Sermon #1982[i] Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: The Message
of Holy Scripture
Text: Luke 24:13-35
Subject: Lessons from the Emmaus Road
Bro. John Carpenter asked me to bring three messages dealing with the inspiration, authority, and sufficiency of the Scriptures during the Bible conference in Kansas City last week. So I’ve had that subject on my mind for the past few weeks. Open your Bibles to the 24th chapter of Luke’s Gospel. I want to read Luke 24:13-35 to you. That which is here revealed is so precious, so sweet, so heavenly that it hardly needs explanation. Indeed, it cannot be explained to any who have not experienced it for themselves.
(Luke 24:13-35) “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. (14) And they talked together of all these things which had happened. (15) And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. (16) But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. (17) And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? (18) And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? (19) And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: (20) And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. (21) But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. (22) Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; (23) And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. (24) And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. (25) Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: (26) Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? (27) And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (28) And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. (29) But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. (30) And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. (31) And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. (32) And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? (33) And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, (34) Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. (35) And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.”
As they walked together, our Lord Jesus opened the Scriptures to these two disciples. — “Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” Robert Hawker, commenting on those words, wrote, —
“Hence we are taught, as plain as words can make it, that the whole body of Scripture is concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Pearl of great price in this field of his Divine Revelation.
· As he drew near these two disciples in the way, may he draw near to us this hour.
· As he opened to them the Scriptures, may he open the Scriptures to us by his Spirit.
· As his presence and his doctrine caused their hearts to burn within them, O may he cause our hearts to burn within us tonight!
We have read the Bible with no profit to our souls and no understanding of its message, until we realize that the message of Holy Scripture is the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. The purpose of the Bible is the revelation of Christ.
I fully agree with Martin Luther, who wrote, —
“There is not a word in the Bible which can be understood without reference to the cross…As we go to the cradle only in order to find the baby, so we go to the Scriptures only to find Christ.”
Robert Murray M’Cheyne, who lived long before anyone dreamed of electric lights, said to his congregation at Christ’s Church in Dundee, Scotland, —
“When you are reading a book in a dark room, and find it difficult, you take it to a window to get more light. So take your Bible to Christ.”
Christ is the scope of Scripture, the sum and substance of divine Revelation. Take Christ out of this Book and all that is left is processed wood, with gilded edges, wrapped in leather covers.
The one thing I want you to see in this message is this fact. — The Bible is a Book about the Lord Jesus Christ. How I wish I could get every man who claims to be a preacher to see this! With regard to the Book of God, Christ is “the key of knowledge” (Luke 11:52). Without the key, men can never unlock the Chest and discover its riches. — They just fumble.
My subject tonight is — The Message of Holy Scripture. It is not enough just to preach the Book, we are sent of God to preach the message of the Book, and the message of this Book is Jesus Christ and him crucified. There is not a page in this Book that does not speak of Christ, not a page! The Son of God tells us plainly that he is the message and theme of Holy Scripture, that he is the living Word of whom the written Word speaks.
John 5:39 “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
Luke 24:27 “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
Luke 24:44-47 “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (45) Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, (46) And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: (47) And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
Divisions: Let me show you seven things about this Book, the Word of God, seven things about The Message of Holy Scripture.
1. All the Counsel
The Apostle Paul shows us that the preaching of Christ is synonymous with preaching all the counsel of God, for Christ is all the counsel of God!
Acts 20:26-27 “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. (27) For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”
1 Corinthians 2:2 “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
I want you to see this clearly. The Bible, the Word of God is a Book with one message, and that one message is redemption, righteousness, and eternal life in Christ. There is no preaching of the Scriptures except the preaching of the gospel (1 Peter 1:23-25).
“23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 ¶ For all flesh [is] as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (1 Peter 1:23-25)
Once again, I have taken a subject indescribably bigger than the scope of my puny brain. I have no hope of exhausting it. I will simply skip along the edges of this vast ocean, wading out here and there for the delight of our souls. But, when I am done, we will have only begun to begin understanding the vast scope of this immense Volume. If, when you leave here tonight, you leave with your heart burning to know…
“More about Jesus in His Word,
Holding communion with your Lord,
Hearing His voice in every line,
Seeing the Treasure of this deep mine” —
my aim will be accomplished. May God grant that, and we will leave here rejoicing in and worshipping him.
