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November 16, 2008 PM

MK 13:32-37

INTRO: From stunning information about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of temple activities Jesus proceeded to speak of the end of time. Most of the information in Mk 13 speaks to the destruction of Jerusalem. The signs of which Jesus spoke were not signs signaling the end of time. They were signs which would signal the time for Christians to flee from Jerusalem into the mountains on the east side of the Jordan River. Unfortunately, those who espouse the premillennial idea have dramatized the signs of which Jesus spoke and have appropriated them to their spurious doctrine. But careful reading of the chapter puts everything into a proper "time context". Now Jesus answers the question of the end of the age which in the minds of His contemporaries would be synonymous with the end of time.

    1. Mk 13:32 - This date (time) is known only to the Father
      1. yes, there would be signs predicting the end of Jerusalem
      2. but there will be no signs predicting the end of time
      3. attempts to assign a date have all met with complete failure
      4. several well known religious figures (and some not so well known) have claimed heavenly information re: the date of the end - and some of these still have great numbers of adherents ... no matter their obvious failures
    2. Mk 13:33 - Be warned - watch and pray
      1. we know the end will come and Jesus will return
      2. because the time is absolutely unknown, we must be watchful
      3. watchfulness and prayerfulness are often found "together" in scripture
      4. without prayer vigilance will become careless and sloppy ... Eph 6:18 and Col 4:2... we must guard against spiritual lethargy!
    3. Mk 13:24 - Be working
      1. there is the temptation to become spiritually lazy as the Lord delays
      2. see Mt 24:48 and the attitude which develops without  watching & praying
      3. "to every man his work" - the Christian life of anticipation is a life at work in the Master's vineyard
      4. "there is much to do, there's work on every hand"
    1. Mt 24:37-39 - A comparison to the days of Noah
      1. before the flood people were unconcerned, going about daily affairs
      2. warnings to the contrary, they just did not take any warning seriously - they were engrossed in their sinful, self serving ways
      3. the door to the ark was shut before it began to rain ... too late!
    2. Mt 24:43,44 - The coming of a thief
      1. obviously, knowing when the thief would come would be advantageous
      2. ah, but thieves do not advertise the time of their coming
      3. so, the householder must always be vigilant
    3. Mt 25:1-13 - The coming of the bridegroom
      1. the custom of weddings in that day and time were very different from ours
      2. in this case the bridegroom tarried - and some were not prepared with oil
      3. once the door was shut, there was no entry allowed ... there are some preparations which simply cannot be left to the "last minute" ... preparation for the Lord's coming must be in advance and adequate!
    4. Both Paul and Peter use the thief in the night illustration
      1. 1 Thes 5:1-6 - "for yourselves know perfectly..."
      2. 2 Pet 3:8-10 - "the day of the Lord will come..."
      3. but we are not to think in terms of terror and such - the lesson has to do with the uncertainty of the time of His return ... and we happily anticipate His return
    5. The destruction of Jerusalem was catastrophic for the Jews...
      1. but for the Lord to return & find us unprepared will be beyond catastrophe
      2. I'm very much afraid we fall into "the Lord delays His coming" category
      3. are we falling into the same trap as did the people in Noah's day?

CLOSE: I find myself thinking and planning for the certainty of another day. And I wonder, from time to time, if I am doing exactly what Prov 27:1advises me not to do: "Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."

Cecil A. Hutson

16 November 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)