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Crowds and Popularity

CROWDS AND POPULARITY                –           Mark 3: 7-12

If you will look through the passage that was read one of the things you will notice is that Jesus has apparently become a “celebrity.”

Three times in this passage there are references to the “multitude” of people that are round Him.

And I want you to notice the way that Mark describes these crowds. In the passage that we just read, in verse 9, the word “crowd or multitude”?

And notice vs. 10…where it says that they “pressed about Him?”

Mark describes these crowds as “mobs, throngs, or riots.”

Now, some of us would look at this and say, “Wow, this is great!”

And the fact of the matter is, today, some preachers are out to achieve this very thing…they want status and popularity.

And yet, Jesus didn’t.

What most people would relish…Jesus seems to be unimpressed with.

Well, I think Mark tells us.

Now, as we look at this we are also going to see what it is in people that Jesus really wants…and hopefully that will help some of you as you consider your commitment to Christ.

One reason Jesus was not impressed with the popularity and crowds was the MISPLACED EMPHASIS.

Look at chapter 2. In this chapter Mark heals a paralytic man who has been lowered down in front of Him by some friends.

And modern religion is falling prey to this.

And so, to keep the crowds, “Don’t worry so much about what you teach!’

And one of the things we see today is more and more churches putting emphasis on entertainment than on teaching and preaching the word.

Now, don’t misunderstand me…I agree to some extent…no one wants to be bored to death.

But when we feel like we have to come up with bigger and more entertaining ways in order to keep people coming instead of preaching the word and then letting the word convict the hearer as to whether or not they will come…then we are in trouble.

I am concerned that we have a generation today that is looking more for entertainment than they are the truth of God’s word.

The second danger that comes with crowds and popularity is IMPROPER TOLERANCE.

If you will notice, in almost every crowd that Jesus deals with, there were demons who were always willing to give their testimony to the deity of Jesus.

But today, one way to remain popular is to be indifferent to who follows you…and to be indifferent to what they do….and to be in different to what they say…and to let the people believe what they want to believe…no matter if it is wrong!

Some of the fastest growing churches today, with some of the biggest crowds, are indifferent to doctrine.

But Jesus wasn’t that way.

And the point is this: Numbers were not so important to Jesus that He was IMPROPERLY TOLERANT or improperly indifferent to who the people were or what they were doing.

And then a third danger that comes with crowds and popularity is SHALLOW IMPACT.

13 And He went up to the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. 14 And He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach, 15 and to have authority to cast out the demons. 16 And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter), 17 and James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means, “Sons of Thunder”); 18 and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot; 19 and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

Did you notice why He called these 12. He called them to do two things. Look again at verse 14:

The second thing He called them to do in vs. 14: “That He might send them out to preach and to have authority to cast out demons.”

And what you find is, the mixture you have in these verses is the same mixture you have today.

And to help you decide which group you might be in, let me suggest 3 ways to distinguish the two.

  1. Crowds prefer to be entertained. Disciples prefer to be trained.
    1. Are you frustrated if you come to church on Sunday and you didn’t think the show was very good?
    2. Or are you frustrated if you are not growing into the likeness of Christ by coming to church.
    3. Do you come to watch the show…or to grow?
    4. This is one difference between the crowds and those who are disciples.
  1. Crowds prefer to be anonymous. Disciples prefer to be accountable.

Then the third way to tell which group you are in is: Crowds prefer to be served. Disciple prefer to be sent.

Which group do you belong too? Do you just belong to the crowd? Or are you a disciple?

We all want big churches…we all want a full auditorium…but you do not avoid preaching commitment so the room will stay full of the uncommitted.

Jesus did not come to draws crowds.