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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
April 16, 2017
The Glory and Majesty of God, Part 5 – Redemption
He is Risen! Our focus so far this morning has as been on the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. It is the greatest news in human history for it solves a fundamental concern and question of mankind – Has anyone conquered our enemy, death, and can I conquer the grave too? And the answer is a resounding YES!
But Jesus’ resurrection is actually a lot more important than just overcoming death even as important as that is to us mortals. His resurrection is the proof that all of His claims about Himself and all of His promises to His followers are true. Eternal life is offered because He has redeemed man from sin so that there can be reconciliation between himself and God. This morning I want us to look at the glory and majesty of God as displayed in redemption and proven in Jesus’ resurrection.
The Problem of Sin
To understand redemption you must first recognize its necessity which arises out of God’s character and man’s sinfulness. Most of you are familiar with the story of the fall of man in Genesis 3. God made the world and pronounced it to be “very good” at the end of the sixth day. Adam and Eve were innocent and sinless when God placed them in the Garden of Eden. It was a true paradise of safety and abundance of “every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food.” They could eat the fruit of any tree in the garden except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil with the prohibition made more serious by God’s warning “for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:9, 16-17). Eve was deceived by the devil’s lies about God and His commands (Genesis 3:1-6; 1 Timothy 2:14) and Adam chose to disobey the Lord by also eating the forbidden fruit. Their transgression of God’s law is called sin and through Adam all of mankind has inherited a sin nature proven by each individual’s violation of God’s commands though both ignorance and willful defiance. Humans want to do things according to their own desires and wisdom, but our inherent sin nature makes those things naturally contrary to godliness. Man still falls for the various lies the devil told Eve. Believing God is holding back on us and that we know better, we pursue what we think is best for ourselves. Proverbs 14:12 warns, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”
One of the many ways in which these truths are displayed is the claim of skeptics that God is cruel, even immoral, for requiring death as the penalty of sin. That is falling for a classic Satanic lie for it is the position of a man trying to make himself equal to and even superior to His creator. It is also utter foolishness. If man judges based on his own values, then he has no greater claim to validity than those made by anyone else including those whose values are opposite of his. If man judges based on societal standards, then there is no greater claim to validity than any other society including those holding opposite ones. If judgment is based on majority opinion or superior power, then tyranny rules over the minority regardless of what is actually true. Truth is ultimately determined by reality, but if there is no absolute law giver, then there are no absolute values and even reality becomes relative and ever shifting between competing philosophies. What is or is not immoral is then determined by whoever is able to force their values on others. And remember, that in evolution, there is no basis for morality, only the competition to survive and reproduce, and if you don’t survive and even if your species becomes extinct, it has only made room for what has proven to be superior at survival.
Such skeptical judgment of God also shows complete ignorance of God’s attributes and character out of which both the penalty for sin and its satisfaction arise. God’s very character demands both a high penalty for sin and a means by which it can be fully satisfied. That is the reason for redemption gained by Jesus’ death on the cross and proven by His resurrection.
We have already covered God’s attributes of being holy, eternal, almighty, omniscient, omnipresent, and sovereign. (See; The Glory and Majesty of God, Part 4 – His Attributes and The Glory and Majesty of God, Part 3 – Creation & Attributes). Each of these set Him apart from man and as being something other than a created being for all created things are finite and God is infinite in every dimension and respect. He is infinite in time, space, knowledge and power which makes Him both holy and sovereign. As He Himself states in Isaiah 46:9-10, “9 Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’”
As I did last week, I will give a short definition of each attribute I cover followed by one or more statements by God about His possessing that attribute. I will then briefly explain its relationship to redemption.
Righteous – The quality of being right, accurate, just, in conformity to the standard – legal, ethical, moral. The root of both the Hebrew and Greek words are the concept of law. God conforms to the laws He has decreed which sets the moral and ethical standard for everything.
The Lord often declares this quality about Himself and His actions. For example, speaking of Himself in Isaiah 5:16 He declared, “But the LORD of hosts will be exalted in judgment, And the holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness“ and in Isaiah 42:21, “The LORD was pleased for His righteousness’ sake To make the law great and glorious.” Because the Lord is righteous His actions are also righteous as seen in Jeremiah 9:24 saying, 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.
