I noticed in Scripture that God is frequently described as “the God who…” or “the LORD who…” So I ran a search on all the occurrences of those phrases and came up with a list of 100 descriptions, though they are not all unique.
“…I am the LORD, who does all these things” (Isaiah 45:7, ESV).
He is THE GOD WHO…
1. answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone (Genesis 35:3).
2. has been my shepherd all my life long to this day (Genesis 48:15).
3. brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery (Genesis 15:7; Exodus 6:7; 16:6; 18:20; 20:2; 29:46; Leviticus 11:45; 19:36; 25:38; 26:13; Numbers 15:41; Deuteronomy 5:6; 6:12; 8:14; 13:5, 10; Joshua 24:17; 1 Kings 9:9; 2 Kings 17:7, 36; Psalm 81:10; Jeremiah 2:6; Daniel 9:15).
5. has separated you from the peoples (Leviticus 20:24).
6. goes before you (Deuteronomy 1:30).
7. fights for you (Deuteronomy 3:22).
8. keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations (Deuteronomy 7:9).
9. is not partial and takes no bribe (Deuteronomy 10:17).
10. has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen (Deuteronomy 10:21).
11. goes with you…goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8).
12. gave you birth (Deuteronomy 32:18).
13. fights for you, just as he promised you (Joshua 23:3, 10).
14. is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies (2 Samuel 22:4).
15. answers by fire (1 Kings 18:24).
16. sits enthroned above the cherubim (1 Chronicles 13:6).
17. keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments (Nehemiah 1:5).
18. is great and awesome (Nehemiah 4:14).
19. keeps covenant and steadfast love (Nehemiah 9:32).
20. saves the upright in heart (Psalm 7:10).
21. is a righteous judge, and … who feels indignation every day (Psalm 7:11).
22. sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds! (Psalm 9:11).
23. gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me (Psalm 16:7).
24. is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies (Psalm 18:3).
25. delights in the welfare of his servant! (Psalm 35:27).
26. will answer (Psalm 38:15).
27. fulfills his purpose for me (Psalm 57:2).
28. judges on earth (Psalm 58:11).
29. shows me steadfast love (Psalm 59:17).
30. daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah (Psalm 68:19).
31. (Who) is like you? (Psalm 71:19).
32. executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another (Psalm 75:7).
33. works wonders (Psalm 77:14).
34. is seated on high (Psalm 113:5).
35. made heaven and earth! (Psalm 115:15; 121:2; 124:8).
36. was on our side— let Israel now say— (Psalm 124:1-2).
37. makes everything (Ecclesiastes 11:5).
38. gave [man his human spirit] (Ecclesiastes 12:7).
39. created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it (Isaiah 42:5).
40. makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters (Isaiah 43:16).
41. made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you (Isaiah 44:2).
42. made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself (Isaiah 44:24).
43. does all these things (Isaiah 45:7).
44. hides himself (Isaiah 45:15).
45. created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the Lord, and there is no other (Isaiah 45:18).
46. teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go (Isaiah 48:17).
47. is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you (Isaiah 49:7).
48. stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord of hosts is his name (Isaiah 51:15).
49. pleads the cause of his people (Isaiah 51:22).
50. has compassion on you (Isaiah 54:10).
51. gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered (Isaiah 56:8).
52. gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest (Jeremiah 5:24).
53. practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord (Jeremiah 9:24).
54. gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord of hosts is his name (Jeremiah 31:35).
55. formed it [the earth] to establish it—the Lord is his name (Jeremiah 33:2).
56. sanctifies (Ezekiel 20:12; 37:28).
57. keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments (Daniel 9:4).
58. makes the storm clouds, and he will give them showers of rain, to everyone the vegetation in the field (Zechariah 10:1).
59. stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him (Zechariah 12:1).
60. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known (John 1:18).
61. know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen (Acts 1:24).
62. made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them (Acts 4:24).
63. bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands (Acts 14:3).
64. made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them (Acts 14:15).
65. knows the heart (Acts 15:8).
66. makes these things (Acts 15:17).
67. made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth (Acts 17:24).
68. justifies (Romans 8:33).
69. has mercy (Romans 9:16).
70. gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3:7).
71. empowers them all [spiritual gifts] in everyone (1 Corinthians 12:6).
72. gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).
73. raises the dead (2 Corinthians 1:9).
74. judges me (1 Corinthians 4:4).
75. establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us (2 Corinthians 1:21).
76. in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere (2 Corinthians 2:14).
77. is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).
78. said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).
79. has given us the Spirit as a guarantee (2 Corinthians 5:5).
80. through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; (2 Corinthians 5:18).
81. comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus (2 Corinthians 7:6).
82. created all things (Ephesians 3:9).
83. works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).
84. raised him from the dead (Colossians 2:12).
85. tests our hearts (1 Thessalonians 2:4).
86. calls you into his own kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:12).
87. gives his Holy Spirit to you (1 Thessalonians 4:8).
88. is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe (1 Timothy 4:10).
89. gives life to all things (1 Timothy 6:13).
90. richly provides us with everything to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).
91. never lies (Titus 1:2).
92. gives [wisdom] generously to all without reproach (James 1:5).
93. raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God (1 Peter 1:21).
94. is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty (Revelation 1:8).
95. has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze (Revelation 2:18).
96. sits on the throne (Revelation 7:10).
97. lives forever and ever (Revelation 15:7).
98. had power over these plagues (Revelation 16:9).
Is the God of the Bible a single-person God like Allah? Was God alone before creating man? Are the words Father, Son, and Holy Spirit modes or manifestations of God? Or is the God of the Bible unique among the religions of the world? Do the titles Father and Son and Holy Spirit point to real persons in the one true God?
This short article aims to show that the conversations and transactions between the Father and the Son point to the reality of the mutual existence of the persons in the Godhead. Most of this article is drawn from the writings of “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” the Apostle John. More specifically, most of the focus is on Christ’s “high priestly prayer,” the night before going to the cross, which Jesus addressed to his Father in heaven:
ESVJohn 17:1–3 — When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
Here the Son makes requests of his Father. He points to their interrelationship, the distinction of persons within the Godhead, and speaks of the mission that his Father has given him to provide eternal life.
As Jesus approaches the cross, he acknowledges to his Father that it is now the hour for him to glorify his Son (v. 1).
The Son will in turn glorify the Father (v. 1).
The Father gave the Son all authority over all flesh (v. 2).
The Father gives people to the Son (v. 2).
The Son gives eternal life to those the Father has given him (v. 2).
These transactions point to real distinctions between the persons. While the Father is God, and the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, the Father is not the Son or the Holy Spirit, and the Son is not the Father or the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son. The following is adapted from an ancient digram of the Holy Trinity:
Three Persons, but Only One God
At same time, Jesus underlines that there is only one God, “the only true God” (v. 3). While many other passages make it abundantly clear that Jesus is God (for example, John 1:1, 18; 5:18; 10:30, 33; 20:28; Acts 20:28; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1), my purpose here is to show that the Scriptures point to the real interrelational existence “of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
These distinctions between the persons are further laid out in the verses which follow:
ESVJohn 17:4–5 —I [the Son] glorified you [the Father] on earth, having accomplished the work that you [the Father] gave me [the Son] to do.And now, Father, glorify me [the Son] in your [the Father’s] own presence with the glory that I [the Son] had with you [the Father] before the world existed.
Four times in those two verses, Jesus distinguishes himself from his Father. The Son glorified the Father on earth. The Father gave the Son work to do. The Son accomplished the work which the Father gave him. The Son asks the Father to glorify him in the Father’s presence even as the Son glorified the Father on earth.
