Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

 29 May 2006

Five Words Every Christian Ought to Know

 WORDS
1. Forgiveness   (Eph.   1:7).
2. Substitution (Is. 53:6.).
3. Justification (Rom. 5:1).
4. Atonement (Rom. 5:11).
5. Propitiation (I John 2:2).

 

FORGIVENESS

"In Whom we have redemption through His Blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7).

There are many wrong ideas concerning the forgiveness of sins.
Many seem to imagine that when God forgives a sinner, He merely "gets sorry," and says: "Never mind, it's too—we'll let it pass."
This conception is all wrong.
The only one who can forgive a sin is the one against whom the sin is committed.
It would be impossible for me, as an outside party, to forgive John Jones for murdering John Smith.

The government in reality cannot forgive a murderer for his crime.
However, the Parole Board may recommend to the government that a pardon be granted.
When the murderer is pardoned, he’s acquitted, as far as the law is concerned.
There is only one man that can forgive a murderer, and that is the dead man, who was murdered.
The dead man alone could say to the murderer: "That’s all right, Mark, you killed me, but I’ll not hold it against you.”

If John owed Frank fifty dollars for groceries, Sam couldn’t step up and say "Don’t worry about it, you don’t need to pay Frank anything.”
But Sam could go to Frank and pay the account in full; then the grocer would be satisfied.

All sin is, primarily, against God.
Under David's orders Uriah was killed.
When he realized the terrible nature of his sin, David broke down.
He pleaded with God for forgiveness.
In this prayer he said (vs. 4), "Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight."
We know that God forgave David, because Nathan the Prophet said to him, "The Lord hath put away thy sin" (II Sam. 12:13).

God can forgive sins, because all sin is against God; but God doesn’t forgive sin by merely getting sorry, and overlooking the sin.
Our God is a just God, and He can’t forgive the guilty, until His justice is satisfied.
And, Justice can only be satisfied by a full and complete punishment for sin.
This was accomplished in the Blood of the Cross.
Our Key Verse says, "Through His Blood we have the forgiveness of sins."
Jesus Christ satisfied the Law that was broken, and at Calvary's Cross provided a basis on which God could forgive the sinner.
However, the unsaved can’t rightfully confess any given sin and receive God's forgiveness, even though he pleads the Blood of Christ.
What use is it then for an unsaved person to focus on any one particular sin and seek forgiveness, when he’s guilty of a large number of other sins?
First, he must have forgiveness not from one sin, but from all of his sins by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior.
This forgiveness is based on the Cross.

Believers should confess their sins as soon as they are aware of them.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins" (I John 1:9).
As far as hell is concerned the believer's sins are forgiven.

A Christian is saved, from all sins, past, present and future; but sin, while it doesn’t cost us our salvation, breaks our fellowship with the Lord, and fellowship can only be re-stored when the sin is confessed, and the cleansing ac-accomplished.
This is all done for us through the Blood of Jesus Christ.

 

SUBSTITUTION

"And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Is. 53:6).
The doctrine of SUBSTITUTION is taught in many passages throughout the Word of God.
The 53d chapter of Isaiah, however, is probably the best known substitutionary chapter.
It would be good, to know how many times Christ is described in this chapter as taking our place when He died upon the Cross, so let’s count the number of times.
Verse 4, "He hath borne our griefs."
Verse 4, "He hath carried our sorrows."
Verse 5, "He was wounded for our transgressions,"
Verse 5, "He was bruised for our iniquities."
Verse 5, "The chastisement of our peace was upon Him."
Verse 5, "With His stripes we are healed."
Verse 6, "The Lord hath laid on Him, the iniquity of us all."
Verse 8, "For the transgression of My people was He stricken."
Verse 10, "Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin."
Verse 11, "He shall bear their iniquities."
Verse 12, "He bare the sin of many."
Eleven times in one short chapter, of twelve verses, Christ is described as doing His substitutionary work.
The same chapter describes Christ as "despised and rejected of men," and "oppressed and afflicted."
He is seen as a Lamb brought to the slaughter; and, as the sheep, dumb before her shearers.
He is described as "bruised of the Lord."
These references are all to the Cross, and are too plain to be sidestepped.

