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I'll Do What I (He) Want(s) to Do!
Scripture: Mark 3:13-15
Track 37 of 52 in the Sermons from 2003 series
Running time: 22 minutes, 47 seconds.

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Chuck Sackett Speaker: Chuck Sackett
Dr. G. Charles Sackett is minister of Madison Park Christian Church.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Sermon for Sunday, September 14, 2003
(Mark 3:14 )
Copyright 2003 G. Charles Sackett

I went to my faithful computer this week and typed in "core values" and found out that there are 639 thousand pages that people have placed on the internet for you to look at. I didn't take the time, but I did look at some just out of curiosity.

A university professor by the name of Patrick McCowd says, "This package contains the statements of my core values. Those principles that I find to be the fundamental tenants that guide the way I work and live." And I thought, ya know, that's a pretty good definition of what it means to have a core value. Fundamental beliefs that guide the way you think and live.

Well, the Navy had a page out there. The Navy's core values are wrapped up in three words: Honor, Courage & Commitment.

I was struck by the one sentence core value of the American Association of Pediatrics. We believe in the inherent worth of all children.

It's amazing what you can learn when you think of somebody's core value; that which they literally hold down in the depths of their soul as being those fundamental truths that they could not live without. Churches are like that. We hope that we have captured some of those core values for you. We hope for you to see them lived out in each other, certainly lived out in us.

We're going to spend the next several Sundays talking about those core fundamental beliefs. What characterizes Madison Park Christian Church. We said that our new statement, our new slogan, this thing that we want to try to capture our imagination and our hearts sounds something like what is written on the front of your bulletin. The Madison Park Christian Church is becoming; A People Whose Only Passion is Jesus. Whose Only Desire is to Know and Follow Him Better. Whose Only Ambition is Whatever it Takes to Love and Reach the Lost.

Down there on that page you should find one of our core values stated. We value discipleship that transforms our character. That's one of a number of statements that staff and elders have looked at and evaluated and wrestled with and decided that, as a church, this is where we stand. We stand on this fundamental belief that discipleship, spending time with Jesus, ought to change who we are. It ought to transform us, it ought to change our character. And so, that's what we're going to aim at.

So every Sunday, I trust, that you will take a look at the front of your bulletin and you'll discover what core value is at stake for the morning's service. This morning we want to talk about discipleship and that naturally led me back to the Gospel of Mark. Now I realize that we spent time in Mark not long ago but I want to come back to Mark's gospel. This gospel of what it means to be a disciple, Chapter 3, verses 14 through 19 where we find Jesus calling those initial, not disciples, but apostles. It is where he is taking from among those who are following him, those that he has some special work to do.

Chapter 3, Verse 13 starts this way, Jesus went up on a mountain and called to him those he wanted and they came to him. He appointed twelve--designating them apostles--that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James son of Zeb'edee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder); Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

The truth of this text, I think, is fundamental and I think it's not hard to see. It sounds something like this in my thinking. Before you can do something for him you have to spend time with him. You might say it this way. Before you can share in his task, you have to share in his life. Or you might say it this way. Before you can be an apostle, you must first be a disciple. Before you can be sent, you must first be. That language of journey is so common in the book of Mark. I'm just going to ask, if you have your Bibles, just note some places, that frankly, had slipped past my attention in some way, along the way, but have become more prominent for me. This text is not unfamiliar to you, Chapter 1, Verse 17.

Jesus says, "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him.

When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zeb'edee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zeb'edee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

And then Verse 21, it's just this interesting two word phrase; They went. . . . . and that's the fascinating thing--Chapter 2, Verse 1; A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home.

There is this process, that people are traveling with Jesus. People are gathering to hear him and the disciples seem to always be present.

