Sermon #959 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: The One Issue Between God and Man
Text: Luke 14:25-33
Subject: The Lordship of Christ
Date: Sunday Morning – February 3,1 1991
If God the Holy Spirit will enable me, I want to preach to you this morning about The One Issue Between God and Man. Everywhere I go in the country and abroad I meet with men and women who see the withered, lifeless condition of the church. They know that something is wrong, both with themselves and with the church. And they are looking for something. They know that something is missing in their own religious experience and in the church, but they do not know what it is. The fact is they have never been confronted with the one issue between God and man. The preachers they hear and the churches they attend do not even know what that one issue is. Do you?
The issue between you and god is not what you do or do not do. Do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that it does not matter how a person lives. It matters a great deal. God has told us how to live in this world. And we are responsible to obey him. But I am saying this: The issue between you and God is not what you do. There are a great many people in hell today who lived much better than you and I.
Illustration: The Rich Young Ruler
Simon the Pharisee and the woman
who was a sinner.
The Pharisee and the Publican.
The issue between you and God is not what you have felt, experienced and done in the spiritual realm. I hear much talk these days about the baptism of the Holy Ghost, speaking in tongues, miracles, and sheer emotionalism as evidences of God’s blessings and the absences of these things as an evidence of his disapproval and wrath. But that is not the case at all. In the day of judgment many will be damned who felt more, experienced more and did more in what we call the spiritual realm than any of us (Matt. 7:22-23).
And the issue between you and God is not what, or how much you know and believe about the Person and work of Christ. Again, let me be understood. Doctrinal truth, gospel knowledge is vital. You must know and believe the doctrine of the gospel. But accurate, factual, orthodox knowledge is not salvation. A person can believe the truth about Christ and not be saved. A man can believe the doctrine of the gospel and yet be lost.
Illustration: Judas, Demas, and Diotrephes
The issue between God and man is not what you believe.
The issue between God and man is the Lordship of Christ (Lk. 14:25-33). The issue between God and man is, who is going to be boss? Who is going to rule? God, or man?
Rolfe Barnard told a story about a young preacher he met who started a church with nine families. In a short while the congregation grew in number and caused the city where they lived to sit up and take notice. That church, Barnard said, was “A fellowship of men and women who lived in the power of the resurrection life of the risen Lord.” When Barnard asked him the secret to his ministry, the young preacher said, “Bro. Barnard, there isn’t but one message to be preached, and that is God’s eternal purpose in Jesus Christ, that on the basis of his life laid down God proposes to set up his totalitarian rule in hearts, in institutions and in this world before the end time comes.”
What a message! If it ever penetrates these hearts of ours, the people around us will sit up and take notice. God almighty is determined to make Christ Lord over everything, to put all things under his feet, in particular to bring you and me to bow to the rule of his Son.
I. The one issue between God and man is the absolute Lordship of Christ. It always has been and always will be.
The issue is not do you want to go to heaven, or do you want to go to hell when you die. Everybody wants to go to heaven. The issue is not do you want to have peace, or do you want to live in turmoil. Everybody wants to live in peace. The issue between you and God is his Son. Will you, or will you not bow to the claims of Christ, your sovereign Lord? Everyone is going to bow, either willingly or unwillingly, either now or at the judgment seat. If you willingly bow to Christ now, that is salvation. But bow you will to Jesus Christ. God has purposed it. And God will do it. Even if he sends you to hell, God is going to put you in subjection to his Son (Isa. 9:6-7; Ps. 110:1). This has always been the issue.
A. This was the issue in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:15-17).
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, whatever it was, was the symbol of God’s dominion, his rule, his authority. When Adam ate of the fruit of that tree, he was saying, “God has no right to be God. I will not have him to rule over me, even if I suffer his wrath forever.” Remember, “Adam was not deceived” (1 Tim. 2:14). He knew what he was doing. And you do too.
Your problem is not that you are ignorant, or deceived. Your problem is that you will not have Christ to reign over you.
Illustration: Your point of rebellion.
B. This was the issue at Calvary.
That mob of rebels did not crucify the Lord of glory because they did not believe his words, but because they would not submit to his rule or his terms. They wanted to take Jesus and make him king on their terms, a king whom they controlled (John 6:14-15). But they would not bow to his dominion and be ruled by him. “We will not have this man to reign over us” (Lk. 19:14).
C. This is still the issue today – With men, with preachers, in churches.
This is the issue – Does God have the right to be God and does he exercise that right? Does God have the right to sit on his throne and do whatsoever he will? The Bible says he does! Does God exercise that right? The Bible says he does (Ps. 115:3; 135:6).
God almighty will not abdicate his throne. He will not step down. He will not quit announcing his commands, pressing his claims and meddling with our lives. God demands that we surrender, that we give ourselves up to the rule of Christ his Son. Saving faith is nothing less than surrender to Christ the Lord. If I would be saved I must lose my life to Christ (Mk. 8:34-35) - Not my heart – Not my soul – Not my mind – Not one day in seven – Not a tithe – Not a little time each morning and evening – My life!
Christ will not have me unless he has all of me (Lk. 14:33). Spurgeon said, “No man has truly given himself to Christ unless he has said, ‘My Lord, I give thee this day my body, my soul, my powers, my talents, my goods, my house, my children, and all that I have. Henceforth, I hold them at thy will, as a steward under thee. Thine they are. As for me, I have nothing. I have surrendered all to thee!’”
D. Two things happened in the Garden of Eden.
If we want to understand the mess we are in now, we have to understand how we got in this mess. It all began in the Garden of Eden. When Adam, with his eyes fully open, ate the forbidden fruit, two things happened.
