************ Sermon on 1 Timothy 2:5-6 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on September 11, 2005
1 Timothy 2:1-7
1 Timothy 2:5-6
Remember the strike a month ago of baggage handlers in London, England? It shut down air traffic across Europe and even in America. Strikes, unfortunately, are a fact of life today. Generally, though, most strikes today are of a very short duration. However, once we hear that labor and management are calling for a mediator we know the strike will be a long and bitter one. That was the case with last year's hockey strike and as a result I was not able to watch any NHL games on TV or in person. You see, the call for a mediator means that employers and employees are in a hopelessly deadlocked confrontation. The call for a mediator means the situation is out of control.
It's the same way with marriage: once a couple decide they need a mediator to help them work out their differences – their pastor, for instance, or a counselor – it is usually too late; the marriage relationship is damaged past the point of redemption.
According to the Bible, we need a Mediator. You know what this means? It means that everything else has failed. It means that the situation is out of control. It means that on account of sin the relationship between God and man is so fractured, the chasm between God and man is so great, that only a Mediator can bridge the gap.
The message on this Lord's Supper Sunday is that Christ Jesus is the only Mediator Who brings God and man back together.
I Christ is Our Only Mediator
A It is the clear teaching of Scripture is that Jesus is our only Mediator:
(1Tim 2:5) For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus ...Or, consider the words of our Lord Himself:
(John 14:6) I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.We believe that Jesus is the only Mediator between God and man. We believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father.
B "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 2:5). We need to realize that this is an intolerant teaching and it makes the Christian faith an intolerant religion. It gives no saving credit to other religions. It is fashionable today to believe that all paths, all faiths, and all religions lead to God and eternal life. People want to believe that all people will be saved. It is not important what you believe in or who you believe in just so long as you believe. Whether your faith be Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Humanism, New Age, Atheism, or whatever, if you believe in something than that is good enough. But I need to say up front that we cannot subscribe to this. We are intolerant of any other religion or faith as to showing the way to God.
Have you seen that awful advertisement on TV from one of the mainstream denominations? It shows a lady following a ribbon, another lady following a trail of stones, an athlete following a series of basketball hoops, someone else following a line of cars. All these people come together in some meadow. The name of the church is listed on the screen while an announcer's voice says, "Follow your own path to God."This is awful because there is only one path that leads to God – Jesus. And there is only one Mediator between God and man – Jesus.
Topic: SalvationThat is a great illustration of the way to God. Think of Christ Jesus and His death on the cross. Someone might ask, "Is that the best way?" The only answer is, "It is the only way." Any other way will leave you stuck and at a dead end – being separated and alienated from God.
Subtopic: Only Through Christ
The last time I flew I had some time to kill in the airport. So I picked up a maze – you know, one of those puzzles where you have to trace a route from one point to another point without crossing any line. I know our children's bulletins sometimes includes one of these (HOLD ONE UP).
When I was done, after finding many dead ends, someone might ask, "Is this the best way to do the maze?" Not only is it the best way, it is the only way. All other ways are dead ends. All other ways lead nowhere. All other ways leave you stuck in the puzzle.
As we celebrate in the Lord's Supper this evening, there is only one way to God and that way is NOT found in any other faith. The only way to God is through Jesus, the only Mediator between God and man.
C "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 2:5). To say that Jesus is the only way to the Father also says something about all human effort. This declares all human effort to be hopeless. You cannot save yourself by going to church or by leading a good life or by doing good works. Yet, many people think they can save themselves anyway. Ask the average man or woman if they expect to go to heaven when they die. Most people say "Yes" to this. Then ask they why they will end up in heaven and they will say something like, "I lead a good life" OR "I try to lead a good life." The Christian faith has no room and no place for such thinking. When it comes to God and salvation all human effort is hopeless and useless. I found a letter in my files this past week. The letter comes from parents who lost their son in an accident and I was doing the funeral:
God is a loving God, a God Who embraces all humans as His creative reflection. NOTICE HOW MOST EVERYONE IN THIS KIND OF SITUATION TALKS ABOUT GOD'S LOVE.
So we believe this loving God cherishes our son for his enduring legacy of goodness. NOTICE HOW THIS TALKS ABOUT HUMAN GOODNESS.
Our son believed in a higher being, a creator of all things, but encountered questions and would seek answers to the meaning of life. HE DID NOT BELIEVE IN THE GOD OF THE BIBLE OR IN CHRIST.
