Tag Archives: Christ

Christ’s Power Over Sin

Learning the Epistles – Study 169

from Pastor Dan Parton | Timberline Baptist Church | Originally presented February 2, 2011 |

Hebrews 2:5-18

Introduction:  Beginning at verse 5, the writer returns to his previous argument that Christ is greater than the angels.  The Jews offered one great objection to this argument.  They asked, “How could Christ be better than the angels since He was limited to a human body, and the angels were not?”  In Hebrews 2:5-18, we find the answer to this great objection.

 

The writer of Hebrews says that Christ, having a body of human flesh, does not make Him less than the angels; in fact, His body is one reason why He is greater than the angels.  How can this be?  It is easy to see when you realize the reasons why Jesus became flesh.  Jesus did not simply live inside of a human body, but He actually became flesh, “But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law.” (Galatians 4:4); “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14)

 

Why then did Christ become flesh?  Five reasons are given in this passage:

 

2.             In order to have dominion over earth. – Hebrews 2:5-7

 

“For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands.”

 

– When God created Adam in the Garden of Eden, He promised to him and to mankind that man would have dominion over the earth, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over…every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)

– Because Adam sinned, he lost his right to rule.  Christ became flesh and lived a perfect life.  Because He did, He can now rule the earth as the perfect man.

– God’s promise to man of dominion over the earth will be fulfilled in Jesus when He returns to reign.

 

* “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:24-28)

* “For our conversation is in Heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21)

 

2.            In order to die for sinful man. – Hebrews 2:9

 

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

 

– It was absolutely necessary for Christ to shed His blood on the cross if men were to be saved.  This is found in Hebrews 9:19-22.

– Many passages declare that the shedding of blood was necessary for salvation, “…without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22)

– Of course, before the incarnation, God’s Son did not have a body of flesh and blood.  This is what the incarnation was all about, “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.” (Hebrews 10:5)

– It is important also to notice the words “every man” in Hebrews 2:9; Christ died for “every man.”

– Many would have us to believe that, when Christ died, He only died for a selected or elected group.  The Bible abounds with proof that, when Christ died on the cross, it was for everybody, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)

– Since Christ died for everybody, we can say with confidence, “Whosoever will may come!”

– Since Christ became flesh in order to die for us, certainly this does not make Him less than the angels.  No angel ever died for any man.

– Instead of lessening our love for Jesus, His willingness to become flesh should make us glorify Him even more!

 

3.            In order to be our Older Brother. – Hebrews 2:11-13

 

“For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.”

 

– These verses teach that all those who trust in Christ become a part of His family:  God is our Father, Christ is our Older Brother, we are His brethren.  The term “elder brother” is used in Mormon theology, but in this case is perfectly proper to say.

– This is certainly not to say that we are equal with Christ; on the contrary, the picture suggested here is that of younger children being entrusted to the care and supervision of their older brother.

– This is what is meant by Hebrews 2:13, “And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.”

– Everyone who has ever been an older brother or sister has, at one time, been put in charge of the younger members of the family.  Many can remember their parents saying to the older brother, “While we are gone, you take care of your brothers.”  Many a parent has said to the younger sibling, “You be sure to mind your older brother.”  This is the illustration that God is using.  Christ cares for us and provides for us, and we, in turn, should obey Him.  After all, He is our Older Brother.

 

* It is interesting to note that older brothers are often ashamed of the younger members of the family.  Many little boys have set out to tag along with their older brother only to be rejected in an abrupt and rather ungracious manner.  Older brothers often do not want their little brothers hanging around.

 

– This is not true with Jesus, “…he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” (Hebrews 2:11)  Jesus is not ashamed of you; He gladly claims you as His own!  Don’t you think it would be good if we would desire to be with Jesus and to follow after Him as children following their older brother?

– Have you ever wondered what your Older Brother desires for you?  Read Matthew 12:46-50, and you will find the answer.  It is summed up in verse 50, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in Heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

– Our Older Brother does not abuse the authority He has over us.  Have you ever seen an older brother who did this?  He made the younger members of the family become his servants and forced them to do his work in order to make things easier for himself.

