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Author:Rev. Reuben Bredenhof
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Congregation:Free Reformed Church of Mt. Nasura
 Mt. Nasura, Western Australia
 frca.org.au/mountnasura/
 
Title:Our Christ is Son and Lord
Text:LD 13 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:God The Son
 
Preached:2020
Added:2020-06-07
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Ps 84:1,2                                                                                            

Hy 1

Reading – Colossians 1:1-23

Ps 103:1,4,5,7

Sermon – Lord’s Day 13

Hy 63:1,2,3,4

Hy 72:1,2,3,4,5

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


Beloved in our Lord Jesus, you are Christians—you belong to Christ. In Lord’s Day 12 we learn that this means we get to share in the same three-fold work as our Messiah, for like it says in 1 John 2, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did” (v 6).

And how did Jesus walk? He spoke God’s Word as a bold prophet. In love He offered himself up to God as a holy high priest. As a mighty king, Jesus waged war against the devil and He conquered. In Christ Jesus, who perfectly served his God, we have been restored to our original task and calling here on earth.

If we belong to Christ, we have much work to do. But as beautiful as our task is, being a Christian is far more than getting a new job. It’s not that we jumped from the welfare line to gainful employment, or that we were promoted from unskilled labour to a manager’s position.

No, being a Christian, being in Christ, means that we have received a complete change of status. Knowing Christ doesn’t just change what we do, it changes who we are. Who are we in Jesus Christ? No more are we separated from God because of our sin. No more are we without hope and without truth, living in darkness. No longer guilty and destined for death. For Christ’s sake, God gives us a new identity, a new position, and a new standing before him. We see this in Lord’s Day 13 of the Catechism, which I preach to you on this theme,

In Jesus Christ our status is completely transformed:

  1. He is Son and we are children
  2. He is Lord and we are servants

 

1) He is Son and we are children: Jesus is the Son of God. This is a confession we hear loud and clear in the four gospels. For example, Jesus asks in Matthew 16, “Who do you say I am?” And Peter confesses, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v 16). Later on, even the Roman centurion with his soldiers at the foot of the cross were moved to confess, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” (Matt 27:54).

The disciples confessed Jesus as God's Son because they saw the miracles, heard the words, and recognized the authority of their master. The centurion and his troops confessed because they saw the tombs breaking open, they heard Jesus crying out loudly, and they felt the earth shaking beneath their feet. And though they were spoken by two very different groups of people, both these confessions ring with truth: Jesus is the Son of God.

Let’s look at this more closely with the Catechism, when it asks, “Why is he called God’s only-begotten Son…?” (Q&A 33). Now, the Bible’s picture of the typical relationship between a father and son is that a son shares in who his dad is. More than just physically or genetically, a son is a product of his father. A father and son will often have similarities in character, and they will share priorities and purposes. And in Bible times, a son would usually have the same occupation as his father—if he was a shepherd, you were a shepherd.

The truth of Jesus as God’s Son means that He is like his Father. For example, just like the Father, He is “eternal” (Q&A 33). The Son wasn't born, because someone who is eternal stands outside of time; it is someone who has always existed and will always exist. So there was not a moment in time when the Son of God came into being. Rather, as Paul says of the eternal Christ in Colossians 1, “He is before all things” (Col 1:17).

Jesus is the Son of God, and like sons typically will, He also shares in the work of his Father. This is what Jesus says in John 5:20: “For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.” For example, remember from Lord’s Day 9 that it was God the Father who called all things into being through his acts of creation, yet the Father did all this amazing work through the Son. The Son worked right alongside him in creation. As Paul says again of Christ, “By him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible” (Col 1:16).

Besides creation, another work of the Father in which the Son shares is providence. Lord’s Day 10 teaches that it’s God the Father who upholds all things in his power, yet in this work too, his Son shares closely: “In him all things consist” or “in him all things hold together” (Col 1:17). Right now the Son of God is governing the universe and everything in it. And that’s because the Father created all things for his own glory, but He also made them for the glory of the Son, “All things were created through him and for him” (Col 1:16).

And whatever other traits or characteristics the Father has, so the Son has, for Christ is the “natural” Son of God (Q&A 33). Think about how a human father will pass on many of his characteristics to his children: strong points, weak points, flaws and quirks. In a similar way, God the Son shares in all the perfections of the Father.

The Father is almighty—so is the Son. The Father is gracious—so is the Son. The Father is perfectly wise—so is the Son. The Father is good—so is the Son. If we want to see what God the Father is like, then we need only look at God the Son, for Scripture says that “He is the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15).

In a way that we cannot understand, Jesus is the Son of God the Father. And so in everything, Jesus was on the same page as his Father. Whatever Jesus did on earth, He did for God. For example, we hear this when Jesus prays for his followers in John 17: “Holy Father, keep through your name those whom you have given me, that they may be one as we are” (v 11).

