Sermon #125[i] — John’s Gospel
Title: “IT IS FINISHED!”
Text: John 19:30
Subject: The Finished Work of Christ
Date: Sunday Morning — July 17, 2011
(John 19:28-30) “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put [it] upon hyssop, and put [it] to his mouth. 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”
The Son of God has taken upon Himself human flesh. He has taken our humanity into union with His Divinity. He has lived a life of perfect righteousness as the Representative of His covenant people. He has been all His life long despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. His enemies have been many. His friends have been few, and those few faithless.
At last He is delivered over into the hands of them that hate Him. He is crudely arrested in the garden, and arraigned before the courts of law. They robe Him in mockery, strip Him in shame, and hold Him up as a spectacle of ridicule and scorn.
He is declared to be perfectly innocent. Yet, the cowardly judge delivers Him into the hands of His persecutors. It is written, “Pilate delivered Jesus to their will!” He is dragged through the streets of Jerusalem. Those who had killed the prophets would now bring upon themselves the blood of the prophets’ Master.
The God-man is brought to the hill called Calvary and brutally nailed to the cross. The sun burns upon Him. His wounds infect His body with scorching fever. God, His Father, whose will He came to perform, whose purpose He now fulfils, whose people He came to redeem, whose glory He came to uphold, His God and Father forsakes Him. Suffering all the concentrated anguish of hell, He cries out, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”
While He hangs there upon the tree, in mortal conflict with sin and Satan, His heart is broken, His limbs are dislocated and His Father forsakes Him. The heavens forsake Him. The earth forsakes Him. His disciples all forsake Him and flee from Him. He looks everywhere but there is none to help. His eye looks all around, but there are none to share His toil. He treads the wine press of the fierceness of the wrath of God alone; and of the people there are none with Him.
Yet, on and on He goes, steadily determined to drink the last bitter dregs of that cup which could not pass from His lips if His Father’s will is to be done. He says…
Isaiah 50:5-7 “The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. (6) I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. (7) For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.”
For the glory of God, for the honor of His holy law, for the redemption of His people, and in order to complete the work for which He came into the world, the Lord Jesus Christ perseveres in His agony, until at last He cries, “It is finished!” Then he gives up the ghost.
Do you hear this mighty shout of triumph? It is the word of the conquering King. It rings out today with all the freshness and force with which it rang out from Calvary more than two thousand years ago! — “It is finished!” Hear it from the sacred Word. Hear from the Savior’s lips. I pray that you will hear these three words, by the power of God the Holy Spirit, ringing in your very soul. — “It is finished!” Oh, may these blessed words ring out in your heart. I pray that this hour everyone of you will be enabled to enter into the experience of this blessed conquest.
John 19:30 “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”
Proposition: I can almost see our Savior as He looks up to God His Father, as He looks around to the wondering angels of light, as He looks down upon Satan and the demons of hell, and as He looks out over the perishing multitudes of men. When He declares, “It is finished,” He is testifying to heaven and earth and hell that redemption’s work is done!
Divisions: I take these three words, as they came forth from the lips of our suffering Substitute, for my subject — “It Is Finished!” I want to show you four things about the finished work of Christ in this message.
1. The Fact of It
2. The Result of It
3. The Experience of It
4. The Cause of It
1. The Fact of It
In the first place, as you hear these words fall from the Savior’s lips, “It is finished,” — I want you to realize the fact of it. When the Lord Jesus Christ died upon the cursed tree, the work of redemption was then and there complete. Nothing was left undone. Nothing more needed to be done. Nothing more could be done. Christ had come into the world to redeem a people unto Himself; and those people are redeemed.
Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to 1. finish the transgression, and to 2. make an end of sins, and to 3. make reconciliation for iniquity, and to 4. bring in everlasting righteousness, and to 5. seal up the vision and prophecy, and to 6. anoint the most Holy.”
That which Daniel prophesied the Son of God declares finished by His sacrificial death as our Substitute at Calvary. What did our Savior mean when he said, “It is finished?”
