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GOD IS AT WORK
The mission of Calvary Bible Church is to glorify God by making disciples who will impact our community and the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ
In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, (2) “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. (3) And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” (4) And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” (5) And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” (6) And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. (7) And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. (8) And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. (9) And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. (10) And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha. (11) The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. (12) And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” (13) And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side. (14) Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. (15) And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” (16) And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. (17) And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? (18) Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? (19) When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” (20) “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” (21) And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
Forgetfulness, Faith & Fortifications
We need to grow in our faith, just like the disciples did
We see all throughout Scripture the compassion of Jesus. He always shows compassion for others. Why did Jesus perform miracles? Because He wanted to help people, He was healing people, He was feeding people. Even teaching spiritual truths was an act of compassion; He was compassionately instructive. But the ultimate purpose of the miracles was to demonstrate that He was the Son of God, the Messiah. Jesus shows us a lesson as we minister to others, it is to be driven by compassion.
The sadness of being forgetful. Why do believers suffer from spiritual amnesia? The 12 disciples were with Jesus when He fed the five thousand, and had food left over. So why did feeding four thousand people seem, to them, to be an impossible task? After Jesus feeds the four thousand, they get into a boat, cast off, and realize they only brought one loaf of bread for the journey. The discussion begins about not having bread.
Mark 8:17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened?
Let’s not be too hard on the disciples; how often do we forget the blessings of God. We can come through a moment of provision in our lives where we have not, and the Lord provides. We do the same thing, we turn around and revert back to our worldly and fleshly way of thinking, forgetting the blessings of God. Spiritual amnesia – God meets our need, but when the next problem arises, we complain, we become frightened, we doubt. Why worry over one loaf of bread when the Bread of Life is with us?
Like the disciples, we are all in a process of growing in spiritual maturity. We are growing in our faith and our goal is to be proactive rather than reactive. Here are some ways we can grow our faith:
- Diligently study God’s Word and remind ourselves of God’s promises
- Develop a prayer life and ask God to help you understand His Word, ask God for wisdom, guidance, and clarity; so, you can honor Him with your life
- Metacognition – Think about your thinking. Think about your decisions: was that decision centered on God’s Word? Ask about your behavior and why you acted the way you did. How do you stack up against God’s Word
- Talk about spiritual things. We talk all the time about the worldly things that interest us, we should spend more time talking about God’s Word. Talk about His truth, talk about living your life for His glory
The evidence of genuine faith
Mark 8:11 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.
Some people are never satisfied no matter how many signs God gives. The reality is that all of Jesus’ miracles were signs; the Kingdom of God had drawn near. But the Pharisee were blind, their ears were deaf, and their hearts were hardened – it should have been clear who Jesus was. Genuine faith does not seek signs, genuine faith trusts. False faith always seeks more signs. Jesus’ signs were not to convince hardened unbelievers, His signs were to show the power of God in the context of compassion and mercy. The only outcome of unrepentance is judgment.
The Importance of building Faith Fortifications
Mark 8:15 And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”
In the Bible, leaven (yeast) symbolizes sin; just a little can have dire consequences. Evil, like leaven is small, it’s hidden, but it spreads and soon it infects the whole. In the Bible, leaven is used to picture false doctrine and hypocrisy, and it is also used to picture unjudged sin in the Church.
The Pharisee were looking for signs that someone was going to rescue the Hebrews from the Romans – someone to sweep the Romans aside – they were looking for all the wrong things. What they didn’t see was that Jesus was building His kingdom in the hearts of those who submitted in faith. Jesus did not come to rescue the Hebrews from the Romans, and He did not come to rescue us from hard times here.
In God’s compassion, He allows us to go through difficulty so that we can experience His grace. This is an exercise in building faith fortifications. When Jesus ascends and goes back to heaven, the disciples will have to stand firm on all that He has taught them, on all that they have observed, on all that they have experienced, and stand firm on the truth that is embodied in Jesus Christ and begin to build the Church. We, like the disciples, need to be active in the faith, not passive. Engage in the preaching, engage in any opportunity that you have that is going to result in the fortification of your faith to strengthen it. We can always take the past faithfulness of God as a promise for His continued love and care.
( Mark 8:12-13 ) And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.