Bulletin Edition July 2019

Mark 3: 1-8
Clay Curtis

While the Lord Jesus Christ walked this earth the enemies of our Lord never hindered Christ from doing the will of his Father for the glory of God and the welfare of the needy.

Christ Entered the Synagogue

The Lord has promised to meet with his people in the place where he has recorded his name. (Mk 3: 1; Ex 20: 24) As surely as God the Holy Spirit dwells in each particular believer, likewise, in whatever place the Lord has placed his name and assembled his saints for public worship, God promises to dwell in our midst: to bless his word for our growth, comfort, and establishment. (Php 2: 13) It is not the synagogue that is the house of the Lord it is his people. (1 Cor 3:16; Mt 18: 20) Having this assurance, let us never forsake assembling with the Lord’s people. (He 10: 23-25)

Two Kinds of People Present

There was a man with a need and those with no need. (Mk 3: 1-2) The man with the withered hand represents the truly needy sinner. Needy sinners are disabled from working for our salvation due to our total ruin in sin like as this man was disabled from working for his natural living by his withered hand (Is 1: 5-6) The Pharisees represent the hatred of the unregenerate heart toward God. They watched for something to use to accuse. The law was a letter to these men like as the Sabbath was only a day to them. They had no understanding that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to the believer. He is Lord of the Sabbath and the Sabbath Rest of his people. (Mk 2: 27-28.) The Lord God rested after creating the heavens and the earth, because there remained nothing else to be done. That is what the believer finds in Christ. Believers keep the Sabbath, like we keep the rest of the law, by faith in Christ. (Mt 11:28; He 4: 9) Brethren, the enemies of our Lord did not hinder his work in the least nor shall they hinder ours. The Lord said the self-righteous will not be satisfied with the gospel (Mt 11: 17-19; Ps 69: 10-11.) Instead, continue trusting the Lord and let none turn you from Christ Jesus the Lord (Col 3: 1-25.)

An Example of the Power of the Gospel

First, all heard the word of the Lord as he taught but then the Lord singled out this man with the withered hand telling him to stand forth. (Mk 3:3) Remember, the Pharisee’s had just openly asked the Lord the question whether or not it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath day. They watched that they might accuse. The man with the withered hand heard it all yet he came forth at the Master’s command. No matter who opposes, when the quickening grace of the Spirit comes into the heart, the sinner is given boldness to be identified with the Saviour.

Secondly, through his gospel the Lord Jesus silences those who would prevent us from approaching the Lord just as he did the Pharisees. (Mk 3: 4-5) Remember that the Lord alone is able to silence our enemies and he does so by his word. (Is 44: 24-25)

Thirdly, Christ gives strength through the gospel to do what sinners cannot do of ourselves. He told the man to stretch forth his withered hand and the man did. (Mk 3: 5) By his power he gives the sinner life, ears to hear his word, faith to believe on him and strength to cast all into Christ’s hand to heal. “Of God Christ is made unto us Power and Wisdom” As long as something else is our strength such as we ourselves, our law-keeping, or things temporal then we will find it impossible to enter into the blessing our Lord has promised. As long as our power lies in what we perceive we have the ability to do then we cannot do anything for then all is reduced to complete inability. But when our Power and Wisdom is Christ, not us, then we have true strength and true wisdom. (Php 4: 13)

Fourthly, we see that Christ’s cures are not half cures. The man’s hand was restored whole. (Mk 3: 5) Christ fully “put away sin by the sacrifice of himself”. By Christ Jesus the believer is wholly “justified from all things.” By his grace all who born of his Spirit are fully adopted, “Now are we the sons of God.” Christ entirely, forever pardons, “having forgiven you all trespasses.” When the Spirit of God enters in he makes a man altogether whole in the inward man. (1 Jn 3: 9; Jn 6: 63; Eph 4: 24; Col 3: 10)

Two Responses to Grace

The first response to grace we see in those whom the Lord left alone. They went forth right away and took counsel with men whom they had nothing in common with how they might destroy the Prince of Life. (Mk 3: 6) Before a self-righteous sinner will bow to the Lord and repent from a form of religion they will sooner lock arms with those whose doctrine they claim to oppose. Self-made men are merely looking for grounds on which they imagine they justify their rebellion against the Prince of Life! Another verse says they were “filled with madness”—that truly is madness. Note that Christ withdrew himself from those who hated him.

The second response to grace is exemplified in those who followed Christ (Mk 3: 7-8). When sinners are truly made to know our need and made to hear the great things Christ has done, they follow him. Peter said, “To whom shall we go!” These two things happen when sinners encounter the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ: the self-righteous are infuriated and depart while the needy follow Christ in hope. Contact with the Lord Jesus makes men either better or worse.

FAITH This is the great and momentous word in Scripture, which hath given rise to endless disputes, and employed the minds of men in all ages to explain; and yet to thousands still remains as obscure as ever. But notwithstanding: all that the bewildered and erroneous mind of man may say on faith, the scriptural account of faith is the simplest and plainest thing in the world.

Faith is no more than the sincere and hearty assent and consent of the mind to the belief of the being and promises of God, as especially revealed to the church in the person and redemption, work of the Lord Jesus Christ. JEHOVAH, in his threefold character of person, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, hath mercifully been pleased to reveal himself as “forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin,” and giving eternal life to the church in Christ Jesus. And these blessings are all declared to be in the person, and procured to the church by the sole undertaking of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the glorious Head of his body the church, the fulness of him “that filleth all in all.”