It is out of His righteousness that both His judgment and salvation arise. This is seen in Isaiah 45:21-22, 21 “Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me. 22 “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.” His righteousness is a source of comfort to those who do turn to Him. His promise in Isaiah 41:10 is, “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
It is also important to point out that redemption is tied directly to His righteousness as seen in the prophecy in Isaiah 53:11 about the suffering Servant, the Messiah, 11 “As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.” I will come back to this idea later in the sermon.
The quality of righteousness also brings about the Lord’s judgment on those that do not turn to Him. Isaiah 11 is also a prophecy about the coming Messiah with verses 4-5 declaring, 4 “But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. 5 Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist.” This immediately brings up the related attribute of being just.
Just – to be morally right, to apply the standard of law, ethics rightly. This applies the standard of righteousness outward in the rule over and judgment of others. Righteousness demands also being just. The two concepts often appear together or are used as synonyms.
I already mentioned Jeremiah 9:24 where they are used together describing the Lord’s actions. They are also used together in the prophecy of Messiah’s future reign in Isaiah 9:7, “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.”
Justice brings about blessing for the righteous and punishment for the wicked. That blessing is seen in God’s declaration in Isaiah 30:18, “Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.” The warning is given in Isaiah 61:8, “For I, the LORD, love justice, I hate robbery in the burnt offering; And I will faithfully give them their recompense And make an everlasting covenant with them.”
Jesus speaks about this in Luke 18:7–8 with a view to His own future reign during the Millennium saying, 7 now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? 8 “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
I have already pointed out that those who accuse God of being cruel or immoral base their judgment on their own preferences instead of any absolute. This gives them false ideas about both righteousness and justice which fail to meet God’s absolute standards. They also fail to recognize that the qualities of God that they are rejecting such as His jealousy, anger and wrath rise out of His righteousness and justice. We well look at those next.
Jealous – “1 a: intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness.” “3. Vigilant in guarding a possession.” (Concise Oxford English Dictionary)
Our tendency is to only think of jealousy in its connotation of being “envious of someone else’s possessions, achievements, or advantages” resulting in being suspicious or resentful of a perceived rival. That form of jealousy is wrong, but it is proper to be jealous in guarding what belongs to you and being hostile to what would seek to attack, destroy or steal what belongs to you.
God makes it very clear that He is properly jealous. In explaining the reason for the first three commandments, He states in Exodus 20:5–6 5 “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
This is why Moses warned the people in Deuteronomy 4:24, “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God,” and Joshua warned the people in a similar manner saying, 19 Then Joshua said to the people, “You will not be able to serve the LORD, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgression or your sins. 20 “If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you after He has done good to you” (Joshua 24:19–20)
It is proper for the Lord to be jealous for He is the only God making it right and true to be intolerant of any rivalry. It is also proper for Him to be jealous to guard what belongs to Him including worship and reverence for His holy name. For the Lord to be less than fiercely jealous of these things would be to condone inherent evil which attacks the foundations of reality. As the Lord explains in Ezekiel 36:22–23, He brought judgment against Israel and other nations out of jealousy for His holy name. He acted to protect it and proclaim it.
It must be recognized that all sin is ultimately an attack against God and His character for sin requires acting upon lies about God and defying His commandments. The obedience and fealty due Him as Creator is denied and given to someone or something else. The Lord will jealously uphold His righteous and protect His justice by applying His holy standards in judgment of all people. Without redemption, there would be no hope for anyone for all would be condemned for their sin and suffer under God’s anger and wrath.
Anger / Wrath – Anger is having strong feelings of annoyance, displeasure or hostility. The Hebrew word for anger is interesting because it specifically refers to the changes in the countenance of the face that expresses anger such as the dilation of the nostrils and snorting. Wrath is an intensification of anger which includes a strong vengeful indignation; retributory punishment for an offense.
