Sermon #4                                                                 Series: Mark


          Title:           A Sunday With The Savior

          Text:           Mark 1:35-39

          Readings:  Office: Merle Hart    Auditorium: Bobbie Estes

          Subject:     The Prayer, Preaching, and Power of Christ

          Date:          Sunday Evening - December 22, 1996

          Tape #       T-22




Mark 1:35-39  "And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. (36) And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. (37) And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. (38) And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. (39) And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils."


          On Saturday, the sabbath day, the Lord Jesus crammed as much into the day as possible for the glory of God and the good of men. He taught in the synagogue at Capernaum, cast out devils, and healed Peter’s mother-in-law and many in the city who were sick. Then, after an exhausting sabbath day, we see our Savior rising early for prayer on Sunday morning. In our text this evening (vv. 35-39), Mark records the events of A Sunday With The Savior. May God he Holy Spirit be our Teacher as we seek to learn from the things which transpired on that Sunday which Mark describes in these five verses.


          Every event in our Lord’s life upon the earth, every word which fell from his lips, every act he performed, ought to be regarded by us as matters of immense importance and deep interest.


Proposition:      In all that he said, in all that he did, in all that he refused to do, our Savior is both our Example and our Teacher, showing us both what we are to believe and how we are to live in this world for the glory of God.


Divisions:           Tonight, I want to direct your attention to three matters of great importance in these five verses.


1.    Our Savior’s Diligence In Prayer.

2.    Our Lord’s Display Of Sovereignty.

3.    Our Master’s Chosen Occupation.


I.      First, I want us to take notice of and learn from Our Savior’s Diligence in Prayer.


Mark 1:35  "And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed."


          Remember, Mark is telling us about the incarnate God. This is not a weak, sinful, fallen, and needy man. This man is God. Yet, as a man, he placed great importance upon the matter of prayer, especially private prayer. Throughout the days of his humiliation, we find our Master engaged in prayer. We do not often see him engaging in public prayer. He avoided, as much as possible, any public show or display of devotion; but private prayer, private worship was another matter. Most do just the opposite. Most people make a great show of devotion publicly, but greatly neglect private prayer, private worship, and private communion with God.


Our Savior seems never to have begun anything; he seems never to have made a decision without prayer.


·        When he was baptized, Luke tells us he was “praying.”


Luke 3:21  "Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened."


·        When he was transfigured upon the mount, we read that, “as he prayed, the fashion of his face was altered” (Lk. 9:29).


·        Before choosing his apostles, our Savior “continued all night in prayer” (Lk. 6:12).


·        When all men spoke well of him, and wanted to make him a king, Matthew tells us, “He went up into high mountain apart to pray” (14:23).


·        When he was assaulted by Satan in Gethsemane, our Lord Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit ye here, while I shall pray” (Mk. 14:32).


          In other words, our Savior prayed always and did not faint. Though he was sinless, he prayed as sinner never prayed. He diligently sought to maintain communion with God his Father as a man, giving us an example. His eternal godhead did not cause him to live independent of God’s ordained means of ministering to men. Here is the God to whom we pray, as a man showing us the necessity of prayer. The Son of God, as a man, never considered himself strong enough, wise enough, or spiritual enough to live in this world without private prayer and public worship.


          “We ought to see in all this,” wrote J.C. Ryle, “the immense importance of private devotion.” If the Son of God felt it important for him to pray, how much more important it is for us to pray. If he who is holy, sinless, and always pleasing to God spent much time in private prayer, how much more important it is for us to do so.


Hebrews 5:7  "Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;"


          Our Savior never neglected the worship of God, neither the public worship of God nor private worship. Let us follow his example.


A.  What does this tell us about men and women who do not pray, who willfully neglect the worship of God?


          The fact is, there are multitudes who, while professing to be believers, exercise no diligence at all in the matter of worship. Their profession is a delusion. Prayerless men and women are not the servants of this praying Savior. Prayerless souls are Christless souls. The Spirit of adoption always causes adopted children to call upon their Father in prayer.


B. Let all who know, trust, and worship the Lord Jesus Christ always be watchful over their souls in this matter.


          Prayer is the pulse of spiritual life. With believers, this is not a duty. Yet, it must be dutifully maintained. Prayer is not an act of life, but a way of life. Yet, those who do not pray are yet without life before God. Here is a true test of the state of our souls before God. Do we pray? The disciples knew Saul of Tarsus had experienced grace when they were told, “Behold, he prayeth.” The truest sign of spiritual life in the soul is prayer. The surest sign of spiritual death is the lack of prayer.


Hebrews 4:16  "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."


C. Let me give three downward steps to apostasy and eternal ruin. Hear them well and be warned.


1.    The Encroachment Of The World Upon Your Heart.


2.   The Neglect Of Private Worship And Prayer.


3.   The Neglect Of Public Worship.


          It is for this reason that we are urged of God to diligently maintain the use of every means of grace. Our engagement in prayer and worship is not the cause of grace; but it is a sign of grace or of the lack of grace in our hearts. Without a doubt, many who carefully keep up the exercise of both private and public prayer are lost. Their religion is all form and formality. But anyone who altogether despises and neglects worship and prayer is altogether without life and grace before God.