The hearty, cordial, and sincere belief in these blessed truths of God is called faith, because it is giving credit to the testimony of God, and relying upon his faithfulness for the fulfilment of them. The apostle John, in his first Epistle, fifth chapter, and ninth and following verses, puts this doctrine in so clear a point of view, that, under divine teaching, if attended to, it would be impossible to mistake it. “If we receive (saith John) the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself. He that believeth not God, hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record that God hath given to us, eternal life; and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life.” No form of words could have been more happily chosen to state what is the act of faith, and to put it in a clear and full light. Immense and unspeakable blessings are promised by God.

 It is not the greatness of the blessings which demands our faith, but the greatness of the Being promising. Indeed, the greater the blessings are, the greater would be the difficulty of believing, unless some other warrant and authority become the foundation for belief. The bottom, therefore, of all faith is, that what we are called upon to is that cannot lie;  JEHOVAH that will not lie. An Almighty Promiser that never can out-promise himself. Hence, when Moses at the bush desired a confirmation of the truth, the Lord gave him to deliver to Israel, by knowing his name, and having such assurances to make to them as might silence every doubt. “Behold, (said he,) when I come to the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you, and they shall say unto me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM.” That is, I AM a being selfexisting, and eternal; and which, therefore, gives a being to all my promises.

So that this is the sure ground of faith. Not the greatness and blessedness of the promise; but the greatness, blessedness, and faithfulness of the Promiser. And to believe in the almighty Promiser in his assurances in Christ, is faith. I only add, however, under this article, that though faith is the simplest and plainest act of the mind, yet both the possession and the exercise of it is the gift of God. “Unto you, (saith an apostle,) it is given to believe.” (Phil. i. 29.) And hence every truly awakened and regenerated believer finds daily reason, to cry out, as the apostle did to Christ, “Lord in crease our faith Luke 17:5

Romans 10: 16: But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
Clay Curtis

Notice the words “obeyed the gospel.” Do we obey an offer? No, we obey a command. Men and women in military, did you have “offering officers” or “commanding officers?” When you got off the bus at bootcamp did your drill sergeant “offer” you opportunity to do a million a push-ups or “command” you? The gospel is not an offer, it is a command from God.

First, the gospel is a command due to the nature of our relationship to God. God is the Creator, we are his creation; God is the Ruler, we are subservient to God. Therefore, God has always commanded us. (Ge 2:17; 3:11; 6:22; 7:16; 1 Jn 3:23-24).

Secondly, the gospel is a command so that we know we are obligated to obey. If I invite you to my home then you are not obligated. Invitations say things like “we humbly request your presence if you will kindly accept our invitation.” But if you are commanded then you are obligated. Worship of God’s Son is a command from God the Father, not an option. God commands all men to repent and believe on his Son. (Acts 17: 30) We are obligated to do so.

Thirdly, the gospel is a command to honor Christ as Prophet, Priest and King. When God first ordained prophets they were esteemed higher than kings. They ruled God’s nation. It exalted Christ our Prophet. By Christ, the gospel comes into the hearts of those he redeemed effectually so that his people are made willing to give Christ all glory for our obedience. The gospel command honors Christ our High Priest. During the Levitical priesthood, all obeyed the priest because he told Israel how they could come to God. Christ transferred the sins of his people to himself, Christ made the sacrifice to God, Christ entered the holiest with his blood, Christ made atonement and represents his people to God. The gospel is a command to honor Christ our High Priest. The gospel is a command to honor Christ our King. Servants in a kingdom are not offered the invitation to obey a sovereign king; they are commanded. Christ our King is sovereign over heaven, earth and hell. The gospel is a feast to which we are obligated to attend, else we incur the King’s displeasure (Luke 14: 16-24).

By calling the gospel an offer preacher’s take away the authority of God and exalt the sinner. They tone down the sinner’s disobedience. God does not humbly request your presence before his throne if you will accept his offer. He commands you kiss the feet of his Son lest he be angry and ye be cast out! If we hear a preacher call the gospel an offer, it should alert us that he will most likely misrepresent Christ and his accomplished redemption of God’s elect.


Almost all men have faith of one kind or another. In this country almost everyone professes faith in Christ. But it is evident that the faith produced by modern day evangelism is not true saving faith, because it does not produce the same characteristics as that faith taught and exemplified in the Word of God. That faith which is produced by the power and grace of God the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the gospel will always be distinguished from false faith by at least five things.

1. TRUE FAITH PRODUCES A HEART TRULY BROKEN BEFORE GOD OVER SIN (Ps. 51:1-5,17). Whenever a man sees himself in the light of God’s glory shining upon him through the cross of Christ, he will cry out with the publican, “God be merciful to me a sinner!” This is where repentance begins. Christ revealed in the heart breaks the heart (Zech. 12:10).


The believer’s submission to Christ is far from perfect; but it is a sincere, willing surrender of the heart to Christ. In our inmost being we voluntarily commit ourselves and all things to the disposal of our gracious sovereign.


True faith trusts Christ alone. Faith has two hands. With one hand she strips away all the filthy rags of her own righteousness; and with the other she puts on the righteousness of Christ. Faith sees “Jesus only”. Faith wraps itself up in Christ. –(I Cor. 1:30).

4. TRUE FAITH WILL PERSEVERE AND CONTINUE TO BELIEVE REGARDLESS OF CIRCUMSTANCES (Heb. 11:13). False faith fluctuates. True faith is steady, continual, and relentless. The rougher the storm, the firmer faith clings to Christ. True faith just never quits.

5. TRUE FAITH PRODUCES A HEART OF SINCERE LOVE FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD (I John 4:8; 5:1). False faith strives to produce love, and pretends to love. But love is natural to true faith. Love for the brethren flows as naturally from the believing heart as water flows from the spring.

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