Then Jesus makes the astounding statement that he was with the Father before the world existed:
ESVJohn 17:5 — And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
The Son’s existence is not linked to the world or his mission in the world. He existed before the world existed. He was with the Father before the creation of the world. He shared the Father’s glory. Before “the beginning,” the Father and the Son were in eternal fellowship.
Furthermore, eternal life is inextrincably bound up in a relationship with the Father and with the Son:
ESVJohn 17:3 — And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
Jesus here defines eternal life. It is knowing the only true God AND Jesus Christ whom God has sent. It is a knowledge of BOTH the Father AND the Son. The Apostle John emphasizes this truth in his First Epistle when he writes:
ESV1 John 1:3 — that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
“Indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
As Christians, our fellowship is not only with the Father, nor is it only with the Son: It is “with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” Later in his letter, John points to the grave danger of denying the Son’s real existence:
ESV1 John 2:22–24 — Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.
“No one who denies the Son has the Father” (v. 23). To deny the existence of the Son and to deny that Jesus is the Christ, that is the work of the antichrist. The spirit of antichrists—for John says that there are many (1 John 2:18)— is to deny the real existence of “the Father and the Son” (v. 22). Those who deny the Son do not have the Father, but “whoever confesses the Son has the Father also” (v. 23). The word “also” like the word “and” in verse 22 shows us that the Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Father.
John goes on to explain that this is the message that his readers heard from the beginning. If this truth abides in them—and in us—then they and we “will abide in the Son and in the Father” (v. 24). This again shows that our fellowship is with both the Father and with his Son as John said in 1 John 1:3.
The Apostle John insists on this truth in no uncertain terms in his Second Letter:
ESV2 John 9–11 — Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
Apparently some felt that they were more progressive and advanced (v. 9). They went “on ahead” and did not hold to this teaching about Christ being sent into the world by his Father so that through the Son we might have eternal life. They felt that the doctrine or teaching about the Son was not necessary; having God was enough. The Apostle John warns that these progressive teachers who do not hold on to the Son “do not have God.” But “whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” Both… and… Not just the Father, but also the Son.
This teaching is wholly consistent with the teaching of the New Testament that while both the Father and the Son are God, the conversations and transactions between them are not a matter of biblical or literary fiction. They point to the eternal relationship between the Father and the Son.
On virtually every page of the New Testament, we see the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit —the one true God— working together in perfect harmony to bring about the fulfillment of “the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11).
ESV John 17:3 — And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
The world is a dangerous place. This past Thursday there was an Islamic State attack on a Starbuck’s café in Jakarta, Indonesia, killing seven people and wounding 26 others. On Friday night, on the other side of the world, 23 people were killed in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (West Africa) when a group of attackers raided the Splendid Hotel. An al Qaeda-linked terrorist group claimed responsibility.
Many worldviews and religions are competing for the hearts and minds of people everywhere. Christians are also to spread the Good News about Jesus Christ. How are we to respond to those who reject him?
Christ has commissioned all believers to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. How are we to respond when people reject the message of the gospel?
Today I want to consider a passage in Mark 6 where Jesus sends out his disciples and tells them how to respond to those who accept and to those who reject the gospel. I want to consider the global mission of the Church, the foundations of that mission, and Jesus’ specific instructions about the message and how people respond to it.
First, let’s read from Mark 6:6-13.
Mark 6:6-13 NLT …Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people. 7 And he called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits. 8 He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick– no food, no traveler’s bag, no money. 9 He allowed them to wear sandals but not to take a change of clothes. 10 “Wherever you go,” he said, “stay in the same house until you leave town. 11 But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.” 12 So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God. 13 And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.
When we think of Jesus’ ministry, we tend to think of his compassion, and how he healed the sick, healing — for example, in Mark 5 we read how Jesus healed the woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years, and how he raised Jairus’s daughter from the dead. Healing was an important part of Jesus’ ministry, but the defining element of his ministry was his teaching.
In the Gospel of Mark alone, Jesus is called the Teacher twelve times.