– This results in resentment between members of the family.  The right kind of older brother is concerned about only one thing:  seeing that the parents are obeyed!  This is Jesus’ concern; He wants us to do the will of our Heavenly Father.

 

4.            In order to defeat the Devil. – Hebrews 2:14-16

 

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.”

 

– Here, we find that Jesus became flesh that He might die, and He died that He might destroy the Devil.

– We need to realize that although the Devil is a powerful adversary, he is really a defeated foe.  Listen to the words of Christ:

 

* “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” (John 12:31)

* “…the prince of this world is judged…” (John 16:11)

 

– The Devil has no control over the Christian’s life; he cannot force a believer to sin.  God makes sure that no Christian is ever tempted beyond his ability to say no, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

– We need not live our lives in fear of the Devil.  Victory over the Devil is available to every Christian, because “…greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4)

– This is certainly the meaning of James 4:7, “…Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.”

– In what way did Christ destroy the power of the Devil?  Hebrews 2:15 teaches that Satan enslaves the lost because of their fear of death, “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

– Every lost man is conscious of the fact that one day he must die and that thought terrifies him!  Many seek to escape the fear of death through liquor, drugs, and many other types of sin.  Because of his fear of death, the unbeliever becomes a slave to sin.

– Since Christ died and rose again, men need not fear death.  When a man trusts Christ, he is given eternal life (John 3:16) and never again must be afraid of death.

– This does not mean that the Christian is expected to enjoy death or to rejoice when a loved one goes to Heaven; it does mean, however, that in the midst of sorrow, the believer can have the hope of resurrection.

– This fact makes the Christian’s sorrow different from that of the world, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

– 1 Corinthians 15 is a key Bible chapter on the resurrection.  It should be read very carefully.

 

* Since I will live forever, I need not fear death.  I can view life with an entirely different perspective than I had before I was saved.  Since life will not end at death, I must invest my life in things of eternal value, not spend it seeking the pleasures of sin!

 

– There is a certain encouragement that comes from knowing that, while I am in Heaven with Jesus, Satan will be eternally condemned to Hell.

 

5.            In order to be our High Priest. – Hebrews 2:17-18

 

“Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”

 

– These verses teach us that Jesus became flesh that He might understand the temptations and trials that men go through.

 

* Keep in mind, it is because Christ suffered, and NOT because He sinned, that He understands our temptations.

 

– Jesus never sinned, but He understands temptation, because He suffered temptation and won the victory.

– When I need help, I would rather receive help from somebody who succeeded than from somebody who failed and never succeeded.

– Matthew 4 illustrates how Jesus conquered temptation and won the victory over the Devil.  The fact that Christ never gave in to temptation increases His value as our High Priest rather than decreasing it.

– There are three words in these two verses that are very important:  merciful, faithful, and succoured.

 

* The word “merciful tells me that my High Priest does not operate on the basis of what I deserve but on the basis of His mercy.  He does not limit His prayers for me to the times when I deserve His prayers, for then He would never pray at all.  He prays for me even though I don’t deserve His prayers.

* The word “faithful” tells me He always does His job; I am never without a High Priest to intercede for me.

* The word “succour” means “to help, to bring aid.”  This is the idea of an ambulance rushing to the scene of the accident in order to give aid.  It is the idea of firemen racing on their fire engine to the scene of a fire in order to help.

 

– I never have to fear that my High Priest will be unavailable when I need Him.  He is always available to rush to my side to help me have victory over sin.

 

Conclusion:  And so, we see that Christ is not only greater than the prophets, but he is also greater than the angels.  Yes, He was limited to a body, but that fact makes Him even greater than the angels!

Redemption, Remission, Forgiveness. What’s the Difference?

