31 Aug 2014
If you’re here for the first time, you’ve chosen a wonderful week to join us because this is a special Sunday. This is our baptism Sunday. Some 30 of our people will be baptised today. And it is a big day for us. Because baptism is a wonderful way for us to tell you and to tell the world that our lives have been changed by the Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism is the glorious declaration of the saving work of Jesus in our lives. So we’re going to have our people enter the waters of baptism to tell you Jesus is their Saviour, Jesus died for their sins, they have believed on Him for eternal life. May I also clarify to you, the people who are getting into the water of baptism are not getting saved today. They’ve already been saved. Baptism is not the means to salvation; it is a declaration of salvation. 0:01:00.7
A story is told of a man. He was walking by the beach. He’s not a Christian. He’s never been to church. He doesn’t know what Christianity is all about. But he was walking at a beach and he spotted a group of people gathered by the seaside. They were actually having a baptism service. A pastor was baptising people in the sea and he walked by, he was curious. What’s all this about? So he got real close and the pastor turned around, saw him and thought that he was also going to be baptised. So he grabbed him and plunged him into the water, got him out and said to him, “Have you found Jesus?” The man says, “No, I’ve not found Jesus.” The pastor was shocked. Put him into the water another time, brings him out and says, “Have you found Jesus?” The man says, “No, I haven’t found Jesus.” Orr…this time I’m going to give it to you! Push him into the water for a good 30 seconds and while bubbles were coming out, he finally lifted him out and says, “Have you found Jesus?” The man panting, says, “No, I’ve not found Jesus but are you sure he fell in here?” (Laughter from congregation) 0:02:06.3
Baptism is not for you to find Jesus. Baptism is telling you, sometime before this, Jesus has already found me. He has saved me and I’ve received Him, believed upon Him to be my Lord and Saviour. And so all our baptismal candidates today, do take note, they are not getting saved today but they have already trusted the Lord and they are telling you about the glorious salvation in Jesus Christ. So what you are going to see later on is that I would dunk, or some of our pastors will be immersing our people into the water and then lifting them up. It’s a beautiful picture of how the old man, the old John, the old David, the old Sam, he is now dead and now arises in that state, a new man in Jesus Christ. This is not the day he is changed but this is the day he tells you he has been changed. And the water that the person gets into is a picture of the blood of Jesus Christ that can cleanse us from all sin. Again it’s just a picture because the water in the baptism tank later cannot wash away sin. The water, as I’ve always say, is from PUB, no… no special treatment. It’s just ordinary water and if you are the 30th person to be baptised today. I don’t think you will feel very clean. (Laughter from congregation) So it is all a picture. But it’s a beautiful illustration that the Christian is a man whose sin has been washed and cleansed. This is the central teaching of the Bible. Some of you are here for the first time. You come from overseas; you’ve never been to church. You are here for the first time and you’re wondering what is the central teaching of the Bible? The central teaching of the Bible is that there is a God who is willing to cleanse us from all sin. 0:04:03.1
You see, in the Bible, for example, in 1 John 2, and this is the text we are looking at. As a church we are studying the Bible and we come to 1 John chapter 2. And in this text, we read, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2, ESV) So even in this text, we see that the central problem of humanity is this word ‘sin’. And ‘sin’ is disobedience against God. It’s rebellion against our Maker, our Creator. And the central theme in these verses and indeed of the Bible is how God is able to save us and cleanse us from our sin. And I believe there is a message for everyone here, whether you are a Christian for a long time, whether you are someone who is going to be baptised today or whether you are a guest, a friend who has come to support your friend but you yourself have not trusted in Christ yet. I believe these words will be a blessing to your heart. 0:05:16.5
