Disciple – Mind Blown
Caleb Campbell

“Mind Blown” – Sermon by Caleb Campbell

When was the last time that you’ve had your mind blown — when you’ve learned something or discovered something that totally changed how you thought about the world, … how you thought about yourself, … how you thought about other people?  When was last time you had your mind blown?

Today we’re concluding a series that we started at the beginning of the year in the Gospel of Mark.  We’ve been looking at what it means to follow Jesus — to live as one of his disciples, or as a follower of Jesus.  Today, we’re actually going to go back to where we started in the Gospel of Mark Chapter one.  We’re going to look at the inaugural sermon that Jesus gave, and in this sermon, we’re going to see, I believe, something that totally blows our minds.  In fact, having our mind blown by Jesus is one of the key things that happens in following Jesus and living as his disciples.

I remember as a kid, my parents took me to church.  We did summer camps, too, at our church.  They called it Vacation Bible School.  Many of you guys are familiar with Vacation Bible School, and I just want to say some words out loud, and let you let you in.  Do you guys want to do a little insider baseball today?  I’ll let you guys in on just a little something.  Why do we call our summer program Splash Camp?  Well, for starters, it’s Splash Camp because there’s a lot of water involved.  But secondly, the reason we don’t call it Vacation Bible School is … I’ll just show you why.  If I say the word vacation, is that happy?  Like how do you feel when I say vacation?  Yeah, and then now Bible school.  Right, it’s like a contradiction of terms. It’s like happy, not happy, right?  So, we call it Splash Camp.  We certainly love teaching the Bible.

I grew up going to vacation Bible School.  And at Vacation Bible School, one of the things that was repeated over and over and over again — At least what I heard – was the big idea of following Jesus, about saying a prayer to Jesus so I could go to heaven when I die instead of going to hell.  I definitely didn’t want to go to hell as a kid.  Still don’t as a grown up, but at that point in time that was like the big push, right?  The leaders and the teachers would say you’ve got to, you’ve got to say the prayer so you can go to heaven when you die, so you can be with Jesus.  Certainly, being with Jesus when we die is part of the good news that Scripture teaches.  There’s much more mind-blowing truth to following Jesus than just that, but that’s what I picked up.  I love our Splash Camp program because our splash campers this last week – more than 300 kids were here — and they heard about the goodness of God.  They heard about God’s creative power — and that we get to be creative, too, because we’re made in God’s image. They learned about Jesus being God in the flesh — that if we want to see God, we can look to Jesus and truly know God, that following Jesus is not primarily about when we die.  It’s a reality.  It’s the life that we live now.

Today, I’m going to look at Jesus’s inaugural sermon.  This is a mind-blowing sermon — and it’s just a few sentences.  And then we’re going to look at the proper response to the message that Jesus gives.

In this section — in this little mini sermon that Jesus gives – there are five phrases that I want to tease out for us today as we conclude this series and follow Jesus.  So, check this out.  This is the gospel of Mark chapter one, verse 14 and on.  If you’re joining us online, I’d encourage you to grab a Bible and follow along with us.  If you don’t have a Bible, just go to bible.com.  We’re using the Christian Standard version of the Bible today.  For those of you joining us in person, you should have it printed out in a handout.  That’s given so that you can make notes, and I want to encourage you to do that.  Or if you have a Bible, I encourage you to turn to Mark chapter one.  Also, if you don’t have a Bible and would like one, there are some available on the tables in the back.  Please take that as our gift to you this morning.  

So, here we go.  Are you guys ready?  OK, so just hold on.  I want you to help me out here.  I want you to like this.  This is the spiritual discipline of having your mind blown, and this is what it looks like.  OK, very good.  I want to make the argument from the text that this is an appropriate spiritual discipline — that you should you and I should consistently be having our minds blown.  Ready, here we go.

“Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God.” (Verse 14)

Have you guys ever heard the word gospel before?  OK, so gospel is just another way to say good news.  Good news wasn’t really a religious word; it was there was consistently in the time of Jesus.  There were people who would walk into town, and if they had good news about the king — maybe there was a military conquest, and their king was victorious, or maybe a new prince or princess was born — they would come into town and they would herald the good news.  And then they would proclaim whatever good news they had.

So, Jesus shows up on the scene in Galilee.  Jesus shows up and says what?  “Good news.”  And everyone thinks, “Cool we know it’s good news when we see him.”  But this good news is different because this is the good news — not the good news of Caesar, which would have been common.  “Hey, Caesar won the battle,” and everyone would celebrate.

This is not the good news of a military conquest.  This is the good news of whom?  What is the gospel that Jesus comes proclaiming?  What is the good news that Jesus has for us?  Check this out.  The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of … What’s this language “the kingdom of God has come near?  Repent and believe the good news?”

“… and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe in the gospel.’”  (Verse 15)

This is the sermon.  Now s let’s zoom in just around a few words.  First of all, “The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God has come near.”

So, Jesus shows up and says, “Good news,” thank you.  “Good news.”  Let’s all say it together.  Good news.  Jesus shows up and says good news.  Good news of God?  What is the good news of God?

“That the time is fulfilled …” If you were to go back home today and read through your whole Bible, which I would strongly encourage you to do, especially in a group of a bunch of people who are different than you so you can learn from one another and challenge one another.  And after 100 years of doing that, you’ll become wise.  That’s what we’re all doing here.  A bunch of misfits at Desert Springs Bible church invite you into that.

So, one of the things you’ll discover reading through your older testament — or what we call the older testament, Jesus just called it scripture — is that throughout the scriptures, from Genesis all the way forward, there is a hope that there would one day be a king. A king who would save us from this mess, who would save us from our sin.  Who would save us from the snares of evil and death.  That God would save us.  Would become king.  And there are all these nuances and beauty.  And it’s this unfolding mystery in your older testament.  But usually, or often I should say, those who were looking forward to that hope — that hope-filled day — they would say it’s the end of time.

I think time is a linear thing, but just that season, that time, the time is now what?  OK, so Jesus has another way to say “now is the time” that we’ve all been looking forward to — that there would one day be the rule and reign of God present here in our midst.  Right.  And the time is fulfilled — what we’ve all been waiting for — and the Kingdom of God has come.  This is fascinating   — “has come.”

What’s come here?  Do we talk about kingdoms like that?  Don’t we say things like the Kingdom was established, or the Kingdom was conquered, or the Kingdom was formed?  But here Jesus says that the Kingdom of God has what?  Come near.  One of the things that you frequently find in the Gospel of Mark is Jesus is a little playful with the Kingdom.  He doesn’t come right out and say it.  He says things like this:  the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.  The Kingdom of God is like a shepherd who finds a lost sheep.  

But one of the things that Jesus says is that the Kingdom of God is imminent, meaning it’s right here, I think, and I think Mark fleshes this out.  I think Mark thinks that Jesus views his own self as the embodiment or manifestation of the Kingdom.  That the Kingdom of God is in him somehow, and then, and I think this is proven, because then he invites us into follow him.  He has that synonymous with being members of the Kingdom.  To put it another way, if I could just say it like this:  Following Jesus and living the Jesus way, putting our faith and our allegiance to Jesus is entering into that new Kingdom.  Because following Jesus and the Kingdom of God — Jesus seems to mesh those two things together, which is why I think he says the Kingdom of God has come what?  Near.  It’s near to you.  Jesus is here.  Here it is, right?

You might be wondering, “Why is this important?”  It’s a great question.  Let me tell you why.  It’s important because without the King of God, the only powers that we can give ourselves over to are the kingdoms of this world.  And the kingdoms of this world lead to death.  Don’t we see that, don’t we?  I mean, some of us, we’ve tasted it.  If the only thing that we’ve got is the kingdoms of this world, is that not hell?  So, the Kingdom of God being nearer — is that good news?  If you have ever been sickened by the corruption, and the evil, and the decay, and the death of the kingdoms of this world — if you’ve ever been oppressed by it, if you’ve ever borne weight of evil — this is great news.  Because the Kingdom of God is now here, the time is fulfilled.

