: Lesson Five: Mediation
: Sin is a description of what has gone wrong with the human race. Grace is God's wonderful merciful, kind disposition in dealing with sin and giving us a remedy for it. Sin is a disobedience to the law of God. Sin deserves the judgment of God. Sin brings corruption into human character. A humanity that has sinned is a humanity in a state of misery and death. In a letter to the Romans Chapter 5 verse 12 the apostle Paul says that by means of one man, namely Adam, sin entered into the world and because sin entered into the world deaf also came into the world like some evil cloud sin and death cover the human race and blot out the beautiful warm clear light of the sun. We call Jesus the great physician because he knows what has gone wrong with human nature and he examines us and he tells us what is wrong. He says out of the heart of sinful man come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, all other forms of sexual unfaithfulness, robberies, false testimonies, evil speakings, these are the things that come from a sinful heart and infect all of life. Sin brings misery and it brings death.
: Those who sinned in the book of Genesis in the Garden of Eden lost their fellowship with God. God wanted to be their friend. They made themselves God's enemies. They broke company with him. Their fellowship with God was fragmented. Instead of drawing near to God they ran away from God. They sought to hide from his presence. They lost paradise on earth. They became subject to the condemnation of God. What we earn by our sin is death. The wages of sin is death. And in the final judgment Jesus will say Depart from me into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Now this is a very terrible picture. Sin enters the world, sin ruins human character. Sin separates us from God and from each other. Sin deserves the judgment of God. Sin ends in spiritual death from which in the next world there can be no resurrection. Now that is all there was to the story. That would be bad news for modern man. But the story doesn't end there. There's good news. There's the gospel there are great tidings of great joy. God was not willing to leave mankind to perish in its state of sin and misery and judgment.
: God reveals his gracious purpose to save sinners to set us free from our sins. To get us out of our misery. To suspend and even cancel the sentence that hangs over our heads. And he reveals his plan to do it through a very special person. A person who will come between us and the God against whom we have sinned. A person who will lay one hand on us and another hand on God and bring us together. God's plan is to save us through a go between, through a mediator. What is the name of this mediator? The Bible tells us very plainly. His name is Jesus Christ. He comes to Earth from God in order to lift us and draw us back to God. It's as though God were on one side of a very deep valley and we were on the other and we had no way of getting to God. So God has come to us and built the bridge. And over that bridge we can then crossover and get back to God. The name of that bridge, the name of that mediator or Go-Between is Jesus Christ. He is absolutely necessary for our salvation. We cannot be saved a part from this mediator, Jesus Christ.
: Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except through me. He used the one mediator between heaven and earth between a holy God and sinful people like us. Now in doing his work as a mediator Jesus Christ is a prophet, priest, and king. And just what do these terms mean? Let me try to explain them very briefly very simply and I trust, clearly. Our mediator Jesus Christ is a prophet. He is a spokesman for God. He reveals to us the will of God for our salvation. He does this in various ways. He does it for example through storytelling. He tells us that we are like a young son who wanted to see the world and decide matters for himself. He wanted to get out from under the shadow of his father, so he asked for his share of the inheritance and he went into a far country and there he wasted his inheritance in wild living. It felt good while it lasted but finally he was reduced to poverty to rags to misery and he had to do a job that nobody else wanted in order to survive to look after pigs in a foreign country. But one day, he saw how wrong he had been and he decided to go home again. And as soon as he started out for home his father saw him and his father ran toward him and his father threw his arms around him and his father forgave him and his father took him back. Why did Jesus tell the story of the Prodigal Son and The Merciful Father? To reveal to was God's will for our salvation. To make plain to us the fact that if we turn to God, God will not reject us, God will receive us. Jesus is a prophet revealing to us God's will for our salvation, assuring us that if we come back to God, God will more than meet us half way, he will come out to us and receive us to himself.
: Jesus is not only a prophet who reveals God's Will and Way for our salvation to encourage us to get back to God. He is also a priest. What did a priest do in the Old Testament? A priest would serve as the representative of a sinful people who wanted to get close to God but felt that their sin was a barrier, a block in the way. People had sinned and yet they wanted to draw near to God and they could not draw near to God unless that sin were to be taken away and the only way for sin to be taken away is for it to be punished. A God who is holy a God who is just cannot tolerate sin. He must punish that sin. If God were to punish the sin of sinful people they would all die. God was not willing that people should perish so he provided his own sinless son, to take the lead burden of our sin on himself and to offer God a sacrifice that would be punished in our place so that we could then go to God without the barrier of sin. In between what was the sacrifice that Jesus our high priest offered to God. It was the sacrifice of a lamb without blemish and without spot. It was the sacrifice of himself. Christ died for our sins. He was innocent and yet was considered as though he were guilty because he took our place and was punished for us. That is why John the Baptist said of Jesus, behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus Christ is our high priest and our sacrifice. He offers his own life on the altar of Calvary to satisfy the justice of God to remove the barrier of sin, So that God now can look upon us and be reconciled and we can go to him and be forgiven. In order for us sinners to draw near to God the barrier of sin must be taken away and the one who removes that barrier and absorbs our punishment baring our sins in his own body on the tree is Jesus Christ. That's what the prophet Isaiah had predicted more than 700 years before Good Friday. He said that someday there would come a marvelous person who would be absolutely sinless and would be willing to sacrifice himself for those who were sinful. He would be wounded for our transgressions bruised for our iniquities on him would be the chastisement of our peace and with His stripes we would be healed. All we like sheep had gone astray we had selfishly stupidly turned every one to his own way but the Lord laid on him. The iniquity of us all.
