Mark

Pray!

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This places no limits on a believer’s prayers, as long as they are according to God’s will and purpose.  This therefore means that man’s faith and prayer are not inconsistent with God’s sovereignty.  And it is not the believer’s responsibility to figure out how that can be true, but simply to be faithful and obedient to the clear teaching on prayer, as Jesus gives it in this passage.  God’s will is being unfolded through all of redemptive history, by means of the prayers of His people-as His saving purpose is coming to pass through the faith of those who hear the gospel and repent.

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Mark 11:24.

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Great Power and Glory

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Jesus will return to earth in the same manner in which He left (Acts 1:9-11; Daniel 7:13,14; Revelation 1:7).  The Psalmist said that God uses “clouds” as His chariot (Psalm 104:3), and Isaiah 19:1 pictures the Lord riding on a cloud.  Although these “clouds” could be natural, they more likely describe the supernatural “glory cloud” that represented God’s presence in Old Testament Israel.  While Christ possesses “great power and glory”, His return will be accompanied with visible manifestations of that power and glory (Revelation 6:15-17; 11:15-19; 16:17-21; 19:11-16)-He will redeem the elect, restore the devastated earth, and establish His rule on earth.

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Mark 13:26.

Spiritual Blindness

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Not only can money and material possessions not satisfy the desires of the heart or bring the lasting happiness they deceptively promise, but they also blind those who pursue them to eternal, spiritual concerns (1 Timothy 6:9,10)

Commentary from The MacArthur Study Bible, notes for Mark 4:19.

All That I Need

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There was a barrier keeping the young man in Mark 10:17-31 out of the kingdom:  his love of money.  Money represented his pride of accomplishment and self-effort.  Ironically, his attitude made him unable to keep the first commandment, to let nothing be more important than God.  This man came to Jesus wondering what he could do; he left seeing what he was unable to do.

Jesus said it was very difficult for the rich to get into the kingdom of God because the rich have most of their basic physical needs met and thus often become self-reliant.  When they feel empty, they can buy something new to dull the pain that was meant to drive them toward God.  Their abundance becomes their deficiency.  Jesus explained that in the world to come, the values of this world will be reversed.

Commentary from The One Year NIV Devotional NT, April 20, Tyndale House Publishers. 2003.

An Eternal Perspective

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In the Bible, Mark 9:43-48, Jesus used startling language to stress the importance of cutting sin out of our lives.  Painful discipline is required of his true followers.  Giving up a relationship, job, or habit that is against God’s will may seem just as painful as cutting off a hand.  Our high goal, however, is worth any sacrifice; Christ is worth any possible loss.  Nothing should stand in the way of faith.  We must be ruthless in removing sins from our lives.  Make your choices from an eternal perspective.

Commentary from the One Year NIV Devotional NT, April 17.  Tyndale House Publishers (2003).

Salvation is Found in No One Else

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Jesus rescues His people from sin-“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”  Acts 4:12

The master theme of the Christian gospel is salvation.  Salvation is a picture-word of wide application that expresses the idea of rescue from jeopardy and misery into a state of safety.  The gospel proclaims that the God who saved Israel from Egypt, Jonah from the fish’s belly, the psalmist from death, and the soldiers from drowning (Exod. 15:2; Jon 2:9; Ps. 116:6; Acts 27:31), saves all who trust Christ from sin and sin’s consequences.

As these earthly deliverances were wholly God’s work, and not instances of people saving themselves with God’s help, so it is with salvation from sin and death.  Our salvation involves, first, Christ dying for us and, second, Christ living in us (John 15:4; 17:26; Col. 1:27) and we living in Christ, united with him in his death and risen life (Rom. 6:3-10; Col. 2:12, 20: 3:1).  

We do have a part to play in this.  This vital union, which is sustained by the Spirit from the divine side and by faith from our side, and which is formed in and through our new birth, presupposes covenantal union in the sense of our eternal election in Christ (Eph. 1:4-6).

Commentary from Concise Theology by J. I. Packer, part of the chapter on Salvation, pages 146, 147.

Just Pretending

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A thought:  Hypocrisy is pretending to be something you are not.  Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites because they did not worship God out of love for him, but because it made them look holy, and it increased their status in the community.  We become hypocrites when we (1) pay more attention to reputation than to character, (2) carefully follow certain religious practices while allowing our hearts to remain distant from God, and (3) emphasize our virtues (overlooking our own sins), but (4) constantly point out sins in others.

Commentary from notes for Mark 7:1-23, the One Year NIV Devotional New Testament (2003), Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.