The Golden Nugget and the Mocking Bird

How much religious effort today is done in the name of Christ and the
church for personal gain, for personal profit, and for personal status.  
Greed has hit the religious organizations in America like it has hit big
business and government.  Many man-made religious organizations
clamor for your recognition, support, and allegiance, but the good news is
that you can join the kingdom of God quite independent of them.  In fact,
that is the way it was originally set up by God through Christ.  The effort
of this book is dedicated to “the one” not in the fold of the kingdom of
God.  (Matthew 18:10-14)  You might call the existing kingdom of God on
earth an “underground” organism, not exactly an organization like so
many other organizations for which Americans have the knack.  Even as
during the time of the Prophet Elijah, unknown to Elijah and the official
religious organization of his day, and according to God Himself, He had
reserved 7,000 to Himself for His own kingdom of that time, “who had
not bowed down the knee to Baal” (I Kings 19:18). While local churches
and denominations struggle to be like the “general assembly {church} of
the firstborn who are registered in heaven” (Hebrews 12:23), it is this
underground kingdom of Christ that comes closer to being like the church
written in heaven.  Christ in His original teachings had far more to say
about the kingdom of God than of “church”, and there are many good
reasons for that.  Also there are many good reasons why today the
opposite is true:  you hear far more about church, churches, and
denominations than you do about the kingdom of God and of heaven.  
Yet our goal is not to fight battles with those man-made churches and
denominations except to the extent that we must in order to win more
allegiance for the kingdom of Christ and God, in order to reach that one
of the seven thousand.

“If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does
he not leave the ninety-nine and to the mountains to seek the one
that is straying?”  (Matthew 18:12)

GIST:  To present for your consideration the Golden Nugget “of
things pertaining to the kingdom of God”. (Acts 1:3)

GOLDEN NUGGET is an upgrade to CUP OF WATER.  CUP had the
expressed goal to “extend the influence of Christ”, while the nugget goes
beyond Christ as the gate into the kingdom of God {and this is stated
respectfully with full awareness that “at the name of Christ every knee
should bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of
God of the Father”}, getting beyond sentimental, soft, superficial, and
subverted Christologies {images of Christ rather than the real Christ as
the narrow gate to God the Father and the kingdom}, to that God and the
kingdom that He established.  In your reading of the Bible, did you miss
in Daniel 2:44 that “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom”?

“And in the days of these kings {kings of the Roman Empire} the
God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be
destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall
break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand
forever.”  (Daniel 2:44)

