I do not know how many sermons I have preached. For over 1400 Sundays, I generally delivered two sermons each Lord's Day. Since Sue and I seldom took a vacation (other than a few days here and there during the week), there were few Sundays I was not in my own pulpit. Since God gave me an extended ministry in other churches preaching revival and evangelistic messages, my estimate is that I delivered in excess of three thousand messages.
It was not until the last few years of my ministry that I came to understand the importance of magnifying Jesus in my messages, as well as in all aspects of the church services as totally as possible. The difference in souls saved and lives touched was dramatic. Seldom did we have a service once I learned to lift up the Lord Jesus Christ that we did not see people saved.
Subject: What Think Ye of Christ, the Lord?
Text: Matthew 22:42, Philippians 2:5-11'
"What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is He?" Matthew 22:42
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; And being found in fashion as a man, HE HUMBLED HIMSELF, AND BECAME OBEDIENT UNTO DEATH, even the death of the Cross. WHEREFORE, GOD ALSO HATH HIGHLY EXALTED HIM, AND GIVEN HIM A NAME WHICH IS ABOVE EVERY NAME. THAT AT THE NAME OF JESUS EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW OF THINGS IN HEAVEN, AND THINGS IN EARTH, AND THINGS UNDER THE EARTH. AND THAT EVERY TONGUE SHOULD CONFESS THAT JESUS CHRIST IS LORD, TO THE GLORY OF GOD, THE FATHER."
It is always interesting to observe what people are thinking and saying upon the various questions of the day. There are so many PRESSING PROBLEMS AND ISSUES about national and foreign affairs. There are great MORAL AND ETHICAL QUESTIONS which challenge the attention of serious men and women everywhere.
One QUESTION that takes PRECEDENCE over all others in importance and urgency is one asked by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Men were plying Him with questions about matters of secondary importance--taxes and marriages.
JESUS ASKED HIS QUESTION--"What think ye of Christ?" Note that He did not ask them about a church, a creed, or a form. Salvation and deliverance is not by a church, ordinance, ceremony, creed, but by a PERSON--JESUS CHRIST, GOD'S ONLY SON! CHRIST THE LORD! So, His penetrating question was "What think ye of Christ?" That is the basic question before all mankind.
That is the most important question any human being ever faced and the answer is vitally important in both time and eternity.
Thinking is vital because "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7).
The cry of the human race
WHAT IS GOD LIKE? The age-long cry of the human race has been for the revelation of a personal God--able and willing to forgive human sin and rest the human conscience. Job cried out, "Oh, that I knew where I might find Him" (Job 23:3). Plato, the Greek philosopher, declared: "We look for a God-inspired man who will show us our duty and away the darkness from our eyes."
WHAT IS GOD LIKE? WHERE MIGHT I FIND HIM? When Philip, during those last precious hours Jesus met with the disciples in the Upper Room prior to His going to the Cross, said, "Show us the Father and it sufficeth us" (John 14:8), we recall His proclamation, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (v 9).
LOOK AT JESUS! He was God--manifest in the flesh, God--uncovered, God--revealed--in human form. He came to manifest the Father SO THAT POOR, NEEDY HUMANITY WHO HAS LOST ITS WAY could see Him and come to Him and trust Him and love Him and follow Him!
As Jesus went about touching lives and reaching out--doing good, comforting the sorrowing, healing the sick, speaking soothingly to the broken-hearted, we see God's great heart uncovered for us. CHRIST IS THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING GOD!
WHAT THINK YE OF CHRIST THE LORD?
What think ye of the prophesies concerning Jesus?
"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." (Genesis 3:15). Jesus is the Seed of the Woman who bruised the heel of Satan. From that time forward, the prophesies abound as to His birth, His work, His mission, and His death. An Anointed One would come as the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53).
Throughout the Old Testament era, people were looking and longing for the MESSIAH over centuries and centuries. "In the fullness of time, He came" (Galatians 4:4).
