Jesus. But she’s the only one who’s healed by His touch. Now why is that — why is she healed and others aren’t? Why her? Which leads to the quote.

“Now that’s pretty frightening actually. There are an awful lot of us who have crowded Jesus for a long time, and yet we’ve never touched him. Have you not seen this? A lot of us have felt inspired when we were part of that little church back home we grew up in, but when we moved away from it, God wasn’t very real. Or we were inspired and helped by the religious practices of our family or this group of friends, and then we moved away from that crowd. Jesus wasn’t real. What does that mean? It means we experienced the experience of those who were experiencing Jesus, but we never experienced Jesus. We never touched him. You can throng and crowd him, but you need faith if you’re going to have any connection at all to him.” (Tim Keller)

Are you just part of the crowd or have you reached out to Jesus in faith? Are you just part of the crowd here at Gateway or are you a part of the group within the large crowd who have reached out to Jesus in faith? This should frighten us — many people in the crowd were within reach of the healing power of Jesus and yet they failed to experience what was within their fingertips.

Who are you more like? The woman who touched Jesus and was healed or the people who crowded around Jesus yet did not touch Him?

Jesus came to this earth to live, die, and conquer death so that everyone who reaches out to Him — in faith — experiences His healing power. Have you reached out to Him?

One final thing.

POINT 3

Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must trust Him with death. We must trust Him with death. Yup — we’re going there — everyone’s favorite topic — death. Verse thirty-five.

“While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?" 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, "Do not fear, only believe." 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, "Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping." 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, "Talitha cumi," which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise." 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.” (Mark 5:35-43)

Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must trust Him with death.

Jairus’ daughter is dead. She was nearly dead when he found Jesus, but now she’s dead. In fact, Mark now uses a different Greek word to describe the little girl than one he did back in verse twenty-three — when Jairus said she was dying — now the word used by Mark — means “dead.” As Miracle Max would say, “She’s not mostly dead. She’s all dead. Time to look for loose change in her pockets.” That was a Princess Bride reference for all of you Millenials. Jairus’ daughter is dead.

“But Josh, Jesus said the girl was sleeping, not dead.” You’re right, He did. But He’s speaking figuratively. He wants Jairus to not fear death — even the death of his own daughter. Death — for those who trust in Jesus’ power — is nothing more than falling asleep.

But did you catch the first thing said to Jairus once his daughter died? Some people tell him, “Don’t bother Jesus any longer. Your daughter’s dead.” Some don’t believe that Jesus has the power to conquer death — and that’s a tragedy.

But not Jairus. Jesus tells Jairus not to fear — instead — he should believe. So Jairus takes Jesus to his home. And when they get to the house, there are professional mourners present. Believe it or not — in this time period — when a person died — the family had to pay professional mourners to weep over the death of their loved one.

So this isn’t legitimate grief over the little girl’s death. They’re paid to be there. But their mockery is legitimate. They laugh at Jesus when He speaks of the girl as being nothing more than asleep.

You see — for Jesus — raising someone from the dead is no more difficult than waking someone up from sleep. But these people don’t trust in His power — and because they don’t — they’re kicked out of the house. Because of their unbelief they don’t get to see Jesus’ power at work — they won’t witness the girl’s resurrection from the dead.

So the large crowd gets dwindled down to just a few. Peter, James, and John — along with the girl’s parents — and Jesus go into the room where the little girl lay. And Jesus goes up to her and he grabs her hand — He touches her — just as Jairus had first asked. And like the woman earlier — to touch a dead body — according to Jewish law — meant that you were made unclean.

But not for Jesus. You see He has unequaled power and when He’s touched by — or touches — something unclean — He doesn’t become unclean. Jesus is different than us. Unclean things don’t rub off on Jesus. And that may seem like amazing power, but that’s not where His power stops. You see, not only does Jesus not become unclean — whatever He touches becomes clean — now that’s power — Jesus rubs off on whatever He touches. And for this little girl — for this dead little girl — His power went through His touch and she is raised from the dead.

CONCLUSION

The Christian faith — as you know — is based on Jesus having conquered death. On the cross Jesus died. He wasn’t asleep — He was dead. For three days in the tomb — He was dead. Yet the power of God raised Him from the dead and everyone who believes in Him and — like the woman — confesses their belief in Him — experience His resurrection power.

Jesus told this young girl to “arise” — a word most often used in the New Testament to describe the resurrection of Jesus. The sick woman was described as one who had “suffered” — a word used primarily to refer to the suffering of Christ as He was murdered for our sins.

And because Christ suffered — and because He rose from the grave — He demonstrates that He has the power to heal all who come to Him in faith — those who believe that He can heal them of their greatest sickness — sin — and can heal them of their greatest fear — death.

The people in our stories couldn’t have been more different. Jairus is a male — a leader of the synagogue — a man of distinction — he has a name in our story — and he publicly approaches Jesus with his request.

The woman — on the other hand — is nameless — she’s unclean — an outcast — she has no honor — she wasn’t allowed in the synagogue — and she couldn’t publicly approach Jesus — she had to sneak up to Him from behind.

Jairus had a home — he's a man who was well off. The woman had spent all of her money on doctors even though they didn’t help. He has a daughter while — most likely — her bleeding meant she had no children.

Two people who couldn’t have been more different — yet one thing unites them together. They both believed in Jesus’ power. They believed He would be compassionate towards them. So they reached out to Jesus when others in the crowd merely looked at Him.

Will you reach out to Jesus? If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved — He has the power to save you — you can be healed. And know that Jesus will be compassionate to you for He came — in power — to heal those who know they are sick — who know they need Him to make them right with God. And He will tell you — in having healed you — “Go in peace. Your faith has made you well.”

Will you reach out to Jesus in faith? Will you trust in His power to heal you? Let’s pray.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, remind us often that Jesus has the power to heal. Help us — Jesus — to trust You with those we love — to trust you with ourselves — and to trust you with our fears — especially our fear of death. But no matter what healing we may experience in this life — may You be glorified in our lives and in the lives of those we love.

Spirit help us to believe this Good News: Jesus has conquered death and He has the power to heal and rescue every person who believes in Him and confesses that He is their Savior and Lord. Help us to share this Good News with all people, so they too experience the healing power of Christ. In His name we pray. Amen.

BENEDICTION (PRAY FOR: Sickness; healing; want to experience Jesus’ healing touch)

May you go reaching out to Jesus — experiencing the power of His healing touch. Amen.

God loves you. I love you. You are sent.


Introducing Our New GO Director

Kelly Green  Go Director, Director of Operations

Kelly Green
Go Director, Director of Operations

Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” At Gateway, when we talk about being a “going” church, this is what we are talking about. Going into the world - our workplaces, schools, neighborhoods, city, nation and God-willing, even to the ends of the earth - for the sake of making disciples of Jesus Christ. This winter, everyone involved in our Life Group ministry is reading a book by J.D. Greear called Gaining by Losing that is challenging what many of us may believe about who is called to be a “goer.” As church leadership, we recognized the need to have a dedicated staff member specifically focused on leading the way in our local Go efforts, so back in July, Ryan Rebold joined our staff team as the Director of Local Outreach and Evangelism. He has brought renewed energy to our local outreach efforts and has a contagious passion for equipping us to share our faith. Yet despite all of the great things happening locally within our Go ministry, we have been prayerfully searching for a Go Director - someone to oversee the entire Go ministry including international missions - for over a year.

