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March 18, 2007 PM

MK 6:1-6

INTRO: As I was nearing the time of my being graduated from the University of Houston, Mr. Clay Doyle, superintendent of schools in Weimar, Texas, called me to ask if I would come there as the band director. Mr. Doyle was a good man and a great educator. He had taught me Algebra II privately since my schedule did not permit my being with the regular class. His wife had taught me English. So, here was this invitation to return to my little hometown to teach band. But many of the band students would have been my fellow bandsmen while I was in school there since I finished my degree in three years. Would they have accepted my leadership, my instruction, my discipline? I worried about that because I know how people are about the "local boy" returning home. Here was Jesus ... returning home.

    1. From "headquarters" to "home"
      1. Capernaum had been the center of Galilean ministry
      2. now, however, Jesus leaves to go to Nazareth - 21 miles away
    2. Mt 2:23 - "...He shall be called a Nazareme"
      1. remember, too, Jno 1:45,46 - the reputation of Nazareth
      2. 1 Cor 1:25-29 - the "design" of God is that which calls for true faith
    3. Jesus came to Nazareth as a teacher (rabbi)
      1. He now has an entourage of disciples who are following Him
      2. the custom of rabbis of that time was to go from place to place teaching
      3. so, on the sabbath Jesus went to the synagogue and "began to teach"
      4. from Lk 4:16 - this had been His practice in His ministry - but in this case He was no doubt a well know "face" in Nazareth's synagogue
    1. Lk 4:17-21 - "I am He"!!
      1. the passage from Isa 61 they doubtless knew to be "Messianic"
      2. it begins, "The spirit of the Lord is upon me..."
      3. then, He announces, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears"
      4. in effect, then, He announces that He is the long awaited Messiah
      5. notice "...he hath anointed me..." - prophets, priests & kings were anointed to their offices
    2. The reaction?
      1. Mk 6:2b - "From whence hath this man these things?"
      2. surely they had already been hearing of His miracles and teaching
      3. now they are hearing Him for themselves - and they hear with "wonder"
      4. the word "astonished" signals their amazement
      5. unfortunately, this astonishment never translated into belief!
    1. "Is not this the carpenter...?
      1. remember, Jesus had lived among them about 30 years
      2. He had taken up the trade of Joseph - He was the town craftsman
    2. "...the son of Mary, the brother of...are not his sisters here with us?"
      1. any thought that Mary had remained a virgin after His birth is myth!
      2. but the family of Jesus is well known among the townspeople - and his own brothers were not believers at this point (Jno 7:5)
    3. And the people of Nazareth were "offended at him"
      1. they could only see Jesus as a common man - ordinary, no credentials
      2. Mk 6:4 - the saying which has become a oft repeated "axiom" - and which I was remembering after Mr. Doyle offered me the band director's job in my home town
    1. Jesus did no "mighty works there because of their unbelief" (Mt 13:58)
      1. the greatest blessing one could imagine was in their town
      2. but they could not access the blessing because of collective unbelief
      3. "a few sick folk" must, though, have had faith and were healed
    2. The consequence of unbelief?
      1. we cannot access the blessing of salvation in the absence of faith!
      2. Mk 16:15,16 - we might think it incredible that the people of Nazareth failed to believe - but true belief is as lacking now as it was in Nazareth
      3. and without belief and action based on that belief one cannot be saved

CLOSE: From the text I would gather that Jesus was disappointed. But He was not defeated! What a great lesson for those of us seeking to serve the Lord each day. There will be disappointments (and hard ones) in our service ... but we must not let them defeat us.

Cecil A. Hutson

18 March 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) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

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)