IF YOU DESIRE TO BE PART OF ETERNAL HISTORY THAT
STARTS RIGHT NOW AND ON THIS EARTH IN THE NOW, THEN
YOU MUST AT ALL COST FIND AND SECURE “THE GOLDEN
NUGGET” OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, and that nugget is also a seed
of faith, like the mocking bird with 17 different songs, there are  many
possible seeds of faith.  We will in this study of the book of Mark try to
find your golden nugget, that single seed of faith that will get the hook of
God inside your soul to begin your own personal journey into the kingdom
of God, a journey that can start today and which has the assurance to last
for eternity; and the bonus, WITH GOD.  Since it is God’s kingdom {and
by the way not just any “God”, but the God of heaven}, as your golden
nugget is attained you not only get God but also the kingdom of God.  In
fact, from this study to come of the Gospel of Mark, you will find that
God and the kingdom are inseparable.
Like the many songs of the mocking bird, and like the many seeds of faith
that can create in you kingdom citizenship, many approaches to faith in
Christ as the gate to God and the kingdom, will be tried for compatibility
with you, knowing that even as these approaches like Christianity itself
have been tested and proven with time, you may find one that particularly
suits your preference.  There is:  the Christian philosophy approach like
from Elton Truebood; there is the Christian apologetic approach like from
Bernard Ramm in THE CHRISTIAN VIEW OF SCIENCE AND
RELIGION; there is the Christian evidences approach like from Simon
Greenleaf, former dean of the Harvard Law School and noted authority
on legal evidence {who stated that the testimony of the four evangelists--
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John--would stand up in any court of law}, and
Irwin Linton, and a host of others; there is the WHY IS CHRISTIANITY
TRUE approach of E. Y. Mullins; there is the EVOLUTION IN SCIENCE
AND RELIGION approach of R. A. Millikan, Noble prize winning physicist
for proving that there is a discrete particle called the electron; there is the
classical approach of Christian evidences which starts with proofs for the
Bible as the Word of God--divine in origin, absolute in authority, and
sufficient in message, like in McClendon Days THE WONDER OF THE
WORD, or proofs for God like from 40 believing scientists in EVIDENCE
OF GOD IN AN EXPANDING UNIVERSE, a further development of the
even more classical “all this minute design of the universe for the benefit
of man demand a Great Designer” {one of my favorites}, or thirdly in the
classical tenor of the evidences is the proofs that Jesus is the Christ, the
Son of God.
The Gospel writers started this last classical approach to prove to the
world that Jesus was, and is, the Promised Messiah of the Old
Testament, the Greek word for which is “Christ”; and that indeed this very
Jesus of Nazareth born in the first century and in the part of the Roman
Empire called Palestine, working His ministry and leaving many indelible
marks on history, is the very Son of God.  It was, according to the
Prophet Daniel, this very Lord Jesus Christ {later we will want to discuss
the meanings of each of these three names as Mark does in his Gospel,
and the other evangelists in their own concurring testimonies}, that God
used in the first century of the Roman Empire to from “heaven” to set up
His own kingdom that would start very small like a “gain of mustard seed”
then grow into a much larger and most importantly, an everlasting
kingdom.
Perhaps in your searches for just the right nugget of faith, you have
overlooked the fact that the Gospel writers started this classical approach
of evidence in order to engender faith in Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ,
the Messiah, and as the Lord of this kingdom of and from the God of
heaven; and even that these four Evangelists {actually six as we must
include the efforts by Paul and Peter as recorded in the Bible to engender
faith that “faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of
things not seen” and “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the
Holy Spirit”} learned like so many other things about the kingdom and
God from the Christ Jesus Himself.
1.  Christ while on earth and among men of Palestine and of
sophisticated religion sought nuggets of faith in Himself as the Son of
God via Evidences.  Jesus like is recorded in John 5:31-47 made the
classical evidential appeal to four witness:  that of John the Baptist (5:
33); the works, signs, and miracles that God the Father gave Jesus to do
and perform on this earth (5:36); God the Father Himself testified that
Jesus is His Son with the words of “This is My beloved Son, listen to
Him” {John 5:37 on the fourfold witness and Mark 1:11 at the baptism of
Jesus by John the Baptist and Mark 9:7 at the Mount of Transfiguration};
and the Old Testament Scriptures, that these same sophisticated
religious had in their possession and which was their basis for
expectations of “eternal life”, these same Scriptures often and in many
ways, generally and in great detail, testified or witnessed to Jesus as the
Christ, the Son of God (John 5:39).

“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal
life; and these are they which testify of Me.”  (John 5:39)

