(Editor's Note:) We have at least 2 "Sermons From Africa" on that index under the title of "The Death Of Jesus Christ." They have been given numbers to separate them. Nos. "1" and "2" were preached at one of our African missions 2 weeks apart in February of 1981. Each of them can stand alone. *****
We want to think for a little while today about the subject, "The Death Of Jesus Christ." This is two Sundays recently that we have been preaching on the subject of the death of Jesus Christ and this will probably be the last for a little while on that subject. One could, however, preach every Sunday for a year on the theme of "The Death of Jesus Christ."
You may remember, those who were here, the first message that we brought two weeks ago, and on the third Sunday back from today, we brought a message under a different title, in which we tried to bring to your attention the importance and the purpose of Christ's death. And then last Sunday those who were here will remember that the message last Sunday morning we preached on the topic of for whom Christ died, that is, showing that He died for all men who will ever come to Him. So that all men can come to Him by grace through faith, and if they do come to Him then they can be saved because of His death. So last Sunday's message was largely about "For Whom Did Christ Die?" or "For Whom He Died." And now today we want to think in conclusion of this group of sermons along the lines of the "Results of Christ's Death".
Let us read first in John chapter 12. John 12:32 and 33. Now remember, the general theme for today is the results of Christ's death, and our first major division in our thoughts today is the results of His death in relation to men in general. And that's what we want to think about for a few minutes now --- The results of His death in relation to mankind, or men in general.
We notice first when we begin to think about this, (and we'll see this here in John), that through Christ's death all men are drawn unto Him. John 12:32 says: "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." This is Christ Himself speaking in this reference we just read to you. He's speaking in advance of His soon coming death and He makes it very clear that through His death all men can be drawn or will be drawn or are drawn unto Him. In thinking about this it might be good to go back and think for just a minute about the background or the context of this statement from Christ.
You may remember, if you've read these chapters in this part of John recently, that only back one chapter from this one, in chapter 11 in other words, He had raised Lazarus. And so this event or all these events here in chapter 12 recorded came only, (or certainly not more than) a few weeks after the raising of Lazarus. We don't know just exactly how long but pretty soon after the raising of Lazarus. So we have the raising of Lazarus right here near the time of the death of Christ!
Then we also have, of course, His trip up to Ephraim and His trip through Perea. But now we come down to chapter 12 we're speaking of today and He comes back for the supper at Bethany.
And we have the triumphal entry which occurred at about this same time also. And all this time remember, especially from the time of the raising of Lazarus, they're trying to kill Him.
In fact, we might read over there in chapter 12, verse 19 again and find what the Pharisees said about the fact that He draws men to Himself.If we look at JOhn 12:19, these are the very words of His own enemies here.
"The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? Behold, the world is gone after him." So even His enemies here at this time shortly before His death are already admitting that He is drawing men unto Himself just by His very presence. Also, they're referring in particular, no doubt, to the miracles that He's been performing, especially this miracle of the raising of Lazarus. But like a great magnet He does draw men. And aren't you glad He does? Oh, how glad we should be that He does! He draws men like a magnet draws iron filings!
You children have had magnets no doubt that you played with and if you were fortunate enough to have a little handfull of iron filings to go with your magnet, then you could really have some fun with it, couldn't you? Spread out your iron filings on a smooth, flat surface; a piece of glass or a smooth table top and then take your little magnet and you could just do anything with those iron filings, couldn't you? They were drawn to the magnet! And this is a good illustration of Christ. Men are drawn to Christ. So He's like a magnet, He draws mankind. And even His enemies there, as we read to you in 12:19, confessed and admitted that the "world is gone after Him", meaning that many men were being drawn to Him and leaving the false religion of the Pharisees.
When we think of Christ as the magne, we notice that some will resist. Some will resist the magnet. Some will resist the drawing of Christ but it's always only to their own destruction when they resist the drawing of Christ. Always and only to their own destruction.
Hebrews 2:3 speaks a good thought for us at this time. It says there: "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him." This is the drawing power that we're talking about, isn't it? And how can men expect to escape if they refuse this drawing power of Christ?
Again, in Hebrews 12:25 there is another good verse for us to read. "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven." Now Christ is speaking to men from heaven, isn't He? And He's saying here in these words in Hebrews 12:25 that if they didn't escape when He was speaking in person, here on the earth in the flesh in human form, then how on earth can men expect to escape when He speaks and pleads from heaven itself? From the very throne of glory He speaks to men today. He speaks to them through His Word and through the preaching of His Word by His messengers.
