THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH, #19
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (JOH 3:14-16)
Our text reveals that our blessed Saviour gave Himself, and God gave His Son (see the emphasis the comes on that word that), "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." Our central motive and the theme on which we want to center is to see His purpose. The words "That whosoever believeth," is the entire theme of this message.
God the Father, in His love, gave His Son to suffer, bleed, and die. He gave His Son as a propitiation for our sins. We want to see the condescension of God in giving His Son. "That whosoever believeth should not perish, but have everlasting life." Notice in verse 15, "as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up." Why? "That whosoever believeth in him ." Do you see the emphasis on "That whosoever believeth?" Do you see that the Father has put reconciliation in place? "That whosoever believeth should not perish."
The negative implication of our text we find in our Saviours words in MAR 16:16. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." See why it is so important that we believe, because those who believe not shall be damned. All of this preparation for our salvation was made "That whosoever believeth should not perish but have eternal life."
The atonement is not limited, but the blessings obtained in the atonement are limited. Salvation is limited to those who believe. Do you know what that does? That removes the limitation from Gods side and puts it on our side. It brings the responsibility home: all those who are damned are damned because they believed not, not because the atonement was limited. The only limitation in the gospel is "those who believeth." The Lord has given His own Son, and the Son of God has been lifted up on the cross "That whosoever believeth should not perish but have everlasting life."
Seeing that the blessings obtained in the atonement are limited to those who believe, it is very urgent to rightly understand what it is to believe. Can you think of anything thats more important than to rightly understand what it means to believe? Our eternal salvation - or our eternal damnation - depends upon it.
A mere intellectual belief is not saving! I can have a historical knowledge of the crucifixion of Christ and truly believe it to be true, but that is not saving. There is often much feeling associated with an intellectual belief. I can think back to when, as a little child, I used to hear the explanation of how Christ was crucified, and I could become very emotional about that. I could really feel emotional and sympathetic towards the poor Saviour: to think that these terrible people had done all this to Him! Yet there was no salvation in that. Those feelings and emotions have no salvation in them. Its still an intellectual belief, even though we may have great emotions connected with it.
The emotions may become very deeply stirred, while faith is nothing more than a morning cloud which passes away. The next morning those emotions are gone, and nothing has been altered in my heart at all. Nothing has changed. This is why all the the feelings are not connected with believing there is no relationship at all.
"But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it. [There was joy in receiving the Word, they heard it, and they believed it! See what was missing.] Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended." (MAT 13:20-21)
What was missing? What was missing was the washing of regeneration, the new attitude, and new desires. A right attitude towards sin was missing, because when persecution arises for the Word (when for the sake of the Word certain habits and attitudes have been given up) in the face of persecution the fallen will cleaves to the things of earth.
All these feelings, emotions, joy, and intellectual belief have no salvation in them. These truths are fearfully solemn! Today, there are so many who do not endure unto the end. They believe - they even have joy in believing - but when persecution arises for the sake of the Word, they become offended. They cannot endure to have everything of the flesh cut off and crucified. They cannot endure the washing of regeneration of the Holy Spirit.
As we see from MAR 6:20-27, King Herod heard John the Baptist "gladly." There was joy in hearing John the Baptist. He was emotional, but when the dancing of the daughter of Herodias pleased the king, he went against his own conscience.
MAR 6:26 says, "And the king was exceeding sorry ." He had to start seeing where he was going to put his values: his honor before those to whom he had made such a foolish oath, his honor before such a sinful woman who had danced so beautifully, or his feelings. Verse 26 continues, "yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her."
Persecution because of the Word had arisen, and now he has become offended. What does he do? Verse 27: "And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison." These are solemn truths. This is where the true believer emerges. Do we stand for the authority of the Word, and do we understand the washing of regeneration of the Holy Spirit so that we are able to have everything of the flesh cut off for the purifying of our souls? That is believing.
Our attitude and actions may gauge whether or not we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. We may not gauge whether or not we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ by our intellectual knowledge, our feelings, or by some certain experience. These are deceiving. Our gauge must be our attitude and actions. Do we understand what it is to be renewed in the spirit of the mind? Do we understand what it is to be cleansed by the washing of regeneration of the Holy Spirit, the washing of the water of the Word? We can gauge that in a much better and safer manner, than by our emotions.