NOTE:  do not let your search of Bible, Old and New Testament, lead
you into false expectation of eternal life apart from the Lord Jesus
Christ as the gate to God and the kingdom.  In short, there are a lot
of pearls or nuggets that glisten and glow, that historical like with the
majority of these religious Jews, lead men down other broad paths
that lead to destruction rather than through the narrow gate of Jesus
into the kingdom and the eternal presence of God.  {In this study of
Mark plus--you will find much more than Mark here, starting with
much from Daniel and II Timothy--we must consider from Daniel and
from other Old Testament Scriptures, the prediction that most of the
Jews of Jesus’ day and the “day of desolation” of Daniel, called the
very day of desolation because the majority of this nation of God’s
people would not and could not believe in Christ as the means
provided by God; and further from Mark how the majority never find
the way to Christ, only a few go the narrow way that leads to life
everlasting.}
2.  The Apostle John near the end of the first century and having in his
possession the testimony of the other evangelists, as well as all the other
22 books of the New Testament {John wrote the last five books of the 27
books of the New Testament}, carefully chose 7 miracles to make a very
evidential approach to prove that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; but
not for academic and theoretical reason in order to justify Christianity, but
rather in order that men might (1) believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son
of God (John 20:31a); and (2) that “believing” with continuous faith might
have everlasting life in His name (John 20:31b)   {Another step in a fuller
definition of Jesus as the gate into the kingdom and into the presence of
God the Father.}
3.  Dr. Luke makes evident in the two books he wrote {by the way also
based on manuscripts and influence left by the Apostle Paul as was also
the case of John Mark and the Gospel of Mark, in particular the many Old
Testament quotes which we will look at in this condensed study of Mark},
Luke and Acts, that “witnesses”, evidence, and proofs were a stated goal
of writing.
(1).  Introduction to the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:1-4).
“Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of
those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who
from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word
delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect
understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an
orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the
certainty of those things in which you were instructed.”  (Luke 1:1-4)
(2).  Introduction to the book of Acts (Acts 1:1-3).
“The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began
both to do and teaching, until the day in which He was taken up,
after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the
apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself
alive after His sufferings by many infallible proofs, being seen by
them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the
kingdom of God.”  (Acts 1:1-3)
NOTE:  Did you notice what Jesus spoke to His disciples about
during those last critical 40 days on earth?  “pertaining to the
kingdom of God”.
4.  Mark, well Mark the shortest and therefore the most terse and
condensed version of the Gospel, well Mark just told the story of Jesus;
and maybe you will like it best as we begin the search for you nugget of
faith.  However, although Mark as at the forefront in this Bible study,
behind Mark and referenced often is the rest of the 66 books of the Word
of God, the Bible.
John Mark...you will enjoy his narrative, sort of like a layman like you and
me.  A city boy from Jerusalem, but related to Simon Peter, and one who
as a youth admired the fisherman and followed in his boats, “boat” found
significantly in the Gospel of Mark and “Peter”, not an Apostle but a
disciple of Jesus who both followed after Jesus even in the Garden
where during the arrest of Jesus he fled naked, one influenced by Paul in
an aborted missionary journey and yet who Paul found “profitable to me
for the ministry”, leaving to John Mark several manuscripts for the writing
of the Gospel of Mark, a list of Old Testament quotes and the testimony
of Simon Peter to Christ.
Why not consider the Kingdom of God?
Church or classical Christianity does not interest you!  However you do
have some interest in God and the Bible, it is now presented for your
personal consideration THE KINGDOM OF GOD as originally set up by
Christ in the first century.  
{not to be confused with those pests that
come to your door periodically to discuss watchtower, Jehovah
without a Christ, and the kingdom hall, perhaps that is one reason
that modern preachers are so reluctant to talk about the kingdom.}
It was not so in the beginning of Christianity.  Granted according to some
of the first words of the first chapter of Mark, that historical point which
marks the beginning of Christ’s ministry in Galilee, Jesus came
“preaching the gospel” like most preachers preach today in one form or
another; but unlike today, Jesus started His ministry by “preaching the
gospel of the kingdom”. (Mark 1:14)  Of course preachers today could
not preach exactly the same message of the kingdom as Jesus did, “The
time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15) because
that time of history, the first century, has been fulfilled for almost two
thousand years; and the kingdom of God about to be established on
earth during that thirtieth year of the life of Christ, and the first year of His
ministry, has been established on earth and in heaven for that same
almost two thousand years.
Have we lost our interest in the “kingdom of God” with Christ as the
gateway in favor of churches, denominations, and something very vague
called Christianity?  Certainly our pulpit messages no longer sound like
Jesus on the kingdom or the Apostles of Christ like Peter, James, and
John.  That very critical 40 days when Jesus had already completed His
mission of salvation for the world through the crucifixion and resurrection,
Dr. Luke in the introduction to the history in the book of Acts tells us that
the prime subject He spoke to the Apostles during that important and last
40 days was “of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God”  (Acts 1:3).
How about a revival with a new twist, one that is as old as the ministry of
Christ, one “OF THINGS PERTAINING TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD”.  
Prayerfully in this introduction to the GOLDEN NUGGET, you have
generated some interest in these “things pertaining to the kingdom of
God”, what these THINGS are.  Surely you realize that you haven’t heard
them before; for there was no one there to present them to you like Jesus
and the Apostles did, and if you did not hear a comparable emphasis
from Christians and preachers on the kingdom, then certainly you did not
also hear about those THINGS that pertain to the kingdom of God and of
Christ.  Take 40 days to catch up on what Jesus taught the Apostles on
these THINGS pertaining to the kingdom of God, which you must do
naturally by looking into what these Apostles taught since Dr. Luke does
not literally record those specific things in Acts 1 about those 40 day
teachings of Jesus on the kingdom; and then take 9 months to let God
work the new birth in your life.  Please during that 40 days consider Mark
and this GOLDEN NUGGET book as a focus on “things pertaining to the
kingdom of God”.  (Acts 1:3)  And during the process, we will explain to
you how Mark and Luke, not Apostles of Christ, fell under the guidance of
the Apostle Paul, chief editor of the New Testament, in the writing of 3
books of the New Testament.