SHARPER THAN A SWORD

SERMONS

Hebrews 4:12-13 "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

CHRIST IS THE CENTER AND HEART OF THE BIBLE!

PART ONE:

 

 I. Deity of Jesus the Christ.

In the Gospel of John, the emphasis is on the deity of Jesus and begins with this thought:

John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

John leaves little doubt that Jesus was deity and has existed before all things. Jesus himself would refer to this eternal relationship He had with God, note:

John 17:5 “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

John sets forth that the Lord was the “ WORD ”; this was His designation as deity prior to His coming in the flesh. When Jesus became flesh, He became God's expression of Himself to man. It was in this expression that He also became the “ LIFE ” and “ LIGHT ” to men ( 1:4-5 ).

In this opening of the book of John, an image of the eternal essence of the Son of God is manifest for us and the fact that His appearance to us was to set forth because mankind needed life and light.

 

 II. Purpose of Jesus the Christ.

John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

As the Son of God became flesh and dwelt among us, we were able to recognize God among us. Jesus the Christ also displayed for us the proper life of man before His God (purely seeking the righteousness of God).

Most importantly the Christ of God came to make an offering on behalf of man.

Matthew 20:28 “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

“The “WORD” became flesh and dwelt among us” , and along side of showing us how to live righteously before God, in the fleshly body He took on, He would become the scapegoat for our sins.

John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

Leviticus 16:21-22 “Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. 22 The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.”

The Apostle John would record the statement of John the Baptist, who would be the one who would make way for the coming of the Messiah; his statement recognizes that Jesus was the scapegoat, not just for Israel , but for all men !

The writer of the letter of Hebrews would summarize this great purpose in the Christ of God as the scapegoat for man, note:

Hebrews 10:5-10 “Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:

"Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me.

6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure.

7 Then I said, 'Behold, I have come-- In the volume of the book it is written of Me-- To do Your will, O God.' " 8 Previously saying, "Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them" (which are offered according to the law), 9 then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God." He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

In this explanation of the coming of the Christ as a once for all sacrifice for mankind, the author quotes from an Old Testament passage of scripture ( Psalms 40:6-8 ). This tells us that long before the event of God coming in the flesh, God revealed that this was going to come about. This also gives us some insight as to the purpose of the Old Testament.

Now that we know that Jesus Christ was deity, and we know the reason that He came, let's examine how God educated man concerning the coming of Jesus Christ prior to His arrival!

 

 III. The Old Testament is an account of sin, a Promise of redemption, and the development of a nation to bring forth the Promise.

Is there any other way God could have made man? Could there be a moral creature without the power to choose? Our ability to be free moral agents was a gift of God as well as a great responsibility. What virtue is there in obeying God, if, in our nature there was no inclination to do otherwise? However, when by our own free choice we obey God, there is both character and virtue which by that free will choice glorifies the God of heaven.

In addition, with choice and its freedom also came sin; and with sin came separation from God and death (sin is the absence of righteousness; righteousness is established by knowing and obeying the revelations of God). This is how the Bible story begins! With the fall of man from the righteousness of God subsequently came sin and death; reconciliation became necessary. So in addition to the story of the fall of man, the story of redemption was revealed alongside.

There is so much detail to go into concerning the development of this story of redemption as it was manifest thousands of years prior to the coming of Christ (we will explore this in more detail in future lessons), however, for brevities sake, there are five Old Testament markers that every Christian should know concerning the development of a nation that would bring forth a Messiah for man (there are many more markers than these, but these five are staples concerning the path that would bring us the Christ of God):

•  God's Promise to the Patriarch Abraham.

Genesis 12:1-3 “Now the Lord had said to Abram:

"Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed ."

Three things were promised to Abraham within this passage of scripture that would be a template for the development of a nation to bring forth a Messiah through him. First that Abraham would inherit a land; second, that his decedents would become a great nation; third, that through his Seed all the families of the earth would be blessed (this last promise would again be given to Abraham in which the term Seed is used singularly – Genesis 22:18 ).

From the promised son to Abraham (Isaac), the descendants of Abraham would develop into a patriarchic tribal nation. In time through the direction of God, they would be found in bondage to another nation.

Genesis 15:13-14 “Then He said to Abram: "Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. 14 And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.”

