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October 19, 2008 PM


MK 13:1-4

INTRO: Three chapters in the synoptic gospels have given rise to every sort of speculation about the Lord's return. They are Mt 24, Mk 13 and Lk 21. From these chapters (and Rev 20) premillennial writers and teachers have developed elaborate ideas about the Lord's second coming. A great many of today's televangelists speak of such ideas, and a great many sincere religious people are influenced by them. And in our study of the Gospel of Mark we have arrived at chapter 13. I do not propose to engage in a detailed study of this chapter (and those parallel with it). I will touch some of the highlights in the hope that you will be able to have some anchor points for further study.

    1. We need to "visit" Mt 23:34-38
      1. the historic treatment of God's servants by Jews was horrible
      2. now, they were on the verge of crucifying the very Son of God
      3. they had rejected God at every turn!
      4. now, the temple would be desolate ... or, waste
    2. But the disciples could not imagine such a thing - Mk 13:1
      1. Herod's temple was, by all accounts, a magnificent thing
      2. it was truly an engineering and architectural wonder of that world
      3. the stones used in construction were massive by any measure
      4. to imagine the desolation of the temple was beyond them
    3. However, Jesus is very specific about the temple's future - Mk13:2
      1. what was unimaginable to them happened just 40 years later!
      2. in 70 A.D. the Romans did exactly what Jesus said would happen
      3. the magnificent temple lay in ruins ... desolate ... waste
      4. for the Jewish world it was an unthinkable catastrophe
    1. Four apostles came to Jesus with this question
      1. Peter, Andrew, James and John were certainly closest to Him
      2. and such a prophecy would have "boggled" their minds
      3. they were, after all, Jews
    2. When? What will be the signs of those times?
      1. note Mt 24:3 - the added "and of the end of the world"
      2. Jews could only conceive of the temple's destruction in view of the end of the world (or, age) - the disciples thought in terms of the end of the Messianic age as the time the Lord would return (and, of course, that time will see the end of the world)
      3. but Jesus answers their questions as individual questions which cannot be synonymous in nature
    1. There would be false Christs - Mk 13:5,6
      1. the Messianic expectation was of a political Messiah
      2. there were, thus, those imposters who claimed to be the Messiah
      3. some have suggested the Simon of Acts 8:9,10 to be such a one
    2. There would be wars and political upheavals - Mk 13:7,8a
      1. notice at the end of v. 8 "the beginnings of sorrows"
      2. such things as Jesus now mentions heralded the beginning of the end
      3. historically, wars and political upheaval were on immediate horizon
  1. There would be natural disasters - Mk 13:8b
    1. between Jesus' death and 70 A.D. there were numerous earthquakes
    2. in Acts 11:27,28 a great drought (and famine) was prophesied
    3. but these things did not signal the end of Jerusalem - the Jewish world was, however, in great turmoil during this period
  2. Interestingly, many point to today's world as "the beginning of the end"
    1. and our world is most assuredly in turmoil
    2. but people have been pointing to turmoil, evil leaders and such for many, many years as they predict the end of the world
    3. because such things are appeal to emotions and to a human penchant for the spectacular, a great many people are "buying in", affected

CLOSE: But in Jesus' words there is also the sound of hope. When He speaks of the "beginning of sorrows", He uses a word describing a woman's pain in childbirth. What would be happening in Jerusalem would be tragic for the Jews, but it was essential for the development of the faith in Christ. So, Heb 12:25-27.

Cecil A. Hutson

19 October 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)