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Christianity Explored week 2 talk notes

In the past I've posted up some Christianity Explored talks of mine (weeks 1, 3, 5 and 7).  I've preached all the weeks many times but I'm becoming more and more unhappy with how I've put things.

Thanks to good chats with Mike who I'm currently co-leading with, I'm re-thinking how to teach Mark.

On the identity of Jesus I've tended to preach Jesus as merely bigger than sin, sickness, death, demons and storms.  But the point of Him defeating these powers is that these are the forces that hold humanity in bondage.  It's not just that Jesus is strong enough to bind the strong man, it's that He's loving enough to do it to rescue us.  When He does it, the response should not so much be - "He's a great Power", but "He's a great Saviour - doing everything the Messiah's meant to - remaking the world."

On the problem of sin I've tended to preach it behaviourally in spite of Mark's massive heart focus - hearts pumping out evil, hard heartedness, etc. The 'public gallery of my life' is not the real problem, it's the heart that produces it.  I certainly have preached this, but haven't let it percolate through everything.

On the issue of judgement - I've missed lots of the alreadyness of condemnation (Israel in exile needing to recross the Jordan, judgement being the sickness they already have (whether they admit it or not), Gehenna being an eternal and dreadful rubbish dump but like what they know).

On salvation - I've not focussed on 1:15 - the good news of the kingdom.  I could be heard as slightly Islamic "submit to His rule."

On repentance, I haven't been as clear as I should that it's a change of mind.

And I'm sure lots of other problems too.  Ah well, semper reformanda.

Anyway, I haven't re-written my talks in full but I thought I'd post up some notes for the sake of those who run CE themselves.  I reckon the re-jigging Mike and I have been thinking through has been well worth it...

Who is Jesus?

If Christianity is Christ then who He is is the biggest question of all.

And it’s probably been the most hotly debated issue in human history.

Joke: Vatican council on ID of Jesus (hilarious!)

Mark 1:1 – Christ, Son of God

Anointed by the Holy Spirit and Son of the Father

Trinity – not what we’d thought! Here’s surprising God of love, inviting us in!

Jesus – God from God walking around planet earth like He owns the place - remaking it!

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Psalm 2:1-3 – The LORD and His Anointed bonded – loving bond of Father-Son, v7

We throw off the bonds and the world unravels

Isaiah 61:1-4 – The Spirit-filled Son is Servant of the LORD.  He comes to set things straight again.

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Mark 1:2-8 – the people getting ready for this Saviour-King

Mark 1:9-11 – Baptism = joining us in the mess
AND it's His coronation!  Anointed by Spirit, declared Son of the Father

Mark 1:12 – Spirit-led and empowered – goes into desert (cf Is 61:4!)

He’s going to remake the world from within the mess.

Mark 1:15 – Here it is! All that's been promised!  Change your mind and believe the good news!

God really has come to re-make the world and He really is inviting you in!

Notice, v1 Jesus is good news, and now He says “believe” that good news.

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How can we be expected to believe?  Only if we’re convinced that Jesus is Christ

So Mark shows us Jesus being the Saviour Christ in 5 significant ways

Jesus overcomes 5 powers that hold us down and ruin the world

Jesus proves He’s biggest fish

But it’s not a sheer display of power – it’s a power directed by love – to save us!

Jesus overcomes evil – Mark 1:21-28

Evil is a personal power – not just an impersonal force
Massive flare-up of demons when Christ comes in the flesh – war!
Evil (whether obvious or subtle) is stronger than us
But Jesus is stronger than evil.

Jesus overcomes sickness – Mark 1:29-34

Jesus overcomes sin – Mark 2:1-12

Jesus overcomes nature – Mark 4:35-41

Jesus overcomes death – Mark 5:39-43

We are oppressed by all these powers and Jesus comes and swallows them up.

He does everything that Isaiah 61 (and rest of OT) promised

Who is He?  He’s the Christ, the Son of God.

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Who do you say He is?

He’s either Christ, Son of God or He’s a liar or a madman (2:7!) – which is it?

If He’s the Christ, the Son of God – then, 1:15, change your mind (the meaning of repent), believe!

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Do you see who Jesus is?  Do you understand why this is good news?

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