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Sermon #2312 — Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: More Strange Things
Text: Luke 5:26
Date: Tuesday Evening — February 14, 2017
Subject: Paradoxes Believers See and Experience
Readings: Allen Kibby and David Burge
I want to pick up tonight right where I finished my message Sunday morning, and preach to you, as God the Holy Ghost will enable me, again tonight from Luke 5:26 about — More Strange Things. I will begin reading at verse 18 — Luke 5:18.
Luke 5:18-26 “And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. (19) And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. (20) And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. (21) And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? (22) But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? (23) Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? (24) But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. (25) And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. (26) And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.”
Luke tells us here that on a certain day during our Lord’s earthly ministry, a great number of people spent a good part of the day in the presence of the Son of God; and when the day was over, “They were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things today.”
The word translated “strange things” (Ļαραδοξα) is used nowhere else in the New Testament. It means “paradoxes, things contrary to all common opinion and ordinary reason and experience.”
Proposition: All who know and trust the Lord Jesus Christ have seen and experienced many strange things which cause us to be filled with wonder and adoration.
I have said much to you in recent months about the evil, and I do mean evil, doctrines of the heretical and damning Pentecostal nonsense of this religious generation. Everybody today talks about signs, wonders, and miracles. I repeat what I have said countless times from this pulpit, — The Apostolic Age ended with the death of the last apostle, the apostle John. There are no apostles today, except false apostles. There are no men living today who have the apostolic gifts of the Apostolic Age. Those who pretend to have them are messengers not of Christ, but of antichrist, as 2nd Thessalonians 2:8-11 and Revelation 13:11-18 plainly tell us. In the last day, as they are about to be cast into hell, many will say to Christ the Judge, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” (Matthew 7:22).
The “strange things” (paradoxes) I want you to see, know, and experience are vital to your soul. Many who saw and experienced miracles and wonders performed in the natural, physical realm in the days of the Old Testament prophets, in the days of our Lord’s earthly ministry, and in the days of the apostles are in hell today. But the “strange things” (paradoxes) I want you to see, know, and experience are vital to your soul. If you know and experience the “strange things” I am about to tell you about you will know and experience God’s salvation in Christ. These “strange things” (paradoxes) are all wonders of God’s free grace in Christ, miracles of mercy, things that can only be known by revelation and experience.
Divisions: I have divided my message in three parts, three points I want you to get.
1. Strange Things Revealed in the Gospel
2. Strange Things Experienced in Salvation
3. Strange Things yet to be Seen
1st — I want to show you some of the strange things revealed in the Gospel. If ever you have beheld the life and work of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the earth by faith, you have been amazed by the many strange things which you have seen.
1. God, our Creator, the Creator of men became a man. He who is infinite became an infant. He who made all things nursed at a woman’s breasts. He who fills all things was laid in a manger. He who is the Son of the Highest was born as Mary’s child. He who is the Lord of all became the servant of all. Truly, this was a strange thing that happened in the earth (Jeremiah 31:22; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 1:1-3).
Jeremiah 31:22 “The LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.”
Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
Philippians 2:5-8 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Hebrews 1:1-3 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (3) Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
2. This perfectly innocent, just, and righteous Man died as a vile transgressor and common criminal under the wrath of God, because he was made sin for us. — “Cursed is he that hangeth on a tree.”
When he was made sin for us, our sin was imputed to the Son of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). He was not made sin by imputation. Our sins were imputed to him because he was made sin for us.
2 Corinthians 5:18-21 “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.
At the apex of his obedience, when he was faithfully fulfilling his Father’s will the Son of God was forsaken by his Father.
Psalm 22:1-3 “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? (2) O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. (3) But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”
The Just died in the place of the unjust, that the unjust might be made just. The Innocent One became guilty, that the guilty might become innocent. The Righteous One was made sin, that the sinful might be made righteous. — Death was conquered by the death of the God-man.
Truly, the strangest, most mysterious, most unexplainable thing in all the world was the death of God’s own dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, our darling Savior, at Calvary. — God, who cannot die, purchased his church with his own blood when he died in our place upon Calvary’s cursed tree!
“Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When God the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin!”
Romans 5:5-8 “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (6) For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. (8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
1 John 3:16 “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
“Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me!”
Galatians 6:14 “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
3. Yet, nothing is stranger than the choice of God’s electing love and saving grace.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: (27) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; (28) And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: (29) That no flesh should glory in his presence.”
