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August 10, 2008 PM

MK 12:18-27

INTRO: As we near the last days of His earthly life, we see that the enemies of Jesus have begun to question Him for one purpose. According to Mk 12:13 they hoped "to catch him in his words". They were determined to rid themselves of this "pesky" nuisance, and they would like to have found some legitimate cause for their doing so. Thus, they came to Jesus with what they believed were questions which would cause Him to make some clearly antagonistic statement to their religious beliefs or their civil government. It is interesting to me that each distinctive group among the Jews had its question distinctive to the group. This evening it is the Sadducees who come to Jesus with a question that to you and me might seem outlandish ... but which to them probably seemed very logical.

    1. Who were they?
      1. a small, aristocratic, wealthy group among the Jews - harsh, arrogant
      2. were inclined to collaborate with Romans to keep their privileges
      3. many priests & and regularly the high priest were Sadducees
    2. What were their beliefs?
      1. Acts 23:8 - did not believe in angels, spirits, resurrection
      2. accepted only the Pentateuch - did not accept oral, written traditions
      3. notice Acts 4:1,2 - resurrection would be very objectionable to them!
    1. Mk 12:19-23 - "In the resurrection...whose wife shall she be of them?"
      1. now, remember, they did not believe in the resurrection
      2. and they think their question is a real "stumper"
      3. the question they pose, though, has a Biblical basis
    2. Deut 25:5,6 - The Levirate marriage
      1. the point of it was to keep family name and family property in tact
      2. when the first child was born to the widow of the first brother, it would be considered his child
      3. but in the question here no child was born of seven unions!
    3. I would imagine them to be smug and self confident in their question
      1. their reasoning, however, was entirely earthly in its scope
      2. we encounter problems when we reason from earth to realms beyond!
      3. yet, it is so common to project earthly thinking into spiritual realms
    1. They made two basic mistakes - Mk 12:24
      1. first, they obviously did not know the scriptures
      2. second, they did not understand God's power re: resurrection
      3. mistakes of a religious sort are easily made and perpetuated based on these two errors ... it is most certainly so in contemporary religious thought!
    2. They had no idea of the nature of the resurrection - Mk 12:25
      1. marriage and such (human relationships, activities) are not part of it
      2. in our risen state we will be "like" the angels in heaven
      3. I am often asked about "future recognition" in which I do believe - but some will ask about relatives who might not be in heaven ... the answer is here!
    3. And notice how He proved existence of spirits ... thus, resurrection
      1. Jesus still appeals to part of scriptures Sadducees accepted
      2. Ex 3:6 - "I am the God of..." - present tense
      3. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were long physically dead - yet, God is their God ... if they were dead (in Sadducees understanding of death, no living spirit), then, by their logic God would be the God of nothing! nonsense
      4. so, if God is their God, they must still be "alive" - body dies, spirit lives on
      5. Mk 12:27 - the conclusion which logic demanded
      6. the continued existence of ones spirit, then, argued for the resurrection
    4. Our confidence? There will be a resurrection
      1. Jno 5:28,29 - clearly, Jesus taught this as a fact
      2. 1 Thes 4:13-18 - this was the confidence of the apostles
      3. 1 Cor 15:20-23 - Jesus' resurrection is the proof of our own resurrection
      4. notice that 1 Thes 4:16 refers to "the dead in Christ" - our hope for the day of resurrection is in our being in Christ ... are you?

CLOSE: Well, Mt 22:33 tells us that the multitude hearing Jesus rebuff the Sadducees was "astonished at his doctrine". Do we know the scriptures well enough to avoid today's religious errors. Knowing the scriptures is still the way to answer our questions and dilemmas.

Cecil A. Hutson

10 August 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)