Leaders in the Kingdom: Mark 1:16-20

Read: Mark 1:16-20

In reading a passage like this one it may sound like, or perhaps we have heard it taught, that all believers, if they really want to be the kind of Christian that God is looking for must give up their occupation and leave their families. In doing so, they demonstrate that they are the “real deal”, living authentic, completely sacrificial lives.

Please read the text and discuss the previous statement.

There is no doubt that we are called as Christians to a willingness to give up whatever the Lord may ask of us. The believer has a heart to follow Christ wherever and however He may lead. As the King, there is no part of our life that is off limits to Him and nothing that comes before or above Him in priority. Yes, there are applications of surrender for our own lives that we can and must glean from the text. Yet, we must be careful not to read dubious interpretations into a text that can lead to self-righteousness and false standards.

Discuss the the danger of considering what the Lord has called one believer to as the standard for all believers.

In context, Jesus has been declaring that the Kingdom of God is at hand. In Christ, His rule and reign is now being displayed in an new way. Within this Kingdom, Jesus, in our text is selecting leaders for His kingdom; they would spend time in preparation for this task. Later, these and other men, would be officially commissioned as Apostles. Yet, here they are being…

I. Called to Gospel ministry.

Jesus was calling men who would spread the Gospel, write (or influence those who did) Scripture, be an enduring example, make their living from the ministry, spend time in prayer and the Word, feed sheep, and combat false teaching. These men would be eyewitnesses to the ministry and majesty of Christ. Theirs was a unique and noble call.

This was not the first time that Andrew and Peter had meant or spent time with Jesus (See John 1:35-42). In our text, this was a call to be with Jesus full time; this was the call to Gospel ministry.

Discuss the problems when the call to Gospel ministry is seen as the only meaningful call of God and that other types of vocation are less than what God wants or expects.

The call upon these men’s lives was exactly that, it was a unique call from God. While all Christian men are called to be Godly, not all men are called to preach and teach God’s Word. By the way, some men are called to this ministry and must be bi-vocational.

There is a call of God on certain mens lives to be leaders within the kingdom.

Discuss the following from Charles Spurgeon: “Nor need any imagine that such calls are a mere delusion, and that none are in this age separated for the peculiar work of teaching and overseeing a church, for the very names given to ministers in the New Testament imply a previous call to their work. The apostle says, ‘Now then we are ambassadors for God’; but does not the very soul of the ambassadorial office lie in the appointment which is made by the monarch represented? An ambassador unsent would be a laughing stock.”

See Ephesians 4:11, Acts 20:28, Jeremiah 3:15

The call in our text involved:

A. A call to Christ: “Follow Me.”

B. A call to people. “I will make you fishers of men.”

Discuss these two components of the call of Christ and what they mean. *Note the importance of, “I will make….”

Along with this call there was…

II. A Cost:

In these two sets of brothers there was a giving up of what was familiar and comfortable to them. They left behind both their occupations and families. We do see, however, that they still had family relationships that were ongoing (Matthew 27:55-56). They did not desert their families, but did give up the way that things had been. Eventually these disciples would physically move to various parts of the world.

It is not a coincidence that very often, throughout the entirety of Scripture, the call of God of involves a physical move and a separation from the known.

Discuss some examples of this from Scripture. Have you seen this in your own life? Perhaps it might even be a physical change from a church, a job, or a move within a current city.

III. The Response:

In both cases the response was immediate. There is a great sense that their responses were willing and joyful. There was a recognition that what they were about to receive was greater than what they were leaving behind.

Responses like this are only possible because of the moving of God the Holy Spirit. These kind of responses are not natural, nor are they possible without them being as a result of a summons from God.

People who have heard the call of God will often have detractors who say that such a move is irrational and unadvisable. They would say that it is ok to follow God, but that one needs to be careful not to take steps that would seem insecure and foolhardy. Yet, the call of God always involves risk, risk at least from a human point of view. Yet, the person who has heard from God is confident and his security rests in that call. This person cannot shake what God has called them to. His heart is undeterred and his passion is singular.

We must also note at this point that there is a clear difference from the genuine call of God and events clearly pointing in a certain direction and someone simply trying to make something happen on his own; even with good desires and motives. Many have made a shipwreck of their lives trying to put God to the test by expecting Him to fulfill their own desires, calling it faith.

Discuss the difference between these two vastly different situations.

When God calls, the answer must be an immediate “yes.”

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