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December 3, 2006 PM


MK 4:1-3 & 10-13

INTRO: Wonderful books have been written about the parables of Jesus. And no wonder. The parables contain important information about His kingdom and its nature. I am a "word picture" person. Present me with pages of text or hours of lecture and I am very likely not going to retain much of what is presented. But if you can provide me with an illustrative word picture, I will invariably retain more of the material. Jesus, too, was a "word picture" person. His teaching is literally filled with word pictures. Jesus might say, "Consider the lilies, how they grow," in order to teach a lesson about God's care for us. Or, He might say, "Ye are the light of the world," to teach disciples about the nature of their influence. Word pictures are more easily remembered than "cold" text! So, Jesus taught in parables.


A. Jesus is now teaching by the sea side

1. the synagogue had been open to Him for a time

2. but opposition was roused against Him by the religious leaders

3. so, He moves out of doors to the sea side to continue teaching

B. A boat for a pulpit?

1. the crowd around Him was great - surrounded, it's hard to be heard

2. but a little fishing boat lets him be separated ... and heard

3. the word of God should never be "tied" only to a building - in fact, we have become too building conscious (in my humble opinion)


A. What is a parable?

1. most of us define it as "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning"

2. a parable is simply a comparison from which truths are learned

3. "what is the kingdom like? well, it's like a farmer's planting seeds"

4. from the parable a truth about the kingdom is made plain

B. But the disciples wanted to know why He taught in parables

1. Mt 13:10 - "Why speakest thou unto them in parables?"

2. the answer might be in what He said at Mk 4:9 - "he that hath ears to hear, let him hear"

3. all who were present no doubt "physically" heard what He said

4. but were they really listening? where they hearing with ears attuned to spiritual things?

C. Mk 4:11,12 - Jesus gives His explanation

1. the disciples would understand the "mysteries" of the kingdom of God

2. they were His followers - they were already realizing that being His follower was different - they were may have wondered why some would believe, and others would not

3. others not accepting and following  Jesus would not understand parables

4. Jesus was the "embodiment" of the kingdom - only an intimacy with Him would permit one to see the great lessons of the parables

5. prejudice, tradition, ego are strong and blinding factors!

6. and so many then, and now, are kept from really seeing and hearing because of those very things

7. we long for honest and genuine searching hearts - teachable

D. The issue is so great - conversion and forgiveness of sins

1. notice Mk 4:12b - "...lest at any time they should be converted..."

2. it is not God's desire that any should be lost - but so many will be

3. and simply because they have closed their eyes to kingdom truths

E. Look for the meaning!

1. Mk 4:13 - even searching hearts needed help - but could see

2. in a way, this parable and its explanation were the "key" to understanding the other parables and word pictures of Jesus

3. the point He makes here is this: yes, it is an earthly story ... but look beyond the earthly story for the heavenly meaning - think! reflect! meditate!

CLOSE: Yes, Jesus taught in parables. And because He did, I am able to understand so many things about His kingdom I might not otherwise understand. Parables arrest my attention ... as they not doubt did the attention of the multitude by the seaside. Enjoy His parables ... and let their meanings affect your life.

Cecil A. Hutson

03 December 2006

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)