We could use as an illustration at this point the parable of the marriage feast over in Matthew chapter 22, which makes a pretty good picture. Perhaps you have read that one --- The parable of the marriage feast. For that passage in Matthew 22, (we won't read it together now) you should read it sometime from verse 1 down through verse 14. It gives the story there of Jesus speaking to them in a parable telling them how the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king that made a big marriage feast for his son. And he sent out his servants to call them to the marriage feast and they mocked his servants, as you'll find if you read the story there. And they abused his servants and even killed them. And then the king became angry and sent out his armies and destroyed those murderers it says in verse 7. And this, of course, could be applied to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. And then he said to his servants that the wedding is ready. "Now go out to the highways and the hedges, go out everywhere and bid all who will come to the wedding." "And whosoever, as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage," it says. And that's what we're doing today, isn't it? We're inviting people to the marriage of the Lamb.
Then He goes on and finishes up the story telling about the servants going out into the highways and gathering all they could find and bringing them into the marriage. This makes a good picture of Christ drawing men unto salvation.
Now as we go on a little further in this thought, remember we're thinking still about the results of Christ's death in relation to men in general. Not only are all men drawn unto Him but we see that by the death of Christ a propitiation is provided for the world. That is, an appeasement or a payment of the wrath of God for the sin of the world. First John 2:2 speaks of this when it says: "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." So we see that His death becomes or was or is a propitiation provided for the whole world.
All of God's dealings in mercy with the world are based entirely and solely and completely on Christ's death, not on any other basis whatsoever --- not on anything that we can do, not on any good works that we may do, not on any position that we may adopt or fail to adopt or any sin that we may commit or fail to commit! But all His dealings with the world in mercy are based completely and solely on the death of Christ. There is not any other basis on which Christ can deal in mercy with any man or with the world in general. In other words, Jesus, as Revelation 13:8 tells us, is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. And this is the only basis on which God can and will deal with man individually or mankind in general in mercy.
Another thing we notice when we think a little further, we see that His death took away the sin of the world. In John 1:29 it says: "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." So His death took the sin of the world out of the way and thus opened the way to life, to God, and to pardon for all men. There is no other pathway except by this pathway that was opened through the death of Christ.
Through His death all men obtain resurrection from the dead. All men obtain resurrection from the dead only through His death and burial and resurrection of Christ. First Corinthians speaks of this. First Corinthians 15: 21 and 22 says:, "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." So we see that resurrection from the dead has been obtained for all men by the death of Christ. By His death, burial and resurrection then, our resurrection is assured.
The saved are going to be resurrected to life eternal. But there's another sad factor about this resurrection of all men and that is the unsaved, all those who rejected Christ, are going to be resurrected to everlasting damnation or shame. The Scriptures clearly teach us this.
As we go on a little further, let's think for just a few minutes about the results of Christ's death in relation to the believer. Remember we've been thinking in these first parts of the message about the results of Christ's death in relation to men in general, now we want to limit it to the results of His death in relation to believers.
We notice some things as we think about this (if you read over in Isaiah 53, verse 10 — we won't read it today but I'm sure that many of you could quote it). We find that through Christ's soul being made a guilt offering for sin, that is, through His death, He sees His seed. In other words, He begets a spiritual progeny through His death. This new race of sons of God springs from Christ's death, doesn't it? There's no other source for this new race of children of God except from the death of Christ. And in this spiritual progeny which springs from His death, Jesus sees of the travail of His soul, and it says He is satisfied! You'll find that in Isaiah 53:11, the next verse after the one I mentioned earlier.
And now back here in John 12 again, which we used for our text today, in 12:24, we find these words, remember this is getting near the time of the crucifixion of Christ and He's preparing them a little bit, telling ahead of time about His coming death. He said these words: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." This confirms and enlarges on the idea that we just brought --- the new race of sons of God came from or springs forth from the death of Christ.
By the sacrifice of Himself, Jesus has put away sin or nullified the sin of the believer. He's paid for it, He has nullified the sin of the believer. In Hebrews 9:26, the last part of the verse says: "He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." So He has put away the sin of the believer.
