Chelmsford Anglican Bible Conference 2013

19 Oct

Mark’s Gospel is the focus for today, with a theme encompassing Identity, Call, Service and Mission.
John Richardson does a quick intro, followed by a welcome from Bishop Stephen Cottrell. Bishop Stephen starts by welcoming our speaker, Rico Tice, and then comments on the possibility of hosting future CABC events in Chelmsford Cathedral, a venue that could host 3 times that of our current venue. The view is that we could easily fill that number of spaces.
Bishop Stephen then speaks about the evangelism training currently going on in the diocese.
He then turned to Mark 1:32, pointing out that wherever Jesus was, people gathered. He also points to v.35, and how another strain within all the gospels is about Jesus’ prayer life, and how this is an example to us. He then moves on to bringing out the humour within the gospel, of how in v.37 the disciples say “everyone is looking for you” and Jesus replies “Let’s go somewhere else”.
Bishop Stephen then points us to Mark 10:21, the story of the rich young ruler, and points out that even though Jesus knew that the man was unable to do what was asked of him, He still loved him.

After a time of sung worship, John Richardson gets up and speaks to us about the story in Mark 6 about the feeding of the 5000, pointing out how God seeks to feed those that need nourishment, as an introduction to Rico coming to share with us.

Session 1
Rico asks us to look at Mark 4 and reminds us that we are to be disciple-making disciples, like a river, not a reservoir. We may not all be Bible teachers, but we are all called to be Bible sharers.
Bible teaching goes out at 4 levels: from the front, in small groups, 1-to-1 and on your own
Rico reminds us that we need to get our expectations right. He also points to the recurring theme of Power In Weakness in Mark.
In Mark 3 there is opposition and misunderstanding (they wanted Jesus dead and say He is out of His mind). Jesus’ response to misunderstanding and opposition is to teach, teach, teach (Mark 4:33).

This work is disappointing:
Mark 4:15 – the seed bounces off the path. The self-righteous are the ones who’s hearts are hardened.
v.16-17 – persecution breaks some people. The Gospel is not “Lord, I’m empty, fill me” it is “Lord I am an offence to you, rescue me”. Mark 6:14-29 – John the Baptist killed by Herod, a heck of a disappointment!
What are your daydreams? What are your nightmares? Are you ready to have your heart broken? Mission is heartbreaking work.
v.26-29 – The law of the field – we plough, we sow, water, wait and then harvest.
The farmer has to trust that the word is doing it’s work.
Mission is NOT instant! We need to be patient.

There is a dramatic harvest (v.30-34). The Kingdom comes because the word is planted. We need to remember that the power is in the Word. Not the buildings, not the singing, the Word.

Session 2
Back after the coffee break and we look at 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 and ask the question “Who is at work in the work of evangelism?”
We are called to preach Christ (v.5), God opens the eyes blinded by Satan (v.6). The God who, in Genesis 1 said “Let there be light” shines a light that points us to Jesus as God. We can’t turn the light on, only God can! Conversion needs a miracle!
How do we preach Christ?
We preach straight, we don’t spin (v.2). We preach it all, not just the nice bits! Wrath and judgement (1 Thessalonians 1:10) as well as love and grace. Preach that forgiveness is needed.
Got did it for us, so he can open the eyes of others as well (v.1)
We need to pray (v.3 & v.6). The primary evangelistic tool is prayer. Our primary event in mission should be the prayer meeting!
The results belong to God (v.6). If we think they belong to us then we will change the message to gain results. If we change the message we stop preaching Christ!
Mark 1:1 – as the disciples look at Jesus they don’t see who He is. Jesus had authority (Mark 1:21-22, 4:35-41) which opened people’s blind eyes. When God opens up blind eyes, we keep on preaching Jesus!

Session 3
Back after an M&S lunch and, after some sung worship, we resume our look at Mark.
You can do it – the phrase that comes from the whole of Mark’s gospel.
In Mark 5 (v.21-24) Jairus comes to Jesus and asks him to heal his daughter. Would you fall down at the feet of someone who was just a carpenter? In v.36 Jesus responds to the news of her death by saying “Don’t be afraid; just believe”. Would a carpenter make this sort of promise? Would anyone, unless they were sure of what was going to happen? Jesus tells her to get up and shows his authority as she gets up, back from the dead.
In Mark 8 we see how people view Jesus. In v.27-30 we see that people (some…others…still others) are blind, but then Peter has his eyes opened to who Jesus is. Yet, just verses later, we see that whilst Peter has got who Jesus is, he doesn’t understand what Jesus has to do. His eyes are blind to the truth.
Rico reminds us that works do not win us salvation. Only Jesus’ death can win us salvation because only Jesus can pay the price for our sin and only through Christ’s resurrection can we come to new life.
How does God feel about me today? Delighted. Why? Because He is delighted in Jesus, and we related to God through Jesus and what He has done!
Do we realise that the Gospel is both true AND wonderful? God knows what we’ve done, he clears up the mess and he loves us anyway!

Session 4
Who is blind in chapter 15? Pilate (blinded by his fear of what others think), the soldiers (who thought that the legacy of e cross was Jesus’ clothes) and the priests (who declared he should prove himself by saving himself, when Jesus’ way of showing He was the Messiah was by not saving himself).
Who could see? The centurion, the gentile leader of Jesus’ killers.
What is the call?
John speaks of how high (The Word made Flesh), Luke about how wide (the Good News is open to everyone), Matthew how deep (Old Testament prophecy fulfilled) and Mark how low (servant of all).
Christian greatness is in serving and giving our life away.
True freedom is freedom from ourselves, in order to live for God and others!
Christian leadership is by service (Mark 10:43-45)

If we have Identity and Mission but forget Call then we end up with cheap grace.
If you have Identity and Call but no Mission then our faith becomes works-based and either become self-righteous or unable to believe we can be saved.
If we have Mission and Call but no Identity then we are nothing more than relativists as Jesus becomes nothing more than A way, not THE way.

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