All Scripture references are taken from the NASB unless otherwise noted.
In Part 2 I noted the following from Luke’s Gospel, “Jesus was talking to a group of Jews who were obviously not pleased with His presence among them because they asked why He would associate with sinners, “Jesus answered them, “Those who are well don’t need a physician, but those who are sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32. This is the first of two statements Luke’s narrative refers to the purpose of Jesus’ ministry. The second is found in 19:9-10 when Jesus was visiting in the home of Zaccheus, “Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this household because he too is a son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Jesus’ sole purpose in living among us humans was to the redemption of mankind.”
The answer to the question, “Who will go to heaven,” is telling, is it not? Remember that Jesus’ sole purpose for living among His created was to call seek out sinners for repentance and for them to find salvation in Him by His grace and through faith. But, Jesus gives a further explanation in Mark’s Gospel, “Then His mother and His brothers came and standing outside, they sent word to Him and called Him. 32 A crowd was sitting around Him and told Him, “Look, Your mother, Your brothers, and Your sisters are outside asking for You.” 33 He replied to them, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who were sitting in a circle around Him, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 35 Whoever does the will of God is My brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:31-35.
Most who attend a local church for any time at all may begin to wonder about the relationship that some among their fellow worshipers know the Christ they claim to know. There is a reason for this because they do not appear to be accomplishing the will of God. Remember that Jesus said this, “Whoever does the will of God is My brother and sister and mother.” This is a profound statement from which we may be able to say, “Whoever does not do the will of God do not belong to Jesus, do not know Him.” No, Jesus does not say this, but certainly, that assumption can be correctly made.
We Must Know Him
But look at what 1 John 2:3-6 tells us, “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”
The Parable of the Sower explained
In chapter 4 of Mark’s Gospel in verses 1-4, we find Jesus as “He began to teach again by the sea. And such a very large crowd gathered to Him that He got into a boat in the sea and sat down; and the whole crowd was by the sea on the land. 2 And He was teaching them many things in parables, and was saying to them in His teaching, 3 “Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow;” This Parable of the Sower goes a long way in giving us an explanation as to why many people will not enter into Heaven. The Parable is given in verses 5-8, and in verses 13-20, and Jesus provides an explanation like this, “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. 16 In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; 17 and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, 19 but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
The heart of man is like a stone
Jesus tells us that those who obey His words of instruction will bear fruit, but all of those who do not hear and accept it are deceived by Satan and fall away from the truth of Jesus’ words. We should take this parable into consideration and continue to read through the Gospel of Mark as we search for the answer to our question from Jesus. Another profound statement In Mark 7:20-23 which may give some explanation as to what He told His disciples a bit earlier in 6:49-52, “But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; 50 for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and *said to them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” 51 Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished, 52 for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened. “. And in Mark 7:20-23 we find this, “And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23 All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” What we know right now is those who hear the Word of the Gospel are not always what we would like or expect.
Peter Rebukes Jesus, NOT a good thing
Through more than 7 chapters of Mark’s narrative, we find Jesus teaching in many places about the Kingdom, but we do not find Mark saying much of anything about many who positively responding to His message. Now, in chapter 8 we find a remarkable statement by one of his closest followers, “And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and *said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” Mark 8:31-33. I find it difficult that one of the Twelve rebukes his teacher, but do not run past what Jesus tells Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan…” Jesus sees ‘through’ what Peter has done and understands what is going on when He points to Peter’s heart, “You are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” THIS IS THE PROBLEM WITH MANY IN YOUR LOCAL CHURCH, THEIR INTERESTS ARE NOT FOUNDED UPON THE WILL OF GOD, BUT IN THEIR OWN SELF-INTERESTS.
The Answer to our Question is NOT Yet Found, BUT…
As we continue to read Mark’s Gospel we see that Jesus does become quite frustrated with people, including His disciples. Mark reveals the hardness of the hearts of the people to whom He has come to redeem, “And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 35 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” 9 1 “And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.” Mark 8:34 – Mark 9:1.
Jesus’ words are truly condemning for everyone who is self-serving as He tells us that we must deny what we want or all is lost for he “must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” This is, in part, the answer to our question. Following Jesus is not about us, the ‘following’ part is completely about Him and if one does not do that his eternity in Heaven is not possible.
Jesus is Lord.