Buen Consejo | October 24, 2011 | for http://www.baptist.org
 
What is the difference between Redemption, Remission and Forgiveness?  Did you even know that they are different?  Which one saves you?? Can you have one of the other two and still be lost?
Many people say that if you ask God to forgive your sins, you’ll be saved. That is not how it works. Forgiveness only restores the relationship that wasthere before.  If some neighborhood kid breaks your window with a baseball, then comes to knock on the door to apologize, you might forgive him.  But that will not make him your son. That will not fix the window. If a lost sinner asks God to forgive him, his life will improve. He will not become God’s child or have his sin washed away.
  Remission means to be covered up or retained to not spread, increase or be in the way. But it is still there. Like a cancer in remission is still a cancer.
  Redemption means to actually buy something and go pick it up.  That is what saves you. Jesus Christ died for  your sins to purchase you and own you. He will also one day come and pick us up.
Let’s look at some scriptural evidences-  First came preparation. Luke 1:77  “To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,”  Through remission of sin (to get it out of the picture, but not gone) the way is prepared to receive knowledge.  Jesus cleared the way for your understanding of salvation so you could chose it, if you want. Matthew 26:28  “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”  Acts 10:43  “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
Next he would actually offer himself to take away that sin. John 1:29  “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” He would pay the price to buy us out- redemption.  Leviticus 25:51  “If there be yet many years behind, according unto them he shall give again the price of his redemption out of the money that he was bought for.”  Numbers 3:49  “And Moses took the redemption money of them that were over and above them that were redeemed by the Levites:”
  Romans 3:24  “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” Ephesians 1:7  “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”  Ephesians 1:14  “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (earnest means- down payment)
  We also get free forgiveness of sins.  Colossians 1:14   “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”   Romans 4:7  “Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.”  Acts 5:31  “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”  Forgiveness is only in there because of the repentance that allowed you to submit to him for redemption.
  After salvation remission is irrelevant and redemption is permanently fixed, but forgiveness to maintain and sustain a close, blessed walk with the Lord is a continual process.  It has nothing to do with going to heaven or  hell. It has to do with the personal relationship between you and the Lord.  If you have a son and he behaves poorly (imagine that!), you might punish him.  If he wants a new bike, you might deny him that. If he needs help with something, you might not help him…. but does not cease to be your son.
  In your personal walk as a Christian forgiveness is a daily, if not hourly process, even moment to moment, depending on the individual. You will not receive forgiveness with blanket prayers like, “Lord, forgive my sins..”, “Lord, forgive me for not doing what I should have and for doing what I should not have, and where I failed you…bla, bla..” The scriptures are clear: 1 John 1:9  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  You don’t ask for forgiveness. You confess your sins to the Lord.  Confessing sins means enumerating  them, that is, name and itemize them.  “Lord, I lied.”, “Lord. I knew I should read my Bible and did not.”, “Lord, I felt I should talk to that person about you, but chickened out.”  This way, when you have agreed with the Lord that these items are sin, you get forgiveness and can’t claim next time that you did not know it was sin.
Summary:  Remission prepares the way for you to receive the knowledge of salvation.  Redemption gives you the actual salvation. Forgiveness is thrown in to start the relationship at a new beginning.  
Faith? Works? The Paul / James Agreement.

Faith? Works? The Paul / James Agreement.

 September 23, 2011 | Buen Consejo | for  http://www.baptist.org

Faith or Works?

Romans 4 says Abraham was justified by faith without works. Yet James 2 says Abraham was justified by works. Both refer to the same incident. They are both right and they both agree. How can that be?

Now, this issue of James’ verses has many theological britches on a knot.  It is so simple that people miss it.  Firstly, in order to not miss what the scriptures teach, one must not approach reading with fears and religious prejudiced.  Between the Catholics making people fear unless they have good works and the Baptists swinging the pendulum so far from works many feel they must choose sides.  Well, both are imbalanced views.

