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April 27, 2008 AM


LK 22:66-71

INTRO: The crucifixion of Jesus is only hours away. The last night before His crucifixion had to have been a night of anguish for our Lord. The names of numerous people are associated with this last night and the morning of the next day ... Friday. There was the arrest. There were hearings. There was a sort of trial. There were mockery and disrespect. There was outright dishonesty from the leaders of Jewish religion. The leaders of the Jews were determined to kill Jesus and would stop at nothing to accomplish this objective. Crowds of people among whom were doubtless those who had joined in the "hosannas" just a few short days before are being incited by the religious leaders to shout for His crucifixion. As this night's ugliness began, Jesus said, "This is your hour, and the power of darkness" (Lk 22:53).

    1. Mt 26:36-44 - Three times Jesus prayed "Thy will be done"
      1. clearly, in His humanity the prospect of the cross was horrible
      2. and there was the anticipated dread of being "forsaken" by the Father
      3. so intense was His praying that He perspired profusely - Lk 22:44
      4. Lk 22:43 - so terrible was anticipation that an angel strengthened Him
      5. thot: should not His prayer be ours always?
    2. And what of the apostles?
      1. they are still with Him - after the supper they go with Him into the garden
      2. "tarry ye here, and watch with me" (Peter, James and John)
      3. but they slept - "could ye not watch with me one hour?"
      4. Mt 26:41 - the conflict between flesh and spirit is a real one!
      5. are we quick to criticize them? could I have done better? do I do better?
  2. THE ARREST...
    1. Mk 14:43-46 - The well known kiss of betrayal
      1. the plan had been well laid - the arrest could not be a public thing
      2. Lk 22:6 - note v. 2 - Judas knew His habits, knew the garden
      3. notice that this was not a Roman event ... it was of religious leaders!
    2. And what happened to Judas?
      1. Mt 27:3-5 - remorse, but no repentance
      2. all sorts of speculation surrounds Judas' intention in betraying Jesus
      3. but the fact is that he did betray Jesus knowing Jesus to be innocent
    1. Jno 18:12-14,24 - Annas and Caiaphas were the "power" of religious life
      1. Annas had been high priest for nearly 10 years - deposed by Romans
      2. son in law Caiaphas was appointed in his place
      3. but history indicates Annas was the real power for many years
    2. Mt 26:62-68 - The accusation? Blasphemy!
      1. notice that Matthew refers to seeking "false witnesses"
      2. Mt 26:60,61 with Deut 19:15 - false witnesses, blasphemy were enough
      3. but see Jno 18:31 - the Jews could not legally execute Him
    1. Mt 26:69-75 - at v. 58 we see Peter following "afar off"
      1. Jesus had told Peter he would deny Him - Mt 26:34,35
      2. now Peter is in the company of the enemies of Jesus
      3. thot: in the wrong company doing the wrong thing becomes easier
    2. Mt 26:56 - All of the disciples "forsook him, and fled"
      1. "fear" is a powerful motivator - can cause us to forget our conviction
      2. perhaps the great lesson is "never say never" - such adamant words can come back to "haunt us" - as I'm sure their words did
      3. history/tradition tell us all but John ultimately did die for their faith 
      4. what are you willing to do, how far are you willing to go for your faith?
      5. Rev 2:10

CLOSE: There is, of course, more to be said of this dreadful night and morning. And I hope to consider that "more" on the coming Lord's day. This morning, though, it is enough for me to think of betrayal, disrespect, hypocrisy and abandonment. It is so easy to read all of this as just words on a page. But more significant words, more pathetic words have never been written. And these are written for me.

Cecil A. Hutson

27 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)