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Author:Rev. George van Popta
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Congregation:Jubilee Canadian Reformed Church
 Ottawa, Ontario
Preached At:Ancaster Canadian Reformed Church
 Ancaster, Ontario
Title:About love, power and credentials
Text:BC 26 (View)
Occasion:Ascension Day
Topic:God The Son

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Songs: Hymn 35; Hymn 30; Hymn 32:1,2; Hymn 32:3; Psalm 68:7,8,12

Reading of Scripture - John 14:1-14

Reading of text - BC 26
* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. George van Popta, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

Beloved congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ:

Do we understand the language of our confession, of Article 26 of our Confession of Faith? Do we understand these words: "This Mediator ... whom the Father has ordained between Himself and us [the Lord Jesus Christ], should not frighten us by His greatness..."

Does it even occur to us to be frightened of him? After all, did he not say: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Frightened? Why should we be frightened of him?

You who know scripture know that not only is the Lord gentle and humble in heart; he is also King of kings and Lord of lords. After he died and rose again, he ascended to the throne of the universe. He rules over all. We commemorate that today: his ascension into heaven as King and Lord, as the sovereign, mighty and majestic ruler over all. We also know that he is coming again to judge the living and the dead.

If we think about that, about how he is the mighty king, the king who will come as judge, we might begin to feel a bit uneasy.

In the middle ages, the people were very scared of the Lord Jesus. Thus developed the cult of the saints. Asking the saints, who had died and gone to heaven, to intercede for you. To put in a good word for you in heaven. Article 26 of our Confession of Faith was written in response to that. To the fear people felt when they contemplated the greatness of Jesus Christ. It was meant to encourage the people not to turn away from Christ and look for another mediator and advocate.

We know very well that we are not to ask the saints to intercede for us before the Father. We know very well that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Mediator and Advocate. That we have no access to the Father but through him.

And yet, sometimes God's children are afraid to pray. Sometimes they doubt God's love for them. Perhaps you have committed a sin of such a nature that you just can't imagine that God would forgive you, would love you. Or you are too embarrassed about what you have done to speak to the Lord about it.

Or you feel so alone in this life that you wonder whether Christ really does love you. Really does care.

Or you might doubt the power of Christ. You doubt whether he has the power to take care of you. To work thinks out in your life in a good way.

Listen to these words of our confession. These words that echo the truth of the gospel. The gospel that no one loves us more than Jesus Christ. That no one has more power and authority than Jesus Christ. That no one will be more readily heard by God the Father than Jesus Christ.

This evening I proclaim to you Jesus Christ the Only Mediator.

I proclaim to you (1) his love; (2) his power; (3) his credentials.

1. His love.

Our confession says: "There is no creature in heaven or on earth who loves us more than Jesus Christ." Then it asks the rhetorical question: "If we had to look for another intercessor, could we find one who loves us more than He who laid down His life for us, even while we were His enemies?" The answer, of course, is No. Search high, search low; you will not find anyone who loves you more than Jesus Christ.

His greatness ought, thus, not scare us. Rather, his greatness ought to make us the more eager to go to him. No creature in heaven - that is, no angel - loves you more than Christ. The angels love God's children. They are ministering spirits created to praise God and to serve the elect. Bible history often mentions the angels, at the command of God, helping God's children. They love to do so. They love God's people.

You have people on earth that love you. Your husband / wife / parents / children. Friends. Think of that one person whom you know loves you-more than anyone else. The love that person has for you is only a shadow of the love Jesus Christ has for you.

Or, perhaps you feel that no one on earth really loves you. You feel alone. Abandoned. Desolate. Listen, there is one who loves you. Who loves you with a love even a mother could not imitate.

The Lord Jesus Christ loves his people with a love greater than the love Moses and Paul had for their people. Moses was a great example of one who loved with an unconditional love. When Israel worshipped the Golden Calf and put themselves in danger of being wiped out by God, then Moses prayed: (Exo 32:32 NIV) ... please forgive their sin--but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.

But it was Christ, not Moses, who underwent the full wrath and curse of God for the salvation of God's people.

The Apostle Paul loved with an unconditional love. He said: (Rom 9:3 NIV) For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel.

But it was Christ, not Paul, who was cut off from God for the sake of God's people. He suffered hell on the cross.

