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May 4, 2008 AM



JNO 18:39,40

INTRO: About the time I think I am ready to move on, I come face to face with the realization that there is more information than I can possibly cover in a single sermon study. So, I find myself digging a bit deeper into the events of the last hours of Jesus before His death. The various hearings before religious and civil leaders are recorded in all of the gospel records. Many have branded the "trial" of Jesus before the high priest and council "illegal". But the Pharisees and Sadducees were going to have their way, and wasted no time with real legalities. During these last hours, Jesus acknowledged that He is, indeed, the Son of God (Lk22:70), that He is, indeed, the Christ (Messiah) and that He is, indeed, the King (Jno 18:37). But I would like for us to think a while about the last hours.

    1. Pilate was the Roman governor ... the supreme authority for that place
      1. historically, Pilate was no great ruler - he was rabidly anti-Jew
      2. with that background, their bringing Jesus to him is a bit surprising
      3. Jno 18:28-32 - some thoughts?
        1. note: these holier than thou people did not want to defile themselves
        2. note: they did not want to be part of stoning Jesus according to custom
        3. note: v. 32 indicates their action was fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy
    2. Lk 23:1-4 - Pilate's first assessment
      1. notice how the enemies of Jesus misrepresented the truth - v. 2
      2. Mt 22:17-21 - here is what Jesus had really said about this issue
      3. Lk 23:5-7 - Pilate seemed very ready to rid himself of this troublesome matter - let Herod Antipas deal with it!
    1. Nazareth & Capernaum were in Herod's jurisdiction
      1. historically, there was no "love lost" between Pilate & Herod
      2. sending Jesus to Herod was perhaps a diplomatic overture
      3. see Lk 23:12 - this gesture seemed to be worthwhile for Pilate
    2. Lk 23:8-11 - The "hearing"?
      1. Herod was glad to see Jesus - he had great curiosity about Jesus
      2. but his questioning of Jesus brought him no satisfaction
      3. so, Herod and his men treated Jesus with contempt - back to Pilate
    1. Lk 23:13-16 - Neither Herod nor he found cause for execution in charges
      1. Pilate may have been cruel, unprincipled ... but not dumb
      2. he knew the charges against Jesus were spurious
      3. so, he would "chastise him, and release him"
    2. Mk 15:6-10 - Pilate's attempt to release Jesus
      1. the custom of the pass over was to release one prisoner
      2. Pilate knew that it was for envy Jesus was being accused
      3. v. 11 - but the chief priests insisted on release of Barabbas - a known insurrectionist and murderer!
    3. Mt 27:19 - Pilate's wife's dream
      1. we have no idea of the substance of her dream - it was disquieting!
      2. dreams to the pagan world were very significant - powerful influences
      3. Pilate would have been heavily influence by this dream
    4. Jno 19:1-5,12a - Pilate continued to try to release Jesus
      1. he had Jesus scourged thinking this would satisfy the Jews
      2. but the Jews continued their cry of "crucify him"
      3. Jno 19:10,11a - all of this was in keeping with God's plan, agenda!
      4. Jno 19:12b,15 - the Jews knew that Pilate was in a sort of political "box" - what if Caesar heard that Pilate had released "the King of the Jews"?
    5. Mt 27:24,25 - The symbolic act of washing his hands
      1. but the symbolic act could not absolve him of his part in this drama
      2. he simply lacked the moral courage to do the right thing - but tried to transfer the guilt to others
      3. when an issue is within our power to change, to decide, washing our hands of it does not absolve us of irresponsibility!!!
      4. Mk 15:15 - sad, sad words - "willing to content the people" ... how often is for no better reason than this we do what we should not?

CLOSE: And all of this was done for me! My sins caused the sinless Savior to suffer this unfairness, these indignities, this suffering. In honesty, I have read and reread these things many times in the past few weeks. And they have brought me to tears in the knowledge that someone loved me this much!

Cecil A. Hutson

04 May 2008

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)