2. The Old Testament ProphEcies
The Old Testament Scriptures speak of Christ, point us to Christ, and call us to faith in Christ. All the law, the prophets, and the psalms speak of our Redeemer. All the Old Testament declares, “The Redeemer is coming.”
From the moment that God announced in the Garden of Eden that the Seed of the woman would crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15), Christ was the central fact and figure of Old Testament prophecy.
Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon, and all the prophets spoke of him. Here are a few of the many prophetic statements that pointed directly to the coming of Christ, his glorious Person, and his redemptive work.
Genesis 22:13-14 “And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. (14) And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.”
Genesis 49:10 “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”
Deuteronomy 18:15-18 “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; (16) According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. (17) And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. (18) I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.”
Psalms 2:7-8 “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. (8) Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”
Psalms 45:6-7 “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. (7) Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”
Psalms 110:3 “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.”
Proverbs 8:22-23 “The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. (23) I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.”
Song of Songs 1:2-4 “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine. (3) Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee. (4) Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.”
Isaiah 53:8-11 “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. (9) And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. (11) He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”
Micah 5:2 “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”
Malachi 3:1 “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.”
Job spoke of Christ as his Redeemer, whom he expected to see in his flesh in resurrection glory. Enoch prophesied of Christ’s glorious Second Advent, of his coming to the earth in the last day with ten thousands of his saints.
3. The Old Testament Types
In addition to the direct prophecies about the coming of Christ, God gave numerous types and pictures to foreshadow his coming. The types of Christ and his redemptive work are so numerous that I cannot begin to name them But let me mention just a few. They may be divided into three different categories.
· Typical People — Adam (Romans 5:14), Noah (Hebrews 11:7), Melchisedec (Hebrews 7:1-3), Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15-18), Aaron (Hebrews 5:1-5), Joshua (Hebrews 4:1-9), Boaz (Ruth 2:1; 3:18), David (Acts 2:25-36), Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-24).
· Typical Things — Noah’s Ark (Genesis 6), The Ram Caught in a Thicket (Genesis 22:8-13), Jacob’s Ladder (John 1:51), The Brazen Serpent (John 3:14-16), The Paschal Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), The Scapegoat (Leviticus 16:21), Darius’ Dilemma (Daniel 6), The Manna (John 6:32-33), The Smitten Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4), The Altar of Sacrifice (Hebrews 13:10), The Mercy-Seat (1 John 2:1-2).
· Typical Places — The Tabernacle (John 1:14), The Temple (John 2:18-20), The Cities of Refuge (Hebrews 6:18).
The lists could go on and on. I have not even mentioned all the instituted ceremonial types, the sabbath days, the many other instituted types of the Old Testament or the commandments of the law, all of which pointed to the Person and work of Christ as our Mediator.
Colossians 2:16-17 “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (17) Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”
4. The New Testament
I do not need to remind this congregation that the doctrine and message of the entire New Testament is the Lord Jesus Christ. We do not have two Bibles, the Old and the New. We have one Bible. God’s Word is one, with two distinct parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The four Gospels give us four views of Christ.
The Book of Acts tells us that the Redeemer is enthroned. — The Book of Acts demonstrates that our Lord Jesus Christ was the singular subject of preaching in the earliest days of Christianity. — The words “preach,” “preached,” and “preaching” are used thirty-seven times in the Book of Acts. It is not insignificant that every time they are used the subject preached was Jesus Christ and the resurrection! If the Book of Acts is to be taken for our standard, it must be concluded that unless Christ has been preached no preaching has been done. That man who pretends to be a preacher but does not preach Christ and him crucified mocks the people who hear him, and rather than serving their souls he destroys them!
The Epistles reveal and explain the mysteries of Christ and his gospel, proclaiming the Redeemer’s doctrine.
The Book of Revelation is a declaration of the sure triumph of Christ and his church by the gospel. — The Book of Revelation tells us that the Redeemer is coming again.
Revelation 1:7 “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”
Revelation 5:9-14 “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (10) And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (11) And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; (12) Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. (13) And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. (14) And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.”
Revelation 19:6 “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”
The Bible you now hold in your lap, by virtue of its very existence, is the greatest miracle in the world. If I should see my great-grandfather, who has been dead since I was a boy, rise up out of the earth that fact would not be more miraculous than the existence of this Book! Listen to this carefully.
