“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is My word that goes out from My mouth:
It will not return to Me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
This promise from Isaiah is extraordinary. Namely, that when God’s Word is preached, it can’t return empty; it will always accomplish something grand, bearing fruit – seed for the sower and bread for the hungry. God’s word is always sent for a purpose, and that purpose is always successful.
Each week, the Word of God – and specifically the Gospel of Mark – is preached at Grace. Therefore, given the insight from Isaiah, it’s not a stretch to assume that over the last few months, hundreds of our congregants have been exhorted, encouraged, chided, sobered, thrilled, empowered, and changed by the preaching from this amazing Gospel.
During this Sunday’s reflection service, we’ll be given the opportunity to recall some of the ways that the preaching from Mark has taken effect in our lives and to share it with the congregation in a way that will bear even more fruit.
For instance, aren’t you just a bit curious to hear how God used the preaching of Mark 7 to awaken us to the deceitfulness of our hearts?
“What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’” MARK 7:20-23
Did the Holy Spirit use the faith of the Syrian Phoenician Greek woman to stir someone’s faith – perhaps yours?
“She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. ‘First let the children eat all they want,’ He told her, ‘for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’ Then He told her, ‘For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.’ She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.” MARK 7:26-30
At the feeding of the 4000, who among us that morning decided to trust God’s provision in a time of need?
“The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. About four thousand men were present.” MARK 8:8-9
What about the passage where the blind man got back his sight “in stages”? Who left church that day feeling as if his spiritual eyes had been restored to 20/20? At long last, he could see everything clearly. Wouldn’t you love to hear from that person?
“They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When He had spit on the man’s eyes and put His hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’ He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’ Once more Jesus put His hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.” MARK 8:22-25
You get the idea. Some time this week, consider taking an hour to sit again with the Gospel of Mark, specifically 7:14-13:37. Perhaps a Grace Group discussion of one of the sermons helped to open up for you the deeper meaning of a passage and its application. Would you pray about sharing that with the rest of us this Sunday?
You and others will make up the sermon. May God so orchestrate each service that we’ll again be edified by His word, as we “re-chew” it and let it take effect in our lives.
“I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD,
the deeds for which He is to be praised,
according to all the LORD has done for us –
yes, the many good things He has done for Israel,
according to His compassion and many kindnesses.”