AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH – October 5, 2008
A CONTINUATION OF THE ORIGINAL
THRUST AND BASE OF THE
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF AUSTRALIA, ON CHANGELESS BIBLICAL LINES
JESUS CHRIST: IN ALL THINGS, THE PRE-EMINENCE:
JOB TO JESUS
Jesus showed the integrity of God, in human form enduring every kind of suffering.
He also showed that in love He would, could and did endure suffering in the shadow of death, in integrity and submission to His heavenly Father, from whose eternal counsel He came, and from whose eternal companionship, He was shipped to earth. On this great mission and commission, He was launched from a virgin, so that He being the Eternal Word, manifestation of God, came to earth as His only begotten Son, that is, the only One whom God translated Himself to be in the form of a man (I Timothy 3:16, John 3:16, 5:19-23, 8:58). Accordingly, He is described in John 1:18, as "in the bosom of the Father."
As the word of God, His is the expression, and He lies as the word does in a man, next to the mind and heart and spirit; and when there is purity of heart, as in God, then the Word is the total and definitive, the express depiction and showing of what one is: and with the Word of God, this is who He is! That is how Christ could say in a context of undivorceable unity with His Father, "I and My Father are one" (John 10:30 cf. John 5:19ff., 8:58), so that Jews took up stones, esteeming this nothing less than blasphemy, as making Himself equal with God.
However Jesus not only suffered willingly, not only passed through the shadow of death, which stretched out its wings as if to cover Him for ever, drowned in the hatred of those who WOULD NOT have the integrity to worship God, and would NOT submit themselves to Him, and would NOT suffer for Him, to carry out His will and instructions. He went far further, and He did so without quivering, as Job, without cracks in the tail-plane, without error in part or in whole; and being sinless, and eternal, the express image of God, equipped to cover all and willing to cover any who should call in faith upon His name as only Saviour and Lord of all, He died with the sin of those who would shed it upon Him.
╬ Nor, at the spiritual level, was this by any means all. He died not only to show under test, that love lasts beyond death and its travails, pure to the end, but also and emphatically to pay the consequences for those whose love and righteousness has by no means been perfect. Thus His suffering was not merely an exhibit of truth, but both payment for default and propitiation (Romans 3:25, 6:23, 5:1-12).
What Job showed in principle, of what God is and who He is and HOW He is to be served, Christ showed in principle but also in effectual practice: what is necessary that man might know God, as a man knows his friend, and being washed and cleansed and purged and with his debts of failure paid, to live for ever with Him. One pointed the need, the other met it. One showed the reality of the heart, the Other with this, the power to meet it. One posed the problem and found the solution, the Other implemented it. One found the One, the Redeemer to come to this very earth, on whom to rely; the other was He on whom one must rely, and He showed the basis of reliance in what He did (cf. Romans 3:23ff., II Corinthians 5:17ff., Titus 2-3).
What was necessary was far more than suffering in integrity, and purity in idea and ideal. It was suffering in purging, the provision of a ransom, a payment, a cancellation of indebtedness in love.
The way for this was not only to be tested to the uttermost, but to be killed. Sin kills. Sacrifice always acknowledged that fact. The blood by its life made atonement (Leviticus 17:11), being poured out from the sacrificed animal to cover sin. By His stripes, we are healed, said Isaiah in Ch. 53. He was wounded for OUR transgressions, he is inspired to reveal.
By His knowledge says this same Chapter of the prophet Isaiah, He shall justify many; for He poured out His life to death, the cover to the uttermost, sparing nothing in covering the case, even with life undefiled, to bring to God, the just dying for the unjust, cleansing the slate, making right the accounts, removing the wrath of God by His own bearing of it (Romans 1-3, esp. 1:17ff., 3:23-25). What says Isaiah ? "He shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities."
Mercy sought; loved paid; Christ transmitted the payment in His own person. Faith receives it. Having paid, He rose breaking death entirely, His body scarred but transcendent. Faith relies on Him for its future, with joy. This is part of its assured content that brings content! (Romans 10:9, I Corinthians 15). He brings peace where sin brought torment, present and prospective (Ephesians 2:16-22).
FROM JESUS TO THE JOY OF SALVATION
THE PERSONAL: But who is healed ? Here is another test. If one does NOT accept this same Jesus, this same Redeemer, this gift of God to man, this entry to the haven of heaven, to the presence of God eternally, and if one insists on imagining that one’s own righteousness and life is sufficient to secure God and His life for ever (as in Romans 10:1-4), then one can keep that fallacious, that foolish, that futile self-exaltation.
