Sermon #1880[i] — Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: Christ Crucified
All The Counsel of God
Text: Acts 20:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 2:1-2
Subject: Christ Crucified
The Message of Holy Scripture
Readings: Lindsay Campbell and Larry Criss
Two weeks ago, I put an excellent article in our bulletin by Pastor David Eddmenson, titled, “How could I” Bro. Eddmenson has learned what very few ever learn. He has learned that he who preaches Christ crucified, and he alone, faithfully preaches the Gospel and he alone faithfully expounds all the counsel of God. — Christ crucified is the message of Holy Scripture.
Shortly after I put that brief article in our bulletin, a young, self-appointed, self-deluded, imaginary preacher, a man who does not have a clue about what it is to preach the Gospel, ripped into Bro. David, like an angry little fly buzzing an elephant’s tail! Deliberately putting words in Bro. David’s mouth that David never spoke or thought, he asserted that David was not preaching the Gospel. Here is a man who never sacrificed anything for the cause of Christ attacking a man he’s never seen, who sacrificed everything he worked for all his life to preach the gospel to a small group of believers who needed and wanted a pastor. —— Needless to say, I am angered by this. I’m irked by it.
Š Such wicked slander ought to cease! — All gossip and slander ought to cease!
Š You be very careful about accusing a man of not preaching the Gospel! — Such an accusation is serious.
Š Before accusing someone of something, you ought to at least know him! — Don’t you think?
The preacher who made the assault upon Bro. Eddmenson has been told exactly what I have told you. I wrote to him today, telling him exactly what I have just said to you, and what I am going to tell you in this message, if the Lord will enable me by his grace to do so. He can do with it what he will. He will have no other word from me about the matter. But one good thing that has come from his childish, evil behavior is the message the Lord has given me for you tonight. — Turn with me to the 20th chapter of the Book of Acts.
Without question, the Apostle Paul is the preachers’ pattern. He was the Apostle to the Gentiles. God called him in an amazing, miraculous way, gifted him for the work he was to do, honored him with revelations made to no other man on this earth, and used him mightily. God used this man Paul to write 14 of the 27 books of the New Testament. His message, his ministry and his methods ought to be carefully studied and imitated by all who preach. God blessed and used Paul as he has blessed and used no other man since. Every preacher ought to seek to follow his example.
There is no way to briefly sum up the ministry of such a man as Paul, other than by using his own words to do so. He made two statements — (One to the Elders at Ephesus and one to the church at Corinth.) — which give us an understanding of his message and ministry.
First, let’s read Paul’s statement to the Elders at Ephesus (Acts 20:26-27).
(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.”
Paul declares frankly that neither the fear of man, nor covetousness, nor the love of money, nor desire for approval, nor ambition had kept him from preaching the full purpose, counsel and redemptive glory of God revealed in the Holy Scriptures.
His second statement is found in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2. (Read that passage with me.)
(1 Corinthians 2:1-2) “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. (2) For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
In 2 Corinthians 4:5 he says, “We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord.” Your faith must not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:3-5).
(1 Corinthians 2:3-5) “And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. (4) And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: (5) That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
Š Your faith and confidence must not be in preachers, but in the Christ we preach!
Š You must not be followers of men, but of Christ!
Š You must not believe my word, but his Word!
My subject is Christ Crucified — All The Counsel Of God.
Proposition: This is what I want to show you from the Word of God — When we preach Christ and him crucified, we preach all the counsel of God, for all that God almighty has purposed, decreed, revealed, and given to the sons of Adam is in Jesus Christ and him crucified. —— Christ crucified is not merely the central message of Scripture. Christ crucified is the message of Holy Scripture.
A Him Book
This blessed Book that you hold in your lap is a Him Book — It’s all about Him.
(John 5:39) “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
(Luke 24:25-32) “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?”
The key that unlocks this Treasure Chest is Christ. You will never understand the Word of God until you understand that it is all about Christ.
1 Peter 1:23-25
We preach Christ crucified. God forbid that we should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps you are thinking, “How can a man preach all the counsel of God by preaching Jesus Christ and him crucified?” If you will give me your attention, I will show you how the preaching of the cross is the declaration of all the counsel of God. This is exactly what Peter, by divine inspiration, declares in 1 Peter 1:23-25.