Through a series of events over the past several months, it has become increasingly clear that our Go Director has actually been among us all along. Kelly Green joined Gateway’s staff in October 2017 as the Director of Operations, where his responsibilities include overseeing our facilities, finance, human resources, risk management and database departments. However, prior to coming on staff here, Kelly and his wife Becca (currently the director of our Next Gen ministry), were actually wrestling with the possibility of returning to the mission field. Both Kelly and Becca grew up in missionary families and have served together as a married couple in Africa and Central Asia. As Gateway begins to focus more of our international attention toward reaching the “hard places,” we believe Kelly’s passion for Muslim peoples, as well as his previous missionary experiences make him the perfect person to lead this charge. (For more information about this vision, check out a previous article titled “Why Go to the Hard Places?”) God has blessed Gateway with some great staff in our Operations department which will allow Kelly to take on this new role while still serving as the Director of Operations.

Unexpected Power Pt.1 Q&A

So demonic activity still exists today but does it take the same form as in biblical times? Why does it seem like there were a lot more demonic possession in Jesus’s day then now? Or am I being ignorant and missing demonic activity around me and just recognizing it (or attributing it to my flesh or satan himself or just consequences of sin).

Yes. Demonic activity still exists today. Though we may not see it (or be aware of it) here in the US, there are many places in the world where the demonic is much more commonplace. Reasons, why there's less appearance of demonic activity in the US, are all somewhat subjective. As you say, it can even be hard for us to distinguish if something is the work of the demonic or simple sin on our part.

When the pigs died. Did the demons die. If not where did they go?

There's no indication that the demons died (I mentioned that their eternal judgment comes later). What happens to the demons after the pigs jump into the sea isn't something we're told in the story.

Why does Matthew 8:28-34 say there were two men with demons but Mark and Luke say there was one man? Is there any information about the other man?

There are a couple of ways to reconcile this. First, some (a minority) think these are describing two different events. Notice Matthew mentions a different town (similar spelling, but not the same). So it could be two different, but very similar, events. More likely, though, Matthew is describing the same event. These thoughts aren't original to me but know that these differences are not contradictions. For instance, notice that Matthew's story doesn't mention anything about the men after being healed? Whereas Mark and Luke do. What does this tell us? It seems as if Mark/Luke have a different point in telling the story. They are wanting us to see the change in a man who is healed by Jesus. Matthew seems to want to just tell us that Jesus healed people who had demons. Why does this matter? If Mark/Luke are wanting to show the change in one man who is healed by Jesus, even if another is present and is healed, they may not include him in their story because their point is to show the change in the man who believes in Jesus (not to highlight that two men are healed; one who believes and one who doesn't).

But is there a contradiction here between Matthew and Mark/Luke? No. An example may help. Two apples are on a table. Statement 1: There are two apples on the table. Statement 2: There is only one apple on the table. These two statements contradict each other. But what about these two? Statement 1: There are two apples on the table. Statement 2: There is an apple on the table. These two statements do not contradict each other. We find something similar in the gospel accounts of the story.

Finally, in my sermon, I talked quite a bit about the loneliness of the man. Even if another demonized person lived out among the tombs with him, I don't know that either of them is any less lonely. No one can help them. No one has been able to cure them. Their torment, pain, and relentless anguish are agonizing. Living in close proximity probably didn't help their loneliness.

Are there any demons described in the Old Testament? If so, where?

An example that comes to mind is in 1 Samuel 16:14-16, 23 where Saul is tormented by an "evil spirit" (that's sent from the LORD!). For more study, this is a helpful paper on demons in the Old Testament.

Songs for the Weekend

As you prepare your hearts to worship together this weekend, listen to the songs for the weekend at Gateway Church.

CR9

You Brought Me Back to Life - Citizens & Saints
Before the Throne of God - The Modern Post
God Is Able - Hillsong
Call On the Name - Andi Rozier
Ever Be - Aaron Shust

N Main

One Thing Remains - Kristian Stanfill
The Greatness of our God - Vertical Church
With Everything - Jesus Culture
Great Are You, Lord - Vertical Worship
All the Poor and Powerless - All Sons & Daughters

Check out all of the songs we sing at Gateway on our Spotify Worship List.

We also have created a Beyond Sunday Spotify playlist with songs we commend to you for your enjoyment beyond Sunday. Check it out!

Encounters with the Master: Jordan's Story Continued

THE LOST ARE FOUND

Not long ago, I told you the story of my son-in-law, Jordan. I told his story to highlight how God is still pursuing people for His purpose. I shared my post with Jordan, not knowing what his response would be. To be honest, I thought he might get upset, because I didn't shine the greatest light of him. To my surprise, he said, “It was ok to post if it could help someone else.” After posting that article, we didn't talk much, because Lea and I were staying with friends. The next time I saw Jordan was on a Saturday night at our North Main campus. As always, our pastors spoke the Word with power and conviction. I remember thinking if there could be a night that the Gospel should be presented, this was it.

Pastor Ben was presiding over the Lord’s Supper and started off by explaining the purpose and meaning behind why we participate in this sacrament. Now the interesting thing is that Pastor Ben had read Jordan's story about a week before this service and he knew Jordan was to be at this service. A little background, I am easily distracted in a room full of people, so I always sit in the second or third row during services. Poor Jordan was sitting with us and Ben could not help but make eye contact with him. Before we took the elements, we heard all the requirements to take part in Communion along with reasons not to participate. I felt confident that Jordan understood the “rules.”

When it came time to take Communion, we all stood up to go forward and to my horror, so did Jordan. All I could think about was how I needed to have a conversation with him about the seriousness we place on this sacrament. To be honest, I don't remember singing the closing song or even saying goodbye to anyone like I normally do. We were walking out when my daughter said, “Hey Dad, Jordan just took his first Communion.” I quickly turned and said, “I know. I need to talk to him about that.” As soon as I turned to continue walking, I hear Jordan say, “Wel,l Ed, I have made a decision since the last time we talked.” I was stunned. It took me a minute to process. As soon as I realized what had just happened, I gave him a big hug and told him how happy I was. I then proceeded to tell everyone within reach. I even got to Pastor Ben before he left. To say I was happy would have been an understatement. I felt the burden that I had carried for Jordan lift off my shoulders. It wasn't until then that I realized how heavy it was! Wow!

THE REAL WORK BEGINS

So he's a Christ follower, now what? I hadn't prepared for this. If I’m being truly transparent, I struggled to believe it would ever happen. My interactions with this young man gave me a very narrow view of who he really was. He was often brash, angry and at times mean to my Abby. I didn't know how to respond to this new version. Jordan, to my surprise, showed up the next Sunday to hear the same sermon and take Communion again. He was a different person. He walks with his head up, and you can't wipe the smile off his face. Before he was struggling with anger, bouts of depression and could only find worth in what he did. When I would look in his eyes, I just saw pain and a real lostness. All of that has been replaced with a new love and peace that can only come from God.