: Jesus loved us and gave himself for us. This priest Jesus not only all frees himself once and for all in sacrifice at the cross but now he has risen from the dead. He has ascended to heaven. He is it God's right hand and he hasn't forgotten about us. And he pleads for us and he prays for us and he intercedes for us. And whenever Satan would accuse us in the sight of God Jesus says my sacrifice has already covered that situation. Their debt has been paid by me in full at the Cross lay not this into their charge, I have already atoned for it. How wonderful it is that when God planned to save us, he gave us the mediator Jesus to be our prophet making known to us God's will to save us. Our priest who offered us sacrifice for sin and now lives to intercede for repentance sinners a Christ who is not only prophet, not only priest, but also King. The Christ of the Bible is not only a victim who is despised and rejected of men he is also a victor who has defeated death and destroyed the works of the devil. And we need to recover this concept of the kingly Christ. Too often we think of a sweet sentimental Jesus who like a little baby is everlastingly cradled in the arms of his mother. Well that certainly was the case at the beginning of his human life story. But where is Jesus now? He is no longer a little sweet sentimental baby in the arms of Mary. He is on the throne of the universe and he has the whole world in his hands. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is at the right hand of the majesty on high exalted to be a prince and a savior. And we need to recover this biblical picture of a Christ who not only reveals and redeems but reigns. Christ is Lord. He has defeated all our enemies and so when Satan tempts us, we must remember that he has been defeated by Christ and if we rely on Christ we too shall overcome. And so when we face death we know that death is not the last word because Jesus has defeated death which is our final enemy and therefore death for us is not a dead end but a door through which we pass into the nearer presence of God. Jesus is Victor and not merely victim. Christ has conquered and we can be more than conquerors through him that loved us because he lives, we too shall live. And so we see that through one man, Adam, sin entered into the world and sin brought with it moral corruption and moral corruption deserved the judgment of God. But now through another person who the second Adam through Jesus Christ who kept God's will perfectly, righteousness has been made available and instead of death, life. The Gospel invites us to put our confidence in this prophet, this priest, this King. Jesus our mediator, Jesus our Savior and Lord.
God's Word Revealed
God's Word Revealed
How can I know God. How can you and I have a knowledge of the supreme being in this universe. Is it by scientific research. Can we put God under a microscope and go through a minute examination of him. Is it through philosophical speculation. Through the imagination and guesswork of the human mind through mere feeling. Through polling the delegation and coming up with a consensus as to what our idea of God is none of these ways will bring us to our goal. The only way that you and I can really know God is if God is willing to make himself known to us. The initiative has to come from him.
The God of our faith is a God who has made himself known a God who has chosen to reveal himself to the human race. We can't arrive at a knowledge of God through our own unaided powers but we can come to know God because God is willing to make himself known to us. God has drawn near to us. God has given us definite clues concerning himself and if we put the evidence together we can begin to get a very clear idea of who God is and what God requires of us. For example God has revealed himself in the order of creation. In his works of Providence in the Old Testament and Psalm 19 we are told The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows his handiwork from that which God has done We can get some understanding of who God is. If I go to an art gallery and I see a famous painting like the Mona Lisa I look at the enigmatic smile on that woman's face and I think of the artist who painted her. Leonardo da Vinci if I hear a piece of music I will think of the composer who put it together. If I look at a wristwatch which tells me time 24 hours all around I think of the watchmaker who put it together knowing that it just didn't happen by itself. And so from the marvelous work of the creation around me I learned some things about the creator who in the beginning made it all from the majesty of the mountains
I can think of the majesty of God from the beautiful waters of a Clear Lake. I can think of the beauty of God who created the world the work of creation tells me something about the creator. But you know I can look at the waters of a lake or I can survey a mountain landscape all I like that revelation of God which comes to me through the world of nature is not sufficient to deal with the basic questions to which I must have answers. I can look at a snow capped mountain peak it will not tell me what to do to get relief from a guilty conscience. I can look at a mighty waterfall. It will not tell me what to do in order to find eternal life. The basic questions of how to deal with my guilt and how to overcome death can not be answered by God's revelation in the world of nature to get the answers to questions like these I must have more than God's revelation in nature. I must have more than a natural revelation I must have a supernatural revelation and this God has given to us in his word. At the opening of the book of Hebrews and the New Testament we are told that the God of the Bible is no dumb deaf idol but he is a God who is alive and a God who speaks and in the beginning of the book of Hebrews we are told that God who at different times in different ways spoke to our forefathers by means of messengers the prophets they were the mouthpieces of God the God who in the past revealed himself to our ancestors by means of prophets has in these last days wrapped up everything he wanted to tell us in the person of his beloved son.
