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After yesterday’s sermon by Pastor Brent from Mark 1, I went to the gospels this morning to see Jesus’ call of the first disciples (Matthew 4, Luke 5, Mark 1) and to hear His words again. I was helped by both the sermon and by one commentators conclusion.

Grant Osborne, Matthew:

“Mark and Matthew say the first four disciples surrendered both occupation and family, and Luke 5:11 says they ‘left everything’ to follow Christ. The problem today is so many want to give Christ virtually a “tithe” of their life, that is, one-tenth to him and 90 percent for themselves. Jesus makes it clear that such will not do. ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God’ (Luke 9:62). As [Don] Hagner says, ‘The call of God through Jesus is sovereign and absolute in its authority; the response of those who are called is to be both immediate and absolute, involving a complete break with old loyalties.’ This will look different for each of us; but the truth is the same. Everything we hold back from God will hamper the quality of our life and keep us from realizing our true potential for him.”

The immediacy and the surrender will look different for different men, women and families, but the truth is the same.  Discipleship for Jesus was a total, radical surrender.

“But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, ‘Great is the Lord!’”

Psalm 40:16

Seeking God is one of the main priorities of the church.  “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).  John Piper, in a sermon on Psalm 40, says, “We seek to behold his beauty, to be with him, to meditate on him. This is our central business in the church—to see the beauty of God. To get our heads into the heavens. To know him for who he is. He is the main reality—not buildings, not Christians, not missions, not heaven. God himself is what we seek.”

But this seeking isn’t complete, it seems, until we proclaim His greatness.  In verses 9-10, David tells how he did not hide or conceal what God has done for him.  He told the people about God’s faithfulness, steadfast love and salvation.  In verse 16, the seeking in the first half is concluded in the second half with proclamation, namely continually saying, “Great is the Lord!”  Piper says, “He is supreme and his supremacy is your passion.”  Part of having a passion for His supremacy is proclaiming it!

So the church’s mission to our neighbors and the nations in which we tell them who God is, what He has done and that salvation is found in Him alone through Jesus Christ flows out of the church’s pursuing God.  A passion for evangelism does not simply flow out of a burden for the lost.  It flows out of a heart that seeks God, a heart that rejoices and is glad in God (Psalm 40:16a).  When we go hard after God and pursue our joy in Christ alone, God is glorified.  When God grants joy and gladness in Him through our seeking, we find that our seeking and loving and worshiping of God is not separate from our proclamation of Him.  Piper says:

“Our passion for God is our persuasion for the nations… our joy in God is both our worship and our evangelism.”

“A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.  A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.”

Proverbs 18:6-7

These two verses parallel each other, which is seen in the chiasm “lips, mouth, mouth, lips”.  The general principle is clear.  One of the primary ways a fool is brought down is through his speech.  Bruce Waltke says, “In starting his quarrel he intends to damage others, but in doing so it boomerangs against him.” The fool is a person who runs his mouth for a variety of reasons, but in the end the always come back to haunt him, sometimes right in the kisser!  Another commentator writes, “The effect of his speech is always to alienate himself from public sympathy and to attract feelings of hostility.”  This proverb helps us to understand that usually the fool’s speech not only causes strife in his relationships, putting distance between him and everyone else, but that this distance simultaneously closes due to inflaming animosity toward himself.  These “unexamined words, hasty counsel, uninvited information, unwise promises and other drivel bring about his own ruin.”

But verse 7 escalates the warning beyond the scope of this world.  The fool not only brings harm upon himself because of his mouth, but his speech finally brings him to eternal ruin.  His words entrap his soul, even unto death.  The unguarded tongue can bring down an entire life… even the soul.  Proverbs 18:20-21 says, “From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

“The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice…” (Psalm 97:1)

“The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble…” (Psalm 99:1)

The Lord is King of all creation.  Holiness is His character and righteousness defines His acts.  His people will both rejoice and tremble at His sovereignty and holiness.  It is not one or the other!  Joy and fear are constant companions in the lives of His saints.