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Bible Studies For Life

Jesus Rules                       Session 3                     17 DEC 17

From time to time I have made comments on the state of the SBC and doctrine. The latest disappointment is with LifeWay.

LifeWay Research, based in Nashville, did a new survey, in which LifeWay used a set of four questions about the Bible, Jesus, salvation and evangelism developed in partnership with the National Association of Evangelicals. Those who strongly agree with all four are considered to be evangelicals by belief.

The problem is two of the four questions were wrong about the Gospel of Jesus:

  1. It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.
  2. Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God's free gift of eternal salvation.

According to this false way to be saved LifeWay Research concluded:

·         http://bpnews.net/images/a96c4854-aa88-40ba-8e3b-57cdeb5c1b4e-Evangelical-beliefs-and-identity.jpg?width=400

I quote from the twentieth century SBC pamphlet Make Jesus Lord!:

We should make Jesus Lord in order that he may be our Saviour. He is Lord of all creation in the sense that all power in heaven and on earth belongs to him. But his lordship means salvation only to those who voluntarily make him Lord. He does not save those who are unwilling to be saved. It is impossible to have Jesus as Saviour while refusing to make him Lord. The New Testament does not say, "Believe on Jesus, and thou shalt be saved," but, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). He will not enter the heart of one who is selfish, uncommitted, and rebellious. When Paul became a Christian he said, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6)” (My emphasis) This is what Jesus said in (Mat 7:21 RSV) ""Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

Conclusions:

·         The survey results are erroneous.

·         Question 1 should have been: It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.

·         Question 2 should have been: Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Lord and Savior receive God's gift of eternal salvation by grace through faith.

Final Conclusion:

There is no evangelism unless the lost commit their remaining life to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Note (Acts 20:21 RSV) "testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance to God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ."

 

MARK 4:35-36 Jesus does care but he does NOT live out His life in us. If our life resembles Jesus’ life, it is because we chose to make it that way and then make it that way. Fundamental and essential to this is Paul’s critical words in (Eph 4:22-24 RSV) "Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, {23} and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, {24} and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." WE have the action and responsibility to “put off”, to do “renewal”, and “put on.” Neither Jesus nor the Holy Spirit will do it for us, even if we ask them to do so. Lordship means WE do the work, not Jesus!

A lot of Christians wrongly pray for Jesus to come and take control. This He will never do. Remember always (Luke 14:26 RSV) ""If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:33 RSV) "So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple." The action and responsibility is ours. So to say that Jesus doesn’t care when something happens we don’t like is false and ridiculous. Because Jesus does not control us and make everything happen to us good things has nothing to do with His power or any lack thereof. God made us in his image and thus we have the freewill to do what we want. It is, since we are not gods or God, that God holds us responsible for how we use that freewill. Jesus does not use His power to go against the wishes of the Father. Many pagan religions have wars and conflicts among their false gods. There is no conflict within the Trinity. They are perfectly united.

Dr. Herschel H. Hobbs in his book an exposition of the gospel of Mark, Baker Book House, 1970, page 77 wrote about this day: “It spans events recorded in Mark 3:19-5:20. Beginning in Galilee (Capernaum) it also carried Jesus across the sea of Galilee to the region of Gerasa…”Even” could mean before or after sundown. In this context it probably means late in the afternoon but before sunset.” Being what A. T. Robinson called the “Busy Day”, Jesus was tired and went to sleep quickly. At first other boats, with part of the crowd, followed them but the coming storm most likely caused them to return to shore. The gospels together make the storm into something like a hurricane. Sudden storms happen here because of the layout of the area.

MARK 4:37-38 Dr. Hobbs wrote that, page 78 “Mark vividly describes the storm.” Where was Jesus? Dr.  Hobbs, page 78 “He was in the stern of the boat asleep, either on the bench where the steersman sat or else with His head resting on the leather cushion provided for the steersman….Two things may be noted about Jesus sleeping at such a time. The evident one is His humanity. He was exhausted after this busy day. But back of this idea is His deity. As the Son of God He had no need to fear the waves.” But the Apostles knew no assurance because they had yet to understand very well who Jesus was. So they woke him up and questioned if he cared what happened to them. That certainly shows they didn’t really know Jesus. We should note the Greek word epistata. It means (Dr. Hobbs, page 78) “(Master), the technical name for the captain of a ship.” This is attributed to all the Apostles. Yet people around Easter fault Judas for calling Jesus Master in (Mat 26:25 RSV) "Judas, who betrayed him, said, "Is it I, Master?" He said to him, "You have said so."" This word is 4461. rhabbi, hrab-bee'; of Heb. or. [H7227 with pron. suffix]; my master, i.e. Rabbi, as an official title of honor:--Master, Rabbi. They say Judas should have said “Lord” and thus shows he was lost. The Twelve used a much lessor word in this boat and no one calls them lost. Judas was a saved man who did not grow spiritually as did the rest, by his own choice. People just want to make Judas lost to make his betrayal easy to explain. Dr. Hobbs pointed out; page 78 “Even though they rebuked Jesus, it is evident that they recognized His power to come to their aid. He was a tired man sleeping, but He was the Lord of the sea and wind.” He must have been tried to sleep with all that water blowing on him. This is the humanity of Jesus expressing itself. We should also note that the Apostles did try to do what they could before calling Jesus. Jesus had been showing aspects of His power before this day and during it. The Apostles knew His power was from God. What they had yet to learn was the uniqueness of the personal power of Jesus because He was Divine.