The Bible is full of warnings about the Lord’s anger and wrath against those who disobey Him. For example, in 2 Kings 22:17 the Lord warns Judah, “Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods that they might provoke Me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore My wrath burns against this place, and it shall not be quenched.” Similar warnings are given to the Gentile nations as well such as Micah 5:15, “And I will execute vengeance in anger and wrath On the nations which have not obeyed.” Zechariah 8:2 explains the reason, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘I am exceedingly jealous for Zion, yes, with great wrath I am jealous for her.’” God is jealous for what belongs to Him and His wrath will be against those that violate it.
That anger and wrath were expressed against both Israel and the Gentile nations on many occasions throughout history and it will be expressed again according to Revelation 14:10 when those who worship and receive the mark of the beast “will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.”
Even Jesus expressed anger in confronting those who had profaned the Temple. John 2:14–15 records, 14 “And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15 And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.” Verse 16 explains this was motivated by His zeal for God’s house. Jesus was jealously upholding God’s righteousness. Mark 3:5 records that Jesus was also provoked to anger by the hardness of heart of the religious leaders which removed their compassion for the sick and lame.
It is good that the Lord is slow to anger as He proclaimed to Moses in Exodus 34:6 for it is tempered by His other attributes or we would all be consumed by it. It is also the Lord’s own character that turns away His anger (Hosea 14:4). The Lord God explains in Ezekiel 39:25-29 that it was out of jealousy for His holy name that he both brought them into exile and would restore them back to the land. He is true to Himself and His promises which was the basis for Him to tell Israel in Isaiah 54:8, “In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, But with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,” Says the LORD your Redeemer.
We need redemption because the Lord’s wrath abides upon those who do not obey Him (John 3:36). There is hope of redemption because of the Lord’s other attributes including His righteousness, justice, jealousy and compassion.
Compassion – TWOT says of the Hebrew word, This root refers to deep love (usually of a “superior” for an “inferior”) rooted in some “natural” bond. It is an emotion which can be expressed in various ways including pity and mercy. The Greek word specifically refers to that emotional feeling which moves people to actions of kindness.
The Lord told Moses in Exodus 33:19 that His graciousness and compassion were according to His own choice. As already seen in Isaiah 54:8 but also stated in Isaiah 60:10 the Lord’s wrath was tempered by and replaced by His compassion for His people. He explains in Zechariah 10:6 “I will strengthen the house of Judah, And I will save the house of Joseph, And I will bring them back, Because I have had compassion on them; And they will be as though I had not rejected them, For I am the LORD their God and I will answer them.”
Jesus often felt compassion for people and was moved to acts of kindness toward them. For example, in Matthew 15:32 Jesus told His disciples, “I feel compassion for the people, because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.” He then miraculously fed over four thousand of them with just seven small loaves of bread and few small fish. It was His compassion that motivated Him to teach, heal the sick, cast out demons and raise the dead (Matthew 14:4; Mark 6:34; Luke 7:13).
The Lord brings about redemption because His compassion compels additional attributes such as mercy, lovingkindness and graciousness which we will look at next.
Mercy – There are several different Hebrew and Greek words that are used to express the fulness of this concept, but essentially it is the compassionate disposition to withhold the punishment an offender or adversary deserves.
The mercy of God begins in Genesis 3 after Adam’s fall into sin. Adam and Eve hide from God, as if that is possible, but God searches them out and in response to their confession, they are cursed, but the immediately deserved punishment is withheld and an animal is killed as a substitute and to provide clothing to cover their nakedness which is in keeping with the root meaning of atonement which is to “cover over.” Animal sacrifices were part of God’s merciful response to sinners who were spared. In the codification of the sacrificial system within the Mosaic Law, the Mercy Seat on the Ark of the Covenant was the symbol of this aspect of God’s character.
In Luke 6:36 Jesus declares that the Father has this quality saying, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” The Lord ties His mercy to His jealousy in Ezekiel 39:25 saying, “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name.” Isaiah 63:9 summarizes the Lord’s dealings with Israel saying, In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.
Mercy is foundational for redemption for without it the punishment would have already destroyed the sinner before he could be redeemed.
