THE GLAD TIDINGS OF THE CHRIST
David J Hutson
Hebrews 9: 24-28
One glorious Man is the subject of the preaching of glad tidings. He is referred to twice in this section that I have read as ‘the Christ’. I suppose the children here especially would treasure that precious name of Jesus. It is ‘Jesus the Christ’. Sometimes the full name is given - the Lord Jesus Christ. What a Man He is! And not only is He a Man, but let us say at the very outset who He is in His Person. It says “Of whom … is the Christ, who is over all, God blessed for ever”, Rom 9: 5. He said of Himself, “Unless ye believe that I am, ye shall die in your sins”, John 8: 24. It is absolutely imperative that you should recognise who He is; and yet the blessed fact is that He became a Man and that He came into the world to save sinners; He came into the world to save you. If you are not saved yet, I trust that as the Saviour is presented to you this afternoon for your acceptance by faith you might go out of the room as knowing Him and able - as we had in the last line of the hymn - to say -
The One who gave Himself for me. (Hymn 34).
We have been speaking of great things in these meetings. He delivered Himself up for the assembly. But how wonderful that the saved sinner can say ‘He gave Himself for me’. How great He is. The apostle Paul could say “The Son of God who has loved me and given Himself for me”, Gal 2: 20. Could there be anything more wonderful than that such a One as He could come into the world to save such a one as I am? He came in love, love unchanged and unchanging and unchangeable, love which has its place in Himself because He is God and God’s nature is love. What a Saviour! He will occupy the saints - those who love Him - throughout eternity, tirelessly, for we will never exhaust the glories of this blessed One. You might well say ‘How can we, in the short time available to us, speak adequately of such a One?’ How dependent we are on the Holy Spirit that what should be said may be said, and we count on His help as we go forward.
In this scripture He is referred to as ‘the Christ’. We are often reminded that the Christ is the One who does things for God. He is the One who has effected a mighty work that none other could do because of who He is in His Person; but in order to do it He became a Man. We present to you the Man, Christ Jesus who gave Himself a ransom for me. Can you say that? How did He do it? There are many figures about which we can read in the Old Testament, about the offerings; we can read about the dedication of Solomon’s temple, when - it has been said - the city of Jerusalem must almost have been awash with the blood of the offerings. Yet all that blood - though it pointed on to the blood of Jesus - was itself of no efficacy for the removal of sin. But the blood of one blessed Man, the blood of Jesus Christ God’s Son, is able to cleanse from every sin, see 1 John 1: 7. Have you put your faith in the blood of Jesus? Have your sins been cleansed in that precious blood that was shed at Golgotha? It is available to you now, just where you are. The immediacy of the effect of it can be seen in that dear man who put his trust in the Saviour dying at his side; Jesus could say “To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise”, Luke 23: 43. What an answer! No process is required. Speaking reverently, the process has been gone through by Jesus. Think of these hours of His forsaking on the cross. What it meant that He should suffer there, the Just for the unjust, that He should bring us to God. The sins of many were laid upon Him, and yet it is also true that “and he is the propitiation for our sins; but not for ours alone, but also for the whole world”, 1 John 2: 2. God is satisfied in relation to the matter, in relation to the whole world. You can come into the gain of it by faith at this very moment.
This scripture that I have read does not speak exactly about everybody. It speaks about the Lord bearing the sins of many. Then it says “He shall appear to those that look for Him”. Has He borne your sins? Are you looking for Him? He came once in the consummation of the ages, the whole focus of time was on the coming in of Jesus to resolve this question. As it says here, “Now once in the consummation of the ages he has been manifested for the putting away of sin by His sacrifice.” John the baptist could see Him coming to him and said “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”, see John 1: 29. The whole scene is to be cleansed of sin, and this One is able for it, able to take it all away, He is the taker away of the sin of the world. It says not only that He was “manifested for the putting away of sin by his sacrifice” but also that He was “once offered to bear the sins of many”. I often refer to an unanswered question that was put to Jesus. People said to Him “Sir, are such as are to be saved few in number?”, Luke 13: 23. It speaks about many here. What answer did Jesus give? “Strive with earnestness to enter in through the narrow door”. That is, it does not matter how many there are, you make sure that you are one of them.