We read that he taught in the synagogues (1:21; 6:2).
He taught beside the sea (4:1).
He taught in the temple (12:35).
He taught many things in parables (4:2).
He taught with authority (1:27).
The first 14 chapters of Mark refer to Jesus’s ministry of teaching more than 30 times. Everywhere Jesus went, he was teaching.
It is one thing to see a miracle. It is another thing to understand what the miracle teaches us about the miracle worker. It was through his teaching that Jesus opened the window so we could see who he was and what he came to do. Jesus tells us exactly why he came in Mark 10:45.
Mark 10:45 ESV For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
A Global Mission
The reason that Jesus chose disciples and sent them out was that he had and has a global mission. Jesus did not come just for the nation of Israel. The Bible says that he is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He is “the Savior of the world” (John 4:42). Jesus was training disciples to take the Good News to the ends of the earth.
It became apparent early on in his ministry, that Jesus had a global mission. This goes all the way back to the call of Abraham. God had told Abraham that through his offspring, that is through Jesus Christ, all the peoples of the world would be blessed.
Genesis 22:18 ESV and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”
Who is Abraham’s offspring? The Apostle Paul explains that Jesus Christ is Abraham’s offspring. All the nations of the earth would be blessed in Jesus Christ.
Galatians 3:16 ESV Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.
Throughout the Old Testament, we read that the nations and the peoples of the world would bless the Lord and be blessed in him (Psalm 72:17-19; etc.).
God intended that Vanuatu would be blessed through his Son Jesus Christ.
Now in the Gospel of Mark, the Lord has come. He begins his ministry in Capernaum, but his ministry would not be limited to one town or region or country. Although everyone in Capernaum was looking for him, Jesus told his disciples,
Mark 1:38 ESV … “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.”
Already in Mark 3,
Mark 3:14-15 ESV And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons.
Now in Mark 6,
Mark 6:7 ESV And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.
This was just the beginning. Jesus did not come simply to bring the Good News of salvation to Israel; he was making fishers of men, disciples who would make disciples of people of all nations. The last chapter of this Gospel of Mark has this Great Commission:
Mark 16:15-16 ESV And [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
This is the global, worldwide mission of the Church: to proclaim to the entire world salvation through Jesus Christ alone. Listen to it again:
Mark 16:15-16 ESV And [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
There you have the scandal of Christianity. Jesus comes into the world, sent by God the Father, sent to save sinners. This is scandalous to some because they want to make their own way to heaven. They want there to be many ways to heaven. They want to believe that any religion or any god will do just fine, but that is not what the Bible teaches.
The teaching of the Bible is consistent throughout. There is only one true God, and there is only one way to the one true God, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ. This is how Jesus prayed the night before he gave his life as a ransom for many:
John 17:3 ESV And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
There is only one true God and there is only one way to that God.
1 Timothy 2:5 ESV For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
Foundation One: One True God
So foundational to the global mission of the church is first of all the fact that there is only one true God.
This fact is established over and over again in the Old Testament.
Deuteronomy 6:4 ESV “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
But the Israelites abandoned the one true God. They began to believe that there were other gods. They worshipped the gods of the peoples around them.
One of the so-called Christian cults from America working in Vanuatu today teaches that there are other gods in different universes. That is why you need to find a Bible-believing church that uses no other book but the Bible.
This is what the God of the Bible says,
Deuteronomy 4:39 ESV know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.
Deuteronomy 32:39 ESV “‘See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.
Isaiah 43:10 ESV …Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.
Isaiah 43:11 ESV I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior.
Isaiah 44:6 ESV Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.
Isaiah 44:8 ESV … Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”
Isaiah 45:5 ESV I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God…
Isaiah 45:6 ESV …from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other.
Isaiah 45:18 ESV For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the LORD, and there is no other.
Isaiah 45:21 ESV …And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.
Isaiah 45:22 ESV “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.