I don't know about you, but after being a Christ follower for many years, you can forget the amazing joy you feel when you allow Christ to be your Savior for the first time. Seeing the transformation of this young man has actually helped breath life into me as well. We can allow the worries of this world to weigh us down. If we are not careful, we can stifle a new believer’s growth with all of the do’s and don’ts of this new life. Plus, we overcomplicate the discipleship process. Pastor Josh put it best when he said, “Follow me, as I follow Him.”

I had the pleasure to serve in the military with a unit where Follow Me was their motto. So as I move forward, I pray that God can shine through as I do my best to train up a new Christ follower in His ways, so that he is prepared for the battles that lay ahead.

As I was finishing this article, I sent out a text to my family asking if any of them needed me to pray for them and this is what I got from Jordan: Sorry, I'm late to the group text. I ask that you pray that I can continue to overcome the obstacles of being a new found Christian and I continue to strive in my faith and overall just continuing to finally have the strength to be the person who I've always wanted to be. Thank you!

I was very encouraged by his humility and maturity in the request. Later that night, he asked about baptism, membership, and serving. He is one hundred percent all in. Please keep him in your prayers as he begins this new chapter in his life. All glory to the King.


Unexpected Power, Pt. 1 Manuscript

SERMON TITLE: Unexpected Power (pt 1)
TEXT: Mark 5:1-20 (ESV)
SPEAKER: Josh Hanson
DATE: 3-2/3-19

Unexpected_Title.jpg

WELCOME

It’s good to be with all of you this weekend at Gateway Church. And one thing I want you to know — even if it’s your first time with us — I want you to know that God loves you and I love you too.

SERIES INTRODUCTION

And we’re in week three of a series we’re calling Unexpected — because in the gospel of Mark we find Jesus doing and saying things that are unexpected. Last week, we left off with Jesus teaching some parables — He was right by the Sea of Galilee — and now He and His disciples have traveled to the other side of the sea.

ANNOUNCE THE TEXT

So if you have your Bible let’s turn to Mark chapter 5. We’ll be looking at verses 1-20.

And — if you’re a guest with us — something I like to do is answer your questions. So if you have a question about the sermon, you can text it in to the number printed on the sermon notes sheet or you can submit it on the Gateway app.

SERMON INTRODUCTION

Now for the next few weeks, we’re going to look at some stories that give us a glimpse of Jesus’ power. And we’ll see that His power surprises people — it catches some off guard — it’s — what you might call — unexpected power.

And today — we’re going to see Jesus’ power as He encounters the demonic — something from the spiritual world — part of the unseen things happening all around us. And here’s the overarching idea for us for the next few weeks.

Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must rely upon His power above all others. Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must rely upon His power above all others.

Now I know not everyone believes in a spiritual world or the demonic. There are many people who say they believe only what their eyes can see, but even that’s not quite true. Love — for instance — is something many people believe in even though you can’t see it.

And if love is to sappy for you, there are many people who believe that death is it — after you die — you simply cease to exist. But this belief is unprovable — it’s unverifiable. What happens after death isn’t something you can see — it’s something believed based on faith.

But even though there are people who don’t believe in a spiritual world, my guess is that many of you do — or you at least have a curiosity about it. The reason why I say this is because our culture has a high interest in the spiritual world. All you have to do is flip through channels on your TV and you’ll quickly notice that our culture loves the spiritual world — we have a fascination with it. Angels. Demons. Ghosts. It doesn’t matter how bad the writing or acting is — if you throw in angels or demons you’ll have an audience.

But for us, it’s both wise and helpful to get the Bible’s perspective on all of this. The interest in the supernatural is already part of our culture, but a biblical perspective and understanding is what’s lacking.

And the Christian faith teaches that Jesus has power greater than what’s found in the spiritual world. And there are some implications we should draw from this truth. And even if you don’t consider yourself to be a Christian — give the Bible’s perspective about Jesus’ power a fair hearing because maybe — just maybe — it will help you better understand the spiritual world you’re curious about and what true power is actually like.

And here’s the first thing we learn about Jesus’ power.

RUN TO HIM

Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must run to Him with our problems. Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must run to Him with our problems. Look with me in verse one.

“They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3 He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4 for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he (did what? The man…) ran (to Jesus) and (when he got to Jesus, he...) fell down before him. 7 And crying out with a loud voice, he said, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me." 8 For he was saying to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!" 9 And Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" He replied, "My name is Legion, for we are many." 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, "Send us to the pigs; let us enter them." 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.” (Mark 5:1-13)

Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must run to Him with our problems.

Now we’ve all got problems — but you’ve got to admit — the guy in this story isn’t having a good day.

Jesus and His disciples have just crossed the Sea of Galilee by boat. And as soon as they arrive on the opposite shore, they encounter this man who has a problem — the man has an unclean spirit — what we would call a demon.

Now the particulars of this man’s situation are a bit unclear. Later in the story, the man’s described as being demon-possessed, which conjures up in our minds all kinds of images from Hollywood movies or Stephen King novels.

But — and I know this will be hard to believe — sometimes Hollywood makes up stuff that isn’t based on reality — they use this thing called their imagination. So it’s a bit silly to allow our beliefs about the spiritual world — and I’m including Christians and non-Christians here — often our ideas about the spiritual world and the demonic are based mainly — sometimes even entirely — on Hollywood.

But in our story, the word “demon-possessed” can mean everything from “being possessed by a demon, to having an illness or disability because of a demon, to being controlled by a demon.” And in the Bible, oftentimes it’s hard to tell the difference in how the word is being used.

  • Is the demon in the person?

  • Is the person being controlled by the demon?

  • Or is the demon just manipulating someone to do certain things?

  • It can be hard to tell.

But here’s what we do know. Jesus has greater power than the demonic. And apparently this demon-possessed guy sees something in Jesus because he runs to Him. He’s got a problem and he runs to Jesus with his problem.

And when he gets to Jesus, notice that he falls down — he falls down at Jesus’ feet. It’s as if he recognizes the power that Jesus has and — almost instinctively — knows that the power Jesus has is a power that’s to be honored. It’s a power you fall down in front of just as people would bow down in front of kings in ages past because of the power their king represents.

And Mark let’s us know that this man’s been tormented by the demon for a long time. He’s been isolated from the rest of the community. He’s been living among the tombs — where the dead were buried. This is a place where only the poorest of the poor would live — basically — it was the city slum.

So this man’s in a hopeless situation. And he’s so desperate to have this demon removed from him that he — and this is a bit graphic — but he was so desperate he would cut himself in an effort to get rid of the demon.

So when this man runs to Jesus, not only does he recognize Jesus’ power, but so does the demon. And the demon confronts Jesus. And Mark records this dialogue between Jesus and the demon.

The demon makes a request — it asks Jesus to not torture it. “Don’t torment me Jesus,” the demon says. And — in response — Jesus asks the demon for its name. And some people make a big deal about Jesus asking for the demon’s name. There are some who assume that knowing the demon’s name was necessary for Jesus to exorcise it out of the man, but that’s not hinted at in this story — nor does Jesus ask for the name of any other demons He casts away from people.

So there are some who make a big deal about knowing the demon’s name and even more is made of this particular demon’s name: Legion. The reason being the word legion is a military term that basically means six thousand soldiers — leading some to conclude that this man had six thousand demons — but that’s probably not the point of knowing the demon’s name either.

