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Archive for the ‘Christ’ Category

From my sermon yesterday on Luke 12:31-34 …

Look, Jesus is not against investing. He’s against bad investing.

So, an Armani-suited, rolex-wearing, slick-haired man comes up to you and says, “I have an investment opportunity for you. Listen to this. Take all you have and I’ll invest it for you and you will lose every penny of it … and your house … and your car … and your clothes … and your beauty. All of it.” Now the Bible says this: “16 Be not afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases. 17 For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down after him.” (Psalm 49:16-17)

And another man dressed in rags with bleeding hands and a bleeding side with a crown of thorns comes up to you and says, “I have an investment opportunity for you. Give me all you have and I’ll invest it for you and you will receive 100 times back what you gave me. 100 Times.” Now the Bible says this: “29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)

Now, which one of those men do we believe?

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From my Easter sermon yesterday on the connection between Jesus death and resurrection as the means to make all things new:

Now, how does God fix this?

HE DID/DOES IT BY JESUS’ DEATH ON THE CROSS. Colossians 1:20 tells us that “through him [it pleased God] to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” See that word reconcile? It means to make peace between two enemies. You don’t have to reconcile friends. You do have to reconcile enemies. Ephesians 1:10 tells us the same thing, that God, “in the fullness of time” has a plan to “unite all things in [Christ], things in heaven and on earth.” Now, they if the plan is to unite them then they must be disunited or in disunity. Make sense? And notice that Jesus reconciles, not just sinful men to God [He does do that, praise God!], but ALL THINGS [stars, ruby-throated sparrows, blue whales, the Mississippi Delta, the Grand Canyon, supernovas, tarantulas, Jupiter … ALL THINGS], everywhere … Friends, everything is at war and is disunited – when you see animals eating one another and fires raging over a drought covered earth and hurricanes blowing and earthquakes rumbling and genocide and rape and cancer and murder and gossip and stealing or just your body growing old … don’t you see that this is the creation at war with one another, with itself, and with God? But the good news of the gospel is that Jesus’ death brings the peace of the world … calls a truce … armistice … ends the war. Jesus’ death pays the price for the peace of the world. [When WWII ended, when the peace was signed, did it cost anyone? Yes. It cost the world over 50M lives.] Now, Jesus’ death was the cost to bring about the complete peace of the whole universe. Praise God!

BUT GOD DOES THIS BY THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS AS WELL. See, if Jesus had died, and stayed dead, stayed in that tomb, then he would have no power to defeat death, the main enemy, the enemy that has to be defeated more than any other enemy. 1 Cor 15:26 says that “the last enemy to be destroyed is death.” According 1 Corinthians 15 who destroys death? Jesus. According to 1 Corinthians 15 how does he do it? Through his resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus is like the Atomic Bomb on Satan’s kingdom that ends the war. There’s still fighting going on but the war is over. The resurrection of Jesus is like the title deed to that old house God is remodeling – it needs remodeling but God paid for it and has proof of ownership.

Beloved, the resurrection of Jesus is God’s announcement to all the powers of this age, to all the universe, that Jesus has conquered the darkness of this age. While he was entombed in the darkness of his grave no one knew this. For all we knew death had won again. For all the world knew Jesus was just another casualty of a fallen universe, crushed in the gears of history. Think of the sins that put Jesus in the grave: deceit, hate, murder, torture, mocking, and on and on. If he does not come out of that grave, then sin and death and the devil could say, “I have authority over you.” But when Jesus burst forth from the grave it was a declaration that every ill, every sin, every evil act, every pain would come to an end. It was a declaration to murder, and cancer, and rape, and Down’s Syndrome, and tornadoes, and anger, and greed, and Satan, “you do not have the final say – I do; you do not have authority over me – I have authority over you; you have no claim over me – …” That’s why Jesus said in Revelation 1:17-18 “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” Do you see the connection between his cross and resurrection AND his authority over death?

