Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

8-20-03

Title: Jesus Is Always the Same

Text: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Scripture Reading:

7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:7-8).


Introduction

There are just two verses that I would like for us to consider today; Hebrews 13:7-8.  The subject of the message is “Jesus is always the same.” 

Everything else changes: the way we dress, the look of our automobiles, the state of the economy; but Jesus is always the same.  Verse 7 says, “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.  Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” 

Notice that God’s people are thoughtful people.  If they are what they ought to be they will do a lot of remembering; that’s the gist of verse 7.  If they are to remember and consider their earthly leaders, how much more should they recollect that great leader, the Lord Jesus, and those great truths that He taught? 

I wish that in this present age, that professing Christians would think about Jesus a whole lot more; but we live in such a flurry, and hurry, and worry, that we don’t have time for thought.  If you were to go back 150 years, you would find more men with backbone, strong, independent and self-reliant men, who could hold their own when they faced hard times, and the reason was that they took time to meditate, time to communicate with God in secret.  Let’s follow their example, and try to do a little more thinking about God.  These are busy times and trying days, but let’s take time to remember and consider Jesus.

The next thing I would like for you to notice is that God’s people are an imitative people, because we are told here that they are to remember them who are their leaders, those who have spoken to them the Word of God, “whose faith they are to follow.” 

There is a great desire today, especially among young people to strike out on their own.  When sheep do that, they are bad sheep.  Sheep follow the shepherd; and, in a sense, they follow one another when they are all together following the shepherd.  Our Great Master never aimed at originality; He said that He didn’t even speak His own words, but the words that He heard from His Father.  He was meek and teachable.  As the Son of God, and the servant of God, His ear was always open to hear the instructions of His Father, and He could say, “I do always those things that please Him.”  Now, that is the true path for a Christian to take.  We are to follow Jesus, and we can follow those leaders who are worthy to be followed, that is, those who are themselves following Christ. 

The verse says, “Whose faith follow.”  Young Christians, don’t strike out by yourself.  Watch those who are well grounded in the Word of God and you will avoid a lot of sorrow.  Follow those who are more experienced, because they will walk in the footsteps of the Shepherd. 

God’s people are a thoughtful people, and they are imitative and humble people, willing to be instructed, and willing to follow holy and godly examples.  But I don’t believe that we should be looking back in time at those great and good men and making them our examples, because we have more of the light of God in the twenty-first century than they had.  And I can say that we have the same foundations for our faith that they had. The foundations are found in the Word and just as Jesus never changes, they never change. 

Now I am coming to our text, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." 

My first point is, that JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF IS ALWAYS THE SAME. He is, was, and will be always the same.

There have been changes in the position and circumstances of our Lord, but He is always the same as far as His great love for His people, whom He loved even before the world was created.  Before the first star ever twinkled in the sky, before the first living creature began to sing the praises of his Creator, He loved His church with an everlasting love.  He saw the church in His divine foreknowledge, and loved her with all of His heart.  It is because He loved us that He left His Father, and came to earth to redeem us for Himself.  It was love that caused Him to bare our sins in His own body on the cross.  It was for our sake that He slept in the tomb, and the same love that brought Him down has taken Him back up.  He is in glory today, waiting for the marriage-day, when He will come again for His church, which has been made ready by His grace. 

He has never changed in the love that He has for His people; whether as God, or as the god-man, or as dead and buried, or as risen and ascended.  He is “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”  Therefore, my friends, He has never changed the purpose that He has for His church.  He decided in eternity to become one with her, so that she might become one with Him.  And after He decided this, when the fullness of time had come, He was born of a woman, and He took upon Himself the same sinful flesh that we wear, "and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."  Yet for 33 years he never abandoned His purpose, and He set His face like a flint to go to Jerusalem. 

Oh, there was a day when a bitter cup was put to His lips, and He seemed to stagger for a moment, but He came back with even more determination, saying to His Father, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."  He accepted the will of the Father, and from that day, He was not content until He had purchased us with His precious blood. 

There will be a day when He will gather all of His sheep into the heavenly fold.  He knows His sheep because every one of them were brought there by the Great Shepherd who laid down His life for them.  Brothers and sisters, He cannot change His purpose; it’s not according to His nature to do that, for He is, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." 

He is also "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever," as far as what He says.  The teachings of the New Testament are as sound today as they were 2000 years ago.  They have lost none of their value; they are still the wonderful words of life. 

Jesus Christ was a Prophet, and he is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."He is the same too as a Priest. 

A lot of churches no longer speak of the blood.  But to us, His blood was our purchase price.  We have victory through the blood of the Lamb, and we will praise that precious blood in heaven.  We will wash our robes in it and they will be made white by the blood of the Lamb.  Let’s you and I rejoice that Jesus Christ is our Priest, "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

And as King, He is also the same.  As King, He is head of the Church, and as loyal subjects, let’s bow before Him and serve Him.  If there is any other office that our Lord has assumed in order to accomplish His divine purposes, we can say of Him, that He is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."

