THE MATCHLESS CHRIST
R. E. Neighbor, D.D.
The message below was delivered at the Northwestern Bible School [NBS], Minneapolis, MN on Dec. 2, 1930 and was published in the Jan. 1931 issue of The Pilot, the school’s monthly paper.
Introduction: "Jesus Christ should be the theme both of sermon and song. Wherever we are, let us always give honor to Him. If you preach from the Old Testament, preach about Jesus Christ; if you preach from the New Testament, preach about Jesus Christ.
1. Jesus Christ was Born as Nobody Else Was Born. Nobody was heralded in birth as He was heralded. Four thousand years ago before Jesus Christ was born, in the Garden, in the cool of the day, the voice of the Almighty said, "The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head." The word "seed" referred to the Lord Jesus Christ.
His coming was announced. His birth, the birth of a Son, was announced 4,000 years before He was ever born. In natural events, we know nothing like that has ever happened of any other person. But not only the fact that He was to be born of the woman was announced, but also the fact that He was to be a son. In Isaiah we read, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given."
The very town in which He was to be born was announced: "And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting." The fact that He was to be born of a virgin was announced. All of the details of the birth were announced, long centuries before He was born.
Nobody in birth was ever honored as Jesus Christ was honored. No one in birth had angels give acclaim, or had one angel to give annunciation as in the case of the Lord. The angel gave this announcement: "For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior, which is Christ the Lord. Remember that the very constellation itself marked His birth, for when the wise men saw the star they were exceeding glad.
Nobody was ever hated in birth as He was hated. "In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be comforted, because they are not." Think of the order of King Herod, how the little ones of two years and under were slain. Who ever was hated in birth as the Lord Jesus was hated?
II. Nobody Ever Lived as the Lord Jesus Christ Lived. (a) Nobody ever lived as holy a life as the Lord Jesus Christ. We boast of our holiness. Some people say they have no sin left at all, but that is a lie. The Lord Jesus Christ knew no sin. He did no sin. He is the only Sinless One, the Lamb without spot and without blemish, the wonderful Son of God.
One day as I was preaching, a young man came up in the rear of my congregation and said, "I want to tell you that a lot of your members went to the circus and they are all going to Hell." I asked, "Why?" He replied, "Because the Bible says, ‘Without holiness no man shall see the Lord’ Do you say that a circus is holy? I said, "No, but neither do I believe that all these people will go to Hell." As he was inclined to argue, I said, "Meet me in my office sometime tomorrow."
The next day I said, "Now you believe that ‘without holiness no man shall see the Lord." "I most certainly do, don’t you?" "I want you to put your hand and take an oath to that fact." He stuck up his hand. Then I said, "Now say, ‘I most solemnly affirm that—that—that—He was getting very nervous, and then he blurted out, "I am not that holy, but I didn’t go to the circus."
"My dear brother that is not all the sin in the world. You know that anything short of the glory of God is sin. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Sometimes we forget what sin is. The transgression of the law is sin; and "whatsoever is not of faith is sin." And "he that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin."
Then Mr. Perkins fell on his knees and said, "Oh, pastor, pray for me, I am going to Hell; I am a poor lost sinner." I said, "Get up off your knees you are not going to Hell." He said, "but I am a sinner, and I’m lost," for the Bible says, "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." I said, "You are just as holy as God is holy. God took your sin and put them on Jesus Christ, and took His holiness, His spotlessness, His purity, and put it on you."
Remember what the Apostle Paul said, "That I may be found in Him", not having on the robe of my own righteousness, but the righteousness which is by the faith of Him. Nobody ever lived as holy life as Jesus Christ lived, but God in grace found a way by which he could put Christ’s holiness on us. We are holy, but ours is an imputed holiness.
(b) Nobody ever lived as happy a life as Jesus Christ lived. I know the Word of God plainly says, "He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," but His sorrows were not His own; they were our sorrows; His pains were our pains; His tears were only because of our tears. He had no sorrows of His own in life, no darkness, save as He took ours on Him. Remember, in the very hour of His death He said to His disciples, "My joy give I unto you that my joy might be in you." [Personal Paraphrase] He was "anointed with the oil of gladness" above his fellows.
Nobody ever lived as happy a life as He lived because He lived in the presence of God. Just as you get in the presence of God you will walk in joy, for the fruit of the Spirit is joy, and you will be happy. "Smile a smile, and as you smile, another smiles, And soon there are miles and miles of smiles, And life’s worthwhile because you smiled."
Do not have a fabricated smile, but have one from the heart, because you are walking and talking with the Lord. You have heard about the little girl that stayed with her grandfather. She began to play with her dolls on Sunday and he said, Now put up your dolls, this is Sunday." Then she whistled a little bit, and he said, "Stop whistling; this is Sunday."
Finally, she started down to the barnyard. The little dog was wagging his tail, and she said, "Stop that, this is Sunday." She went farther, and the ducks were quacking, and she said, "Now you must not do that, this is Sunday." Then she went down to the donkey with his long ears and she said, "Donkey, you must have religion, you look just like my grandpa."
