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Sermon #2390[i]Miscellaneous Sermons

 

Title:                           Identifying the Christ

 

Text:                            Daniel 9:24

Subject:                     Six Things Christ Accomplished

Reading:       Matthew 24:4-31

Introduction:

 

During your conference in December, your pastor asked that each of the preachers bring a message on the subject — “What is the gospel?” As I prepared my message for the conference, I was overwhelmed with the sense that there is very great need for God’s servants to address that question with boldness, dogmatism, and clarity in this day of religious delusion.

Š      Few know who God is!

Š      Few know what the gospel is!

Š      Few know how God saves sinners!

Š      Few know who the Christ of God is!

 

So, beginning with that message, I started what I believe to be a very needful series of messages. When I am finished with the series in about another three weeks, I intend to put the contents of my notes in a small book and offer it to my publishers. I have called the series Identifying the Christ; and that is the title of my message tonight. — If you trust a false Christ, you are antichrist. If you would trust the Christ of God, you must know who he is. You cannot trust an unknown Christ. This is what the Book of God says…

 

(1 John 2:22) “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.”

 

(1 John 5:1) “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.”

 

With those things in mind, I want you to open your Bibles to the 9th chapter of the Gospel of Daniel, Daniel chapter 9. My text is Daniel 9:24. The title of my message is Identifying the Christ. By the things recorded in this one verse of Holy Scripture we are given all that is needed to identify the true Christ from all imposters. Here is a prophecy concerning the Christ of God, the Messiah, of whom all the Law and the Prophets spoke throughout the Old Testament. Here are six things God the Holy Spirit tells us the Christ must accomplish, six things Jehovah’s righteous Servant must perform for the salvation of His people.

 

“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, 1to finish the transgression, and 2to make an end of sins, and 3to make reconciliation for iniquity, and 4to bring in everlasting righteousness, and 5to seal up the vision and prophecy, and 6to anoint the most Holy.” (Daniel 9:24)

 

Before we look at these six things Christ came into this world to accomplish, let’s back up a few chapters and get the context of Daniel’s prophecy.

                 

Daniel 3

 

Back in the 3rd chapter of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar cast Daniel’s three companions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the burning and fiery furnace.

  • Nebuchadnezzar made a huge image of gold and commanded all the people of the land, at a given signal, to fall down before his image and worship.
  • Anyone who refused to fall down and worship Nebuchadnezzar’s image was to be “cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (v. 6).
  • Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down and worship Nebuchadnezzar’s image (vv. 14-18).
  • King Nebuchadnezzar was furious and commanded Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be cast into the burning fiery furnace (v 19.
  • The furnace was heated seven times hotter than it was designed to burn (v. 19).
  • Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were bound and cast into this horrible furnace by the biggest, strongest men in the realm; and the fire was so intense that the men who cast them in died from the heat (vv. 20-23).

 

Let’s pick up the story in verse 23 Daniel 3:23.

 

“23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. 25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. 27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. 28 ¶ Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.” (Daniel 3:23-30)

 

As I read this chapter, I see a beautiful, clear, instructive picture of God’s great salvation, the salvation of poor sinners by the sin-atoning death of our Lord Jesus Christ, our great Savior, in whom the “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” shines forth to our souls in the revelation of His grace. What a picture we have before us! I say with Nebuchadnezzar, — there is no other God that can deliver after this sort!

 

He who is God our Savior saves His people in exactly the way He saved Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the burning fiery furnace.

  • He became one of us.
  • He suffered all the fury and fire of God’s wrath with His people and for His people.
  • The Lord Jesus Christ so thoroughly saves His people from their sins that not even the smell of hell is upon us!
  • This is how our God saves. — He so thoroughly saves His elect that they suffer no loss for their crimes, but only gain (v. 30).
  • And His salvation is such that our great God attaches His name, His honor, and His glory to the salvation of His chosen (Psalm 106:8; Ephesians 1:3-14).

 

Daniel 4

                       

Having this revelation of God’s great glory and grace in Christ, in redemption by a Divine Substitute, Nebuchadnezzar said, “I’ve got to tell the whole world how God revealed himself to me. I’ve got to show you how the only true God saved me. I’ve got to tell you who God is.” So, we read in Daniel 4…

 

“1 ¶ Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. 2 I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. 3 How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.” (Daniel 4:1-3)

 

You know the story of Nebuchadnezzar. God set out to bring this proud man down, to humble him, to break him, and to make Himself known to him; and He did it.

