THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
PROGRAM AIR DATE - 6-8-08
LESSON TITLE: "THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST: THE DEATH OF CHRIST"
Paul once proclaimed that he would glory, only in the "Cross of Jesus Christ." Has the Cross of Jesus affected your life?
Let me welcome you to our program on this the Lord's day. We thank God that you have chosen to be with us today, and we are excited about this opportunity we have together to glorify our Creator. Won't you do your part to make this time acceptable in his sight and according to his will? Now, let's speak to our Father in prayer.
One of the greatest blessings we have as Christians is to praise God in song. Furthermore, how encouraging it is to have this avenue of worship to our Creator! So, this morning won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together our first hymn of the morning? The name of the song "Count Your Blessings!"
(SONG # 1)
I read a story about several mountain climbers who were climbing in the Swiss Alps. The lead climber, as he was descending from the mountain, lost his footing and fell. His momentum dragged the next two climbers after him. Seeing the catastrophe, the other climbers braced themselves for the jolt. As the three went over the cliff the rope pulled tighter and tighter and eventually snapped under the tremendous force. The others watched in horror as their three friends fell to their death. Once the others were to a safe place, they examined the broken rope in disbelief. What they discovered was that there was no red strand in the middle of it. Climbers use a special type of rope which has a red safety strand running through it, which adds special strength to withstand extreme tension similar to the accident of the day. The rope they had been using was a cheap imitation, not the real thing. The substitute was weak and cost three men their lives.
This story should touch each of us to the heart as we think about the loss of life over such an avoidable mistake. However, how many go through life every day making the same type of choices in their own lives. They choose the easy way, cheaper way, or way of least involvement. But why would people make such a choice? Most likely because they are caught up in self, what's in it for me, or how can I best get by attitudes.
Now apply these thoughts and principles to those things of a religious nature. As those created by God and living on this earth, we likewise need a red strand running through our lifeline. Sure we have family, friends and acquaintances in this life, but without Jesus Christ life just wouldn't be worth living. More specifically, without His blood that was shed on the cross for our sake, we could not know the true joys of this life or the life to come. We could not have forgiveness of sins. We, as well as all on this earth would be eternally lost.
Oh, how precious the blood of Christ is and should be to all of us today. Why? Because, as Paul said to the Ephesian brethren, "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ," Ephesians 2:13.
Have you been brought nearer to God through the blood of His Son Jesus? Have you responded to the greatest gift ever offered to all mankind, in this life? Have you been cleansed through the power of Jesus blood?
Today we continue our series of study focusing on the, "The Gospel Of Christ." Together, we will consider our specific topic this morning which is entitled, "The Death Of Christ." So please continue with us this morning and after our next song I will return with this lesson from God's Word. It's now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "To Christ Be Loyal And Be True."
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
We begin this morning with a verse found in Galatians chapter 6, verse 14 which in its entirety says, "But God forbid that I should boast or glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world." Here, certainly Paul introduces us to our topic of the day, yet another important aspect of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Perhaps if we were to say, "Is there an important part or one part that is more important than the other?" It might be very difficult to figure out what it is. But here Paul says that his boasting, his glory was in the cross for you and I understand that in the cross the sacrifice, the shedding of blood and all was accomplished that was required that you and I might be called children of God that we might have remission of sins.
And so this morning, we want to look at the concept of the gospel of Christ specifically looking at the death of Jesus.
As we consider the death, certainly we find that there is a lot in prophecy. Our time won't permit us to turn to all the scriptures that we might make reference to so I hope you have a pen and paper handy or you'll get a copy through a transcript or a cassette or CD of the program so you might look up the verses later. But certainly in many passages we find the coming of Christ and even the death of Christ. One that stands out most to us is in Isaiah 53, that same verse that was quoted there from Acts chapter 8 to the Ethiopian Eunuch. But it speaks there about the lamb being led to the slaughter, dumbed before the sheerer to be sheared and killed before His own people. Certainly it's a prophecy about the coming of Christ and the sacrifice that would be made.
But not only in prophecy before the days of Christ but also Christ Himself spoke of the day that He would die. We know also there in the book of Luke there in chapter 9 and verse 43 beginning. The disciples were told that Jesus one day would be led as that lamb to the slaughter, that He would die, that He would bear the sins of the world and be made a sacrifice for all of mankind. There in Luke, the disciples really did not fully understand really what he was saying. Could not comprehend that really He was going to die and that all these things would come to pass.