Let me say again, He is the same in His relationship with all His people.  He is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.  He is just as ready to comfort us tonight as He was to comfort His disciples.  He is just as willing to come to you when you have sorrow, as he was to comfort Mary when her brother died.  He is just as ready to wash your feet, my brother, after another day walking through our polluted world, as He was to wash His disciple’s feet.  Whatever He meant to them, He means to us. 

I am happy that I can say, "What he was to Peter, what he was to John, what he was to Mary Magdalene, that is Jesus Christ to me, 'the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."

It’s sad, but I must say that I have had friends and family change, so that they are out of my life today.  That happens sometimes when we go through trials; but Jesus is always the same. 

I know those in Nursing Homes who are old and grey-headed; they have lost their strength and they can’t do much at all.  Often they are set aside and forgotten.  But Jesus declares, "Even (though your hair is white) will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you,” for he is "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."

My second point is that JESUS CHRIST IS ALWAYS THE SAME IN HIS DOCTRINE.

The passage must refer to what Jesus taught, since it is concerned with imitating the faith of others.  Listen again to what it says: “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.  Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.  Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines.  For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace.”  It’s evident here that our text refers to the teaching of Christ who is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." 

The Bible proclaims that the Lord Jesus Christ was the perfect revelation of God.  He was the express image of the Father, and the brightness of His glory. 

If you go back to Old Testament times, you will find that God spoke to us by His prophets.  But today, He is speaking to us by His Son.  The revelation of God is complete and it is all recorded in His holy book.  It is offensive for anyone to say that there can be any more revealed than has already been made known to us by the Bible and the person and work of Jesus, the Son of God.  He is God’s ultimatum.  If anyone says that he has received a revelation from God, which came from a source other than the Word of God or the Spirit of God, I thank God that I am unable to follow him. 

To me, Jesus is the last, the highest, and the all-encompassing revelation of God; and as He shuts up the book that contains the written revelation, He has a warning for those who would alter the Word of God: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life…”. 

At this moment, the salvation of out Lord Jesus Christ is the same as it has always been.  Jesus Christ still saves sinners from the guilt, the power, the punishment and the corruption of sin.  At this moment, "there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved."  Jesus Christ still makes all things new; He creates new hearts and right spirits in men and women.  There is no new way to be saved, even though some may say there is. 

Salvation means the same thing today that it meant to Saul of Tarsus, on the way to Damascus. Salvation by Jesus Christ comes to us the same way it did in the past.  We have to receive it by faith.  In Paul’s day, men were saved by faith, and today, we cannot be saved by works.  There is no indication in the Book, and there is no indication in the experience of God’s children that there is ever to be a change in the way we receive Christ, and live for Him.  "By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God."  The gift of God today as much as it ever was, "is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."

Salvation today, as far as to whom it is sent, is just the same as it has always been.  It is preached now, just as it always has been, to every person on earth.  But it appeals especially to those who feel guilty and confess their guilt, to those whose hearts are broken, and to those who are weary and heavy laden.  The gospel comes to these with great sweetness. 

Next, I should say, “The Savior is only for sinners.” 

He didn’t come to save the righteous.  He came to seek and to save the lost.  This declaration still holds true, "This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." 

There is no change in the statement, "the poor have the gospel preached to them."  And it comes to those who are the farthest off from God, and to those who have no hope, and it inspires them with the power and energy of the Holy Spirit.

Friends, I can bear witness that the gospel is the same in its effect on the hearts of men.  It still breaks, and still it makes whole.  It still wounds, and still it heals.  It still lifts them up in ecstatic joy, until they are exalted almost to heaven.  When they lay hold on it, they feel its power in their souls.  The gospel has not changed and it still has the same effect on our hearts to this day.  When it comes with the power of God, put there by the Holy Spirit, it produces the same results.

If we look beyond death, we can say that the eternal results produced by the gospel are the same as they ever were.  The promise is the same today for those who receive Him, as it was for all who have gone on before us.  They inherited eternal life, and so shall we.  On the other hand, we can be equally sure that the threat will be fulfilled.  "These shall go away into everlasting punishment." "He that believeth not shall be damned."  Christ has not changed either His words of promise or of threatening, and those who follow Him should not dare to change them either, because His doctrine is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."

Can you imagine what it would be like if the gospel really did shift and change with the times. It would be chaos because some would say they were saved by grace, while others would say that their “good deeds” saved them.   But that will not happen, because the same results will flow from the same gospel until heaven and earth shall pass away, for Jesus Christ is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."

The third point is that JESUS CHRIST IS THE SAME IN HIS METHODS OF WORKING.

"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." 

How did Jesus save souls in the olden time?  "It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe;" and if you will look down through church history, you will find that, wherever there has been a great revival of religion, it has been linked with the preaching of the gospel.  My friends, the world will never be saved by Baptist doctors; but multitudes will be saved by God’s grace through Baptist preachers. 

It is to the preacher that God has entrusted this great work.  Jesus said, "Preach the gospel to every creature."  But today in many churches, men are acting like they are getting tired of God’s plan; they are trying to be saved by a priest, by the music, by theatrics, by who knows what!  Well, they can try these things as long as they like; but nothing will ever come of them except confusion and disappointment.  Stand your ground, Church, and go on teaching and preaching nothing but the Word of God, because it still pleases God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe.  And this text is still true, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."