I don’t want to be like grandpa. I want his piety, and his faith, but I don’t want his gloom. I want to be happy.
(c) Nobody ever lived as humble a life as He did. He made himself of no reputation. He was rich, but He laid aside His wealth above, and came as a servant and trod the path to Calvary. Remember the One who did all this was the One who came from the Father, the One who was One with God.
He was God, yet He came down, "and being found in fashion as a man He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name; That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." Nobody ever humbled himself as Jesus Christ humbled Himself.
"For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." The way to get up is to get down; the way to be rich is to be poor; the way to be strong is to be weak. You must humble yourself, you must walk down in the dust. I want to thank God that nobody in the history of the world was so humble as Jesus Christ was. "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."
III. In All the History of the World, Nobody Ever Spoke as He Spoke. Nobody spoke the truth as He spoke it. He knew God, and He was God, and He spoke the words of the Father, because He was one with the Father. He wrought the works of the Father. He couldn’t do anything else, because He could nothing apart from God.
Not that he was unable to say or speak of His own volition, but He was so wholly with God that He couldn’t say or do anything except what the Father spoke, or what the Father did, or what the Father willed. He was God and as God He spoke authoritatively.
(a) He spoke the truth prophetically. He lived in one eternal now. He said to Moses, "Tell the people ‘I AM hath sent you." When He talked with the rulers of Israel, He said, "Before Abraham was, I AM." He is the eternal I AM. He had no past; He knows no future; He is the eternal now. It was no trouble for him to look back and say, "As it was in the days of Noah," or to look forward and say, "So shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of man." He stretched two eternities in His hand and all that He said is authoritative.
(b) He spoke the truth historically, because past history was with Him. When He talked about creation, He knew what it was, because He was the Creator. "All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made."
(c) Nobody ever spoke the truth ethically like He did. Listen, young men, you who are going into the ministry, never say anything unclean, never think an unethical thought.
(d) He spoke with force. Whatever He said was done.
IV. Nobody Ever Claimed What the Lord Jesus Christ Claimed. Other men have stepped forward and said they were God’s servants and they desired, in fact, they commanded, that their names should be enrolled as Deity, but none ever made claims similar to Jesus Christ.
The Pope of Rome has never claimed what Jesus Christ claimed. Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy never dared to claim what Jesus claimed. Listen to Jesus Christ. "I am the way, the truth and the life." Listen to Jesus Christ: "Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life." Listen to Jesus Christ: "I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture." "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth for I am God, and there is none else."
Have you ever known of any man whoever dared to say, "I am the resurrection and the life?" Nobody in the history of the world ever spoke as Jesus Christ spoke; nobody ever claimed what He claimed. He said, "Ye are from beneath; I am from above." "I and my Father are one." "I came forth from the Father."
Jesus never but one time spoke of His birth, but many times, He said, "I came from the Father." I want to say to you that any man who dares to get up and say, "Jesus Christ was the greatest man that ever lived, but He was not God," is a liar. A good man would not have claimed to be the resurrection and the life. Only in His Deity do we discover His goodness and His greatness.
He did not found any colleges, hospitals, or anything like that. He was not great in the realm of finance. Was He great in the realm of art? Did He write any books? He was great because He was God, and when He spoke what He said was authoritative. Things came to pass. He was so far as men count greatness. He only had about 300 disciples, but He was great. Nobody was ever so great as He.
V. Nobody Ever Wrought as Jesus Christ Wrought. Others have raised the dead, but you remember when Peter said to the lame man at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have I give unto thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk," and the people asked, "How is it that this man walks?"
Peter answered, "Why marvel ye at this?" or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power of holiness we had made this man to walk?" The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified His Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied Him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go…And His name, through faith in His name, hath made this man strong."
Any power we may have is invested power, but He had inherent power. He was God. I see Him stand on the waves and say, "Peace be Still." I see Him at the grave of Lazarus, and hear Him say, "Lazarus, come forth," and He came forth, bound with grave clothes. The miracle was not that a man who died came forth from the grave, but that he came forth bound in grave clothes. He stood when he couldn’t stand; he walked when he couldn’t walk; he came forth and Jesus said, "Loose Him and let him go."
No man ever wrought as He wrought. I want to look into your faces this morning and say, You have a God like that, One who said, "All power is given unto me… Go." Remember, you may not be a great preacher, but you have a great God. He is almighty. He is all powerful.
VI. And Last, Nobody Ever Died as Jesus Christ died. Nobody ever died an efficacious death as He did. He suffered and died, and His death is sufficient for every man; deficient for no man, efficient to nobody except to those who believe.
Ed: A staunch contender for the faith, Dr. Neighbor was a prominent Fundamentalist pastor of the First Baptist Church, Elyria, OH and noted Bible teacher in the 1920’s-1940’s eras, as well as a frequent speaker at Fundamentalist gatherings during that time. Due to the Christmas season and lack of time, the writer is substituting this sermon by Dr. Neighbor in place of his regular editorial.
Also in this issue:
|Editorial – December 2007 - January 2008 The Fundamentalist Digest; Permission granted for reprint, so long as proper credit is given.|