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March 23, 2008 AM


LK 9:51 - JNO 12:34

INTRO: When we read the four gospel records, we realize that almost from the beginning of His earthly ministry there are intimations of his death at the hands of enemies. What we may not realize is that there are numerous prophetic indications of just such a thing. So, we may wonder, "How long was Jesus on the way to the cross?" Obviously, in His incarnate state it was a fairly brief period of time ... three years or so. But fact is that He was on the way to the cross long before His coming in human flesh. Of this I will say a bit more later. When Jesus spoke of His death, reactions were varied. His disciples were adamant that such a thing should not befall Him. The people were certainly confused because they believed that "Christ abideth for ever". Our thoughts this morning as I continue to preach of the cross involve "on the way to the cross".

    1. Remember, the people's idea was that the law said He'd abide forever
      1. Gen 3:15 - "thou shalt bruise his heel"
      2. Isa 53:12 withLk 22:37 - "numbered with the transgressors"
      3. Dan 9:26with Mk 9:12 - "shall Messiah be cut off"
      4. Ps 22:16-18 with Mt 27:35and Jno 20:25,27 - "they pierced..."
      5. Ps 34:20 with Jno 19:36 - "not one of them is broken"
      6. Ps 40:6-8 with Heb 10:7-10 - "I delight to do thy will"
      7. Ps 41:9 with Jno 13:18 - "hath lifted up his heel against me"
      8. Zech 12:10 with Jno 19:33-37 - "whom they have pierced"
    2. The way to the cross was strewn with prophetic notice!
      1. true, it is easy for us in retrospect to see these things
      2. but they were well known prophecies - Messianic in nature
      3. it was not a question of would He be crucified...but when
      4. Acts 2:23 - this happened exactly as it had been prophecied/planned
      5. Acts 8:32-35 - "of whom speaketh the prophet this"
    1. Jno 1:29,36 - "the Lamb of God"
      1. you and I might consider this to be a bit obscure
      2. but in that time and place reference to a lamb and sin spoke of sacrifice
      3. from the beginning of His earthly ministry He was on the way to the cross
    2. Gen 22:7,8,13 - "God will provide himself a lamb..."
      1. are these words prophetic? I am not certain they were so intended
      2. however, what He did for Abraham He has done for all humanity!
      3. perfect sacrifice to perfectly satisfy law's demands - 1 Pet 2:21-24
    1. There were three and a half years of "ministry"
      1. 3 ½ years filled with touching people's lives
      2. 3 ½ years of teaching of the kingdom of God
      3. 3 ½ years of challenging contemporary views of religion
      4. 3 ½ years of growing criticism from religionists of His day
    2. But three and a half years sprinkled with comments about His death
      1. Mt 16:21,22 - notice how Peter immediately rejected such an idea
      2. Jno 2:18-22 - again, words so misunderstood ... yet, prophetic
      3. Jno 3:14,15 - words so clear to us ... so unwanted then
      4. Jno 12:32-34 - incomprehensible! A crucified Messiah!
      5. Lk 22:19,20 - "my blood"
    3. There was always the cross "looming" in Jesus' future
      1. Lk 9:51 - notice the words "when the time was come..."
      2. from the beginning (yes, even from before time began) this was an appointment Jesus would keep
      3. the fact is that Jesus was always on the way to the cross!

CLOSE: Frankly, I cannot imagine living and working usefully with such a thing as crucifixion looming over me. I would be a "basket case". But Jesus understood this event would benefit all of humanity ... and willingly went to the cross in the knowledge that He would be raised the third day. That did not alter the horror of the cross ... but it made it worthwhile to Him.

Cecil A. Hutson

23 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)