************ Catechism Sermon on Lord's Day 6 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on May 7, 2017
Lord's Day 6
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
"Jesus is Our Mediator"
Remember what we concluded last week? Sound doctrine -- which is what the Catechism teaches us -- tells us there is no escape from the judgment and wrath of God against our sin. We learned we cannot save ourselves. We learned no other creature in heaven or on earth is able to save us. We learned what we need is a Redeemer, a Savior, a Mediator. We need a Redeemer, a Savior, a Mediator to save us from our guilt and the judgment of God on that guilt. We need a Redeemer, a Savior, a Mediator Who gives us perfect righteousness and life.
On this Lord's Supper Sunday we further learn man's spiritual condition demands that the Redeemer, the Savior, the Mediator Who saves us needs to be true man, truly righteous, and true God. On this Lord's Supper Sunday we realize there is no other way of salvation. And, on this Lord's Supper Sunday, we realize there is no other kind of Redeemer, Savior, Mediator.
Today, in the Lord's Supper, we remember and celebrate that our Redeemer and Savior and Mediator is the Lord Jesus Christ. We begin with what Jesus does, we ask why He is able to do this, and we end with how we know this.
I What Jesus Does
A What is it that Jesus does? The Catechism says Jesus was given us to set us completely free and to make us right with God. The Scripture reference it uses comes from today's Bible reading in Paul's first letter to Corinth:
(1 Cor 1:30) It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.Notice the phrase "for us." It was all "for us." That is, for His people, for the elect, for those who repent and believe.
Jesus was made the source of wisdom for us. He was made the source of righteousness for us. He was made the source of holiness for us. He is the fountain from which we obtain these things. God has give us Jesus as a fountain of wisdom, righteousness, and holiness. That is what the apostle teaches us in 1 Corinthians 1:30. It pictures Christ as the fountain, the source, the fullness of all the things which we lack as sinners. It pictures Christ as the opposite of us. We are empty and He is full. We are barren and He is fruitful. We are lacking and He is overflowing.
By nature we are foolish, unrighteous, corrupt; but in Christ we are the opposite of these things. There is in Him wisdom, over against our foolishness. There is in Him righteousness, over against our unrighteousness. There is in Him holiness, over against our corruption. In Christ is our wisdom, righteousness, and holiness.
B Christ is our wisdom. But wisdom is not knowledge. There is a difference between wisdom and knowledge. One may have a head full of knowledge and still not have an ounce of wisdom. Wisdom is not knowledge. So what is it? Wisdom means to look at life as God looks at life. Wisdom means to judge reality as God judges reality. Wisdom means to see our fellow man as God sees our fellow man. Wisdom means to look at creation as God looks at creation. Wisdom means to look at marriage and family as God looks at marriage and family.
By nature we do not have wisdom. By nature we fool ourselves into thinking man is basically good. By nature we fool ourselves into believing in evolution and chance. By nature we fool ourselves into thinking everything is right between us and God. By nature we fool ourselves into thinking all paths and all religions lead to God. By nature we seek that which is foolish and believe that which is foolish. But in Christ is wisdom.
C And, in Christ is righteousness. What is righteousness? Righteousness is a legal declaration. It is a declaration that you are just, lawful, and correct. It is a declaration that you are upright, faultless, innocent, and guiltless because you observe God's laws. God is righteous in and of Himself. But you and I are not. We are sinners. We are fallen. We are not innocent. We are not guiltless. We are guilty.
In Christ is righteousness. God has made Him to be our source of righteousness. So that we are considered righteous before God. So that it is as if I have never been sinned nor been a sinner. So that it is as if I have been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me.
D And, in Christ is holiness. What is holiness? Holiness means to be set apart, to be different, to be perfect in every way. God is this way. He is holy. He is altogether separate. He is perfect in every way. You and I are called to be holy like God. But we aren't. And we can't be. By nature we are corrupt and evil. By nature we are in and of and with the world instead of separate and different and holy.
In Christ is holiness. In Him we are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God (1 Pet 2:9).
E To all of this the apostle adds the word "redemption." In Christ is "redemption." We are set free from foolishness, unrighteousness, and unholiness. These things have taken hold of us. We are shackled by them. We are under their power. But Christ has redeemed us, bought us, purchased us, set us completely free.
God has made Him wisdom, righteousness, holiness and redemption. For us. For us so we have a place in the kingdom of God. So ours is fellowship with God.
