AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH April 6, 2008

A CONTINUATION OF THE THRUST AND BASE OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
OF
AUSTRALIA ON BIBLICAL LINES 
 

THE DARE-DEVIL AND THE DEATH OF DELINQUENCY

THE GLORY THAT SURPASSES

Base Text: II Corinthians 3:10

TOPICAL

This morning there is a more schematic presentation, though in Church itself it will be as usual, articulated in full.

II Corinthians 3:10 is in the midst of a comparison of the wonders worked already, and the eminent wonders wrought in Christ: and the key concept is this: THE GLORY THAT SURPASSES.

This morning we shall be using this concept in application to works of Jesus Christ - His particular triumphs over direct or indirect temptation, correlative with His magnificent actions of the purity of perfection and the eminence of deity - and certain episodes in the Old Testament which these surpass.

They appear as efforts of the devil, who has no heed to caution or prudence, so long as his tempting lures and impossible ambitions are being fulfilled, however strategic he may think he is being, and the responses of Christ. We then see what happened when certain temptations came in developments of Old Testament characters or Israel, and contrast the surpassing glory of what Christ has done. This serves as a stimulus to duty, a thrust to worship and a delight to the heart. In conclusion, we rejoice that not only did Christ complete His preliminary work, in overcoming every devilish device, but His consummatory performance, completing in the Cross the most significant event in history (Galatians 6:14).

Small wonder we should glory in this, remembering however that it had a vast hinterland on its way,  and a transcendently triumphant over-ride of death itself in the bodily resurrection,  glory for all, but strictly centred in Christ, as providing prototype for our own resurrection: those who believe and receive Him whose glory it is (I Corinthians 15).

I

 

I DEATH TO THE BODY

The Effort of the Devil to extinguish the Babe
(cf. Revelation 12, Matthew 2:18ff.)

Incarnation Sustained

Here is the glory that surpasses the deliverance of baby Moses from the semi-genocidal effort of the Egyptians; for if Moses led a nation to deliverance,
Christ delivers all people who are believers in all nations for all time from the sentence and sovereignty of sin,
breaching death for eternal life, the summit of life and glory of destiny
(cf. Hebrews 3:1ff.).

As Moses was ready to be slaughtered by Egypt, with many others, so Christ
was ready to be slain by Herod, at its very entrance with many others, but was
Himself hidden in Egypt, since God can even use enemies for gain,
and turn history on its head in sovereign sway and majesty (Matthew 2:15).

 

II DART TO THE HEART

The Antics of the Devil
in Trying Charm and Collusion to Debauch Deity
(cf. Matthew 4)

Purity Preserved

Here is the glory that surpasses the efforts of prophet Balaam,
ambassador for hell in God's name, where ostensible obedience
became actual folly, making him a byword for an unfaithful ambassador,
a king for covetousness.

As Balaam (Numbers 22) was tricked and trapped by his failure simply to obey God in the first place, so that on his way to infamy (Jude 11, II Peter 2:15-17), he even had an ass divinely brought in grave humour from God to caution his folly, so Christ was by no means deluded by devilish duplicity,
but did what all who are His should do, answer from the scripture the efforts
to deceive, and summarily dismiss them (cf. Ephesians 6).


III CONQUEST OF THE COMMISSION

    A Out-dynamising the Devil

(cf. Matthew 16:21-23)

Antic extraordinary: the devil seeks to please Christ through a good friend
so that He might avoid the Cross in the very midst of 'doing good' and achieving quite amazing fame and name for exploits divine

Christ, being rebuked for referring to the oncoming cross, humiliation and sacrificial mission for which He was sent from the eternity of heaven as the express image of His Father (Hebrews 1), turns with decisive sweep of sovereign singularity,
putting the devil in place by name!

He had been challenged even by Peter His friend. The latter had just given a leadership role amidst the disciples. This was very limited: a pebble amidst the rock of Christ when Himself recognised as the Christ, the Son of the living God (cf. Psalm 62), and after all, still only one of the brethren (Matthew 23:8-10). Far from You all this dying, Peter urges on Christ.

Get behind Me, Satan! Christ exclaimed in reply, indicating that this was not savouring spiritual things but fleshly. There is a need for man and it is not some political leader who exalts his powers, and trades on greatness, but One ministering tender mercy to the heart, pardon to the spirit, grace to the mind and salvation to the soul. Thus the Rock had to be split and provide a place to nestle, and in the crucifixion, it opened for all whose hearts reside in God.

Here the glory that surpasses is contrasted with the failure at Kadesh, when Israel, having been surrounded with miracles from the time of the Exodus,
was too scared to enter the promised land Numbers 13-14).
But if God is for you, who can be against you! (Romans 8:32ff.).
 

They refused and were to suffer 40 years of wandering;
Christ entered past the pressures of alternative modes,
letting nothing dissuade, compromise, detach, divert Him from His glorious task,
even if it meant the appearance of loss of what is valued,
and turning from what had intrinsic appeal,
in the realm friendship and high valuation, though here awry and amiss.  