What Job illustrated, both in his affliction and in his deliverance through faith in the Redeemer, then to come to the earth, this it is that Jesus consummated and fulfilled, in showing BY WHOM and HOW this is secured: by that same Redeemer. Isaiah showed in great detail, as did David in the Psalms, and other prophets in various ways -
Redeemer would be (Isaiah 7, 9, 61),
that He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:1-3),
that He would be rejected by His own nation, Israel (Isaiah 49:7),
that He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11),
that He would be crucified (Psalm 22) and though the Judge of mankind,
that He would be subjected to contempt (Micah 5:1-3, Psalm 22),
that He would be resurrected on the third day after His crucifixion (Psalm 16, Hosea 6, Leviticus 23 cf. Ch. 6 above, *2), and
that the Gospel would include these facts, as men would be shown (Isaiah 42:6,49:6, 52:15, 61, 65:13-15).
This, it would not by private revelation such as came to Job, but by public history and its record, by physical action and its attestation, so that even the Gentiles, those who are not Jews, could find God as Job did (Acts 2-5).
It would be by that same Redeemer, now shown in detail in many prophecies which He fulfilled in detail when He came to earth, that that very earth of which Job spoke as the place where he would see God and find the Redeemer (Job 19:21-29), would receive this imprint, impact and salvation. It was He for whom Israel waited as you see in Luke 2:25-38; and it was He who went to the Gentile world through the Gospel, by the Holy Spirit, until He should return (cf. Matthew 24:14). His word traced it like an exploding rocket of light; and His work performed it, like a giant mining operation, in which the very treasures of eternity were poured out (cf. Ephesians 3:8, Colossians 1:27).
As He put it, the prophets SHOWED that first would come His suffering and THEN the glory (Luke 24:44-49), and so it was continually as you see for example in Ps. 2,16,22,72. The suffering and the escape alike, were shown through and to Job: the first to attest integrity in relationship to God, the second to show deliverance from the doom of sin when its flood-waters would not go away, and when the weakness of death and the woes of sin asserted themselves; and no man does not sin.
However, though all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 6:23), sin is no more the masthead; and self-fulfilment, self-will (whether ‘moral’ or not) is no more the guide and government. The ‘government shall be upon His shoulder’ as Isaiah 9 declares in one of his inspired prophecies concerning the Redeemer, who would come – as He did – as a child, to become the Prince of Life made manifest.
Jesus the Christ endured not only the sufferings of integrity, but He suffered for integrity, that man might be relieved of his defects and deficiencies and restored alive from the death of separation from God, to His very presence in peace (Ephesians 2:14-22). He was not only delivered from death, but resurrected after it, and in His deliverance is the site for the deliverance of any and all who flee to Him for refuge, as God has provided (Hebrews 6:19, 2:1-3). Till He comes, He has sent as He revealed, His Holy SPIRIT, to endue, empower, enrich, enlighten, guide, gird, comfort, strengthen and lead those who are His, abiding in His love, seeking His will and trying in all things to please Him who is the Word of God; for as He declared, we are not left as if orphans! (John 14:16, Luke 24:49, Romans 8:9, Ephesians 3:16, 5:15-21, Acts 16).
THE PERFORMANCE: Accordingly, just as Job showed to all that integrity of life and trust in the Lord, though severely tested, which is the alternative to living to, for and by oneself or one’s own choices for life, ‘good’ or bad: so and much more so, Jesus gave to all the way to HAVE that integrity, which Job found it impossible to maintain except in, by and through the Redeemer. It is not just performance, though test can show up hypocrisy; it is purging, remedy, ransom and redemption that is required. It is no man who can supply this (cf. Psalm 49:7,15), but God alone. He did not legislate from heaven to cover up, but came to earth to shut up the voice of sin in its condemnation, by bearing it (I Peter 2:22-25, Hebrews 2:10-18, 9:12-14).
The flower must have its stock, and this the planting and thus the root system must be in the soil: the trees of righteousness are first of all planted by God: they are not wild! (cf. Matthew 15:13, Isaiah 61:1-3, 62:2). Those who are so planted by God are called Messiah-ans, and as ‘Messiah’ is the Hebrew term for what is basis for ‘Christ’ in the Greek, they are Christ-ians or Christians.
As Job foresaw in his passion, that same Redeemer, not in the clouds of thought but on the clods of this very earth, so we who now live, have more, but not less than the sight of the Redeemer, the Christ, now received into heaven pending His coming (Acts 3:19-21) at the restitution of all things. We have an enduring testimony in fact and function. Now we have not only the site of His birth – Bethlehem, already fulfilled, but that of His death in Jerusalem, Calvary, the very latitude and longitude of it, its placement on this earth. It is here the nations, many disbelieving, yet wrangle and tangle as foretold (Zechariah 12:1-10) before He comes. We who are His have, however, His Spirit, His peace and His word, like a light in a dark place (cf. I Peter 1:19); and as their eyes saw the Lord, so ours in the 21st century, as did many in the 20th likewise, see His word being fulfilled as if there were a military program, not for evil, but for good.
