The Sermon I Would Preach at Your Church if I Was Invited to do so
God has sent preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ into all the world (Mt 24:14; Mk 16:15) — men of God with beautiful feet (Rom 10:15), who desire to make known the excellencies of Christ (1 Pet 2:9). I am one of those men…who set his heart to study the Law of the Lord (Ezra 7:10) and to meditate on the mysteries of the Gospel of grace…day and night (Ps 1:1–2). Woe is me if I do not preach the Gospel of God (1 Cor 9:16) and be assured that I have come to you with no other message than Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor 1:23; 2:2; 2 Cor 11:4).
Having no confidence in myself to persuade you (Phil 3:3), it is not my intent to preach myself or anything I have done for my Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4:5). Rather, I am a witness to what God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit has done for me, in me, and through me (Acts 1:8). For from God, through God, and to God are all things (Rom 11:36) — to Him be all honor, glory, dominion, and praise here, today, and from this day forth and forever (1 Pet 4:11; Jude 1:25; Rev 1:6).
As we begin, let us pray…
Our God and Father in heaven, we approach you with great confidence — even boldness — because of the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood has brought us near to Your throne of grace (Eph 2:13; Heb 4:16). We pray, today, in the power of the Holy Spirit (Eph 6:18), who is our Teacher in the spiritual things that pertain to God (Jn 14:26; 1 Cor 2:15), as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, the Bible, Your written Word revealed to us.
As guilty sinners, we confess our sins to You (1 Jn 1:9) — acknowledging that we are not worthy to receive the very mercy, grace, and wisdom that You alone can impart to us. Knowing there is now no condemnation for those of us who have been transferred into Christ by your doing (Rom 8:1; 1 Cor 1:30; Col 1:13), we delight to give You our thanksgiving without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17–18).
In the faith You have granted to us (Phil 1:29), to pray and ask for Your blessing, today, we desire the knowledge of our Lord Jesus (2 Pet 3:18). To know Him and the power of His resurrection (Phil 3:10), to share in the sufferings of His body for the sake of the elect (Col 1:24; 2 Tim 2:10), and to be conformed to His likeness in life and death is our request (Rom 8:29). Teach us, O God, inspire us, set us apart, and be glorified in us according to Your will…in Jesus’ name. Amen.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end, it leads to death (Prv 14:12). This is the course of this world (Eph 2:2), which Jesus taught is the wide way of destruction (Mt 7:13–14). Many travel this way, under the influence of the spirit of Antichrist (1 Jn 2:18). This is the devil’s work, who blinds the minds of men from seeing the Gospel of God and His salvation (Jn 8:43–44). The whole world lies in the power of the evil one (1 Jn 5:19), who Jesus called “the ruler of this world” (Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).
This is the plight of man. Under the influence of the serpent, the devil in disguise, Adam and Eve succumbed to the shrewd temptation to sin against God (Gen 3). This original sin has been transferred to all the sons of Adam from conception in the womb (Ps 51:5; Rom 5:12–21). Adam was the federal head of humanity, which is why “in Adam, all die” (1 Cor 15:22) — for the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23) and all have sinned (Rom 3:23; 5:12), and it is appointed once for a man to die and then comes the judgment (Rom 9:27).
Judgment is coming to all Creation (2 Cor 3:10–12), and the Judge of all the earth will do right in executing His wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men and angels (Gen 18:25; Rom 1:18). God is just in His righteous judgment against sin and sinners because sin is lawlessness (1 Jn 3:4). Sinners are in rebellion against God and His holy Law (Ex 20; Dt 5), having joined Satan’s rebellion — a mutiny against the Lord of all (Acts 10:36).
God is the Creator (Gen 1–2)— the architect and builder of all that has been made (Heb 3:4; 11:10). In the eternal good pleasure of God and in the council of the Godhead, all things are eternally decreed to come to pass. In the providence of God, all things are executed in time — for as we already noted, “from Him, through Him, and to Him are all things (Rom 11:36).”
The student of the Bible quickly discerns the existence of two groups of people in the world and throughout history. Cain was a man of the world, and Abel, his brother, was a man of God (Gen 4). Cain murdered his brother in the spirit of jealousy, envy, hatred, and violence.
God hates those who do iniquity (Ps 5:5; 11:5), and He is angry with the wicked all day, every day (Ps 7:11). When God acts on His hatred, it is called “wrath.” Throughout the Bible, God’s righteous wrath is observed in His just judgments against sinners (Rom 1:18–32). The record of God’s vengeance should cause all men everywhere to fear God and repent of their sins (Acts 17:30; Rom 9:15). There is a mixed response, however.
The chosen few (Mt 22:14), the elect remnant (Rom 11:5) do turn away from sin, Satan, the world system, and unto Christ Jesus — only by God’s grace (Acts 5:31; 11:18). This grace unto salvation is entirely the will and work of our Triune God (Eph 2:8–9), for salvation belongs to God (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1). Our God is the one and only Savior of sinners (Titus 1:4; 2:13; 3:6), for there is only one name under heaven, given among men whereby one must be saved (Acts 4:12).
