Monday, July 25, 2022

2022.07.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ Mark 1:1–8

Read Mark 1:1–8

Questions from the Scripture text: Of what is this a beginning (Mark 1:1)? Of whose gospel, in particular, is it the beginning—what three things is He called? Where had the next couple verses been written originally (Mark 1:2)? What would the Lord send before the Christ’s face? What is the messenger doing? Whose way, specifically, was the messenger to prepare (Mark 1:3)? What two things did John come doing (Mark 1:4)? What did his baptism promise? How effective was this preaching (Mark 1:5)? How impressive was John (Mark 1:6)? Whom did he say would be far more impressive (Mark 1:7)? What baptism would He give to truly accomplish what John’s could only point forward to (Mark 1:8)? 

What is the gospel good news about, and how does baptism display it? Mark 1:1–8 corresponds to Peter’s memory in Acts 11:15–18 of our sermon text on the coming Lord’s Day (no midweek sermon this week, as Pastor will be at FBC). In these eight verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Christ Himself pours out His Holy Spirit upon us to give us union with Christ Himself and all His benefits. 

In the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we learn immediately what kind of writing Mark has written. It is a gospel. It is good news. And it is good news about Jesus, whose name means, “the Lord saves.” And it is good news about the Christ, which is a title that means, “anointed One.” And it is good news about the Son of God, which means that here is One who is not created by God, but rather begotten of God—One who is very God of very God… One who is God Himself.

This is good news about how the Lord God became a man that He might save us as the anointed One. Such an One about whom we need to hear such news deserves someone to announce that He is here. And that’s what the Baptizer was doing. He was preparing the way for the Savior by announcing what it was from which we need saving: our sins. That is to say that He preached repentance.

The Baptizer announced repentance, but it couldn’t take away sin. Have you ever even tried just to stop sinning? We can’t. Not in this life. And not at all on our own. In repentance, we recognize sin for what it is, and determine our whole selves against it. Repentance includes feeling sorry against our sin, but it is much more than sorry-feeling. It’s also declaration of war! But still, there are sin’s guilt and sin’s power that against us. 

What’s the good news (gospel)? That there is remission of sin—the canceling of sin from our account with God. And it’s the gospel of Jesus Christ because He doesn’t just wash us with water as a sign that this canceling of sin can happen. No, Jesus Christ washes us with His own Holy Spirit. This is why Christian water-baptism is different from John’s water-baptism (cf. Acts 19:1–7). 

By His Spirit, Christ actually cleanses us. The Holy Spirit unites us, through faith, to Jesus Christ. Christ’s death becomes ours, satisfying for the guilt of our sin.
Christ’s obedience becomes ours, earning every possible blessing for us.
Christ’s status becomes ours, bringing us into our adoption as God’s children.
Christ’s life becomes ours, so that the life live, we live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us.
Christ’s Spirit, Whom He has poured upon us, works all of this in our lives (cf. Galatians 3:26–27; Romans 6:1–4, Romans 8:3–17)!

Who is the Holy Spirit? Who gives Him to sinners? To which ones? What does He do in their lives? 

Sample prayer:  Lord Jesus, the best news that we have ever heard is that You have saved sinners, and that You Yourself apply this salvation by Your Holy Spirit. Thank You for helping our weakness by giving us baptism with water to assure us of Your baptizing by Your Spirit. Please use Your Word and Your sacrament by Your Spirit to stir up our faith in You, we ask in Your own Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP51AB “God, Be Merciful to Me” or TPH392 “Holy Ghost, Dispel Our Sadness”

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