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March 9, 2008 PM

MK 10:28-31

INTRO: Very often in life we are placed in situations within which we pose the question, "What's in it for me?" We may be asked to do some costly or difficult favor for another. We may be asked to take on some task beyond the usual. We may be asked to make some sort of sacrifice for an objective or cause. It is difficult, in our humanness, not to wonder, "What's in it for me?" Not many of us like being in the position of having to give without expecting to receive something in return. So, Jesus would say, "For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? ... And if ye salute your brethren only what do ye more than others?" Jesus knew human nature. And He also knew that human nature worked against the kind of attitude which suited us for the kingdom and for kingdom work.

    1. The background?
      1. Peter has seen a man invited to follow Jesus (10:21)
      2. and he has seen this man choose to reject the invitation (10:22)
      3. his mind is working around all of this in view of his own situation
    2. "We have left all, and have followed thee"
      1. Mt 4:18-20 - Peter had heard Jesus say, "Follow me"
      2. and Peter (with companions) "left their nets, and followed him"
      3. livelihood, family, home, etc. had been "left" in order to follow Jesus
    3. Think about Lk 14:33
      1. how willing are we to let go of things important to us in favor of Him?
      2. have our material things, relationships encroached into discipleship?
      3. Phil 3:7,8 - the once important things were no longer important when compared to his relationship to Christ ... that's Paul - what about you?
    4. From Mt 19:27 - "What shall we have therefore?"
      1. doubtless, Peter is comparing himself to the rich young ruler
      2. that young man rejected Jesus - Peter had not
      3. so, there is the seeming obvious question, "What's in it for me/us?"
    1. Notice, first, that what Jesus says applies to all
      1. "There is no man that hath left..."
      2. what He is about to say does not apply only to the apostles
    2. What are our priorities? real estate? family? things?
      1. listen to Lk 14:17-20
      2. what is it that is so valuable, important that we would prefer it to Him?
      3. well, the reality is that at some point we may be faced with exactly this kind of choice - and how will we choose?
    3. Familiar words of Jesus...
      1. Mt 10:37-39 
      2. notice the words "more than me" - there is the key ... priority
      3. we must lose our interests in favor of His when the choice must be made
    1. There is something in it for us!
      1. this is not the "health and wealth" idea espoused by some TV preachers
      2. it is the promise of a much larger family and benefit to us
      3. it is a "now in this time" promise
      4. I was fortunate to be reared in a Christian home - did not have to "forsake" father & mother - but I do have family members with whom I have little in common except "blood"
      5. in Christ I have many siblings, many children, many treasures
      6. recall the words of Jesus at Lk 8:19-21 - is this what Jesus meant?
    2. Two very important additional notes...
      1. "with persecutions" - Jesus does not gloss over the truth of discipleship
      2. in this life there are blessings - but there are also the difficulties
      3. it is how we deal with the difficulties that tells the tale of our discipleship
      4. "in the life to come eternal life" - this is the goal toward which we look
      5. the rich young ruler made a terrible choice by comparison with what he could have enjoyed as a disciple of Christ
      6. but some of us may be making the same sort of unwise choice!
    1. Mk 10:31 - First is last, and last is first!
      1. lest any disciple think himself to be something because of sacrifice...
      2. lest any disciple tend to be "puffed up" because of role
      3. there is the simple word from the Lord
    2. Significance is not in role, not in works, not in "sacrifice"
      1. it is in humility that says, "I'm not important. Jesus and the gospel are"
      2. Phil 3:8b-11 - "that I might win Christ"
      3. my significance is in my relationship to Jesus Christ!

CLOSE: What's in it for me? Everything that means anything!

Cecil A. Hutson

09 March 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)