“CHRIST IS THE ANSWER!”
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope.”
I Tim. 1:1
Our world today is composed three types of human beings: (a) Those with no hope—Eph. 2:12: This class of humanity is composed of individuals whose lives are filled with depression, doubt and fear and where euthanasia, suicide and murder are becoming more common every day. (b) Those with a false hope—Prov. 11:7. The religious world is saturated with multitudes of individuals where a deceptive assortment of “good works” packages are offered as so-called salvation provisions: baptism, catechism, church membership, community activity, social service and numerous more endeavors which falsely promise a pseudo hope. (c) Those with a genuine Biblical Hope. This is the company of saints about which the Apostle writes in I Tim. 1:1
This text makes it abundantly plain that Christ alone is the answer, that He solely not only provides the assurance of eternal life, but that He is the answer to all the perplexing issues of life. No matter what the issue, problem, or circumstances may be, Christ is our hope.
Christ is the Answer Concerning our NATURE
The sacred Scriptures teach us several negative things about our nature: (A) It is a sinful nature with an “inborn tendency to evil.” Both the O. T. and N. T. Scriptures teach the same essential truth about our nature, that it is inherently sinful: Jer. 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?,” while Paul states in Rom. 7:18: “I know that in me, (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing…”
(B) It is a sensual nature: The word “sensual” is a word that refers to the “lower part of our nature,” the part that has a natural animal sexual instincts. It is the side of our nature that deals with our “corrupt desires and aspirations,” our lustful desires. James 3:15 declares that human earthly wisdom “descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.”
(C) It is a selfish nature. It is “self-willed,” prone toward self, and is saturated with pride, a sin that God hates: In Prov. 8:13 God says: “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy and the evil way, and the forward mouth do I hate.“ Pride is one of the three sources of temptation from the world: I John 2:16 declares that all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
However, Christ is the answer concerning our depraved, sinful, wicked nature. In conversion, the New Birth, God gives the repentant sinner a new nature, a nature that can please God and bring glory to His name. This new nature is really, as the Apostle Paul states in Col. 1:27, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” By faith, Christ now dwells in the new believer through the Holy Spirit.
Describing the essential nature of this new life, Paul stated in II Cor. 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old thing are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” The entire chapter of Romans 6 is a treatise on how this new life in Christ is victoriously practiced. Another great expression about how this new life in Christ gives believers spiritual victory is recorded by Paul in Gal. 2:20 when he writes: “I am crucified with Christ: Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me, and gave himself for me.” No Question about it: Christ is the answer concerning our nature!!
Christ is the Answer Concerning our NUTRITION
When we are converted as sinners and instantly become a child of God, we are born into God’s family as spiritual “babes.” We know that when an infant is born, what that infant needs most for healthy growth is an abundant supply of milk. Using that human figure, the Apostle Peter declared in I Peter 2:2 that as new born spiritual babes, we should “desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby.”
There are three means God uses to properly effect Christians’ growth and bring them to maturity. (A) God uses His Spirit.: In John 16:13, Christ declared that “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoeverhe shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
(B) God uses His Scripture: As we grow and mature as human beings, our diet changes to stronger foods such as meat, yes and even steak! That same principle is applied to our spiritual maturation process. We can’t properly grow in the Christian life if all we ever digest is the “milk” of God’s Word. Our spiritual life should mature and grow so that we can digest the “meat” of God’s Word.
Unfortunately, the Hebrew Christians to whom the book of Hebrews was addressed, had regressed in their spiritual life; they had stopped growing and were reverting back to a spiritually infant status. They lacked the much needed quality of spiritual discernment and they were unable to perceive the difference between spiritual evil and spiritual good. In Heb. 5:12-14, the Hebrews author states: “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again the first principles of the Word of God; and are such as have need of mild, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them are of full age, even those who by reasons of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
In writing about the necessity for properly digesting the Word of God, the prophet Jeremiah stated in Jer. 15:16: “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and they became unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart…” When you correlate John chapter 10 with Ps. 23:2, it is clear that the Lord Jesus Christ, the great shepherd leads believers into the green pastures of His Word.
(C)God uses His Shepherds: In his last meeting with the Ephesian pastors, in Acts 20:28, the Apostle Paul exhorted these overseers to “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers to feed [shepherd-pastor] the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood.” The major Biblical responsibility of pastors is to “feed” God’s people with His Word—to exposit and “preach” the Word of truth—II Tim. 4:2. The Apostle Peter reiterated this truth in I Peter 5:2 when he entreated the “elders” [pastors] to “feed the flock of God which is among you.”
Christ is the Answer Concerning our NEEDS
(A)Christ is the Answer concerning our Temporal Needs:One of the most frequently quoted verses by believers is Phil. 4:19 which says: “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in Christ Jesus.” While its exegetical interpretation refers to God’s supplying with regard to the ability to give to others, it can be properly applied to the meeting of the believer’s own temporal needs. In Ps. 37:25, the Psalm confidently states: “I have been young, and now am old; yet have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seek begging bread.”
(B)Christ is the Answer concerning our Tranquility Needs: The word tranquility deals with the great Biblical theme of peace. Via faith in Christ, believers possess eternal peace with God. Rom. 5:1 says “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Via committed prayer and supplication, God’s children can also possess the daily peace of God: Phil. 4:6-7 exhorts believers to “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep [garrison] your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
(C)Christ is the Answer concerning our Transition Needs: If the Lord tarries, all living individuals will eventually confront the reality of physical death. For believers, however, death is not a fearsome experience. In the O.T. the psalmist David declared in Ps. 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” It is interesting to note in this verse that death is described as a shadowed valley through which we “walk” and do not permanently stay. A shadow can sometimes scare us, but a shadow can never harm or hurt us.
In II Cor. 5:1, the Apostle Paul wrote confidently concerning death: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” He termed his own impending martyrdom in II Tim. 4:6-8 a providential offering, and merely the time of his “departure” transition from earth to heaven’s glory to which he looked forward:
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day.” And then, under divine inspiration, he added: “and not to me only, but unto all them that love his appearing.”
Christ is truly the answer for every circumstance and situation in life. He is our hope both for this life and the life yet to follow in glory! You can safely put all your spiritual “eggs” in Christ’s basket for both time and eternity. D. J.
PS: The three major points of this sermon were delivered by the F. D. editor to a group of incarcerated prisoners at the Crawford County Jail and later developed into this more complete sermon by yours truly.
Also in this issue:
|Editorial – JUNE - JULY 2013 The Fundamentalist Digest; Permission granted for reprint, so long as proper credit is given.|