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September 16, 2007 PM

MK 8:1-9

INTRO: Some are tempted to say this is just a different account of an earlier narrative involving the feeding of five thousand people. I suppose they have motives known to themselves. However, there can be no doubt that this is a report of a very different event ... similar in some respects to the earlier event ... but different in a significant number of details. Although I will mention a few of these differences in my brief thoughts this evening, I am particularly concerned to stress something that is said about Jesus at the very beginning of the narrative. Throughout my thoughts this evening, I want you to be remembering the word "compassion". Here is an event which grew out of the compassion of Jesus.

  1. THE NEED?
    1. A multitude of people had gathered to be with Jesus
      1. remember, this takes place in the Decapolis
      2. the place where the demoniac man (5:1ff) and the man with the speech impediment (7:32ff) lived
      3. but it was also an area of Greek/Roman culture - unlike Capernaum
      4. why, then, a multitude? recall 5:19,29 & 7:36,37 - such "testimony" as this spread through the region ... Jesus' fame had doubtless grown here
    2. The multitude had been with Jesus three days
      1. apparently, they had not had much food during those days (8:2)
      2. many of these people had come "from far"
      3. should they begin returning home unfed, some would "faint by the way"
      4. but it was a wilderness area - no access to vendors for food
    1. "I have compassion on the multitude..."
      1. notice that it is Jesus Who calls attention to the need
      2. in previous account the disciples did (6:35,36)
      3. but recall, too, that His compassion was very much a part of the previous event ... 6:34 - Jesus saw people, not faceless crowds
    2. Compassion considers others
      1. compassion must have an outgoing expression (not pent up within)
      2. is this not the basis for what Jesus taught at Mt 7:12?
      3. or, Mt 22:39 ... consider the other!
      4. what would the world be if everyone consider others? what would the church be if every member considered others? (Phil 2:3,4)
    3. Considerateness sees the details of life
      1. Jesus knew of the three days, that there had been no food, that many had come from afar, that there was little hope of food in vicinity
      2. considerateness cannot exist if we do not see people ... and their needs
      3. Gal 6:10 is an important directive ... but it can be such a general admonition that it never has faces, understood needs
      4. in a rush, into ourselves, caught up in the routine we will rarely really see the details of life calling for compassion
    4. Compassion has a very active element
      1. this is always visible in the life of Jesus - note Mt 9:36"moved with..."
      2. if there is no action, there is no compassion! (Jas 2:15,16)
      3. Lk 10:29-35 - two very religious people who might well have claimed to be "compassionate" - but there was no action to solve the man's problem
      4. question: are we really compassionate ... or just ritually religious?
    5. Compassion does not discriminate
      1. in that multitude were there any who were "enemies" of Jesus?
      2. in that multitude were there any who were anything but righteous?
      3. probably "yes" to both questions - but Jesus saw their need
      4. and each was treated equally by His compassion - this is such a critical part of compassion - we tend to see the needs of our friends, our inner circle - but do we pay attention to the needs of those outside of our circle? (Gal 6:10 again)

CLOSE: To look at this event as a study to determine authenticity, contrasts with an earlier event, even as a miracle is perhaps to miss the most important lesson here ... the lesson about the nature of compassion. It was a very real event with a needed lesson for all who consider it!

Cecil A. Hutson

16 September 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)