THE AUSTRALIAN PRESBYTERIAN BIBLE CHURCH
May 28, 2206
STRENGTH, CHALLENGE AND
ASSURANCE OF CHRIST
THE NEED TO TRUST BEY0ND THE DUST
IN THE GOD WHO SPEAKS
John 19:36 "Not one of His bones shall be broken"
preliminary, please note that the exposure of the rampant folly
of the da Vinci Code may be found at
death could not crush Christ, nor can calumny now
Christianity is in part, a system of beliefs. Its founder, both God and man, has told the truth, and the result, being true, fits like the components of a vast botanic gardens, in every nook, hill, lake and flourishing orchid, roving lawn and nestling arbour.
It is thus also a system of presentation of truth, unalterable, invulnerable, capped by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, like snow on a mountain, lost in the majesty of beauty, but disclosed by the sun, as the acme of wonder.
Healing with holiness is in it, for it brings man back to his Creator, and healing of the spirit is to be there found, of the mind, and as you see in the book of Acts, as from the hands of Christ, healing of the body may also come at the good Lord's discretion. Christ died for sinners, and so dipped the heart of intense purity into the guilt of the foul ones of sin, to void it for all who come to Him (II Corinthians 5:21).
Engines of assault are continually ranged against Him, to destroy the Gospel, smash His word, but the opposite occurs: it does the smashing for those who run into it. This medicine of the soul is zealously guarded, and if the world is indifferent, willing for it to be lost, slack and slow as likewise with the Greenhouse effect, now challenging civilisation which slumbers (cf. Revelation 16:8), as many with life itself, it does not alter its power (Romans1:16). This irresistible result for assault continues whether for Judas, Arius, the power of the Inquisition, the reviling of the USSR, or the rollicking fantasies of the da Vinci Code. As II Peter 2:1ff. reveals, the last days are to have many, with corrupt talk making merchandise of you.
Christianity, which involves life in Christ, like a branch in a vine, often involves suffering for Christ. on the part of His disciples. Sometimes the world listens, as with the Auca Indians after they slew missionaries, and the wife of one returned to continue the Gospel to them. The world dismissed Him, seeking another ruler; and as to those who are His, as Paul tells Timothy, "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
If you try to be worldly, you may suffer discipline instead, until you learn the brightness of His light is to be reflected, not deflected. It is no use trying to put out the sun, the Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2); and when He comes, He will be as a refiner's fire! but for His people, like a shadow of a mighty rock, itself now jutting direct as our foundation (I Corinthians 3:11), but then seen as faith turns into sight (I Corinthians 13:12).
Many have been crushed in the instruments of godless torture, for Him; but in the end, it passes and in the resurrection, the broken is new, the old is replaced, the temporal becomes eternal, and suffering and pain flee away (Revelation 21:4). Even for Him, as a testimony of truth, not a bone was broken, even on the Cross: for it was foretold that so it would be (John 19:33-36).
Today, our topic from John 19:36, according is this; NOT ONE OF HIS BONES SHALL BE BROKEN. That was the Psalms foretold, and of course, that was what came to be!
I) The Singularity of Christianity
Foretold for more than 4 millenia, in terms of man who beyond the power of sin and Satan, would come as Saviour, this marvel has already come, and that at the date which Daniel 9 foretold (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4). As you see in the predictive Psalms, 22:17, 34:20, the amazing reality is this, that God knew and declared of this Saviour that not one of His bones would be broken. In Psalm 22, the Saviour may the more readily count all His bones, as Delitzsch points out, because He is stretched out in agony. Thus, they stand out, out of joint (22:14), but unbroken, a subject of mockery.
The Lord also foretold there that hands and feet of the Saviour would be pierced (22:16), that He would be mocked, taunted, surrounded, and yet despite this horrendous demise, would again rise to meet His brethren in the great assembly (22:25); for as Psalm 16 clearly foretold, in terms of resurrection of the body of the Saviour, His flesh would not be permitted to rot. Therefore, all that Satan had to do was produce the limp fleshly rags of the ruined body, and there would be no Christianity, no Christ; for if God says it, it happens.