So, without much ado, let me take this portion by portion, starting with verse one, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.” The writer here is John. That’s why it’s called 1st John. It’s the first letter of John. And John is like an old man right now. He is 80, 90 years old. Some of you here I know is 70 plus but this is an old man writing. 80, 90 years old and as a pastor, he writes to his church like a kind and tender father. He says, my little children, I write these things to you so that you may not sin. I’m writing these things to you like a father would warn a child away from drugs and from danger. I’m saying to you, don’t sin. Because sin is destructive; sin robs you of joy; sin robs you of intimacy with God; sin dishonours God. So my little children, now that you have believed in Jesus, now that Christ has changed your life, your perspective has changed. Avoid sin! Do not sin! But of course, this is easier said than done. We all know as Christians if you have been in church for some time, you have believed in Jesus; you all know we are to walk in the light; you all know that we are to be disciples of Jesus, following Him, avoiding sin. But we all know it is harder than we have just said. Easier said than done. Why? Because right in all our lives, even though God has changed our hearts, even God…even though God has given us a new life, the old remnant of that sinful nature still remains. It is now no more the core of our being, but it is still a part of our being. The Bible tells us this is the flesh, the desires and the lust of sin still is with a Christian. And though God at salvation has dealt sin a death blow, it is still very much alive. 0:07:21.6
Let me give you an illustration. I was reading this week about a couple who was eating in a restaurant in Guangdong. And in the middle of the meal, there was a commotion from the kitchen. People were screaming, “Help! Help! Get the doctors please!” And er…they rushed in and they noticed that a man was lying still on the floor. He’s the chef. And they were told what has happened. The chef was actually preparing a snake dish. 蛇羹 (she geng) (Mandarin words meaning snake soup) I don’t know what lah! Maybe a snake dish. The chef has actually just cut off the head of the snake, place it to one side. Was dealing with the body of the snake, treating it and don’t know what else he’s doing and later on, he remembered he has to throw the head of the snake away. So he went to take hold of the head and the snake’s head, even though was decapitated, proceeded to bite the chef. Injected lethal toxin and he died before the doctors could come. Huh? You say, can like that one ah? I also didn’t know that it could happen but there was a video that they shown. Let me say to you, warning ah, viewer’s discretion is advised. (Laughter from congregation) If you are scared of this video, you can close your eyes and don’t watch it. But let me show you because I think this describe the sin nature in us. 0:08:38.3
Eeek! (Laughter from congregation) I don’t think you will ever want to touch snakes or decapitated snakes ever since now I think. Um… well this snake is amazing. I’m told that a snake’s head could still function for up to 20 minutes after it’s cut off from the body. And I think it’s a picture of sin nature in our lives. When we come to Jesus Christ for salvation and life, there is a crucifixion of the old life. The old sinful nature is rendered inoperative. But it doesn’t mean that it is now unable to tempt. It is unable to, or you are incapable of sinning. The sin nature resides in us in the flesh and if you are not careful, like the chef, we can be bitten by sin.
So, John here is saying, my little children, I write to you because I know sin is lethal. Sin is destructive and though it has been dealt a death blow, it is still very much alive. Be watchful! Be vigilant! Do not sin. But the question is: What if we are not careful? What if… because we are careless, we stumble and fall into sin. Will we die? Will we lose our salvation? Would…does a Christian go to hell? Even though he has believed in Jesus, but after he sins a sin, after he’s saved, will he then be consigned to hell? Will he lose his salvation? What happens if we sin? That’s the question that John seeks to answer next. But if anyone does sin, what happens to a Christian when he sins? What happen to a believer who has trusted in Jesus when he sins? Well, he says, if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father. The word ‘advocate’ is a legal term. It’s referring to something based on a court of law. A court of justice. The picture here is that someone is accused. For example, myself, I’m accused. I’ve sinned against God and I stand before the Holy God as the accused. And charge after charge, evidence after evidence is laid before the judge. And I’m speechless. I have no defence. I have no excuse because indeed I have sinned. And it looks terrible, it doesn’t look good for me because sin deserved judgement. The righteous judge will mete out punishment for sin. And when I’m defenceless and when I’m helpless, the Bible tells us that we have an advocate. This is a lawyer. This is a defence attorney. In the Greek, it refers to a man or someone who is called alongside, a ‘parakletos’ in the Greek. Someone who is called alongside to defend you. 0:12:06.5