The reason why the name “legion” is important is so we understand what happens next with the pigs. Why do thousands of pigs go jump into the sea? Because there was a lot of demonic activity happening with this man. Was it six thousand demons worth of activity? Maybe. But it was definitely enough to send thousands of pigs to their death.

Which leads to another question and — for some of us — this is the most important question. Why did Jesus let the pigs die? I mean Jesus just killed Ms. Piggy or Piglet — if he’s your favorite pig — or Wilbur — for all of you Charlotte’s Web fans — Ms. Piggy, Piglet, and Wilbur just jumped off the cliff — we, we, weeing all their way to death — or at least that’s what we envision in our minds. And we think, “Why did the little piggies have to die?” Why did Jesus send the demons into the pigs?

Two reasons. First, it wasn’t time for these demons to be eternally defeated. That will come later, but it’s interesting how the Bible describes the eventual defeat of these demons — along with Satan — their leader. In Revelation chapter twenty we read, “and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10 ESV)

The pigs jumping into the lake — in our story — foreshadows the destiny of these demons. One day they will be thrown into a fiery lake for all eternity — but the time for their eternal destruction had not yet come.

The second reason why Jesus sends the demons into the pigs is to show their destructive nature. We see what the demons were doing to the man — look at their destructive nature. The entire herd of pigs is destroyed — that’s the nature of the demonic. Destruction. Violence. Death. And Jesus wants us to see the nature of the demonic, so He lets them go into the pigs — which should be a warning to all of us about messing around with the demonic.

But don’t miss this. Even with the amount of power these demons have in creating chaos and destruction, Jesus has even greater power than these demons — He commands them and the demons obey — now that’s power. And because Jesus has the greatest power of all — like the man in our story — we must run to Him with our problems.

Now I don’t know everything going on in your life — but here’s what I know from this story. This man had no one — Mark keeps showing us this over and over again.

  • No one could tie him up.

  • No one could keep him bound with the chains.

  • No one could help him.

  • The townspeople resorted to leaving him isolated and all alone in the tombs.

  • He had no one until Jesus came into his life.

So if you feel like you’re ready to give up on life because no one has been able to help you with your marriage, or no one has been able to help you overcome that addiction, or no one has been able to help you get over your anger — like the man in our story — you need an encounter with the power of Jesus. You may feel all alone and that no one can help you — but there is One Person who can help you because He has the power capable of overcoming all of your problems. So run to Jesus with your problems — run to Him in the Bible — run to Him in prayer — run to Him and let His power be the source of your help. We must run to Jesus with our problems.

“But come on Josh. I read my Bible and pray. Is that all there is to running to Jesus because I don’t think it’s working?” No there’s more to it than that. Here’s what we find next in our story.

RESPOND TO HIM

Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must respond to Him in faith. Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must respond to Him in faith. Look with me in verse fourteen.

“The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were (what? The people were...) afraid. 16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, "Go home to your friends and tell them (what? Go tell your friends...) how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis (that’s the ten surrounding cities — and look at what he proclaimed. He told everyone...) how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.” (Mark 5:14-20)

Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must respond to Him in faith.

Now the faith of the healed man is pretty obvious — we see his response in verses eighteen through twenty. He begs Jesus to let him become a disciple. “Let me be with you — let me become one of Your close followers,” the man pleads. But Jesus tells him no. Instead, Jesus tells him to go and tell everyone in the surrounding towns what the Lord has done for you. “Go tell everyone you meet how merciful God has been to you — tell them the Good News that God’s power is life changing.” And the man responds in simple obedience.

And we see here that not only has he been delivered from a demon — he also believes that Jesus is God. How so?

When Jesus tells him to go and tell everyone what the Lord has done for you, what does the man do — and the word “Lord” — here — means “God” by the way — so Jesus tells him to go and tell everyone what God has done for you. And what does the man do — how does he respond? He goes and tells everyone what Jesus had done for him — he tells them about the mercy and power of Jesus.

And I love how Mark tells us that everyone who heard him “marveled” at what he said — they were mesmerized — they were in awe — his story was completely unexpected. The man had an encounter with Jesus’ power and he responds to Jesus in faith — believing Him to be God — and then he went out telling others about Him. Like I said, his is the obvious response of faith.

But the crowd also responds in faith — just not faith in Jesus. When the townspeople hear what happened they quickly come out to Jesus and — notice — they beg Him as well. The healed man begged Jesus to let him become His disciple — but the townspeople — having seen the results of Jesus’ power — beg Him to leave.

They’re afraid of Him. They don’t know what to do with His power. They don’t trust Him. They respond to Jesus by choosing to trust in something else instead of trusting Jesus — so they reject Him.

And here we see something we all do when we encounter Jesus’ power. We either respond to Him in faith — asking Him to make us His disciple and doing whatever He asks of us — or we respond by rejecting Him and putting our faith in something else. We either trust in Jesus’ power or in the power of something else.

But here’s what both the Bible and life teach us — and you know this is true. Whatever “it” is — whatever the thing is — or whoever the person is — that you put your faith in — if it’s not Jesus — eventually they fail you — every time. Eventually you discover that their power isn’t all that powerful — it’s not reliable — it can’t be trusted. And the terrible thing is — and let me just warn you because this is how it always happens — whatever it is you’re trusting in — if it’s not Jesus — it’s going to fail you at the exact moment you need it most. You don’t even know when that will be — or what the situation will be like — but nothing can stand up to the “power of Almighty God test of reliability” except the power of Almighty God. Marriage can’t. Kids can’t. Health can’t. Beauty can’t. Your job can’t. Popularity can’t. The latest gadgets can’t. Nothing and no one has the power you’re looking for — except Jesus.

And because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must respond to Him in faith.

RECEIVE HIM

Finally…Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must receive Him as our substitute. Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must receive Him as our substitute.

Now this isn’t as obvious as the first two points — but this is where hope’s found — this is where your life can be changed — this is where unimaginable joy is discovered — this is Jesus’ power made personal for you. Look with me back in verse three.

“He (the demonized man) lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4 for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always (doing what? The man was always...) crying out and cutting himself with stones.” (Mark 5:3-5)

Because Jesus has the greatest power of all, we must receive Him as our substitute.

I mentioned earlier that after the man was healed from the demonic activity — he believed in Jesus — he believed Jesus was God and had saved him — not only from the demons — but eternally saved him. In Luke’s recording of this story, the man’s described as being “healed” and the word for “healed” — that Luke uses — is a word often translated as “saved.” As in “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved,” kind of saving. The “you are healed for all eternity” kind of saving. The “spiritually dead being made alive — the lost being found — the child of wrath becoming a child of God” — kind of saving.

So this man is healed in the greatest sense of the term. He experiences the power of Christ and is saved. Then he was sent out — almost as a precursor to what the disciples would one day be told to do — go to the ends of the earth proclaiming the Gospel — he went out to the surrounding towns proclaiming to others the Good News about Jesus.

  • But how could Jesus heal this man?

  • How could Jesus save this man?

  • How could this man believe in Jesus in such a way that — not only was his demonic possession cured — but his eternal damnation reversed?

The answer is that Jesus became his substitute.

