Ecc. 12:13-14. Fear God and keep His commandments, was the conclusion of the author. In light of all of life’s complexities, vanities, uncertainties and inequities, all that Solomon has been observing about life under the sun, he drew that conclusion. After observing life inside and out, the most important thing of all is fearing God and keeping His commandments. There is a longing in us for fulfillment, a longing for home, a capacity for things eternal. One important truth to keep in mind as we experience life under the sun - the inability of those things to satisfy. What is sturdy and dependable in the midst of chaos in our world? Fear God and keep His commandments. This applies to every person he says. Nothing we do goes unnoticed by God, every hidden thing, any secret thing, He knows about. In light of where life is headed for each of us, what conclusions does he draw. 1. Solid, healthy relationships are preferable to all this-world achievements. Have you taken account of all the good thins in your life, even in a difficult year like 2020? For instance, enjoy life with the woman who you love all the days of your life. These relationships don’t just happen especially if self is at the center of your life. We have to invest time and thought and concrete actions. Being selfless is crucial to doing that. 2. The ultimate, abiding relationship should be moved front and center in our lives. So often, in the clutter of our lives, God is moved from front and center. He gets pushed to the side. You may have some moments in your life without Him at the center, but that’s all they will be, moments. Then what? 3. Judgment is inescapable. He says to enjoy your life but keep this in mind. Without God, we are headed to a very empty, sad and dismal place.

Psalm 33:8. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. Psalm 34:11-16. What fearing God looks like. Depart from evil, do good things, seek peace...... In the end, a proper regard for the living and awesome God is everything.

Shocking Kingdom Lessons. Brent. 12.20.20

Mark 10

Overall theme of this chapter is to remove all hindrances from our heart to serve God fully.

Lesson #1: Jesus wants the scribes and Pharisees to stop with the technicalities! They say well Moses says it’s okay but Jesus says no, it’s because of your hardness of heart and because you really don’t understand what marriage is all about. Moses allowed a certificate of divorce to limit the damage. But God never approved of divorce. People today are focused on what the exceptions are. What’s interesting is that there are no exceptions in Mark nor in Luke. What we need is much more teaching on what marriage really is, not what the exceptions are. There is a rule - marriage is forever! It is not intended to be broken apart.

The problem today is we have accepted society’s acceptance of failure. Marriage is an example of how to have a relationship with God.

What if we accepted that marriage is for life? That would mean all struggles must be worked out, all of them. There are no exceptions. Exceptions are the extreme. Exceptions are the teaching of humanity, not of God.

“The two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God was joined together, let not man separate.” Mark 10:8-9.

The disciples say this is really hard Jesus and He says, yes it is. If we can find any way to get out of marriage, it’s not hard. We have to be teaching our children what marriage really is, a permanent, forever decision. There are no outs. Difficulties must be worked out. You do not have a soulmate, there is not just one person for you. That is not reality.

The reality? Marriage is the most important earthly decision you will ever make in your life. Love is a choice that we make to live life with someone and become one flesh with them. Read Eph. 5.

Yes, there is an exception in Matthew 19, but there is not one in Mark, nor in Luke. Marriage is to be permanent.

Lesson #2: The stories seem to be disjointed in chapter 10 but they are not. At the heart of each story is this - we need to stop baptizing human perspectives. That’s the problem with the rich young ruler. He is not putting God first. He says he is following all of these rules Jesus tells him but Jesus knows his heart and where his values lie. It is not with God, in spite of what he says.

What matters is how he acts when told to sacrifice who he wants to become for what God wants him to be. This should open our eyes, slap us in the face, make us very uncomfortable. We are exceedingly wealthy in this country. This could easily describe any of us. Is God first?

If we try to “Christianitize” our world view, baptize our earthly perspective, it will not work. We cannot make Christian all the things that are secular and worldly. It will not work. We have to be very careful. Appearances can be deceiving. We can keep all the rules and say all the right words, but what are we inside? Where is our heart?

And in the midst of all this, Jesus extols children. He says unless you become like them, you will not enter heaven. He is telling them they do not get it.

Lesson #3- stop seeking self glory. The disciples are focused on their own glory and Jesus answers telling them about His death. He says whoever wants to be first will be last. Even the Son of Man came to serve. The poor blind man gets it. He runs to Jesus when he is called, casts off everything, gets all the obstacles out of his way, and follows Jesus. He is the opposite of the rich young ruler.

So, what do we need to cast off? What do we need to get out of the way to follow Jesus? The disciples still do not get that they need to give up themselves. Jesus says you need to give up whatever it is that is in your way and you will receive back 100 fold.

What is in first place in your life? Do we feel like the blind man who is willing to cast off everything and follows Jesus? It’s your choice. None can force you to follow Jesus? Do you love self, the passing pleasure of this world or do you love Jesus?

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What Jesus sees... three texts to consider.

1. Rev. 3:14-22. Jesus sees things differently than the people of Laodicea.

Three major flaws in their lives:

1. Worldly focus

2. Excusing failure

3. Minimal, insufficient effort

They think they’re fine, Jesus thinks otherwise.

2. Mark 12:38-44. The widows mite. People taking advantage of the weak, praying to be seen as holy by others. Knowing God is aware of what we contribute every week, does He consider it adequate? The poor widow put in more than everyone else because she gave all that she had, while everyone else put in out of their surplus. He’s not saying what they gave was unacceptable but that she gave out of her poverty. And this is more than what percentage we give, this was more about this woman’s faith in God, that He would take care of her.

God didn’t seem to be concerned about the finances of the temple. He can access whatever resources He needs to accomplish His purposes. He is concerned however about the state of the donor’s hearts. He is not concerned with externals. He is concerned with attitudes like faith and sacrifice.

Psalm 143:10: teach me to do your will, you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. He ends the Psalm saying “I am your servant.”

What is your identity? Is it this? I am a giver. That’s how I perceive myself. I am not a taker, I am a giver.

Responsibility: 2 Cor. 8:12- for if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.

Motive: Psalm 115:12. What shall I render to the Lord for all of His benefits

Inventory: Psalm 103:2. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget. One of His benefits.

The focus is not money this morning. Yes, there is an application there, see Mark 12. But there are four things you can give that make a huge difference in the execution of God’s plan. Four things everyone can do, regardless of economic status:

1. Set an example of commitment. Your level of commitment to serving the Lord can be a huge influence on others. It is a powerful impact on the Lord’s people. When you are on the fringe, rarely attend, aren’t involved, that is a discouragement to others. We’re not speaking of the current environment, we’re talking over your lifetime. You can’t stir one another up to love and good deeds unless you are together physically. It is up to you and you alone to make yourself connected.

2. Pray fervently for one another. The Lord’s people are engaged in prayer. Something any of us can do that doesn’t require any special talent, just the desire to do so.

3. Direct my heart toward purity. Again, this has nothing to do with talent. Anyone, everyone, can do this. Yes we have an enemy who will try to trip you up so it will take constant effort and vigilance.

4. Tend to the discouraged. It’s never been needed more than now and there are so many ways to communicate in today’s world. Get outside of yourself.

Four things you can do like the widows mite. Four things that will get you out of lukewarmness. Get busy with those and you will not be lukewarm.

Text #3: Jude 17-25.

Let us advance His great cause in whatever ways we can, realizing how truly blessed and privileged we are to be included in His great and glorious purposes.

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Welcome and thank you for visiting. We hope you can come and be with us as we give praise and honor to the Father above and His Son as we assemble as Christ's church in the Tomball and Magnolia area.

Decker Prairie church of Christ

25903 Hardin Store Rd

Magnolia, TX 77354

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T: 281.259.2797


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