I pray for peace for our son and solace for his journey into another place where the body is not needed, but the Soul will find calmness and understanding. We don't know why it was his time in life to go, but we pray that he is at peace now. SINCE THE FUNERAL I'VE BEEN TRYING TO MAKE THE PARENTS REALIZE THEIR NEED FOR CHRIST AND THE CHURCH.
As we celebrate in the Lord's Supper this evening, there is only one way to God and that is NOT by our works. The only way to God is through Jesus, the only Mediator between God and man.
II Vicarious Atonement
A The job of a mediator is to serve as intermediary, or middle-person, in order to bring two conflicting parties together. How does Jesus accomplish this? What did He do, as Mediator, to bring God and man together?
Our Bible reading tells us that He "gave himself as a ransom for all men" (1 Tim 2:6). You know what a ransom is: it is the money paid or favors given in order to secure the release of a captive or of seized property.
Perhaps you read or heard of J. Paul Getty. According to a 1981 autobiography, his net worth exceeded $4 billion. A grandson, J. Paul Getty III, was kidnaped. Soon after, Mr. Getty received a note demanding the payment of $2.9 million as a ransom in order to secure the release of his grandson.
Because of our sin we deserve to be punished both now and in eternity. Christ ransoms us from this. He paid the price. The ransom He paid was Himself: His own body and blood. He took the punishment for our sins. He died because the wrath of God against our sins was poured out on Him. Jesus died in our place. He paid the ransom. Now God is satisfied, and we can live. As Mediator, then, Christ brings God and man together by giving Himself as a ransom.
B We call this teaching the "vicarious atonement of Jesus." All Christians who hold to the Gospel confess this vital truth – the vicarious atonement of Jesus.
The word "atonement" comes from the Old Testament. When a person had broken the covenant, he or she had to make atonement for sin. Usually atonement involved the sacrifice of an animal. When the sacrifice went up in smoke, that person knew that God's demands had been met and that God's punishment no longer needed to be feared. This person was now reconciled to God.
Jesus' self-sacrifice atoned for our sins. He died, not for His own sins, but in our place. That's what we mean by "vicarious." "Vicarious." Among Episcopalians, Roman Catholics, and Anglicans the "vicar" is the man who rules the Church "in the place of" Christ. Everyone knows that the "vice" consul can take the place of the consul, and the "Vice" President may have to take the place of the President. Jesus' suffering and death, His atoning sacrifice, are vicarious – He suffered and died in our place. The Spirit-inspired Apostle can say, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us" (2 Cor 5:21). That's vicarious. He took on the debt of our sins and suffered the penalty of our sins.
Topic: ChristThis lies at the heart of the Gospel and the Lord's Supper: we do the wrong but it is Jesus Who is punished. He has taken our place.
Subtopic: Bore the Sins of Many
Title: Reversing the Ancient Pattern
In the movie The Last Emperor, the young child anointed as the last emperor of China lives a magical life of luxury with a thousand eunuch servants at his command.
"What happens when you do wrong?" his brother asks.
"When I do wrong, someone else is punished," the boy emperor replies. To demonstrate, he breaks a jar, and one of the servants is beaten.
-- Philip Yancey in What's So Amazing About Grace? Leadership, Vol. 19, no. 3.
C This teaching of vicarious atonement, this teaching that Jesus paid the debt of our sins by giving Himself over to the wrath of God, meets with much resistance. Our hearts oppose it because it makes us so utterly dependent upon Jesus and His blood.
Also, it seems unjust for God to deal with Jesus as if He were a sinner. Look at it this way. If I stole two thousand dollars and had no money to pay it back, you might step in as my friend, and pay the two thousand on my behalf. You take on and pay my debt. But I would still be the thief, not you. Jesus, on the other hand, not only pays my debt of sin, He also shoulders my guilt. And this seems wrong.
We see here, congregation, the wonder and glory of God's grace. Jesus pays not only my sin, He also shoulders my guilt. The result – the wondrous, beautiful result – is that God, because of Christ, treats me as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner.
Topic: SalvationWhat is true for math is even more true for salvation. There is no royal road to salvation. King and peasant, so-called "righteous" man and sinner, all must travel precisely the same road to salvation. That road, the only road, is through Jesus. And that, my brothers and sisters, is the focus and lesson of the Lord's Supper.
Subtopic: Only Through Christ
Among the pupils of the Greek mathematician Euclid was Ptolemy Sotar, who afterward became king of Egypt. The Egyptian prince was upset that a royal like him should be required to work so hard in the study of mathematics and finally in desperation cried, "Cannot the study of mathematics be made easier for me?" Euclid regarded his pupil gravely, and then said, "There is no royal road to learning."
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