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June 1, 2008 PM

MK 11:27-33

INTRO: The temple area in Jerusalem consisted of a succession of "courts" leading to the actual temple building. The first of the courts was the Court Of The Gentiles. It had become a very secular place. Indeed, it was filled with stalls of vendors selling animals for sacrifices and of money changers who changed the coinage of the realm into the accepted shekel of the sanctuary (Num 3:47). It was anything but a place for preparation, prayer and contemplation! Into this place came Jesus driving out the merchants and charging, "Ye have made it a den of thieves" (Mk 11:17). That is the background against which the text we have read takes place. Jesus has acted with authority. The religious leaders of that day, probably members of the Jewish Sanhedrin, wanted to know by what authority Jesus did such a thing.

    1. Mk 11:27 - "...and as he was walking in the temple..."
      1. it was customary for rabbis and teachers to teach in one of the "porches"
      2. in all likelihood, Jesus was walking, teaching in "Solomon's porch" - teaching as one walked was apparently a custom of that time
      3. notice Jno 10:23 for the custom of Jesus
    2. Doubtless, representatives of the Sanhedrin
      1. activities in the temple area were under the control of such "officers"
      2. they knew they had not authorized Jesus to any action or instruction
      3. their coming, as they did, in full view of the crowded temple was likely calculated to embarrass and discredit Jesus before the people
    3. Mk 11:28 - "By what authority ... who gave thee this authority..."
      1. they knew they had not given Him any permission, authority
      2. if He claimed the authority of God, they could accuse of blasphemy
      3. he could have been arrested on the spot ... and discredited
    1. Jesus certainly knew that the delegation's motives were not good
      1. their question was almost a "have you stopped beating your wife" question
      2. any way He answered would have given them the cause they sought
      3. remember, Mk 11:18 - the plotting had already begun!
    2. So, Jesus answered their question with a question
      1. He did not refuse outright to answer them
      2. but His answer would be contingent upon their answering His question
      3. the question with which He answered would answer their question
    3. Mk 11:30 - whence was the authority of John's baptism?
      1. this question placed the delegation in a very precarious position
      2. they were, in fact, in a greater dilemma than He
      3. Lk 7:29,30 - rejecting John's baptism was rejecting God's commandment
    4. Mk 11:31-33a - "If we shall say ... but if we shall say..."
      1. it was obvious that they were not concerned about truth!
      2. they were just concerned to give an answer not exposing their character
      3. if they said they believed John's baptism and testimony were from heaven, they would exposed their failure to accept John's identifying Jesus as the Messiah
      4. if they said John's baptism and testimony were of men, they would raise the anger of the people since he was believed by them to be a prophet
      5. their solution? "We cannot tell." (Translation? "We will not tell")
    5. Mk 11:33b - So, Jesus did not give them the answer they sought from Him!
    1. These religious leaders had rejected the truth!
      1. there was ample well documented testimony that Jesus was God's Son
      2. the voice of God, the voice of John, the miracles, the teaching
      3. but "truth" just was not popular among the wise of the world
      4. even Pilate would ask, "What is truth?" (Jno 18:39) as a means of escaping a dilemma in which truth was obvious ... but unpopular
    2. Rejecting the truth has its own problems
      1. it often puts one in the wrong company
      2. it puts one in a position of having to believe a lie even in the face of credible testimony
      3. it keeps one from the peace of mind of well founded confidence
      4. it will place one in uncomfortable "positions" without real justification for those positions

CLOSE: One thing is certain. "Truth" will not go away. By killing Jesus, they thought "truth" would just go away. It did not! The only right and sensible response to truth is to embrace it and live by it. They did not. Will you?

Cecil A. Hutson

01 June 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)