Jesus Christ is the name above every other name because of who He is and what He has done, is doing, and will do (Eph 1:21; Phil 2:9). Let us consider Jesus as the solution to the plight of man with some further examination.
The problem of sin relates to the problem of death. Sin is breaking God’s Law and people sin all day every day (Gen 6:5). Our crimes against God’s holy precepts are infinite in number. Each one of our offenses warrants eternal punishment under the just wrath of the holy God (Jas 2:10). We have nothing with which to pay for our iniquities. The problem simply gets worse and worse the longer one lives.
Sin also separates us from the holy presence of God, which means God does not hear the prayers of sinners, who are at enmity with Him (Prv 15:29). The Bible also clarifies that sinners are not seeking God in any way on His terms (Rom 3:10–12), although they may put on a religious performance, pretending they want to be right with the God they actually hate (Rom 1:30; Jn 7:7; 15:18–25).
God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Cor 5:19). Jesus, the eternal Son of God was enfleshed (Jn 1:14), being like us, yet without sin (Heb 4:15). He was the unblemished Lamb of God to be slain according to the eternal purpose of God (Jn 1:29; Eph 3:11; Rev 5:6, 12). As fully God and fully man, Jesus Christ was uniquely positioned as the one Mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5). He represented both parties in the dispute dating back to the original sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3).
Jesus came into the world to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21) and to destroy the works of the devil (1 Jn 3:8). As their sin bearer, God made Him who knew no sin, Jesus, to be sin for us, His people (2 Cor 5:21). He bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Pet 2:24). His blood sacrifice on the cross of Calvary was a one-time event (Rom 6:10; Heb 7:27; 9:12; 10:10; 1 Pet 3:18). It was effectual for all of the sins (Lev 16:34) of all of His believing people.
Jesus cancelled His peoples’ debt of sin (Col 2:14), by the payment of His own precious blood (1 Pet 1:19) that brought us near to God (Eph 2:13). This is the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28) for the required redemption price (1 Cor 6:20; 7:23). While we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Rom 5:8), in a demonstration of love for His church, who He gave Himself for at the Cross (Eph 5:25). The Good Shepherd laid down His life for His sheep (Jn 10:11, 15). In this, He saved us (Titus 3:5).
The Lord knows those who are His (2 Tim 2:19) because He predestined us to adoption as sons before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4–5). By His gracious choice, a remnant of the whole of humanity was given to Christ the Son in eternity (Jn 6:37; 17:2, 6, 24; Rom 11:5). Each of these elect souls had their names written in the Lamb’s book of life before Creation (Rev 13:8; 17:8; 21:27).
God’s elect people were redeemed by Christ because of His ownership of them (1 Cor 3:23). These were lost in the darkness of the world of sin, even loving the darkness because of their evil deeds (Jn 3:19), and He came and sought them (Lk 19:10). No one chooses Christ (Jn 15:16), but God the Father draws His elect redeemed people to Christ, who opens the ears of the spiritually deaf to hear the Word of God, the voice of their Good Shepherd (Jn 10:3–4; Rom 10:17).
It is through the preaching of God’s Word, by the Spirit-filled man of God, that the Holy Spirit effectually calls the elect, redeemed to faith in Christ. Following the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Mt 3:11), who causes one to be born again of God (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3), by the will of God (Jn 1:12–13), a new creature is brought to life (Jn 6:63; 2 Cor 5:17). The life-giving Spirit, who implanted the Word of life in the good soil of one’s heart (Mt 13:23; Jas 1:21), takes up permanent residence there and promises to never leave nor forsake the beloved soul of the adopted child of God (Rom 8:15, 23; Heb 13:5), loved by the Father (1 Jn 3:1, 10).
The dead soul with the sin nature (Eph 2:3), enslaved to Satan (Jn 8:34; Rom 6:6, 16–20), has been set free by the Word of truth (Jn 8:32), rightly handled by the man of God (2 Tim 2:15), called and sent by God to proclaim the excellencies of Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor 1:23; 2:2; Col 1:28; 1 Pet 2:9). Thus, we believe in Jesus (Acts 16:31), the only Savior (Titus 1:4; 2:13; 3:6), who is the Word of God revealed to us who are being saved (Jn 1:1, 14; Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:18). It is a demonstration of the Holy Spirit and the power of God to save us by the foolishness Bible preaching (1 Cor 2:4; Titus 3:5).
The Bible is God’s written Word given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who moved men along to write the unfolding revelation of God, over a period of 1546 years (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20–21). The Bible is clear, sufficient, and necessary for salvation. It is authoritative and alone the regulative principle for Christian life and worship of our Triune God. It is powerful like a double-edged sword in its ability to cut and divide with precision (Heb 4:12).