That is what I would say to you this afternoon, dear friend. If you do not know your sins forgiven, do not concern yourself about anyone else but make sure you come under the shelter of the precious blood of Jesus. Make sure you avail yourself of His one offering - “He offered Himself without spot to God”, Heb 9: 14 KJV. What could I offer for my sins? Nothing, sinner as I am. But He offered Himself by the eternal Spirit without spot to God. And God has accepted that offering, so that those who believe in Him can avail themselves of it and of the value of that precious blood that was shed when He offered Himself, the judgment already having been borne in these three hours of darkness, when God forsook Him and that awful cry was heard on Golgotha’s cross, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”, Matt 27: 46. But God is satisfied in relation to the matter, so that now we can come into the value of that great offering. He offered Himself. No other priest could do that. The priest had other offerings to make, and blood was shed - it all pointed on to the blood of this One glorious Saviour -
Shed for rebels, shed for sinners,
and, I can say - can you and do you mean it? –
Shed for me (Hymn 167).
Have you really come, in repentance towards God, to acknowledge not only all that you have done but also all that you are, and come into the gain of that great offering when He offered Himself without spot to God?
It says, “And forasmuch as it is the portion of men once to die, and after this judgment; thus the Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many”. I plead with you to put yourself among the many today by putting your faith and trust in the Saviour. He is not now on the cross - thank God He was there, and not only on the cross but also in the grave - but He is not there now, nor in the grave when He put out of sight for ever the man that in me was so offensive to Him. But so glorified was God in all that He did that Christ is raised from among the dead by His glory, and God has set Him at His right hand in that place of power in the universe, where He is mighty to save, and mighty to save you today. Put your trust in Him there, in the virtue of where He has been, in the virtue of what He has done, and in the virtue of the blood that He has shed. Oh, what a Saviour He is!
It says here that there is that which is the portion of us all. Whatever men may say about the Bible, whether they believe it or not, this is something that you cannot escape: “…it is the portion of men once to die, and after this judgment”. But when we come to speak of these things, these great realities of the scriptures, often things are put round the other way. Jesus bore the judgment and then He died. But if you die without your trust in Jesus, you will after you die be under judgment eternally. But the wonder of it is that Jesus in those three hours of darkness bore the judgment. I would seek to convey something of what it means to my soul. For me, the judgment would involve an eternity of banishment, for ever, from the sight of a holy, sin-hating God. An eternity! I say carefully, ‘whatever that means’. For how can our poor feeble minds compass what eternity is? But that is what it is. An eternity without Christ and without God, banished for ever, in untold suffering. But all that was compressed into three hours for me. And not only for me, but for all who put their trust in Him. He laid a basis for the cleansing of the whole scene, the taking away of sin. I just pause so that for a moment you might think of it. We shall never fathom what Jesus bore. He suffered at the hands of men. And He suffered at the hands of the God against whom I had sinned, so that I might be brought to that God in such a way that He views me in the same favour as He views the Saviour who died for me. Is it not wonderful? When you start to speak of these things, you realise how helpless you are and how dependent on the Holy Spirit that the reality of these things might sink into every heart and cause a response such as never before. I say this to my brethren, my brethren whom I love, my brethren who know Jesus better than I do; but may it be that something of this enters into all our hearts in view of a richer response to Him, and in view of enrichment of the service of God in which we are privileged to have our part each Lord’s day and as we go on through the week.
The portion of men is once to die and after this the judgment. But as I said, Jesus bore the judgment, and in bearing the judgment He bore the penalty that was due to me because of the judgment. He died and He was buried, a complete matter; and He was raised again, and now we announce Him as a glorified Saviour, the Christ, who has done everything for God. What a Man He is!
We must come into this individually, and faith in Christ alone will suffice. I say this very carefully, because I do not want in any sense to seem to reduce the value and meaning of the precious privilege we have in breaking bread in remembrance of Himself each Lord’s day. I do not want to diminish that in any sense. If you have not committed yourself to the breaking of bread, dear fellow believer, I plead with you, while you have an opportunity - if you have another opportunity next Lord’s day - to answer to that request of the Saviour before He died to remember Him in the breaking of bread. But what I wanted to say is that that alone is not efficacious for the forgiveness of sins. In the same scripture that I referred to in Luke He speaks of those who plead with Him when the door is shut and they are shut out - “then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten in thy presence and drunk”. Another has said that he was gravely concerned about the eternal security of some who put their hands to the loaf and the cup. Mr C A Coates says on page 10 of his letters - ‘There are many in fellowship of whose eternal security one stands in the gravest doubt. They have picked up a kind of dogmatic Christianity, and have certain truths in their minds, but one does not see them being morally formed in any way. You can only leave such with God. "The Lord knoweth them that are his …".’.
