Sunday, July 22, 2012
Our Mediator: Jesus Christ
Temple Baptist Church - 7-22-2012
1 Timothy 2:5
A. One of the marvelous differences between the Old and New Testaments is the priesthood. The first mention of a “priest” is found in the Book of Genesis and there, we find the profound truths concerning the priesthood. Jesus Christ is our “High Priest” and we are individual “priests” in this dispensation. I will deal with the priesthood later as I want to look at the word “mediator” first.
B. Tonight, I want to look at the word mediator. The word mediator actually means middle. A mediator is one who sits between and settles disputes. A mediator is unbiased: He does not favor one side above another. Based upon the meaning of the word mediator, we find Jesus Christ in the middle between the sinful saint and the holiness and justice of Almighty God. By middle, I mean in the exact middle: standing exactly between us and God the Father. It is important that we realize this because our relationship with a thrice holy God is sonship! We belong to Him and He belongs to us! What a marvelous truth is found in the word mediator!” When I say exactly in the middle, I mean just exactly that!
1. Jesus Christ is as close to us as He is to the Father.
John 17:20-23 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; (21) That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (22) And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: (23) I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
John 10:30 I and my Father are one. (If Jesus Christ is one with the Father and He is and He is also one with us: then we are one with the Father through Jesus Christ.)
1 John 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
Colossians 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
2. He is as much for us as He is for the Father.
Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (If Jesus Christ is for us and He is, then can the Father be against us?)
Hebrews 13:5b For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (If Jesus Christ will never leave us nor forsake us, then this must be so now while He is there to mediate for us.)
C. The believer’s relationship with God is a two way street. A normal two way street can be a blessing or a cursing. As long as everyone stays on his or her side and travels in the right direction, things go well. No wrecks and everyone arrives at the proper destination. The problem with a two way street is when one or the other gets on the wrong side of the road. Then, unless one or both corrects, there is a head on collision. Driving on a two lane highway is always a dangerous situation and requires vigilance.
D. Our two way relationship with God the Father is more like a boulevard. It is two way and directional but has a median or buffer in the middle to keep the way more safely. Thus, Jesus Christ is the “median” or “buffer” between a holy God and the sinful saint.
E. Jesus Christ is called both the Apostle and High Priest of our profession:
Hebrews 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.
F. There is a dramatic difference between an Apostle and a High Priest. An Apostle represents God to man while a High Priest represents man to God. Thus, we find the present position of Jesus Christ, our Mediator. His work is thusly two-fold. He represents God to us in all of His holiness and beauty while, at the same time, He represents us to God in all our positional righteousness through the blood and finished work of Christ.
G. Now the message is as simple as it is profound. It is theologically beyond our ability to comprehend. There is so much more in verse 15 than I could ever “dig” out and only eternity will discover to us the immensity of this verse. We could spend years on this verse alone because it encompasses the nature of God, the mind of God, the mission of God, and the love of God towards His crowning creation—mankind! There are three things that I find in the mediation of Christ.
1. The Mediation of Christ as an Apostle. The word “apostle” means one who is commissioned and sent out on a mission with a message. In the early days of the church, the apostles were chosen to represent God to man after the ascension of Christ. The apostles were chosen of God, called by God, walked with God on this earth, and witnessed His miracles, glory, grace, love, compassion, gentleness, longsuffering, and mercy. They heard His gracious words, saw His passion, witnessed His resurrection, and were commissioned by Him to go to a lost world with the gospel message.
1 John 1:1-3 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (2) (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) (3) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (I believe that these verses explain well the relationship of the apostles both to God and our Lord Jesus Christ as well as to us as believers.)
a. Jesus Christ, our Apostle, was with God from the beginning. He has seen God the Father, He has heard God the Father, and He has handled God the Father. No one in the universe is better qualified to mediate between God the Father and mankind.
b. Jesus Christ, our Apostle, was commissioned by the Father. He was chosen with all of the approval of His Father. He was not One of many but was the only One approved of God as the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”
c. Jesus Christ, our Apostle, was send to this earth with a message. He walked with God on this earth, He was the image and glory of God [John 1:14], His message was the cross and salvation to all who believe, and—through His resurrection—He gave us hope.
d. Jesus Christ, our Apostle—as Mediator—continues to show us the grace, mercy, peace, love, longsuffering, and forbearance of God as He represents the Father to us.
