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September 9, 2007 PM


MK 7:31-37

INTRO: One of the things I notice about the gospel of Mark is the fact that it does not give particular attention to the passing of time. In the verses before us this evening we are simply told that Jesus journeyed from Tyre to the area called Decapolis. There is no mention of the time involved in such a journey or of any mention of teaching and preaching along the way on this journey. One has suggested that this journey may have taken as long as eight months. But we cannot be certain of that since there is little or no reference to time here. (Mark was concerned about action ... not time.) It was certainly not though, in those days, a Sunday afternoon stroll in the park. It was a journey of considerable distance without the advantage of speedy travel we enjoy today.

    1. "Decapolis" - the region of ten cities
      1. a region to the east of the Sea of Galilee
      2. the region of the man living in the cemetery (Mk 5:20)
      3. an area predominantly Greek ... but many Jews lived in the area
      4. an area which had probably heard, because of the news of the casting out of the demons in the "cemetery man", much about Jesus
    2. So, it's no surprise that friends brought a man with health problems to Jesus
      1. the man was deaf and had a speech impediment
      2. since he could at least speak to some degree, his deafness was acquired
      3. such maladies as this would be great social difficulties
      4. to have such concerned friends as this was (and is) a great blessing
    3. Their desire? "to put his hand upon him"
      1. I assume that the touch of the hand was a way in which blessings were believed to come
      2. notice Mt 8:3 and 8:15 for examples of Jesus touching as He healed
      3. Jesus, as you read of Him in the gospels, often touched people
      4. touching was, of course, not the actual means of healing ... the power of Jesus was in His being Deity
    4. Let's think about the touching for a moment or two...
      1. touching may have been a means of identifying with a person
      2. touching may have signaled a personal interest - even affection
      3. a fact about Jesus - He would touch the "untouchable"!
      4. a touch continues to be a strong "nonverbal" communication
    1. Jesus first took the man aside from the multitudes
      1. why? there is not explicit reason given
      2. may it have been to keep from making a spectacle of the man? to keep him from personal embarrassment?
      3. might it have been that Jesus wanted His teaching to be the emphasis?
      4. or, could it have been necessary for Jesus to "communicate" to him?
    2. Mk 7:33b,34 give us some distinct "symbols" involved with communicating
      1. putting fingers in the man's ears, touching his tongue told the man Jesus was concerned with the specific problems the man possessed
      2. looking up to heaven communicates the source of the blessing - prayer
      3. the sigh may have spoken of Jesus' sympathy with such maladies
      4. "be opened" (Aramaic) - simple words of command - nothing elaborate
    3. Immediately, the man's maladies were healed
      1. keep in mind that "straightway" or, "immediately" are typical to Mark
      2. years of difficulty and embarrassment are overcome in an instant
      3. Matthew's gospel notes a variety of "healings" in this region (Mt 15:30)
      4. why Mark chose just this one instance we do not know - but he did, and the detail he gives to it adds to its credibility
    1. Jesus wanted them not to tell others of this miracle
      1. however, such things as this seemed impossible to contain
      2. the more Jesus insisted on their not telling, the more they told it!
    2. The assessment of the people - "He hath done all things well"
      1. but note the next words in Mk 7:37 - a quotation from prophecy
      2. Isa 35:5,6 - they quote a clearly Messianic prophecy
      3. doubtless, these were Jews - and they saw in Jesus the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophetic words
      4. perhaps this was the reason for Mark's specifically recording this miracle
      5. although they saw the situation as "Messianic" in nature, there is no evidence that great throngs actually became disciples
      6. is it possible to see ... and not see? oh, yes

CLOSE: I particularly appreciate the words, "He hath done all things well."  As expansive as that statement is, I especially think of it in terms of my salvation. He has provided perfectly for my atonement, for my direction, for my assurance. How blest I am to have a Savior who does all things well!

Cecil A. Hutson

09 September 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)