Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

One of those “wow” moments for me was when I realized that God could be seen in the face of Jesus Christ. I could know God in a personal way, and He not only put a face to deity, but He revealed God’s heart of love, His desire to save mankind, and His unchanging characteristics that clearly identify God.

      Jesus said to Thomas in John 14:9, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” Jesus was intimately involved with His disciples for three years and they still missed it. For over two thousand years Jesus has been presented to the world through the Gospel, and yet how many still miss or refuse to receive the gift of eternal life?

There are various reasons people miss the Gospel. The first reason is some have never heard it (Romans 10:14-15). Praise God for missionaries who have the vision and passion to adhere to the commission to preach that Gospel to every creature. These stout-hearted souls must count the cost before they tread into an unknown harvest field to offer themselves as a living sacrifice to be spent out for the glory of God.

Another reason people do not hear the Gospel is because they see no need for it. Many people see themselves sufficient enough and they do not need some “crutch” like religion to get them through life. After all, religion is for the weak and when they hear the Gospel, they have a tendency to shrug it off as if obsolete and insignificant.

There are also those who in their mind have enough religion to keep God off their back and somewhat happy with them. However, any religion that lacks the reality of the true Gospel of Jesus dying for our sin, being laid in an empty tomb for three days and nights, then being resurrected, will prove to be a dismal failure on judgment day. The truth is there will be no reason for people who have been exposed to Jesus Christ and Him crucified for rejecting it other than choosing not to believe it. (1 Corinthians 2:2; 15:1-4; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6).

The next reason people see no need to believe the Gospel is because they do not see any power in the Gospel to change their present plight. Sadly, many churches speak of the benefits of the Gospel in light of the future, but fail to show that the Gospel has the power to change and transform lives for today. The Gospel is about the eternal life of Jesus being imparted in a person. As the Holy Spirit works the life of Christ into a person through the active obedience of faith, the person becomes more like Christ.

The living Church of Jesus is meant to be a living witness that attests to the reality of Christ living and working within His Body, the Church, through the indwelling presence and power of the Spirit. The Church has been unified by the Spirit, along with its commission to preach the Gospel and disciple, and its commandment and responsibility to love one another as Christ loved His Body. This unity will verify that the Son was sent by the Father to bring forth eternal life in those who believe, who have received His life, and are identified by the seal of the Holy Spirit upon their lives that they are heirs of an eternal inheritance (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; John 13:34-35; 17; Ephesians 1:11-14; 4:4).

The beauty about Christ is that He is the same today as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow which brings me to two very important aspects about His work (Hebrews 13:8). First, His immutable ways make Him an incredible Rock. He mentioned that He was the Rock in Matthew 16:18, upon which the Church would be built, and in Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus tells us if we build it on the right foundation it will prove to be shifting sand and it will collapse in the storms of life. The Apostle Paul confirmed Jesus was the only sure foundation when he stated there is no other foundation upon which to build our spiritual lives (1 Corinthians 3:11).

Today there are many people building on shifting sand. Sadly, some are building on things that look spiritual, sound religious, and in some cases are backed by Scripture. They may be relying on sound doctrine, good deeds, spiritual insights, and etc. to save them, but the only Rock (or foundation) that is going to withstand the shaking of the day we are living in is the actual foundation that is founded squarely on the person and work of Jesus Christ. I say this because the idea of foundation has to do with what one is actually relying on.

People unknowingly are putting their reliance on matters associated to Christ, but not Christ Himself. The Bible does not say if you are standing on doctrine, works, or some other religious element, while leaning on your association or idea of Christ that you will be able to stand. Usually, whenever I lean items against the house, all it takes is a gust of wind to knock them down. A person must be standing on Christ, lining up to Him as the Cornerstone of truth, and growing up into Him as the Head of the Church to be a balanced Christian in his or her stand, walk, and understanding.

There are other aspects of Jesus being the Rock. In Moses’ last song in Deuteronomy 32 before he ascended to Mount Nebo where he would die and King David’s prayer recorded in 2 Samuel 22, they mentioned the Rock. I have to admit I love these two chapters and want to encourage the readers who are not acquainted with them to read them. David acknowledged that the Lord is His Rock, in Him will he trust, for He is the horn of His salvation. He made this statement in 2 Samuel 22:32, “For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?” We also know that throughout Psalms, David makes reference to the LORD being the Rock in terms of his salvation and refuge (Psalm 18:2, 31, 46; 62:2, 6).

The Apostle Paul makes mentioned of Jesus as our Rock in relationship to the children of Israel in the wilderness in 1 Corinthians 10:4, “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”

Consider the warning in Moses’ song found in Deuteronomy 32:15c about the Rock of salvation, “then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.

In Daniel 2 there is a prophecy about a stone that will be cut out of the mountain that will destroy the image that represented Gentile governments through the years, and then set up an everlasting kingdom. There is only one Rock of judgment that is capable of toppling idolatrous, wicked governments. His name is Jesus.