Listen to that again: “So that they may be one as we are.” Jesus always enjoyed an intimate connection to the Father, a close unity with him. Compare it to how a young child will make every effort to walk alongside his father, for this is where he belongs. As a son lives with his dad in trust and familiarity, so God the Son has eternally lived with the Father. It says in John 1, “The Word was with God… He was with God in the beginning” (vv 1-2). Father and Son have always had perfect communion.

And just as an earthly son may enjoy the love of his dad, so God the Son basks in the love of the Father. Jesus says in John 5:20, “The Father loves the Son.”

And just as a son receives good gifts from his loving dad, so God the Son receives this from the Father. To his Son, God entrusts the protection of angels, gives him authority to judge, even entrusts to him the whole number of the elect.

Clearly, God the Son and God the Father share in many ways. Paul even says that in God the Son dwells all the fullness of the Father (Col 1:19). And so Father and Son are unified in being, united in purpose, in power, and in authority.

Though they hardly knew what it meant, no wonder those Roman soldiers were so terrified when they exclaimed, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” If He is the Son of God, then this man on the cross is God himself—and what lowly human can dare to stand in the presence of God?

Yet what kind of Father is revealed by the Son? He is a Father who is not only righteous and angry, nor only surrounded with darkness and with fire. For this same God is also kind and merciful, good and faithful. In fact, Jesus shows that God the Father is pleased to do the unthinkable: “to reconcile all things to himself… having made peace through the blood of his cross” (Col 1:20). In his sovereign good pleasure, God has made peace possible with mankind, even with all who once hated him.

And beloved in Christ, here is where we come to our glorious change of status, our transformed position… On the basis of the peace-making work of God the Son, the Father allows us sinners to become his own children. As it says in Ephesians: “You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but… members of God’s household” (Eph 2:19). Ex-haters and enemies have been adopted into the Father’s family!

In a few quotations from John, we’ve seen that his Gospel is full of the mystery and wonder of the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. But in that same Gospel, John speaks of this miracle, “To all who received Christ, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (1:12-13). Through the Son’s acceptable life and atoning death, we have been accepted as children of the Father!

Our sonship is different than Christ’s. As the Catechism says, too: “Christ alone is the eternal, natural Son of God. We, however, are children of God by adoption, through grace, for Christ’s sake” (Q&A 33). There’s a great difference between Christ’s sonship and our own, but there is also a beautiful similarity—and for us it means everything.

For just as God the Son loves to speak freely with his Father, we too are allowed to pray in communion with him. And our Father answers us according his loving will, knowing exactly what is good for us, his children. Like a gracious father, “He has compassion on those who fear him… He remembers that we are dust” (Ps 103:13-14).

And just as God the Son could enjoy the love of his Father, so we can: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1). God the Son receives his Father’s generosity, and so do we. Like James says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of heavenly lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (1:17). He richly treats us as his own!

Through God the Son we’re given this blessed new status as sons and daughters of God. And the Catechism reminds us that it’s only “through grace” (Q&A 33). Like when we were brought into our earthly families, we had nothing to do it. We didn’t ask to be conceived. We didn’t do anything to make our birth happen. In a manner of speaking, it was wholly our parents’ decision—it was by their “grace.” So also when we are brought into God’s family, it is only by his grace, for it has nothing to do with our worth or will.

And never forget this, that before being made part of the family of God, we were already children. We weren’t orphans, or wards of the state, but Scripture says that we were “children of wrath” (Eph 2:3), “sons of disobedience” (Eph 5:6), even the miserable progeny of our father, the devil (John 8:44). But in Christ we have gone from being children of the devil to being children of God! Now I have a new and loving Father, I have a new and holy family, I even have a new and everlasting inheritance!

Beloved, how great is our privilege in being children of God! For this is what the Son of God taught us to pray: “When you pray, say ‘Father—my Father in heaven.’” Jesus teaches us to look up, so that we stop focusing on earthly cares and anxieties. Look up in prayer, away from everything that is going wrong and regrettable. Look up from underneath the burden of your guilt, and lift your eyes to heaven, and call on God. Delight to speak his name: “Father.” As our Lord Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:3).

Become like little children, and look to the Father. His throne is in heaven, his footstool is the earth. Yet his glory need not make us cower in fear, nor does his majesty intimidate us into silence. For we know who we’re talking to. Through Christ, He is our holy and righteous Father.

How great is our privilege, and at the same time, how great our responsibility! For as true sons and daughters, we also need to share in who our Father is. Listen to what Paul writes in Ephesians 5:1, “Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children.” Think about that command for a moment: “Be imitators of God.” God our Father is kind, so you must be kind. God our Father is just, so you must be just. God forgives, so you must forgive.

