Sermon #1445[1]                                   Miscellaneous Sermons


     Title:                     Christ Pre-eminent

                        as the Savior of His People

     Text:            Colossians 1:18 and Matthew 1:21

     Subject:       The Pre-eminence of Christ as our Savior

     Date:            Sunday Morning -- December 24, 2000

     Tape #         W-17a

     Reading:      Luke 2:1-40 and 1 John 5:1-13



     I want you to see, and see clearly, the pre-eminence of our Lord Jesus Christ in all things. It is the purpose of the triune God that in all things Christ be pre-eminent. This is what the Holy Spirit plainly tells us in Colossians 1:18.

(Colossians 1:18)  "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."

     I want to pick up today right where I left off last Sunday morning. The title of my message today is Christ Pre-eminent as the Savior of His People. Clearly, it is in this matter of salvation that the glory and pre-eminence of our Lord Jesus Christ is most fully displayed. He who is God's Salvation, that One whose glory is great in salvation, is pre-eminent as the Savior of his people.

     It is the great glory and pre-eminence of Christ as the Savior of his people which the angel Gabriel announced to Mary, when he made known to her that she was the woman chosen of God to bring the Son of God into this world (Luke 1:26-33).

(Luke 1:26-33)  "And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, [27] To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. [28] And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. [29] And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. [30] And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. [31] And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. [32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: [33] And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."

     It is the pre-eminence of Christ as the Savior of his people which that faithful old saint, Simeon, spoke of when he took the Lord Jesus up in his arms and lifted his heart to God in gratitude (Luke 2:29-34).

(Luke 2:29-34)  "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: [30] For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, [31] Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; [32] A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. [33] And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. [34] And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;"

     And it is the pre-eminence and glory of Christ as the Savior of his people that the angel of the Lord declared to Joseph in our text this morning (Matt. 1:21).

(Matthew 1:18-25)  "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. [19] Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. [20] But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. [21] And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. [22] Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, [23] Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. [24] Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: [25] And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS."

     Today, we will focus our attention on this one very familiar text of Scripture (Matt. 1:21).

(Matthew 1:21)  "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."

     I called this a very familiar text because its words are familiar, not because its meaning is familiar. That certainly is not true. There are few in this world who know the meaning of these words. That is why I want to expound it to you this morning.

     Before we proceed, I want to make a few very serious statements. I make them after much thought, study, and prayerful deliberation.

     Here is the first statement. I stand before you either as the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, or as the servant of the devil. I must be one or the other. In this day of religious pandering, self-serving pragmatism, and compromise, that statement may sound very strange. But it is a fact that cannot be denied or even reasonably questioned. I am either the servant of Christ or the servant of Satan. Either I am working for Christ and with Christ, or I am working against him. Either I am the messenger of Christ, or I am the messenger of the devil himself. Is this, or is it not precisely the doctrine of this Book?

(Matthew 12:30)  Our Master said, -- "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."


(1 Corinthians 9:16)  "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!"


(Galatians 1:8)  "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."

     That awesome fact places a great burden of responsibility upon my shoulders. Indeed, this fact places a great burden upon the shoulders of every man who stands as a preacher to speak to eternity bound men and women and boys and girls in the name of God. -- If when I preach I fail to preach the gospel that Paul preached, the curse of God is upon my head! -- And that man across the highway who is this hour preaching to eternity bound sinners in the name of God, if he fails to preach the gospel that Paul preached, the curse of God is upon him.

     Isaiah declares, "To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. 8:20). We are strictly commanded of God not to add anything to or take anything away from his Holy Word (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:19). That man who dares add anything to the Revelation of God in Holy Scripture, or dares take anything from it, shall be forever cursed of God, damned without mercy, tormented relentlessly in the fires of divine justice in hell.

(Deuteronomy 4:2)  "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you."


(Revelation 22:19)  "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."

     In the light of these things, I stand here, as Paul said to the Corinthians, "in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling" (1 Cor. 2:3). Standing here, as the servant of God, as the minister of Jesus Christ, as a steward of the mysteries of God, I am responsible to be faithful. -- Faithful to the Word of God! -- Faithful to the glory of God! -- Faithful to your souls! That is my responsibility.