(1 Peter 1:23-25) “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.”
Š The Tabernacle and the Priesthood
Š The Legal Sacrifices and Ceremonies
Š The History of Israel
Š The Types
Š The Promises
Š The Prophecies
1. To preach the cross of Christ to preach the eternal purpose, counsel, and will of God that ordained the death of Christ upon the cross (Acts 2:23; 4:27-28).
(Acts 2:23) “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”
(Acts 4:27-28) “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, (28) For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.”
The cross of Christ was no afterthought with God! — Christ was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). Before man fell, Christ was our Surety, our Savior, and our Substitute.
Christ is the Surety of the Everlasting Covenant. — He is the Shepherd of the sheep, raised up from the dead through the blood of the everlasting covenant (Hebrews 13:20).
Known unto God are all his works from the foundation of the world. — We were chosen by God in the crucified Christ before the world began (Ephesians 1:3-4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). — A man cannot preach Christ crucified without preaching him as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world in the eternal purpose of God.
2. To preach Christ crucified I must preach the Fall of Man (1 Timothy 1:15).
If we are not fallen, depraved, helpless, spiritually dead and justly condemned sinners, there was no need for Christ to come into this world and die the horrible death of the cross (1 Timothy 1:15). If we are not lost sinners, he died for nothing!
(1 Timothy 1:15) “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”
Š “In Adam all died!” — By his death we died!
Š “In Christ we are made alive!” — By his death we live!
Š “He died, the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.”
Do you see this? In the cross of Christ…
Š Our sinfulness is revealed.
Š Our inability is revealed.
Š The certainty of divine judgment is revealed!
3. If I preach the cross of Christ, I must preach the holiness, righteousness, and justice of God that demanded the death of Christ for the salvation of sinners (Romans 3:24-26). — You can’t preach the Gospel if you don’t preach the law in all its holy justice, strictness, and severity.
(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.”
Š God is holy — He must punish sin.
Š God is righteous — His law must be honored.
Š God is just — “The soul that sinneth, it shall die!”
Š God is love, but He is “a just God and a Savior” He cannot save without propitiation (1 John 4:10).
(1 John 4:10) “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
The character of God is nowhere displayed so clearly and beautifully as it is at Calvary (Psalm 85:10). — “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” — Do you see what I am saying? God cannot compromise his character. Therefore, Christ must die!
Christ’s Eternal Deity
4. If I preach Christ crucified, I must preach the eternal deity and glory of Jesus Christ, which makes his work effectual and sufficient for the salvation of God’s elect.
It is not just the painful, shameful death of a good man upon the cross that has merit with God, but the worth of that man by virtue of who he is! It is not just blood shed, but whose blood was shed (Romans 8:34).
(Romans 8:31-34) “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (32) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (33) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. (34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
Jesus Christ is the Man who died, and he is God who can never die (Isaiah 9:6). This God-man, this Man who is God is the Representative Man, the Federal Head of a chosen race.
Š “In the beginning was the Word.” — “The Word was made flesh!”
Š “The Word was with God.” — And dwelt among men!
Š The Word was God — “We beheld his glory!”
Š “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself!”
No man has preached Christ crucified until he has declared who Christ is, until he has declared that which is declared in all the counsel of God — Jesus Christ is God!
5. If I preach Christ and Him crucified I must preach Christ as the fulfillment of every promise, prophecy, picture, and law in the Old Testament Scriptures (Luke 24:27, 44-46).
(Luke 24:27) “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
(Luke 24:44-46) “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.”
The Old Testament has no message or meaning apart from the death of Christ as the sinner’s Substitute upon the cross. How do you explain…
Š The seed of the woman bruising the serpent’s head?
Š Abel’s sacrifice?
Š Noah’s ark?
Š Sarah and Hagar and Their Sons? — (Romans 10:4).
Š The Law of God given by Moses?
Š Tamar’s Righteous Act?
Š The Passover Lamb?
Š The Tabernacle, the Priesthood, the Mercy-Seat, the Atonement?
Š The Smitten Rock?
Š The Manna from Heaven?
Š The Serpent Lifted Up?
Š Ruth’s Going to The Threshing Floor?
“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures!”