But it was not only in Luke. It was also in the book of John 14 and in other passages that we continue to see, that prophecy confirmed that there one day Jesus would die.
We know that near the end of His death there were several things that happened in His life. For instance, when He ate the Last Supper with His disciples there in Matthew 26. We find Jesus meeting for the Passover Feast and importantly He reinstitutes the feast with new meaning and new ideas. Around verse 17 of Matthew 26, we begin to see the unfolding of Him taking the bread and the cup and no longer referring to the old Passover, but now referring to the body that would be shed and the blood that would be shed on the cross very soon. In fact, you and In know within days of when this happens. And so now Christ is giving them a memorial feast even as we read in 1 Corinthians 11 as a remembrance to take of something to always remember and think about the sacrifice that Jesus made. And so there again we find that these things took place. "And the bread and the fruit of the vine were instituted and Jesus addressed the disciples for one of the last times in a collective group."
It was also during that same supper in Matthew 26 that the betrayer, Judas, was brought to the forefront. He was told that he would be the one that would betray Jesus. Then he was told to get busy with his business and to go ahead and begin the betrayal.
You might notice with me next after the supper that Gethsemane took place. A few of His disciples, that we certainly are well familiar with, went with Jesus to what we call "The Mount of Olives." There we find in this text, Mark 14, that it was Peter, James and John who were with Him as He went there to do what? To pray. And while in the garden, it was the same occurrence there in the book of Mark 14 where we see these same disciples falling asleep. No more than three times they fell asleep while Jesus went to pray. And by the way, His prayers were very deep and fervent. Luke 22 tells us "it was if great drops of blood dripped from His forehead because of the agony and the anguish that He was about to face and the cruel death of the crucifixion."
But overall, what had taken place? The scene had been set. Eventually we well know in Luke 22 that the mob arrived with Judas at the helm. He kisses Jesus, betrays Him. In Luke also it is told to us that one of the disciples draws a sword, cut off a servant's ear. Jesus tells him to put the sword in its place and restores the ear of the servant and then reminds them of the prophecies of the fact that He had to go and die according to the promises of God that the blood might be shed that sins could be ultimately forgiven. And so now, we find Jesus in custody, dragged and no doubt put in a prison, so to speak, and brought before as we would well know the Sanhedron or the Jewish counsel. Again, we find there in Matthew 26 the ideas of how they abused Him and they mocked Him already and some of them at the things that He said even struck Him. They were already beating Him and really claiming Him to be a blasphemer against the things of God. So Jesus on trial eventually is brought to guilt by the Sanhedron. So they take Him to Pilate and they tell Pilate, "We want Him dead," and Pilate rejects for Pilate really finds no fault in the man. Not to mention the reality that his wife has had a dream or a vision that has told her that He is not worthy of death and to leave the situation alone. But even then Pilate passes the buck to Herod and Herod doesn't want it so he gives it back to Pilate and then at the end of the day Pilate finally says, "If you want to kill Him, then you'll have to kill Him." Even Pilate gave them the opportunity to release a prisoner and they chose Barabbus, a true criminal, rather than Jesus. So Pilate eventually as we well know washes his hands with water in a symbolic fashion to say, "I don't want His blood on my hands, but if you will kill Him and you see fit, then you carry it out."
And so we know that He was scourged and beaten yet again. He had already been beaten by Pilate. Pilate had beaten Him to try to appease the Jews, but yet that wasn't enough. So no doubt He was beaten and mocked and they made great mockeries and made fun of Him in so many respects as we read there in Matthew 27 and we find that all these things were done and certainly Jesus then was brought low and that He felt forsaken as He eventually says even on the cross, "Why God?" for He was now suffering physically beyond what most of us will ever understand or most of us will ever even bear. But then we know that He began the trip to Calvary and He had been beaten and abused so much by that time that He was falling under the weight of the cross that He was made to carry Himself, the very cross that He would hang on until death. And so because of that, there was one who was called to assist Him and to help Him that He might carry the cross for Jesus and that he might be able to help with this great feat especially under the great pain that Jesus now was suffering especially because of the great things now He had bore as He headed now to the place called Galgotha, the place of the skull, or as we already mentioned the fact of the place of Calvary. But eventually He does arrive there. He is put on the cross by nails being driven into His hands and into His feet. As He is placed on the cross, you can just imagine that He also there was dropped in the hole as the cross was stood up and as He was crucified before two thieves.