When we first meet this man he’s all alone — he’s isolated — he’s abandoned by everyone. And the hope for all of us is that what Jesus did for this man — He has done for us. Jesus substituted Himself for this man — He took this man’s place — when He found Himself all alone, isolated, and abandoned by everyone — even His closest friends — when He hung on a cross to die.

The man was out among the tombs — that’s where he lived — where the dead were laid to rest. And Jesus took this man’s place when — after He had died — His body was placed in a tomb and was laid to rest.

The man spent day after day crying out in torment and pain — he was desperate for relief from the pain he experienced — pain from which he found no relief. And Jesus gave Him that relief, because He would one day cry out in desperation — in great torment and pain — “My God, My God why have You forsaken Me” as He experienced the wrath of God being poured out on Him for the sins of all mankind. And He experienced no relief from the pain of God’s judgement — for your sins and mine — when He substituted Himself in our place.

The man was desperate. He would cut himself in an attempt to put an end to the torment of an unbearable existence. And Jesus took this man’s place when His back was cut open as the Roman soldiers whipped Him over and over and over again. An unbearable experience that weakened Jesus so much that He was unable to carry His cross on the way to His execution.

And the man was naked when we first meet him — so tormented that he couldn’t even cover the shame of his nakedness. Yet Jesus — in His great love for this man — healed him and clothed him at great cost to Himself. For on the cross Jesus was left naked and ashamed as the onlooking crowd mocked Him — He was left completely exposed to the ridicule of people who did not believe in His power or see the beauty of His sacrifice for them — Jesus suffered the humiliation of being gazed upon by those who were completely unaware that He was offering Himself as a sacrifice on their behalf — as a substitute for their sins.

Because Jesus has power greater than all others, we must receive Him as our substitute.

CONCLUSION

For the power He has is not just one that can heal us — it’s not just a power that can bring us comfort — it’s not just a power that offers us freedom from our addictions and isolation — even the demonic — it’s a power that will judge us. And one day, Jesus will return as Judge and each of us will have to give Him an answer to these questions: “Did you believe in Me,” He will ask. “Did you receive My death as the payment for the penalty for your sin? Did you receive Me as your substitute? Did you respond to Me in faith? Did you run to Me with your greatest problem — your sin against Me?”

Jesus’ power is greater than all other powers. Powers on Earth and powers in Heaven. Powers seen and those invisible. And with the curiosity that our culture has with the spiritual world — it would be wise to seek out the One who’s more powerful than anything Hollywood and our imaginations can come up with — the One who is all-powerful.

His name is Jesus. And His power is the greatest power of all, and we must rely upon His power above all others. Let’s pray.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, remind us that Jesus’ power is greater than all other powers — those that are seen and those that are not seen. And — Jesus — not only are You all-powerful — You are good, kind, and loving — so we can run to You with all of our problems. We can trust that You will use Your power for our good as we respond to You in faith. Faith that’s been made possible because You substituted Yourself for us.

You lived for us. Died for us. Satisfied God’s wrath for us. And defeated death for us, so that we can have great confidence in knowing Your power is like no other — for it has saved us.

Spirit, help all of us to respond to Jesus in faith. Some trusting in Him for the first time for our salvation. Some trusting in Jesus with a major life decision. Others trusting Jesus to find us on the other side of the lake where we’ve been isolated and all alone — tormented and in despair — in desperate need for someone to come and heal us. Help us trust that You — Jesus — have heard our cries and have promised to come near to all who call out to You.

Thank you for these undeserved graces in our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

COMMUNION (JOSH WILL MOVE TO COMMUNION TABLE)

Today as we turn to the Lord’s Table, we’re reminded once again of God’s power as displayed in Jesus’ sacrifice. A powerful display of His love for us that compels us to run to Him, respond to Him, and receive Jesus as our substitute.

On the night He was betrayed, Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:24b-26 ESV)

And with these words our Lord commands all believers to eat this bread and to drink this cup in true faith and in the confident hope of His return in glory. God graciously declares to us that our sins have been completely forgiven through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Let’s pray.

PRAYER (COMMUNION SERVERS COME FORWARD)

Father, we give you thanks for Your Son, Jesus. For His obedience and suffering during His life on earth, and for His giving up of His body and blood on the cross. Give us assurance that our sins are pardoned through His blood and may Your perfect love drive out all fear. Fill our minds with Your peace and turn our eyes to Heaven, where Christ is at Your right hand interceding for us. Enable us to offer up ourselves in service to You and to all Your children. Let no trouble or sorrow distract us from this loving service, and unite us with each other through Your Spirit so we continue in the living hope of our Savior's coming in glory. Amen.

At this time, ushers will be passing trays with the bread and the cup down your rows. You may take the bread immediately, but hold on to the cup, which we will all drink together.

Let’s feast on God’s grace together.

PRAYER (TRANSITION FOR WORSHIP TEAM)

Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, in Your wisdom, You have made all things and You sustain them by Your power. You formed us in Your image, setting us in this world to love and serve You, and to live in peace with one another. When we rebelled against You — refusing to trust and obey You — You did not reject us, but still claimed us as Your own. Then in the fullness of time, out of Your great love for us, You sent Your only Son to be one of us, to redeem us, to heal our brokenness, to cleanse us from our sin, and to defeat our greatest enemies of Satan, sin, death, and Hell. And now, You call us Your sons and daughters. In response to these great truths, we now praise You in song together. Amen.

BENEDICTION (PRAY FOR: Have felt isolated, alone, need assurance of God’s power and presence)

May you go running to Jesus — trusting in His unmatched power. Amen.

God loves you. I love you. You are sent.


Songs for the Weekend

This weekend, we celebrate Communion together as the body of Christ in the local church. A great way to prepare your heart for Communion is to fix your eyes on Jesus through song and worship. Listen to these songs for the weekend to prepare your heart to worship this weekend.

CR9

Greatly To Be Praised - Citizens & Saints
Do What You Want To - Vertical Worship
All Glory- Vertical Worship
Jesus Paid It All - Kristian Stanfill

N Main

How Great You Are - Sovereign Grace
Even So Come - Chris Tomlin
Good Good Father - Chris Tomlin
Resurrection Power - Chris Tomlin

Check out all of the songs we sing at Gateway on our Spotify Worship List.

We also have created a Beyond Sunday Spotify playlist with songs we commend to you for your enjoyment beyond Sunday. Check it out!

Unexpected Kingdom Q&A

How will the kingdom of God continue to grow until Christ's return given the statistics at the beginning of Gaining By Losing about the predictions of churches closing their doors and fewer and fewer people attending church each weekend? How will His kingdom grow continually if most of Church growth is shuffling believers from church to church?

A couple of thoughts in response to your question. First, the Kingdom of God will continue to grow because God has promised that it will. God has promised that there are people of every tribe, nation, people group, and tongue still to become citizens of His Kingdom. So we believe the Kingdom of God will continue to grow because God has promised it will.

Second, and much more practically, the Kingdom will grow when more Christians start sharing their faith. On page 26, in Gaining by Losing, Greear mentions that "90 percent of evangelicals have never shared their faith with anyone outside of their family." Maybe the reason we're not seeing the Kingdom grow in our country is due to us not scattering the seed of God's Word.