Š A Sacrifice
Š A Sacrifice Uplifted on an Altar
Š A Cursed Sacrifice Hung Upon a Tree
Š A Violently Slaughtered Sacrifice
Š A Sin-atoning Sacrifice
Love of God
6. If we preach the cross of Christ, we preach the love of God for sinners (1 John 4:10).
(1 John 4:10) “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Š “Propitiation” — Mercy-Seat — Covering — Atonement!
(Romans 5:8) “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
(Romans 8:39) “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
(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.”
“Could we with ink the oceans fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above
Would drain the oceans dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky!”
7. To preach the cross of Christ a man must preach free and full justification by faith and not by works!
If the Lord Jesus Christ represents me before the law and justice of God and fully honored and satisfied both as my Substitute, then my salvation is finished and complete (Colossians 2:9-10). Believing on him, I am freely justified and fully justified by what he has done (Acts 13:38-39).
(Colossians 2:9-10) “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (10) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:”
(Acts 13:38-39) “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: (39) And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
Š Salvation is the gift of God (Romans 6:23).
Š Salvation is by the will of God (Romans 9:16).
Š Salvation is by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Š Salvation is free and everlasting (Romans 5:1; 8:1).
Š Salvation is unconditional. That is to say, it is without the works of the law (2 Timothy 1:9). — My works do not earn it! — My works do not prepare me for it! — My works do not improve it! — My works do not maintain it! — My works do not complete it!
“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28).
8. To preach Christ crucified, I must preach the sure preservation and final perseverance of all for whom he died.
Š They must be saved (John 6:37-40).
(John 6:37-40) “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (38) For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. (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. (40) And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Š They must be kept (John 10:26-30). — “He shall not fail!” (Isa. 42:2).
Š They must come into glory (Ephesians 5:25-27).
(Ephesians 5:25-32) “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (27) That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (28) So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. (29) For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: (30) For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. (31) For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. (32) This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
9. If I preach the cross of Christ, I preach his glorious resurrection and ours!
Christ had to die in order to be raised (John 12:24). — “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” — When God raised him from the dead, he accepted him and accepted us in him (Acts 17:31). — “Risen together with him!” — And because he lives we shall live also! — The Firstfruits!
The Holy Spirit
10. To preach Christ crucified is to proclaim the work of God the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-14).
(John 16:7-14) “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (8) And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (9) Of sin, because they believe not on me; (10) Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; (11) Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. (12) I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. (13) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. (14) He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.”
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to reveal the crucified Savior in the hearts of chosen sinners.
Š He shows us our need of Christ — Sin!
Š He shows us the righteousness of Christ — Righteousness!
Š He shows us the efficacy of Christ’s atonement — Judgment!
Š He guides us into the truth of Christ by constantly showing us the things of Christ!
11. To preach Christ crucified is to truly preach what men like to call “Practical Christianity”.
When I preach the cross of Christ, I am calling for holiness of life (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 5:14). Every practical exhortation in the New Testament arises from, finds its basis in, and is motivated by the death of Christ upon the cross!
Š Baptism (Romans 6:4-5).
Š The Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
Š Brotherly Love (1 John 3:16-17).
Š Christian Giving (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Š Christian Kindness and Forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32 — 5:1).
Š Employer — Employee relationships (Titus 2:9-10).
Š Family Relationships (Ephesians 5:22 — 6:1).
12. To preach Christ crucified is to preach his glorious second advent (Rev. 1:5-7).
(Revelation 1:5-7) “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (6) And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (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.”
Š He loved us!
Š He washed us!
Š He made us kings and priests unto God!
Š “Behold, he cometh!”
This is my message — “I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God!” And I am “determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ, and him crucified!” (Gal. 6:14-16).
(Galatians 6:14-16) “But 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. (15) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. (16) And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”
I have declared to you, to the best of my ability, I trust by the power of God’s Spirit, “the doctrine of Christ”. Now, I want to send you home with one final Word from God regarding “the doctrine of Christ” (2 John 9).
(2 John 1:9) “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”
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[i] See Sermon #1054 Danville, KY (11-22-92) – (AM 10/05/97)
Nashville, TN (11-30-92)
Rescue Baptist Church, Rescue, CA (07/03/10)