Moreover we have the attestation of His resurrection (Luke 1:1ff., 24, John 20), that of Him whom no nation nor power could control or keep, subdue or secure; for His death was as planned as His life, and its way and point shown centuries before He accomplished it (cf. Luke 9:31) has been fulfilled first in the physical fact (John 20, Luke 24), then in the triumphant tidings that swept Jerusalem which had been His site, then the world, and fourthly in the significance of it in its place in the divine plan of salvation, followed the divine gift of creation, all as early foretold.
This, like the power over sickness, death and sin manifested by Christ before the resurrection, showed that far from being an eccentric creator of chaotic strife, God was the inventor of a liberty and the dower of a power which could bring from the immense and intensive, mathematically expert designs which enable our thoughts and wills, a vitality of life, instead of a clatter and a clutter of evil that surges. Our misuse and abuse in mind, body and spirit of this gear, as a race, has brought the normal result for wrong-handled products: difficulty, disaster and ruin. Since the scope is eternity, the power is immense and the issues are vital, the results are proportionate: a sick world in a stricken situation which ever intensifies, as diabolically misused designs, sent off course, would always show.
These vital acts of God, in Christ, are now not simply forecast but actual history; and we who find Him, find the same God that Job did. Yet now we know Him direct from His descent and ascent: (Ephesians 4:8-10, John 1:1-14); for this IS eternal life that “they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent”: there is one God, speaking and sending, with Him sent, relaying and manifesting Him who sent (John 3:16, I John 3:9-16, Isaiah 48:16).
THE FINALITY: Thus “the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world” (I John 3:14). The sufferings are now all accomplished, which He had to bear (Isaiah 52-53); but the Sovereign Majesty is to come; for JUST AS no power or sickness, no, not death itself could contain Him (Acts 2:24-30-31) when He came to suffer, show and die, to speak and overcome and secure salvation for all who receive Him, SO on His return, tests concluded, ruling power will invest Him (Psalm 2, Isaiah 59, 11 II Thessalonians 1). The predicted and now predicated Gospel having saturated this earth (Matthew 24:14), at that point there will be the Government on His Shoulder indeed, and He will rule upon this vagrant earth (Isaiah 11, Revelation 19-20), before it is removed altogether (Matthew 24:35, Rev. 20, Isaiah 51:6).
God is patient, but also Prince and Leader and Lord.
Let Job, then, for everyone, be your introduction to Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One sent to secure that for which Job sought, and which was granted to him by faith. It is by the same faith that we now receive Him, not as to come to suffer for sin and redeem us from it, for this He did; but as HAVING already done it (John 1:12-14, Hebrews 9). Moreover, Him we receive not as mere flesh, though He came to this for His salvation to be secured for mankind (Titus 2-3), but as the One equal with God (Philippians 2), who does what the Father does in the same way (John 5:19ff.), and who beyond time had His everlasting goings (Micah 5:3). It is He who is the first and the last (Isaiah 44:6, Revelation 2:8).
It is He who was there in the beginning as the word of God, the very eternal life of God (John 1:1, I John 1:1-4, John 8:58, before and beyond time) and what then ? This: “As many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the children of God” (John 1:12), those who are “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” That is a chief feature of the Christian’s joy, that it is with God Himself that we deal (I Timothy 3:16), and who has dealt for us, thereby providing a joy which no man can take from him or her (John 16:11) who believing, trusts Him, and entrusting life itself to Him, gains it in eternity from Him.
It is DONE. All he or she has to do is receive HIM who IS the Redeemer, as His word shows and His power appoints; and therefore to receive all that He has done, in His substitution, ransom and resurrection, knowing this, that NOTHING will be able to separate us who so believe and receive Him, from the love of Christ, neither things past nor future, grand nor small, dynamic with devilries nor thrusting with power.
HIS is ALL power, and in Him we live (Romans 8:29-39, Matthew 28:19-20). It is this which shouts to our inner ear in a language that cannot be discarded, Repent and believe (Luke 13:1-3), receive the Saviour and rejoice. If now you are tested by various trials, rejoice in God your Saviour and be sure of your connection (Romans 5:11, I Peter 4:12-19).
Rest in Him, and He will lead you forth, making of your life, a field fit for harvest in His own time!
Indeed, as this same Jesus declared,
“Most assuredly, I tell you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24).
Eternity never stops! (Ephesians 1:11). When you know Jesus Christ as Lord, the Eternal Word of God, the only Saviour: you never want it to do so! In this, there is a satiation of bliss, in a life of challenge, where the power of God is provided not for pleasure or self-congratulation or self-fulfilment, but for service in His name, and apportionment in His place, as He wills who being Shepherd, knows His sheep.