See how the Pharisees rejoiced in the light of a man, but only for a season in JOH 5:35. See how dangerous it is when we have our emotions toward a certain man because he has a calling or some certain gift in preaching. Many people worship the preacher instead of Christ. Many are deceived in this area. See what happened: John the Baptist had a true call, did he not? John the Baptist was prophesied as the forerunner of Christ. He was, indeed, a mighty, powerful preacher of the gospel, and preached without flinching from the truth. But are we to worship John the Baptist because of his call?
In JOH 5:35, the Lord Jesus told the Pharisees, "He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light." Do you see where the missing link was? They were rejoicing in his light. They were rejoicing in the wonderful, powerful preacher rather than in the true light. They werent rejoicing in the truth that was being preached. They were rejoicing in the power and the credentials of the man. Theres no salvation in this type of emotion.
We may hear some gospel preacher, and greatly rejoice in his light: "Oh! That was a wonderful sermon. Oh! That was a wonderful message." But its the man were worshipping. Were rejoicing "in his light." We can rejoice in his light and yet be totally void of the new birth, because the first time that our little maid dances well, well probably behead a John the Baptist. Well cut his head off rather than to cut down some of our own fleshly desires. The work of regeneration begins with the crucifying of self.
We may delight to come to the light of some powerful preacher, and we may rejoice in such a one as John the Baptist, and yet flee from the true light. Look at the context of our text and see how urgently important this is. The Lord Jesus is giving the definition of those who believe and those who believe not.
Jesus is showing the distinction between who believes and who does not believe. "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He goes on to show that condemnation wherein are those who believe not.] And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (JOH 3:18-19)
There are multitudes who sincerely believe they are saved, yet who have never rightly believed in Jesus. They have never rightly understood the condemnation of the unbeliever. What is the condemnation of the unbeliever? It is the light of the Word. MAT 7:13 says, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat."
Do you know what the strait gate means? Turn to MAT 7:12. "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." Then He says, "Enter ye in at the strait gate." What does the word strait mean? It means difficult to stand. Hes telling us to do unto your friend, unto your neighbor, what you would want him to do to you. He follows that by telling us how difficult it is to stand: "for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat." They that dont stand, dont understand the law of love, and have never learned to understand what it is to love God with their heart, soul, and mind, and love their neighbor as themselves.
These "many" that Jesus spoke of here saying, "broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat," are not openly professed infidels who have no reason to believe in Christ. They are the professed believers in Christ; they are those who are on that "broad" road.
MAT 7:22 says, "Many will say to me in that day [its the same "many", the same parable, the same illustration that Christ is giving], Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" Theyre going to come on the Day of Judgment, having died believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as their only hope of salvation, but they had not believed with a true gospel faith.
Look at what He says next (verse 23). "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." The washing of regeneration of the Holy Spirit had never cleansed them from their sins. They continued on the broad road where they didnt have to stand, they could have a little grudge, hate, spite, nag, pleasure, sin, and a little of everything that pleases the flesh. They respond, "Oh, yeah, but its all washed in the blood of Christ," yet theyve never had a renewing of the heart. Theyve never rightly believed, and so perished eternally.
It is one thing to believe that sin is the awful thing that it is, and quite another to have a holy hatred for sin in the very soul. I could have a true belief that sin is a terrible thing, and damning, but yet have secret sins - sins that I love and cherish - and still go on cherishing "sweetheart sins." Its quite a different thing to understand the true fear of God, in which you hate all iniquity.
PRO 8:13 says, "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate." The fear of the Lord is to hate sin because if we stop cherishing sin, well start turning from sin. As long as we cherish sin, as long as we love sin in our hearts, we will continue to sin. There is the mark of true believers. Thats where you divide the sheep from the goats: by the hatred we have for sin, in which sin becomes loathsome and exceeding sinful. No person who cherishes sin in his heart can truly say he loves the truth. Can you truly say that you love the truth while you hide a lie in your heart and cherish it? No, this takes some soul-searching, examining of our own hearts, which brings us before the Lord to ask Him to examine our hearts. David said in PSA 26:2, "Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart." An honest souls desire is to have sin revealed unto us, that we might repent of it and turn from it.
