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Author:Rev. Sjirk Bajema
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Congregation:Reformed Church of Mangere
 South Auckland, New Zealand
 
Title:It's All On & In Him!
Text:BC 20 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:God's Amazing Grace
 
Preached:2008-04-13
Added:2009-05-26
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Sjirk Bajema, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


BELGIC CONFESSION OF FAITH XX

(Reading: 1 John 4:7-21)

 

It’s All On & In Him!

 

 

Congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ...

 

     The last six Articles have all been leading up to this point.

          They all come down to this.

               And that’s all because Article XX deals with that great question as to why God became man.

 

     You see, Article XIV told us of the fall into sin.

          Romans 5 verse 12 brings out the meaning of what happened through Adam and Eve in Genesis 3.

              The apostle says there, “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.”

 

     In Article XV the effects of that break with God was shown in original sin.

          David acknowledged this in Psalm 51.

              There in verse 5 he said, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”

 

     But already God in His great mercy had thought of us.

          Article XVI declared Scripture’s teaching.

              Ephesians 1 verses 4 and 5 tell us that God chose us in Christ “before the creation of the world to be hold and blameless in his sight.

                   “In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.”

 

     In Article XVII we confessed the promise that God would send His Son.

          That was the promise already declared in Genesis 3 verse 15.

 

     Then, in Article XVIII we affirmed what Scripture states about the sending of His Son.

          That was about the incarnation – the birth - of Jesus Christ.

              As we heard there from Philippians 2 verse 7, He took upon Himself “the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

 

     And Article XIX brought out the mystery of Christ.

          There we saw what He had to be.

              For He had to be truly divine and truly human.

                   Our Lord in John 6 verse 62 spelt this out when He said, “What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!”

 

     Now we come to the point of confessing what God did through Jesus.

          So we begin Article XX by declaring that, “We believe that God, who is perfectly merciful and just, sent His Son to assume that nature in which the disobedience was committed, to make satisfaction in the same, and to bear the punishment of sin by His most bitter passion and death.”

 

     Naturally a Bible verse like John 3:16 stands out here.

          “For God so loved the world he sent his one and only Son,” it reads.

              And don’t we know it well!

 

     But to only deal here with God’s love would be only half the picture.

          In fact there would be no picture at all if the other half was not there at all.

              Because why did Christ come to seek and save if it wasn’t because someone was completely lost?

     Mankind was even much more than lost – he was dead in his sin.

          “There is no one righteous,” the apostle says in Romans 3.

              And he goes on in verse 12 there, “All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

 

     Sure God is merciful.

          He is loving.

              But He is also just and fair.

 

     Many think this is a contradiction.

          How can God be both, they ask?

         

     What they and us have to realise, congregation, is that God could not be anything else.

          Because how can you be merciful if there wasn’t something wrong that happened in the first place?

         

     It’s like the message on the leaflet we dropped in letter boxes several weeks ago.

          It had the title, Is God only Love?

              In that message it said, The main attribute of God given the highest regard in the Bible is His HOLINESS (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8).

     In everything God is or does He is holy.

          The Biblical meaning of holiness means being “set apart.”         

              It also means the idea of His moral perfections – His goodness, purity, faithfulness, truth and righteousness.

 

     In recent years it has become popular to emphasise only the “loving” attribute of God.

          It is an unhealthy, unbalanced view. It has changed God into a sentimental, wishy-washy Nobody.

              This “new” “loving” God is bound to the human concept of love.

     His love is not held in tension with His justice.

          To know God you must know about God.

              Our intuition or feelings are not enough to give us an accurate understanding of who God is.

 

     That’s why this message ended with the invitation to open up the Bible with us.

          Which is exactly what we do now through Article XX.

              So let’s see THE PUNISHMENT THE SON BORE.

                   Our first aspect this afternoon.

 

     Dear friend, when you look at the Gospels in the New Testament what do you notice about them?

          Think about what’s in them.

              Sure there’s a bit about Jesus’ birth in Matthew and Luke.

     There are stories of what happened in His ministry.

          There are lots of healings and demon casting and His teaching as well.

 

     But when you look at what makes up the biggest proportion in them which is it?

          Ah, it’s exactly about what Article XX calls Christ’s “most bitter passion and death.”

              For what you find is that about half way through each Gospel the focus suddenly changes.

 

     Luke 9 verse 51 tells us of that point.

          For it says, “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.”

 

     Congregation, we were once against God.

          Everything about us and in us was implacably opposed to Him.

              It was then, when we God’s enemies, that we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.

                   That’s how Paul describes it in Romans 5 verse 10.

 

     You see, God is a just God.

          He is absolutely fair.

              So He must punish all wrong.

     The great problem was that we could not make satisfaction for our sin.

          While in our law courts restitution may be made by an appropriate fine, we didn’t have anything we could satisfy God with.

               In fact, our punishment for sinning against God was eternal damnation.

                   Nothing less would do!

 

     So serious is our sin there must a full satisfaction for it.

          The whole Old Testament, through all the offerings and purifications, showed this to Israel.

              How many animals weren’t offered up?

                   What a huge amount of blood was poured out upon those altars?

 

     But extensive though those offerings were, they could not pay the price.

          Hebrews 10 points to this.

              It says that if those offerings could make satisfaction there would have been a point at which they stopped.

                   That’s why it says in verses 3 and 4, “But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”

 

     The human race had committed sin and had to pay for it.

          So God sent His Son in that very nature in which the disobedience was committed.

              He then imputed to Christ all our sins.

