This is sermon #72 in the Luke series. In this sermon Dave preaches on the 2nd coming of Christ, the kingdom of God and the suffering of Christ.
Rediscovering the Church Fathers Who They Were and How They Shaped The Church is written by Michael A. G. Haykin Professor of church history and spirituality at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. This book explores the importance of the church fathers to evangelicals, and then turns to looking at Ignatius, the letter to Diognetus, the exegesis of Origen, Cyprian, Ambrose, Basil of Caesarea, Patrick and the authors experience with reading the Church Fathers.
Being an avid reader I regularly look for what’s coming in the pipeline from a variety of publishers so that I can be kept aware of what’s upcoming that looks interesting to read. When I read the title of Rediscovering the Church Fathers, I immediately knew that I was going to be interested in reading this book. Having now read this book I can say that I am even more excited about it.
First, I have a confession, I personally find Church History fascinating. I love learning about the men and women who have gone before me in the faith. In particular I love to read about the Church Fathers and also the Reformers along with the Puritans. Being that I regularly read a lot of blogs and read a lot of books every year- one of the areas theologically that I see lacking in the Church is in the area of historical theology.
As I just said Church History has much to teach the Church today about what it means to live out the faith. This book addresses two issues that I think are huge in the Church today. The first issue is a lack of rootedness in history and the second is celebrity hero culture of much of American evangelism.
The first issue that this book addresses is the lack of rootedness in history. Christians have received the faith passed on by many godly men and women- many of whom have died brutal deaths for the faith in order to hand on the faith to the next generation. Earlier I mentioned that one of the biggest issues I see lacking is in the area of historical theology. I’m thankful for books like Rediscovering the Church Fathers because it exposes Christians on a popular level to the lives of men who made an impact in their generations for Christ. So, when I say that many Christians lack a rootedness in history, I am speaking to the fact that many Christians may have never considered how their faith has been passed on for the last two thousand years. Knowing Church History is important for a variety of reasons but the biggest is to know what theological error has occurred in the past (and continues to do so in the present) and how the Church has defended such error and refuted such error historically (and continues to do so in the present).
The final issue is one that this book does not address directly but rather by way it is written. Dr. Haykin excels in this book discussing the life of the men but setting the life of the men he considers in their proper historical context. When the life of these men are considered in light of the history in which they lived in their lives- their lives are all the most spectacular. In reflecting on reading this book I came to the conclusion though that Dr. Haykin’s strength lies not in just setting the proper context or even his examination of the men he writes about, but in showing what kind of men Ignatius, Origen, Cyprian, Ambrose, Basil of Caesarea, and Patrick were. In doing that, I believe Dr. Haykin’s book goes beyond just being a teaching on the Church Fathers but takes one immediately into the present and causes the reader to examine how one is living his/her life today.
Finally, studying Church History is vital but knowing one’s Bible is far better. In reading and studying Church History one must ultimately open one’s Bible and test and examine the theology of the teacher holding fast what is biblical in regards to the teaching, and discarding what is not. Thankfully Dr. Haykin in his book takes the reader on a journey of men who lived courageously and boldly for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their generations. This is a book every Christian ought to read if not only to get familiar with the Church Fathers but to become acquainted with men who influenced the faith. Rediscovering the Church Fathers is a book that ought to be read by every Christian of all stripes to learn about the lives of some of the men who have gone before us and who still today influence the Church. I recommend you read this book and be encouraged at how God has used men in the past and then consider how He might use you in the present to stand courageously for the sake of the Gospel in our own day.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Crossway book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Incarnational living is Christ-centeredness; meaning, Christ is interwoven into the warp and woof of the homogeneous fabric of faith. Christ is above culture. Sure, the church strives to place Christ “in” culture, but the sovereignty of Christ means that He already supersedes culture. His position is outside of time. Being Christocentric means that I acknowledge all things are in, through, for, and by Him (Eph. 1:3-14). When the Lord stated “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” (Mt. 22:21), Jesus implied three things: (1) Caesar may claim to be “Augustus” (the title denotes god-like, or majestic), but God is the One and only God; (2) all things are God’s, and government exists for God’s purpose, and (3) all things pertain to, and are created for, God. Caesar owns nothing! He is a created being. Christ, is above culture, but has established all things “in” Him. The Word of God launches this understanding past our human finite minds, more than once: Christ was/is the Creator (Jn. 1:1; Col. 1:16-17; Rom. 11:36).