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From my sermon on Luke 12:8-12 …

So what does it mean to speak against Jesus? Answer, pretty much what you think. It means to speak against Jesus. It means to say things that dishonor him. It means to deny him. It means to say false things about him. And here’s the thing – the reason God gave you a mouth and lips and a tongue was so you could praise Jesus and honor him with your words. Can you see then that to speak against Jesus is no small thing; it’s a great sin. … But, praise God, it is a sin that God will forgive. Praise God, Jesus is a great savior. See the thief on the cross beside Jesus, reviling him and mocking him. See that same thief later acknowledging Jesus as the King of heaven. And see Jesus forgive him of his sin and say to him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Again, think of ole Peter – he denied Jesus three times but we read of Peter’s restoration in John 21. And think about the apostle Paul. Here’s a man that the Bible says at one was breathing murderous threats out against the church, a man that Jesus himself said was persecuting Him, a man who called himself a blasphemer, and yet was forgiven by God. Did Paul not write this trustworthy statement: “Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners of whom I am the foremost.” And what about the people of Acts 3 whom Paul said had denied Jesus. By Acts 4 many of them were followers of Jesus. And friends, do you know people who at one time spoke frequently and ardently against Jesus, atheists, agnostic, skeptics, drunks, druggies, addicts, wealthy, poor, and more, yet they were saved by the grace of God, forgiven of their sins?

Look, before we try to figure out what it means to blaspheme the Holy Spirit, it might do us some good to think about the deep, deep love of God … he forgives sinful people who say sinful things against Jesus. Friend, if you speak against me, what have you done? You’ve spoken against a sinful man made of dirt. I probably deserved it. But if you speak against the spotless Son of God who gave you life, has never done a hurtful thing in his life, who has never done you harm, who has never made a mistake, who simply loved you so much he died for you, took God’s wrath for you, was mocked and hated for you, who was forsaken for you … then what do you deserve? But God says, “He will forgive even such a sin as that.”

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make-up on a corpse

Have you ever asked someone how they are doing and they reply, “Blessed”? Usually they mean that God has been good to them in the general sort of way – good health, money, family, etc. In other words things are going well for them. Nothing wrong with that. God is the one who gives us our daily bread and we should thank him for it. But if you don’t have the following “blessing” then no matter what “blessing” you have, it matters not. Read it:

Psalm 32:1-2 1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,

Consider that it does not say we are blessed for all the things the world says. It does not say:

  • blessed are you if your are financially stable or even wealthy
  • blessed are you if you have lots of women or men chasing you
  • blessed are you if you have a top-notch education that can open any door for you
  • blessed are you if you have rugged good looks or natural beauty
  • blessed are you if you have fame or popularity
  • blessed are you if you are athletically superior to others
  • blessed are you if your family has it altogether
  • blessed are you if you live a relatively stress-free life

It says that one who is blessed is one whose sins are covered. Friend, if the blood of Jesus is covering your sin(s) then you are blessed. And that means no matter what your state is, you are blessed. If your sins are forgiven …

  • blessed are you if you live in abject poverty
  • blessed are you if you are widowed or a heart-broken single
  • blessed are you if you can’t spell “cat”
  • blessed are you if your physical appearance is unattractive
  • blessed are you if no one pays you any mind
  • blessed are you if you are a first-class klutz
  • blessed are you if your home is broken
  • blessed are you if your afflictions seem more numerous than the stars

The point is not that you should desire any of those things above per se. The point is that if you have no covering for your sin, then you have nothing really. You have the appearance of blessing but that’s it. You have make-up on a corpse. But if Christ is your Savior, then you are above all people blessed. Rejoice then! Rejoice in the Lord always!

