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December 16, 2007 PM

MK 9:38-42

INTRO: It is frustrating for a teacher to realize that he is simply not "getting through" to his students. The teacher does his best to communicate truths to those whose learning is his responsibility. He teaches, he illustrates, he reviews ... and something happens which says to him, "They have heard the words, but they have not learned the lesson." I wonder if that may not be what our Lord may have thought when the apostle John interrupted His lesson about who really is the greatest among the disciples. Did the disciples not want to hear this lesson? Were they so embarrassed at His having discerned their selfish disputing among themselves. Was there a desire, thus, to divert attention ... to change the subject?

    1. It is the apostle John who "interrupts" the Lord
      1. Jno 21:20 - John, "...the disciple, whom Jesus loved..."
      2. there is little doubt that John was an intimate of Jesus - perhaps felt this gave him privilege others did not share
      3. note Lk 9:52-56 - shortly after the incident above here are James and John being outspoken ... and mistaken!
      4. then, Mt 20:20-24 - John definitely saw himself as "favored"
    2. They saw one, not an apostle, casting out devils in Jesus' name
      1. note Lk 10:1,17 - evidently, Jesus had given this power to others
      2. true, the 12 apostles had a role others would not have - Mk 16:19,20
      3. but they did not have "exclusive" rights as Jesus' followers - role may have been different, but service and privilege were equal ... and some of Jesus disciples (in Lk 10 for example) were endowed with miraculous powers
      4. jealousy rears its ugly head ... John is still not understanding!
    3. What about this man they forbade to cast out devils?
      1. first, the text does not suggest he was just trying to do so - no faker
      2. second, the man is without doubt a true disciple of Jesus
      3. third, what right did they have to forbid another disciple from good works?
      4. jealousy is not an uncommon problem among Christians - preachers
    1. One who is a disciple and ministering appropriately should not be forbidden
      1. doubtless, the Lord recognized the real problem here - jealousy
      2. but disciples beyond my sphere of knowledge should be commended!
      3. a caveat, however ... "in Jesus name" does not make everything legitimate - Acts 19:13-17
      4. unfortunately, many things done in Jesus name are truly questionable
    2. This man, however, is a true disciple doing a disciple's work
      1. Jesus recognizes the validity of the miracle in question - no doubt of it
      2. and the man has done this service in the name of the Lord - not seeking his own advantage or credit
      3. point: this man is not our enemy! he is working in the same cause
      4. it is too easy to be condemning ... and the apostles fell into the same course as did the scribes and Pharisees!
    1. This man was not working against Jesus and the apostles
    2. A similar thought - Mt 12:30
      1. there can be no middle ground in following Christ
      2. we cannot have one foot in the world and the other in the kingdom!
    1. Ready for service ... lowly or great
      1. from the miracle to the cup of water is a great "leap" in human thought
      2. service in Jesus' name is service ... no matter its nature
      3. the qualifier? "because ye belong to Christ"
      4. this makes clear that the man whom the apostles forbade belonged to Christ ... but it also gives ones ministering (whatever its nature) spiritually significant ("he shall not lose his reward")
    2. The "other side of the coin"? - 9:42
      1. as certain as the reward of goodness, service is this promise
      2. the "little ones" here are not infants ... they are believers
      3. to place temptations to sin before believers is to receive a punishment more serious that to be weighted by a millstone, cast into the sea and drown! (this is a "no hope" death)
      4. Jesus is very stern in this statement ... to bring another into sin is a despicable thing to Jesus

CLOSE: Arguments about who is greatest, jealousy of the work of another and such are the sorts of things which bring temptation and sin into disciples' lives. Such things as these have no place among the Lord's disciples. But such things as these are too often realities ... even among us. We need to listen carefully to what the Lord is saying here ... our eternal reward depends on it.

Cecil A. Hutson

16 December 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)