     But you, too, have a responsibility. It is your responsibility to "try the spirits, whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). This is what that means, in so far as your responsibility is concerned in this matter.

·        If I am the servant of Christ, you will be wise to hear and obey the message God has given me for you.

·        If I am not the servant of Christ, if I am the servant of the devil, you must not hear me, or even bid me God-speed (2 John 10-11).

(2 John 1:10-11)  "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: [11] For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

Perhaps you are thinking, -- "Bro. Don, How can I tell whether a man is the servant of Christ or the servant of the devil?" The answer to that question is very simple. -- Compare what he says with what God says in this Book. See if the gospel he preaches is the gospel of Christ, as it was preached by our Lord and his apostles. I challenge you to compare what I say to you with the Word of God. Search the Scriptures for yourselves, like the noble Bereans of old, to see if the things preached to you from this pulpit are so.

     Having said that, let's see what is revealed in our text today about our Lord Jesus Christ and his great pre-eminence as the Savior of his people.

(Matthew 1:21)  "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."

     My mind is lost in wonder and admiration, when I think of the fact of Christ's coming into this world. Is it not utterly astonishing to you that the Son of God would condescend to become the Son of man, that he who created all things would become the woman's Seed, that he who is God over all and blessed forever would take upon himself the form of a servant, to be despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, that in the fulness of time he might die the painful, shameful, ignominious death of the cross in the place of guilty sinners, the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God? These things simply astonish me!

(2 Corinthians 8:9)  "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."


(2 Corinthians 9:15)  "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift."


(1 Timothy 3:16)  "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

Proposition:    Behold, a virgin conceived and brought forth a Son! His name is Immanuel! -- God with us! -- God almighty has come down here in the nature of a man to save fallen men! If that does not amaze you, nothing can!

Divisions: I want to raise four simple questions, questions which are clearly answered in this one sentence of Inspiration. -- "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins!"

1. Why did the Lord Jesus Christ come into this world?

2. Who is this man whose name is called Jesus?

3. Who are his people?

4. How does the Lord Jesus Christ save his people?


I.       Why did the Lord Jesus Christ come into this world?

     Our text declares and declares plainly that the Lord Jesus Christ came into this world for the specific purpose of saving his people from their sins. He did not come here to establish a political state. He did not come here to be a moral, religious reformer. He did not come to merely give us a good example of how we ought to live. The Lord Jesus Christ was born as a man at Bethlehem 2000 years ago, the Son of God invaded earth and time through a virgin's womb 2000 years ago, to save his people from their sins.

     The purpose of our Lord's incarnation, the mission upon which he was sent and came into this world, the work he came here to perform was the salvation of his people.

A.    This is the Father's will which he came to perform (Heb. 10:5-14).

(Hebrews 10:5-14)  "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."

B.    This salvation of his people was the stipulation of the covenant he came to fulfill (Isa. 49:8).

(Isaiah 49:8)  "Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages."

C.    This is the commandment of his Father he came to obey (John 10:16-18).

(John 10:16-18)  "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. [17] Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. [18] No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father."

II.                Who is this man whose name is called "JESUS"?

     That might appear to be a strange question to ask. Perhaps you think, "Pastor, everybody in this day and age, at least, everybody I know, knows who he is." You are sadly mistaken. The fact is, there are very few people in this world who know who the Lord Jesus Christ is.

     The Christ that is worshipped in the average church is nothing but the idolatrous figment of man's depraved imagination. Our Lord himself warned us of these days (Matt. 24:24, 23). That which we read in Matthew 24 makes this question a matter of immense importance.

(Matthew 24:24)  "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

(Matthew 24:23)  "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not."

     Who is this man whose name is called "JESUS"? If we would be saved, we must know him, we must know, trust, and worship the true and living God, and the Christ of God by and in whom he is revealed, not a false Christ and a false god (John 17:3).

