Midweek Wake-Up, December 6th, 2018
We were reminded through the mouths of some of our children on Sunday, that 700 years before Christ came to this world, ‘the mountain of the house of the Lord would be established……and all the nations shall flow to it’ (Isaiah 2:2). Yet ever since Jesus came, we have attempted to redefine him and his church.
In Mark 3:22-35 we see the origins of this as early as Christ himself, as we wrestle with the identity of our Saviour, the crowds asking, who are you? We have Jesus’ family thinking he’s crazy; the religious leaders telling him he’s possessed by Satan himself, and Jesus having to clarify who He is and who His followers are. Just like today, he was not the God they envisioned or wanted, so they, in essence, created God as they wanted Him to be. History helps us understand that we’re always in this danger. As Ecclesiastes so aptly reminds us, there is nothing new under the sun.
About a hundred years after the church began, history introduces us to Marcion, who’s heretical thinking had him refusing to believe that the God of the Old Testament could actually be the same God as the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. So eventually Marcion, let go of the Old Testament and chose passages from Luke, and select writings from the letters of Paul that nicely fashioned a Christianity that better fit into Marcion’s desires for God. While branded a heretic at the time, Marcion lives on, does he not? Looking at the landscape around us today, we hear such words as: Do we really need the Old Testament? Did Jesus really say that? I like to leave out some of Paul’s letters? I like to think of God this way.
Whether it was his family and the religious leaders in Mark 3, or Marcion shortly thereafter, this is not a new phenomenon. As we heard on Sunday, whether it was Luther in the 1500’s; JC Ryle in the 1800’s; or AW Tozer in the 1940’s – the battle to allow the Scriptures to be the authority on who God is has always been there. This is why when Jesus’ family thinks he’s out of his mind and the religious leaders think he’s possessed, Jesus says I need to make this clear: “my family are those who do my will and walk in obedience to me and my Words”.
Perhaps this is why Paul wrote to us over and over again in his letters to the church, to guard the deposit of truth that has been entrusted you. NSC, we are always on the brink of letting go of the gospel, for the sake of something that is more palatable, only to eventually lose the gospel all together. And so the Father continually reminds us to guard the truth and never let go of the deposit that was given to us. The deposit that grounds us to walk in the way of the family, in the will and obedience of God. I pray you will feast on and delight in this gospel this morning, as we eagerly await the coming of Christmas!