Debate continues to rage over at my post entitled, Did God Kill Jesus? Am I Alone? (Actually the answer is definitely NO as MacArthur, Piper, Lloyd-Jones and CJ can all be counted among those who are with me on this!). Anyway, undeterred by all the controversy, I preached yesterday morning out of the concern of my heart on Romans 8. The talk, “Free Because of Jesus,” is available already as an mp3 download.
Although I will end this post by sharing my notes, I would like to encourage you to follow the link and listen to that message; some have said it was the best and clearest message that I have ever preached. I am sure, however, that some readers of this blog will not like it. The message does not follow the notes very closely as I had planned in my mind how I wanted to speak in a more spontaneous manner.
On Saturday evening I really struggled in prayer over this message, and particularly having to preach it in the nearest thing to a blog storm I’ve been involved in for awhile. I was greatly helped by some e-mails, and by hearing for the first time the message from which the words that started this whole thing off (at least this time round!) in CJ’s message on the atonement at New Attitude.
I found the comments in the “Who Killed Jesus?” debate really quite discouraging in some ways, but I am pleased that people with differing perspectives and views feel free to debate and discuss here on this blog I won’t turn anyone away merely for disagreeing with me!
One little point that I will throw in, which no one has raised here, is the question, “What did Jesus die from? it seems it wasn’t the cross itself. Jesus’ anguish on the cross was emotional more than physical as his cry My God, My God why have you forsaken me? shows.
He died before the two other thieves on the cross, presumably in part because of the added stress of bearing the full brunt of the wrath of God against sin. But the moment of His death is revealing, for having said It is finished, He commits His spirit to His Father and breathes His last. The Roman soldiers were surprised; the death itself seems to have been so much part of God’s plan that it happened prematurely at the right moment presumably when Jesus had suffered just the right amount of punishment that would purchase forgiveness for all that would believe on Him. The job done, it was in a sense in the end a mercy killing, for God was so in control that the process of dying lasted not a minute longer than He had planned and intended for it to do so.
So, yes, I do believe God killed Jesus. So did the Doctor, and if you are looking for MLJ Monday, it was posted yesterday!
Anyway, right now I am just glad to have preached the sermon, which was really a tough one to prepare and preach. Thanks to God’s grace, though, the response to my talk has been so encouraging. The words of Issy, who was part of our congregation, just blew me away:
There’s one thing especially that I love when I come home is that I get to go to Jubilee Church. I love that church . . .there’s something about it . . .
Jubilee church is part of the newfrontiers group, and suprisingly we gather in a cinema screen.
It’s amazing. I get to take Zarah, and she loves going to church. She loves the worship . . . she sings and dances and praises the Lord.
Church today was very cool . . . we did Romans 8 . . . good follow up from CU on Thursday.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Amazing! Just to think that no matter what we do, there will be no condemnation and no guilt. The speaker took the example of someone in court . . . the judge saying that he’s not guilty . . . the guy won’t just sit there saying, “No, but I am guilty” . . . he’ll leave and tell everyone that he was found not guilty . . . it’s the same for Christians . . . we are found not guilty . . . for all that we could have done has been dealt with on the cross . . . we should therefore live without guilt. I don’t know if I’m making much sense at the moment. Anyway it was great.
We ended singing “In Christ Alone.” When I saw the lyrics on the screen, I just wanted to cry . . . it took me all the way back to “my beginning,” back to the RUCU Houseparty 2005. I thought of Tim, Ceryn, that piano next to the dining room. I sang that song with all my heart. Today that song had such a different impact on me than it did I don’t know how many months ago. The Lord is amazing . . . and no better words to explain what He means to me than the lyrics to “In Christ Alone“:
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my
Strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
‘Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live
There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost it’s grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Brought with the precious blood of Christ
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
‘Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand
Lyrics copyright 2001 Kingsway/Thankyou Music
My Sermon Notes
I began by sharing some quotes from my review of Living the Cross Centred Life. This talk was summarised by someone who heard it as follows:
From Sunday’s talk we could establish that:
God is angry with the wicked and will punish all disobedience of man.
The only place to be safe from the wrath of God is in Christ.
o are in Christ are not under condemnation.
The power of condemnation is guilt.
We should not be feeling guilty because we are forgiven in Christ.
God’s love and His acceptance of us does not depend on what we do, but on His unfailing and unconditional love.
FREE BECAUSE OF JESUS
Main Point No Condemnation in Christ
What’s the therefore, therefore? THEREFORE BECAUSE OF WHAT CAME BEFORE
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness an unrighteousness of men.
None is righteous, no, not one; No one understands; No one seeks for God. l have turned aside; together they have become worthless; No one does good, Not even one.
. . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
“… blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
saved by him (Jesus) from the wrath of God.”
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
WHY DO WE FEEL CONDEMNED?
It is not about whether or not we FEEL condemned. The true question should be are we MEANT to feel condemned — are we, in fact, condemned already, or has our condemnation been taken away? Because without Christ we ARE condemned. The Gospel doesn’t just put a plaster over the wound of our guilt and say it’s okay no, it says there really IS condemnation and wrath against us.
The Lord roars from Zion and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth quake. But the Lord is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel.
2 Corinthians 5:21
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
REASONS WHY WE SHOULD NOT FEEL CONDEMNED
- We are in Christ.
- We are set free from the law.
- Our weakness no longer matters as we have an “alien solution” to our internal problem.
Our condemnation, although just and deserved, has been paid by another.
We respond to the gospel, and have seen its benefits in our lives – repentance is a mindset change that leads to a lifestyle change
-One had condemned in sinful flesh the word NOT there.
-Others get rid of the idea of CONDEMNING.
-Sometimes implying a sacrifice.
Likeness means he isn’t ACTUALLY sinful flesh God made him to be sin . . .
The condemnation of verse 1 is taken by the one human who never deserved it!
“I don’t understand why the debt must be paid by one without this taint of sin. How does that make sense? It is the opposite of what makes sense.
Debts should be paid by debtors, punishment belongs to the guilty.” An unbeliever . . .
Quote: “God did not punish an innocent ‘other’ but his innocent self. He does not require blood of another He offers His own.” (GospelDrivenLife)
1 Corinthians 5:21
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
How can we know this is true of us?
We’re in Christ, have the Spirit dwelling in us, have Christ in us, have the Spirit in us, set mind on . . . by the Spirit put sin to death, and suffer for Christ. (More of this next week.)