 

B Gethsemane Grace

(cf. Matthew 26:36-46)

Would a flaw develop under maximal stress in the sanctity of the Saviour ?
Having dealt with the devil from the beginning, and often in driving out devils, the former as in the above episode with Peter, Christ prevailed amid anguish, and performed in the eye of the storm, shattering diabolical hope that He would succumb.

Here the glory that surpasses is this: that Christ at Gethsemane did not submit to the thrust of pre-Cross sacrificial pain and prelude, but fought to the end the battle of the soul, submitting with full realisation of the awefulness of actually having to bear the impact of sin, most hateful and odious in itself (Hebrews 5:7),
infinitely worse than physical filth, so that in love He could rescue freely
those who received Him (Romans 3:23ff.).
In so acting, at Calvary, He paid for redemption,
the glory of His people for millenia since,
just as it was glory in the eyes of the prophets
who in detail predicted it, its actions and its meaning.

What is surpassed ? It is this. Moses, as in Exodus 32:31, showed wonderful spirit in asking God if need be, to blot him out of the book of life, so long as He did not fail to forgive Israel. God enlightened him: He would blot out those to whom this belonged, but He DID discipline and then pardon Israel (Exodus 33:13-23), and at the time, showed something of His glory to Moses, who hungered for this inspiration and revelation and was not denied. What then ? As Moses secured help for Israel, that they might have some cover, Christ broke death and provided eternity, not mere temporary relief, to His people, for whom death is an anomaly, defeat an extrusion of weakness and shame a shadow of a cloud, one which in Christ has rained and washed (Titus 3:3-5). 

 

C Masterful Meekness

(cf. Matthew 26:50-56)

Once again Peter is involved. This time it is in a flurry of what might
in other circumstances be commendable courage, but here a potential disaster.
From this, Christ delivered him, restoring the sword-severed ear to the high priest's servant
who with soldiers had come at night to manhandle Christ, with the expert aid of traitor Judas.
Put up your sword! He demanded of Peter.
How could the scriptures be fulfilled,
that He must be so taken and all that was to follow that,
if physical resistance were put in place of it!

Here the glory that surpasses is this: that Christ again rejected any form of deliverance from His mission, willingly delivering Himself, not from it, but for it
that many might be saved, millions reside in eternal life
and the grace of God with mercy, its friend,
cover the hearts with a beauty illimitable and a peace surpassing all understanding. Moses, on the other hand, when in the full sway of his gifts and leadership,
following the bitter disappointment of Israel failing to enter the promised land,
provoked by the seemingly endless complaints of the people (Numbers 20),
struck twice the rock which was the display point for the entry of divine power
to provide water, and said:

"Here now you rebels, must we bring water
for you out from this rock!"

At once came the divine word: Moses had not sanctified the name of the God whose power did the job, beyond the symbolic striking of the rock, so that Moses would not bring the people into  the promised land: in fact, it would be a generation later. Indeed, Moses even struck the rock twice, whereas it is imperative to realise that
Christ had to die ONCE (Hebrews 9-10), fully satisfying
the claims of death ONCE and for all with everlasting redemption.

Christ used no force, showed no exasperation, but fulfilled with masterful meekness, all that was required of Him, till He cried at last, "It is finished!" (John 19:30), for the redemption was thus complete (Romans 5:1ff., 3:23ff., Hebrews 9-10).

 

IV THE GLORY OF THE CROSS - Mission Completed
(Hebrews 9:12-28).
 

That completion is the centre of the sufficiency of the free gift of saving grace
to those who secure saving knowledge of Christ.
NOT says Hebrews 9, that He should suffer often,
for then He would have had to suffer often since the world was founded
(as if a sort of amplified animal sacrifice repetitively engaged in).

It was a blood sacrifice, for without blood there is no remission,
and it was a painful and agonising sacrifice,
for suffering is integral with it; but once received, instead of wavers or works,
it is the power of God to salvation (Romans 1:16),
for the Father made Him to be sin for us, He who knew no sin, that we might become in Him, the righteousness of God (cf. Romans 5:17, Ephesians 2, Titus 2-3),
that triumphant gift which
beggars comparison,
belittles death's power and
brings eternity back to where it belongs,
in the heart of man, as many as receive Him, whose it is (cf. I John 1:1-4).

 

Here the glory that surpasses is this: that Christ paid once,
not repetitively as in the schema of animal sacrifice, paid fully and not partially
,
as in this sacrificial type or that (cf. Leviticus 4ff.), and paid in the blood of God (Acts 20:28),
which He secured in the incarnation, and shed for every man and woman and child indeed,
who takes it as given, without addition or condition, qualification or context.
Hence he or she who believes in Him has eternal life (John 5:24, 6:40,51ff, I John 5:11ff)

 Therefore proceed with eternal living till He comes!