The ancient Christian church acknowledged Christ as the entirety of their lives. They lived the Gospel within every community they reached. With no personal Bibles, buildings, or Sunday school classes, the church thrived on what they knew to be true in their hearts: the Gospel. “Classical Christianity affirms the centrality of Christ to all creation and offers a distinct way to deal with the problem of evil…which permeates all the structures of existence…they affirm the unity and coherence of all things in Christ (Col. 1:16-20).” For this reason, believers are to meditate on Christ (the Word) to renew minds (Rom. 12:2) and pray for one another (James 5:16). We are to seize Christocentric-living (Eph. 4:15), which knows humility (Phil 2:3), and love (2 Cor. 5:14); “put[ting] on Christ” (Col. 3:12), and crucifying the flesh (Rom. 7:5). Bringing the Kingdom principles into community is more than a church plant; it is more than meeting unmet needs; more than a Bible study in the local barista; it comes from the implementation of Christocentric living, coupled with intentional discipleship and interaction with the unsaved.
If Christians truly believed that Christ was resurrected and lives, then there would be a transformation so powerful; so evident, so infectious, that no emperor, culture, or government would be able to squelch its growth. George Hunter, in his book The Celtic Way of Evangelism, expresses the nature of how powerful and comprehensive the understanding of living Christ was for the Celts. He states, “Celtic Christians had no need to seek [outside secularism]. Their Christian faith and community addressed life as a whole…help[ing] people [to] live and cope as Christians day to day in the face of poverty, enemies, evil forces, nature’s uncertainties, and frequent threats from many quarters.” While this may not seem like evangelism, the act of living out one’s faith by Christocentric-driven devotion was indigenous for the Celts; something which needs to be engulfed into a paradigm shift of thinking in Westernized Christianity. Let us all reflect upon this:
“[This] is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” ~ Ephesians 4:20-24
 Webber, Ancient-Future Faith, 40-41.
 George Hunter, The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach the West…Again, (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2010), 20-21.
This is sermon #28 in the Job series. In this sermon on Job chapters 40-42 Dave preaches on the character of God and submission to God.
The Triumphant Resurrection of Christ
Jesus in John 11:25 said, “I am, the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” The lengthiest explanation of Jesus’ resurrection is found in 1stCorinthians 15. This whole chapter is about how if Jesus did not bodily rise in victory over death, then Christianity is false and dreamed up by liars to give false hope to people. In this chapter, we will examine the biblical evidence, historical evidence, and arguments against the resurrection.
The resurrection of Christ is the most known and celebrates miracle in the history of the world. There has always been consensus that it is in many ways the core of our faith:
Thomas Arnold (Professor of modern history at ….Oxford….): “No one fact in the history of mankind is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort” than the fact that “Christ died and rose from the dead.” Bishop B.F. Westcott: “Indeed, taking all the evidences together it is not too much to say that there is no historical incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection of Christ.” John Locke said, “Our Savior’s resurrection is truly fo great important in Christianity; so great that His being or not being the Messiah still stands or falls with it.” Billy Graham: “The entire plan for the future has its key in the resurrection.” Martin Luther: “Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection not in words alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” John R. Stott: “Christianity is in its very essence a resurrection religion. The concept of resurrection lies at its heart. If you remove it, Christianity is destroyed.” William Lyon Phelps (Yale Professor: “In the whole story of Jesus Christ, the most important event is the resurrection.” Benjamin Warfield (Princeton Professor): “The resurrection of Christ is a fact.”
Having taken a look at what some people have said regarding the resurrection let us now turn to the Biblical evidence for the Resurrection of Christ.
Rooted in History
Seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah promise that Jesus would be born into humble circumstances to live a simple life, die a brutal death, and then rise to take away our sin. (Isaiah 53:8-12)
Jesus predicted his resurrection
On numerous occasions Jesus plainly promised he would die and rise three days later (Matthew 12:38-40 Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:33-34 John 2:18-22).
