************ Catechism Sermon on Lord's Day 13 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on July 30, 2017
Lord's Day 13
"God's Son, Our Lord"
The Apostle Paul calls on pastors to preach the Word. Not preach the latest best seller. Not preach a movie series. Not preach the current hot topic. Not preach what is politically correct. Instead, "Preach the Word." And he tells us why:
(2 Tim 4:3-4) For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. (4) They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.When pastors preach the Word they are proclaiming sound doctrine. Sound doctrine is reliable doctrine, true doctrine, dependable doctrine because it is doctrine based upon the Bible.
We are looking at the Catechism again. The Catechism is sound doctrine because it is a summary of what the Bible teaches. So what does sound doctrine teach us today? Or, to put it another way, what does saving faith believe? Quoting from the Apostles' Creed, the Catechism tells us sound doctrine believes Jesus is God's only Son, our Lord.
Now, I want to look at the two titles together. We notice that Jesus is an almighty Lord -- because He is God's only Son. And, we notice Jesus is the blessed Lord -- because He bought us with His blood.
I A Powerful Lord
A We have a choice. We can believe Jesus is absolutely powerless and empty of all we find in Him. Or, we must confess that He is the only Son of God and as such has all power and majesty and glory.
What does it mean that Jesus is the only Son of God? Sound doctrine says this means Jesus is God in essence and being. Jesus is very God.
Liberal churches do not want to say this. They refuse to declare this. To their way of thinking, Jesus is not the only Son; Jesus is not the Son of God in essence and being. By the way, I hope you all realize that many sects -- like the Mormons and the JWs -- also deny that Jesus is the Son of God in essence and being. Instead, they say Jesus has been exalted by God; He is more than man and less than God; but, He is not the Son of God in essence and being.
B Jesus is the only Son of God. He is God in essence and being. This is the teaching of our Bible reading. Listen again to verse 6: "Who, being in very nature God ..." Jesus is the very nature of God. He is God. He is God in essence and being. He is God in power. He is God in Majesty. He is God in every part of His being. To be God means He is equal to God. I love how this is explained by Paul to the Colossians:
(Col 1:15-19) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (16) For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. (17) He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (18) And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. (19) For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him ...Hebrews tells us that Jesus, as Son, is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being (Heb 1:3).
Sound doctrine tells us Jesus is God. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is the only Son of God. As God, Jesus Christ did not need anything! He had all the glory and praise of heaven. With the Father and the Spirit, He reigned over the universe.
C When the Catechism speaks to us of Jesus as the Son of God, it does so within the context of salvation.
Jesus can be our Savior and Lord only if He is the Son of God in essence and being. Remember the teaching of sound doctrine back in Lord's Day 5? We are told our Mediator and Deliverer must be truly human, truly righteous, and also true God.
So, when we are talking of Jesus as the only Son we are talking of the Mediator Who emptied Himself -- for a while -- of His divine glory. We are talking of the Mediator Who took on our flesh. We are talking of the Mediator Who was found in appearance as a man. We are talking of the Mediator Who was born in Bethlehem's stable and laid in a manger. We are talking of the Mediator Who crawled in the dust of Nazareth as a child. We are talking of the Mediator Who shed His life and His blood on the cross. We are talking of the Mediator Who rose from the grave and ascended into heaven and is seated at God's right hand.
The Jesus that lies in the manger is God. The Jesus that walks on the earth is God. The Jesus that suffers and dies is God. This is the confession of sound doctrine.
Remember what we looked at last time? We said Jesus has been anointed as our chief prophet and teacher Who perfectly reveals to us the secret counsel and will of God for our deliverance. We believe that Word. We rely on that Word. We live by that Word. We die by that Word. But this is only possible because He is the eternal Son of God. He cannot be our chief prophet and teacher if He is not the Son of God. That is why those who deny the divinity of Christ also deny the divinity of His Word. That is inevitable. If Jesus is a mere man, like you and me, than His Word is the word of man, and all men are liars. If Jesus is a mere man, then you must put the Bible on the shelf to collect dust alongside all your other books.
Last time we also said Jesus has been anointed as our only high priest. We confess He set us free by the one sacrifice of His body. We confess He redeemed us from all our sins and unrighteousness. We confess we are justified in Him and because of Him. Deny He is the Son of God and you empty the cross of all its power. For then He died as a mere man. For then His blood has no more value than the blood of the criminals crucified alongside of Him. For then His blood has no more value than the blood of bulls and goats. For then His cross is just one cross among many crosses. Redemption is not possible if Jesus is not the Son of God. No mere man can bring deliverance and redemption. He must be God!
Last time we also said Jesus has been anointed as our eternal king. We confess with Paul in Philippians 2 that God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. But He Who ascended to glory is also He Who descended as a man to die (Eph 4:9-10). He must be God to be our eternal king.
D When liberal churches speak of Jesus as the Son of God they mean something entirely different from what the Church has always confessed; they mean something different from what the Creed and the Catechism confesses. They mean Jesus is a son of God. They mean Jesus is a son of God even as we are sons and daughters of God.
Liberalism wants to wipe out all differences. Liberalism wants to wipe out all differences between the Church and the world; it is fair to say that the Devil has been so successful at this that many times he can hardly tell the difference between his children and the children of God. Liberalism also wants to get rid of doctrinal differences. And, the difference between Jesus as Son and you and I as sons and daughters of God must also be wiped out.
Do you know the result of this kind of thinking? If the difference between Jesus as Son and you and I as sons and daughters is removed then there is no difference between us and God. Then man is God. Then man is like the Devil Who tried to take God's place.
Deny that Jesus is the Son of God and you deny everything. All you are left with is an empty, corrupt, useless, godless religion.
