These are some immediate reflections as I listen (back) on sermons from CBCWLA, often resulting in brain hurting, always accompanied by caffeine. It’s a brain-dump and won’t necessarily be cohesive or coherent, most certainly won’t be exhaustive of all important parts, but will be personal to me. Here are the questions I’ll attempt to answer with each sermon I review:
- What sermon did I listen to today? Title/Link.
- Summarise the key points in 1-2 sentences.
- What did I learn this time that I didn’t catch/forgot about when I heard it the first time?
- How has it challenged my thinking?
- What practical applications can I take from it?
1. What sermon did I listen to? Title/Link.
The Person of Jesus Christ – p. Nick Hsieh.
2. Summarise the key points in 1-2 sentences.
In the first 8 chapers, Mark highlights Jesus’ authority as Lord and Christ followed by 3 different possible responses: rejection, misunderstanding, or submission. In writing to a persecuted audience in a pagan culture, Mark ends his gospel with the resurrection and the call to respond with boldness and faith, with the assurance that it is worth it.
3. What did I learn this time that I didn’t catch/forgot about when I heard it the first time?
I kinda struggled through this one because there was so much information packed in the sermon, and it served as an overview of the first 8 chapters of the book of Mark. Still, these were some key things that stood out to me:
- What defines us is not our mission in life, but the master of our lives.
- Jesus’ ministry is confrontational in nature, and the Pharisees rejected him because his authority threatens theirs.
- The natives of Nazareth reject Jesus out of contempt born of familiarity — not that they didn’t see the miracles and teachings of Jesus as profound, but because they didn’t want to believe that Jesus could possibly have that type of authority and were offended by him.
- The disciples misunderstood Jesus’ person and work throughout these chapters through their constant misunderstanding of the miracles of Jesus in the bread and boat scenes, even when they were the same as a previous miracle.
- The turning part in Mark is 8:27-30, where Peter confesses Jesus as Christ – but ‘getting it’ doesn’t automatically make them perfect disciples.
- The whole first half of Mark sets us up to discover what discipleship to Christ will be all about.
- Jesus tries to warn against unbelief. We are not immune to these misunderstandings or rejections either. The driving question of Mark, then, is ultimately what Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”
- Do not let familiarity make you contemptuous of Jesus Christ or the simplicity of the gospel of God’s grace.
- Do not misunderstand Jesus’ miracles as anything but to prove his person and authority; authenticating his claims to being the Son of God.
- Do not misunderstand Jesus to simply be a good teacher or prophet. We are called to worship Him as God and submit to him.
- Submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour is expressed tangibly in reading and obeying the Bible for what it says, not what you want it to say to make you happy or comfortable. Its purpose is to make you — and the community — holier.
- You will be called upon to give up your preferences, presuppositions, plans and pride to those of Jesus Christ.
- What will your response be?
4. How has it challenged my thinking?
I don’t know if my thinking was… challenged, per se. But it was a great reminder not to become complacent in familiarity, as well as a sober warning to remain vigilant that I do not misunderstand who Jesus is and thus lose sight of Him as Lord.
Perhaps I never thought of myself as one of the people of Nazareth, but p. Nick wrote, “You grew up in the church, you know the Bible stories, you know the right answers to all the Sunday School questions, and maybe that has caused you to grow insensitive to the power and majesty of Jesus Christ and his Gospel.” Hearing this made me realise that, thankfully, Jesus has grown me out of this category, but I have the potential to fall back into it.
The disciples were not immune to forgetting who He was and split after the crucifixion; I am also not immune just because I am this side of the resurrection.
5. What practical applications can I take from it?
Hm, I think this sermon was more of an invitation to self-reflect: how do I respond to the Lordship of Christ?
I don’t often think of myself as a Pharisee, but p. Nick wrote, “You know Jesus is Lord, but you feel threatened by his lordship. He threatens your sense of stability, of autonomy, of (the illusion of) being in control. Maybe you even call yourself a Christian and confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, but you’re refusing to surrender some area of your life […] to Jesus Christ’s will.” I may not like to admit it, but I think if I look deep down, there is probably truth to that statement, and I must pray that God will work in me so that I may surrender all.