Foundations of the Christian Faith- Christ
1st Baptist Church,
Des Moines, NM
We’re moving towards the end of this week’s study on the Ministerial Alliance here on KLMX radio. As I said at the beginning of this week, we’ve been looking at “Foundations of the Faith”. I started with the authority and reliability of the Bible on Monday, took a very quick and brief look at God on Tuesday, examined the character of man yesterday, and today we’re looking at Christ. If you’ve missed any of these messages and want to read them, you can do so on our website at www.fbcdesmoines.org. Let’s ask God to bless this message, open the eyes of the blind, and replace hearts of stone with hearts of flesh, through the work done by Jesus Christ on our behalf, to the glory of God. Amen.
The subject of Christ is every bit as deep and complex as the study of God the Father, maybe even more so since Christ is both God and man. Oops…I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit there and let the cat out of the bag and showed my ace of spades, so to speak. Let me back up and start over by recapping what we’ve seen so far this week. First, we established that the Bible is 100% accurate. What it says is true and I personally don’t really trust anything else as being 100% true. The Bible gives us information that, in the words of Paul writing to Timothy, “makes us wise to salvation.” This information includes revelations on the nature of God and the nature of man. We looked at these and found that God is perfect, holy, just, angry, merciful, creator, righteous, and a million other things, all at once. Basically, God simply “IS”, He is the “I AM.”
Man, on the other hand, is none of these things. Because man was originally made in the image of God, he shows similarities to God, but man’s nature is marred by sin. I discussed the roots of this sin, and I’m convinced that the Bible teaches that man’s basic nature is sinful, inherited from Adam and Eve. Tomorrow, when we discuss “salvation”, you’ll see more of why I think that. But today, having established that there is a God, having seen a small but adequate glimpse of who He is, and then having established without a doubt that man does sin and that this sin does indeed separate man from God, let’s look at Christ. Let me confess that I’m sitting here struggling with the absolute immensity of trying to describe Christ in 15 minutes. It’s simply an impossible task, and the best I can do is offer a tiny, tiny glimpse of the one whose story runs front to back in the Bible, weaving like a scarlet thread through every book, chapter, verse, and sentence, both obvious and implied. Even if I had a thousand years, I couldn’t do justice to the story of Christ. With that said, let’s look at just three aspects of Jesus Christ of Nazareth:
1) the need for Christ and
2) the office or roles of Christ
3) The qualifications of Christ.
We’ve already established that man and God are separated due to man’s disobedience. God laid out the punishment for disobedience to Adam when He said in:
Genesis 2:15-17 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. (16) And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; (17) but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
This is echoed in two passages in Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 18:4 "Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.
Ezekiel 18:20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
No question then, that sin requires death. Since this is the case and since Paul tells us in:
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
All men deserve death. However, since God is love and mercy as well as wrath and justice, and since He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11), He has provided a propitiation for our sins. That is, He has provided someone else to take our punishment. This someone is Christ. I’m not making this up.
1 John 4:9-10 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. (10) In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
We can also see this by examining some of the names for Christ in the Bible. This is our second point- the offices or roles of Christ. I have a poster on my wall with all the names of Christ on it and it’s an extremely edifying thing to have on one’s wall. Here are just a few of the names of Christ. Keep in mind that these offices or roles are there because of a need which must be filled. God is not sloppy.
John 1:34-36 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God." (35) Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. (36) And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!"
John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."
John 10:11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. (26) And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Revelation 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last."
Revelation 22:16 "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star."
So, Jesus is, among other things, the son of God, the Lamb of God, the bread of life, the light of the world, the good shepherd, the resurrection and the life, the mediator, the author and finisher of our faith, the apostle, the High Priest, our advocate, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, the root and offspring of David, the bright and morning star. And the reason that Jesus is all of these things is because we need lamb of god, we need bread, we need light, we need a shepherd, we need resurrection and life, we desperately need a mediator, we must have an author of our faith since we have none ourselves, and we die without a high priest to make the sacrifice for us. This High Priest not only makes the sacrifice for us, but He Himself is the sacrifice. He is the propitiation for our sins.
We’ve looked at the need for Christ and we’ve seen the offices and roles of Christ. Our 3rd question is “What qualifies Jesus for this?” Is Christ indeed qualified to make the payment for our sin? One who already owes a debt he cannot pay cannot pay the debt of another. If you owe a million dollars and offer to pay off your neighbor’s new pickup, the bank will laugh at you- “Pay off your own debt first”, they’ll say. Likewise, one who has sinned cannot make payment for another sinner. Now Hebrews 4:14-15 tells us:
Hebrews 4:14-15 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. (15) For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Christ was without sin. If you recall, yesterday I talked about whether or not children are born sinners. My stance is that, yes, children are born in a state of sin and I used Psalm 51 to help illustrate this. King David says:
Psalms 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
David was born of a sinful human father and a sinful human mother who conceived him in a sexual relationship. But Christ, by contrast, was conceived when God overshadowed the virgin Mary, thus breaking the chain of sinful conception. As a result, and only in this way, Jesus could be born with a sinless nature. It seems to me that if children were born innocent, that God would not need to bring conception in the virgin, but that he could simply designate any one of a million children as the one He would protect and raise to be the Messiah. Yet, God prophesized in Isaiah 7:14 that Christ would be born of a virgin. Why that sign? Why not something like “The Christ will be 5’ 8.5” tall with reddish brown hair, a hooked nose, and a cross-shaped mole on his left cheek”? God’s miracles are not random events but have a purpose and the purpose achieved by Almighty God in producing conception in a virgin is that the line of sinful conception was broken and Jesus, the Christ, was born in a sinless state, a state which He, having the nature of God, maintained for his entire life. That the birth of Christ was so radically different from the normal birth is another reason why I think natural man is born in sin.
That Christ was human with the nature of God, we can see from 2 of many passages:
Hebrews 1:1-3 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, (2) has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; (3) who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
This term “express image of His person” means that Christ was an exact representation of God. Adam was made in the image of God, but is never called an “exact” image, only an image. Christ, on the other hand, is the exact image of God the father. That Christ was fully human as well, we see from a verse we’ve already read:
Hebrews 2:17-18 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (18) For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
Here, it says Christ “had to be made like His brethren” so that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest. It was man who sinned and it was a sinless Man who had to make the payment to a Holy God. Yet at the same, no man produced by sinful parents has ever been sinless. Therefore, Jesus had to be at once human in the flesh and at once God in the spirit. The Bible tells us that He indeed was these things and is therefore the only one qualified to be the propitiation for our sins. We’ll look at this a little bit more when we discuss salvation tomorrow. For now, time has run out. God be praised for his abundant grace and mercy, through the saving name of Jesus Christ. Amen.