I’m told in Singapore that we have… we are going to have a glut or too many lawyers for the jobs that are being available. And so if you are studying law, you may end up with no job in a few years time. But there is no one, who is skilled in law in this whole world who can be our advocate with the Father except for the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ the righteous. So we stand before the Holy God, we are guilty. We are charged. Evidence is laid before us, we can’t defend ourselves and now our advocate comes. Our defence lawyer comes. But this may surprise you. When he comes, he’s going to say something that may shock you. He’s going to say to the judge, “Your Honour, without a shadow of a doubt, my client is absolutely guilty as charged.” You say, “Huh? Jesus Christ is my defence lawyer and he comes and says I am guilty as charged? Shouldn’t he be defending me?” Well, he’s going to defend you but he’s not going to lie. He’s not going to say I defend him because he is innocent, he is good. You should know all the mitigating factors. He’s actually quite a good guy, so God don’t judge him. No, he’s going to say quite the opposite. He’s absolutely guilty. But the defence plea is not his innocence, the defence plea is that all his sin and the punishment that should be meted out against him is satisfied in me. That’s why he says he is the propitiation for our sins. The plea for pardon is not my innocence but on Jesus’ sufferings for us. 0:14:04.2
The word ‘propitiation’, I know it’s a big word, none of us use this in our normal conversation. What is the meaning of the word ‘propitiation’? In its essence, it means to appease, to placate, to satisfy the wrath of someone. You know what I mean, when someone is angry with me, you got to do something to appease. And…and Jesus is saying I am the appeasement for your sins. The Greek word, you know the Bible is not written in English, it’s…for the New Testament, it’s written in the Greek and the Greek word here is actually the word ‘Hilasmos’. It is a word that is related to ‘Hilastaron’. Wah… you say pastor, what are you doing? So many Greek words on Sunday morning. Well this is all I’m going to say. It is the word ‘Hilasmos’ related to another Greek word called ‘Hilasterion’. And the word ‘Hilasterion’ is interesting because it is used to refer to a piece of furniture that the Jews used to worship God. Now for the Jews, their worship of God is rather elaborate in the past. And they use different kinds of furniture and instruments. They have an altar where animals are slain. They have a basin where hands can be washed. They have a lampstand where light emits. They have this table of shew bread or bread or biscuit-like, wafer-like stuff. They have this altar where incense is offered. And they have this box and this ark where the Ten Commandments are contained. So they have all these instruments and furniture. And there is one of them that is called ‘Hilasterion’ in the Greek. Anyone knows which piece of furniture that is? Ok, never mind. We can try that again next time. Anyone want to have a last shot? Someone in first service actually mention it. Ark of covenant, very close. ‘Char tan po’ (Hokkien dialect words meaning missed a little bit), (Laughter from congregation). (Response from someone in congregation) Huh? Sorry? The mercy seat. And this is the piece of furniture that we are referring to. 0:16:16.1
This is actually…this box…alright…this box like structure (referring to picture shown), of course these are artists’ impressions. This box-like structure is what they called the ark of the covenant or the ark of testimony. Inside will have Moses’ rod, the Ten Commandments, the pot of manna. Er… this ark of covenant is in a very secluded, very special place. Er… in the tabernacle or the place that God dwells. But on top of this box is this cover. This lid. And on this lid are these two cherubims with wings spread out. And this cover, interestingly is called the ‘Hilasterion’ in Hebrews 9:5. This is the mercy seat. You say what is this all about? What is so special about this piece of furniture? This is what God says in Exodus 25, “There I will meet with you…” Oh, this is a special place where God meets with the people of Israel during Moses’ time. There, specifically, “…there I will meet with you and from above the mercy seat…” Above the ‘Hilasterion’ in the Greek. “…from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony…” (Exodus 25:22)