Jesus died on the Cross
The death of Christ was a brutal event where He underwent many sleepless nights of trial, and beating that left him exhausted. He was scourged, crucified, a spear thrust in his side, wrapped in roughly one hundred pounds of linens and spices which would have killed him by asphyxiation. Through this all Jesus survived, but he could not have endured three days without food, water in a cold tomb carved out of rock, and so He died. (John 19:34-35)
Jesus was buried in a tomb that was easy to find
Jesus was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in death. Jesus was a very poor man who could not afford an expensive burial plot. After Jesus died on the Cross a wealthy and well-known man named Joseph of Arimathea gifted his expensive tomb for the burial of Jesus. This made the tomb easy to find as soldiers were assigned to guard the tomb, and the disciples and women who visited the tomb found it empty all knew exactly where Jesus’ dead body was laid to rest. Had Jesus not risen from death, it would have been easy to prove it by opening the tomb and presenting Jesus’ body as evidence. (Isaiah 53:9, Matthew 27:57-30)
Jesus appeared physically alive three days after his death
The Jehovah Witnesses reject the physical resurrection of Jesus while maintaining that he rose spiritually. This alternative explanation for Jesus’ resurrection does not agree with the historical facts.
Following Jesus’ resurrection many people touched his body; his disciples clung to his feet, Mary clung to him, and Thomas the doubter put his hand into the open spear hole in Jesus side. Jesus appeared to his disciples after the resurrection and they were uncertain if he had truly physically risen from death. The Scriptures are clear however that Jesus went out of his way to prove his bodily resurrection. (Matthew 28:9; John 20:17, John 20:17; John 20:20-28). No credible historical evidence from the time period of Jesus to validate any alternative explanation for Jesus resurrection other than his literal physical resurrection. (Luke 24:36-43).
Jesus resurrection was recorded as scripture shortly after it occurred
Mark’s Gospel account of the days leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion mentions the high priest without mentioning him. Mark did not mention the high priest by name because he expected his readers to know whom he speaking about. Caiaphas was high priest from 18-37 A.D the latest possible date for this tradition is 37 A.D. This date is so close to the death of Jesus there would not have been sufficient time for a legend of his resurrection to occur. This proves that the biblical record of Jesus’ resurrection was penned while eyewitnesses were still alive to verify the facts. His resurrection was not a legend that was developed after the time of Jesus. (Mark 14:53-54, 60-61, 63)
Jesus resurrection was celebrated in the earliest church creeds
1stCorinthians 15:3-4, “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” This statement is accepted as the earliest church creed which began circulating as early as 30-36 A.D., shortly after Jesus’ resurrection. The early age of this age demonstrates there was not sufficient time between the crucifixion and the creed for any legend about Jesus’ resurrection to accrue. In addition the witnesses mentioned were still alive and available to be questioned about the facts surrounding the resurrection. The early date of this creed also proves that the church did not corrupt the truth about Jesus with fables and folklore like the resurrection. Rather, the early church simply clung to the plain and incontrovertible facts of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
Jesus resurrection convinced his family to worship him as God
James, Jesus’ half-brother, was originally opposed to the claims of his brother. A transformation occurred in James, after he saw his brother resurrected from death. James went on to pastor the church in ….Jerusalem…. and authored the New Testament epistle bearing his name. He was also actively involved in shaping the early church, which suffered and died to proclaim to everyone that Jesus is the one true God. Jesus’ mother, Mary was part of the early church that prayed to and worshipped her son as God, as was Jesus’ other brother, Jude, who wrote a book of the New Testament bearing his name. While it is not impossible to imagine Jesus convincing his own mother and brothers to suffer persecution in this life and risk the torments of hell in eternal life for worshipping him as the one true God unless he truly is. (John 7:5, 1stCor 15:7, James 1:1, Acts 12:17; 15:12-21; 21:18; Gal 2:9, Acts 1:14, Jude 1).
