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April 22, 2007 PM

MK 6:30-34

INTRO: One of the things I have noticed about the gospel records is that the writers often "transitioned" between major events or discourses of Jesus. Within these little transitional segments there may not be any momentous, memorable event or information. Yet, each of them is necessary to the flow of the narratives ... and in each of them there might be gems of truth which are most certainly worth a bit of time for consideration. Our lesson text represents, to my mind, just such a segment of scripture. The verses are such that we might simply "scan over" them in our haste to get to the next significant, important thing. But I want to slow me down just a bit to seek the gems to be found here.

    1. Recall Mk 6:7 and the mission on which Jesus sent them
      1. they were sent "two by two" to preach a message of repentance
      2. they were entrusted with miraculous power over "unclean spirits"
      3. during this time, they were apparently separated from Jesus
    2. Now they have come together again with the Lord
      1. I wonder if news of John's death might have brought them back to Him?
      2. notice, though, that they told Jesus what they had done and taught
      3. they were accountable to Him Who had commissioned them ... to make such a report to the Lord would be both appropriate and helpful in His training them
    3. Accountability is an important Bible subject
      1. Acts 14:26,27 - reporting to the sending congregation - accountability
      2. Rom 14:11,12 - here is the ultimate accountability
      3. with privilege and responsibility there is always accountability - people today seem less and less willing to accept this great truth
    1. The explanation is that "there were many coming and going"
      1. in the course of the work they had been doing there were inundated!
      2. my guess is that as soon as people realized they had been with Jesus and possessed miraculous powers the working couples were thronged by folks
      3. they didn't even have time to eat!
    2. The need for rest?
      1. Ps 104:19-23 - acknowledgment of the cycle of daily life - including rest
      2. but we also need rest for our minds, our emotions, out spirits - people engaged in a life of giving must sooner or later "recharge"
      3. we talk about "burn out" - and it is a very real phenomenon
    1. "They departed into a desert place by ship privately"
      1. have you noticed that we are accosted by noise on every hand?
      2. I once read an article about "noise pollution" - it's hard to escape it
      3. and the noise with its demands keeps us from productive rest/recharging
    2. Some benefits of solitude?
      1. it provides an environment for "unwinding" - enjoying surroundings - exchanging noise for the sweet sounds of nature
      2. it provides a place for uninterrupted study & meditating
      3. it provides a place for uninterrupted prayer (Mt 26:36)
    1. People in need may encroach on your rest
      1. v. 33 is just a little bit amazing to me - shows this reality
      2. Jesus and the apostles set out across the lake in a ship (about a 4 mile trip) - the people went by land (about a 10 mile trip) and arrived before Jesus
      3. exactly what they sought from Jesus/apostles I'm not sure - they needed!
    2. Real servants often experience this sort of thing
      1. people in need are not always thoughtful of the care giver' needs
      2. even curious people are not always thoughtful of the needs of others
      3. Jno 9:4 - this, though, was something always on Jesus' mind
    1. The "key" here is "compassion"
      1. "compassion" is the attribute which compels servanthood
      2. "compassion" distinguishes between sterile duty and caring constructively
      3. 1 Jno 3:17 - compassion opens the way to great service
    2. The need as Jesus saw it - "they were as sheep not having a shepherd"
      1. little in His world could be as needy and hopeless as shepherdless sheep
      2. what they needed was "food" and "direction"
      3. so, "he began to teach them many things" - the greatest service we can render to others is to teach them!

CLOSE: There are times when we are running on "fumes". But we need to take a deep breath and keep serving. So, Gal 6:9.

Cecil A. Hutson

22 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)