There are a few things I would like to read here to help us understand these things that were leading up and then also the things now that take us over into the actual placing Jesus on the cross.
Think about the suffering and the mockery. In verse 27 of Matthew 27 the Bible says, "Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Pretoria and gathered the whole garrison around Him and they stripped Him and put scarlet robes on Him to make a mockery of Him. Then they took a crown of thorns and they thrust it on His head and they put a reed in His hand and they bowed their knees and they proclaimed, 'All hail king of the Jews.'" No doubt as they laughed and they scoffed and made fun of Jesus. "They spat on Him," in verse 30, "and they even took the reed that they had mocked Him with and they beat Him and struck Him on the head with it." What was on His head? The crown of thorns. And so hitting the reed, the thorns would have been even further compressed and shoved down into His head thus bringing forth blood and further suffering. And they mocked Him and eventually took off His robe and put on His own clothes and led Him away to be crucified. Other accounts even tell us they even cast lots for His garments eventually and they did so many different things to abuse Him. And they eventually put Him on the cross. As He was on the cross, they even put an inscription over His head, in verse 37, that says, "This is the king of the Jews." No doubt the Jews didn't like that, but the Romans had done it for mockery to make fun of Him. And so now as He suffered there, He was hung on the cross between two criminals, verse 38, one on the right and one on the left. And people continued to go by as verse 39 tells us and blaspheme and wag their heads which means disgust and mockery again and they no doubt would have spit on Him and cursed at Him in so many different ways. They mocked Him by saying, "Save yourself if you be the Son of God." And on and on and on. He hung. He suffered. No doubt those who loved Him cried and wept as they saw His suffering. But eventually there in verse 45 it says, "that in the 6th hour, the 9th hour there until darkness was over the lamb." And about that hour it says that Jesus cried out, "Why have you forsaken Me, Father?" But then eventually we know that He even gives up the Ghost in verse 50 and He dies.
At that point, prophecy again is fulfilled as many things happen. The veil of the temple is torn and dead even come forth from the grave as people begin now to proclaim even of the Romans that truly this must have been the Son of God. You see all of these things happened. All of this death took place because of you and because of me, because of our sins. You and I, brethren, whether we like it or not, you and I, friends, are those who have put Jesus on the cross. We need to understand then the price that was paid and why it was paid and how much God loves us. He loves us enough to become man in the flesh in Jesus Christ, to suffer these things and to die a human, physical death and not just any death. You know we always think that if I die, I want to go quick or in my sleep or something like that. Such a cruel and a harsh death He suffered so that He might be seen as one who truly paid the price, who suffered as we suffer and who was willing to bear whatever it took to purchase our sins. The redemption price was sealed.
I also love in the story there as we learn in verse 57 a rich man who follows Jesus, Joseph of Aramathea. We actually learn that others like Nicodemus of John 3 and other texts was also there at this time. But they came and requested the body of Jesus and they took that body and they buried Him and they put Him in the grave and no doubt now they had wanted to anoint and clean it as other women would have been also helping them to get this feat accomplished, to give Him the respect of burial amongst the rich in a very beautiful and new tomb that had been made for actually Joseph himself. So when all of this is done, we find the Jews are still not happy. They even want guards in front of the grave to make sure that He is not stolen away for they know prophecy. They know the things that have happened have been exactly according to prophecy and they also know Jesus said on the third day, "I will rise again." That's going to be our discussion next week. But here unto this point, we see the sacrifice having been made. We see the blood has already been shed and the fact that it is shed, the covenant has been sealed. Isn't that what it says in Colossians 2:14 that "it was the blood of Christ that wiped the old ordinances away and now sealed the covenant." That's what the Hebrew writer was talking about in Hebrews 8 and also chapter 9 that it takes the death of the testator, the blood of something to seal a covenant. What greater blood than God in the flesh Himself, Jesus Christ? So now that He sealed the covenant the opportunity was made available for all of those of that day and from there on for salvation to have forgiveness of sins, to be added to the church, and to be a part of the family of God, the family of God that is blessed and will be blessed eternally.
So have you done what God requires so that you are a part of that family? Have you responded to the blood by confessing His name, by repenting and turning away from sins, and changing in your life to a new creature and being baptized for the forgiveness of sins? If you have done these things, God is pleased. You are a child and you will receive the reward of eternal life.
(SONG # 3 - "O To Be Like Thee!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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Oh, how richly blessed we are to have a savior who was willing to die for us, that through His sacrifice and blood we might be made clean and free from sin.