Not only that but His death redeemed the believer from the curse of the law. It tells us that very plainly in Galatians 3:13, that He was made a curse for us and thereby redeemed us from the curse of the law. In other words, the penalty of the broken law was paid by Jesus. All paid for by Him as if a friend came in and paid our debt for us. And that's a pretty good illustration of what happened. The law was fulfilled and completed perfectly by and in Christ. And the law therefore has no more claim on the believer. The law is of no further effect as far as the law of sin and death on the believer.
By Christ's death,e believers who were once enemies of God, are now reconciled to God. We're reconciled to God as if we had never been estranged from Him at all. We've become closely associated to Him again, fully reconciled to God, by the death of Christ. Colossians 1:20, reading down through verse 22 has this to say: "And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated," (that is, He's talking to the believers here at Colosse) "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in his sight."
And that is a wonderful clarification of just what this reconciliation means, isn't it? There in Colossians 1:20 through 22 it plainly shows He has made us so that we can be presented holy, unblameable and unreprovable in the sight of God. And that's what the real reconciliation which believers have by the death of Christ means, isn't it? In other words, the enmity, the hatred, the problem between God and the sinner has been wiped out. It's been obliterated, it's been completely removed so that there is no more problem, there is no more enmity between God and the sinner who has come by faith in Christ and has been reconciled to God.
Christ has already made peace. He has already reconciled believers to God! It's not something He's going to do if by a great, good chance we get to heaven. Not at all. But it's something that He has already done. He's finished it now. It is already that way. We've been completely reconciled to God. Where there was enmity there is now love, where there was hatred there is now fellowship, where there was a diversity of walk, there now should be a partnership walk between us and God, walking together in love.
His blood we find, still thinking about the result of His death in relation to the believer, His blood continually cleanses those who walk in the light. Did you know that? I'm glad of that. If it didn't, we'd get so piled up with sin even after we were saved that we wouldn't be able to have fellowship, would we? With each other or with God for that matter. But His blood continually cleanses those who walk in the light. First John 1:7 speaks of this. It says: "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth," that's a progressive act, isn't it? A progressive factor being brought in here when it says that His Son cleanseth. That is something that is present progressive, isn't it? We would call it that in studying the grammar --- Present progressive. Cleansing by the blood in the Bible always means one thing and one thing only. It always means cleansing from guilt, removing the guilt. Every time when you find a reference to cleansing by blood in the Bible, if you go back and study the context, you'll find that it always means cleansing from guilt or removing the guilt by the cleansing blood.
This continuous cleansing keeps us free from the guilt of sin. Aren't you glad? We're not going to get so loaded down with sin that we can't have fellowship with God because this continuous cleansing that takes place keeps us in a position that we can have fellowship with God and continually keeps us free from the guilt of sin. That's a glorious thing to think about. By or in, we could say the blood of Christ, believers are justified. And in no other way. We're not justified in anything that we do, we're not justified in anything that we could do or anything that we ought to do or by anything that anyone else does for us, except what Christ did for us. That is the only basis on which believers are justified.
Now sometimes, when I'm thinking along these lines, I ask this question, and I believer I'll ask it today --- "What is the difference between forgiveness and justification?" Some people don't seem to know the difference but there is a definite difference between forgiveness and justification. And notice that we're emphasizing here the fact that the believer is justified by the death of Christ. We ARE NOT EMPHASIZING THE IDEA THAT HE'S FORGIVEN, ALTHOUGH HE IS, but we're emphasizing the idea that he is justified.
And now to make that stick in our minds a little more, let's answer this question about what the difference is between forgiveness and justification. Forgiveness is negative, isn't it? That's the putting away of sin. But justification is positive. We like to accentuate the positive, you know, as the old song said some years ago. Justification is positive.
Our justification means that we are reckoned as positively righteous before God --- ??? because of the good things that we do??? Is that what it says? NO, NO, NO, NO! That's not what the Scripture teaches, is it? Justification means that we are reckoned positively righteous before God because we are clothed upon with the beauty and glory and righteousness of Christ. That's the basis on which we are justified. The basis on which we are reckoned positively righteous before God is because of the fact that when He looks at us after we've received His Son as our Savior, He sees nothing of us but He sees only the glorious white robes of righteousness of His own matchless Son. Isn't that wonderful to think about? Glorious to think about, justification means that we're positively reckoned to be righteous before God because we have been clothed upon with the beauty and the righteousness of Jesus Christ!