1. God’s throne was threatened by his creature.
If Adam had won, had he gotten his way, God would have been out of business. God would have ceased to rule the world. And if the sons of Adam had their way today, God would cease to rule. But that cannot be. God will never give up his dominion! Praised be his name!
2. Secondly, man lost his wholeness.
The Scriptures speak of the “natural man”. That is man in his fallen condition. The natural man is out of kilter. He is depraved, beside himself. He must be brought to himself, or he will never be reconciled to God. As the insane prodigal had to return to the rule of his father’s house before he could enjoy the peace of his father’s house, so you must return to the rule of God, you must bow to the dominion of Christ, before you can be made whole. The throne rights of King Jesus have to be settled and acknowledged in your heart. If ever we come to know Christ the Lord, we will surrender everything to his dominion.
· My life.
· My home.
· My wife.
· My children.
· My business.
· My relationships.
Barnard said, “Man’s wholeness was lost in Eden. Man was made to be governed. And there’s never been any government placed on anybody’s shoulders, except Jesus Christ’s! ‘The government shall be upon his shoulder’ (Isa. 9:6). The whole outfit has been turned over to him. Nobody now has the right to make the decisions except Christ.”
E. One of these days God is going to accomplish his purpose.
“He must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet” (1 Cor. 15:25). Sooner or later, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:8-11). This is…
· The decree of the Father (Ps. 110).
· The promise of the covenant (Ps. 2)
· The reward of redemption (John 17).
· The delight of the saints (Rev. 5).
· The end for which all things were made (Rev. 4).
Now, I have laid the foundation. The one issue between God and man is the dominion of Christ. Who is going to be boss? Man was made to be governed. An ungoverned man is an incomplete man. The only way man can be made complete is by being ruled. The personality of manhood was designed for something greater than a self-centered animal existence. Man was not made to be alone, to live unto himself, but to be lost in the purpose of God. We were made to serve God! Only in his service can we find perfect freedom. Sin is slavery. Rebellion is bondage. To be free, you and I must be brought under the yoke and dominion of the Son of God. Salvation is the restoration of God’s throne in the heart of man.
III. If the one issue between God and man is the rule and dominion of Christ as Lord, what must our message to man be?
I am an ambassador of the King of heaven and earth. God has sent me with a message to proclaim to rebels throughout his kingdom. And that message is threefold.
A. First, God has sent me to declare to you that Jesus Christ, his Son, is the Lord and King of the universe (2 Cor. 4:5; Acts 2:36-38).
The message of the gospel is not a proposal, a plan, or a proposition, but a Person, Jesus Christ the Lord! God has not sent me to define and defend a doctrine, but to proclaim a Person. To preach the gospel is to preach him for whom, through whom and in whom God has purposed to fulfill all things.
The message which the Apostles preached, by which they turned the world upside down was the Lordship of Christ (Acts 2:36). And I am telling you that one of these days, the whole creation shall be brought in subjection to his throne. God is going to redeem this world. He is going to restore everything to the rule of Christ (Eph. 1:10). The gospel is the story of how that God has put all his purposes in Christ. It is as broad as Christ and as narrow as Christ. It shuts the door of hope everywhere, except in Christ. There in Christ the door is open!
The issue of the hour is man’s rebellion to God’s throne. And the message of the gospel is Christ Jesus the Lord, the person in whom God will establish his dominion over his creatures. To be saved is to be in agreement with God’s purpose. To be lost is to be in rebellion to God’s purpose.
B. Secondly, the message of the gospel is a word of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-21).
To be saved is to be converted to the rule of God in Christ. To be saved is to be reconciled to the rule of God in Christ. Salvation is the free consent of my heart to the sovereign throne of almighty God. Sin is much more than an act. It is a condition, a condition of rebellion against the sovereign rule of Christ. And salvation is much more than an act. It is a condition, a condition of reconciliation to the sovereign dominion of God in Christ.
1. The message of reconciliation is redemption fully accomplished by Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).
2. The terms of reconciliation is surrender, unconditional surrender to the rule of Christ. This is faith!
· Faith believes the record God has given of his Son.
· And faith acts upon belief. Faith is belief in action.
· Salvation is conversion to God. It is the life-long pursuit of God, his will, and his glory.
C. Thirdly, the message of the gospel is a message of God’s rule restored.
I know that God rules everywhere and in all things now. He always has and always will. But one of these days, God is going to put down all rebellion and bring everything in captivity to the rule of Christ.
NOTE: If I know anything about revival, revival is God’s saints rejoicing in God’s rule. And eternity will begin with and forever be a glorious revival (Rev. 19:1-6).
III. Let me bring my message to a conclusion by telling you that there are two kinds of faith.
There is a faith that centers in me, and what I can get from God. And there is a faith that centers in God and his glory. If my faith is primarily concerned with me, and what I want, then the object of my faith is me. I really worship myself. If my faith is primarily concerned with God and his glory, then God is the Object of my faith. I worship him.
Luther defined salvation as “the realization of God’s will and purpose, what ever it might be, rather than the satisfaction of human need.” He saw that true faith is not seeking something from God, but bowing to the rule of God.
Calvin said, “True faith is having confidence in God, regardless of profit or loss.” It is the heart’s willing affirmation of God’s right to be God. This is the one issue between God and man.
In the light of all that I have said this morning, I want you to turn to Luke 14:25-33. Read my text with me, and I will send you home, asking God to graciously bow us to his Son.
Illustration: “Chief give himself to Jesus!”
The Preacher and the Business Man