But remember, there must always be the prayers of believers to go along with the preaching of the gospel.  You have probably read the passage in Acts concerning the new converts on the Day of Pentecost: "They continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine."  They thought a great deal about doctrine in those days. 

And fellowship—they thought a good deal of being in church-fellowship in those days, “And in breaking of bread.”  They did not neglect the Lord’s Supper in those days. 

And on the Day of Pentecost, when they were assembled with one accord, in one place, and when the whole church prayed, suddenly the place was shaken and they heard the sound as of a rushing, mighty wind that brought the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Well, those churches today that try to do without prayer-meetings will experience a decline, the Spirit of God will depart from them, and the preaching of the gospel will not be heard very often.  But yet, this is the way it goes today; churches are doing away with Sunday School, Sunday evening, Wednesday prayer meeting and even programs, and that means there is less time available to pray with our fellow Christians. But the Lord wants the prayers of His people to go along with the preaching of the gospel, if it’s to be the power of God unto salvation.  That has not changed since Paul’s day: Jesus Christ is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."

Remember, too, that Jesus has always worked through the spiritual power of His servants.  Nothing comes out of us that God has not first placed in us.  The great things that His servants are doing have their origin in the power that comes from God’s Spirit.  You must receive power from on high, before you can manifest power in what you do.  Brethren, we want our church members to be better men and women and to be "strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." 

All the good that is ever done in the world is done by the Holy Spirit.  If you and I try as a church or as individuals, to do without the Holy Spirit, God will soon do without us.  And unless we reverently worship God and believingly trust in Him, we will become like Sampson after his hair was cut. 

I don’t want to keep you much longer, but give me a few moments to speak on a forth point! 

JESUS CHRIST HAS ALWAYS HAD THE SAME RESOURCES, for he is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."

I will repeat what I said; Jesus Christ has always had the same resources.  Sometimes when we come together, the conversation gets very sad and we may say, “The world is getting pretty bad.  There’s too much crime, too many four-letter words, too much emphasis on sex.”  I don’t think that any of us can exaggerate how bad it’s getting; it is terrible.  But still it is true, "The Lord liveth, and blessed be my rock."

Does the church need more faithful men?  The Lord can send us as many as ever.  He sent us D.L. Moody, Charles Spurgeon, and Billy Graham.  These were great men and they were very successful at preaching the Word of God.  And there are thousands of good men, like our pastor, who are faithfully serving God.  And so, today, He only has to give the word, and you will see many sincere preachers of the gospel step out, because He has the same resources as ever.  He is "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."

He also has the same resource of grace.  The Holy Spirit is still quite able to convert men; and to quicken, enlighten, sanctify, and instruct.  There is nothing that He has done in the past that He can’t do again.  The treasures of God are as full and running over now as they were at the beginning of the Christian age.  If we don’t see these great things of God, what’s the problem?  It is our unbelief.  "If thou believest, all things are possible to him that believeth." 

Before this year is gone, God can bring a revival to Eastside.  It can break out all over Laurens and South Carolina.  And He can flood the whole world with the gospel, if we will just join together in asking Him for it, and if He wills to do it, because He is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever," in the resources of his grace.

So I want to close my sermon with this, JESUS CHRIST IS THE SAME AS EVER TO ME: "yesterday, and to day, and for ever." 

I will talk about myself only to help you think about yourselves.  How long have you known the Lord Jesus Christ?  Perhaps only a short time; possibly many years.  Do you remember when you first came to know Him?  Can you point out the very place on the floor where Jesus met you?  Now what was He to you at first? 

I will tell you what He was to me.  I trusted Him, and I leaned very hard on Him, because I had a heavy load to carry.  I laid myself and my load down at His feet; He was everything to me.  I didn’t have a shred of hope outside of Him. 

Now, brothers and sisters, have you got any further than that?  I hope not.  I know that I have not.  I don’t have confidence in anything but Christ’s blood and righteousness.  I leaned on Him very hard at first, but I can lean on Him even harder now.  Sometimes, like when I prepared this sermon, I am almost overcome by my love for Him.  He is my Savior! 

I am speaking for myself, but I think I am speaking for many of you too, when I say that Jesus Christ to me is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." 

What was Christ to me at first?  He was the object of my warmest love; wasn’t He the same for you?  That is the way it was in those early days.  But what is He today?  He is more wonderful to us than He ever was.  Can we say as the Hymn writer did, “He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul?”  And can we also say, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."

What was Jesus Christ to me at first?  Well, He was my greatest joy.  In my younger years, just the sound of His name thrilled my soul.  Wasn’t it the same with many of you?  Our bodies may have changed, but His name still has the same effect.  Yes, he is our joy, our everything, "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."

Think with me about the future, when we shall meet with Him in glory, and He will be unchanged even there.  He will be compassionate and loving to us when we get home to Him, and see Him in His splendor. 

Let me ask a question.  Do you know Him?  Do you know Him?  Do you know Him? If not, may He on this day reveal Himself to you, for His sweet mercy’s sake.   And will you respond to His Spirit, as you feel His touch on your heart. 

Amen.

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