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November 2, 2008 AM



MT 1:18-23

INTRO: "Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word; tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard." He lived only 33 years or so upon the earth. Only three and a half years of His life are really very well known. Yet, human history was forever changed by this man whom we know to be the Son of God. He was born or poor parents who lived in an obscure and uncultured town in Galilee. He was apparently trained as a carpenter and was known by the people of His little town by his trade..."the carpenter". The stunning words of Jno 1:1 with 1:14 tell us Jesus is "the Word", that "the Word was God" and that "the Word was mad flesh, and dwelt among us" remind us that telling the story of Jesus is to tell the greatest story ever told! And scripture is our only reliable information source for this "story".

    1. Deut 18:15 - the "prophet" to whom "ye shall hearken" (Acts 3:22,26)
    2. Isa 7:14 - His being born of a virgin (Mt 1:22,23)
    3. Micah 5:2 - His being born in Bethlehem (Mt 2:1,5,6)
    4. Ps 41:9 - His being betrayed by a friend (Jno 13:18)
    5. Ps 22:16,18 - His being crucified (Mt 27:35)
    6. Ps 16:10 - His resurrection (Acts 2:24,27)
    1. true, history has had its great teachers, philosophers
    2. but unless you are an avid historian, their names are forgotten
    3. Jesus' teachings are so very different, so uplifting, so hopeful
    4. Jno 7:46 and Mk 11:18 - His contemporaries recognized the difference
    5. the Sermon on the Mount, the parables, Johannine discourses
    6. Mt 5:44,45 and 7:12 - such profound teachings as these were/are dramatically different from the typical view of things
    1. "There was one who was willing to die in my stead, that a soul..."
    2. the New Testament is filled with his substitutionary death
    3. Rom 3:23-26 - Jesus is our atoning sacrifice!
    4. 1 Pet 2:22-24 - He "did no sin" - He "bare our sins...on the tree"
    5. 1 Pet 3:18 - notice "the just for the unjust" - clearly, He took our place!
    6. Rom 6:3 - the benefits of His substitutionary death come in baptism
    1. every cemetery in our world seems to speak of death's finality
    2. we bury our dead ... but do we do it in hope of the resurrection?
    3. Lk 23:55,56-24:1 - even those closest to Him were not expectant
    4. Lk 24:6,7 - are there more wonderful words than these? "He is risen"
    5. we were not there to see the pierced hands and feet of Jesus - alive after having been crucified - do we ever wonder?
    6. but scripture confirms in powerfully the fact - He is risen (so, 1 Cor 15:22)
    1. true, His kingdom did not/does not meet the contemporary expectations
    2. people expected a Messianic kingdom similar to David's kingdom, reign
    3. Jno 6:15 - Jesus refused to be the sort of king they expected
    4. He would later tell Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world" (Jno 18:36)
    5. yet, Mk 9:1 - there was no doubt of His kingdom's imminent coming
    6. Col 1:13 - it is here! and as we read and study the NT we realize the church is that kingdom of which He spoke (Mt 16:18,19)
    1. Jno 14:1-3 - Here are words by which to live!!!
    2. that resurrection I mentioned is guarantee of our own resurrection
    3. and that occurs on God's time table ... but it will occur
    4. so, 1 Thes 4:13-5:2 - I have no idea of the time - I just believe
    5. Mt 24:42-46 - our "lot" in life? to be His faithful, obedient servants
    6. His coming again speaks volumes of our need to always ready for Him - are you ready for the Lord to come?

CLOSE: Scripture tells us everything we need to know about Jesus, the Christ. Have you done everything you need to do to prepare for His coming?

Cecil A. Hutson

02 November 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)