I know that for many of us, we kind of grew up or have heard what the gospel is.  You say a prayer, and you go to heaven when you die.  This may be something that you want to explore further.  You’re in luck.  This summer we’re hosting a bunch of topical studies.  They’re one-offs.  You can come for one, you can come for all of them.  We’re calling it summer sessions, and we’re going to do a whole session just on the biblical theme and concept of the Kingdom of God.   In your handouts, it’s summer sessions.  There’s a website you can go to.  Check out that link and see all of the topics.  And I want to tell you when you go and look at those topics, some of them are going to be scary.  Maybe you even read the topic and you’re like, that makes me uncomfortable.  Some of the topics may be scary and uncomfortable, but the class won’t be.  Class is going to be fun.  We’re going to have a lot of laughs.  We’re going to read the Bible together.  We’re going to encourage one another and have a Jesus-centered conversation about these things.  I’m really looking forward to the summer session on the Kingdom of God.  I invite you to participate and join me in that that study that we’re going to do together.  The Kingdom has come where?  Near.  And so, what does Jesus tell us to do?  First of all, he tells us what?  What has happened?  He says this is what happened:  The time is fulfilled.

The Kingdom of God has come near, and I think the application is in him.  What does he tell us then to do then?  Watch this:  Repent and believe the what?  Good news.  Hold up. This word, repent.  When I say vacation, do you feel happy?  When I say Bible school?  When I say repent?  It’s kind of a word that’s a little bitter on the tongue.  Like if I come to you and say, “Hey, repent,” how does that make you feel?

I’m going to let you in.  I’m a preacher and sometimes I study sermons.  I read and watch and listen to a lot of sermons.  I know that there’s sermons that go like this.  The pastor is all sweaty.  He’s got his finger out, and he’s pointing it at you.  Categorically, those are sometimes referred to as fire and brimstone sermons.

Notice, Jesus does not have that tone.  Jesus is proclaiming what is good news.  And just as we sang to each other a moment ago, he is for you.  So this repentance thing, I just want to put a little seasoning on it.  Because that language, repent has been flavored wrong in modern English.  It’s just not capturing what Jesus actually had in mind with that word repentance.  And now we’re going to get geeky.  OK, so we’re going to get all Bible nerdy.  

Jesus did not speak English.  We think he spoke Aramaic, and then the Gospel writers wrote in Greek.  So there’s a lot of translation happening, and but the original Greek word that Mark used is metanoia. So super geeky.  Have you ever heard the word meta?   It means over or above.  Like meta-narrative is the overarching story.  And then metanoia, the “noia” part is knowing.

It’s our thinking another way to say metanoia.  Another way to translate it could be to have a paradigm shift or to think above what you’re currently thinking.  Metanoia is thinking above, right?  Hear me on this.  It does not primarily have the idea of penitence, although that’s seasoned in there. It’s not the primary flavor, penitence.  It got translated into Latin a few hundred years after Mark wrote it, and you got that language of penitence, and that’s where we get repentance, repentance, right?  And it’s got that seasoning of sackcloth, sackcloth, and ash, and kind of regret or remorse.   And certainly, that seasoning is there.

But the primary flavor is to have your mind blown, to have a complete breakthrough, to see world differently.  Just see yourself differently, see God Jehovah completely and utterly — not just change your mind, but change your whole self.  Sometimes the biblical authors would say body and soul.  To have the whole the way I think, the way I feel, the way I act, the things I have — all of that.  To have my mind blown.  And is that not what happens when I’m stuck following the power structures of the kingdoms of this world, giving myself over to it?  And then I see Jesus, and Jesus shows up and proclaims the good news of the Kingdom of God.  And then I see the whole world in a new way.  In fact, the Kingdom of Jesus is upside down.  The crown that Jesus wears in the Gospel of Mark is made of thorns.  He is high and lifted up, not in a throne room, but on a cross.  He says if you want to be first, be last.  You people in the kingdoms of this world, you keep trying to take the head.  You keep trying to lead from the front, but I tell you if you want to be a leader of all, be a servant to all.