The spirit of the antichrist enters the heart, "with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." (2TH 2:10) Do you realize how important it is that we learn to love the truth and that we hate sin? Do you understand the new birth? It is to be renewed in the spirit of your mind. The work of the Spirit is to wash us by the washing of regeneration, so that our hearts are cleansed, and we cannot continue in sin.
Those that perish are those who love not the truth, that they might be saved. The great multitude are on the broad road to destruction and have a strong delusion to believe that they are saved! These are the "many" that Jesus is talking about in MAT 7:22. God will send a strong delusion for those who love not the truth. 2TH 2:11-12 says, "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth [who loved not the truth], but had pleasure in unrighteousness." When we can have pleasure in sin, and enjoy sin, then we may not claim that we have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Seeing the solemn reality that God Himself may send strong delusion that we should believe a lie, how important it is to examine our own hearts and determine whether or not we pass the test set forth! Do we love the truth, or is it our condemnation? Is the truth our greatest delight, or does it condemn us? Do we hide from the truth?
See where the possibility of condemnation comes right back to our attitude and our actions. "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light [Do you see that our actions and attitude are what clearly define whether or not we have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ?], neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." I want you to see the entire contrast and what the Lord Jesus says about those who believe. Verse 21 says, "But he that doeth truth cometh to the light [I want you to see again, attitude and actions], that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." (JOH 3:20-21)
The light is not a condemnation to one who does the truth because it is his hearts desire to know and do whats right. We come to the light that our deeds might be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. Then we know that we have received the washing of regeneration of the Holy Spirit, when our hearts desire is to be examined in the light of His Word.
As we see these solemn truths in the context of our text, let us examine what Jesus is saying in JOH 3:14-16. "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Hes not saying "whosoever covers his sin;" or those who love sin should not perish. He says, "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." So what is it to believe?
The Lord Jesus is saying, "as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness," look at the history that teaches us of lifting up the serpent in the wilderness. "And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived." (NUM 21:8-9)
Do you know what a beautiful lesson this teaches? As with the beginning of miracles, as they obeyed, the miracle was performed. Without obedience, the miracle would not have been performed. If you and I are going to obstinately wait and say, "Well salvation has to be given, and in the meantime, Im going to live on in my sins," we are on the broad road to hell!
As we begin to obey, the miracle of grace is performed. "Every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live." The miracle was dependent upon the act of obedience of faith. Those who refused to look were not healed. In verse 9, "when he beheld the serpent," when he obeyed, he turned his eyes, looked unto that brazen serpent, and lived. The miracle was performed as they obeyed.
Do we earn salvation by our works? No. Turn with me to ROM 4. It is important we understand this because Satan is a master of twisting the Word of God out of context. "What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God." (ROM 4:1-2)
Do you know what the word by means? Sometimes when we rightly understand these small words, we start to understand the gospel. The word by is a preposition, and means on the account of, as the foundation of, on the basis of. Abraham was not justified on the basis of his works: there was no merit in his work.
Now turn with me to JAM 2. What hes saying there is that you can be justified by works! "Was not Abraham our father justified by works?" (JAM 2:21) Is that a contradiction? Is there contradiction in the Word of God? No, that word by comes from a totally different word in the original. What it means is instrumentality.
Abraham was not justified in the sense of meriting salvation by works, but works were the instrument whereby he had salvation conveyed to him. Works were instrumental. They were the vehicle whereby he received salvation. Looking unto Jesus is not meritorious in itself, however, it is the instrument, the vehicle, whereby the miracle is performed. These are beautiful truths when we learn to understand them.
I dont preach to you that youre going to merit salvation by doing anything, but youll never receive salvation without doing anything. Obedience of faith is the instrument whereby salvation is conveyed to you.
As with the beginning of miracles, I want you to see that "when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived." If they had refused to obey, and had not lifted their eyes unto that brazen serpent, (our blessed Redeemer, which is typified by the serpent of brass), they wouldnt have lived. It was by obedience of faith that the miracle was performed.
As we look unto Jesus by faith, the quickening of the Spirit takes place through the washing of regeneration of the Word. It is as our eye is fixed upon Christ that sin becomes exceeding sinful. JOH 6:63 says, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." As our eye is fixed upon our blessed Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, by faith, the Word becomes the quickening power of the Spirit.