  • God took away his mind. Nebuchadnezzar became a raving lunatic!
  • He was put out of his kingdom and driven away from society.
  • For seven years he grazed like a wild beast, living in the fields.

 

Then, after seven years of lunacy, God gave Nebuchadnezzar’s mind back to him, restored him to his kingdom, and Nebuchadnezzar was a changed man. God had taught him what all men, sooner or later, must learn. Here is the confession Nebuchadnezzar made of what God taught him.

 

(Daniel 4:34-35) “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth forever, whose dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom [is] from generation to generation: 35 And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”

 

(Daniel 4:37) “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works [are] truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.”

 

Daniel 5-6

 

Sadly, Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Belshazzar did not believe God, but continued in the proud, sinful ways of the Babylonians, worshipping the works of his own hands, mocking and blaspheming God. In chapter 5, God appeared to Belshazzar in the handwriting on the wall, while the king was mocking God. For his rebellion, for his idolatry, for his ungodliness, the Lord God killed him that very night; and Darius the Median took the kingdom.

 

Darius was already an old man (62) when he took the kingdom of the Chaldeans. This Median king promoted Daniel to the highest office in the land under the king himself. Then, in Daniel 6 we are given another marvelous picture of God’s salvation of sinners by Christ. —— Darius’ Dilemma and Daniel’s Deliverance.

 

After Daniel was delivered from the lions’ den, Darius, like Nebuchadnezzar, said, “There is no other God that can deliver after this sort!” And he too worshipped and praised God our Savior (Daniel 6:25-27).

 

“25 ¶ Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. 26 I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast forever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. 27 He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.” (Daniel 6:25-27)

 

Daniel 7-8

 

In chapters 7 and 8 Daniel tells us of the prophetic visions he had during the days of that wicked king of Babylon, Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar’s son.

 

So terrible were the visions given to Daniel that he fainted and was sick for many days. Concerning those visions much speculation has been made, many books have been written, and countless sermons have been preached. I have a novel suggestion: —— Perhaps we would be wise simply to bow to God’s purpose and wait, wait for Him to explain this and all other things not clearly revealed by performing them. We should never presume to know that which is not written in the Book of God.

 

We should rest in what is here said concerning our Redeemer's Kingdom. We should be fully satisfied with God’s revelation. We are here told that our Lord Jesus has a kingdom which shall be forever and ever. What more can be wanted? But much more is given. —— This kingdom and dominion and the greatness of it shall be given to the people, the saints, of the Most High!

 

Let others gratify their lusts by trying to figure out every imaginable thing about the precise significance of horns and winds, more horns and little horns with eyes, our hearts ought to be ravished with Him whom Daniel saw, “the Ancient of Days,” our great, Almighty Savior and God, the might and purity of His Being, the sovereignty and glory of His dominion, the justice and righteousness with which He judges all, and the glory of His coming as the Son of Man in His second advent!

 

When we read the Book of God, let us always look for Christ. Take every inclination of your mind to be taken up with trees, and nations, and beasts, and angels, and demons, and flying fowls, and swimming things, and creeping things, ——— Take every inclination of your mind to investigate lesser things than the Christ of God and His great salvation to be  satanic ploys to destroy your soul, turning you away from the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus!

 

Daniel 9

 

In Daniel 9 we have Daniel’s great prayer which he offered to God for himself and the children of Israel, confessing the sins of the people, extolling God’s greatness and majesty as God, and seeking His mercy. —— Then the man Gabriel appeared to Daniel, assured him of the coming of Christ and of our Savior’s great accomplishments as our Savior at God’s appointed time (Daniel 9:20-24).

 

“20 ¶ And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; 21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. 23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. 24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, 1to finish the transgression, and 2to make an end of sins, and 3to make reconciliation for iniquity, and 4to bring in everlasting righteousness, and 5to seal up the vision and prophecy, and 6to anoint the most Holy.” (Daniel 9:20-24)

 

Six Accomplishments of Christ

 

Now, let me wrap my message up by showing you these six things by which the Lord Jesus Christ, according to the Divinely inspired Word of God has saved His people from their sins. When I am finished, I hope you will see clearly what God taught Nebuchadnezzar. — “There is no other God that can deliver after this sort!