1 Corinthians 1:30-31 “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (31) That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
Experienced by Grace
2nd — I want us to think about some of the strange things that are to be seen in our day, strange things that can be known only by the experience of God’s free, saving grace in Christ. All who know the Lord Jesus Christ and have experienced his matchless grace know many strange things the reprobate and unbelieving can never know. If our Lord is pleased to come and bless us here this hour, we will go home saying, “We have seen strange things today.”
Illustration: Many years ago, an old puritan, I believe it was William Guthrie, visited a dying woman who was ignorant of the Gospel and unconverted. Guthrie preached the gospel to her and she joyfully believed it. Before Guthrie left, the woman died. When he returned home, he said to his family, “I have seen a strange thing today. A woman whom I found in a state of nature, I saw in a state of grace, and left in a state of glory.”
Now let me tell you of some strange things that I have seen and experienced in this Day of Grace.
1. We have seen lost, ruined, depraved sinners made new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24; 2 Peter 1:4).
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Ephesians 4:24 “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
2 Peter 1:4 “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
Believers are men and women with two natures, flesh and spirit, the old man and the new man, one that is sin and can do nothing but sin, and one that is righteous and can do nothing but that which is righteous, two natures constantly at war with one another (Psalm 73). It is impossible to understand or explain the 7th chapter of Romans, the 5th chapter of Galatians, or the 3rd chapter of 1st John in any other light. Yet, there are many who raise objection to this plain fact revealed in Holy Scripture and fully known by all who are born of God. — I can only presume that those who deny that believers have two natures are people who do not, people who are not “partakers of the divine nature.”
2. We have seen self-condemned and helpless sinners completely justified by the Lord Jesus Christ (Job 40:4-5; 42:5-6; Psalm 51:3-4; Ephesians 2:1-5).
Job 40:4-5 “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. (5) Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.”
Job 42:5-6 “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. (6) Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
Psalms 51:3-4 “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. (4) Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”
Ephesians 2:1-5 “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: (2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).”
I am telling you what I have seen for myself. I am not giving you second hand information. I am bearing faithful witness of those things which I have seen and experienced.
Illustration: Pilgrim at Mt. Calvary
3. We have seen stout-hearted rebels broken and their hearts renewed by almighty grace. — “With God all things are possible!”
Š Some have been converted suddenly.
Š Some have passed through a long ordeal of conviction, struggling hard with sin.
Š Some have been rescued from a false hope.
Š Some have heard the Word and were many years later converted.
Illustration: The Old Man Who Heard Whitfield as a Boy
But every instance of God’s marvelous saving grace is a strange thing in our eyes (John 3:8; 1 John 3:1-3).
John 3:8 “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
1 John 3:1-3 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (3) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
4. I have seen a soul preserved in spiritual life and faith by the grace of God amid many trials of great evil. Many of God’s people are like bushes burning, but never consumed. They live in the midst of constant trials, heartaches, and burdens. Yet, their faith does not grow dim.
5. Truly, these are strange things. Are they not? — I have seen evil turned into good by the gracious and wise hand of God’s providence. The hand of God’s providence has been evidently revealed to me many times in many ways.
Of a truth, his strength is made perfect in weakness; and his grace is sufficient for every day.
In the Last Day
3rd — There are some strange things yet to be seen, strange things that shall be seen in that great, eternal day, when Christ appears in his glory. Those things that shall yet come to pass will truly be strange things in our eyes.
1. Strange things will be seen in the judgment. Good, moral, religious men and women will be sentenced to eternal damnation, while vile, wretched sinners who simply trusted Christ enter into eternal glory.
2. Strange things will be seen in hell.
3. And strange things will be seen in heaven.
John Newton said that heaven will be full of strange things. He once wrote — “When I get to heaven, I shall see three wonders there. The first wonder will be to see many people there whom I did not expect to see. The second wonder will be to miss many people whom I did expect to see. And the third and greatest wonder of all will be to find myself there.”
Here is the strangest of all strange things, the wonder of all wonders. This vile wretch of a man, simply trusting the merits of Christ’s blood and righteousness is an heir of eternal glory. And here is another wonder almost as great, you could be too, if you will simply trust the Son of God. —— Here are two other strange things, which I cannot understand:
1. Your unbelief is a strange thing to me. Why will you die, when life is to be had so freely?
2. It is a strange thing to me that we who have experienced so much mercy, love, and grace in Christ return so little faith and love to him.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (10) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”