JAM 1:18 says, "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." We are born by the Word of Truth. It is as our eye is fixed upon that precious Saviour, as it is set forth in the Word of God, that the miracle is performed, that sin becomes exceeding sinful, that we learn to see the sinfulness of sin and learn to hate it. Thereby that miracle of grace is performed through obedience of faith as the instrument. ROM 1:4-5 says, "And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name."
As we "behold" that blessed sacrifice of Christ by faith, which is symbolized by the "the serpent of brass," we begin to "live." We begin to live spiritually, which is evidenced by true gospel repentance. We truly become renewed in the spirit of our mind. As our hearts are fastened upon that blessed sacrifice of Christ, as we obey, our hearts are removed from the things of this life and the things of sin, and turned unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Then He becomes so precious! The things of this life lose their value.
ACT 5:30-32 says, "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." When our eye is fixed on Christ, then He has been lifted up before the eye of faith. God has exalted Him. He becomes exalted in our hearts and our minds, and sin loses its power. He is there to "give repentance." When we look unto Christ for repentance, we look unto Him for forgiveness of sin. Verse 32 says, "And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him." Do you want the Lord to give you the Holy Spirit? He has given the Holy Spirit "unto them that obey him."
Wherein must we obey Him? When we feel that bite of sin, when we feel that serpents venom of sin in our veins, we obey Him by looking unto our blessed Redeemer. We look unto that precious love of the Father. We look unto that bleeding, dying Son, in the Garden of Gethsemane, pleading and saying, "O Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not my will but thine be done." As we behold that precious love of God, sin loses its power, and those who obey Him will receive the Holy Ghost. We must obey the command to look unto Jesus whom God has lifted up, and then this miracle is performed as we look unto Him.
As we obey this command to look away from ourselves unto Jesus, we begin to live by faith, which is the gift of God. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." (EPH 2:8) As we look away from ourselves unto Jesus, we receive a right understanding of the true character of God by the example He has given us. It is by looking unto Jesus that we receive a right understanding of His character: that God is love. To see the love of the Father in giving His Son, the love of the Son in giving Himself, and the love of God leads you to repentance.
1JO 5:20 says, "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life." Think of how the Apostle Pauls actions were affected by his first encounter with Christ. Believing is to be measured by our attitude and our actions. See what effect it had on the Apostle Pauls attitude and actions when he received but a glimpse of Christ.
1CO 15:10 says, "But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." Were his actions altered? Yes, he was no longer persecuting the church. Was his attitude altered? Oh, yes. What did he do? He was now serving under the kingship of that same Redeemer whom he had been persecuting. What brought about the change? One glimpse of Christ did. He looked and saw, and he "laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." What did he do now? He labored to bring those that were outside into that very gospel that he had been persecuting.
Eternal security becomes ours as we look unto our blessed Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. 1PE 1:3-5 says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
What is it to believe? True believing is "faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled." Theres the washing of regeneration. There is what prepares the heart for heaven: to be washed from sin. As we look out of self unto Jesus Christ, He produces the fruits of the Spirit in our hearts. A serpent has the power of fascination, and Satan chose a serpent. The power of fascination means that by looking in his eye his prey has no might against him, and a serpent can swallow his victim alive by merely catching its eye; as long as it looks into his eyes, it has no power to flee. So it is with the power of sin. As long as our eye is fixed upon Satan and sin, we have no power against it, but think of the Lord Jesus Christ.
JOH 12:31-33 says, "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die." He was lifted up as the brazen serpent. What does this teach us? It teaches that He also has that drawing power, and as long as our eye is fixed upon Him, Satan and sin lose their power.
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die." What death did He die? He died unto sin. As we look unto Jesus, away from ourselves, He produces the fruits of the Spirit in our hearts. HOS 14:8-9 says, "Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. [That fruit of the Holy Spirit comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.] Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein."
Do you see the way of life Christ is looking for? Its walking in those fruits of the Spirit, "but the transgressors shall fall therein." As we obey the command to look away from ourselves and unto the Lord Jesus Christ, we find the truth of what Christ says: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." (JOH 12:32) Thats the command: look unto that brazen serpent.