 

Proposition: He who saves after this sort, He alone is God; and He alone is the Christ, the Messiah.

 

Finish the Transgression

 

1st — Gabriel told Daniel that when the Christ appeared, when the Messiah was cut off, crucified and slain at Jerusalem, in the midst of the 70th week He would, by the sacrifice of Himself “finish the transgression.” That is precisely what our blessed Savior did. When our transgressions were laid on Him, made His, and borne by Him, when He carried them all away in the stream of His precious blood, when He made satisfaction for us. They shall never be seen or brought up again!

 

An End of Sins

 

2ndThe Lord Jesus came here in our flesh to “make an end of sins.” Yes, our blessed Savior abolished the sins of His people forever when He paid to the full the price of our ransom, by the sacrifice of Himself! — He made an end of…

  • Sin’s Condemnation.
  • Sin’s Curse.
  • Sin’s Judgment.
  • Sin’s Consequence.
  • Sin’s Guilt.
  • Sin’s Death.
  • Sins! — All Sins: Past, Present, and Future!
  • Sin’s Existence (1 John 3:5).

 

No charge can be brought against us. No curse of the law can reach us. No sentence of the law can be executed upon us. No punishment can be inflicted on us. We are entirely and completely saved from all our sins and all the evil consequences of them forever!

  • Christ put away our sins by the sacrifice of Himself.
  • When He had by Himself purged our sins, (He) sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high!

 

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven (lifted up and taken away), whose sin is covered.” (Psalms 32:1)

 

“Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (Romans 4:8)

 

“He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.” (Numbers 23:21)

 

“Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!” (Numbers 23:23)

                                        

Reconciliation for Iniquity

 

3rdThe Son of God came into the world to save His people from their sins by making “reconciliation for iniquity” by making blood atonement for it. By His precious blood, by the sacrifice of Himself, by His sufferings and death the law and justice of God were fully satisfied, full reparation was made for the injury done by sin, for all our iniquities! — (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)

 

“17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)

 

Everlasting Righteousness

 

4th Our dear Savior came here “to bring in everlasting righteousness” for His people, to restore that which He took not away, righteousness by which He magnified the law and made it honorable.

  • Righteousness Earned by His Obedience
  • Righteousness Bestowed by His Grace
  • Righteousness Received by Faith
  • Everlasting Righteousness

 

This righteousness is a robe of righteousness that will never wear out. Its virtue to justify will continue forever. It is perfect righteousness, the very righteousness of God!

 

Illustration: The Prodigal’s Robe

 

Seal Up the Vision

 

5thBy His obedience unto death and His resurrection from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ “sealed up the vision and prophecy.” That is to say, “He fulfilled it all!

  • All the Law
  • All the Prophets
  • All the Types
  • All the Promises

 

Anoint the Most Holy

 

6th — Now watch this. Here’s the sixth thing Christ came here to accomplish. —— “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” (Daniel 9:24) —— Christ came here “to anoint the most Holy.”

  • Not the Most Holy Place
  • The Most Holy People!

 

(Galatians 3:13-14) “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (14) That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

 

Christ’s ransomed ones, God’s elect, His Church, (poor, ruined, wretched sinners like you and me) are here called “the most Holy.” — Imagine that! Washed in the blood of Christ, clothed with His righteousness, and sanctified by His Spirit, we are in union with the Lamb of God, “the most Holy!

 

“With His spotless garments on,

Holy as the Holy One!”

 

Rejoice, O my soul, rejoice!

 

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

 

“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” (1 John 5:1)

 

“22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” (1 John 2:22-23)

 

“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:” (1 John 4:2)

 

“Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:15)

 

I believe, I confess, joyously I confess that Jesus is the Christ. He has accomplished all that God in the Book has declared the Christ would accomplish.

 

“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” (Daniel 9:24)

 

Illustration: A. J. Gordon (Clarendon Street Church, Boston, MA) and The Two Snow Birds

 

Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it,

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb,

Redeemed through His infinite mercy,

His child and forever I am!

 

Amen.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[i]        Danville — Sunday Morning — December 10, 2017

         Todds RD Grace Church, Lexington, KY — (WED — 02/07/18)