E Originally, as created, we were sons and daughters of God. This does not mean that we were partakers of God's nature and essence and being. Rather, we were sons and daughters of God as His image bearers. That sonship, however, is now gone. It has been changed into its very opposite so that, by nature, we are now children of the Devil doing what the Devil loves and desires as he leads us in rebellion against the heavenly Father.
Out of grace, notice what God does: He adopts us as His children. By nature we are not children of God. By nature we have no right to be children of God. But God, Who is rich in mercy, adopts us as His own. So now we are again children of God. But not in essence, not in being, as is Christ. We are sons and daughters of God in an entirely different way than is Christ.
II A Blessed Lord
A Sound doctrine teaches that Jesus is a powerful Lord: He is the eternal Son of God. Sound doctrine also teaches that Jesus is a blessed Lord.
I've told you before that one of the guys I cycle with always asks me, "So how is the preaching business?" His next question always is, "So what are you preaching about on Sunday." He had no idea what I was talking about when I told him I was preaching on Jesus as Lord. I told them "Lord" says something about Jesus. And "Lord" says something about those who believe, who are God's sons and daughters.
First, "Lord" says something about Jesus. Lord means Jesus has been exalted to be owner, ruler, master. Our Lord’s exaltation began with His resurrection. When men buried the body of Jesus, that was the last thing any human hands did to Him. From that point on, it was God Who worked. Men had done their worst to the Savior, but God exalted Him and honored Him. Men gave Him names of ridicule and slander, but the Father gave Him a glorious name! Just as in His humiliation He was given a name -- the name "Jesus” (Mt 1:21) -- so in His exaltation He was given a name -- the name "Lord" (Phil 2:11; cf Acts 2:32–36). He arose from the dead and then returned in victory to heaven, ascending to the Father’s throne.
He is Lord. His exaltation includes sovereign authority over all creatures in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. All will bow to Him (cf Is 45:23) -- either in praise or in fear and trembling.
Jesus is Lord. Many times the early Christians got into trouble for confessing this. They got into trouble with their fellow Jews because they gave to Jesus the honor that was due to God alone. But Jesus deserves that honor. He is Lord. The early Christians also got into trouble with the Romans because the Roman emperors claimed to be Lord. But the Christians' ultimate loyalty was not and could not be to Caesar but to Jesus. Christians believed that even Caesar must bow before Christ. They rightly refused to sacrifice to the emperor. They preferred to die rather than deny Jesus as Lord.
Sanctus was one of the early martyrs of the Christian faith. To get him to renounce Jesus, Sanctus was given every torture his tormentors could dream up. But he remained true and steadfast in his faith. At last, red hot plates of brass were fastened to the most tender parts of his body. But, even then, he continued, unsubdued and unshaken, firm in his confession that Jesus Christ is Lord. Eventually he was martyred for this confession and died with the name of Jesus on his lips.This basic Christian confession -- that Jesus Christ is Lord -- may still get us into trouble with our peer groups, with current public opinion, with the governing spirit in most areas of life, and sometimes, with our governments.
B Second, "Lord" says something about we who believe. "Lord" means we are Jesus' slaves, His servants.
The Catechism tells us Jesus has bought us. When I purchase something and pay for it, I become its rightful owner. Christ has paid for us. He is our owner. Notice, how Christ does this: NOT with "gold or silver, but with his precious blood." God in Christ rejects the ways of the world. God does not buy freedom with money or goods. God does not use the sword and the shield. God buys us and sets us free with the precious blood of Christ.
Jesus bought us. We are His slaves and His servants. Therefore, it is our duty, our calling, to serve Him.
We are called to serve Him as a church. He is the Head of the church. He is the Ruler of the church. The church's reason for existence is to serve Him to the glory of God. The church's reason for existence is to follow His commands and do His will. Because that is what servants do for their master. We are also called to serve Him as individuals and as families. Let me mention three things.
First, we must bow before Jesus. In the Ancient World people knew what a lord is. The lord is ruler of the realm. His is power, authority, and dominion. Before him all lesser mortals bow, profess allegiance, and practice obedience or they perish. Today we are told Jesus is Lord. He is Ruler. He is King. His is all power, authority, and dominion. Before Him we bow, profess allegiance, and practice obedience or we perish.
Second, we must live a life of service. Do you remember what Jesus said one day about His Lordship? He said He "did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mt 20:28). The Master of all has been a slave. Think of Him washing the feet of His disciples. And, all who serve our Lord must serve with the same spirit in which He served. This means, very practically, that we must think of our lives as service.
Third, we must show and acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus in every area of life. If Jesus is your Lord, then you honor Him in body and soul (1 Cor 6:20), you joyfully obey Him (Mt 7:21), you humbly submit to His will, you serve Him only (1 Cor 7:23), and you confess His Lordship before men (Rom 10:9). In other words, people should be able to look at us and say, "There, that person serves the Lord Jesus."
Do we live up to this? I want you all to think about that for a moment, not just the adults, but the young people too. Your spending habits, what you buy, your bank account, your wallet -- do they show Jesus Christ is Lord? Your recreation, the TV shows and movies you watch, the songs you listen to, the web-sites you visit, your hunting and fishing and golfing -- do they all show Jesus Christ is Lord? What about your marriage, your home, your friends, your relationship with your parents or with your children -- do they all show Jesus Christ is Lord? How you do your school work, your jobs, your chores -- do they all show Jesus Christ is Lord? Your hopes, your desires, even your dreams -- do they show Jesus Christ is Lord?
What does sound doctrine proclaim? What does saving faith believe? That Jesus alone is God's eternal, natural Son. That Jesus is Lord.
My prayer is that we all believe this instead of what man's itching ears want to hear.
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
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