I told you we’re going to get nerdy, huh?  In Hebrew the language isn’t like metanoia – which means “think above.”  It’s actually turn back.  Most of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew.  It’s got this idea of turning back to God — that humanity was once with God in the garden, and then we turned our backs on God and went our own way.  That language of repentance is turning back.  So, it’s got this seasoning of how you turn back to God.

Because do you remember Jesus is so cool? So, Jesus tells this parable, and it’s about God’s love for us. And he says if any of you had 100 sheep and one of them went astray, if you were a Good Shepherd, wouldn’t you leave the 99 for the one?

And Jesus says God is like that.  Because you were in this flock, then you left.  And he’s doing all of this to get you back.  We were once with God.  Then we turned our backs on God.  And what Jesus says is the time is fulfilled.  The Kingdom of God has come here.  Therefore turn, and then what’s this next word?  Believe OK, so here’s my hope.  I hope that you repent of how you think about repentance.

I want to be clear.  Certainly, there is a seasoning of remorse for my past corrupt or wrong thinking.  Certainly, there’s remorse, but it’s so much bigger than that this.  And also, by the way, repentance is not confession.  Confession is when I say to God, “God, I have sinned” in this way, or that way.  That’s confession, when I confess, right?  

If you want to get crazy, your scripture actually says we are to confess our sins to each other.  What kind of community might be we be like if we had such a mind-blowing view of God and his overwhelming grace that we actually had the confidence in him to confess our sins to each other?  

So, here’s my encouragement to you.  Invite some people out to lunch from your church family and have a conversation about how you think or have thought or might be changing your mind about repentance.  That’s your homework for today.  And if you buy the lunch, you win.  Because in the Kingdom of God, everything is upside down.  To be a leader of all is to be a servant all.

OK, so Jesus wants us to have our minds blown.  And then what’s this next word?  Believe.  OK, so this word believes, what does that mean?  I see this word all over the place, right?  I took my kids to Disney.  Everywhere at Disney is this language of belief. Not believe. So, what does believe mean?  What do you think?  What’s belief like?  I believe in you.

To hold something to be true — yeah, you guys are sitting in chairs.  You have faith in the chair, right?  You saw that chair and you said, “I trust you.”  Right, you got down.  I saw you guys early.  You got down.  You said, “Don’t let me down.”  There was that one chair that I trusted and had faith in.  I believed in that chair, and then I sat in it.  It did not hold.  And instead of dieting, I got a bigger chair.  Sorry, I’m confessing my sins.

OK, let’s get going. Repent and believe — this language I believe means You guys are right.”  Right, faith, to have faith in — to have trust in.  When you get on an airplane, you believe in aerodynamics.  You believe in the capacity of the pilot.  You believe in the engineers and the mechanics that put that plane to go.  You trust in them.

But there’s another nuance.  There’s another nuance to this language of belief.  It’s another seasoning.  All that’s there – faith, and trust, and to hold to be true.  All of that’s there.  But there’s another thing that we often miss.  You guys ready for it?  It’s the concept of loyalty or allegiance.  I’ll use the word allegiance.  To believe in the Kingdom that Jesus at the time … OK, watch this.  To believe that the time is fulfilled, it’s also got a seasoning of allegiance.  Because there are the kingdoms of this world, and then there’s the Kingdom of what?  God.  And so, to believe in is to change my allegiances from the kingdoms of this world to what?  The Kingdom of God.  The later biblical authors will be meditating on this.  They’ll riff on it, and they’ll say things like we are ambassadors, citizens of another Kingdom.