As we learn to die unto self and sin by looking unto that blessed obedience of Jesus, then we see what death He died unto sin that He might live unto God. (ROM 6:10) Then we understand ROM 6:11. "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Oh how blessedly our Saviour illustrates what it is to truly believe! First, Jesus directs our attention to His sacrifice for sin ("And I, if I be lifted up") to teach us how displeased God is with sin, and that the slightest disobedience to Gods holy law demanded His death in our place. It is the penalty, as we see in verse 14 of JOH 3. "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."(JOH 3:14-16)
Second, Jesus directs our attention to the love of the Father (in verse 16) in giving His only begotten Son to appease His just wrath upon sin before He would let one sin go unpunished with its rightful penalty, which was nothing short of death. He draws our attention to this.
Third, Jesus tells us why the Father has demonstrated such love to His people. He teaches us why He gave Him as a sacrifice for sin, "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." (JOH 3:15) See the responsibility we have in looking unto Jesus. He died and rose again according to the will of His Father, all so "That whosoever believeth should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Jesus teaches that the miracle of the new birth takes place as we begin to obey this gospel command. Those blessed teachings are a powerful call of the gospel to look away from the pleasures of sin unto the blessed service of Christ, and the kingdom of heaven. That is the instrument that the Holy Spirit will use to bring about the new birth.
Next Jesus teaches the contrast between true believers and the deplorable condition of the unbelievers. JOH 3:17-21 says, "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
The Lord sent His Son into the world that we would see His perfect righteousness and, by contrast, what monsters we are. That was not to condemn, but that we might believe upon Him and be saved. Verse 18 continues, "He that believeth on him is not condemned [He did not come to send condemnation upon those who believe.]: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
Wherein does their condemnation lie? They have not "believed in the name" (that name of authority). They would not bow to that authority: "because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." Then He goes on to explain wherein their condemnation lies in verse 19. "And this is the condemnation [that is, of those who believe not], that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
Where was their heart and attitude? The light revealed their attitude: they loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil, and they had no desire to change them. Thats the definition of an unbeliever. Thats the Word of God giving you a clear definition of an unbeliever. They "loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." Verse 20 says, "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved."
We have to examine our hearts. Whats our attitude? Do we love sin? Do we love darkness? Do we hate light? If we do, we are on the wrong road. He came "that whosoever believeth should not perish." They are those who have had that renewal of their mind.
Now Hes giving us the definition of a believer in verse 21. "But he that doeth truth [he that loves the light - what a beautiful definition of those who `believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.] cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."
The light is not his condemnation; he loves the light and the truth. The washing of regeneration of his heart and his mind has renewed him, and he hates sin. Oh, how it humbles all our pride when we learn, by looking unto Jesus, that God cannot be glorified in anything from the flesh.
ISA 26:12 says, "LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us." You and I can lay no claim to our salvation on the basis of what we have done. There is no merit in it. He has "wrought all our works in us." That change of attitude and work of regeneration, is all the work of grace; that change of mind and heart: He has "wrought all our works in us." Repentance is a gift of grace.
Outside of the imparted righteousness of Christ, which becomes ours by looking unto Jesus by faith, we find the awful truth about our own righteousness. That is what we read in ISA 64:6-8. "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. [Thats what we are by nature.] But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand."
Theres no merit. We are dependent upon the working of Gods grace, but that doesnt mean that out of our inability to justify ourselves we sit back and wait till grace is given. We are commanded to obey. Man became lost in sin by a look: "the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes." (GEN 3:6) That look changed her attitude toward God: it defiled her heart, and she coveted and lusted-all from one look.
ISA 45:22 says, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." Did you ever stop to realize that by looking unto Christ, we start having a change of attitude? Our hearts become cleansed because sin becomes hateful and exceeding sinful. "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."
There is only one way in which we shall proceed in the footsteps of Christ, and that is to continue looking. It isnt that we take one glance and then look back to sin. It is by continuous looking. HEB 12:1b-2 says, "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus [We see His faith, His way of life, we see how displeased God was with sin.] the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Then the joy that is set before us is in serving Him, as we see how He bowed to serve the Father to earn our salvation.
Thats how we "lay aside every weight" and every "sin which doth so easily beset us": looking unto Jesus, "the author and finisher of our faith." Amen.
These on-line sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a daily devotion. See also our sermon notes.
We pray this sermon has been a blessing to those who read it. If you share this sermon with a friend, please let us know. Thank you.