Jesus resurrection was confirmed by his most bitter enemies like Paul
Paul was a devout Jewish Pharisee who routinely persecuted and killed Christians. After an encounter with the risen Christ, Paul was converted and became the most dynamic defender and expander of the church. Had Jesus not truly risen from death, it is absurd to assume that Paul would ever have worshiped him as God, particularly when Paul rightly believed that worshipping a false God would send one into hell. Paul hated Jesus and would never have changed his religious practice unless Jesus had risen from the death to prove him wrong. Finally, Paul insisted that Jesus had risen in almost all of his letters that are in the New Testament. (Phil 3:4-6 Acts 7:54-60, Acts 9).
Historical Evidence for Jesus Death and Resurrection
After studying the biblical evidence for the resurrection for Jesus’ resurrection it is now important to examine the historical evidence for Jesus. The historical evidence for Christ’s resurrection is overwhelming as we shall learn here. The testimony of these non-Christians is important because it confirms the truthfulness of the biblical accounts of Jesus. The argument from many non-Christians is there no historical evidence to substantiate the Resurrection. Not only is this charge false it dismisses the evidence without even considering it, which is to violate the principles of sound research in order to justify one’s opinion. Let the historical evidence presented here speak for itself, and realize this is only a sampling of the massive historical evidence for the resurrection of Christ.
In the Tetestimonium Flavianum,” he says: Now there was about this Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these men and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”
Suetonius (70-160 A.D.)
Suetonius was a Roman historian and annalist of the Imperial House. In his biography of Nero, Suetonius mentions the persecution of Christians by indirectly referring to the resurrection: “Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition [the resurrection].”
Pliny the Younger (62-113A.D)
Pliny the Younger wrote a letter to the emperor Trajan describing early Christian worship gatherings that met early on Sunday mornings in memory of Jesus’ resurrection day: I have never been present at an examination of Christians. Consequently, I do not know the nature of the extent of the punishments usually meted out to them, nor the grounds for starting an investigation and how are it should be pressed. They also declared that the sum total of their guilt or error accounted to no more than this: they had met regularly before dawn on a fixed day[Sunday in remembrance of Jesus’ resurrection] to change verses alternately amongst themselves in honor of Christ as if to a god.”
Wilbur M. Smith in Therefore Stand: “The original accounts of Buddha never ascribe to him any such thing as a resurrection; in fact, in te earliest accounts of his death, namely, the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, we read that when Buddha died it was ‘with that utter passing away in which nothing whatever remains behind.” 60/385
Professor Childers says, ‘There is no trace in the Pali scriptures or commentaries (or so far as I know in any Pali book) Sakya Muni having existed after his death or appearing to his disciples.’ Mohammed died June 8,632 A.D., at the age of sixty-one, at ….Medina…., where his tomb is annually visited by thousands of devout Mohammedans. All the millions and millions of Jews, Buddhists, and Mohammedans agree that their founders have never come up out of the dust of the earth in resurrection.” 60/385
Theodosus Harnock says: “Where you stand with regard to the fact of the Resurrection is in my eyes no longer Christian theology. To me Christianity stands or falls with the Resurrection.”
Professor William Milligan states: “While speaking of the positive evidence for the Resurrection of our Lord, it may be further urged that the fact, if true, harmonizes all the other facts of His history.” 43/71.
Bernard Ramm says that even “the most cursory reading of the Gospels reveals the fact that the Gospels deal with the death and resurrection of Christ in far greater detail than any other part of the ministry of Christ. The details of the resurrection must not be artificially severed from the passion account.”
Many impartial students who have approached the resurrection of Christ with a judicial spirit have been compelled by the weight of the evidence to belief in the resurrection as a fact of history. An example may be seen from a letter written by Sir Edard Clarke, K.C. To the Rev. E. L. Macassey:
As a lawyer I have made a prolonged study of the evidences for the events of the first Easter Day. To me the evidence is conclusive, and over and over again in the High Court I have secured the verdict on evidence not nearly so compelling. Inference follows on evidence, and a truthful witness is always artless and disdains effect. The Gospel evidence for the resurrection is of this class, and as a lawyer I accept it unreservedly as the testimony of truthful men to facts they were able to substantiate.
Professor Bernard Ramm comments: “In both ecclesiastical history and creedal history the resurrection is affirmed from the earliest times. It is mentioned in Clement of Rome, Epistle to the Corinthians (95 A.D), the earliest document of church history and so continuously throughout all the patristic period. It appears in all forms of the Apostles’ Creed and is never debated.”