He did it out of love, for us. No one has more love than he.

Christ has shown us his love. He humbled himself. He did not consider equality with God something to hold on to at all costs but emptied himself. He, true and eternal God, in very nature God, made himself nothing. He took the nature of a servant. Other than sin, he became like us in every respect. God the Son became a man. He left behind the glory of God which he had with the Father before the foundations of the earth, and entered our human existence. See how great his love is for us!

You will never be able to find anyone-neither angel no human-who will love you more than Jesus Christ. Christ gave himself for you, to the point of death on the cross. He is the Good Shepherd who gave his life for the sheep. He became a curse for us so that we would be released from the curse of the law.

And in case you are still wondering about the extent of Christ's love for you, listen to what Paul wrote in Rom 5:8&10-But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ... when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son....

Christ came to us who had become God's enemies. When we sinned in the Garden, we became the enemies of God. Christ came not to us who asked for him, but to God's enemies. You cannot imagine greater love.

This Lord Jesus Christ is now ascended to heaven and seated at the right hand of God. How godless it would be of us to ignore him, and not to love him in return, to serve him, to follow him.

2. His power.

No one has more power than Christ. As our Confessions asks: "If we had to look for one who has authority and power, who has more than He who is seated at the right hand of the Father and who has all authority in heaven and on earth?" The only answer is: No one!

The angels are mighty warriors. But they have no power in themselves. Their power is given to them. Outside the will of God they cannot move.

That holds true for human beings as well. No matter how important or influential a man might be, no matter the money and weapons he may have at his disposal, he is nothing but a creature.

Christ has all power in heaven and on earth. Only the Lord Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God. (Heb 1:13 NIV) To which of the angels did God ever say, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet"? God the Father said that only to his Son, our Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ.

God the Father has given the Son all power and authority. The devil offered him authority over all the kingdoms of the world at the cheap price of a bend of the knee. One genuflect was all the devil wanted. Our Saviour did not fall for it. Rather, he stripped the devil of power and authority through obedience, and suffering on the cross.

No one on earth has the power that Christ has.

Last week a new movie, a comedy, hit the silver screens. A movie that has taken blasphemy to new heights. Friday's paper had an article on it. It's called "Bruce Almighty." The story is about a man called Bruce who becomes very angry at God. He challenges God. To his great surprise God answers. And since Bruce thinks he can do a better job of running things than God, God hands the controls of the universe over to Bruce. Bruce Nolan becomes Bruce Almighty. At one point he sings: "I've got the power."

Blasphemy taken to new heights. All I can say is: "Good luck on the judgment day."

There is only one Almighty, and that is God. He has given all power, might and authority to his Son, our Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ. He can help you, protect, comfort and encourage you. He can provide you with everything you need.

How wonderful it is to know that the Lord Jesus loves us-that he desires to help us. How wonderful it is to know that the Lord Jesus also has all power and authority, so that he can help us.

3. His credentials.

Our Confession asks one more rhetorical question: ... who will be heard more readily than God's own well-beloved Son? The answer is: No one!

* Christ wants to help you (he loves you); * Christ can help you (he has the power); * Christ will help you (the Father listens to him).

He is the only beloved Son of God. He knows the Father listens to him. Christ will never speak up for you in vain. The Father loves the Son.

Twice, while the Son was on earth, the Father's voice was heard from heaven. Once when he was baptized by John in the Jordan and then again when he was transfigured into glory on the mountain. Twice the Father said from heaven: "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

The Son completed the work the Father gave him to do. The work of redeeming for God a people. The Son is now seated at the right hand of God. The position of favour, of honour. The Father has exalted His Son to the greatest position of honour in his universe. The Father will give the Son what he desires. The Son desires good things, blessings and happiness for you.

You can entrust yourself completely to your King and Saviour, your Lord Jesus Christ who has ascended to heaven. He is King and Lord, but you need not fear his greatness. You need not fear his power and authority. You are encouraged to go to him, in faith, trust, and with confidence.

No one loves you more. No one can do more for you. No one has better credentials to help you. No one but the Lord Jesus Christ who died for you, arose for you, ascended to heaven for you, and is coming again for you.


* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. George van Popta, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
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(c) Copyright 2003, Rev. George van Popta

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