Finally, the statistics on page 27, about fewer people attending church each weekend, is specifically about the United States -- not about churches all around the world. In the global south and east Christianity continues to grow as believers in those areas of the world boldly proclaim their faith and share it with others. So the Kingdom of God is growing. If we want to see growth once again in our country, we need to get back to doing our part of scattering the Good News and prepare ourselves to disciple those whom He saves.

Operation Bless Back: Blessing Findlay's First Responders

What a joy it was to see so many individuals and families come out for Operation Bless Back on February 13! Thank you to all who donated items for the bags that we assembled to give to first responders in our area. We were able to make 413 “Survival Kits” that evening with the help of over 80 volunteers. To show our appreciation and thank our first responders for their service to our community, each bag also included a personal thank-you note. The gifts were then delivered to 10 local places including several fire stations, HANCO, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, and the Findlay Police Department.

DW3A9679.jpg

Jared and Katie Helpingstine shared that they were very happy to have an opportunity to serve the community with their kids. “We’ve been looking for ways to serve and this was great to bring our kids along in order to teach them about loving our neighbors!”

bless back.jpg

Tracy Thomas shared, “We intended to deliver our gift bags and offer our appreciation as a blessing to the EMS workers. In return, we were blessed by the EMS workers with a tour and teddy bears!”

Thank you again to all who helped make this year’s Operation Bless Back a success!

Unexpected Kingdom Manuscript

SERMON TITLE: Unexpected Kingdom
TEXT: Mark 4:21-34 (ESV)
SPEAKER: Josh Hanson
DATE: 2-23/24-19

Unexpected_Title.jpg

WELCOME

It’s good to be with all of you this weekend at Gateway Church. And one thing I want you to know — and it doesn’t matter if it’s your first time with us or if you’re worshipping at our North Main campus — I want you to know that God loves you and I love you too.

SERIES INTRODUCTION

And if you’re a guest with us, we’re going through the gospel of Mark here at Gateway. Last year we made it through the first three chapters and we’ve picked up right where we left off. But know that you can check out all the sermons from last year by going to our website or app.

ANNOUNCE THE TEXT

And if you have your Bible please turn with me to Mark chapter 4. We’ll be looking at verses 21-34.

And one other thing — if you’re a guest with us — something I like to do is let you ask questions. So if you have a question during the sermon, you can text it in to the number printed on the bottom of the sermon notes sheet or you can submit it on the Gateway app.

SERMON INTRODUCTION

Now Mark’s gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus — it’s all about what Jesus did and what He taught. And today we’re continuing our look at Jesus’ life and ministry and seeing how His words should shape and influence our lives — even in some unexpected ways. And that’s what we’re finding in Mark’s gospel — we’re discovering things Jesus does or says that are surprising — they’re unexpected.

Now our story is a continuation of the dialogue from last week. So Jesus is by the shore of the Sea of Galilee. He’s just taught the crowd a parable about salvation and then explained it to a smaller group.

And last week we learned that a parable is a story from everyday life used to illustrate a moral or religious truth. And the religious truth Jesus is teaching us today is this: Here’s what the Kingdom of God is like — Jesus is teaching about the Kingdom of God.

So before we get too far along, we should know what the Kingdom of God is. So what is the Kingdom of God? If you’re taking notes, the Kingdom of God is God’s sovereign rule in the universe and in the hearts of Christians. The Kingdom of God is God’s sovereign rule — and by sovereign rule — picture in your mind a supreme ruler, an unrivaled king, an unbeatable warrior — so the Kingdom of God is God’s sovereign rule in two places — the universe and in the hearts of Christians.

God rules over all creation — things seen and things not seen — both the physical and spiritual world. And He rules in the hearts of Christians — people who believe in Jesus — who trust in Him alone for their salvation and with their life.

And a distinguishing mark for the Christian — something that sets a believer apart from an unbeliever — is that God rules their heart.

  • He has their loyalty.

  • He has their submission.

  • He has their affections.

  • He has their attention.

  • He has them.

And in today’s three parables — Jesus is going to teach us what God’s sovereign rule — specifically in the hearts of Christians — what is it like. What is the Kingdom of God like?

Let’s begin in verse twenty-one of Mark chapter 4.

LIKE A LAMP

“And he said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? 22 For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear." 24 And he said to them, "Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. 25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away."” (Mark 4:21-25 ESV)

So Jesus begins teaching about the Kingdom of God by saying that no one lights a lamp in a house only to hide it in a place where the light won’t be seen. You’ve probably noticed that in your house — or apartment — there are lights. Natural light that comes through windows and manmade light from light bulbs. And you do something instinctively with these lights. You don’t cover them — you don’t hide them. Most people don’t put furniture in front of windows that will block out the light. Sure we put up shades or curtains for privacy, but even then the curtains can be opened in order to let what in? To let light in.

We don’t turn on a lamp and then smother it in a blanket — what’s the point of turning it on — if you just cover it up? Sort of like mounting a TV on a wall in your house that doesn’t have an electrical outlet — you don’t put a TV there. No one puts a TV on a wall for looks. A TV is for watching something on it, so a wall without a power outlet wouldn’t be the place to hang the TV.

And Jesus says what we know not to do with a TV is what we’re not supposed to do with a lamp. Or, I should say, “the lamp.”

English translations of the Bible are great, but sometimes there are nuances that get hidden in the translation process. These aren’t things to worry about — your English Bible has everything you need to love and obey God — but my role is to help us all understand the Bible better. And in our English translations, most versions talk about “a lamp” but Jesus says something more like “the lamp” — no one hides “the lamp” instead they let its light shine brightly.

So what’s “the lamp” that Jesus is talking about here? Or — really — the better question is not what is the lamp, but who is the lamp? One pastor has said, “Jesus is speaking here about the light that has come into the world with the breakthrough of the kingdom of God, and the lamp is Jesus Himself. He’s saying: “I didn’t come here to be concealed forever. I came here as a lamp that’s to be set on a lamp stand, so that the light that I bring may burst forth and manifest itself clearly to all who dwell in darkness. I didn’t come to be covered with a basket or hidden under a bed I came to shine forth.” (RC Sproul)

Jesus is saying that the truth about Him cannot — and will not — remain hidden. It will shine forth like the sunrise breaking through the darkness of night declaring that a new day has begun. What was once hidden — that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God — will one day be evident to all. What has been kept secret — that He is the Savior and Hope of the world — will one day be declared among people of every tribe, tongue, and nation.

And our responsibility — the responsibility of the church — of every Christian — is to not allow the lamp of God — the light of the world — to be hidden. We’re to let Jesus shine in all His radiance and beauty both in our lives as individuals — but even more so — in our life as a community of believers.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” Jesus says. Listen up. Pay attention. Just like last week, Jesus is wanting us to know that this parable requires action on our part. It requires a change in the way we live.

A simple way to see if this truth is changing your life is by answering this question.

Is Jesus’ light shining through you or is He being hidden by you? Is His light shining through you or is He being hidden by you? Is your life proclaiming the wonder and glorious news of who Jesus is or are you hiding who He is from others?

And then Jesus gives us a warning — a dire one at that. He says, “The measure you use will be used against you.” Now what does that mean? He says, “He who has will be given more and he who doesn’t have will have it all taken away from him.” How does this relate to the idea of Jesus being the light of the world that we’re not to hide?