2. The Mediation of Christ as our High Priest. As the Apostleship of Christ represents God to man, so the Priesthood of Christ represents man to God. One of the great blessings of understanding the priesthood of Christ is the knowledge that our Lord stands in the “exact middle.”
a. He is as interested in our forgiveness as He is in God’s justice. He represents us to the Father completely though we fail God.
b. Since the fall of man in the Garden, there has been mediation through sacrifice. Sacrificial Mediation was both before and during the Law and brought about appeasement through atonement. Atonement means “to exchange mutually” or “restoration through exchange.” The Old Testament exchanged the blood of sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin.
c. The Priestly Mediation of Christ is established upon the blood of the New Covenant. It reveals the holiness of God by the shedding of blood (thus manifesting the wages of sin) and represents us to God THROUGH or based upon the propitiation of sacrifice and the application of that blood.
d. The Priesthood of Christ finds its fullness in the His humanity (The Man, Christ Jesus).
Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (The word behoved means to be under obligation. In other words, Christ was obligated to become like us in order to properly represent us to God.)
e. Our High Priest understands us perfectly.
Psalms 139:1-3 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. (2) Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. (3) Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. (There is nothing hid from the One who represents us to the Father. He knows our faults, our failures, our good days and our bad days, and our thoughts both good and bad before we think them. He is a worthy High Priest!)
Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (He understands our feelings, our infirmities, and our temptations. He knows and understands, therefore, He is full well able to both succor us and plead His precious blood on our behalf.)
f. Our High Priest is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
Psalms 103:8-14 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. (9) He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. (10) He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. (11) For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. (12) As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (13) Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. (14) For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
g. Our High Priest has perfectly prepared for our mediation through sacrifice, sanctification, and supplication. He has offered His blood on the Mercy Seat in heaven and intercedes on our behalf. He is in the exact middle! He honors, loves, and agrees with God’s holiness and, yet, He died for our sins and pleads the blood on our behalf. He not only offered for us but He also prays for us and loves us because He is in the exact middle. He loves us as He loves the Father! Therefore, in His Mediation as our High Priest, He has the ministry of reconciliation concerning us and the Father as well as the ministry of the reasonableness of God toward our sins.
3. The Individual Priesthood of the Believer. One of the marvelous differences between the Old and New Testaments is the priesthood. 1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
a. In the Individual Priesthood of the believer, we find access. Matthew 27:50-51 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. (51) And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; (There is no further need of the Old Testament priest under the Levitical Law as the veil that separated us from the holiness of Gods was rent and that veil was Christ’s flesh. We, as believers, are personally accountable to God.)
b. In the Individual Priesthood of the believer, we find equality. Hebrews 10:19-20 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, (20) By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; (Every believer has both the same access but also equality in that access. We can all come and we can all confess, finding forgiveness and mercy. God is no respecter of persons.)
c. In the Individual Priesthood of the believer, we find privacy! Romans 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. (We have a High Priest that we can confess our sins to without having the world know our sinfulness. I thank God that I can go to Him and He protects my testimony before the world.)
d. In the Individual Priesthood of the believer, we find privilege. Hebrews 10:21-22 And having an high priest over the house of God; (22) Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (We not only have the blessing of confession, we have the privilege of prayer and supplication. We can pray personally to God the Father through Jesus Christ and expect both hearing and answers. What a blessing!)
Conclusion: Jesus Christ, as our Mediator, stands exactly in the middle for us. He loves us as much as He loves the Father and He is as much for us as He is the Father. What a wonderful doctrine; what a wonderful Bible; what a wonderful Saviour!