2 CORINTHIANS 1:19-22
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. 20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
I count it a true honor and privilege to be able to preach the Gospel of God’s Free and Sovereign Grace to you this afternoon. I would like to thank Pastor Scott for the invitation. I would like to thank all of you for your support of this Gospel endeavor as well. I bring with me the thoughts and prayers of my own congregation, Horizons Baptist Church of Piketon, Ohio. Many more of them will be joining with us tomorrow morning. We have sought the Lord’s face continually for this Bible Conference, praying that He would be pleased to open the windows of heaven and pour out wisdom and blessings through the preaching of His infallible Word. We know and trust the Lord’s will to be done.
For the past 16 years, I have served as one of the pastors of Horizons Baptist Church located in south central Ohio about two hours east of here. I do not come to you today to flaunt educational credentials, brag about church property holdings, take pride in congregational numbers, show off innovative church growth strategies, or hawk the latest novelties or gimmicks. Beloved, I have come to remind you that everything we have or ever will have of eternal import we possess solely by the Sovereign Grace and Mercy of our God in the finished work of Christ Jesus! We need not bother ourselves with the fads and silliness of man-centered religion. Instead, let us concern ourselves with deepening our understanding of God’s amazing Grace and Mercy!
INTRODUCTION TO SERMON
I focus your attention now on Paul’s foundational assertion, the ground on which his entire theology stands. Unlike the vacillating and mutable sinners to which Paul is writing, the Lord God IS righteousness and truth, never-changing, always the same! As the Scripture declare, “I am the Lord thy God. I change not!”
Paul builds His Gospel assurance on the sure foundation of God’s immutability as well. Just as God is never-changing, always the same, so too is the accomplishment of the Gospel! To the child of God reading 2 Corinthians 1:20, a blessing is sure to be found: “All of the promises of God find their Yes in Him!” Praise the living and unchanging God! It is Christ who has for all time satisfied the righteous requirements of the law on behalf of His people! It is Christ whose “obedience unto death, even the death of the cross,” has “made us acceptable in the beloved!” It is through Christ that God is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Christ!”
Everything promised by God to His people has been secured solely by the perfect work of God the Son. Everything! All of God’s promises rest in the “Amen” work of Christ the Lord!
We will see this afternoon that the Gospel is the work of God Alone, predicated on His own power and authority, secured by His own promises. It is a work that was promised By God, performed by God the Son, and is now proclaimed in power by God the Holy Spirit.
May the Lord be pleased to bless our time together, for Christ’s sake and God’s glory – Amen.
I. The Gospel: Promised by God the Father
A. In the Garden
In the midst of humanity’s great fall, God made the sweet promise to our first parents in Genesis 3:15: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
Though mankind would fall, suffering death by sin, there would come a day when one from the race of men, whom we now know to be Christ Jesus, would subdue evil, restore the broken relationship between God and His people, and put sin and iniquity to shame.
The earliest of Gospel statements, we see a glimmer of Gospel beauty even in the midst of a dark and terrible day of sin and rebellion. God made a Gospel Promise!
B. To Abraham
Abraham, a pagan who worshiped false gods, was called out of a foreign land and was made to be a partaker in the Gospel promises of God. In Genesis 12, God commanded Abraham to “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” Abraham would partake in the Gospel promise, being told by God that in him, “all of the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Christ, Himself, declared that “Abraham rejoiced is see My Day!” Praise the Lord, Abraham looked for a city whose builder and maker was God! He believed God!
The Gospel promise was passed down through the centuries as God continued to unfold history in His own good time and way.
C. Moses Believed the Promise
Moses, called by God to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, served as a type of Christ in the Old Testament. He spoke about “another prophet like me” who would come and speak to God’s people with power and authority.
Deuteronomy 18-15-18 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers— it is to him you shall listen— 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.
The prophet to come, Christ the Lord, would speak God’s word perfectly to His people. This is significant, because to do so is to please God perfectly in all things. He alone perfectly satisfied God on all counts, being tempted as are we, yet without sin. It is Christ who “spoke with authority, and not as the Scribes.”
Moses believed the promises of God concerning Messiah!
By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
D. The Prophets of Old Wrote of the Promise
In numerous passages, God’s promise concerning the Savior to come is announced with patient expectation.
Speaking of the Coming Christ’s anguish and sacrificial offering for His people, we read:
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
Through this sacrificial death, the coming Christ would establish a new and living way, a new covenant with His people based on His righteousness alone.