MARK 4:39-41 Jesus immediately awoke and told the storm to stop, for the benefit of the Apostles. Storms don’t hear so the words were for the Apostles to understand why it was stopping. Dr. Hobbs, page 78 “”Be still” means literally. “Be muzzled.” This present imperative of the former verb means to keep on being calm and to remain so. Note the results. “And the wind ceased [immediately, aorist]. And there was [immediately, aorist] a great calm” The aorist tense shows this was a miracle.” The response of the Apostles tells their severe lack of understand about Jesus. Dr. Hobbs, page 79 “Literally, “they feared a great fear.” If they were frightened at the power of the wind and waves, they were more frightened in the presence of One who commanded and they obeyed. So they asked among themselves, “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?” (v. 41). The word “man” is not in the Greek text. Actually it reads, “Who then is this?” Dr. Hobbs wrote that they “learned a great lesson that day.” But in fact they did not. It would take many more times, the Cross Event, and Pentecost for the Apostles to fully see Jesus as the Son of God, a Person of the Trinity and as a Divine Person of the Trinity with great power.

MARK 5:6-7 In those days people assigned most things bad and most diseases to demons or sin. We know mental illness happened then as now. The Bible tells us demons did indwell lost people on occasion. We can only assume that demons still do so today. In any case Jesus said this man was demon possessed. It was a hard case and the demon made the man extremely strong at times. Dr. Hobbs, page 81 “There is no reason to believe that the man as such recognized Jesus. But the demons residing in him did. So, in fact, it was they who fell before Jesus. They did recognize Him for who He was. The demons did an amazing thing. This shows that lost people can also know more about Jesus than many Christians and still not be affected by the gospel. Dr. Hobbs, page 81 “So the demon put Jesus on oath that He would not begin to torture them.” Imagine that!

MARK 5:8-13 Certainly there were more than one demon inside the man. But we do not have to say there were 6, 826 men. The word “Legion”, as many words today, took on a meaning beyond its military definition. As Dr. Hobbs noted, “The name had come to mean a well-organized group possessing great power.” Jesus granted their request to stay on earth and to move somewhere else. We cannot say why Jesus agreed to this nor why he allowed a cash herd of Gentile hogs to be destroyed. We can say Jesus cared for the man so much that He did what was best to rid the man of the demons. God does not promise to work out the most good for the lost.

MARK 5:14-20 The hogs went crazy and disappeared one after another into the sea. When the swine owners heard of this, they confronted Jesus face to face. On the way to confront Jesus, they found the man no longer acting insane. They became more afraid of him than before. The death of the herd and the change in the man was too much. They strongly told Jesus to leave. Why? Because these Gentiles were pagans who feared their gods. Not knowing who Jesus was, they wanted this supposed destructive god to leave them alone. Their belief in Roman gods was such they believed the gods walked as humans on the earth whenever they chose. SO they projected this onto Jesus. They were insistent and gave Jesus no chance to do more. The healed man begged Jesus to let him go with Jesus. Dr. Hobbs, page 83-84 “The Greek text is most vivid. As Jesus was entering the boat, the man began to beg or was begging Him to let him accompany Jesus. This, of course, was a natural reaction…. At any rate Jesus denied his request. He readily granted the request of the people of the area. But in denying the man’s plea He provided him with a greater privilege. “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath compassion on thee” (v. 19).” This man had a unique witness. As Jesus commanded later, (Mat 28:19-20 RSV) "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, {20} teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."" Dr. Hobbs, page 84 “To publish” renders a present infinitive of the verb to hear or to preach. Immediately he began and continued to do so. He did so not only to his own family but to the entire region of the Decapolis. Probably he was widely known as a madman. It is no wonder that everyone who heard him marveled at his message. Jesus left the region of Gerasa never to return insofar as the record shows. But He left a powerful witness behind.” Jesus could have forced the people to let him stay. But God cannot force anyone to repent and have saving Greek belief. Our witness has to go to as many people as possible so they can have an example of what the Holy Spirit can do with a growing saved person. Jesus cared and cares for us. We should and are to extend that care to the lost.

            In several religions, their gods are given powers not unlike many of the miracles. Remember what the magicians were able to do for Pharaoh against Moses? But their gods are not the singular divine Son of God. The uniqueness of the power of Jesus is clear from the Bible but not so clear to pagan people. The physical display of His power to the pagan swine owners was not a positive witness to them. They were more likely to hear the man who was no longer demon-possessed because he was a native of their region. This is not the only time people who had personal knowledge of Jesus and still left Jesus. (John 6:66 RSV) "After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him." Many deserted Jesus because He would not be a political revolutionary and because of His emphasis on the need for personal faith for salvation and not providing physical welfare benefits.

            Christians have a specific responsibility to witness to the unique power of Jesus to lost people who do not recognize and accept Jesus’ power. Remember, we are to witness. This means to tell what we personally know. The lost may not accept Jesus’ power as desirable, but we can witness in our lives how Jesus’ powers have helped us BECAUSE we are Christians.

 

Marvin Ganote, Hobbs Study Class, Adult Teacher. ganotemd@outlook.com Home Page: http://dma1.org/~ganotemd/lesson.htm