Lovingkindness – often used synonymously with mercy (especially in LXX) for it is acts of kindness arising out of the love set on the person. God acts with compassion on His chosen people because He has set His love on them.
In Jeremiah 9:24 He joins this attribute with two more that we usually do not considered saying, “but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.
The exercise of God’s justice in righteous is due to God’s lovingkindness in redeeming them from among the wicked. Otherwise justice would demand their condemnation.
Gracious – In the Old Testament it is often joined with compassion and is similar to mercy in being a heartfelt response to someone who has a need and acts to assist. Mercy withholds deserved punishment while grace extends undeserved blessing.
In reference to God, it is one of the attributes He declared about Himself as He passed by with His hand over Moses who was in the cleft of the rock (Exodus 34:6). The Lord explained to Moses in Exodus 33:19 “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious,” so we understand it is self generated within the Lord Himself and not compelled by any outside force. No one is deserving of His grace, He simply grants it according to His own will.
Isaiah 30:18 ties grace to compassion and justice saying, “Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.” When it comes to redemption, grace is extended alongside His justice. These harmonize with each other because God’s compassion motivates Him to satisfy His justice in order to extend grace. The Lord cannot violate one attribute in the exercise of another. All of them must harmonize with each other. The next several attributes explain how.
Faithful – God keeps all His promises. We have already seen God’s faithfulness to uphold His law to punish the wicked in discussing His justice, anger and wrath. He is also faithful to keep His multiple promises to restore His straying people after correcting them. For example, in speaking of a future restoration Isaiah 49:7 records,
Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel and its Holy One, To the despised One, To the One abhorred by the nation, To the Servant of rulers, “Kings will see and arise, Princes will also bow down, Because of the LORD who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You.” Speaking on the same theme the Lord says Isaiah 61:8, “For I, the LORD, love justice, I hate robbery in the burnt offering; And I will faithfully give them their recompense And make an everlasting covenant with them.” Notice that redemption is tied to an everlasting covenant God would make with them. That is the new covenant God explains in Jeremiah 31 in which their hearts would be changed. But that requires the exercise of another attribute first.
Forgiving – an offer of pardon to the sinner. There are two primary Hebrew words expressing this idea. The first is found in Exodus 34:7 in the Lord’s declaration about Himself that He “forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.” This word expresses the idea of sin being taken up and carried away as with both the sin offering in Leviticus 10:16 and the scapegoat in Leviticus 16:22. There is a substitute that bears away the guilt of the sinner.
The second word is only used in reference to God pardoning sinners and is found as part of the new covenant in Jeremiah 31 in which the Lord promises “I will forgiven their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
Both of these ideas are crucial to the forgiveness needed by the sinner and point to the means by which God’s righteousness and justice can be satisfied so that such forgiveness can be offered. Jesus explained it in Matthew 26:26-29 in instituting what we refer to as Communion or the Lord’s Supper. He took elements that were part of the Passover meal and gave them new meaning in a ritual that was to be regularly observed from that point on in memorial of His sacrifice. The matzah would represent His body which would be given for them on the cross of Calvary. Then Jesus said this about the cup of wine as He gave it to His disciples, “this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sin” (Matthew 26:28).
All of God’s attributes meet at the cross and are harmonized. Jesus became the sacrifice that enabled God’s righteousness, justice, anger and wrath to be completely satisfied in extending compassion, mercy, grace and forgiveness to guilty sinners. He is able to do this because He is eternal, omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. He is the Holy and sovereign Lord. Jesus’ atonement on the cross fulfilled all the references in the Hebrew Scriptures to the Lord also being the Redeemer such as Isaiah 44:24 (see also Isaiah 44:6; 48:17; 49:26; 60:16). Jesus is that promised redeemer who purchased us with His own blood to free man from the curse of sin. That also makes Him the promised Savior who issues a call to all, “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22). Or as Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, 28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” And as He promised in John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
Paul explains clearly in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 that without the resurrection there would be no hope and we would be of all people most to be pitied. We celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead because it proves all of His claims and promises are true. He is the redeemer. He is the savior. By God’s grace you can be forgiven and reconciled with God by faith in Him.