So this is the place where the people of Israel would want to be in. To meet with God before the ark, on top of the mercy seat. The problem is that the average Joe can never get near. They can’t. Why? This is the picture of the time of Moses (picture shown). Er… you know that the people of Israel, under Moses’ leadership, they travelled from place to place, and as they pitched their tents, they also set up their place of worship and their place of worship is a very interesting thing. This whole thing is called the Tabernacle. And it is fenced up, the average population cannot go in, except when they offered a sacrifice and within this tabernacle is also the Tabernacle proper. The actual tabernacle itself. It’s a kind of a hut-like structure and inside, it is divided into two parts. The outer part called the Holy Place and the inner part called the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies is a very, very special place. In the whole wide world, God only allows one person to go in. It’s not the King, not the Prime Minister, but only the great High Priest. The average people can only come right up to here to offer the sacrifices (referring to picture shown). The ordinary priests will be here killing the animals, cutting out the body parts, putting it on the altar to be sacrificed. They will wash their hands. But only the great High Priest can enter into the inner chamber. The Holy of Holies. Only the High Priest can meet with God in that way. And he doesn’t go in casually. He has to go in with a special garment and as you could see (referring to picture), he goes in with blood. He goes in with the blood of animals that was sacrificed. And as the High Priest, he represents Israel and says, God, we meet with you. God, we meet you but we dare not stand before you until blood is shed, until an animal is killed, until a sacrifice is offered, because we dared not stand before you. You are a God of righteousness; you are a God of Holiness. You are so holy you must judge sin and we can only come with an atonement. We can only come with a sacrifice and the blood must be sprinkled on the ‘Hilasterion’. There must be a propitiation. There must be an appeasement of the righteous wrath of God. 0:20:18.9
So when you look at the way the Jews worship. This whole thing, this whole setup is elaborate. But it is intended to teach a few things. One, it is intended to teach you that there is a way to approach God. You come with a sacrifice. You wash your hands and you go in to the presence of God but at the very same time, whilst there is a way to come to God, this is also a lesson to teach the Jews that there are barriers. There are separations; there are judgements; there are deaths; there are sacrifices that are necessary. Because man is sinful and God is holy and unless there is a sacrifice, there is no way you can approach God. And so in the light of this, John says to his people, when we sin, there are barriers, there are separations, we deserve death, we deserve judgement. It’s farther and farther away, but Jesus is the propitiation. He’s the one who reconciles us to God. He’s the one who appeases the righteous wrath of God. Otherwise, no mortal man would dare stand before the throne as the song goes. It’s only by His blood. It’s only through His mercy that we can come. 0:21:49.5
Sometime ago, there’s a preacher called R.C. Sproul. He asked this question in a sermon, “Saved from what?” We say, oh, we…we become Christians, we come to church, we hear the Bible to be saved. But I asked you what…what are you saved from? Saved from what? Because people today… I tell you why many people go to church. They go to church to be saved, that’s true. But they want to be saved from poverty. They want to be saved from their illness. They want to be saved from difficulties and pain and trials. They want to be saved from meaninglessness, the ‘emptilessness’…‘emptilessness’? ‘Wah lao’ (Hokkien dialect exclamation meaning oh my goodness) (Laughter from congregation), emptiness; want to be saved from loneliness. They want to be saved from these things. But actually… according to the Bible, what are you saved from? R.C. Sproul gave an answer and the people were stunned. He said, as far as I know, as far as I can read from the Bible, Jesus came so that I can be saved from God. Wow-o, what do you mean saved from God? So that I can be saved from God’s wrath that will fall on me if Jesus had not died for me. You see, Jesus himself says, I warned you, you should fear someone. “I warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” (Luke 12:5, ESV) Jesus says God has the authority to kill and to cast into hell. Why? Because we are sinners. And because God is holy and righteous, he hates sin and if Jesus did not died for us, if there is no sacrifice for us, if we do not have an advocate, we will be damned in hell. Because God is holy and we are sinful. And that’s why Jesus had to die. And that’s why Jesus had to come. My friends, Jesus did not come just to save you from your pimples, or your backaches. He did not save you so you have a few more thousand notes of dollar in your bank. He did far more than that. Something far greater. He came to appease the wrath of the Holy God against sinful man. He came to do what none of us would ever be able to do. He came to bring sinful man back to the Holy God. 0:24:17.7
