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December 9, 2007 PM


MK 9:30-37

INTRO: A teacher wants to communicate information in such a way that those to whom he communicates understand the message, the lesson. It is exciting when the teacher realizes that the student has comprehended and appropriated the lesson to himself. But it is disappointing when the teacher realizes those whom he has tried to teach have just not gotten the message. They may have heard the words, but there was no comprehension ... no internalizing. In his disappointment, however, a good teacher does not simply shrug his shoulders in dismay and give up on his students. He tries again to "get through" to his students. He perhaps seeks another illustration or example. Our text for this evening's thoughts give us a picture of a Teacher Whose students just did not understand.

    1. From Caesarea Philippi to Capernaum
      1. from the relative safety of Caesarea Philippi Jesus returns to Capernaum
      2. this journey He desired to make in privacy with His disciples
      3. there are times when crowds are not convenient to needs
    2. On this journey Jesus taught His disciples
      1. it was vital the apostles have careful instruction of kingdom information
      2. yes, the Holy Spirit would "remind" them - Jno 14:26
      3. public sermons, instruction is fine a & needed - but private teaching for clarification, for answering questions, for going deeper is necessary
    3. He taught them of his death and resurrection
      1. He has previously spoken of His death - Mk 8:31 & 9:11,12
      2. "Son of man" is a name by which Jesus spoke of Himself (Mt 16:13) - His reference to Himself would have been unmistakable notice
      3. "is delivered" - is this an oblique reference to Judas' betrayal
      4. Mt 26:14-16 - "...I will deliver him..." - for the price of a slave (Ex 21:32)
      5. of course, prophecy spoke of this betrayal - Ps 41:9
    4. But they did not understand ... and would not ask for clarification
      1. how could they not have understood? His words were plain
      2. was this just beyond their own thinking and ideas?
      3. was the idea of the death of the promised Messiah, the prophesied King, incomprehensible to them? (they finally "remembered" - Lk 24:7,8)
    1. Jesus knew that they'd been disputing among themselves as they traveled
      1. I can almost "see" them as they walk along talking in hushed tones
      2. heads together, motioning, changing walking partners
      3. it isn't hard to imagine how Jesus knew something was on their minds
    2. When He asked them about it, they "held their peace"
      1. were they afraid He'd rebuke them as He had Peter? - Mk 8:33
      2. or, were they embarrassed because of the subject?
      3. in either case, they simply didn't want to answer Him - their discussion tells me they still thought of the kingdom in very earthly, human terms
    3. So, Jesus taught one of the great lessons of the kingdom - 9:35
      1. He knew what they'd been discussing, disputing
      2. He called all of them to Him (all would hear at the same time) and "blew away" their conceptions of the kingdom
      3. "first" is not a prominent position, not a title, not rulership ... it is servanthood - but this is not a lesson well received even in the church today!
    4. His comments about receiving the child? 9:36,37
      1. a child is totally in need - cannot advance ones career - has no influence
      2. to receive such a person, to aid such a person, to serve such a person is both to receive and serve Christ
      3. Mt 25:40 - here is greatness in the kingdom of God

CLOSE: Did they now understand? There is no indication that they did ... at this point. But they did remember later. There are times when the teacher does not know that finally "the light dawned". Teachers may well leave the classroom believing they've done little good ... and do not get to see the great good they have done in a student's life as the student grows older. But a teacher keeps teaching ... as did Jesus.

Cecil A. Hutson

09 December 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)