They want their ears tickled and made to feel “good,” Hell will be full of these people
By Donald Whitchard
Matthew 12:15-21, Mark 3:7-12
Summary: Mark 3: 7-12 presents a broad summary of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ thus far, getting the attention of three groups of people; those who are committed to Him; those who are curious about Him, and those who are hostile. Where do you stand?
The five verses that are presented here have been described by noted pastor and author John MacArthur as “a sweeping summary” of Jesus’ work, describing the growing impact of the LORD’S ministry among His people and those outside of Judea. By now, multitudes are following Him, some out of devotion and some out of curiosity to be seen as the latest person of interest bound for eventual obscurity. The evil spirits that roam the earth and the area have been cast out with a mere word from the LORD, such is His authority, power, and majesty as God in the flesh. Within these verses we find the Disciples (vv. 7, 9), the great multitude (vv.7-10), and the evil unclean spirits (vv.11-12). Everyone listed here responded to the words and work of Jesus in one of three distinct ways, and this is what we concentrate on throughout this message.
First, we have the committed, specifically the disciples of the Lord Jesus. At this point in His ministry He had called Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Matthew, each of whom answered the call to follow the LORD (Mark 1:16-20, 2:14). They offered their services to Him, such as preparing a boat for Him (v. 9), and learning from Jesus how to preach the Gospel (vv. 13, 14). There have been and still are those countless and often anonymous followers of Jesus who lovingly serve Him by offering their energy and resources, developing a Christ-like attitude as they work for Him using the gifts and talents He has graciously given them for the edification of the brethren and the spread of the Gospel message (1 Peter 1:10-11; 2 Peter 1:5-11). Whether noted or obscure, all who are in Christ will be judged by Him for their service and be rewarded (2 Corinthians 5:10) in the glory of heaven.
The next group concerns the curious, some of whom need healing, and some who just want to see a miracle without surrendering their lives to Jesus. To them, He is little more than a moment’s diversion and source of entertainment. They wanted to see a show, so to speak, but not stay to hear the teachings and call for repentance that Jesus proclaimed. Things have not changed in two thousand years. Today’s curious bunch are like indecisive buyers, wasting time “kicking the tires” and never committing to a message or product. This is one reason I am personally opposed to “seeker sensitive” church services and messages. No one really seeks after the true and living God and His demands (Romans 3:10-18), and no service should ever be designed to make an unsaved individual feel “comfortable” or be tailored to their “felt needs” as if their feelings dictated how Almighty God should cater to them. When faced with the demands Jesus expects of anyone who would follow Him, they will be gone and never heard from again (Matthew 10:34-39; Mark 4:16-19; Luke 14:25-33; John 2:23-25).
There are also those individuals who come to the house of God because of genuine guilty feelings that they are not able to overcome. They know that something is truly missing in their lives, but do not want to hear that their only hope is to turn to Jesus. They want their ears tickled and made to feel “good” (Matthew 7:26, 13:19; 2 Timothy 4:3-4; James 1:23-24). Hell will be full of these people. They were not necessarily hostile to God, but never wanted to commit to Him either. Commitment and responsibility are dirty words in these times. If you are reading this message and you know good and well that I have just described you, the time to quit playing games with your eternal soul is right now, friend. Now is the time to quit being indecisive or attempt to somehow “sit on the fence” when it comes to surrendering your life to Jesus Christ. Make up your mind (1 Kings 18:21). Either Jesus is Lord and Savior or He is not. Your decision will determine your eternal destination, and once you are dead, there is no second chance, “do-over” or “reset” (Luke 16:19-31; 2 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 20:11-15).
The last group who responded to Jesus did so out of fear and trembling, fully aware that their time is coming to an end and there is no hope of reconciliation, restitution, or redemption for them. These are the evil spirits (vv.11-12), or fallen angels who had at one time enjoyed fellowship with the LORD in heaven and dedicated themselves to giving Him all glory and worship. Lucifer, the mightiest of God’s angels, became prideful, arrogant, and started a failed rebellion against God’s rule in heaven (Isaiah 14:7-12) and had persuaded a third of these angelic beings to join in the rebellion. Now they were all cast out of heaven and inevitably doomed to an eternity of punishment in hell, created especially for them (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:1-10). Now known as demons, they assist their evil master in attempting to thwart the plans of God and deceive people away from the offer of salvation He has provided to all who will come to Christ. However, they are terrified of the LORD (James 2:19) and must submit to Him always (Mark 1:21-27, 3:11), begging to not be tormented before their time (Matthew 8:28; Mark 1:24). they also recognize that Jesus is Lord (Luke 4:41), but it does them no good as their fate is now forever sealed with no hope of redemption. There have been people throughout history who have lived for the devil and have followed his evil, malicious, and destructive ways, leaving trails of carnage, suffering, murder, oppression, and fear among those whom they came against. Twentieth century dictators such as Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Kim Il Sung, and the Ayatollahs of Iran have stained their countries red with the blood of over 100 million people (that we know of) and littered their lands with the graves of the innocent, no matter the age, gender, religion, or status. These reprobates, perverse, and apostates of all time (Romans 1:18-32, 3:10-18; Hebrews 6:4-6) will share hell with the demons and Satan for all eternity when God’s final judgment comes down like a fire on this wicked world.
People from all walks of life fall into one of these three groups. The day of reckoning is fast approaching and you will either be committed to Jesus Christ, indifferent, or reject Him altogether. Where do you come in? Today is the day to get that settled.
Donald was born and reared in the authentic Cajun country of south Louisiana. He is a 1978 graduate of LaGrange High School in Lake Charles. He is also a graduate of Louisiana College (B.A. in History Education, 1984), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1994) and Andersonville Theological Seminary (Doctor of Ministry, 2000). He is an ACPE Certified Chaplain with training in Trauma/ER, NICU, and Psychiatric Pastoral Care from the McFarland Institute in New Orleans (2003). He has over thirty years of ministry service, which concluded when he was called to serve as pastor of Meadowbrook Baptist Church in Muskogee, Oklahoma from 2017-2018. Due to health concerns, he retired from public ministry in 2020 and now devotes his time to internet evangelism through the writing of Bible studies, sermons, and articles on current issues for varied Christian webpages and ministries. He is a regular contributor to sites such as Rapture Ready and Sermon Central as well as Inspirational Christian Blogs. He and his wife Cathy are both active members of Eastern Heights Baptist Church in Muskogee. Don will often serve as a panel member of the Gospel Rescue Mission Pastor’s Round Table Broadcast, shown monthly on the mission’s Facebook page as his health allows. He has a personal evangelistic blog as well and can be contacted at his Email address.