 

•  God's Promise of a Prophet through the Deliverer of Israel .

God's words to Abraham concerning the servitude of his descendants to another nation was fulfilled, this brought about a need for their redemption from slavery (which would also be a shadow of the work of the Messiah when He would redeem all men from the slavery of sin). God brought up from among the descendants of Abraham a deliverer, a law giver, and also a prophet. Moses would become the father of the delivered nation and guide them into a covenant with God. Yet, even he would recognize a greater One than himself to come, note:

Deuteronomy 18:18-19 “I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. 19 And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.”

Soon after the nation of Israel took the land of promise by the power of God, they began to desire the image of the nations around them. This brought about a rejection of God as their King and the desire for an earthly king to rule them.

1 Samuel 8:7-8 “And the Lord said to Samuel, "Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day--with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods--so they are doing to you also.”

 

•  The Promise of God concerning an Eternal Throne and King.

The first king of Israel was not a good king! He would disobey God and his lineage would be removed from the throne of Israel . God then brought forth a king, who, although had all the weaknesses of man was still found approved by God ( Psalms 89:20 ; I Samuel 13:14 ; Acts 13:22 ).

God then chose the linage of David to bring forth the Messiah of man!

2 Samuel 7:12-16 "When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. 15 But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever."

As kings continued to rule over Israel, the nation was divided (Ten tribes follow after Jeroboam into apostasy from God, never to return; Two tribes remained in the south under Rehoboam and would off and on remain faithful to God, however, eventually they too would fall away), however, God would allow the descendants of David to reign on the throne of Judah to protect the promise to David until He could do it no longer (because of their sin – captivity came, but the blood lines of David remained intact to bring forth the Messiah).

 

•  God's Promise of a Sign to Mankind of the Coming of the Messiah.

During the history of the divided kingdoms, God would send prophets to the apostate nations of Israel and Judah to bid them repent (a prophet is a mouthpiece of God). One of these prophets of God spoke more of the coming of the Messiah than all others. Isaiah would define the Great Servant of God to the children of Israel in more definition than all of the other prophets combined. He would describe Him as the Redeemer of Israel, the Sin – Bearing Servant, the Deliverer of a covenant of peace, and Salvation to the Gentiles just to name a few.

Yet, it was to king Ahaz that God through Isaiah would prophecy of a Sign to Israel that the oppressions they would face under these evil kings would no longer plague them. That Sign would manifest itself in a miraculous birth and this child whose name would be “ God with Us ” would establish a kingdom of justice and peace for all who enter it.

Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”

Isaiah 9:6-7 “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace

There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”

Since the Seed of David was to be God's Son in an extraordinary sense, it would require a special means of entrance into the world. Micah, who was a contemporary of Isaiah would also touch on the miraculous entrance of the Messiah, by stating that He was pre-existent to His earthly birth, note:

Micah 5:2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting."

In addition to the Sign of the coming of this Messiah, was the establishment of a kingdom. It would be in this kingdom that true peace would exist. Not the peace that the world gives (temporary at best), but peace which is a result of spiritual fullness, true companionship with God. This kind of kingdom would need to know a new kind of law, one that would direct the spirit of man as well as his physical actions.

•  God's Promise of a New Covenant.

Our final marker comes to us from the Prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah came to Judah just before the nations last days (he would prophecy from the last days of Judah before the exile to Babylon , through the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians and into the period of exile). He would look ahead to the future prosperity of Judah which would manifest itself immediately during the return from exile, but additionally had far reaching implications to the kingdom of the Messiah, note:

Jeremiah 31:31-34 "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord , when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah-- 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord . 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord : I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord ,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord . For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

God's people would no longer enter into a covenant with him at birth and then be taught about God. In this new kingdom, all the entrants would know God, having been instructed by this new covenant. The final and most important message of this covenant would be the forgiveness of our iniquities and sins. This would bring us full circle to the relationship that we had with God prior to our fall in the Garden of God .

 

The Old Testament is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ ( Galatians 3:24 ). Before man could stand, God had to teach Him to crawl; before he could run, God had to teach him to walk. In our next lesson we will see the full revelation of God for the redemption of man unfold in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 3:10-11

“to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,”