The Jewish explanation
The earliest attempt to provide an alternative explanation for the resurrection of Christ did not deny that tomb was empty (Matthew 28:13-15). The Jews claimed that the body was stolen, thus admitting the fact of the empty tomb. The tomb was closed with an enormous rock and sealed by the government, and there is no explanation for how the rock was moved while being guarded by Roman soldiers. Second, if the body had been stolen, a large ransom could have been offered to the thieves and they could have been coerced to produce the body. If the disciples had taken the body then the only thing the Jews would have had to do is to persecute the disciples enough to give up the body of Jesus. Thirdly, if the body was stolen, how are we to account for the fact that Jesus appeared to multiple crows of people, proving that he was alive. Finally, the theft of the body is unlikely and still fails to account for it returning to life.
The historical testimony of those who were not Christians stands in agreement with the Scripture that Jesus died and rose again because those are facts established from the Bible and history. Having examined the biblical, historical and some of the arguments against the resurrection, it is clear that the resurrection of Christ is a historical and biblical fact.
Every year Christians celebrate the resurrection o Jesus at Easter. Many people believe in the historical fact of Jesus’ resurrection but have not become Christians by placing their personal faith in him. Even some Christians today deny the historical facts of Jesus’ resurrection. Newsweek did a poll and asked the question, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead after dying on the Cross?” Of those who answered only 88 percent of people who claimed to be Christians answered yes But, fully 3 percent of people who claimed to be non-Christians answered yes.
Jesus promised that he would not only rise from death to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt Jesus that He is God, but also that he would judge everyone who has ever lived and determine their faith (John 5:16-30). His first promise came true when he rose from death, and his second promise will come true either upon our death or upon his return. The opportunity in this life is to repent, and turn from sin only extends in this life. There are no second chances after death to repent. Jesus is more than just a good man, teacher, Prophet, and Priest; He is the Son of God who died for the sins of the world, was buried, and rose again. Forgiveness and eternal life are made possible only through Jesus’ own death and resurrection for humanity.
The burial and resurrection of Christ form two thirds of the Gospel. The Gospel is not secondary it is primary. Paul reminds Christians in 1stCorinthians 15:1-3, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,” Paul makes it clear that the content of the Gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. These are the “words of Christ” which Paul speaks of in Romans 10:17.
Having now examined the biblical, historical and some of the arguments against the resurrection it is now time to make a decision. Will you come, hear, and obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Jesus often divided His audience into categories those who play pretend with Him, and those who take up their Cross and follow Him. The same is true today; those who accept the Gospel will be saved by believing and confessing that Jesus Christ died, was buried and rose again. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has been the clarion message of the Church for two thousand years. There is no other message that God has authorized other than His Gospel. Any message that takes away from the Gospel dismisses Christianity entirely. The Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of man’s souls. Man’s deepest need is Christ’s righteousness. During His life, Jesus demonstrated that He cared for the poor, weak, sick, and so many more by ministering His healing power which stemmed from the fact He was the Son of God. People knew that Jesus was the real deal and were attracted to Him because of His divine authority and power. Christians today have been empowered by the Resurrected Christ to spread His Gospel to the ends of the earth; calling people to repent of their idols and turn to the living God, and His Son Jesus Christ whose death forever satisfied the wrath of God. It is this Gospel that is the foundation stone for the Church and by it believers, “stand” (1stCorinthians 15:1).
Do you have assurance that your sins are forgiven? Do you know where you are going when you die? The only One who can offer you forgiveness from your sin and empower you to live a new life is the Resurrected Christ who died, buried and rose again. Romans 11:36, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”
Flavius Josephus, “Jewish Antiquities,” In The New Complete Works o Josephus, trans. William Whiston (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1999), 18.63-64).
Suetonius, Vita Nero 16.11-13.
Pliny the Younger, Letters 10.96.1-7
Kenneth L. Woodward, “2000 years of Jesus,” Newsweek, March 29, 1999, 54.
For more on the evidence for Jesus read Evidence that Demands a Verdict: Historical evidences for the Christian Faith by Josh McDowell
This is sermon #27 in the Job series. In this sermon on Job chapters 38-40:5 Dave preaches on the character of God and growing in humility.