(John 17:3)  "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

     If you, or I, trust a false god and a false Christ, no matter how sincere we are, we are lost, under the delusion of Satan, and perishing in the delusion of a hopeless religion. If you care for your soul, give me your attention. I want to show you from the Scriptures who this man is who is called "JESUS," of whom it is written, "He shall save his people from their sins.".

A.   This man, Jesus of Nazareth, is himself God, the Son of God, God the Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity (1 John 5:7).

     We who believe are the sons of God by adoption and grace; but this man is God the eternal Son by nature. He is in every way one with and equal with the Father and the Spirit. When the Scriptures assert that this man, Jesus of Nazareth, is the Son of God, as they universally do, the meaning is this. -- He "is over all God, blessed forever!" He is not just a god, a likeness of God, an emanation of God, or a high and holy creature of God. Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh (John 1:1-3).

1.     All the attributes of divinity belong to him.

2.     He is the sovereign Creator of all things! -- The Sustainer of all things! -- The Ruler of all things! -- The Disposer of all things!

3.     Christ is God in human flesh (Col. 2:9).

4.     Our Lord Jesus Christ is the full, complete, absolute, perfect, and final revelation of the eternal God (John 1:14, 18).

     Let men argue, debate, fuss, and ridicule as they will, if the man Christ Jesus is anything less than God almighty, we have no Savior, the Bible is a cruel hoax, and our religion is utter idolatry of the basest kind. -- If this man is not God, he is a liar and an imposter. -- If he is not God, his obedience and death arte utterly meaningless, for none but God (God in human flesh!) could make atonement for our sins!

     Oh, yes, blessed be his name, that man who was born at Bethlehem 2000 years ago, who died at Calvary and rose again the third day, that man who is seated yonder in glory is himself Christ our God!

B.   This man called Jesus, the Christ of God, this man who is God almighty, is the sinners' Substitute.

     He is the Daysman, the Surety, the Representative, the Mediator, the Substitute by whose obedience and death sinners are reconciled to God, without whom we could never be accepted of God.

     Listen to me now. -- The key to understanding this Book is understanding the gospel doctrine of Substitution. When I say that the Lord Jesus Christ is the sinners' Substitute, I mean that…

1.     He stood before the Father as the Substitute, in the room and stead of his people, as our Representative, before the world began.

·        As the Lamb Slain (Rev. 13:8).

·        As The Mediator Accepted (Eph. 1:3-6).

·        As the Covenant Surety (2 Tim. 1:9-10),

(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."

2.     The Lord Jesus lived on this earth in perfect obedience to the law and will of God as our Substitute (Rom. 5:12-19).

3.     The Lord of Glory died under the wrath of God as the Substitute for his people upon the cursed tree (Gal. 3:13; 2 Cor. 5:21).

4.     Our great Savior intercedes on behalf of his people today, as our Advocate in heaven, as our Substitute before the throne of God(1 John 2:1-2).

5.     The Lord Jesus Christ will stand as the Substitute for in people, in our room and stead, at the bar of justice on the day of judgment, as the just, righteous grounds of our eternal salvation.

     Be sure you understand what this Book teaches us. If Jesus Christ is indeed God in human flesh, God almighty, (and he is!), then all that he has undertaken to do as our Substitute must be effectually and completely accomplished by him. (Redemption -- Justification -- Salvation)-- All those people whom he undertook to save must be saved. Hear the angel's words again. -- "He shall save his people from their sins!" -- "He shall not fail!"

D.   This Jesus, the Christ of the Bible, who is God incarnate, is the Savior of his people.

     I will say more about this later, but I will not mind repeating myself. So hear me now.

1.Christ alone is our Savior.

2. Christ is our complete Savior (1 Cor. 1:30-31; Col. 2:10).

3. Christ is our effectual Savior. -- "It is finished!"

E.     This man called Jesus, who is the Christ of God, who is God the Son, in order to save his people is the sovereign Monarch of the universe (John 17:2; Acts 5:31; Rom. 14:9; Phil. 2:9-11; Heb. 1:1-3).

·        By Virtue of His Eternal Deity!

·        By Virtue of His Obedience!

     Do you understand who this man called Jesus is? He is…

·        The Son of God.