That’s why He came. He came to save us from God’s wrath. Jesus Christ died for God, to save us; for God, to justify us. See, this is what is said in Romans 3, why did Jesus come and die? Why did He give his life? “It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and also the justifier of the one who has faith in Christ (or in Jesus).” (Romans 3:26, ESV) The logic is this: if you and I today, we sin, we are sinners, we died and God says, “Alright, it doesn’t matter. I know he has sinned all his life, but I’m so good to him, I’m going to let him come to heaven.” You know what’s going to happen for all eternity? There will be a joke. There will be a scandal. And say aah… this God who says He is righteous, this God who says He is holy, He is a joke because look at all these sinners. He lets them into heaven. He doesn’t deal with sin. He’s not the Holy God. He’s not the righteous God. He is a scandal, he is a joke! So that cannot happen. God is just. He must deal with sin. But how can He deal with sin and yet still justify us who are sinners? The answer is that the judgement and the punishment will be taken by Jesus Christ, his own Son. So Jesus had to die, to show that God is righteous. So that God now can be both just, to judge sin and He may justify us, because the sin is already judged on His son. 0:26:09.6
See, Spurgeon understood this. That’s why he said this so eloquently: “Ah, sinner, if God punish not thy sin, he has ceased to be what He has always been – the severely just, the inflexibly righteous…Is it possible then, that the sinner cannot be saved? This is the great riddle of the law, and the grand discovery of the gospel – the good news of Jesus Christ. Wonder ye heavens! Be astonished O earth! That very justice which stood in the sinner’s way and prevented his being pardoned, has been by the gospel of Christ appeased…” This justice of God demands that we be judged for our sins. But the very same time, because Jesus died for us, this same very justice of God is completely satisfied by Christ and now I’m free. “…by the rich atonement offered upon Calvary (the place where Jesus was crucified), justice is satisfied, has sheathed its sword, and has no, not a word to say against the pardon of the penitent.” And our advocate now, Jesus Christ, because He has completed this work, because He has died for us, He could come to God and say Lord, it is finished. Justify them.
Why did God do this? Why did God do this? Why did Jesus go to the cross? Why did He pay for your sins? The answer is right here in verse 10, “In this is love…” (1 John 4:10, ESV) Today we talked about God loves you, God loves you, God loves you and sometimes we have this sentimental syrupy, mushy kind of idea of love. No, it is a strong love, a strong love that God sent His Son to appease for our sins. This is the love of God and when you think of the cross. The cross is the supreme demonstration of the righteousness of God. Sin must be dealt with. At the very same time, the cross is the supreme demonstration of the love of God. My Son has taken it all. It’s on the cross that the justice of God and the love of God kissed. It’s on the cross that God who is angry with sin, and God who is angry with sinners could love us and save us and deliver us. 0:28:58:7 J.I. Packer, he says, “In paganism,” what is paganism? Paganism is false religion, false worship, false idolatry. “In paganism, man tries to appease his gods, and religion becomes a form of commercialism and, indeed of bribery.” It’s very interesting. He says, look at every religion in this world. Everyone offers a pig, a cow, a chicken, for what? To appease their god. But Packer says this is all a form of bribery. We are hoping that if I give you a chicken, you will spare me. You will give me 4D. Christianity is different. “In Christianity, however,” and this is what is so unique about the biblical teaching, “God propitiates his wrath by his own action.” It’s not what you have done. It’s not what we could do. It’s what His Son has done. “He set forth Jesus Christ… to be the propitiation for our sins.” (Quote from J.I. Packer)
Therefore in salvation, for all eternity, there is only one person who is going to get all the glory, not you. It’s all Him. Because it is by His own action. And because it’s by His own action, it is a complete and thorough work. And so who is to condemn. Now you are a Christian today, let’s put it back in the focus. You’re a Christian today, you sin against God. Will you lose your salvation? Let me tell you something. The Bible says, “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died - more than that, He was raised…” He has conquered sin, all sins. He rose again, He resurrected the third day. Meaning He has done it all. He is successful and right now He is at the right hand of God, interceding for us. (Romans 8:34, ESV) We are all familiar with the idea that Jesus live and died for us. Do you know that after He died, He is still serving you? Like a High Priest, He goes to the presence of God the Father and pleads for you, intercedes for you. He’s our great High Priest. So who dares to condemn the child of God today? “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost…” Aahhh…you will never