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February 3, 2008 PM

MK 10:13-16

INTRO: What we often see in the ministry of Jesus is large crowds of people flocking around Him. But on the occasion of which we have read in our text it is  apparently mothers bringing their children to Him "that he might put his hands of them, and pray" (Mt 19:13). In my mind this is a lovely and happy scene. It is not people bringing controversy. It is not people whose lives are wracked by disease. It is not people wanting to make Him their earthly king. It is not another situation of deep and different teaching to be challenged and/or misunderstood by hearers. It is a time in which there should have been no tension...just the warmth and innocence of little children. How approachable Jesus must have been!

    1. A custom of that day?
      1. rulers of synagogues, rabbis often "blessed" children in that day
      2. often, on a child's first birthday such a blessing would be sought
      3. so, a blessing from a noted "rabbi" (Jesus) would be special
    2. A "procession" of mothers with their children? 10:13a
      1. some say the language is indicative of a repeated activity
      2. this was something not uncommon and involved more than a few people
      3. Mt 19:3 - a touch and a prayer - the prayer of a righteous person would most assuredly be a blessing (imagine what these mothers might have later told their children about this event as Christianity spread!)
    3. Tension? it comes from His own immediate followers!
      1. 10:13b - "his disciples rebuked those that brought them"
      2. do well meaning associates, friends, family insulate those who minister?
      3. compared to a discussion about divorce blessing children was not very important ... at least, to the disciples
    1. Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem
      1. He is in the very shadow of the cross (cf. Mk 10:33,34)
      2. doubtless, there are many things on His mind ... serious, troubling things
      3. He had already talked about His being rejected and killed - maybe the apostles thought He needed privacy, or peace, or quiet?
    2. In the midst of gathering clouds were beautiful rays of sunshine - children
      1. I will always remember the preachers who had time for me ... as a boy
      2. in retrospect, I know they had their own problems, challenges, families
      3. but they always had time for me ... to call me by name, to encourage, to teach, to push ... I hope I never overlook a little child! – never fail to take time with children
    1. There is no authority for infant baptism in this incident!
      1. many commentators with creedal backgrounds insist otherwise
      2. notice, though, not a single word here about such a thing
      3. and Mark will later quote Jesus: Mk 16:15,16 ... I cannot escape the belief part of this quotation!
    2. The words "of such" tell me that a comparison is being made here
      1. the kingdom is not comprised only of children!
      2. but there is something about children important to receiving the kingdom
      3. what we must do, then, is consider what those qualities might be
    3. So, what are some childlike qualities necessary to receiving the kingdom?
      1. a child's teachableness? we often think of a sponge in this regard
      2. willingness to believe? a child takes at "face value" a parent's teaching
      3. capacity for trust? a child is incredibly trusting
      4. submission to authority? a child usually "does what he is told" (a rebel is usually the exception)
      5. each of these qualities is absolutely essential to ones receiving and entering the kingdom of God - so, Mt 18:3
    4. Receive versus enter
      1. in this narrative Jesus uses both words
      2. there are those who have received teaching concerning the kingdom - but who have not acted on what they received
      3. entering requires the trusting obedience specified in scripture
      4. Jno 3:3,5 - most assuredly a reference to N.T. baptism at which point a believing, penitent person enters into Christ - Gal 3:26,27

CLOSE: One never knows when it will be the memory of a touch, a hug, a brief word from an elder, a preacher, an elderly and honored member of the Lord's church that will provide the anchor for difficult days of a child's adult years.

Cecil A. Hutson

27 January 2008

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)