It did happen; and frustration in the production of the body was the horror of the unholy. They could not do it. It was gone. It had no further business in the atonement. God had promised that HE HIMSELF would plague death, and provide ransom for man, in Hosea 13, as man (Isaiah 53), and confirmed it in Ezekiel 34, just as at Bethlehem, He also foretold the birthplace (Micah 5:1-3) for the Judge of Israel who would be struck on the cheek, and Jerusalem, the slaughter site (Luke 13:33): the city yet to repent of it (Zechariah 12:10-12).
II) The Strength of Christianity
Singular is the word of God, particular, not general; and only God can hold history to ransom to perform His word: Isaiah 44-45. Yet this is also STRENGTH, for one item in history, in any one area at any one time, would have power to throw out in ever increasing circles of influence - like a stone thrown into a pond, the ripples running far - any prediction. In such things, the One predicting has to KNOW ALL. He has in addition to ensure that the knowledge is implemented. God is all wise and His word has strength that cannot be broken: "Mighty is He who executes His word." ( Joel 2:11, Isaiah 14:27, 44:24-28).
In this last citation of His word from Isaiah, we see that long before Cyrus, the ruler of Media-Persia, was born, there was a divine prediction of his coming decision to send the Jews back from Babylon (which Persia had conquered, so taking over the Jewish captives, some of whom were prospering). Even his name, Cyrus, was foretold as testimony of the sovereign majesty, as well as the tender-hearted kindness, of God who through this man would restore them to their land. There is strength in both departments, to say and to do: making all follow His word, and making mercy flow to offenders who seek Him. The way sin is covered, as foretold in Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, is the reason why it is free (Isaiah 55, Romans 3:23ff.)! Such free pardon and access is also a thing of strength, for He has no limits to His provisions, nor does He skimp (Micah 7:19ff., I John 2:1ff.).
III) The Challenge of Christianity
Far is this from meaning that Christianity is easy. It is free, but not free and easy. You are adopted freely (Ephesians 1), and receive an inheritance freely by grace (Ephesians 1:11, 2:8), if you are a Christian; but the trials can be sore, and the tests fiery (I Peter 4). Purity is their aim, and testimony, as with Job. Who can face the Sermon on the Mount with pride! It requires turning, learning and spurning the lower options. Mixed motives can be an error, an impurity which much fire is used to flush out in smelting; and it is well to examine one's heart, to ensure that it is no question of this world plus Christ, for friendship with this world! James depicts this as ENMITY with Christ. Love is not lust; hope is not hollow. The way is narrow, like that of blood in the arteries. It is better so, than having it spurt out of the body!
IV) The Assurance in Christ, for Christians
Tests though there be, assurance sits upon them, like a vast peak, upon the earth. The storms may batter, the rush of snow may weigh heavily, the aerial tumult at the top may be severe, but the ground is sure beneath. "Other foundation can no man lay," but that in Christ (I Corinthians 3); but he who believes in Him, as long foretold, will "not make haste" (Isaiah 26:19). "I KNOW whom I have believed, and am PERSUADED that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him, until that day," (of judgment), Paul declares (II Timothy 1:12), later adding that "a crown of righteousness" will be given to him, and not to him only, but "to all who have loved His appearing." How different is this from those who love His disappearing into forms, ceremonies, bogus ideas such as the da Vinci Code imagines, attributing to Constantine in the 4th century what had already been done in the first and second!
There is an inveterate hatred of God and therefore of His truth, which nothing removes from the heart of those who trifle with Him: it may be in small or great things, but it is there. It may make money, or it may make hay; and those in this plight can never understand that what God says, He will do. As for the Christian, "God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation" (I Thessalonians 5:9-10): and this is simply the case. He has paid for the freedom, and we are to experience tests in the interim; but it is all one. If you are genuine, the grace is yours, and the purification is altogether to be desired. You do not WANT anything less, nor is it your inheritance (John 9:35-36).
He does not break the bruised reed (Isaiah 42); and not one of His bones was broken. There in one simple fact, is the testimony to the whole scope of the reality of His keeping. He knows how to preserve us, even past death.
How singular is this religion, which has ONE GOD, ONE SALVATION, ONE GRACE, ONE FACE which though marred as He redeemed us who are His, mastered yet all of history. Trust Him therefore, and follow His will with confidence, being at peace within yourselves (Isaiah 26:1-4).