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December 28, 2008 AM

MK 14:26-42

INTRO: I have never visited what we call the "Holy Land". Years ago one of my uncles visited Jerusalem and environs and told me of some of the places he visited. One place which deeply touched him (and he was not an emotional man) was the place identified as the Garden Of Gethsemane. He mentioned that on the Lord's day the group had worshiped there. Whether or not we know for certain the location of this famous Garden I do not know. But think of the feelings one would have as he stood in this place in which Jesus prayed so fervently on the night of His betrayal. It was there an angel came and ministered to Him (Lk 22:43). So, it is to the Garden Of Gethsemane we go in thought this evening.

    1. It was during this "last supper" that the Lord's supper was instituted
      1. never had there been a passover such as this
      2. and we are reminded: 1 Cor 11:23-26
    2. The singing of a hymn, the Hallel, concluded the passover meal
      1. the Hallel includes Psalms 113-118 - Ps 136 is "The Great Hallel"
      2. "Hallel" means "The Praise Of God" - and these particular psalms are praise psalms - among scriptures Jewish boys memorized early in life
    1. He quotes from Zech 13:7
      1. He used the word "offended" (KJV) - means "to stumble, to trip"
      2. the events of that night would cause all of the apostles to stumble
      3. please keep in mind that a "stumble" is not "apostasy"
    2. Indeed, Jesus refers to His meeting them in Galilee after He is risen
      1. that night would be a great trial to/of their faith
      2. they were completely unready for what would transpire
      3. and when it began to happen: Mt 26:56
    3. Not surprisingly, there were protestations from the apostles
      1. Mk 14:29,31 - Peter apparently led the protests - and all joined
      2. but Mk 14:30 - "thou shalt deny me thrice"
      3. doubtless, Peter loved Jesus; doubtless, Peter though himself to be a man of great strength; "Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee" (Mt 26:35)
    1. We are reminded He took Peter, James and John further into the Garden
      1. He asked them to "tarry ye here, and watch" (Mk 14:34)
      2. in times of trouble we want intimate people with us - not necessarily to talk, to advise, to sympathize .. just to be present
      3. Mk 14:34a gives us something of the depth of His emotion
    2. It is evident that in His humanity He did not want to die this death! (14:35)
      1. this is something about Jesus that is difficult for us - humanity/deity
      2. he obviously knew that this was God's plan - a substitutionary death
      3. but He "prayed that, if it were possible , the hour might pass from Him"
    3. "Abba. Father..." (14:36)
      1. the manner of address here is that of the most intimate relationship
      2. so, one must not see God as a Father who just thoughtlessly and callously pulls the strings of human puppets! there is truly feeling here
      3. Rom 8:14-17 - notice that we, too, have the privilege of this intimacy
    4. Jesus apparently prayed this same prayer three times (14:41)
      1. and we must not miss the emphasis on the Father's will
      2. "nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt" (14:36)
      3. notice Mt 6:10 - "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven"
    1. Jesus to the three apostles: "tarry ye here, and watch"
      1. 14:37 - Peter, who would go with Him to death, could not watch
      2. each time Jesus returned He found them sleeping!
    2. 14:38 - Temptation is all too real - failure is all too possible
      1. watching, vigilance are often admonished in scripture
      2. Peter, who failed so miserably, would later write: 1 Pet 5:8,9

CLOSE: And there was amazing courage in the Garden - Mk 14:42. There was no effort to evade, to hide, to escape. There are those times in life when the only right course is straight ahead! From the beautiful Garden scenes we now progress to the horribly ugly scenes of crucifixion.

Cecil A. Hutson

21 December 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)