All of this we celebrate when we eat the bread and drink from the cup of the Lord's Supper.
II How is this Possible
A How is this possible? How is Jesus able to be our wisdom, righteousness, holiness and redemption? How is He able to supply our every need as corrupt sinners? The Catechism gives us three answers.
First, Jesus is able to be our Mediator because He is man. Remember what the justice of God requires? The justice of God requires that the same human nature which sinned must pay for sin. Human sin requires human blood. Human sin requires a human sacrifice. Therefore if the Lord Jesus is to deliver us, save us, redeem us from our foolishness, unrighteousness, and unholiness, He must be man. And not the half man the Jehovah's Witnesses say He is. He must be fully and completely man. Nor can He be an angel because then He could not deliver us. He must be man.
Some object to the doctrine of the atonement because they think it unjust on the part of God to punish another for our sin. But Christ is no mere other. He is one of us. He is Immanuel, God with us in the flesh. He is the Word become flesh Who made His dwelling among us. God does not take an other. God takes one of us. Someone with our human nature, our human body, our human soul, our human mind, our human emotions, our human needs.
B Second, Jesus is able to be our Mediator because He is righteous. He must be just, lawful, and correct. He must be upright, faultless, innocent, and guiltless. He must be this because a sinner can never pay for others. Sinners, don't forget, have the sin they are born with as well as the sins they actually commit. Sinners have original sin and actual sin. So they have a debt with God. A debt that increases every single day and even every single hour. A debt that is impossible to pay. But Jesus is the Righteous One. Altogether perfect. Altogether pleasing to God. Born without original sin. And He lived without any actual sin.
C Third, Jesus is able to be our Mediator because He is very God. He is the eternal Son of God. He is the Word Who voiced the universe into being. Not the half god of the Jehovah's Witnesses. But fully God. Completely God. Truly God. Part of the triune Godhead.
The Mediator needs to be God because no mere man can bear the anger of God against the sin of the human race. Don't forget, God is angry with human sin. Terribly angry. Angry enough to demand eternal punishment of body and soul. Angry enough to curse sinners both now and in eternity.
Who can handle such a terrible anger? Who is capable of suffering under such a punishment? Only God Himself. I like how the Catechism puts it:
So that, by the power of his divinity, he might bear the weight of God's anger in his humanity.Remember, man needs to suffer for man's sin. But no man is powerful enough. No man can bear the weight of God's terrible anger. The only solution: He Who bears the weight of God's anger in His humanity needs divine power. He needs to be God.
D God made Him such. Before the foundation of the earth God made Jesus our Redeemer and Mediator and Savior. Before the foundation of the earth it was the plan of God that the second person of the triune God head take on our flesh. That He be born without indwelling sin. That He remain sinless and pure. That by the power of His divinity He bear the weight of God's anger in His humanity.
We celebrate this today in the Lord's Supper. We celebrate that Jesus is our Mediator. We celebrate that He is true God, true man, and truly righteous. For us. For our salvation.
III How We Know This
A The Catechism ends by asking how we know this? How do we know about the Mediator and Deliverer? How do we know about the Savior?
The answer: "by the holy gospel." This means by the revelation of God. This revelation began already in the Garden of Eden. Later, it was proclaimed by the patriarchs and prophets. It was portrayed by the sacrifices and ceremonies of the law. Finally, it was fulfilled by Christ Who is the Gospel.
All of this we find in the Bible. The Bible is the revelation of the Gospel. The Bible is the revelation of God's good news for sinners. Take away the Bible and you take away the Gospel. That's why we take the Bible so seriously in this church.
We need to know the Gospel. We need to hear the Gospel. We need to learn the Gospel. That's why we have expository preaching. That's why we have Catechism and Sunday School. That's why we have Bible Studies. That's why we have devotions. So we know the Gospel.
B But it not enough, dear friends, to simply know the Gospel. We need more than head knowledge. You see, theology is not salvation. Theology we must have, but if this all you have you still will not be saved.
You also need to personally know Him to Whom the Gospel points. You need to know Jesus. You need to be grafted into Him. You need to be connected to Him by faith. You need to have Him in your heart.
And when you are connected to Him, when you do know Him personally as Savior and Lord, then He is your wisdom, your righteousness, your holiness, your Redeemer and Mediator.
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