This Book was written in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), by about forty different authors, who lived on two separate continents, over a period of fifteen to sixteen hundred years. Parts of it were written in palaces, parts in prisons. Some of it was written by well educated men in great cities, other parts were written by shepherds and fishermen. Parts of it were written during times of war, pestilence, and danger, other parts during times of ecstatic joy. Those who wrote the words of this Book were taken from virtually every walk of life: judges, priests, kings, prophets, prime-ministers, herdsmen, scribes, fishermen, soldiers, and fishermen. Yet, in spite of all these varying circumstances, conditions, workmen, and ages of time employed in the production of Holy Scripture, it stands as one Book. It is perfectly one in all its parts. It is free of error and free of contradiction. The more I think about that fact, the more amazing it appears.
I cannot state it better than A.W. Pink did when he wrote…
“Imagine forty persons of different nationalities, possessing various degrees of musical culture, visiting the organ of some great cathedral and at long intervals of time, and without any collusion whatever, striking sixty-six different notes, which when combined yielded the theme of the grandest oratorio ever heard; would it not show that behind these forty different men there was one presiding mind, one great Tone-Master? As we listen to some great orchestra, with its immense variety of instruments playing their different parts, but producing melody and harmony, we realize that at the back of these many musicians there is the personality and genius of the composer. And when we enter the halls of the Divine Academy and listen to the heavenly choirs singing the Song of Redemption, all in perfect accord and unison, we know that it is God himself who has written the music and put this song into their mouths.”
There is only one sane explanation for the existence of the Bible. — “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
5. The Ordinances of the Gospel
The only two ordinances of divine worship prescribed in the New Testament are designed to focus our hearts upon Christ. Baptism is a symbolic burial and resurrection with him (Romans 6:3-6).
Romans 6:1-6 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (2) God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (3) Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: (6) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic remembrance of Christ and his great work of redemption as our Substitute (1 Corinthians 11:24-26).
1 Corinthians 11:24-26 “And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. (25) After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. (26) For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.”
Christ is all in the Book of God, in the Old Testament prophecies, in the Old Testament types, in the New Testament, and in the ordinances of divine worship.
When you read the Word of God, look for Christ. When you study the Word of God, study Christ. When you talk about the Word of God, talk of Christ. When you live by the Word of God, live Christ. And when you preach the Word of God, preach Christ.
6. Preach Christ
It is the preacher’s business to preach Christ. The American Puritan, Cotton Mather, instructed his students with these wise and needful words of counsel —
“Among all the subjects with which you feed the people of God, I beseech you, let not the true Bread of Life be forgotten; but exhibit as much as you can of the glorious Christ unto them; yea, let the motto upon your whole ministry be, ‘Christ is all!’”
What a blessing it would be if every man who claims to speak for God, who claims to be a gospel preacher, would heed those words! How blessed the church of God would be if those who fill her pulpits were determined to preach and teach nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified!
That was Paul’s determination (1 Corinthians 2:2). It ought to be every preacher’s! Any man who is sent of God to preach is sent of God to preach Christ crucified, always, in all places, in all his fullness (1 Corinthians 1:17-25). Christ crucified is “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).
He is the singular subject of Holy Scripture. He is the sum and essence of all true doctrine. He is the life of all gospel ordinances. He is the secret ingredient of all true worship. He is the mercy-seat in whom God meets with men. He is the motive of all godliness, obedience, service, and devotion. He is the reward of heavenly glory. Jesus Christ is our God! Jesus Christ is our Savior. And Jesus Christ is salvation.
· He is the Way to heaven; and he is Heaven.
· He is the Revealer of truth, and he is Truth.
· He is the Giver of Life; and he is Life.
The Word of God might be compared to that alabaster box that was brought into Simon’s house in Bethany (Mark 14:1-9) containing “ointment of spikenard very precious.” When the box was broken and the ointment poured out, the sweet fragrance filled the room. Gospel preachers are like the woman who brought the box and broke it open. They come to the house of God with the Word of God, break it open, and as they expound the Scriptures the sweet fragrance of Christ crucified fills the house.
7. “Christ is all!”
Illustration: My Visit with Henry in 1976
Let Christ be preached, exalted in all his saving grace and glory, in the power of God the Holy Spirit, and God’s elect will leave the House of God saying, as the two disciples in Luke 24, — “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”
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[i] Danville — Tuesday — June 12, 2012
Glory of Christ Conference, Kansas City, MO (RID — 06/07/12)
Readings: Bob Poncer and Allen Kibby