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May 11, 2008 AM



LK 23:33 - MT 27:33

INTRO: The trials, such as they were, have been completed. Pilate has tried numerous times to find a way to release Jesus. But political pressure was too great, and he yielded to the demands of the enemies of Jesus ... knowing full well that Jesus was not guilty of any crime worthy of death. The words "willing to content the people" (Mk 15:15) are some of the saddest words I know. But they give great insight into the mind of Pilate ... and into the mind of human nature. So, Pilate released the murderer Barabbas and "delivered Jesus to their will" (Lk 23:25). All of this is taking place early on Friday morning. They took Jesus to the place of execution ... Golgotha, or Calvary (both words have in them the meaning "skull").

    1. Mt 27:26-31 - "...and when he had scourged Jesus..."
      1. I will not go into the details of a Roman scourging
      2. needless to say, it was a horrible form of physical torture
      3. historians tell us that many died from the scourging
    2. "Then the soldiers..."
      1. a robe of scarlet on Jesus - and a crown of thorns - a reed for a scepter
      2. in mockery they bowed before Him - "hail, King of the Jews!"
      3. with total disdain they spat upon Him
    1. Mt 27:32 - "...him they compelled to bear his cross"
      1. likely, this was the cross member of the Roman cross
      2. Jesus was certainly in a weakened condition - help was needed
      3. Roman soldiers could press people into service with the tap of a spear
    2. Who was this Simon of Cyrene?
      1. Mk 15:21 - suggests that in later days he was known to disciples
      2. he was coming to Jerusalem for the Passover - just an innocent traveler
      3. in later days, however, he could rejoice that he had been so favored!
    1. Jno 19:18 - "...Golgotha: where they crucified him..."
      1. again, there is no need for me to engage in the horrific details
      2. Romans developed crucifixion to an "art form" - some live for a week!
      3. I am remembering Gal 3:13 - cut off from the land and from God!
      1. the "accusation" to be placed on the cross - in three languages
      2. interestingly, Jewish leadership did not like this inscription - "change it"
      3. Pilate would not change what he had written - a last bit of contempt for those who had insisted that Jesus be crucified
    1. Jno 19:23,24 - "...Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it..."
      1. clothing of the victim belonged to the soldiers - four soldiers involved
      2. we note Ps 22:18 - this fulfilled prophecy
    2. Lk 23:32,39-43 - "And there were also two other, malefactors..."
      1. according to what one of them said, they were guilty, deserving
      2. "saved like the thief on the cross" - a profound failure to understand the covenants - the thief died subject to the first covenant ... and Mt 9:6
    3. Mt 27:54 - "...Truly this was the Son of God"
      1. doubtless, this experienced Roman soldier had seen many die
      2. but he had never seen one die as did Jesus - and the eclipse, the earthquake and such lent emphasis to his conclusion
    4. Jno 19:25-27 - "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother..."
      1. all four gospels record the presence of this group of women
      2. in one of Jesus' last words He entrusts His mother to John
    1. There were seven famous sayings from Jesus on the cross
      1. some are better known than others
      2. a great piece of music: "The Seven Last Words Of Christ"
    2. Of them...
      1. Lk 23:34 - His prayer for the forgiveness of His tormentors
      2. Mt 27:46 - His anguish in His feeling the separation for the Father
      3. Lk 23:46 - His great confidence in the ultimate destiny of His spirit
      4. Jno 19:30 - "It is finished" - the redeeming work of Jesus was complete - the atoning sacrifice had been offered - salvation could be proclaimed

CLOSE: It was a memorable Friday. It was a day which has not been forgotten by Biblical writers or historians. Some doubtless thought it was the end. But it was only the beginning! I am sad for the cross. But I am glad for the cross!

Cecil A. Hutson

11 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)