Day Forty-Seven with Mark: Mark 12:18-27

Today in Mark, we look at Chapter 12:18-27

18 Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, saying, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers; the first married and, when he died, left no children; 21 and the second married the widow and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; 22 none of the seven left children. Last of all the woman herself died. 23 In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had married her.”

24 Jesus said to them, “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.”

Sadducees 02.jpgOnce again, we see another group coming to test Jesus based off something that they didn’t even really believe.  The Sadducees come asking Him a question about the resurrection when, in fact, they didn’t believe in the resurrection.

First, why didn’t they believe in the resurrection?  There were lots of different divisions of the religious leaders in Jesus day, but one of the greatest divides was between that of the Sadducees and the Pharisees.  They were both religious leaders, but the Sadducees were more associated with the Temple and thePharisees were more associated with local synagogues.

There was also a disagreement among them over the authority of their scripture.  The Pharisees believed that all the Old Testament was inspired and had authority while the Sadducees only believed that to be true of the first five books of the Old Testament, the Torah, the Books of Moses.

And that’s why they didn’t believe in the resurrection, because nowhere in their belief system did they find the resurrection mentioned.  Now it’s found in other places in the Old Testament (and remember, as Christians, we are going to read the Old Testament in a different way, we see evidence of resurrection and eternity there).

Ok, in this text a couple of things to be aware of.  First, the business of brother’s marrying the widow of their brother.  That was the custom of the day, so they were trying to carry for this accepted religious practice of the day into eternity.

In this Jesus says, there will not be marriage in heaven.  So, what is heaven like?  No one really knows, Scripture doesn’t really say, other than to say it will be amazing.  A few things here.  First, notice that Jesus DID NOT say that we will be angels in heaven.  He said we will be LIKE, but will NOT BE.  Angels are created beings, just like humans are created being.  We do not become angels in heaven.  That’s common cultural misconceptions.  Jesus says that will be BE LIKE angels, not BECOME them.  Scripture does not say that we become angels when we did.

So, what does it mean to be like angels?  Good question.  Not really sure.  It is understood to mean that we are part of God’s heavenly court. We have access to God.  We are part of the group that worships God.  We are accepted fully into God’s kingdom.  Like the angels.  Paul attempts to answer this question of what it will be like 1 Corinthians 15 and the best way that he can describe it is “spiritual bodies.”  We don’t know what that means other than it will a body and it will be different.

Ok, another question this raises is will we know each other in heaven?  My belief is yes, based off other passages.  After death, Saul recognized Samuel.  The Disciples recognized Moses and Elijah.  I believe that we will know each other in heaven.  It will be different; it will not be exactly like here on earth.  But in some way, we will know each other.

Remember from this passage, as well as yesterday’s to think about how we approach Jesus.  In both of these passages, people did not come to Jesus for wisdom or to have legitimate questions answered, they came to test Him and trip Him.  They weren’t really seeking His face.

Let’s not make that same mistake.  Let’s seek His face.  And in doing that we will find all we need.

Wednesday we’ll look at Mark 12:28-34.

What questions do you have?  How does this strike you?  Shoot me an email, comment below, or connect with me through social media.

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#realtalk – Faithful Steps

1013621_10152487549297030_5476837018816387443_nI finished out #realtalk our short series on marriage this past Sunday and I had some folks ask if I would share a brief overview of some of the things that I talked about in that message.  Quickly, I want you to know that I have a great marriage, but it’s by no means perfect.  And the reason it is so strong is because of the grace and strength of my wife, Holly.

Those aren’t just words that I’m “supposed” to say.  I mean it.  She really is the rock of our marriage, and none of this would be possible without here.

Second this is not “7 easy steps to a perfect marriage.”  There are no easy steps.  Marriage is tough and awesome.  There aren’t easy steps.  There are only faithful steps.  If we take some faithful steps, God will do great things.

So, just a few of the quick points I made Sunday.

1.  Submit yourself to Jesus.  It all starts with you and your walk with Jesus.  Everything in life eventually walks itself back to that.  It all goes back to our walk with Jesus.  We will never be the husband or wife you want to be with our Jesus.  We will never be the friend, co-worker, anything without Jesus.  It all starts there.  None of this is possible without Him.

2.  Communicate.  James 1:19 says this:

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

We have got to communicate, and that starts with learning to listen.  It’s an old saying, but it’s true.  We’ve been given two ears and one mouth for a reason.  We have to listen.  And by that, I mean really listen.  Part of the problem with communication is that just don’t really hear what the person is saying. So, if you are having problems with communication with your marriage, two suggestions.

A.  Speak concisely.  Say what you mean.  Be honest.  Say exactly what you mean with nothing else there.  Make it simple to understand.