·        The Sinners' Substitute.

·        The Savior of His People.

·        The Sovereign Monarch of the Universe!

     If the Christ you worship is not this Christ, your Christ is a false Christ, nothing but the idolatrous figment of your own depraved mind.

     Look at our text again. It declares that this man called Jesus, the Christ, "shall save his people from their sins." So, I want to know the answer to another question.

III.             Who are his people?

     Who are those people who are here called "his people"? Who are those people Christ came to save? This much is as obvious in our text as the nose on your face: His people were his people before he came here to save them. Our text says, "He shall save his people." It does not say, "He shall save those who shall be his people." Whoever his people are, they were his people before he came to save them (Ps. 110:3; John 10:16).

(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."


(John 10:16)  "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."


     All men are Arminians and will worshippers by nature. All men naturally assume that Christ came to save everyone in the world. All men think, and all false religion teaches, that Christ died at Calvary for all men, to save all men. But that simply is not the doctrine of Holy Scripture. What does the Bible teach? What does God almighty say in his Word about this matter? Remember, if a man speaks not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in him. Those false prophets who declare that the blood of Christ was a waste, that he died in vain for multitudes who yet perish in their sins have not so much as a single ray of spiritual light in them. To teach such doctrine is to deny the very deity of the Son of God. He cannot be God if

·        He fails to do what he came to do.

·        His love can be turned to wrath.

·        His blood does not fully satisfy the justice of God.

     The Son of God did not come here to save all people. If he had, all would be saved. He came to save his people from their sins, his own peculiar, distinct people. Who are his people? The Word of God describes them like this. -- His people are…

·        His Seed (Isa. 53:10-12).

·        His Sheep (John 10:11, 15, 26).

·        His Chosen Bride, the Church (Eph. 5:25-27).

·        His Own Elect (Eph. 1:3-7).


In a word, "HIS PEOPLE" are the objects of his love! His people are those who were chosen in him to salvation before the world began, whom he loved with an everlasting love, whom he predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself according to the good pleasure of his will (Rom. 8:28-31).


IV.How does the Lord Jesus Christ save his people from their sins?

     This much I know. -- Whoever his people are, they shall be saved from their sins. That fact cannot be disputed. But how does he do it? Here are three distinct and distinguishing works of grace by which the Lord Jesus Christ saves all his people from all their sins (1 Cor. 4:7).

A.Redemption -- He has saved all his people from the penalty of their sins by the particular, effectual redemption of our souls from the curse of God's holy law (2 Cor. 5:21).

     This is "how" Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3).

·        Voluntarily (Heb. 10:5-9)

·        Vicariously (Isa. 53:4-6).

·        Victoriously (Heb. 9:12).


B.Regeneration -- Christ Jesus saves each and all his people from the power and dominion of their sins, at the appointed time of love, by the almighty power and effectual, irresistible grace of his Holy Spirit in regeneration and effectual calling (John 5:25; Eph. 2:1-5; Ps; 65:4).

·        Ezekiel's Infant (Ezek. 16:6-8)

·        The Valley of Dry Bones (Ezek. 37) -- "Where the blood don't flow, the wind don't blow." -- (Pastor Jesse Gistand)

·        Lazarus (John 11)


C.Resurrection -- The Lord Jesus Christ shall soon save all his people from all their sins, from the very being of sin and all the evil consequences of sin, in the resurrection of the just (John 5:28; 1 Thess. 5:13-18).

There shall be a resurrection of the just and of the unjust. The wicked shall be raised to suffer all the consequences of their sins. But the righteous shall be raised to be forever freed from all the consequences of their sins, and delivered into "The Glorious Liberty of The Sons of God!"


     I want to know the answer to one more question. -- Do I have any reason to believe that I am one of his people? Indeed, I do!

(1 John 5:9-13)  "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. [10] He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. [11] And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. [12] He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. [13] These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."

[1] See sermon #964 preached at Danville (PM) -- 02/24/91 and (AM) -- 12/26/93, at Wichita Falls 02/21/91, Todds Road 12/21/94, and Family Radio Tuscarora Conference 08/29/94