Who is this One Who was substituted for sin?
Christ was God made known to us in human flesh: He was the Son, born of the virgin, the helpless little Baby lying in the manger at Bethlehem.
In verse 9, we read, "Because He had done no violence neither was any deceit in His mouth."
This verse suggests that Christ is the Holy One of God.
The only One who never sinned.

If we go back to the preceding chapter, and read verse 14 we find this horrible description of what men did to the Son of God: "His visage was so marred, more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men."
This verse is about the agony Christ suffered on that final day.
The agonies that He suffered as He hung on the Cross were visible to all those who watched Him die.
The thorns are pressed into His brow, and the Blood from His matted hair joins the Blood from His beaten back.
He hangs upon the Cross with His nerves exposed, His wounds en-flamed and feeling the agonies of death until His features are so marred, and His appearance so mutilated, that He seems to no longer be human.
This is how the Holy Spirit described the One who became the sinner's substitute.
What is the result of the substitutionary work of our Lord, who was made flesh and died upon the Cross for us?
We are given a very graphic description:
Verse 10 says: "He shall see His seed. He shall prolong His days."
These words speak of His resurrection.
Verse 10 also says: "And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hands."

The Cross has a far-reaching effect.
Today, the Gospel is preached to every nation, and the redeemed are coming from every kindred, tongue and tribe on earth, washed in the Blood of the Lamb.
Verse 11 reads: "He shall see of the travail of His soul, and will be satisfied."
This verse describes the Lord's Second Coming.
Verse 12 says: "I will divide Him a portion with the great and He shall divide the spoil with the strong."
This verse is the climax of the substitutionary work of Christ, and it looks foreword to the prayer of Christ, "Father, I will that they whom Thou hast given Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory."
But the verse does more—it sees us as "heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ”; glorified together; reigning with Him.

All of this is the inheritance of those who know and follow Christ, and who have felt the power of the substitutionary work of the Cross.


JUSTIFICATION

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1).
Justification is the result of the substitutionary work of Christ.
He died for us.
He bore our sins in His own body on the Cross.
In this substitutionary work, Christ was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
Our sins were placed upon Christ and His righteousness was credited to us.

Justification doesn’t express any moral change,—that is, justification does not mean that a sinner, in his daily walk, is any better than he was before he was justified.
Justification is our standing "in Christ."
When God looks at us, under the Blood, He sees no sin upon us.
God does not accuse anyone of sin who is justified by faith.
No one can lay anything to the charge of God's elect, for "it is God Who justifieth."

I recently read this story that might serve as a good illustration of justification.
A young man once stood up in our church and said: "Pastor, a lot of your members went to the circus last Sunday, and they’re all going to hell."
He replied, "It would have been better to go to church than to go to the circus; but, why do you say they’re going to hell?"
His answer was, "Because the Bible says, "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord."
The young man was right, and he was also wrong.
It’s true that "without holiness no man shall see the Lord."
It is also true that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
The pastor then asked the young man, who had said that circus goers were going to hell, to repeat these words after him: "I swear that I am as holy as God."
He quickly replied, "But, I’m not."
This young man didn’t understand the Bible doctrine of justification.
Justification is not my righteousness, but His.
The one who seeks entrance to Heaven through the good deeds he has done has yielded himself to the righteousness of God.
If anyone who’s like that young man were to enter into the presence of the Holy God; he would soon discover that the robes of his own righteousness were only filthy rags.

Justification assigns to the believing sinner the righteousness of God.
In justification we stand before God, robed in pure white.
Our sins are all gone because they were placed upon Christ.

Our righteousness is guaranteed, because we have the transferred righteousness of Christ.
When John received his revelation, he saw a great multitude that had come out of the Great Tribulation and who stood before the throne, robed in white, the angels said to him: "These are they who washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb, therefore are they before the throne of God."
They are Blood-washed and made white, THERE¬FORE they stand before the throne of God.


ATONEMENT

"And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have now received the atonement" (Rom. 5:11).

We are going to consider another great Calvary word.
Atonement is the word that expresses the grounds for our coming to God.
The atonement of Christ is the reconciliation we have with God.
The atonement depicts Christ upon the Cross as the meeting place be¬tween God and the sinner.
When Jesus Christ hung upon the Cross, He cried out "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me!"
He tasted the cup of death for every man.
There’s a lot we don’t know, but we do know this, that when Christ took the sinner's place upon the Cross, God let His wrath fall full upon Him.