What Think Ye of His Birth?
As prophesied, Jesus was born of a virgin without an earthly father. When Mary was informed she was blessed among women and would bear a son, her response was, "How can this be since I have not been intimate with a man?" (Luke 1:34). His humanity came through Mary--a human who was born, lived, toiled, was tempted, ministered, and taught. His feet became dusty as He walked the paths and byways in His earthly sojourn. He was betrayed, tried, and crucified as a man. There are eighty-two references to His title, the "SON OF MAN."
What think ye of His Life?
1. Sinless Character
Jesus lived on earth thirty-three years, but had no sin in His body. "For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we--YET WITHOUT SIN." (Hebrews 5:15). Peter acknowledged Christ as one "Who did not sin, neither was guile found in His mouth" (1 Peter 2:22).
PILATE'S LEGAL MIND AND TRAINING EXAMINED HIM and produced a firm conclusion: "I find no fault in this man" (Luke 23:3).
THE LAMB WAS WITHOUT SPOT AND BLEMISH AS GOD REQUIRED!
2. His Power and Authority
a. His Words--The greatest words ever spoken in the history of the world came from His lips. HIS WORDS HAVE PROVOKED MORE THOUGHT THAN ALL THE WORDS COMBINED THAT EVER FELL FROM LIPS SINCE ADAM.
Jesus said: "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life" (John 6:63). There was power in His words.
Luke 4:22 "And all bare Him witness, and WONDERED at all His gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. He taught them as one that had authority and not as the scribes" (Luke 4:22).
One time some officers were sent by Pharisees and enemies of Christ to arrest Him. "YOU GO AND ARREST HIM AND BRING HIM BACK HERE." They went and listened to Jesus and when they came back the leaders said: "YOU HAVE NOT ARRESTED HIM AND YOU DID NOT BRING HIM BACK." Why? As they listened to Him, their lives were changed and their hearts were changed. Their opinion was changed. They testified: "Never man spake like this man spake. We have never heard any words like this in all our life."
"And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves saying, WHAT A WORD IS THIS! For with AUTHORITY and POWER He commandeth the unclean spirits and they come out" (Luke 4:36).
b. His Deeds--When He was thirty, His time came. He came out and John the Baptist was to baptize Him, and John the Baptist baptized Him, and the Father spoke and said, "This is My Son. I am pleased with Him." God the Father said, "this is My Son, listen to Him." AND HE BEGAN TO FORGE A LINK IN A CHAIN OF EVIDENCE THAT LEFT THE WORLD WIDE-EYED AND OPEN-MOUTHED. They knew He was Lord.
He walked on the sea. He was Lord over the waters. He quieted the waves, and hushed the winds. He was Lord over the weather.
He touched every kind of disease. Disease responded to Him.
He cast out demons with a word.
He met the Devil and never came out any worse than first. The devil never came out any better than second--defeated.
He was Lord over the temptations of the Devil. Over the deprivations that the world put upon Him. Over the criticism that men hurled His way.
IT WAS OBVIOUS AS HE WALKED WITH THEM THIS WAS NO ORDINARY MAN. With confidence He fed 5,000 with a little ladâ€™s lunch.
What do you think about His Death?
There came a time when the Lord was under the burden of death and, in preparation, bowed in the Garden of Gethsemane. HE WENT TO THE WINEPRESS OF GOD'S WRATH ALONE, AND THE SIN OF THE WORLD--PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE--WAS BEING LAID UPON HIM. As He looked into that cup that contained your sin and my sin, and He said to His Father--"Oh, Father, I don't want to be what sinful men are. I don't want to take all their lust, their filth, and all their sin to Myself, but Lord for this cause came I unto this hour; not as I will, but as Thou wilt."
AND HE BOWED HIS HEAD, IN LORDSHIP. He would come to death as Lord, but He would die as a human being.