Hebrews 10:24-26  "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: (25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (26) For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,"


II.   Secondly, I want us to take notice of Our Lord’s Display Of Sovereignty.


Mark 1:36-38  "And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. (37) And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. (38) And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth."


          We are all far to much inclined to judge the blessings of God by the outward response of men to what we are doing. This is nowhere more common and nowhere more foolish than in the matter of preaching. Our Lord’s disciples were very excited because he was so popularly received in their hometown. They thought this was a sure evidence that he would give a repeat performance; but they were mistaken. Instead, our Lord gave a clear, unmistakable display of his total sovereignty in the exercise of his mercy, grace, and saving power. Though there were many in Capernaum who sought him, he turned from them.


A.  The fact is there are many who seek the Lord today who never find him, who never obtain mercy from him, many who seek him from whom he hides himself.


          I know that all who seek the Lord spiritually, all who truly seek him in faith, all who seek him because they need him and want him shall find him.


Jeremiah 29:12-14  "Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. (13) And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (14) And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive."


          Yet, in our text, Mark tells us of a great multitude who sought the Lord Jesus from whom he withdrew and hid himself. I can tell you at least two reasons why…


1.   They sought him in the wrong way and for the wrong reason.


          These people of Capernaum sought him physically, not spiritually. They sought him with their words and deeds, but not with their hearts. And they sought him for the wrong reasons. They sought nothing from him but carnal things. They did not seek him. They sought what he could do for them!


          Note: Many seek Christ, but not by faith. Like the Jews described by Paul, they seek him upon the merit and in the strength of the flesh.


Romans 9:30-33  "What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. (31) But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. (32) Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; (33) As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."


Romans 10:1-4  "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. (2) For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. (3) For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (4) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."


2.   They sought him too late.


          The Lord Jesus passed through Capernaum the day before. He would not go back now! They did not seek him when he was to be found. That puts urgency into Isaiah’s admonition - Doesn’t it?


Isaiah 55:6  "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:"


B. Our Lord Jesus refused to go back to Capernaum, the larger, more populated city, and carried his grace to the smaller towns and villages surrounding it, because he has mercy on whom he will have mercy.


          We need to learn this. No one dictates to God almighty. He does what he will. He is gracious to whom he will be gracious. The sooner we learn this, the better! God always displays his sovereignty in every aspect of grace.


1.    He chose to save fallen men, but not fallen angels.

2.    He chose some and passed by others.

3.    He redeemed some, but not all.

4.    He sends the gospel to some, and hides it from others.

5.    He calls some who hear the gospel, and leaves others in darkness, death, and condemnation.


Matthew 11:20-30  "Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: (21) Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. (22) But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. (23) And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. (24) But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. (25) At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. (26) Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. (27) All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. (28) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."


III. Thirdly, Mark directs our attention to Our Master’s Chosen Occupation.


Mark 1:38-39  "And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. (39) And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils."


          When the Son of God came into this world he chose to be a gospel preacher. He came here to be a preacher of the gospel. He came to fulfill the Scriptures by coming as a prophet, the prophet greater than Moses who had been foretold by Moses himself (Deut. 13:15).


          What a high, high honor the Son of God put upon the office and work of the gospel preacher. He might have chosen to come as a ceremonial priest, like Aaron. He could have worn a crown like David. But he chose to be a preacher! The Son of God left the glory which he had with the Father before the worlds were made to do the work of an evangelist, to be a street preacher! He came down here not only to establish peace but to preach it, not only to bring in righteousness but to preach it, not only to obtain eternal redemption by the shedding of his blood but to peach it! Jesus Christ came preaching the gospel, proclaiming deliverance to the captive, the recovering of sight to the blind, and peace to them that were far off.


          I stress this fact with very good reason. In our day, men and women everywhere have decided that preaching is passé. It is in longer accepted in intellectual circles for a man to stand in a pulpit and preach the gospel to men. Today, preachers have given up preaching because it is not popular. They have become spiritual counselors. Rather than preaching to sinners, they engage in dialogue. Instead of preaching, we have cantatas, plays, ceremonies, celebrations, and candlelight services!


What utter nonsense! The Son of God came here as a preacher. The church of Christ was originally gathered by preaching. Throughout history her health, strength, and prosperity have been promoted and maintained by preaching. It is by the preaching of the gospel that sinners are saved, saints are edified, and the kingdom of God is built up.


          Take care that you never despise or lightly esteem this great, God honored, God ordained service. “Despise not prophesyings” (1 Thess. 5:20). The preacher may be very learned or very plain, very deep or very simple, very polished or very rough, but if he is the messenger of God to your soul, treat him as the angel of God, the messenger of God to your soul; and teach your children to do the same.




          Try to remember and apply to your own life the things set before us in this passage of Scripture.


1.   The Importance Of Worship And Prayer.


2.   The Sovereignty Of Our God In The Operations Of His Grace.


3.   The Great Blessing And Benefit Of Gospel Preaching.


Isaiah 52:7  "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"


Romans 1:15-17  "So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. (16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (17) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."


1 Thessalonians 5:12-13  "And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; (13) And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves."


Hebrews 13:7, 17 "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation…Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."