The sinner is hopelessly shut away from God, because the wrath of God rests upon him.
Jesus Christ when he was upon the Cross bore our punishment, He suffered "the Just for the unjust" that He might bring us to God.
He became the atonement for our sins.

The suffering of Christ on Calvary’s Cross is not a theory, it’s a fact.
When you stand at the foot of the Cross and behold the sufferings of Christ, you must see your sins actually placed upon Him.
Christ did not die in behalf of some lofty ideal, He died for the ungodly.
Our sins nailed Him to the Cross.
The holy wrath of God falling upon Christ as He stood in the sinner's place makes our approach to the Father possible.
The atonement is the grounds for our individual acceptance by the Father.

Here’s a story that may be a good Illustration of atonement:
A motherless lamb and a lambless mother were in the same sheepfold.
The shepherd brought the little lamb which had no mother, to the mother who had no lamb.
The mother sheep immediately refused and rejected the motherless lamb.
The shepherd then took the fleece from the mother's dead lamb and placed it about the living lamb.
Immediately the mother sheep was satisfied.
She accepted the motherless lamb.

Christ said, "No man cometh unto the Father but by Me."
God pities anyone who dares to try to approach the Father any way other than from the Cross of Christ.
I read another story that’s a good illustration to use for atonement:

Max Lucado tells of a young man who approached his pastor at the close of a worship service and asked, “What can I do to find peace in my life?”
The wise minister replied, “I’m sorry, but you’re too late.”
The distraught man was perplexed.
He said, “You mean I’m too late to find peace? You mean I’m too late to be saved?”
The pastor answered, “No, you’re just too late to do anything about it. Jesus did everything that needed to be done two thousand years ago.”

The beauty of God’s gracious atonement is that Christ did it all (1 Peter 3:18).
We must simply accept it.
1 Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”
Let’s never forget that the atonement gave us the ability to approach God, upon the basis of the agonies of Calvary.


PROPITIATION

"And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (I John 2:2).

Propitiation carries with it the thought of the mercy seat.
The Ark of the Covenant is where it can be found.
The Ark was a box covered with pure gold, and the Law which man had broken was kept within it.
Above it were the Cherubim, with outstretched wings.
It was between the Cherubim that God met with His people.
Upon the gold covered box was the mercy seat.
Only one?
Once a year the high priest entered the Holy of Holies and sprinkled the blood upon this mercy seat.
This mercy seat and the sprinkled blood were between God and the broken Law.
The Ark represented in every detail the sacrifice of Christ, and God's approach to the people.
The atonement, provided the grounds for our approach to God; it was on a basis of reconciliation.
The mercy seat, however, represents the grounds for God's approach to us.
It was above the blood-sprinkled mercy seat that God met with His people.

The atonement has more to do with the basis for our FIRST approach to God.
Propitiation at the mercy seat seems to have more to do with fellowship with God.
Sin separates the believer from God.
It breaks the connection.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they were driven from the Garden.
When we sin we have no fellowship with Him, but "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous," "and He is the propitiation for our sins."

As the high priest carried the blood into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat once a year confessing the sins of himself and of his people, so Jesus Christ took His Blood into the Holiest of all, into the presence of God for us.

The atonement carries us to Calvary where He died.
The mercy seat carries us to the presence of God where Christ, having entered once for all, ever loveth to make intercession for us.
Those of us who are His, should rejoice that we have daily fellowship assured us through the Blood of Jesus Christ which keeps cleansing away our sins.

Amen.

Do you have any questions or comments?

 Concerning the Messiah, the Old Testament contains sixty major prophecies and 270 ramifications. Jesus fulfilled every one of these predictions, and this accomplishment is beyond comprehension. The mathematical probability of Jesus fulfilling just eight of these sixty major prophecies is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. To grasp the enormity of this number, Dr. Peter Stoner has provided a picture for our understanding. The entire state of Texas would be covered with silver dollars, two feet deep. One coin would be marked, then the entire sea of silver would be thoroughly mixed. A blindfolded man would be instructed to travel as far as he wished, but he must pick up the marked coin on his first try. The chances of that occurring are the same as Jesus fulfilling just eight of the sixty major prophecies. And to think, he fulfilled them all! The probability of Jesus not being the Messiah is mathematically impossible.

More Than a Carpenter, Josh McDowell, 1977, p. 107–8

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