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April 13, 2008 AM


LK 22:7-13

INTRO: We have, over the past few Lord's days, been approaching the cross. We have come now to the last hours of Jesus. At Mt 26:18 Jesus says, "My time is at hand." Very little time now remains before Jesus will be crucified by Roman soldiers. Yet, in the hours remaining there is so much to see. For Jesus the economy of time and the use of precious hours are so important ... and so obvious to readers of the gospel narratives. It is the Passover season. Jerusalem is crowded with worshipers. The enemies of Jesus, as much as they wanted Him dead, concluded, "Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people" (Mt 26:5). It was an emotional time in Jerusalem. Anything could happen. A special contingent of Roman soldiers was posted there in the event of an uprising of some sort. Amidst all of this, Jesus quietly, calmly eats the Passover supper with the apostles.

    1. Mt 26:21-25 - The betrayer is identified
      1. the betrayal "deal" had already been made (Mt 26:14-16)
      2. Ps 41:9 - Jno 13:18 identifies this passage with the betrayal by Judas
    2. Mt 26:26-29 - The "institution" of the Lord's supper
      1. unleavened bread, unfermented fruit of the vine - Ex 12:18-20
      2. Mt 26:26 - "this is my body" - 1 Cor 11:24
      3. Mt 26:27,28 - "this is my blood" - Heb 9:22
      4. Mt 26:29 - " my Father's kingdom" - 1 Cor 10:16
      5. Lk 22:19 - "this do in remembrance of me" - clearly, a memorial feast
      6. 1 Cor 11:26 - too, it is a declaration of His coming again - confirmation that humanity is not finished with Jesus!
    1. Jno 13:4,5 - "and began to wash the disciples' feet"
      1. this is a servant's responsibility - a menial task of lowly service
      2. I am sure the disciples were taken aback by this - note Peter's reaction at v. 8,9
      3. see also Lk 22:24 - could this strife have motivated Jesus' action?
    2. Jno 13:12-16 - "the servant is not greater than his lord"
      1. lesson: good understanding of self permits one to serve in any way
      2. lesson: the word "as" indicates we should serve in any way possible
      3. lesson: if the Master can serve in the most menial of ways, His servants must not think they are too good to do so
    1. Jno 17:4 - How one glorifies the Father?
      1. notice that Jesus gives the answer: "I have finished the work..."
      2. one glorifies God by his obedience to God's will - as Jesus exemplified
      3. this is not just a simple, sweet prayer ... it is truly instructive!
    2. Jno 17:15,16 - Discipleship is lived in the real world
      1. but it must always be remembered that we are not of the world
      2. the secret to living in, but not of, the world is in Jno 17:17
      3. later Pilate will ask, "What is truth?" - but the answer is clear!
    3. Jno 17:20,21 - Unity among believers is a convincing argument
      1. but unity has been an elusive thing over years of time
      2. 1 Cor 1:10 - a church divided ... and the solution
      3. we must do all possible to preserve unity based on the word of God
    1. Mt 26:31-35 - "Likewise also said all the disciples"
      1. Jesus, once again, speaks of His death and resurrection - and adds that  "All ye shall be offended because of me this night"
      2. He quotes from Zech 13:7 - prophecy concerning Messiah's death
      3. He even tells them after His resurrection He will meet them in Galilee!
    2. This, of course, brings well meaning protestations from Peter and the rest
      1. "yet will I never be offended" - "yet will I not deny thee"
      2. I have no doubt of the sincerity and fervor of these thoughts
      3. but we simply do not know what the "hour of trial" may bring - how will we react, respond when the pressure is very real (1 Pet 5:8,9)

CLOSE: It is interesting to me that Jesus' last meal before His crucifixion was the Passover supper. It was His last meal before He became our Passover (1 Cor 5:7)! Remember, it was the blood of the Passover lamb which spared the children of Israel on that fateful night. And it is the blood of Jesus, our Passover Lamb, which can spare us from eternal death. Have you availed yourself of it?

Cecil A. Hutson

13 April 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)