No.  OK, hi.  I’m really trying not to be a jerk.  OK, now just hold on.  I’m a pastor.  I’m supposed to be nice.  I’m going to be nice, OK?  There is a phrase that I hear, and I think it might be a little bit misaligned, and that’s this phrase.  “We’re not home yet.”  Or there’s a song “All I know is I’m not Home Yet.”  Or we’ll say things like “I can’t wait to get home in heaven.”  You guys heard this?  I’m not trying to slam anybody.  I totally get it, it’s pervasive in our culture.  But notice what Jesus says.  He does not say.  The time is fulfilled, say a prayer so you can die and then experience the Kingdom of God.  Is that what he says – that your only hope is to die and then go home?  Is that what he says?  What does he say?  The time is fulfilled, which means that right now I can experience the Kingdom of God.  Do you know that Jesus rose from the dead?  OK, I want you follow me here.  If Jesus says that the Kingdom of God has come near and Jesus is still living and his spirit dwells within it — I just want to notice something.  The presence of Jesus is right here with us now.  Which means that we don’t wait till we die.  We can experience the Kingdom – a foretaste of the Kingdom – now.  Because Christ is risen indeed.  I can experience the Risen Christ now, and we can experience the Risen Christ now, which means we can experience aspects of the Kingdom of God — not in its fullness — but we can experience the Kingdom now.  My belief in Jesus means that not only do I repent and believe the good news, but also, I believe by placing my trust in Jesus — which means right now — following the Jesus way and experiencing the Kingdom any time. 

Listen to me, listen.  There’s this phrase.  It’s from the Bible, so I like it.  But I’m supposed to like it, but again, it gets being misused.  The phrase says where two or three or three or more are gathered, there I am in your midst. If two of you come with me, and the three of us have had our minds blown by Jesus, we’ve turned from the kingdoms of this world.  We have turned and given not only our trust our faith, our hope, but also our allegiance to Jesus, and we’re living and walking the Jesus way with three of us — then are we not experiencing a taste of heaven?  Where kindness and love and forbearance and mercy and grace and peace, and peacemaking and justice rule and reign in our midst.  Where the kingdoms of this world have no power in our midst.  Next, where death has no say in our midst, we experienced the Kingdom now.  Now hear me on this.  Jesus will one day return and finish what he started. And I have hope in that, too.  But I am not waiting until then to experience the Risen Christ.  Let’s experience him now together, and so let’s walk the Jesus way together.  We’re going to suck at it, because we’re people.  And we’re going to keep turning to our own way.  We’re going to keep being tempted by the kingdoms of this world.  We’re going to have a wrestling match in our hearts about where our allegiance lies.  That’s why Jesus put us together as a community of misfits to say, “Hey, remember, there’s a Jesus way.”  And so, we call each other to repentance, not out of guilt, shame.  Remember the mind-blowing truth of Jesus?  It’s a better way.  Come on, come on back, let’s follow him together.  What we do as a community is to call each other to repentance, and, in turn, to repent and believe the good news.

OK, for some of us, this is all fresh.  This is kind of the first time we’re hearing this, maybe, or maybe we’re putting some pieces together.  This August, we’re starting a church-wide study in a curriculum called “Rooted.” It’s a ten-week study.  We do it in small groups, and it’s a teaching series on the foundations of what we see in Scripture, but also putting what we see in Scripture into practice.  And I want to invite you if you’ve not yet experienced a Rooted study.  I would invite you to make space for that coming up this August.  Also, we are praying for folks to host Rooted in their homes.  So, if you’re interested in hosting, just let us know.  You can use the Next Steps cards in the back of the seat in front of you.  For those of you joining us online, if you’d like to host or you’re interested in the group, just go to our website, and on the front page is a contact form.  I believe that as we study together, study scripture together, and engage in these spiritual practices together, we will have a sweet taste of the Kingdom of God in our midst.  Yeah, OK, you guys have been praying for this, by the way.  You guys know the Lord’s prayer.

“Our father …” I learned it the old-fashioned way, if you’ll pardon me … “Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed or holy is your name.”

