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April 15, 2007 PM

MK 6:14-29

INTRO: Of some interest to me is the fact that the narrative before us has become the basis for both a theatrical production and an opera. Salome's  "Dance Of The Seven Veils" is, I suppose, the most famous of the scenes from both the play and the opera. The narrative is a fairly detailed account of the death of John the Baptist and what finally brought him to a tragic death. As interesting as the narrative is, there are clearly some important lessons to be learned here. The death of John the Baptist was a terrible blow to his disciples. And it was most certainly an event of deep concern to Jesus. Jesus understood and respected the role of John as the preparer of the way for Him. Indeed, John was the "Elijah" of whom prophecy spoke as the herald of the Messiah's coming.

    1. Herod Antipas - tetrarch of Galilee
      1. father was Herod the Great whose sons became rulers of various portions of his kingdom (among them was Herod Antipas)
      2. seduced and married his half-brother's wife, Herodias (his niece)
    2. John the Baptist
      1. well known preacher of repentance and coming kingdom
      2. confronted Herod Antipas because of his adultery/marriage to Herodias
    3. Herodias
      1. wife of Herod Philip, niece of Herod Philip and Herod Antipas
      2. left Herod Philip to become the wife of Herod Antipas
    4. Salome
      1. daughter of Herod Philip and great niece of Herod Antipas
      2. apparently was less than moral person whose dance led to John's death
    1. Mk 6:14 - The name and fame of Jesus had been "spread abroad"
      1. Herod Antipas "heard of him" - why not before? residence was in Tiberias
      2. since Tiberias was a largely Gentile city, Jesus likely never went there
    2. There were, of course, various ideas about who Jesus was - Mk 6:15
      1. Elijah - Mal 4:5
      2. one of the prophets - hundreds of years passed with no prophetic voice
    3. What Herod thought? - Mk 6:14b
      1. his conclusion was that John the Baptist was risen from the dead
      2. John had one no miracles during his life (Jno 10:41) - but the ancients believed departed spirits were endowed with superhuman powers ... so, Herod attributes what he has heard about Jesus to a risen John the Baptist
    1. Mk 6:16-18 - Herod had imprisoned John - and finally had him beheaded
      1. John had confronted Herod because of Herod's adultery
      2. v. 20 - Herod both feared and respected John - "heard him gladly"
    2. The fateful birthday supper
      1. Herod gave himself a great supper - invited many important people
      2. at this feast Salome "came in, and danced" - scholars indicate this was probably a very sensual, suggestive dance - a solo dance by a young lady of royalty was unthought of in those days!!
    3. An impressed Herod promised her whatever gift she requested
      1. vv. 24,25 - the counsel of her mother, Herodias
      2. go back to Mk 6:19 - this was Herodias' golden opportunity for revenge!
    4. The tragic death of a great, courageous servant of God - Mk 6:26-28
      1. he had sworn ... and he could not lose face in front of guests
      2. had he really thought of the consequence of his offer to Salome?
    1. Living with guilt is a hard life
      1. Herod must have been living with guilt for his execution of John
      2. his first thought when he heard of Jesus was of John, whom he killed
    2. Standing by convictions can be dangerous
      1. John's deep convictions brought him to confront Herod for his sin
      2. Herod put John in jail for being a man of courage and conviction
    3. A confronted person may become an evil enemy
      1. Herodias must have been a totally unethical, immoral person
      2. she wanted to kill John from the very beginning
    4. Impulsive behavior can be foolish behavior
      1. Herod's impulse cost John his life
      2. did Herod have regrets? apparently ... but impulse was his master

CLOSE: Loving disciples of John took his body and laid it in a tomb. By killing John Herodias would no longer have to see him on this earth.  But she and her husband, Herod Antipas, would have to see the Lord at the judgment. Our actions on the earth may be soon forgotten ... but they will be remembered again!

Cecil A. Hutson

15 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)