Chapter 3, Verse 7; Jesus withdrew with his disciples. Chapter 4, Verse 10; this strange statement--When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him. . Even when he's alone, the Twelve are still there with him. Chapter 4, Verse 35; That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go. . ." Verse 36; Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along. . . . . . Chapter 6, Verse 1; Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. Verse 51 of that same Chapter; Then he climbed into the boat with them, . . . You come to Chapter 6, Verse 53; When they had crossed over. . . . Chapter 7, Verse 17; After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples. . . . Their still there! Chapter 8, Verse 1; During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples. . . . . Chapter 8, Verse 22; They came. . . Chapter 9, Verse 30; And they left that place. . . . Well you could walk the rest of the way through Chapter 10, Verse 28; Peter says, "We have left everything to follow you!" Verse 32; They were on their way. . . . . .They were on their way up to Jerusalem. Chapter 10, Verse 46; . . .they came to Jericho. Chapter 11, Verse 1; As they approached Jerusalem. . . Chapter 11, Verse 12; The next day as they were leaving. . . Well you see the pattern, do you not? It continues all the way over into Chapter 14, Verse 17; When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. Verse 22; While they were eating, . . . Verse 26; When they had sung a hymn, they went out. . . Verse 32; They went to a place called Gethsemane, . . . They spent time with him. That's what it means to be a disciple. It's to simply spend time with Jesus. The best summary verse of that whole thing may occur in the book of Acts in Chapter 4 when the people have been listening to the preaching of the disciples and the disciples have been called in to be taken to task by the leadership in Jerusalem and the comments they make in Chapter 4, Verse 13 is, you could tell these men had been with Jesus. You could tell that they had been with Jesus.

You know, the other night we walked in the house. One of the first things I do is, for some reason, look at all those little LED lights that you have going on in your home. They seem to be everywhere you look, and they were doing this. I know what that means. Power was out while I was out. You can always tell, can't you?

When someone's been with Jesus--you can always tell. Ah, what we want to do is try to make it possible for you to tell. So we want to introduce you to the Journey.

You'll begin to see evidence around here of this thing called the Journey--signs and footprints and globes and suitcases, as if we're all going somewhere, with no promise that the Journey will necessarily be easy but the promise that the Journey will be worth your trouble. It will change your view of things. It will give you a new sense of what it means to be a disciple. It's a whole new adult discipleship series of studies that begin in October and you can begin to find out about it just by picking up the brochures and reading and listening and paying attention. We're inviting, in fact, trying to encourage in every way we know how for you to somehow get in on this faith Journey to becoming more like Jesus, spending time with him. We're going to do everything we can. In fact, we continue to try to do all we can to get you invited into this Journey, whether you be an adult or a child. Everything we do is an attempt to try to call you into a relationship with him where you literally have time to spend time with him, whether it's adult discipleship studies. There will be new brochures out telling you what the new classes are starting in October. If you're not in one, we encourage you to get in the Christianity 101 through 401 series that will be taking place, a one day seminar, the Wednesday night class in 201, ah, a couple more one day seminars, so that you can have an opportunity to find out what is going on in your life, as well as, in what it means to be a Christian. The wonderful Wednesday services where we have an opportunity, both for kids and for adults, to learn something more about what it means to follow Jesus. The Women's Bible Studies that are currently going on and the Women's Retreat, which is coming up (and Ladies you need to sign up today) and the new bridge communities, where small groups are gathering and there are probably dozens of others of opportunities for you to get into a place where you can learn so that you can become something more like Jesus. We're trying to give you the tools to be able to go on a Journey of discipleship that allows you to spend significant time with Jesus. But I need to warn you, that when you spend time with Jesus, he will change your purpose. Did you notice that happen back here in Mark Chapter 3? Oh it started clear back in Mark Chapter 1, when he said, "Come, follow me." And it says they got up and left their nets and they walked away from their fishing business in the hands of their father and employees. When you come to Chapter 3, Verses 14 and following it says he called them that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. I just need to warn you that if you spend time with Jesus he will change the purpose of your life. You think you grew up wanting to be a salesman or a doctor or a lawyer or an athlete, or a mother, or a father, and that's perfectly fine. You may have desired that all of your life, but you will discover, when you become a disciple, is what you really want to do, is you want to preach and change the world and confront evil. And some of you will have such a radical sense that, that's what God wants to do in your life. You should be forewarned, you may find yourself changing your career.