The death of Christ is a much debated often heated discussion in the Church today. Paul makes it clear in 1st Corinthians 15:3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures”. Paul earlier in 1st Corinthians 15:1-2 that Christians are those who, “hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. (1st Corinthians 15:2).
With the growing tide of secularism, individualism, pluralism, relativism and the lies of religion seemingly pervading the day in today’s society; a clear explanation on the Cross is not only the need of the day but it ought to be the message which Christians are proclaiming everywhere. The death of Christ according to Paul forms one part of the Gospel which is of first importance. This means a denial on the work of Jesus Cross is a denial of Christianity and shows one is not a Christian. This examination on the Cross will challenge every believer to put in practice what they profess, and challenge the non-Christian to see their sin, and come to the Savior who offers forgiveness for sin.
Biblical Evidence for Jesus Death
One of the greatest needs in the Church today is to understand what Jesus has done in dying for the sins of the world. In a world that celebrates ideas, philosophies and even makes these ideas and philosophies into religions; the only constant to history has been the Cross. After all, all of history revolves around the person and work of Jesus Christ since historians have divided one part of history B.C. or before Christ and A.D. After Christ’s death into segments that divide history. In this section the discussion will focus on the holiness of God, God creating everything good, Sin results in death, Jesus is sinless, we are sinful, Jesus became our sin, and Jesus died for humanity.
The holiness of God
Many people today think God is evil either because of their experiences or because they have been taught this lie. The Bible teaches that God is holy, without sin and altogether good. The Holiness of God is the most frequently mentioned attribute in Scripture (Lev 19:2, Isaiah 6:3; 1 John 1:5)
God created everything good
Everything the Lord created was originally good, including human beings who were made in his image and likeness (Genesis 1:31; Eccl 7:29).
Sin results in death
Sin is the greatest diseases known to man because it kills man leaving him apart from the God who created him. The Lord is the living God and the source of life. The Bible clearly teaches that man is physically alive but spiritually dead. (Genesis 2:16-17; Romans 6:23 Eph 2:1 Col 2:13)
Jesus is sinless
Jesus is greater than every prophet and teacher because He alone was sinless. He said this about Himself and the testimony of Scripture affirms this truth. (John 8:46 Hebrews 4:15 7:26 1st Peter 2:22)
We are sinful
People today would rather not view themselves as they are or they attempt to minimize the teaching of Christianity because of all of the talk of sin from Christians. The fact is that one cannot deal with reality without understanding sin. The fact is that everyone is a sinner. People today attempt to explain away sin, or to justify their sin. All attempts to do this fail because the facts are our sin includes our words, deeds, thought and motives. Our sin includes omission (not doing what God commands) and commission (doing what God forbids). (Isaiah 64:6 Romans 3:23 1st John 1:8
Jesus became our sin
The very fact that Jesus died as a substitute for man’s sin should be not shocking as today people worship sports, creation, cause and the list goes. This very fact shows that everyone has a “savior” mentality whereby they pursue what they want whenever they want. While everyone is pursuing righteousness unto themselves Jesus died on the Cross as the sinless Lamb of God. In that moment Jesus took upon Himself all the sin ever committed throughout the history of the world and died. Scripture declares that on the Cross Jesus exchanged his perfection for our imperfection, his obedience for our disobedience, his intimacy with God the Father for our distance from God the Father, his blessing for our cursing and his life for our death. Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned- every one-to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Furthermore, Scripture teaches, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (Romans 5; 2nd Corinthians 5:21)
Jesus died for us
The substitionary atonement of Christ means that His death was in our place solely for our benefit and without benefit for Himself. It means that Jesus took the penalty for our sins so we do not have to suffer the just penalty ourselves. The wrath of God that should have fallen on us and the death that our sins merit fell upon Jesus. Jesus did this willingly for us. Isaiah 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. “ Isaiah 53:12, “Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. “ Romans 4:25,” who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.“ Romans 5:8, “8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.“ 1st Corinthians 15:3, “3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures” 1st Corinthians 3:18, “18Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.“ 1st John 2:2, “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.“ Galatians 3:13, “13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written,” Cursed is everyone who is hanged(C) on a tree”— “
The sinless Jesus literally stood in our place to suffer and die for us. In doing so Jesus is a Savior who alone can take away the curse we deserve because of our sin. The Scriptures are clear that Jesus is the only Savior who died in our place, bearing our punishment and taking away our sin (Isaiah 53:10).