By the death of Christ each and every believer was purchased to God and he is now God's own property. I like that! He belongs to God! Every believer has been purchased and is now God's own property. Revelation 5:9 is a good verse to read in connection with this. Remember this reference here is up in heaven and even there they're still celebrating the fact that the believer is God's own property. It says: "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." The very song of heaven is celebrating this glorious fact we've been talking about now, the fact that believers belong to God. They've been purchased by His own blood. We belong to God. Neither the devil, the world nor even ourselves have any further claim upon us, only God. We belong to God. We are God's personal possession and God is going to take care of His property, isn't He?
Because of the death of Christ believers shall live together with Him. I love that. It's only because of this that we ever will live together with Him, because of His death. First Thessalonians 5:10 speaks of this when it says: "Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him." That is, whether we're still alive when He comes at the Rapture or whether we're already asleep in Christ when He comes at the Rapture. Either way it says we shall live together with Him.
Now the last main thought in our message today. We want to think for just a few minutes about the results of Christ's death in relation to the devil and the powers of darkness. Through Christ's death we find the casting out of the prince of this world is secured. It's His death that makes the victory possible, isn't it? Christ's death insures the casting out of the prince of this world, who is the devil.
John 12:31-32 --- it says this: "Now is the judgment of this world," He is speaking, He is leading up to the time of His death and that's what He's referring to here when He says: "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out." He's referring to His death. "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
Satan is a usurper on the earth. He has no real right to be here. He has no real right to rule on the earth and yet he does. But his ultimate dethronement is guaranteed by one fact. It's guaranteed in due time by the death of Christ, isn't it? By the death of Christ, the devil is destroyed or made ineffective. That is, brought to naught. Hebrews 2:14 says that Christ became flesh that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. Now that word "destroy" is not the word which means to annihilate or to disintegrate or cause to cease to exist as we sometimes use that word, but it is a word which means "to bring to naught". So we see that Christ became flesh for the purpose of dying that through death as it says, He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil --- bring him to naught. And He has certainly succeeded in this and will succeed in this to the final degree in time to come.
The death of Christ was death to Satan's power in other words. It was death to his efforts to finally and totally and completely take over God's creation and rule and reign himself in opposition to God. Satan can no long wield the power of death over those who appropriate Christ's death to themselves. That is a glorious thought to think about, too. Satan can no longer wield the power of death over those who appropriate the death of Christ to themselves by accepting Him as their Savior!
In Christ's death on the cross, God triumphed over the whole evil world system and exposed them to open disgrace, as it tells us in Colossians 2, verses 14 and 15. He made an open disgrace out of the whole world system by the death of Christ on the cross, winning the victory over the devil and the evil system of the world.
The cross of Christ, in other words, was God's decisive battle against Satan. It was the greatest battle that's ever been fought and the greatest victory that has ever been won! The battle that was fought and the victory that was won at the cross --- Armageddon will be nothing as compared to this battle --- Nothing!
The moment of Satan's seeming victory was really the moment of his most overwhelming defeat, at the cross! Even in the eternal world to come this conflict and victory, that is, the conflict and victory at the cross will be the subject for eternal contemplation and wonder at the wisdom and power and glory of God!
But these results of Christ's death must be applied. The results of Christ's death must be applied. Sin is so ruinous that it has messed up all of creation. But because of the death of Christ we have a hope that He promised to us in II Peter 3:13: "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."
There is just one way that you can be ready for this new heaven and new earth. And it is coming! And I believe it's coming soon! But there is only one way to be ready for it. And that is to know Christ as your Savior when He comes. To know Christ as your Savior now is the proper preparation to be ready for this time when we shall have the fulfillment of this promise given in II Peter 3:13.
If you are not saved here today, if you will put your trust in the Lord, He will save you. He died for you. That's what He came for --- that is why He left the glory of heaven --- it was to die that we might be saved. If you haven't trusted Him as Savior, do it today and He'll save you. Or if you know you've been saved but you haven't been living for the Lord like you should and you want to resolve in your heart right now that you're going to live for God as you should, you want to dedicate your life to the Lord, to serve Him and to be a proper Christian as you should, come down and tells us about that so we can rejoice with you and pray with you about it! God will strengthen you in this resolve. Or if you know you've been saved and you feel the Lord leading you into the fellowship of this church, you come down and tell us about that and we'll talk to you about it, tell you what you need to do to become a member of this church.
Close — Invitation, or prayer or?