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From a sermon on 1 John 4 by Robert Murray McCheyne in 1840:

“But where does this love fall?—On Jesus Christ. Twice God spake from heaven, and said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” God perfectly loves his own Son. He Sees infinite beauty in his person. God sees himself manifested. He is infinitely pleased with his finished work. The infinite heart of the infinite God flows out in love towards our Lord Jesus Christ. And there is no fear in the bosom of Christ. All his fears are past. Once He said, “While I suffer thy terrors I am distressed;” but now He is in perfect love, and perfect love casteth out fear. Hearken, trembling souls! Here you may find rest to your souls. You do not need to live another hour under your tormenting fears. Jesus Christ has borne the wrath of which you are afraid. He now stands a refuge for the oppressed—a refuge in the time of trouble. Look to Christ, and your fear will be cast out. Come to the feet of Christ, and you will find rest. Call upon the name of the Lord, and you will be delivered. You say you cannot look, nor come, nor cry, for you are helpless. Hear, then, and your soul shall live. Jesus is a Saviour to the helpless. Christ is not only a Saviour to those who are naked and empty, and have no goodness to recommend themselves, but He is a Saviour to those who are unable to give themselves to Him. You cannot be in too desperate a condition for Christ. As long as you remain unbelieving, you are under his perfect wrath—wrath without any mixture. The wrath of God will be as amazing as his love. It comes out of the same bosom. But the moment you look to Christ, you will come under his perfect love—love without any coldness—light without any shade—love without any cloud or mountain between. God’s love will cast out all your fears.”

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From my Christmas sermon on Isaiah 52:13-53:12.

But what does it mean for you to come to Christ? It means that you look to him. Look to him. He says to you, “Come and receive my finished work for you. Receive my blood. Receive my payment for you. Receive this that I have done for you. Don’t bear your burden of guilt anymore. You’re angry – I’m at peace. You’re lustful – I’m pure. You’re hateful – I’m loving. You’re impatient – I’m waiting. You’re sinfully afraid – I’m resting in my Father’s love. You’re ungrateful – I’m thankful. You’re distrustful – I’m full of faith. You’re greedy – I’m content. You’ve murdered – I’ve given life. You’re an adulterer – I’m faithful. You’ve lied – I am the truth. You’re selfish – I always give myself away. You’ve sinned. I haven’t. Exchange it with me today. I’ve paid for it. Let my punishment bring you peace. Let it be so today. This is what it meant for me to come to this earth.”

And this is what the famous Anglican Preacher, Charles Simeon discovered:

“But in Passion Week, as I was reading Bishop Wilson on the Lord’s Supper, I met with an expression to this effect—’ That the Jews knew what they did, when they transferred their sin to the head of their offering.’ The thought came into my mind, What, may I transfer all my guilt to another? Has God provided an Offering for me, that I may lay my sins on His head? Then, God willing, I will not bear them on my own soul one moment longer. Accordingly I sought to lay my sins upon the sacred head of Jesus.”

Will you bear your sin one moment longer? Why not lay them on Jesus right now? That’s why he came.

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Isaiah 53:11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.

“You understand there is a difference between the gospel and an ordinary law court. … You’re either going to receive a guilty verdict or a not guilty verdict. Don’t transfer that to the gospel as though that’s all the gospel gives you. No, what the gospel gives you is this: that your sins are imputed to the Lord Jesus – he’s wounded for transgressions that are ours and iniquities that are ours and a sickness that is ours; and it becomes his. He takes it. He takes all the judgment of his holy Father against all of his people. But when you come to faith in Jesus Christ, you are not just pronounced “not guilty” as though to say “you are free now – try again.” No. He will account many to be righteous. By his righteousness. It’s so important for us to understand that in the whole course of Jesus’ life he was obeying his Father in our place. He may then be qualified to be the perfect sacrifice who is able to bear the judgment of the Father against our sin; but that when we put our faith in Jesus Christ his perfect righteousness is accounted to ours. We can stand before an infinitely holy God as righteous as the Lord Jesus Christ. Because that’s all we have … the righteousness of Jesus.” [Sinclair Ferguson]

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