     As Isaiah 53 verse 6 declares, “the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

          And later on in the New Testament, it’s confirmed in 2nd Corinthians 5.

              There verse 21 states, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us.”

 

     So until His resurrection Jesus held the position of one who’s guilty.

          Even though He was guiltless, He was assigned the position of a sinner.

              He was the defendant on our behalf.

 

     And then, congregation, it’s all up to the Judge.

          His decision is what matters.

               And He ruled that Jesus Christ perfectly satisfied.

 

     That’s why we use the word “satisfaction” in Article XX.

          For underlying this word is the entire Biblical teaching about sacrifice.

              This is about an offended God being appeased.

 

     Congregation, whenever the Church goes away from God’s Word it begins to teach this truth less and less.

          You see, this is the hard truth.

              This calls us what we are – and it declares God to be who He is.

    

     You think about it.

          One hundred years ago there was much preaching about God’s holiness and justice.

              There were those old “hell-fire and damnation” sermons which really sent cold shivers down your spine.

     Nowadays those, most churches are giving you warm fuzzies.

          The last word they will use is “sin.”

              It’s about inappropriate life choices.

                   You don’t need to come clean because it’s about finding your true inner self.

 

     This heresy is the new liberalism.

          They might be filled with lots of testimonies and exciting events but you won’t hear about the wrath of God.

              They won’t tell you that, because God is who He is, satisfaction must be made and sin must be punished.

 

     Congregation, it’s only when you realise how black the picture really is that you will see the light.

          Then we can truly move on to appreciate the second aspect to Article XX this afternoon.

              For we come then to THE MERCY WE NOW RECEIVE.

                   The second part to this sermon.

 

     You see, what we realise here is how great God’s love is.

          It did not come lightly.

              It was no old Father Christmas type character who tells us off and then will always give us the present anyway!                    

                   It cost God His own Son.

 

     What’s more is that we never asked for this.

          There’s no way we would!

              We were dead set against Him.

                   But God went out of His way for us.

 

     The key word in this second part is “mercy.”

          For God is described in Article XX as “perfectly merciful.”

              As the Article goes on, He “sent His Son to assume that nature in which the disobedience was committed, to make satisfaction in the same, and to bear the punishment of sin by His most bitter passion and death.”

     Christ, the second Adam, un-did that which the first Adam had wrongfully done.

          He did that which had to be done if man was to be saved.

              In the words of Romans 5 verse 15, “if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!”

 

     It was Jesus alone who knew the true meaning of sin and its remedy.

          He alone could give the right answer to God’s question to Adam, “Where are you?”

              It was He who alone could answer, “Here I am, I have come – it is written about me in the scroll.

                   “I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”

 

     You might recognise those words from Psalm 40, the verses 7 and 8.

          They are also the words Hebrews 10 verse 9 quotes to show that Christ’s sacrifice is once for all.

 

     For Jesus has come to take up what Adam left undone.

          Indeed, it was what Adam had to leave undone – the accounting for his sin.

              Congregation, that’s THE MERCY WE NOW RECEIVE.

                  

     Here the words of Answer 60 in the Heidelberg Catechism help us.

          For it says that God grants and credits to us “the perfect satisfaction, righteousness and holiness of Christ, as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me.”

 

     You know what this means, don’t you?

          Because of the mercy of God in Christ you’re going to glory.

              You’re going to be eternally blessed.

                   But even now you have it all.

 

     That’s what we read in 1st John chapter 4.

          There verse 10 declared, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

             

     And then it goes on.

          It brings it home to us right here.

              For verses 11 and 12 say, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

                   “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

 

     David Roper tells about a dear friend he and his wife had.

          Their friend loved flowers.

              Her home was a garden of rare beauty and sweet fragrance.

                   And so was her life.

 

     When she was in her last few weeks of life they visited her.

          They were telling stories about their childhood when David mentioned that he had once stolen some flowers.

              There was a park between the primary school he went to and his home.

     One day, while walking through the park, he saw a row of irises in bloom.

          He quickly cut several out to take to his mother.

              Some older boys saw him and threatened to call the police.

                   He lived in terror for weeks thinking they would come and take him away.

 

     It was at that point that his friend put her hand over David’s.

          She said softly, “I did that too.”

 

     And David Roper thought, “That should be my response when I see the sins of others or hear about them – ‘I did that too.’

          “Perhaps I’ve not committed their particular sin, but all sin is blameworthy and requires God’s forgiveness.”

 

     You see, congregation, awareness of our own depravity is what John Newton called “the root of perpetual tenderness.”

          You don’t want to be like that ungrateful servant in Matthew 18.

 

     You know, that man let off with millions of dollars.

          And yet he couldn’t let his fellow servant have a bit more time to pay back a few bucks!

             

     You’re not like that.

          You want to be gracious and show mercy, for you know how much of a sinner you are.

 

     But especially don’t you want to be gracious and show mercy because God did that perfectly in His Son?

          Amen.

 

 

PRAYER:

Let’s pray…

     Lord God, we thank You that through Jesus Christ we are those You have saved.

          We who had no idea we were lost.

              We who were doomed to an eternity of hell-fire and damnation.

     And it would all have been completely deserved.

          For we sinned.

              And we sinned in the most terrible way by going right against You.

     Yet You looked for us.

          And in Jesus Christ You found us.

              In His precious Name we offer now our most heartfelt thanks.

                   Amen.

         

 

 

 




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Sjirk Bajema, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
The source for this sermon was: www.rcnz.org.nz

(c) Copyright 2008, Rev. Sjirk Bajema

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