be lost if you truly belong to Jesus. Even if you sin, and you sin and you sin, he’s able to save you to the uttermost because He is not looking to your merits. God is looking to Christ and what He has done. “…he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25, ESV) What does He pray for? Let me tell you what He prays for. The intercession of Christ, according to Calvin is a continual application of his death for our salvation. Picture this: I just sinned today and I’m going to sin tomorrow and I’m going to sin the day after, many, many, many, many times. And my Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ at the right hand of God is saying, Jason sinned, he is absolutely guilty! No defence! No excuses! But Father, look at my hands, look at my sides. I took his sins; I paid for them. Look upon what I have done and be satisfied in your holy wrath and justify Jason. I will save him to the uttermost. 0:32:50.5
This is the amazing grace of God, folks! We often think of God’s grace up to the point He saved us. Do you know that even after you’ve trusted in Jesus, that moment where your life is changed, for the rest of your life, He is still interceding for you? And He’s applying His finished work on the cross daily for you? If anyone does sin, oh, I wish you wouldn’t. John says, I wish you wouldn’t sin, please don’t! It’s dangerous. It ruins you. It dishonours God. But in case you do sin, this is your supreme confidence. It’s not about how good you are but you have an advocate. You have a defence attorney, who appears before the Father, and He pleads again, not your innocence, but that He has paid for all your sins. Some of you are here and you’ve been a Christian for some time and right here, right now, you are living in sin. And you are deeply ashamed of yourself. Satan has come and he makes sure he wants you to despair. He wants you to feel absolutely lousy about yourself. He wants you to say, how can you ever face God? How can you ever face yourself? This is the umpteen times you’ve sin in this area! You are not worthy to be called the son of God. You’re not worthy to be God’s children. That’s the time when we need the comforting assurance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I come to God not because I am good. I come to God because of Jesus Christ, the righteous. And He is the propitiation, the appeasement. 0:34:33.2
There is a great song we sing. It goes like this:
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look (I don’t look inward) and see Him there
who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.
A beautiful text that reminds us of Christ, our advocate, His amazing grace, available to all who have believed. Now, let’s put all these together again. John says, my little children, I’m writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And maybe some of us, if we were to write the epistle of John, we would say, my…let’s say you are me…or let’s say Jason, I write a letter to the church. My dear Gospeliters, I’m writing to you so that you may not sin. Because if you sin, you are going to lose your salvation and going to be damned to hell! I may have written something like that because I thought a threat is a powerful teaching. No, nothing like that from John. He says, my little children, I write to you that you may not sin. Let me tell you my amazing grace. God’s amazing grace. That even when you do sin, you are saved to the uttermost. And your great High Priest, your advocate, your propitiation, is still here for you. Nothing changes a man’s heart like the grace and the love of God. I say to you, the Bible tells us of God’s love, not in the sentimental mushy, kind of a… kind of a indefinite way. It’s a very clear demonstration and teaching on God’s love. And the grace of God should melt our hearts. The grace of God should be like a father speaking to a son. The son says…the father says, “Son, no matter what you do, I’m always going to love you. I’m always your father.” And the true son, will not respond by saying, “That’s great, Dad! I can do all I want to sin.” But the true son says in his heart, I will never want to disappoint my father. I want to live my life to honour him. I want to live my life to please him. My friends, if you today are bought by the blood of Jesus Christ and if God has a true work in your heart, you will not say to God, I can sin all I want so that He can forgive all He wants. But you will say, Lord, I will obey you. I will honour you. I will want to please you in all that I do. You see, it’s what Isaac Watts says: “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.” It’s the love of Christ that constraint us. 0:38:21.7
Are you living in sin today? The good news is that if you are truly a follower of Jesus Christ, you don’t lose your salvation because your High Priest pleads for you. The bad news I tell you, is that your Father’s heart is supremely grieved when you do so. Would the goodness of God today lead you back to repentance?
