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August 17, 2008 PM

MK 12:28-34

INTRO: While we may think of the questions Jesus was asked by various of His detractors as badly motivated (and they were), His answers provide us with rich instruction on a number of subjects. By whose authority did he do the things he did? Should we pay taxes to a secular government? How will relationships appear in heaven? Will there really be a resurrection? Although I know Jesus was well aware that these questions were asked with the intention of snaring Him in His words, He did not attack the questioners. With care and respect He answered them. And because He answered them, we have amazing and rich instruction with which to embellish our own lives. Not all of the questioners were without sincerity and common sense. In our text we are told of a scribe who perceived that Jesus "had answered them well" (v. 28). So, he asked a question which was much debated in that time.

    1. Some of the ways scripture addressed such a question?
      1. Ps 15:1-5
      2. Isa 33:15-17
      3. Micah 6:8
      4. Hab 2:4
    2. How did Jesus answer the scribe's question?
      1. would He pick one of the well know ten commandments?
      2. would He pick one of the traditions of the rabbis?
      3. Deut 6:4,5 - total love, total devotion to God
      4. each passage we have mentioned is correct ... but this one commandment encompasses all of them and their particulars
    3. There is probably a tendency to elevate/devalue one above/below others
      1. we may hear this in the comment "that's not a salvation issue"
      2. but the N. T. does not make such distinctions
      3. 1 Jno 2:3-5 & 5:3 - this is how one proves his love for God!
      4. out of this definition of loving God come the specific commandments which must be obeyed, observed in a disciple's life
    4. An interesting aside...
      1. the "vision" of a modern day "prophetess" concerning the sabbath?
      2. says she saw the ten commandments with a sort of "hallow" glowing around the 4th commandment ... the sabbath commandment
      3. thus, Seventh Day Adventists ... good, moral people, but doctrinally wrong
      4. notice 2 Cor 3:7,11 - clearly, the ten commandments, as a code of law for the new covenant, was "done away" and was the "ministration of death"
    1. There is a "second" commandment
      1. now Jesus quotes from Lev 19:18
      2. once again, there is not reference to the ten commandments
      3. point: loving God must lead to a genuine concern for others
      4. how is this love manifested? in the treatment of others as we would treat ourselves
    2. Something the questioning scribe might not have comprehended here
      1. in Lev 19:18 the reference is to "the children of thy people" - Israelites
      2. but Jesus does not indicate such a qualification in giving His answer
      3. Lk10:36,37 - Jesus "redefines" the word "neighbor"
      4. for Jews the Leviticus passage would clearly refer only to fellow Jews - but  Jesus expanded the word "neighbor" to encompass people beyond Jews!
    3. From Mt 22:40 Jesus makes a significant observation...
      1. "all the law and the prophets" grow out of these two commandments
      2. it is accurate to say that no matter the covenant period these two commandments are the basis for all of the specifics
      3. how can one love God and not keep specific, revealed commandments?
      4. how can one love God and not love his neighbor ... and how can one love his neighbor without practical good works?
    4. Mk 12:32-34 - The scribe's response ... and commendation by Jesus
      1. without love for God sacrifices were really worthless
      2. obedience must grow out of love for God!
      3. Jesus said, "Thou are not far from the kingdom of God"
      4. but there is certainly no evidence that this scribe became a disciple - being near the kingdom and in the kingdom are two very different things!

CLOSE: Are you near the kingdom ... but not in it? You may be an honest and sincere person with a spiritual concern. But until you are in the kingdom, you remain out of it and apart from its benefits. What do you need to do now to be in the kingdom?

Cecil A. Hutson

17 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)