AND SO THROUGH A THREE-FOLD MOCK TRIAL, THEY SENT HIM--LAUGHING AT HIM, SLAPPING HIM IN THE FACE, KICKING HIM IN THE SHINS, BEATING HIS BACK UNTIL THE SKIN HUNG IN RIBBONS, AND PUSHING A CROWN OF THORNS UPON HIS BROW.
When His human strength gave out on the way to the Cross--they laid that cross upon the strong shoulders of a black man--AND THEY TOOK HIM TO CALVARY. THEY NAILED HIM ON THAT CROSS. A HUMAN BEING. WHERE IS THE LORD? WILL DEATH CONQUER HIM? THEY LAID HIM ON THAT CROSS. HEAVY WOODEN MALLETS STRUCK STEEL SPIKES AND BLOOD SPURTED ON THE GROUND AND CROSS UNTIL THEY HAD PINNED HIM THERE. He could not escape. The Lord of Glory dying on a cross!
WHAT HAPPENED? Has He lost His sovereignty? God has stooped down in a human body, IS GOD GOING TO DIE?
AND THEY HUNG HIM ON THAT CROSS, LET IT SLIDE INTO ITS POSITION, TENDONS RIPPED AND FLESH TORN, AND BLOOD SPURTED. AND THERE HE WAS.
"Your Lord," they said.
Some said, "He'll come down, just at the right moment--He will call 10,000 angels and they will mop up on the scene." BUT THEY DIDN'T ARRIVE.
FINALLY, the Bible says, "He cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost." JESUS CHRIST THE LORD IS DEAD. The word death means separation. The person living inside the body leaves the body.
If you looked through human eyes you would say, "It's all over" and dejected disciples went away. One of them said, "Fellows, lets go back to fishing." Fishing was not a pass-time to Peter. Back to their nets and to their rugged hopeless life of fishing. He who was to be a fisher of men returned as a fisher for fish!
JESUS CHRIST THE LORD WAS DEAD.
What think ye of His Resurrection?
His body was wrapped in a funeral shroud and placed in a new tomb--as cold as any dead person's body ever got--wrapped in a funeral shroud. And there His body laid. BUT JESUS THE LORD WAS NOT DEAD--HE WAS DOING BUSINESS.
The Bible said that He went into the realm of the dead and there announced to those in prison that salvation had been achieved. He took the Old Testament saints to Heaven. He took from Satan the keys of death, hell, and the grave.
He went into the presence of God--The Bible says into the Holy of Holies not made with hands--and there poured out His blood in the presence of a God whose holiness had been violated by your sin and mine, and He said "Father, this is for all of them. All of them who've sinned. I've shed My blood, and poured it out on the earth. Here it is my Father." And God looked at that shed blood and said, "That's enough, that's enough! That's all the cause I ever need to save anybody who will ever come to Me."
JESUS DID BUSINESS WHILE HIS BODY LAID COLD IN THE TOMB. He went into the realm of the departed dead; He went into the presence of the Father.
HE STRIPPED THE DEVIL OF ALL THE AUTHORITY THAT HAD BEEN GIVEN HIM BY MAN'S FORFEITURE.
He took the key to the devil's house AND THEN ON SUNDAY MORNING HE SLIPPED BACK INTO THAT COLD BODY, WARMED THAT BODY UP--MORTAL TOOK ON IMMORTALITY, CORRUPTION TOOK ON INCORRUPTION--AND THAT BODY SLIPPED OUT OF THAT SHROUD. HE LAID ASIDE HIS FUNERAL CLOTHES, AND WALKED OUT!
The stone was rolled away! They didn't take away that rock to let Him out, He could have walked right through that rock and maybe did. They rolled the rock away so that His disciples could look in to see where God had met with THE LAST ENEMY, and THE LORD HAD CONQUERED DEATH, and He walked out with the keys of death and hell swinging at His side.
What think ye of His Lordship?
"LOOK, ALL AUTHORITY IS GIVEN ME IN HEAVEN AND EARTH. GO YE THEREFORE..."