I want to say a last word for all our friends who may be here for the first time. If you’ve been sleeping, not clear what has been going on, hey, this is the time for you. Because John says, Jesus is not just the propitiation for sins for the believer, but he is also the propitiation for sins for the whole world. In other words, even though you are not an insider, even though you are not a believer of Jesus Christ yet, this sacrifice of Jesus Christ is equally available for you. You see, all of us were outsiders in the first place. And if you today, you come and you say, what is this church all about? I’m not a Christian, I don’t have a faith in Jesus, can I be saved? The answer here is that yes, Jesus is the propitiation for sins, not only for the believers right now, but it’s also for you. For the sins of the whole world. The death of Jesus Christ is so great, so amazing, it could atone for all the sins of the world. If they would only believe. And therefore, Jesus gave a very generous and wide offer. He says, “For God so loved the world, (the world!) that he gave his only Son, that whoever (that’s big! Anyone!) whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, ESV) Anyone of you today, you can come to Jesus for eternal life. You say, Pastor does this mean then, that every single human being on this earth will be saved since Jesus is the propitiation for the sins for the whole world? No, only those who believe. But the offer is to the whole world. How do you know that pastor? Well, John 3:16 seems to say, tell you that anyone who believes so will be saved. What if I don’t believe? Well, it says here in verse 36, just 20 verses down, “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:36, ESV) 0:41:02.9
Jesus is the propitiation. He is not a propitiation. He’s not one of the propitiation. He’s not a good propitiation. He is the only propitiation and if you do not believe in Jesus, if you do not follow Jesus, if he’s not the Saviour of your life, then the wrath of God abides on you. Because no one else can take that from you. The Bible says all of us will die. And after this, the judgement. It is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgement. And we all will be the accused. We will stand before the holy judge. Charge after charge, evidence after evidence and we will be left speechless. You will know on that day you have no defence. You are guilty as charged. The difference is that a person who has believes in Jesus Christ, he stands free. Because his advocate comes besides him and shows the Father, I’ve paid for his sins, justify him. 0:42:20.3
My friends, when you appear before God, do you have an advocate? Do you have Jesus? Will you be saved? The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. It doesn’t matter how many sins you have. You may feel I’m…I’m so rotten I can never be saved, no, Jesus is the propitiation.
Let me close with a story. And it’s about this man called Charles Finney. 1800’s, a pastor, he preached a message in a church service. And after service, a man came up to him and say, “Can I meet you, Sir, tomorrow?” He immediately said yes. And…and the deacons, the other church leaders came and realised that their pastor is going to meet with this man and he came to say, Pastor, do you know what kind of a man he is? He’s a murderer, he’s a killer, he’s a robber, he’s a terrible… don’t meet him! He’s going to kill you! Charles Finney says, “No, I can’t. I have to keep my word.” And so they met the next day at an alley. And this man led him to the back of a building, open the door, let him inside and they both got in and sat down. The man turned backwards and locked the door. Sat down, open the drawer and took out a gun and placed it on the table. He said to Charles Finney, “What you said yesterday, is it really true?” Charles Finney says, “What did I say?” “You said that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin, is that really true?” Charles, in a kind of a shock says, “I didn’t say that, but God said it in His word, so I supposed you can trust Him. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” The man then says, “Do you know what kind of a man I am? I open a bar, I sell alcohol, spirits to people. I see men get drunk on what I sell them. And they ruin their families. Do you think there is hope for a man like me? Do you think I can be saved?” Charles finney says, “The Bible says the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” “Do you know that I also open a gambling den and I rigged all the devices. I’ve cheated people of all their money. I’ve seen men ruin themselves. I’ve seen family get destroyed. Do you think there is hope for a man like me?” “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” “You see this pistol? I’ve killed many men with this gun. I’ve hired others to kill my enemies. I’ve taken many lives. I’m a murderer. Is there hope for someone like me?” “Well sir, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” “I’ve been married for sixteen years. I’ve a wife, I’ve children. But for sixteen years, I’ve never said a kind word to my family. Is there hope for someone like me?” Charles Finney got up, grab him by the collar, shook him and says, “You are a terrible man! And if it was up to me, you will be damned in hell. But the Bible says, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” The