On this point some will say well that isn’t like my god who is loving and just. Isaiah 53 clearly teaches though it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief. The Cross of Jesus most clearly shows the love of God for sinners. John 15:12-13, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Great love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. The death on the Cross is where God’s love is most clearly seen in all his creation. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believe sin him should not perish but have eternal life. Romans 5:8, “But God shows his love for us in that while we are yet sinners, Christ died for us. 1st John 4:9-10, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” The bloody death of Christ is all about His love.
Among the events of the Old Testament, is the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur, according to the regulations of the book of Leviticus. In the Jewish calendar the Day of Atonement was the most important day. It was a day intended to deal with the sin problem between humanity and God. Of the many prophetic elements on this special day, one stands out. On that day, two healthy goats were chosen; they were therefore fit to represent sinless perfection. The high priest would slaughter one gat, which acted as a substitute for the sinners who rightly deserved a bloody death for their sins. The high priest treated the first goat as a sin offering. He slaughtered the innocent goat and sprinkled some of its blood on the mercy seat on top of the ark of the covenant inside the Most Holy Place. But the goat is no longer innocent when it takes the guilt of our sin because it is a sin offering for the people (Leviticus 16:15). The blood represents life given as payment for sin. The result is that the welling place of God is cleansed from all of the transgression and sins of the people of Israel and God’s wrath is satisfied.
The slaughter of the goat on the day of Atonement represents propitiation. Propitiation means that God’s wrath was turned away or propitiated from sinners and diverted to Jesus Christ. This was made possible because Jesus himself died in our place as both our high priest and the lamb of God to pay the penalty for our sins (Hebrews; John 1:29). The high priest, acting as the representative and mediator between the sinful people and a holy God, would take the second goat and lay his hands on the animal while confessing the sins of the people. This goat was called the scapegoat would then be sent away to run free into the wilderness, symbolically taking their sins with it. This is the doctrine of expiation, whereby our sin is expiated, or taken away so we are made clean.
The Bible uses a dozen words to speak of sin in terms of staining our soul, defiling us, and causing us to be filthy and unclean (Psalm 106:39; Proverbs 30:11-12; Mark 7:20). The effects of sin are seen everyday and can make one feel guilty. The scapegoat illustrates for us how Jesus takes away our sin so that we can become new people who live new lives. Scripture uses a variety of verbs such as cleanse, and purify to explain this aspect of Jesus work on the Cross (Lev 16:30; Jer. 33:8; Zech 13:1; 1 John 1:7-9; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 9:14). The Bible also frequently mentions people wearing white as a symbol that they have been cleansed from sin (2 Chron 5:12; Eccles. 9:8; Acts 1:10; Rev. 3:4-5; 6:11; 7:9-14; 15:6; 19:8).
How people view the Cross today
Much of what is said on the atonement today is not only wrong it is heresy. One person from the United Kingdom calls the substitionary death of Christ “cosmic child abuse” and other Pastors support this position which has sparked a debate on both sides of Atlantic regarding the substitionary atonement of Christ. The sad thing is that the liberal position on the atonement is no position just, “I feel that the Scripture says this” which is no way for any Christian, let alone a Pastor to explain the Scriptures which they have been charged with preaching (2nd Timothy 4:2). The Truth of 2nd Timothy 3-4 becomes clearer everyday as people turn to themselves, set themselves up as their own saviors, and set up their own religion of comfort rather than taking up the Cross, dying to self, and living a holy life. The Gospel is the good news of what Jesus has done.
Throughout history many people have said a lot regarding Jesus Cross. Jean-Jacques Rousseau said: “If Socrates live and died like a philosopher, Jesus live and died like a god.” Gandi said, “His death on the Cross was a great example to the world, but that there was anything like a mysterious or miraculous virtue in it, my heart could not accept.” Mark Twain said, “Jesus died to save men- a small thing for an immortal to do- and didn’t save many, anyway. But if he had been damned for the race, that would have been an act of a size proper to a god, and would have saved the whole race. John Knox said, “To remember Jesus is to remember first of all his Cross.” Fridrich Nietzsche said, “Jesus died too soon. If he had lived to my age he would have repudiated his doctrine.” Puritan John Owen said, “There is no death of sin without the death of Christ.”