If you have that faith. Then praise God and tell others the greatest news possible. God offers salvation to mankind for Jesus has paid the price and now He is risen!
If you do not share this faith, today is the day of salvation. Do not leave without getting right with God. You can trust Jesus with your life and eternal future because He is risen!
Sermon Notes – 4/16/2017
The Glory and Majesty of God, Part 5 – Attributes of Redemption – Selected Scriptures
Jesus’ resurrection solves natural man’s greatest dilemma – how to conquer _____________
Jesus’ _______________is proof of His claims and promises – man can be redeemed from sin
The Problem of Sin
Despite living in a perfect environment, Adam & Eve fell into sin bringing its ______to all their descendants
People prove their sin nature by their __________actions and attitudes that are contrary to God’s law
Skeptics fall for one of Satan’s oldest ____________when they claim God is cruel or even immoral
Judgments based on personal, societal or majority standards are ultimately relative and _____________
Skeptical judgment of God also demonstrated ______________of God’s attributes and character
God is ____________in every dimension – time, space, knowledge & power – making Him holy & sovereign
Righteous – The quality of being right, accurate, just, in conformity to the _____________- legal, ethical, moral
____________________is tied directly to His righteousness: Isaiah 53:11
God’s righteousness results in His ____________________of the wicked: Isaiah 11:4-5
Just – to be morally right, to _________________the standard of law, ethics
______________will bring justice during His reign in the Millennium: Luke 18:7-8
Jealous – “1 a: intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness.” “3. Vigilant in ______________a possession”
God is ______________ jealous: Exodus 20:5–6
Moses ____________ the people that God was jealous: Deuteronomy 4:24
The Lord is the only God making it right & true to be intolerant of any _____- any less would condone evil
All sin is ultimately an ___________against God and His character for sin requires believing lies about God
Anger / Wrath – Anger is strong feelings of annoyance, displeasure or hostility. Wrath is its _______________
God’s wrath against Israel and the Gentile nations is both historical and ___________: Revelation 14:10
God is _____to anger because it is tempered by His other attributes: Exod. 34:6, Hosea 14:4, Ezek. 39:25-29
We need redemption because the Lord’s wrath ____________upon those who do not obey Him (John 3:36).
Compassion – an emotion expressed in various ways including pity & mercy. Feelings which motivate _______
Mercy – the compassionate disposition to _____________the punishment an offender or adversary deserves
The mercy of God begins in Genesis 3 with animal ________whose skin covered Adam & Eve’s nakedness
Mercy is foundational for __________________for without it we would already be destroyed
Lovingkindness – acts of kindness arising out of the __________set on the person
Exodus 20:5-6: God grants lovingkidness to those who _____________Him
God’s lovingkindness is exercised in ____________with His justice and righteousness: Jeremiah 29:24
Gracious – a heartfelt response to someone who has a need and acts to assist – it extends an _________blessing
God is gracious by His own ______________: Exodus 33:19
Grace is joined with compassion and ______________: Isaiah 30:18
Faithful – God __________all His promises
God will ____________His promises of restoration to Israel: Isaiah 49:7; 61:8
Jeremiah 31 – God will be faithful to establish the _______________________
Forgiving – an offer of ____________to the sinner.
God is forgiving – Exodus__________
Forgiveness is part of the ___________________: Jeremiah 31
Forgiveness is based on Jesus’ __________________________of Himself: Matthew 26:26-29
All of God’s attributes meet at the ______________and are harmonized
Jesus fulfills the promise of a coming ____________
Without the resurrection, there is no hope (1 Corinthians 15:12-19), but Jesus _________from the dead
If you have faith in Jesus, then ____________and tell others about Him
If you do not have faith in Jesus, today is the day of salvation if you will ____________and turn to Him
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times a word related to “redeem” is mentioned. 2) Discuss with your parents the characteristics of God that relate to Him offering redemption.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Consider the attributes of God and explain their relationship to His offer of redemption through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Why is it important that Jesus rose form the dead?
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