“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done …” Where?  Right here.  We’re going to live the Kingdom right here.  So, while there may be poverty and death and injustice and evil in the kingdoms of this world, right here we live the Kingdom of God.  Darn right.  Let’s see.  OK, let’s keep going.  Oh man, isn’t this cool?  Right, I love the Bible.  It’s so cool, OK?

OK, so now so that was it. That was Jesus’s sermon.  Some of you were saying that you wish Caleb would do shorter sermons, like Jesus.  And you know what?  I’m not like Jesus yet.  So tough for you.  Maybe by the time I’m 90, I’ll be able to do a two-sentence sermon.  

“As he was going along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen.  And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’” (Verses 16-17)

Notice Mark is doing something here.  Mark is telling us what they are doing what?  So we’re having in our minds them going out and gathering fish, right? This is this is so beautiful. First of all, notice that the first two people that Jesus called to follow him were nobodies.  He didn’t go to kings.  He didn’t go to generals.  He didn’t go to the wealthy.  He just went to two nobodies. The only reason we know Simon and Andrew is because Jesus called them.

See, in the Kingdom of God — this is so fascinating — in the Kingdom of God, the powerful, the wealthy, and the mighty rarely get it.  They just don’t understand it.  And often they’re suspicious of the proclamation of the Kingdom of God.  But what you’ll find — especially in the Gospel of Mark, but actually in your whole New Testament – is that that it’s the poor, the marginalized, the immigrant, the widow, the orphan, the outsider, the ones who’ve been relegated to the margins that oftentimes see it.  Because the Kingdom has got us upside down, and those on the margins are crying out for justice and mercy and love and truth and grace to reign.  Oftentimes the wealthy and the powerful, they feel like they don’t need any of that.  This is why the upside-down Kingdom was met with the crucifixion.

Jesus calls these two nobodies who are casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.  Notice what Jesus says to them.  Come on.  Let’s all stay together.  Follow me.  Jesus comes and proclaims, he says: Have your mind blown.  Repent.  Believe the gospel.  Turn back to me.  Place your faith, your trust, your hope, your allegiance.  Then hold me up to be true.  If he were a chair, he would say, “Sit in me.  Rest in me.  Put all of yourself into my care.”  And then he goes to some nobodies, and what does he say?  Come on.  He says it to you, to you, to you, to everybody.  Come on.  Follow me.  The Kingdom of God is near.  Here there is a beauty and justice and truth and mercy and a grace that you could never experience in the kingdoms of this world.  So follow me.  Jesus loves you so much. And his Kingdom is beautiful, wonderful.  It fills all the longings of our hearts. And it comes in its fullness in Jesus, who gives his life for you.  Jesus goes to a bunch of nobodies and he says, come on.

So. let’s do it.  Let’s follow Jesus.  Let’s walk the Jesus way.  And let’s serve one another and love one another as representatives of Jesus, as this church family strives to follow the Jesus way.  I know there’s a lot of confusion out there about what it means to be a Christian.  I know there’s a lot of crap out there and people using Jesus’s name to service their own kingdoms of this world.  But I’m here to tell you that this imperfect bunch of misfits, this is what we’re committed to — living the Kingdom now, following the Jesus way and inviting everybody, no matter who you are or where you’ve been — to come with us as we follow him.

Church family, I love you.  More importantly, Jesus loves you more than you could ever imagine.  Let me pray for us.

Lord, this good news is so good. We want to be a people who, with fidelity and truth, represent your will, to be your ambassadors.  

To live the Kingdom on Earth as it is in heaven.  

To be Kingdom people now.  

To experience your beauty, your truth, your grace, your forgiveness, your love, now present in our midst.  

And so, by the power of your spirit, Lord, we pray that you would convict us of sin.  

That we would be of people who find the spiritual discipline of repentance, having our minds blown, turning back to you.  

That we would find it to be sweet.  

That we would experience your grace in fresh ways in those spaces of repentance.  

That we would be a people who model that grace to one another, loving each other, just as you have loved us.  

By the power of your spirit, would you strengthen us to do that?  

Jesus, we love you.  It’s in your name we pray Amen.