It is the indwelling Holy Spirit who implants the Word of life (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11; 2 Cor 1:21–22; Jas 4:5); and the life now lived by the Christian is by faith in Jesus (Gal 2:20), the Son of God who gave Himself over to death on a Cross (Phil 2:8), to secure the forgiveness of sins under the covenant of grace (Mt 26:28; Eph 1:7). There is therefore now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus by His doing (Rom 8:1; 1 Cor 1:30). Death has lost its victory and its sting for the beloved saint (1 Cor 15:54–55) because there is no longer a fear of judgment and eternal punishment in the fiery hell of the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Mt 25:41, 46; Jude 7; Rev 20:14–15).
Guilt and shame, caused by sin, have been endured by Jesus, prosecuted as a criminal in our place and naked on a cursed tree. The wrath of God was propitiated by Him (Rom 3:25; Heb 2:17; 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10), as the punishment for our sins was absorbed by Him — our shelter and refuge from the storm of God’s hatred for sin.
In choosing to have mercy upon vessels of mercy (Rom 9:16, 23), God has also granted repentance and faith to those He sends His Spirit to in love (Acts 5:31; 11:18; Rom 5:5; Phil 1:29). Love is the fruitful product of the Spirit’s presence and work in those made alive to God (Gal 5:22; Eph 2:5; Col 2:13). Faithfulness is a fruit, too (Gal 5:22). Faith in Christ is integral to salvation, especially for our justification (Rom 5:1), that is, our legal right standing before the righteous Judge of all, who is Jesus Christ, Himself (Acts 10:42; 2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pet 4:5).
It is crucial for us to point out that not all men have faith (2 Thess 3:2). Jesus explained to the Jews that they did not believe in Him because they did not belong to Him (Jn 10:26; 1 Cor 3:23). Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6), and only Jesus is the Author of faith (Heb 12:2), which is allocated in the measure of His own choosing (Rom 12:3). If Jesus does not send the Spirit to a person (Jn 14:26), that person is not only void of the Spirit (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9) but also without faith, for apart from Christ one can do nothing as it pertains to spiritual things (1 Cor 2:14). That unbelieving person is without God and without hope in the world (Eph 2:12), being dead in sin and dead to God (Eph 2:1).
Friend, if you are without faith in Christ and without the Spirit, the only thing I can tell you, today, is the Bible’s warning for you to flee from the wrath to come (Mt 3:7; Lk 3:7). For Jesus Christ, the King of glory (Ps 24), is coming again to judge the world, angels, and all humanity (Rev 19:11–21). The Day of the Lord is the most feared day in the history of the world because on that day the dread Champion is coming to execute perfect justice against all people ever conceived (Jer 20:11).
The dead will all be raised on that last day (1 Cor 15). In the resurrection, body and soul, it will be judgment for most people, but a resurrection to life for those who died in Christ (Jn 5:28–29). With glorified bodies and souls, made that way in a twinkling of an eye, all the saints from history and from around the world will be caught up in the air to be together with their conquering King and will be with the Lord Jesus, forever (1 Thess 4:13–5:11). The glorified saints will sit down with Jesus on His judgment seat, in order to judge the angels (1 Cor 6:3), even as He judges the world and sentences reprobate, unredeemed, unregenerate, unbelieving, sinful humanity to the lake of fire, forever in the second death.
With the old order of fallen creation judged by fire on that day, our God will bring forth a new heavens and a new earth where righteousness dwells (Is 65–66; 2 Pet 3:10–13; Rev 21–22). In the new creation, sin, darkness, the devil will be no more and never again will our adversary threaten the people of God. Here is our happily ever after…together with Victor victorious, face to face, and forever in His presence in the New Jerusalem (Rev 3:12; 21:2, 10). And all God’s people said, “Amen”…and come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Let us pray…
O Father, you have sent Your Holy Spirit to fill us with the knowledge of Jesus Christ from Your Word of truth, today (2 Pet 3:18). Together, we are filled with praise and thanksgiving to You for the mercy and grace extended to us from eternity, from the Cross of Christ, and found in our hearts.
We praise you Lord Jesus for Your substitutionary sacrifice on our behalf and in our place — an atonement of sin (Lev 16). Our singular boast is in You, today (1 Cor 1:31; Gal 6:14). Be glorified as all honor is ascribed to You for the great things You have done to secure our salvation. We pray that You will come again soon, for our great desire is to be with You.
And Spirit of God, thank you for Your work in us, today. We know that God’s Word never returns to Him void (Is 55:11). We need to be holy and blameless before our God (Eph 1:4; 5:27; Col 1:22), and You who began this good work of sanctification in us will complete it as promised (Phil 1:6; 1 Pet 1:2). Thank you for Your ongoing work of transforming us (Rom 12:2), even conforming us into the image of Christ (Rom 8:29), who prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, for the very thing accomplished here, today (Jn 17:17).
Go with us now and make our lights to shine in the world of darkness (Mt 5:16) — that even more of Your chosen people in this generation, may see Jesus, believe upon Him, and be saved by the riches of His glorious grace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen and Amen.
Spokane Valley, Washington
August 18, 2022