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April 8, 2007 PM

MK 6:7-13

INTRO: It seems that the twelve chosen to be apostles had hardly been chosen when Jesus sends them on their first "ambassadorial" mission ... without Him. The had been with Him for some time since they were originally called to follow Him. And there is certainly comfort in being with your teacher, your leader. Now, however, they are to go into the small villages of Galilee with but another apostle. The Lord had His own work to do. I cannot help but wonder what was going through the minds of these men. "Am I really ready for this task?" "Is the Lord asking too much of me?" "Will the people accept me into their villages and lives?" I most assuredly have not definite information, but my guess is that they were more than a little "nervous" as they left the Lord to go forth preaching.

    1. "...he...began to send them forth two and two..."
      1. at Lk 10:1 Jesus sends seventy others - "two and two"
      2. a thought from Amos 3:3
      3. these were no doubt agreed as to mission and message
    2. Why did He send them in pairs?
      1. one author whom I read said it was very much a Jewish custom
      2. however, such a practice for evangelists certainly met practical needs
      3. note Eccl 4:9-12 - two men lend strength to one another; they supplement each other; they encourage each other - a wise practice even now
    3. Jesus endowed them power over unclean spirits
      1. we have seen the unclean spirits frequently in Jesus' earthly ministry
      2. now, the apostles will have to deal with them as they oppose the gospel
      3. Satan would do his utmost to thwart the coming of the kingdom of God
    1. We might think these instructions were very severe, impractical - 6:9,9
      1. there were really to make no "travel preparations" for their mission
      2. they were not to gather up food, money, clothes for this journey
      3. to our western minds this would be incomprehensible
    2. They were, however, to take a staff, sandals and one inner tunic
      1. staff - for walking, for protection, for carrying a bundle
      2. sandals - very simple protection for feet (leather and straps)
      3. tunic/shirt - worn under the outer cloak (travelers might wear two)
    3. Some observations we need to make just here:
      1. the mission on which Jesus sent them was intended to be brief - as Jesus prepared them for the larger mission, he changed instructions (Lk 22:36)
      2. Jewish "rules" of hospitality in small villages were different from ours - for  travelers,  they opened their homes to sustain them (Deut 10:18,19) - see also Heb 13:1,2
      3. note Lk 22:35 - apostles lacked nothing from His "severe" instructions
    4. Mt 10:10 - "...for the workman is worthy of his meat"
      1. I. Cor 9:14 -Gal 6:6 - teachers/preachers should receive from the taught
      2. see also1 Tim 5:18 (quotes from Deut 25:4 & Mt 10:10)
      3. this would be, then, an exercise in trust and experience
    1. If people chose not to receive them or to hear...
      1. Mk 6:11 - "...for a testimony against them..."
  1. rabbinic tradition (Talmud) dictated that Jews returning to Israel were to shake the dust of foreign lands off their sandals
  2. believed the even dust of pagan countries was unclean
  1. This action, then, would symbolize seriousness of refusing to hear
    1. everyone knew how terrible were Sodom and Gomorrah
    2. but to refuse the gospel was even more terrible!
    3. here is the great tragedy of rejected opportunity to hear the word of God
    1. They preached "that men should repent"
      1. just as Jesus before them had done - Mk 1:15
      2. "repentance" is one of the critical messages of the New Testament
      3. so, Acts 2:38 and2 Cor 7:10
    2. They cast out many devils and healed many sick people
      1. the anointing with oil has certainly occupied many imaginative minds
      2. my own opinion? it was a symbol of the healing conferred upon the sick
      3. whatever it was, it was the power of God, not properties of the oil, which accomplished the healing!

CLOSE: While Mark tells us of the good they accomplished, I am relatively sure they also met with resistance along the way. But they did not let the good they could do be diminished by discouragement!

Cecil A. Hutson

08 April 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)