But we do not go. We tarry. Our concern waxes and wanes. We feel up one day and down the next. We don't understand. We become complacent. The hour is late...souls are dying...men are crying....
LET'S LOOK AGAIN! LET ME SHARE WITH YOU PRECIOUS TRUTHS FROM THE WORD!
If I were to ask you to complete this statement, what would you say? "FOR TO THIS END, JESUS CAME, AND AROSE, AND WENT BACK TO HEAVEN."
FOR TO THIS END--
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?
"That I might be saved"
No, that's not the issue. IF THAT'S THE ISSUE, YOU'LL LOSE YOUR WAY. JESUS CAME WITH ONE DESIGN IN MIND. GOD SENT HIM WITH ONE DESIGN IN MIND.
Certainly, we can get saved, and that's good news! But that's not the design of salvation.
THE PURPOSE OF ETERNAL SALVATION IS THIS:
"For to this end, Jesus BOTH DIED AND ROSE, and revived THAT HE MIGHT BE LORD BOTH TO THE DEAD AND TO THE LIVING" (Romans 14:9).
And this is what the Bible says:
Philippians 2:5-11 "And God has given Him a Name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is "WHAT? "LORD!" SAY IT AGAIN--"LORD, TO THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER."
Matthew named Him as he quoted the angel--He said "call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).
Isaiah, the prophet named Him: "He shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).
Paul had names for Him: Redeemer, Savior.
But when God gave Him a name, you can be sure that name will stick. He shall be forever entitled by that name. God named Him "Lord." JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!
THAT'S THE ISSUE. All that is occurring in history will be meaningless a million years from today. BUT THE FACT THAT WILL STILL STAND IS THIS: JESUS CHRIST IS LORD.
THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST IS THE APEX TOWARD WHICH ALL LINES OF HISTORY ARE MOVING TO FINALLY CONVERGE: "That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him" ( Ephesians 1:10).
THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST IS THE PRIME PURPOSE OF GOD FOR THE PROGRAM OF THE CHURCH AND CHRISTIAN LIVING. "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 (LORDSHIP)" (Colossians 1:18). Jesus was raised from the dead, in order that He alone might have the first place in all things.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU WERE SAVED?
Christ, the Lord, lives in you. "CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY" (Colossians 1:27).
You were indwelt BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. "Greater is He that is in you than he that is the world" (1 John 4:4).
NOW LISTEN, THE QUESTION I WANT TO ASK YOU THIS DAY, AND GOD KNOWS THE ANSWER, AND YOU OUGHT TO KNOW THE ANSWER:
JESUS CHRIST IS LORD. "You call me Master and Lord you say well, for so I am" (John 13:13). JESUS CHRIST IS LORD. Friend, don't let anybody tell you to make Him Lord, He already is.
I WANT TO ASK YOU THIS QUESTION.
IS HE YOUR LORD? JESUS CHRIST IS LORD. IS HE YOUR LORD?
We have our meetings, our schedules, our programs. We work to generate excitementâ€”we visit, we pass out tracts. WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF THIS MINISTRY? How many lives are being changed? How many homes are being put back together? How many drifters are finding direction?
IF JESUS CHRIST IS LORD OF YOUR LIFE, YOU WILL BE WILLING TO GO HUNGRY IF THAT IS WHAT IT TAKES TO OBEY HIS COMMANDS. YOU WILL BE WILLING TO BE MADE FUN OF IF THAT IS WHAT IT TAKES.
THE ISSUE. HE IS LORD.
THE PERSONAL ISSUE. IS HE YOUR LORD?
You may say, I see! I understand! But what about yesterday? We often say that "I don't worry about tomorrow"--and really mean it--and claim it. Wrap up your past. Confess your sins as the Holy Spirit reveals them. "I don't have to worry about yesterday" failures, shortcomings--He has taken care of that.
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14)