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it n their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
It is clear from God’s word that, as far back as the Garden, the Lord, in love and mercy, promised a soon-coming savior who would perfectly speak God’s Word, would suffer for their sins, and establish a new and everlasting covenant based on His righteousness alone.
Praise God, a promise made was a promised kept one night in Bethlehem, as Christ the Lord was born of a virgin woman and placed in a manger! Christ, the Promised Word made flesh, dwelt among men!
II. The Gospel: Performed by God the Son
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Many professing Christians do not know what the Gospel truly entails. Because so many believe the false gospel of Arminianism, including the belief that Christ truly died for everyone, the mere notion of an accomplished redemption (a saving work which actually saves anyone) is foreign. In fact, to speak about the Gospel as a completed work, apart from any human effort is offensive to this crowd! So, it is no wonder the simple utterance, “the finished work of Christ” is a phrase never shared among those who do not believe the work is actually finished!
What replaces the finished work of Christ among those who hold to false notions of the Gospel? The Gospel is distorted from the work of God completed in Christ on Calvary’s hill, to some cooperative effort exerted by a willing sinner in concert with the Holy Spirit whose arrival was ushered in by Calvary. In short, those who fail to see Christ’s death on the cross as a completed work will always come to a false understanding of the Gospel. If the work isn’t complete, then, by necessity, something else must be added to it from the hands of sinful man.
Oh, beloved! God did not send Christ to partner with man! We needed resurrection! We needed called forth from the grave of sin and shame. God is not our partner….. He is our holy and righteous judge! Christ is no mere assistant or personal improvement coach come to give us strategies for self-improvement. Much to the contrary! We are the dead sinners who need salvation, a spiritual restoration which comes solely by the free and sovereign grace of Almighty God in the person and work of Christ the Lord!
Notice the declaration of the angel, “He SHALL save HIS people from their sins!” The true Gospel is a completed work. In order for it to have been completed on Calvary as promised, Christ had to have died for a specific people. He did not come to make everyone on earth savable. He came TO SAVE HIS PEOPLE! So, to believe in an accomplished redemption is to believe in the free and sovereign grace of God in the salvation of sinners. Period.
Christ’s own words serve as the capstone, the conclusion of the matter. The Old Testament promised salvation. The Angel promised Christ would save His People. Then Christ Himself, while hanging on the cross and dying, declared the work complete when he cried out, “It is finished!” Praise God, the promises of God are true and they find their “Yes” and Amen” not in our cooperation, but in the perfect sacrifice of Christ the Lord! Praise God!
For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.
Beloved, God promised what Christ alone performed. The salvation of God’s elect are secure in the accomplished redemption of Christ the Lord. Amen.
III. The Gospel: Proclaimed by God the Holy Spirit
We’ve already seen that the Gospel is the finished work of Christ on behalf of His people. He died for His people on Calvary’s hill around two thousand years ago on behalf of each and everyone of God’s elect, no more, no less.
Today, we tell people the good news of this Gospel. Christ died for poor and need sinners. Those who come to Him who not be cast out! Those who heed the Gospel call as it is faithfully presented do so because the Holy Spirit, the promised Comforter, leads and guides God’s people into all truth, including the truth concerning the saving Gospel!
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
1 Corinthians 12:3
Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.
Salvation rests in the work of Christ! And the Spirit of God, God the Holy Spirit, testifies of Christ’s work in the preaching of the Gospel. He accompanies the preaching to gather God’s elect unto Christ.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
1 Thessalonians 1:4,5
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
The Gospel, the actual work of redemption completed by Christ for the sake of God’s elect people, was promised by God the Father, Completed by God the Son, and is to this very day proclaimed in Power by God the Holy Spirit in the faithful preaching of this precious truth.
God promised a savior for His people, a restored relationship, and an eternal covenant. Who could be the surety for such a lofty promise! The Yes and Amen is firmly placed in Christ!
Christ faithfully fulfilled all righteousness, faithfully and fully bearing the iniquities of His people while granting unto them His imputed righteousness. Our claim to righteousness, our hope in the Gospel, the Yes and Amen is firmly placed on Christ!
The Spirit of God uses the means of faithful Gospel preaching to spread this good news to those whom God will call into fellowship with Him, His great harvest of souls. What is the ground of such preaching? Does our hope rest in our works or our ability to keep up with a set of religious rites and rituals? No! Our ground for preaching the Gospel rests in the Christ’s perfect promises! The Yes and Amen is firmly settled in Christ!
May the Lord add blessings to this Gospel message today, Amen.