He meant that all the types, promises, and prophecies of the Old Testament Scriptures were fulfilled and finished forever. — The Old Testament Scriptures tailor a garment that will fit only one Person, and that Person is the Lord Jesus Christ (Genesis 3:15; 49:10; Psalm 40:6-8; Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Micah 5:2; Malachi 4:2). There is not a single promise, or type, or prophecy of the Old Testament that does not find its perfect fulfillment in Christ. Not only does the garment fit Him perfectly, it fits Him alone. Only the Lord Jesus Christ fits the character of that One who was promised in the Old Testament.
Š He is a Prophet like Moses and a Deliverer like Joshua.
Š He is a Priest like Aaron and like Melchisedec.
Š He is a King like David and like Solomon.
Š He is the Lamb that was slain and the Scapegoat that was not slain.
Š He is Turtledove that was dipped in blood and the Priest who killed the bird.
Š He is the Altar and the Tabernacle.
Š He is the Mercy-Seat and the Showbread.
Š He is the Sacrifice and the Sacrificer.
Everything in the Old Testament points to Christ.
When our Lord said, “It is finished” — He meant that all the typical sacrifices of the ceremonial law were completely fulfilled and, therefore, forever abolished (Hebrews 10:1-14).
Hebrews 10:1-14 “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. (2) For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. (3) But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. (4) For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. (5) Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: (6) In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. (7) Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. (8) Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; (9) Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. (10) By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (11) And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: (12) But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; (13) From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. (14) For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
Judaism today is just as idolatrous as Romanism. God has put aside forever the carnal ordinances of the Old Testament (John 4:24-25).
John 4:24-25 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (25) The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.”
When the Lord Jesus cried, “It is finished” — He meant that all the commandments of the moral law of God were now perfectly fulfilled and that the rule of the law was, therefore ended and abolished forever (Romans 10:4).
Romans 10:4 “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
The age of sonship has come; and the sons of God are no longer subject to the tutelage and discipline of the law. All who are taught of God are made willing servants in the day of His power.
Š Those who give from a willing heart generously do not need a law to compel them to pay a legal tax.
Š Those who rest in Christ do not need to be ordered to keep a sabbath day. Our lives are a perpetual sabbath!
Š Those who love Christ do not need the ball and chain of the law to make them do what is right for the glory of Christ.
When He cried, “It Is Finished” — Our blessed Lord proclaimed that the way of access has been opened up to God. — The veil of the temple was torn in two, from top to the bottom, telling us that a way was opened for sinful man to approach the holy God (Hebrews 10:19-22).
Hebrews 10:19-22 “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, (20) By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; (21) And having an high priest over the house of God; (22) Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”
When the Lord Jesus Christ cried, “It is finished” — He declared that He had perfectly accomplished the redemption of His people (Galatians 3:13; Hebrews 9:12).
Galatians 3:13 “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.”
Hebrews 9:12 “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
The work His Father gave Him to do was done. All that He had agreed upon in the covenant of grace as our Surety, He had now fulfilled (John 17:4).
John 17:4 “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”
Š He had now brought in an everlasting righteousness.
Š He had now satisfied Divine justice.
The debt was paid. The debtors were discharged. By His one offering for sin upon the cursed tree the atonement was accomplished, propitiation was made, reconciliation between God and His covenant people was complete; and He perfected forever them that are sanctified! The cup of wrath was drained. The whip of justice was worn out on His back. The curse of the law fell on Him. The thunder of Sinai was silenced. He swallowed up the sword of God’s infinite wrath and justice in His holy soul!
Š He had now annihilated the sins of His people.
Š He had now conquered Satan.
Š He had now defeated death.
“It is finished!” — Children of God, I want you to recognize this blessed fact. In the substitutionary death of Christ at Calvary…
Š The Old Testament Scriptures are fulfilled.
Š The typical sacrifices of the ceremonial law are forever abolished.
Š The commandments of the moral law are all perfectly and representatively performed for us and fulfilled for us.
Š The way of access to God is open.
Š The redemption of our souls is accomplished.