So you have a succession of spokesmen for God messengers of the Lord the prophets and then you have the goal and climax of it all. When God sends no longer a mere servant but his son no longer one who bears the word but one who is himself. The word made flesh. God has revealed Himself to us. He has not only sent us messages through His prophets he has come down to earth and visited this planet personally in Jesus Christ and when we look at Jesus Christ we can see what God is really like. We can see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. He that has seen me said Jesus has seen the father. Do you really want to know what God is like. Then look at Jesus Christ in him.
You see the very character of God. And from him you learn about the dignity of man the depravity of sin and the glorious destiny of those who are saved by God's grace but you say the prophets are all gone. The son of God has come down to earth and visited this planet and return to heaven. How can we then get this revelation of God. How then can we really come to know God since they are no longer with us. The answer to that is that we have a written record a reliable written record of God's revelation through the profits and the revelation that he has given to us in his son and that a written revelation we have in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. They are the Word of God written concerning the Word of God written the Apostle Paul makes a very fascinating statement in the short letter that he wrote to a young man named Timothy in second Timothy. Chapter 3. Beginning at verse 15 the Apostle Paul writes this from infancy you have known the holy scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scriptures given by inspiration of God. And is therefore useful or profitable for teaching rebuking correcting training and righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The Bible the sacred writings of the Old and New Testament are God's written revelation to us now grant you men wrote the Bible fishermen like Peter and John tax collectors like Matthew physicians like Luke teachers like Paul Shepards like David and Amos men wrote the Bible but men who were guided by the Spirit of God.
Now there are some who think as though the writers of the Bible were so many typewriter keys on which the fingers of the Holy Ghost exerted their pressure. And so the message was typed out nothing could be further from the truth. The Spirit of God didn't obliterate rate the personality of the writers. The Spirit of God transform their personalities and worked through the writers of the Bible the Holy Spirit guided them to draw on their experiences. The Holy Spirit guided them in their research the Holy Spirit guided them in putting their thoughts into words and each rider using his own writing style expressed accurately what was in the heart and mind of God. Nothing mechanical here. Something intensely personal people wrote the Bible but people guided by the Holy Spirit and guarded by the Holy Spirit so that they do not give us error but they communicate truth faithfully accurately for our good. Therefore if you and I really want to know God we must study the scriptures of the old and new testaments and we must listen for what God is saying to us through the pages of these sacred writings. How do we know that the Bible is the word of God. Well this is not the time or place to go into it in great detail. There are books that have been written on the subject but there is the great wealth of evidence that comes to us from the work of archaeology which confirms the extreme accuracy of many of the statements that are found in the Bible and that skeptics had doubted. Things have been uncovered with the removal of the rubble of the centuries to find that the location of certain cities and the characteristics of those places were precisely the way the Bible described them to be.
Archaeology supports and confirms the accuracy of the Bible and you can get further material on that if you wish. But I come to know that the Bible is indeed the word of God when the Holy Spirit who inspired the writing of the Bible enlightens my mind and enables me to see that the Bible is telling me the truth about myself. Years ago I had a conversation with a young man who had come from the land of Greece and was doing graduate study in the city of Philadelphia in the field of chemistry and he wished to come into the membership of our church and he was asked about his Christian testimony and in the course of what he had to say he made a remark that runs like this he said I was a student in the field of science. I was skeptical I was agnostic. I wasn't sure of anything. I had my doubts about many things and then he says One day I discovered the Bible. Then he stopped and he corrected himself. He said No one day the Bible discovered me and when I read the Bible I found out the truth about myself. And I said a book that knows me so well a book that can tell me the truth about myself has to be more than a human production. It is nothing less than the written word of God. There are difficulties in the Bible. There are things that are very complex to understand. And yet on the major issues the Bible is crystal clear so much so that even a little child can understand what God is saying.
Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so the great American humorist Mark Twain who certainly was not guilty of any sympathy toward Christianity. One said that it wasn't the things that he didn't understand in the Bible that bothered him but the things he did understand the Bible is very very clear as to the road of duty in which we must go very clear as to what sin is and sin deserves. Very clear on teaching us the method of salvation which is through faith in a savior. One thing more I'd like to add and that is the sufficiency of the written word of God. I believe that in the writings of the old and new testament we have all that we need to know as to how we may find a remedy for sin how we may live to the glory of God and how we may prepare for eternity. The writings of mere men who are not inspired by the Holy Spirit can be very useful. They can be helpful to us but we can do without them. Whereas we cannot do without the Bible human tradition has its place but the Bible alone is sufficient to tell us what to believe and how to live. God's word is meant to be a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path. Let us follow what God has revealed to us in his word and then being faithful to him who is absolutely trustworthy. We will see him and know him face to face.