I have two in my seminary class this fall; one is a doctor of jurisprudence. He is a lawyer who has decided that he wants to do something besides practice law so he's going to be a preacher. I have one who has a PhD in literature, who is in a basic preaching class because he's realized that rather than teach Shakespeare, he'd rather teach Jesus. Now that will happen to some who get in touch with Jesus. It will so radically alter their life that they discover that they just have to change everything.

It happened to Jim and Debbie Pour (??), that Brian had a chance to work with this summer at TCM. Jim had a thriving construction business in Indianapolis and felt this call to preach and change the world, and is now working at Heilig & _______ at Haus Edelweiss helping Eastern Europeans get discipled. Others of you, well, in fact, all of us, no matter what it is that God has called us to do, whether it is those who do manual labor, those who sit at computers, those who spend time in operating rooms, those who are retired, those who are students, those who are athletes, every single one of us will have such a change of focus that the one thing that will happen is that we will become Christian athletes and Christian doctors and Christian accountants and Christian salespeople, so that everything we do is an act of preaching and changing the world. Because you can't be with Jesus and not want that to happen. You cannot spend time with him without having his passion for the world get a hold of your heart and then everybody you see you see differently than you've ever seen them before.

I need to warn you that if you spend significant time with Jesus, he will change your purpose. He may even change your character. You notice what he did to their names? He took Simon and called him Peter, the Rock. These two brothers, James and John, known for their quick tempers and their thunderous attitudes, he called them in this text, Boanerges, but you know what happens to the apostle John by the time he spends a little more time with Jesus, he suddenly is no longer called the son of thunder, he's now the apostle of love. Because when Christ gets around you very much, he begins to shape who you are. He begins to change your character. He won't leave you alone. He will not let you stay the same. Fishermen become fishers of men. Selfish people become generous. Idle people become involved. Bitter people become kind. Hateful people become loving. Why? Because they have spent time with Jesus and they begin to take upon themselves, his character. Discipleship does that to you. Spending time with Jesus changes you.

Maybe the classic example, at least in my lifetime, was a gentleman by the name of Charles Kohlson (Coleson)(??), special assistant to Richard Nixon, involved in the Watergate coverup. Sent to prison for his illegal activity where he was introduced to Jesus and had nothing better to do than spend time with him and has now become the Director of Prison Fellowship and one of the, probably, strongest apologists for Jesus in the United States right now, because when he got around Jesus, he found his character had been changed.

My guess is that you could look in the mirror and identify places where he has changed your character as well, or is in the process of doing it.

Our core value is really very simple. We value discipleship which leads to the transformation of character and we're encouraging, yea, we would demand, if we were capable of demanding, but we're not, so we will only encourage that you get in touch with Jesus. That you first become a disciple so that you can become an apostle, one who is sent out into the world to make a difference. We're encouraging you to share in his life so that you can share in his task. We're asking you to become something by spending time with him before you begin to think about doing something for him. We're inviting you to make the decision today to spend some time with Jesus, to consciously choose to spend more time in your scriptures, to consciously choose to have your quiet time alone with him, to consciously choose to sign up for a women's Bible study or an adult discipleship study. We're inviting you to spend time with HIM. Because as you spend time with him, he'll begin to change you. He'll change your purpose. He'll change your character and he'll give you something worth doing that will make life really count.

Now you may not know him at all and so the invitation is just to get acquainted with him, and if that's true for you, if you do not yet know Jesus, we're inviting you to get to know him. If that means just hanging around here a little longer, then just hang around, because we're gonna keep talking about him every Sunday. We'll just keep talking about Jesus. We'll just keep introducing him to you. You just stay around for a while and see what you find out.

If you are ready to go a little further in your Journey and ask some questions, then you come. You come and ask. We've got people with the heart to answer your questions. But if you already know him, we're just asking you to step up one step further in the Journey and to just really commit yourself to get to know him and let him change your life. Let's stand together and sing. Let this song express your sentiments this morning.