***Isaiah 46:9 ESV remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,
Foundation Two: One Mediator Between God and Man
The Bible, the Word of God, is very clear. There is only one true God and there is only one way to the one true God. Again, Jesus prayed,
John 17:3 ESV And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
There is one true God and he has provided one way of salvation, and that way of salvation is through his Son Jesus Christ.
The two million gods of Hinduism cannot save you, but the one true God who sent his Son to die on the cross — he alone can make you right with God.
John 14:6 ESV Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
No one. The only way to be reconciled to God is through his Son Jesus Christ. The Apostle Peter said it like this:
Acts 4:12 NLT There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
Why do you need salvation?
At the end of month you get paid. You get your salary. You are paid what you have earned.
At the end of your life, you get your payoff, your salary, your wages. But here’s the bad news:
Romans 6:23 ESV For the wages of sin is death,
That’s not just death in the grave; that’s eternal separation from God, being cast into outer darkness. Hell.
That is why we need salvation. All of us.
Romans 3:23 ESV for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 6:23 ESV For the wages of sin is death, [but here’s the Good News] but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Eternal life in Christ Jesus is a free gift from God. It’s free but someone paid for it. Who paid for your free gift? Jesus Christ paid for your eternal life. No one else could take away our sins.
Romans 5:6-9 ESV For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person– though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die– 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
So Jesus commanded
Luke 24:47 ESV … that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
This Good News of what God has done in his Son Jesus Christ is to be preached in all nations:
America and Australia
Belgium and Bhutan
Canada and China
Fiji and France
Syria and the Solomon Islands
Vietnam and Vanuatu
Jesus Gives Authority
It all begins right here in Mark 6.
Mark 6:7 NLT And he called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits.
This section closes with the report:
Mark 6:13 NLT And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.
The Twelve were “not sent to do a new work but to continue and extend the work begun by Jesus (1:34; 3:11-12; 5:8).”
The disciples are sent to do what Jesus has been doing. Jesus has given them authority to do what he was doing. He does not have to pray for God to give them this authority. He simply shares his authority with the Twelve and they go and preach and heal the sick and cast out evil spirits in his name.
Jesus Gives Instructions Concerning Travel – What to Take
Mark 6:8-9 NLT He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick– no food, no traveler’s bag, no money. 9 He allowed them to wear sandals but not to take a change of clothes.
Jesus sends them out with basically nothing but his authority. They are to trust in God to provide for their needs. They are not traveling first class! They are not prosperity preachers! They go with a walking stick, the sandals on their feet, and the clothes on their back. The ministry is not a means for getting more stuff. “They are to stay mean and lean.”
According to James Edwards, “True service of Jesus is characterized by dependence on Jesus, and dependence on Jesus is signified by going where Jesus sends despite material shortfalls and unanswered questions. . . .They must trust him alone who sends them” (Edwards, Mark, 181). Little provisions require big faith in God to meet your needs (cf. Phil 4: 19)!
Jesus Gives Instructions Concerning Staying in Homes — How to Act
Mark 6:10-11 NLT “Wherever you go,” he said, “stay in the same house until you leave town. 11 But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”
Now this is most interesting in the world in which we live today. Jesus has given the church the responsibility of taking the Good News to all peoples everywhere. We are to proclaim Jesus. His final words before returning to heaven were these:
Acts 1:8 NLT But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere– in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The focus of our preaching and teaching is Jesus Christ himself. He has commissioned us to be his witnesses. We are witnesses of Jesus Christ. We are Jesus’s witnesses.