next day, this man got home from his pub, went upstairs. His wife was preparing breakfast. And the wife said to the little girl, “Dear, go call daddy for breakfast.” So she went up and she came down. And she said to mummy, “Mummy, daddy says, sweetheart, I don’t need breakfast today.” The mummy said, “What? What? What? What did daddy said? Sweetheart? Something must be wrong with your daddy, go check on him again.” And so she went up, and after a while she didn’t come down and mummy was a little bit worry, what’s wrong with daddy? She went up and she saw the little girl sitting on the lap of daddy and the daddy was crying tears. And when he saw her come as well, he said, “Dear, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for how I’ve treated you all my life. I’m sorry for the way I am. But I heard yesterday that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. I’ve given my life to Jesus and He really did.” Because from the terror of the town, he became the benefactor of the town. There is power in the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is forgiveness in His blood. There is reconciliation of sinful man to the Holy God. Jesus, our advocate! Jesus, our propitiation! Jesus, our Saviour! 0:47:17:8
He can cleanse you from all sin. Would you come to Jesus Christ today? Let’s bow for a word of prayer. This morning, I just like us to consider before God, our lives. You may be one of those who are getting baptised today. Please don’t walk away from this baptism thinking, “Oh, it’s great. I’m now saved. I’m now forgiven. I’m now a child of God. I can do as I wish. I can do as I want.” My little children, I write this to you that you may not sin. Or maybe today you are here and you have beaten yourself up. You… you are so guilty. You’re so despairing of life. You are so ashamed of being a Christian. You are so ashamed of facing God. You… you have been miserable. I ask you today, please don’t look at yourself. You may say, I can’t forgive myself! Look at Jesus Christ, the worthiness of God forgiving you and cleansing you is not based on you, on what you have done or not able to do, but it’s based on what Jesus had done perfectly on the cross. This is our strong and perfect plea, the great High Priest whose name is love.
And if you are here today for the first time, I understand this has been a tough message. It’s so technical you say. It’s about the anger of God. It’s about my sin and how Jesus sacrifice and… it is. But there is nothing more important in life than how your sin can be forgiven, isn’t it? Because you are made for God and you will be empty and you will be doomed and you will be damned if you do not return to God who made you. And the tremendous good news of the Bible is… you know what? God has done it all. He’s angry with your sins, He’s angry with you but He loves you so much, He was willing to give His Son for you. God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we are yet sinners, Christ, His only Son died for us. And Jesus said, “It is finished.” The wrath of God toward my sins, Jesus paid it all. And therefore now, would you say all to him I owe? Would you turn from your sin and follow Jesus, believe in Him? Believe in His perfect sacrifice. This is a baptism day but may this also be salvation day, if you were to turn and come to Jesus. Come unto me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. I will change your life. I will cleanse you. I will make you my own. I will save you to the uttermost. And when you die, and when you stand before the Holy God, my Father , I plead for your pardon, I plead for your justification, not based on what you have done but what I have perfectly done. Look unto me, all ye end of the world and be ye saved.
Would you make that decision, right here, right now today? Would you turn from sin and believe in God, in Jesus, in His work on the cross? Father, we thank you this morning, that you are amazing God of righteousness, of wisdom, of power, of love. Thank you for your perfect salvation plan, we bow down before you. We stand at the foot of the cross. Love so amazing, so divine, stuns our hearts, and may it today brings us to joyful obedience to your will. I pray today for Christians who are living in sin, that you will convict their hearts, turn them around, that they may walk in the light, pursuing, following Jesus. I pray for those today who are guilty, despairing, sorrowing in their lives, that they will bring their guilt, they will bring their shame to Jesus Christ. Once again, find joy, find confidence, find security and bring glory to what your Son has accomplished. Once more, we pray for all our friends who are gathered here, that they will not remain as outsiders. But by faith they will come in, they will have Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. So Spirit of God, whilst the voice of man will soon cease, draw people for which Jesus…for whom Jesus has died. Draw each one of us to yourself. We thank you, we pray all these now, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
More Episodes from Pastor Jason Lim:
18 Aug 2019
11 Aug 2019
04 Aug 2019
28 Jul 2019
21 Jul 2019
14 Jul 2019
07 Jul 2019
30 Jun 2019
Episodes from other sermons:
21 Apr 2019
19 Apr 2019
10 Mar 2019
30 Dec 2018
25 Dec 2018
23 Dec 2018
16 Dec 2018
09 Dec 2018