The lie of today’s individualism is that one can be a “savior” when the only Savior is Jesus Christ. Ultimately the lies of culture stem down to one thing- pride. Pride is the reason why Satan fell and why man today fails to worship, honor and give glory to God who alone is worthy of honor, glory and praise. The religion o today says Jesus is just a teacher, prophet, or a good man. Jesus is more than these things which focus merely on one aspect or another of what Jesus has done. Jesus is the only Savior who provides the only means to deal with the problem of sin which separates man from God and the only solution which He provided for in His death. Furthermore Jesus is the only One through His resurrection who can give people new life.
Today’s culture is set against God, His Word and His Son. The heresy of today’s culture is not an accident it is done with a goal in mind- to discredit Christianity. Yet in “attempting” to discredit Christianity the culture has failed. The only thing the culture has shown is that it doesn’t believe the same values it exposes and is guilty of hypocrisy which is interesting since it accuses Christians of not living up to the standards of Jesus.
The only solution for Christians is to not be ashamed of what Jesus did on the Cross but stand on the byways, highways and marketplaces of today’s culture and proclaim the Gospel. People may call you all sorts of names; ridicule you for the name of Jesus but what is better to receive an eternal reward or earthly praise? The kind of life Jesus called believers to is one of persecution, a life of taking up one’s Cross, living the Truth, despising heresy; calling for people everywhere to repent turn from sin and live for Him now (Matthew 5-7; Luke 6, John 15). The kind of life Jesus calls believers to live is centered upon Him and His Work. Believers are to live for the glory of the One who is glorious who is worthy to be praised. It is to Him that belongs all honor and glory. May you be found Christian be found bringing glory to Him who was faithful to save you from your sins and give you new life through His death, burial and resurrection.
This is sermon #71 in the Luke series. In this sermon on Luke 17:7-19 Dave preaches on growing in the grace of God, humility and thankfulness, and the work of Christ.
Tempted and Tried: temptation and the Triumph of Christ is written by Dr. Russell D. Moore the Dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He also serves as the preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church.
In Tempted and Tried Dr. Moore has written a heady, practical, Scripture-saturated and Gospel-centered book on the why the believer is tempted and how he/she is to overcome temptation. Rather than get into all the specifics of what the book is about, I would like to share a few things on how this book has impacted me.
Dr. Moore teaches that temptation deals with a question of one’s identity. Many believers struggle with their identity in Christ for a variety of reasons whether because they were raised in a dysfunctional home or because they are addicted to pornography. Throughout the book, Dr. Moore challenges his readers to understand their identity in Christ by understanding who Christ is and what He has done. This book has helped me to better understand my identity in Christ and the assault that my identity in Him is under.
On page 171 Dr. Moore explains that one of the first ways you can tell you are moving beyond temptation into a pattern of sin is if you find yourself in a time of prayerlessness. He rightly identifies this as a gospel issue. Knowing the right things about God, the Bible, and Jesus is all well and good but they ought to lead to action. One of the ways our convictions are revealed is in how the believer fights against temptation when it arises. In the past several years this fighting against temptation and specifically apathy is where I have grown the most in my walk with God. In growing in these areas, I have learned to recognize my identity as rooted in the finished work of Christ and in the importance of prayerfulness.
Tempted and Tried by Dr. Moore is a book that every Christian should read in order to better understand why one is tempted and how to deal with temptation. Reading this book will challenge you and at times confront misconceptions you may have about temptation. I encourage you to allow the work of the Word of God by the Spirit of God to the glory of God to do its work in you as you read this book, so that through you God may bring forth much fruit for His name and fame. Reading this book will help you grow in the Gospel and in turn help you to be a fruitful Gospel Christian.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Crossway book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
This is sermon #26 in the Job series. In this sermon on Job chapters 34-37 Dave preaches on the nature and purpose of prayer, the nature of suffering, lessons learned from suffering and the character of God.