Sometimes an extended sermon series on one book of the Bible is a great way to help people dig deeply into scripture and understand the larger scope of the biblical narrative. At Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tenn. (http://www.gcomchurch.com), we spent most of this past summer in the book of Mark with a series called Defiance: Challenge the Norm, focusing on Jesus' radical way of defying social norms and religious traditions as described by Mark. Ten weeks of preaching highlighted some of the main stories and themes from the gospel, and a nine-week reading plan encouraged everyone to read the complete book of Mark over that same time period.
See the series outline below and the downloadable reading guide to help your church dig deep into the Gospel of Mark and discover how Jesus demonstrates and calls us to a defiant faith. You can watch each message from Pastors Ron Edmondson and Chad Rowland at the Grace website.
Sermon Series Outline
Week 1: A Sinner's Party (Mark 2:13-17)
Jesus spent time with people that "respectable" religious leaders wouldn't go near. Defying social convention, He showed us how to love everyone, regardless of status or reputation.
Week 2: The Other Side (Mark 4:35-41)
Jesus challenged His disciples, and sets the example for us today, that a growing faith and dependence on Him is part of being a follower of Christ.
Week 3: Not in this Town (Mark 6:1-6)
The most difficult place to live out our faith is often in the places where people know us the best. Even Jesus ran into this in his hometown. One of the most unbelieving communities was His own. Why is this true, and how should we respond?
Week 4: When Religion Gets in the Way of God (Mark 7:1-23)
What do we do when we realize that our traditions have become as important to us as our faith? When our rituals are more important than our worship? When religion gets in the way of God?
Week 5: Feeding the Multitudes... Again (Mark 8:1-10)
The crowds were so eager to hear what Jesus had to say, their passion was stronger than their desire for food... their desire to be comfortable. What are you willing to sacrifice to follow Jesus? What is most comfortable that would be the most difficult to give up?
Week 6: The Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-31)
This man knew all the commandments and had kept them since he was a boy, but when Jesus told him what it would take to inherit eternal life, he went away discouraged. If you ask God what to do in order to grow in your faith and obedience, be prepared for a challenging call.
Week 7: Inside Out (Mark 11:12-14, 20-24; 13:28-3)
What we see on the outside is not always what is most important in life. God wants to transform us from the inside out. Our next step might not be something anyone will see.
Week 8: Priceless (Mark 14: 1-11)
We place price tags on things, people, and goals. But what if God has a different pricing system? What if God places great value on the things we label “cheap?” And what if God labels “cheap” the things we value the most?
Week 9: Bittersweet (Mark 14:13-2)
On what should have been a night of celebration, Jesus chose to have his most sobering conversation with His followers. It became a defining moment for them. And every time we remember that night, it has the power to become a defining moment for us.
Week 10: Concluding Thoughts (Mark 14:50-52, 16:1-8)
We conclude by looking at how Jesus' disciples responded to his arrest and later his resurrection. True discipleship is a challenge, but it's part of being a growing follower of Christ.