B.  Don’t assume.  When the other person is speaking, don’t assume their meaning.  Don’t assume you know what they mean.  Take them at their word, don’t assume a hidden meaning.  If you aren’t sure what they are saying ask for clarity.  It’s ok.  That’s how you recapture communication.  3.  Schedule yourself

3.  Schedule yourself.  Just like we budget out our money, we must budget out our time.  Work each other into your schedule.  It says in Psalm 90:12:

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

We must make time.  Dave Ramsey talks about knee to knee conversations where you turn off the TV, put the kids to bed, and talk.  You have to build that into your lives and into your schedule. And this is one of the things that I struggle with the most.  I’m a workaholic and would work all day long.  I’ve had to learn to work my family into my schedule.  They matter more than anything.

4.  Remember what you love about each other.  That’s one of the worst things about being in a bad spot in a marriage or a relationship.  We can forget what we loved about each other to begin with.  The Bible talks about remembering our first love.  Sometimes we have to stop and remember what it is that made us fall in love them to begin with.

5.  Serve each other.  That’s the entire point of Ephesians 5: 22-33.  Marriage is not about what you can get out of it, but what you can give to it.  If you are in a bad place with your spouse, do two things.

A.  Pray for them.  You may do it through clenched teeth, but pray.  See if God doesn’t change you heart.

B.  Serve them.  Do something nice for them, desiring nothing in return.  Serve them.  Give to them.  And see if in that action God doesn’t do something.

6.  Serve together.  It says in 1 Peter 4:10

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

Each of us is called to serve.  Serve together as a family, as a couple.  Do something for someone, do something for your church, do something for the kingdom. And that will bring you together.  It will.  If you as a husband and wife will serve together in some way, it will strengthen your relationship in amazing ways.

7.  Don’t sacrifice each other for your children.  Your kids are part of your family, but they are not the totality of your family.  I put it like this; the most important lesson I can teach my kids is to love their mother.  The way that I love my wife will determine the type of man that my daughter desires to marry and will determine the type of man that my son will become. The example I set loving my wife will shape my children more than I can ever understand.

If you’d like to hear this most recent message you can click here, or if you’d like to hear the previous week’s message, click here.

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Pinterest Perfect

unnamedI’ve had a couple of people ask me if I would write a post about my sermon I preached this past Sunday at Asbury about marriage. If you missed it, you can listen to the podcast here. I called this message Pinterest Perfect.

There are studies that show the more time we spend on social media, the sadder and more depressed we become. Why? Because we measure measuring what we deem to be our imperfect lives against the pictures, status, tweets, and pins of other’s lives. Our lives don’t measure up to others Pinterest Perfection. By the way, take some time to enjoy “Pinterest Fails” You’ll be entertained for hours.

We do the same thing with marriage. We try to Photoshop it. We try to make it appear to be perfect, when it isn’t. Marriage is never, ever perfect. It just isn’t. It’s the union of two imperfect, broken people. We pretend our marriages are perfect and amazing and strong because, as Christians, that’s what we have to do, right? We can’t have problems or failings or weakness. We say we put Christ in the center of our marriage, but we don’t understand what that means. To have Christ in the center of our marriage doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. We will still face temptations and fights and tough, tough times. But it does mean that we have something to stand upon and hold on to when tough times come.

Most of what we get about marriage we don’t get from the Bible, we get from culture. The notion of perfection. Or fair tales. Of happily ever after. That doesn’t actually happen in the real world, nor in the Bible. So, what does the Bible say about marriage?

First, it says that marriage is the first institution created. Before the church. Before government. Before anything else, marriage came first. And because of this, for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and cling to his wife. This means that the relationship between husband and wife must come first before all other relationships. Before parents, children, friends, everything. Not that those relationships are bad, they aren’t. They are good. But the marriage relationship has to be our primary one.

But here’s the other thing. Culture has taught us that our marriage is about happiness and fulfillment. It’s not. Your spouse will never make you happy. Hear me again. Your spouse will never make you happy. They will never fulfill you; they will never complete you. They can’t. They are broken and human like you. The only person that will make you happy, complete, and content is Jesus.

So, the key to marriage, as Paul tells us in Ephesians 5: 22-33 is not seeking our will and own way, but in a mutual submission. Wives submitting to husbands, husbands laying down their life for their wife. That passage is not about one “side” being in control, but about both sides, husband, and wife, valuing the other more than ourselves.

Every problem in marriage is solved by us honestly and completely putting our spouse ahead of ourselves.

That type of marriage is not Pinterest perfect. But it is authentically real. And that’s what the world needs. Not Christians being pretend perfect. But real, broken and chasing after Jesus.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

Andy and Holly Talk Marriage Podcast

The sermon podcast for Sunday, May 1, 2011 is up on Asbury Church’s website. This is the first our sermons in our new series “Connections.”  This month we’ll be talking about the “Connections” or relationships that define us.  In this message, Holly and I have a conversation about marriage, what we’ve learned, what we’ve worked on, and what God’s shown us.  You can listen to it by clicking here, or you can listen to it here on this blog by clicking below. And, as always, you can subscribe to my sermon podcasts through iTunes.