Number one method for a prayed-up Christian to understanding scriptures:  Re-read it, don’t re-write it.  Don’t change it, it changes you.  Let’s read it:

James 2:20-26  “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?   Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?  And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.  Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.  Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

First a basic understanding of faith and works in a generic definition:  If I had faith that this post would write itself, it would not.  I would have to put work to it.  If I assume by faith I will go to be with the Lord when I die, what is the work or function to bring me there?   In this case it is simple.  The post did not write itself.  I did the work and hoped God would lead the knowledge and give direction, being his work (especially with such a poor vessel).  In salvation Jesus supplied the work when he died, was buried and rose again.  Then, he did more work in presenting his risen body to the Father.  So, faith and works together saved me.  My faith… his works.

As to James’ verses specifically;  he is not referring to what most people claim he is.  Here’s the thing and the proof:   He said: “…Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? …”   Right away every insecure, religious person jumps up and cries out that he can’t be justified before God without works!   Yet James said, “….And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness..”  So you have to weasel, twist and, as Peter said, wrestle the scriptures to your own destruction to connect this to our eternal salvation.   2 Peter 3:16  “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

Ok, ok, Proof?  Let’s look at scripture compared with scripture in the light of scripture: Romans 4:1, 2  “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?  For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.”    Did you catch that?  “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.”

Attempting to be justified before God by works is foolish and it won’t happen: Romans 4:4-8  “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.   Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”

So then, what is James saying?  As Paul said: “…”What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?…”  John 3:6  “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”   “…he hath whereof to glory; but not before God…”  That would leave…. before men.

James said, James 2:18  “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”  You show me, I show you.  That’s what James said.  James is talking about showing your faith to other people and being justified before people that your faith is real.  “pertaining to the flesh… not before God.”

Wanna do the works of God?  Listen to what Jesus said to do: John 6:28, 29  “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”

James and Paul are on the same team and on the same page.

Faith Statements. What is the Best Kind?

September 8, 2011 | Buen Consejo | for http://www.baptist.org  |

Faith statements?  What is your faith in the Lord about?  Or, whom is it about? Him.. you..?  Do you serve God?  Or does he serve you?

So many Christians make statements of faith in the Lord (concerning their daily lives) that sound like these: “The Lord will take care of me.” “The Lord will meet my needs.”  “The Lord loves me, even if ya’ll don’t.” “I know the Lord will heal me.” and so forth.  Most of the statements of faith are about what the Lord can or will do for them.  Though there are times and places for that, such statements indicate a lack of faith. That’s why you have to remind yourself about promises he has for you. Instead, if you actually believe he will meet your needs, go on and do for him.  Proverbs 30:15a “The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give.”

Of the great statements of faith that I see in the scriptures I offer you these:  Do you remember Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Dan 1:6)? OK, maybe you don’t. They are the Hebrews known more commonly by their Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  OK, now you remember.  Nebuchadnezzar, the evil king, was going to throw them into a fiery furnace if they would not bow down to his idol.  Their statement faith is my first and personal favorite.  Daniel 3:16-18  “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”  They said, God can deliver us, but if he doesn’t, that’s fine too. We still will not bow down to that thing.

Job offers another great statement of faith: Job 13:15  “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.”

These statements do not say, God will make it easy, God will make sure I win! I’m a prince or princess before God, he’ll make sure I have a rich, smooth path!  God will see that I’m treated worthy of my position as God’s child!  These statements say that whatever the Lord has decided to put me through or have happen to me.. that’s fine. Just so long as I please him. It’s about the Lord, not about us.

Modern day christianettes, who listen to sermonettes, while smoking their cigarettes or briefly taste a tiny bit of devotional thought, looking for a gem or gold nugget to make them feel good and don’t dig into real deep scripture study wind up being a part of Generation Entitled, too quickly. Faith is not about God making your life easy, pain free or wealthy. God is not a genie in a bottle or a wishing well for you to get what your flesh wants.  We are to be living sacrifices for his service, not put God to work to serve us. Romans 12:1  “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”  A sacrifice is not dominated by what it wants for itself.

Do what is right because it’s right. Not for reward or to avoid chastisement.  Look for what you can do for God, not what he can do for you.  Selfishness is the fastest route to misery.