2. The Result of It
In the second place, as you hear these words, sounded out by our mighty Savior, “It is finished,” — I want you to rejoice in the result of it. Did you hear the Son of God say, “It is finished?” Believe it, my friend. It is true. The Lord Jesus Christ, by His representative life and vicarious atonement in our place, has finished the work of redemption for us. And having finished the work which the Father gave Him to do, there are certain inevitable consequences which must follow. — The death of Christ was an effectual atonement for sin. Let me briefly show you what some of the results of our Lord’s sacrifice are.
Because of our Savior’s finished work, the covenant of God’s grace has been ratified and put into force (Hebrews 9:15-17).
Hebrews 9:15-17 “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. (16) For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. (17) For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.”
The covenant was signed and sealed before all worlds. It was ordered in all things and sure by God’s eternal decree. But when Christ said, “It is finished!” then that covenant was put into force by blood. Not one stipulation of the covenant could ever be broken Not one promise could ever fail. All the blessings of the covenant were made sure to all of God’s elect by the blood of Christ.
NOTE: Though He died to put His will in force, our crucified Redeemer lives in heaven to see to it that His will is executed (Isaiah 53:10-12).
Isaiah 53:10-12 “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. (12) Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Because of the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ, God almighty, in His perfect holiness, is both just and the Justifier of guilty sinners (Romans 3:24-26).
Romans 3:24-26 “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
Since the God-man died, there is hope for sinners! Through the propitiatory atonement of Christ, God can be just and still justify the ungodly. Indeed, the justice of God demands that all for whom Christ died must go free.
Because of the finished work of Christ, the Holy Spirit has come down from heaven to gather out God’s elect (Galatians 3:13-14).
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.”
Since the Holy Spirit has been poured out upon all flesh, the Gospel is sent into all the world. The Gospel of God’s free, sovereign, saving grace in Christ is a worldwide message (Joel 2:32). — “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Because of the finished work of Christ, the salvation of God’s elect is secure (John 6:39).
John 6:39 “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”
He who entered into heaven with His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption for His people, will see to it that His people all have the eternal redemption He obtained for them.
Every sinner bought by blood
Shall at last be brought to God.
Truth and justice make it plain —
Jesus did not die in vain!
None for whom the Savior bled
Can be severed from their Head.
Called by grace! Kept forever!
Jesus is a mighty Savior!
Not one soul for whom Christ shed His blood at Calvary shall ever perish. All of His elect shall be saved. All of His redeemed ones are secure. Justice demands it! — “He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied.”
Š Our sins are gone.
Š The law has no claim upon us.
Š Christ cannot fail (Isaiah 45:23-25).
Isaiah 45:23-25 “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (24) Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. (25) In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”
Because of the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glory of God is revealed in the Gospel (2 Corinthians 4:6).
2 Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
2 Timothy 1:9-10 “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (10) But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.”
In the cross of Christ we see all the marvelous attributes of the eternal Godhead brilliantly displayed.
Š His Holiness and His Goodness
Š His Justice and His Mercy
Š His Truth and His Grace
Š His Immutability and His Wisdom
Š His Greatness and His Love
Because of His finished work as our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ is exalted to the throne of universal monarchy, to rule over all flesh (Philippians 2:9-11; Psalm 2:8).
Psalms 2:8 “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”
Philippians 2:9-11 “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: (10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; (11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
The work of redemption which secured the salvation of all God’s elect was completed at Calvary by Christ alone. Its results were immediately effected. When He died in my place, and I died in Him, my soul was as safe and secure under His blood as it is today. But I did not know it, until He came by the power of His Spirit and brought me into…
3. the experience of it.
So, in the third place, when you hear the Savior say, “It is finished!” — I want you to know the experience of it. In preaching the Gospel, we proclaim to men the good news of full redemption, the glad tidings of full atonement, and the comforting message of full pardon. We know nothing of a possibility redemption, a partial redemption, or a provided redemption. We proclaim an accomplished redemption. We declare to sinners everywhere that for all who look to Christ, “the warfare is over” (Isaiah 40:1-2).
