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June 17, 2007 PM


MK 6:45-56

INTRO: From the incident in our text has come an expression one might hear of another. "They believe he walks on water." The expression is used for the most part, I think, as a compliment. It suggests the high regard in which one is held by others. However, it may be used in a derogatory sense, too. It might be suggestive of a person's pride and ego ... "He thinks he can walk on water." The fact is that Jesus did walk on water. And, by the way, Peter did, too (according to Matthew's account of this event). True, Peter may not have walked for long on the water, but he did for a time. There are, I accept, some things about this event which I may not understand this side of eternity. But there is wonderful comfort and assurance here, too.

    1. Jesus has just fed the 5000 with five loaves and two little fish
    2. The people recognize that Jesus is the prophet of Deut 18:15
    3. Jesus perceived their desire to make him a king (Jno 6:15)
      1. Galilee was a place of intense nationalism
      2. and scripture had certainly spoken of a coming king - lineage of David
      3. this was not, however, the sort of King prophesied in scripture
    4. Jesus did three things (Mk 6:45,46):
      1. He sent the apostles to their boat and back to the other side of the sea
      2. He sent the people away - he needed to disperse the crowd before something inappropriate to Jesus' purpose could happen
      3. He went into a mountain to pray
    1. The apostles were apparently in trouble on the sea
      1. the "wind was contrary" - they were rowing into the wind
      2. Matthew tells us the sea was "tossed with waves" (Mt 14:24)
      3. and Jesus "saw them toiling in rowing" - how He was able to see them in the midst of the sea in the dark of night may be a question ... but here is one of the first great assurances - Jesus, our helper, sees and knows our troubles!
    2. Between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. - "the fourth watch" (6:48)
      1. I assume, therefore, the apostles had been on the sea a good while
      2. since distance to Bethsaida was only a few miles, it was very rough going
      3. it was during this fourth watch that Jesus "went unto them" (Mt 14:25)
    3. Mark notes "and would have passed by them"
      1. did he not intend to help them? of course, he went to help them
      2. was his seeming to be willing to pass them by a means of His teaching them dependence on Him?
      3. does the context suggest the apostles have not yet comprehended? (probably, so ... they have seen the miracle, but they have not yet fully realized that Jesus is Deity in the flesh)
    4. When the apostles saw Jesus, they thought they saw a ghost! (6:49)
      1. it was most assuredly an expected sight ... and it was dark and stormy
      2. they were tired (the day had been long), weary (toiling), frightened
      3. this added to their fright, and they "cried out" - screamed!!!
    5. Jesus immediately spoke to them - "it is I; be not afraid"
      1. one writer noted "it is I" is literally "I am" - so, Ex 3:14
      2. are Jesus' words intended to bring them to full realization?
      3. the more I read this account in view of 6:52, the more I think this is exactly what is happening here
    6. It was at this point that Peter stepped out of the boat - Mt 14:28,29
      1. Peter was often the impetuous one ... not unlike many of us
      2. we often criticize Peter for "sinking" ... but he did step out of the boat
      3. so much could be accomplished by disciples will to leave their comfort zones ... willing to launch out in faith
    7. When Jesus entered to boat (ship), "the wind ceased" (6:51)
      1. v. 52 is, I think, a key to understanding some things about this event
      2. but the great and comforting truth is that with Jesus there are answers
      3. the answers might not be immediately apparent and the wind may blow for a while, but with great faith there is hope for calm

CLOSE: Arriving in the land of Gennesaret, the crowds once again began to surround Jesus. Where ever He went, the sick were brought into the streets ... if perhaps they could touch "but the border of his garment" (6:56). Mark tells us "as many as touched him were made whole". Jesus wants to help us. But do we have the faith to depend on Him?

Cecil A. Hutson

17 June 2007

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)