One thing to know about Jesus — especially if you’re sort of checking the Christian faith out — is that He is an incredibly creative teacher. So here’s what He’s doing. He’s come back to the basket that He mentioned before — “don’t put the lamp under a basket.” “What are you talking about Josh? I don’t see the basket being mentioned here — this is all about measuring stuff.”

Exactly. The word for basket — that Jesus used earlier — is actually a basket that was used to measure things. Say you wanted to trade with someone. You’re a baker and they’re a butcher. Well a basket would be used to measure the amount of goods being traded between the individuals. Kind of like a really big measuring cup to make sure that neither person rips the other one off.

So Jesus is playing on words here. And He’s essentially saying that a person who takes a measuring basket and hides who I am will end up with nothing in their basket, but the person who allows My light to shine through their life will have their measuring basket filled with blessings from God.

It makes sense right? To put a basket over a lamp means you have to do what with the basket? You have to turn it upside down. And what happens to the stuff in the basket when you turn it upside down? It all falls out.

So — for instance — each of us have been given gifts and talents — we all have some knowledge about Jesus — the truth of who He is and what He’s done — and the grace and forgiveness He’s offering to the world. That’s what we have in our measuring baskets called our lives. And Jesus says what you and I do with what we’ve been given has eternal consequences.

The person who uses what they’ve been given for the sake of others will be given even more — Jesus will keep filling their basket up with more blessings and favor and talents and gifts and knowledge — the person who uses these things for the benefit of others will be given even more of these tings.

But the person who doesn’t use these blessings for the benefit of others — those who use their basket to cover Jesus’ light — well they lose everything that’s been given to them.

Here’s an example of how this plays out in my life. It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that by teaching the Bible to you I learn more about the Bible. If you’ve ever taught in Kidway — or are a life group leader — you know what I mean. In order to be able to teach others, you have to learn yourself.

Now an amazing thing happens to most of us. If we learn just for our own sake — it’s amazing how much we end up forgetting. But when we learn in order to pass the truth on to others — well — somehow our brains remember what we’d usually forget.

So by teaching you the Bible, I learn more about the Bible and God and His great love for me and all people. And I learn what it means to be patient and kind, and how sinful I am and you are. And what it means to be compassionate with those who struggle with doubt or unbelief. And these are all blessings given to me when I take what I learn and pass it on to you.

And even if you don’t consider yourself a teacher, a great opportunity to pass on to others what you’re learning about God — and the Christian faith — is in our life groups. And I’m telling you, if you want God to change you — to shape you — if you don’t want to keep listening to sermon after sermon after sermon and wonder why you’re not changing or growing in your faith — one of the reasons you may not be changing is because you’re not sharing what you’ve learned with others. And a life group is a great place to do that. You may just experience your basket being filled to an even greater capacity because you’re using what God has given you for the benefit of others.

So here’s what we’ve learned from this parable.

SUMMARY OF POINT 1

The Kingdom of God is a light shining ever brighter in the people of God. The Kingdom of God is a light that shines ever brighter in the people of God. The question for each of us is this: Is God’s light being covered by me or is God’s light shining in and through me?

Are you putting God’s light under the basket of your life or are you allowing God’s light to shine brightly in and through you so others find their way out of the darkness they’re trapped in and step into God’s glorious Kingdom of light?

The Kingdom of God is a light shining ever brighter in the people of God.

LIKE A HARVEST

Let’s continue reading — verse 26. “And he said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come."” (Mark 4:26-29 ESV)

Now Jesus’ first illustration — about the lamp — puts some responsibility on our shoulders — are you letting God’s light shine in and through you — but this parable describes the Kingdom of God in a very different way.

Jesus says, “Imagine a farmer who goes out and scatters some seed on the ground.” The picture here is one of randomness — the seed kind of lands wherever it lands. And in this illustration, that’s all the farmer does — besides sleep and get up and go back to sleep and get up and go back to sleep and — well you get the idea. The farmer throws the seed on the ground and that’s it.

And in verse twenty-seven Jesus makes it clear that this farmer has no idea how the seed transforms into grain — he doesn’t have a clue. But what does the farmer know to do? He knows to trust the process — let the earth do its job. And he knows that if he’s patient — the harvest will come.

Now he did do his part — he scattered the seeds — but then he’s patient — he waits — he’s confident that the harvest will come. He’s at peace — he can sleep at night and not worry even though he doesn’t know exactly how the crop is produced.

And when the time has come — when the grain is full grown — then the farmer gets back to work and goes out and gathers the harvest.

And this is also what the Kingdom of God is like. It’s a mysterious harvest of souls of men and women who were once enemies of God, but have been saved into an everlasting friendship with God. For two thousand years theologians have debated about how salvation works — and though there are many things we do understand about salvation — if we’re honest — salvation is a beautiful mystery.

For instance, I look out at all of you and I think, “Look at all that God has done — and is doing — in your lives.” I mean some of you were messed up before God saved you — and some of you still are a mess. And that’s OK — I’m a mess too. And it’s a mystery — a beautiful mystery — as to how God is changing us. Yes, we read our Bibles, and pray, and serve, and are in community with one another — but there’s a mystery as to how the Kingdom of God is expanding in the souls of men and women all around the world — including here at Gateway.

And our part is to plant the seeds of the Kingdom — just like the farmer did. We’re to share the gospel, proclaim the gospel, preach the gospel, let the light of the Kingdom of God shine in and through us as we serve and love others — that’s what we’re to do — and then we rest. Our job isn’t to save people — our job is to share the Good News of the gospel with people — and leave the saving to God.

Don’t lose sleep over how great or feeble your efforts are. Know that the success of the seeds you plant are not dependent upon you. Let that free you from the burden of results, so you share the gospel more joyfully and regularly.

So we rest. We’re at peace. We confidently, joyfully, unashamedly share the gospel with others because we know that’s how the Kingdom of God expands, but we leave the results to God.

But oh are we ready — you better believe we’re to be ready — when God does His mysterious work of saving someone. We have to be ready to disciple them — to help them grow in their faith — to teach them what you know. That means you’ve got to keep learning about what it means to follow Jesus so you’re ready to teach them what it means to follow Jesus.

Most of our Life Groups are reading the book Gaining by Losing. There’s a challenge in one of the chapters about personally discipling someone — that discipling others is something every Christian is to do — if you haven’t gotten to the chapter yet — just prepare yourself for a punch to your gut. But you’ve got to be ready — not just me — or the staff and the elders — but all disciples of Jesus are to be disciple makers. We’re not saviors — but we are disciple makers.

So what does that look like? You tell someone, “I’m going to help you grow in your walk with Jesus. And here’s what I want you to do. Follow me as I follow Jesus. Imitate me as I imitate Him.”

Do you feel the weight of that statement? I bet you do.

I bet it’s scary because you suddenly realize you’ve got some work to do — some priorities need to get straightened out, right?

You may realize how sorry of a job you’ve been doing at imitating Christ — because you haven’t been concerned with making disciples who are imitating you as you imitate Christ — it’s not even been on your radar.

But here’s what discipling someone does.

  • It makes you grow.

  • It forces you to get serious about your faith.

  • It makes you wrestle with how earnestly and passionately you’re living for the glory of God.