Or as Jesus said, “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:48). That’s a really high standard, but it makes sense. Children are expected to be like their parents, cut from the same cloth. Sometimes when a child acts in a particular way, people will comment, “He’s definitely a son of his father. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Shouldn’t the same ought to be true of us? That we strive in every way to be like our heavenly Father. That we grow as children of our Father, resembling him more and more in goodness and faithfulness! This is how Jesus puts it in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” If they see our good deeds, it reflects well on our heavenly Father. So that’s our calling in the household of God: to imitate him in all good things. For Jesus is Son and we are children.

 

2) He is Lord and we are servants: One of the powerful confessions of faith in the New Testament is very short: Jesus is Lord. We find it in Romans 10:17, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” We find the same confession in Philippians 2, “Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (v 11). And this is the truth explained in the second part of Lord’s Day 13.

Like the confession that Jesus is the Son, this confession is at once a declaration that Jesus is God. Jesus and the LORD, the God of Israel, are one. Think about how this same name, “the Lord” is found on every page of the Old Testament. When you read that name, you meet the LORD who is the creator of the heavens and the earth. You meet the LORD who is the God of the covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This LORD is Israel’s God and Saviour.

So when Jesus came to earth, and showed himself to be divine, it was only right that He also be called Lord. The LORD, the almighty Creator of the universe, the gracious God of the covenant—He is one and the same being as Jesus of Nazareth, the lowly man who died on the cross. He and the Father are one. Jesus is LORD. He is God.

But Jesus is also Lord in a second sense, Lord in that He has dominion. A lord is someone with power and authority over another person, someone with ownership over another. Paul says about Christ in Colossians 1:18, “In all things He has the preeminence” (or the supremacy). Jesus is the Lord of the universe because God has entrusted all things to him, for him to rule and govern.

And He is Lord of the church because He bought her. He has an ownership claim on us because He purchased us, “not with silver or gold but with his precious blood” (Q&A 34). These words of the Catechism come straight from 1 Peter 1:18-19, “It was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed… but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb with blemish or defect.”

The Lord became a lamb, so that the Lamb might become Lord. For costly blood was needed to buy us. God said in Romans, “The wages of sin—or: the price of sin—is death.” If we can ever be freed from the judgment that sin deserves, then we need a full payment made. And it’s a steep price. We can’t pay it by doing good works. We can’t pay it by enduring physical and emotional pain. We would never be done.

But this is the good news which Paul writes, “You… once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled [you] in the body of his flesh through death” (Col 1:21-22). We used to be without hope. We served the master of our desires, obeyed the urge to find our own way and to be happy on our own terms. A sinner can think that He’s free, but be completely subject to the devil. This is who we once were! But Christ has ransomed us, and freed us from all the power of the devil, “to make us his own possession” (Q&A 34).

Here is where we come to our glorious change of status, our transformed position and standing. For Christ has broken our shackles with his love, and He has freed us from slavery to sin. Yes, in him God “has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of his love” (Col 1:13).

We have a new master, a new king and lord. And He’s a Lord who always preserves us because we’re so precious to him. Consider the rich comfort in this, beloved. If you ever need a defense against the devil’s attacks, Christ will help you, because He’s your Lord. If you ever need help to live a better and a holier Christian life, your Lord will assist. If you need mercy in your failings, or wisdom for knowing his will, or daily strength for the battle, your Lord will grant it when you humbly ask. Because you’re his! And finally, on the day you die, your Lord will claim you before the Father: “This one belongs to me. I paid for him.”

Maybe you can hear how Lord’s Day 13 is an echo of Lord’s Day 1: “What is your only comfort?” is the question with which the whole Catechism begins. “That I am not my own, but I belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.” That’s our confession: “‘I belong.’ Jesus is my Lord, my Master, so by his Father’s hand He always preserves me, and with his Spirit He powerfully assures me.

It is an immense comfort, and it’s a holy calling! For if Jesus is Lord, then we are servants. Like Psalm 116 puts it, we are “bound yet free.” We are free from the bondage of sin, and now we are bound to serve our Lord in thanksgiving. If He commands us, then we must do it. As Lord’s Day 1 puts it, to him we belong in body and soul.

Think about what it means that Jesus is Lord of your body. It means bend your body to his will! Our Lord commands us to sexual purity. He commands us to exercise self-control. He commands us to soberness and to sacrifice. In love and gratitude to the one who set us free, present these things to your Lord, just as He commands!

Or think about what it means Jesus is Lord of your soul. It means bend your soul to his will! Our Lord commands us to trust in him and his promise. He commands us to have a humble spirit toward other people. His will is that our soul is filled with prayer, and mercy, and worship. In love and gratitude to the one who ransomed us, present these things to your Lord!

Beloved in the Lord, who would we be without Jesus Christ? We would be nothing. We would be worse than nothing, for we would be the enemies of God.

But in Jesus, who is God the Son, we are beloved children.

And in Jesus, who is our Lord, we are holy servants—now and always!  Amen.




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Reuben Bredenhof, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright 2020, Rev. Reuben Bredenhof

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