Grow Through The Gospels - Mark 8

Pastor Ed Young - Lead Pastor of Fellowship Church
Ed Young

July 6, 2024

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Grow Through The Gospels - Mark 8

Read: Mark 8

Mark 8:35-38 “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Think

In his book, Facing Loneliness, J. Oswald Sanders highlights how wealth and fame often fail to bring true satisfaction. He mentions that millionaires and comedians, despite their outward success, frequently experience profound loneliness and unhappiness. Sanders uses the story of Henry Martyn, a Cambridge University scholar recognized for his achievements in mathematics at just 20, to illustrate this point. Despite his accolades, Martyn felt a deep sense of emptiness, describing his success as "only grasping a shadow."

Martyn's life took a significant turn when he decided to sail to India as a missionary at 24. Upon arrival, he prayed fervently, “Lord, let me burn out for you.” In the seven years before his sudden death, Martyn translated the New Testament into three difficult Eastern languages. His work was far from a brief passing; it was a substantial and enduring contribution.

As Christians, we live with a dual nature: our old self and our new, authentic self in Christ. Jesus speaks about this in Mark 8:34-38, where he calls his followers to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow him. This act of self-denial creates a sacred struggle within us—a battle between our old desires and our new commitment to Christ. Jesus teaches that by denying our old self, which seeks worldly approval and comfort, we embrace a life that values him above all else.

The true challenge lies in choosing which self to nurture. Jesus warns that gaining the world at the cost of our soul is a tragic loss. Instead, he invites us to find true life by losing our old self for his sake. This means valuing his approval and purpose over the world’s, and understanding that our eternal joy and fulfillment are found in him alone. Embrace the “sacred struggle” now, knowing that one day, our faith will be fully realized in the presence of God, free from conflict and filled with everlasting joy.

Apply

Take some time to reflect on your life and assess what truly brings you fulfillment. Are you chasing after wealth, status, or approval? Write down your goals and consider if they align with God’s. Spend some time asking God to reveal his direction for you. Be open, and listen for his guidance.

Pray

Lord, reveal your will for my life and guide me in making decisions that honor you. Surround me with supportive friends who can walk with me on this journey. Open my eyes to the needs of those around me and give me a heart willing to serve you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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