Beloved young brethren, I say this soberly and I say it to myself, as to the reality of my trust in the work and blood of Christ. It speaks of bearing the sins of many. You are to be brought into company. You will not find it out there. There is no company like the company you are brought into through the death of the Lord Jesus, and through His ascension into glory, and the Holy Spirit coming from the glorified Man. Dear fellow believer, are you conscious of the presence of the Holy Spirit? Are you conscious that you are one with every other believer? “Baptised by one Spirit into one body” (1 Cor 12: 11), to be here as the very body of Christ so that when the Lord says to Saul of Tarsus “Why persecutest thou me?” (Acts 9: 22) we often say that this is the truth of the body; but then we cannot separate the body from the Head. He felt it personally, you see. You can consciously be in the body by the Holy Spirit. And the Father is prepared and willing to give you the Holy Spirit if you will make room for Him in your heart which has been cleansed and purified by faith in the blood of Jesus. And so you come in to what we speak of as the assembly. What satisfaction that gives to the heart of Christ! We have been speaking of it, that you may have part in that which soon in its entirety He will present to Himself glorious (Eph 5: 22) for the eternal satisfaction of His heart as Man. But you can have part in it now and have some sense that you are giving satisfaction to the One who has given Himself for you.
So it says that He has been offered to bear the sins of many. And then you come among those of whom it says that He shall appear to “those who look for Him” the second time. Oh, you say, He is coming again? Coming publicly? But before He comes publicly He is coming to “those who look for Him”. That is a private matter. Do you not want to have part in it, when Jesus comes? He is not going to send an angel to do it. He is going to come Himself. The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven - how wonderful. He is going to gather up all those who have been secured by virtue of the precious blood that He shed at Golgotha. What a Saviour He is! He is coming. The Lord Himself! Is He your Lord? Have you acknowledged His rights over you? At what cost they have been secured!
I present Him to you not only as Saviour but as Lord, and the Lord Himself is going to descend from heaven with “assembling shout, with archangel's voice and with trump of God” (1 Thess 4: 16); assembling all who have been thus secured. My dear father had an impression about these three things that are mentioned in that scripture. It is not only the believers of the present time who are going to be gathered up; “the dead in Christ” go back a long way. You read about men of faith in the Old Testament - anticipatively they were men of faith, although they did not know about the Saviour, they did not know about His shed blood, they did not know about that work on Calvary, but they are among “the dead in Christ” because in faith they accepted God’s provision and they were able to go on in faith in the pathway here. My father used to say: the assembling shout, we know what that is; that is for us, the assembly. Then it will be with archangel’s voice - Israel was accustomed to angelic service - it will be the same voice, but they will recognise it, as the archangel’s voice. But then there are others too - think of Cyrus, Nebuchadnezzar, these men - the trumpet of God is for them! What a great military assemblage it will be when they are all gathered in, it will be a secret matter from the world. They will wonder what has happened to us all.
He shall appear to those who look for Him. Are you looking for Him, looking for the Saviour? If you look for Him, is it not going to make a difference to your life? What are you going to be doing when He comes? I know it is in a different setting, but the apostle John says in his epistle: “that if he be manifested we may have boldness, and not be put to shame from before him at his coming”, 1 John 2: 28. I know that does not really apply to this, but I would not want to be out watching a football match when Jesus came. I have said in these meetings earlier that Christianity is essentially simple, and this is another of the things that makes it simple. What will I be doing when Jesus comes? Would I like Him to find me doing this or that, whatever it may be? Put it another way: suppose there is a meeting, and I say ‘I will not go to the meeting tonight, I have got something else to do’ - and He came! Would you like Him to find you in that other place, or in the meeting? These things are so simple. It is not putting rules and regulations on us, but love for Jesus - the One who loves me and gave Himself for me - should control everything that I do. So, I present my body a living sacrifice.
You might not find it easy. It says there “that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God”. You know the will of God is good - it must be, because it is God’s will. We know it is perfect - it must be, because it is God’s will. But for it to be acceptable - it is like the meat in the sandwich, you see - between the good and the perfect will. Do you find the will of God acceptable? That is the secret of it. If you are brought to God - “Christ indeed has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God;” (1 Pet 3: 18) - if you are brought to God and you know God then His will is to be acceptable to you. And you also know “that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to purpose”, Rom 8: 28. And the great end of His purpose is that we are pre-destinated to be conformed to the image of His Son. Is that the end? “So that He should be the firstborn among many brethren”. Would you not like to be among those who give Him that place? It is all in the gospel, it is so attractive, there is so much to be brought into. Do not think about what you have got to give up. What you give up is not worth having in the light of all these things that we are speaking of! I appeal to you, dear friend, He is going to come the second time without sin and He is not going to have to say to it any more. The work has been done and you can be in the gain of it today, this very moment, where you are sitting on your seat, by putting your faith in Jesus and coming under the shelter of His precious blood. May no-one here miss it. Amen.
Preaching at three day meetings, Grangemouth
17th August 2008