Isaiah 40:1-2 “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. (2) Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”
Illustration: News of the Surrender
How can a man enter into the experience of Christ’s finished work? I can tell you this: — If ever you come to experience the finished work of Christ in everlasting salvation it will be the result of His work and His work alone.
Š The Lord must send His Word to heal your soul, or you will never be saved (Psalm 107:20; Ephesians 1:13).
Psalms 107:20 “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.”
Ephesians 1:12-14 “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (13) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
Š The Lord must send His Spirit into your heart, or you cannot live.
Illustration: The Valley of Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37)
Š Christ Himself must be revealed to you and in you, or you cannot believe.
Galatians 1:15-16 “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, (16) To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.
Š Who Separated Me
Š And Called Me by His Grace
Š Revealed His Son In Me
Š Destroying All Creature Confidence
Philippians 3:3 “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
Š He will give you faith to trust Him.
Š He will proclaim peace in your soul.
Š He will break the iron chains of your sin.
Š He will cause your troubled soul to find rest in Him (Psalm 107:1-31).
There's a line that's been drawn through the ages,
On that line stands an old rugged cross;
On that cross a battle is raging,
For the gain of man's soul or his loss.
The earth shakes with the force of the conflict,
And the sun refuses to shine;
For there hangs God's Son for His people,
And then through the darkness he cries:
"It is finished!" The battle is over,
It is finished! There will be no more war;
It is finished! The end of the conflict,
It is finished! And Jesus is Lord.
Still in my heart the battle was raging,
Not all prisoners of war have come home;
There were battlefields of my own making,
I did not know that the war has been won.
Then I heard that the King of the Ages,
Had fought all the battles for me;
More than conqueror in Jesus I am!
And now praise His name I am free.
It is finished! The battle is over,
It is finished! There will be no more war;
It is finished! The battle is over,
It is finished! There will be no more war;
It is finished! The end of the conflict,
It is finished! And Jesus is Lord.
It is finished! And Jesus is Lord!
4. The Cause of It
In the fourth place, as you hear the Lord Jesus Christ cry, “It is finished!” – I want you to see and appreciate the cause of it. — Why should the Lord Jesus Christ endure the painful, shameful, ignominious death of the cross for me? What caused the Son of God to stand as my Surety and agree to finish the work of my soul’s redemption? What motivated our Lord in this blessed work?
Š It was his Father’s will (Psalm 40:7-8).
Š There was no other possible means of saving us. —Gethsemane!
Š He loved us, and He was determined to have us (Malachi 3:17).
Malachi 3:17 “And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.”
Š God was determined to glorify Himself by saving us!
Psalms 106:8 “Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.”
I proclaim this message of grace to you today. — “It is finished!” — God will never accept the works of your hands. But He has accepted the work of His Son’s hand. Will you rest your soul upon the finished work of Christ alone?
“Nothing, either great or small;
Nothing, sinner, no;
Jesus did it, did it all, Long, long ago!
When He, from His lofty throne,
Stooped to do and die,
Everything was fully done; Hearken to His cry —
‘It is finished!’ Yes indeed,
Finished every jot.
Sinner, this is all you need. Tell me, Is it not?
Weary, working, plodding one,
Why toil you so?
Cease your doing, all was done, Long, long ago!
Till to Jesus’ work you cling
By a simple faith,
Doing is a deadly thing. Doing ends in death!
Cast your deadly ‘doing’ down,
Down at Jesus’ feet.
Stand in Him, in Him alone, Gloriously complete!”
Children of God, see to it that you give Christ all the praise for His finished work.
Psalms 115:1 “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.”
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Don’t even talk to God’s saints about some sense in which we must be ruled by the law. I am as insulted by that talk as my wife would be if, every time, or any time, I left the house, I were to lock her in a chastity belt. It would not help one bit, if I were to say to her, “Honey, this does not mean that I don’t trust you. I just want you to wear it as a sign that you love me.”
[i] Danville — Sunday Morning — July 17, 2011
Sovereign Grace Fellowship Kingsport, TN — October 5, 2007
Tape # — John 125
Scripture Reading: Romans 10:1-17 or Psalm 46:1-11