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Friday, February 17, 2012

Three Ways of Life

Sharing a meal is a great act of friendship. Kat and I have been greatly blessed by the hospitality of so many who have taken us out to eat or had us into their home or invited us to a meal with their ministry group. You can tell by looking at me that perhaps I've taken the approach of getting to know people by eating with them a little too seriously. The first piece of equipment that I need to get out of storage is probably my treadmill!

Jesus spent a lot of time sharing meals with people. This was true to such an extent that at least on one occasion he was accused of being a glutton. On Sunday at Bethany Place, we will examine three short scenes from Jesus' life, all of which have something to do with food. From the text we will expose three approaches to relating to God, and we will point strongly to the only one of those that will result in a positive outcome. Please pray with me that the work of God's kingdom will be strongly accomplished in our midst and among God's people throughout this community as we worship God together this weekend.

You can view the scripture, outline and questions for Sunday's message below. 

Three Ways of Life
Mark 2:14-28, The Story I Thought I Knew, Part 5

Love and welcome people who are different from you
Mark 2:13–17 (ESV) 13 He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Expect continuous  change
Mark 2:18–22 (ESV) 18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”

Refresh the spirits of others
Mark 2:23–28 (ESV) 23 One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

Questions for individuals, groups or families
With what kind of people are you most comfortable being around? How can you adopt Jesus’ purpose to call people to himself? Do your efforts in seeking to call people to Jesus have the same relational impact as sitting down to a meal with them?
Do you agree that prejudice and being judgmental are the default mode of the heart? Why or why not? How does the gospel address problems such as racism, party spirit, and social class distinctions?
How would you describe the difference in the religious approach and the gospel approach to relating to God? 
What is the typical way that you try to encourage someone to do something that you believe they need to do? How does your approach compare to the spirit of Jesus’ words in Mark 2:27 and Matthew 11:28-30?

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