  • It reminds you that life’s too short to live for anything other than the fame and honor of the One who’s saved you.

  • It makes you come face to face with what it means to let God’s light shine through you instead of hiding His light under the basket of your life.

“Yeah Josh, but who do I disciple?” Time for some audience participation.

If you’d say, “I’m a believer in Jesus — I’m a Christian” — would you raise your hand for me — you claim to be a follower of Jesus — even at NM — raise your hand.

Now watch what I do here — keep your hands up. If you’ve been a Christian for 30 years or longer put your hand down — everyone else keep your hand up. Now if you put your hand down look around the room. The hands still raised are all of your options for discipleship.

If you’ve been a Christian for 20 years or longer put your hands down — everyone else keep your hands up. Again, if you just put your hand down, look around the room — the hands still raised are people who need you to disciple them.

If you’ve been a Christian ten years or longer put your hands down. Look around the room at the hands still in the air — people you should be discipling.

Everyone can put your hands down. Now listen, I could’ve kept going because this whole “who do I disciple” question eventually starts getting answered by exiting the room you’re in and walking over to where our middle school students are gathered, and the elementary kids, and preschoolers. If you’re a believer in Jesus, there’s someone here at Gateway you can be discipling.

And just as Jesus said earlier, the more you pass on what you’ve learned to someone else, the more you grow yourself. And you’ll experience deeper joy, and greater confidence, and an ever-increasing hope because God is using you for His Kingdom’s sake

You see…

SUMMARY OF POINT 2

The Kingdom of God is a mysterious harvest of souls. It’s a mysterious harvest of souls and we Christians are to scatter the seed of God’s gospel — as we trust Him to save people — all while being prepared to disciple those who come to faith in Him.

LIKE A MUSTARD SEED

One final parable. Let’s continue in verse 30.

“And he said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade." 33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. 34 He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.” (Mark 4:30-34 ESV)

In this last parable, we see the growth of the Kingdom. And Jesus uses a mustard seed to illustrate how the Kingdom of God has been, is, and how it will continue to grow.

The mustard seed was the smallest seed Jesus’ audience was familiar with — it was the smallest seed in the area — so Jesus uses it for His illustration. Now there are folks who try to use this as an example of Jesus making a mistake — of there being an error in the Bible — but everyone can relax. Jesus isn’t teaching a class on 21st century botany. He’s contextualizing for His audience’s sake — this was the smallest seed they knew of — they thought it was the smallest seed in existence — and He was more concerned with teaching them a spiritual truth than a lesson on plants and their seed sizes.

But the mustard seed was a tiny seed and man could it grow into a large tree. Some reaching ten feet tall, which doesn’t seem very tall compared to trees we’re familiar with, but for this region of the world — and especially coming from such a tiny seed — the magnitude in change from small to large is remarkable.

And that’s how the Kingdom of God grows. It started very small — just Jesus and a handful of followers. Yet today — God’s Kingdom has grown in size to millions upon millions of people who are Christians. And if you look back through history and realize that this religion of ours started out so small — it’s quite remarkable that it’s even around today. In the days of early Christianity the majority of people were worshipping Greek and Roman gods — but not today — there’s not a mass of people rushing to the temple of Zeus to worship. Yet even though Christianity started out very small — it’s grown into something quite huge.

And many times, ministries start the same way — with small beginnings. We all dream of being part of something big and wonderful, but don’t despise small beginnings — don’t despise small ministries. God’s not nearly as concerned about the size of our ministry as He is the faithfulness of our ministry. He’s not nearly as concerned about the breadth of your influence as He is your faithfulness — don’t despise small beginnings — for the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that grows into a large tree. What began as something tiny has grown into something remarkable in size.

And what we learn is that…

SUMMARY OF POINT 3

The Kingdom of God will continue to grow until the return of Christ. The Kingdom of God will continue to grow until the return of Christ.

God’s sovereign rule in the universe — and in the hearts of Christians — is growing — and will continue to do so — until Jesus Christ returns to this earth as He promised He would.

CONCLUSION

And the implication — of these three parables — for us is this: Are you a citizen of God’s ever-expanding Kingdom — or are you an enemy of the King?

A Kingdom implies a King. And your relationship to the King of the Kingdom is the most important relationship in your life. Jesus is the King of the Kingdom of God. And He’s promised that He will return to our world to judge every person according to one thing: Have or have they not believed in Me. And by believing in Me — Jesus means — have they submitted their lives to Me, their hopes and dreams to Me, their fears and doubts to Me, their joys and sorrows, their words and thoughts — have they submitted all of who they are — and all they hope to be — to me?

And the Good News is that Jesus wants something better for you than you want for yourself. The best thing most of us can think of is a little less pain and a little more happiness. Relief from the pains of life and a bit more fun. But Jesus gives us something better: He gives us Himself. The King of God’s Kingdom gives us Himself — and when you receive Him — you discover what it means to be both protected by the One who eternally loves you and to find eternal happiness in Him as well.

And Jesus gave us Himself — while we were His enemies. Jesus willing died on a cross so that by believing in Him you might become a citizen of His ever growing Kingdom and experience what it means to have Him as your King — as your Protector — as the One who will shield you from eternal harm. As a compassionate Friend who wipes away every tear from your face and is bringing you into an eternal home where there will be no more weeping or reason to be sad.

And the Kingdom of God is upon us right now. It started small — like a mustard seed — but is growing into something bigger than we can imagine. It’s a light shining forth in a dark world. It’s the scattering of the Good News of God’s great love for sinners — men and women, boys and girls, people like you and me all around this world — and as the News is scattered — God does the work that only He can do in saving people from their sins and welcoming them into His eternal Kingdom.

But when the King returns — will you be a citizen of His Kingdom?

When Jesus returns, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord — that He is King. People of the Kingdom of God do so joyfully now — in this life — as they long for — and anticipate — their King’s return — they do so in this life as they shine His light brightly into the world for all to see — they do so as they scatter the seed of their King’s Good News.

“The Kingdom of God is here,” Jesus says to you. And He’s offering you citizenship in His Kingdom. “Believe in Me,” Jesus says. “Trust Me. Receive Me as your King.” Let’s pray.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, thank you for reminding us that Jesus is the King of Your Kingdom. He is the One we must submit our lives to. He is the One in whom everlasting joy is found. He is love. He gives hope. He offers peace. And He does so — graciously — to all of us.

Jesus, help us to shine Your light in and through our lives. May we take seriously what it means to hide your light — for in hiding it we discard the gifts You’ve blessed us with. Help us to let Your light shine in and through us as You fill our lives with even greater blessings that we’re to use for Your glory and the good of others.

Spirit help us to scatter the seeds of the gospel with great confidence — knowing that the results are in Your hands.

And finally — Father — for anyone who’s hearing Your call — for those in whom Your Spirit is stirring a desire to enter into Your Kingdom — I pray that You would do the mysterious work of salvation in them right now. Save them from their sin. Welcome them into Your Kingdom. Give them peace of mind, joy in their spirit, and hope for their eternity.

Thank you for being a Saving God and our Powerful King. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

BENEDICTION (PRAY FOR: Have been hiding God’s light; want to experience His blessing once again)

May you go letting God’s light shine brightly in and through you. Amen.

God loves you. I love you. You are sent.