As I preached through Philippians the last year and a half, I came to chapter 4, verses 8-9 a few months ago-
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Despite having taught on this passage many times over the years, not to mention translating it from Greek as part of my advanced Greek studies at Moody, I missed a profound application of this text. It struck me that thinking about whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, etc. has to refer most vividly to thinking about Christ. There is only one person that fits the description above- the Lord Jesus.
So, as I was coming to the end of Philippians I was praying about what to preach next. This passage basically says that thinking about "these things" will work toward the practicing of the various directions the Apostles gave. Thinking on Christ will help us be obedient. So, as we think about Jesus, we will be compelled to follow His commands and as a result, experience God's peace. This thought process led me to the gospels where the most vivid picture of Jesus is given. I want to study Jesus in 2011. Yes we study Jesus every time we open the text of Scripture, but for 2011 we are going to imagine being in the early first century crowd that witnessed Jesus while He was ministering on earth.
Which gospel? Well, I have already preached through John in my time at Redeemer. I refer to Matthew and Luke constantly (and will get to those as an exposition some day, Lord willing). That leaves Mark. So Mark it is. Probably the oldest gospel account and the swiftest moving.
We are going to think about Christ as we study Him in the gospel of Mark in 2011 at Redeemer. I am putting the finishing touches on sermon #1 right now. May God be honored and His people edified.