Throughout the entire New Testament, the message is what God has done in Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:2 ESV For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
2 Corinthians 4:5 ESV For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
Throughout the epistles, the Apostle Paul is constantly exalting Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2:9-11 NLT Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
We could go through the New Testament, book after book, to see that the focus is on Jesus Christ. He is Lord and he has commissioned us to announce to all people everywhere that there is salvation in Christ alone. And we will preach the Good News of Jesus Christ until he comes. Jesus declared in…
Matthew 24:14 ESV And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Love came down when God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
But let us note carefully that Jesus did not expect everyone to believe the gospel. Through the Gospel of Mark opposition to Jesus is rising. The scribes and Pharisees oppose him. The following verses of this chapter tells how John the Baptist is beheaded. As Jesus gives instructions to his disciples about their ministry, he prepares them for rejection. In fact, that is probably why he took them to Capernaum where he was rejected by his own hometown.
Jesus instructs his disciples to go and stay with whoever received them, but he told them that some places would not welcome them. Some people would not listen to them. They would experience rejection.
What do we do as ambassadors of Jesus Christ when we are not welcomed, when our message is not received?
This is where Christianity differs radically from some other religions. Christianity is not a religion of intimidation. It is not a religion of fear and oppression. Christianity never forces anyone to become a Christian. Christianity is a religion of the heart. We are saved by grace through faith.
Well-known atheist Richard Dawkins made an interesting comment about Christianity.
“There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings,” Dawkins said. “I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death.”
Christ invites you to come to him. He never forces you. The last verses of the Bible include this invitation:
Revelation 22:17 NLT The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.
So we are to share the gospel freely with all who will listen.
But what about those who do not listen? Jesus said that we are to simply “shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”
The New Living Translation renders Mark 6:11,
Mark 6:11 NLT But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”
We leave those who resist the gospel in the hands of God. Perhaps he will yet grant them repentance.
The Need for Repentance
Mark 6:12 NLT So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God.
John the Baptist preached repentance:
Matthew 3:2 ESV “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Jesus preached repentance:
Matthew 4:17 ESV From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
The apostles preached repentance:
Acts 2:38 ESV And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Since John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles preached repentance, it must be important. But what is it?
Sight of sin. A person sees that he is a sinner and that his lifestyle is sinful. Like the prodigal son in Luke 15:17, he finally comes to his senses and sees that he has sinned against God.
Sorrow for sin. “…I am sorry for my sin” (Psalm 38:18 ESV). There is godly grief, “genuine, anguishing sorrow over the offense itself and not just its consequences.” “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10 ESV).
Confession of sin. The humble sinner voluntarily passes judgment on himself. He confesses his sins, not just generally, but specifically. Confession is a deep work in the heart and it cannot be accomplished simply by admitting that we are sinners. We need to humbly confess how we have sinned against God. In the Scriptures, we find at least seven benefits to confession:
Confession of sin gives glory to God (Josh 7: 19).
Confession of sin is a means to humble the soul (2 Chr 26: 19).
Confession of sin gives release to a troubled heart (Ps 51: 11-12).
Confession of sin purges out sin (Neh 3: 13). Augustine called it “the expeller of vice.”
Confession of sin endears Christ to the soul that needs atoning (Rom 7: 25).
Confession of sin makes way for forgiveness (2 Sam 12: 13; 1 John 1: 9).
Confession of sin makes way for mercy (Prov 28: 13).
Shame for sin. Ezra prayed, “O my God, I am utterly ashamed; I blush to lift up my face to you. For our sins are piled higher than our heads, and our guilt has reached to the heavens” (Ezra 9:6 NLT). The prodigal son said to his father, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son” (Luke 15:21 NLT).
Hatred of sin. The more we love Jesus, the more we will hate sin for our sins nailed Jesus to the cross.
Turning from sin and returning to the Lord. Repentance means turning away from our sin. It means getting the sin out of our lives.
Ezekiel 14:6 NLT “Therefore, tell the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Repent and turn away from your idols, and stop all your detestable sins.
Repentance is not only turning from sin, it is turning to the Lord.
Psalm 119:9-11 ESV How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. 10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! 11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
The message of the Bible is that
Acts 17:30-31 NLT “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. 31 For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”
No one will force you to follow Christ. We are simply Christ’s ambassadors…
2 Corinthians 5:20 NLT …God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”