In Matthew 21:43-44, Jesus talked about the stone that the builders rejected. This had to do with the legend of the building of Solomon’s temple. All the stones were designed off site for the temple and had to be hauled in. However, there was one stone that looked unusual to the builders and they thought it to be a mistake. They actually rolled the stone into the Kidron Valley, which was a dumping place. There the stone was affronted with the weather and the trash of the rest of the area. When the builders had almost completed the project, they were minus one stone, the cornerstone, and when they examined the vacant spot, they realized that the stone they had rejected, was the actual cornerstone that every other stone was made to line up to. They had to go down into the dump to retrieve it to complete the temple.

What a glorious picture this legend presents to the Jewish nation. The Jewish people did not recognize Jesus as their real cornerstone to their commandments, precepts, ordinances, testimonies, and etc., and as a result rejected Him, which was clearly displayed by the cross. He then was discarded, laid in a tomb, only to be resurrected three days later to be established in His rightful place as King of kings and Lord of lords. However in Matthew 21:43-44, Jesus made this statement about the stone that was rejected, “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof, And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whosoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.”

We can see that Jesus in His deity is the Rock of our salvation, but in His humanity He was that cornerstone of the Spiritual building, a cornerstone that was rejected. In the future He is coming back as Judge and King. As Judge He will set things right and as King He will establish His eternal kingdom.

The amazing aspect about Jesus is that He covers all bases for us. As Man He came as a Prophet, but now serves as a High Priest, and will come in the future as reigning King. The Bible actually prophesies about all three positions being fulfilled by one man, the Promised One, the Messiah. For example, Moses prophesied about Him being the ultimate Prophet in Deuteronomy 18:18-19, David the High Priest from the order of Melchizedek in Psalm 110:4, and many prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah talk about Jesus coming as King.

This brings me to the second aspect of Jesus: that of Mediator. The Apostle Paul made this statement in 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

It is clear that there is only one mediator between God and man. How important is a mediator? When you consider the scene at Mount Sinai, you get a real picture of the importance of a mediator. The people of Israel came face to face with the dreadful reality of the holiness of God. What they witnessed brought fear to their hearts. They had a sense that they could not stand before this holy God. It was for this reason they asked Moses to be their mediator. Consider what the people of Israel said in Exodus 20:19, “And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”

Because of sin, man in his fallen state could not stand before a holy God without experiencing judgment. It is clear that man needs a mediator, one who can stand in the gap to bring some type of agreement between the parties involved because there is no common ground in which the parties can meet and work out the differences.

It is clear from the situation at Mount Sinai that man had no real common ground in which to meet God unless there was a mediator. What was mediated on Mount Sinai to serve as a common ground was the Law. The Law showed God to be holy and man a transgressor. Although the Law could not justify man, it was a schoolmaster that revealed the way in which man could stand before God without being judged.

However for believers, Jesus became that mediator. He not only stood in the gap for each one of us, but He also brought reconciliation. His blood took away the offense that brought the separation, and His redemption provided a means by which man could enter into a relationship with the Holy God.

The first mediation was a type of arbitration where a point of agreement could be established. However, the second mediation entails litigation. In 1 John 2:1, it speaks of Jesus being our advocate. Most people think the word advocate has to do with Jesus being our defense attorney in the court of Law. However, that is not a correct understanding of this term. According to the 19 century revivalist and lawyer, Charles Finney, an advocate is one who took a person’s place in order to pay the debt required by the court of Law. In other words, an advocate would pay the fines or serve the time in place of the guilty person to satisfy the Law.

The Bible is clear, the wages of sin is death; therefore, Jesus as our advocate paid that wage on the cross to satisfy the holy Law of God on our behalf. The Apostle John confirms this in 1 John 2:2, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” “Propitiation” points to substitution. This is why the cross of Christ is referred to as the place where the great exchange takes place, as believers give up the old man in order to receive the new man.

The third mediation has to do with intercession. Jesus became our High Priest in order to represent God’s interest to us and represent our needs to Him. Jesus serves as a High Priest from the order of Melchisedec. The Melchisedec Priesthood was before the Levitical Priesthood; therefore, it is considered the original priesthood. There are many differences between these two Priesthoods (Hebrews 7:1). The Melchisedec High Priest served as both King and Priest and was the Priest of the Most High, while the Levitical Priests could never be kings for they came from a distinct lineage that can be traced back through the descendants of Levi, through the family line of Aaron. The Melchisedec Priesthood served the Most High God and was over all, while the Levites were associated to Jehovah God, the covenant God. The Levitical priesthood was established through the Law of Moses and they served as priests to the Jewish people. The Levites had a standing ministry, ever offering sacrifices while Jesus has a sitting ministry because redemption was paid in full. However, He continues to make intercession for us because of sin and our enemy, who is forever accusing us (Revelation 12:10-11). Consider what Hebrews 7:25 states, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Is Jesus your Rock, the foundation on which you have built the whole of your spiritual life? Is He the Cornerstone that you are lining up to in your spiritual life? Is He your Mediator? Have you accepted His terms set forth by arbitration to believe unto the saving of your soul? Have you embraced Him as your ultimate Mediator, the One who is able to serve as your place of arbitration (reconciliation), litigation (advocate), and intercession (High Priest)?