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November 23, 2008 PM

MK 14:1-11

INTRO: With this chapter Mark turns his attention to the last few days of Jesus' life on this earth. In the gospel of Mark there is an economy of words and events. Matthew, Luke and John give us a much fuller look at these last days. In the passage which I have chosen for our study this evening there is much which could be considered. However, what I see almost immediately is the contrast between two people and the apparent emphasis of their lives. And the contrast seen in these two people is not just one of historical and emotional interest. It is one which is evident in people of our own time. Perhaps it is even evident in us. Let's look at the two people mentioned in our text.

    1. This was obviously Mary of Bethany
      1. Jno 12:1-3
      2. we do not know much of the Simon, who is the host for this meal - that he is called "the leper" might suggest he is one whom Jesus had healed
    2. What Mary did?
      1. Mk 14:3 
      2. some necessary observations about this act
        1. from John's account we discover this was "a pound" (the text refers to a pound - a Roman measure said to be about 12 ounces)
        2. the alabaster box was a very delicate and precious in its own right
        3. the ointment was "of spikenard very precious"
        4. the value was 300 pence (v. 5) - about 300 days' wages!
        5. Mark refers to Jesus' head - John to Jesus' feet ... it is apparent that this quantity of ointment was poured over Jesus body
        6. Mary gave to Jesus the most precious thing she possessed! that's love
      3. Jno 3:16 - here is love's great gift
    3. There was the complaint of "this waste of the ointment" (v. 4)
      1. and guess who it was who made this complaint
      2. Jno 12:4-6 - it was Judas!
      3. and John tells us something about Judas - he did not really care about the poor - he was apparently the keeper of the apostles' little treasury, and he was a thief - I infer that he was only thinking about how much he could have stolen
    4. But Jesus commends Mary's act of love (vv. 6-8)
      1. re: the poor? Deut 15:11
      2. He said she had done this to anoint His body for burying! (custom in the east - bath a dead body in perfume, break the container, leave it with the body)
      3. I doubt that Mary realized that this was what she was doing - hers was a simple act of love and devotion
    5. Her simple, extravagant, loving act would be remembered (v. 9)
      1. I think of the "give roses now" idea - a corpse cannot smell the roses!
      2. true, there would be those who would have anointed Jesus' dead body for burial (as is noted in Lk 24:1) - and that, too, was a loving act
      3. here was a memorial to selfless love
    1. This was Judas Iscariot
      1. Mk 14:10 
      2. the words "one of the twelve" stand out so profoundly here
      3. this makes what is about to be said so tragic
    2. Judas made a selfish decision to betray Jesus
      1. note Mk 14:1,2 - they wanted Jesus dead - but they knew that to do something openly at this season could result in "an uproar of the people"
      2. Judas was just what they needed - a traitor
      3. he could "conveniently betray him"
    3. "...they..promised to give him money..."
      1. from what John wrote we know the character of Judas - a thief
      2. and he sold his friend and Savior for the price of a slave!
      3. here was the epitome of selfishness - "I'll do anything for the right price"

CLOSE: So, we have this wonderful contrast which is a microcosm of all of life - selfless, or selfish. But we cannot be both. So, look into your heart. Which are you?

Cecil A. Hutson

23 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)