- Thursday, February 12, 2009
If ever there was a man with a one-track mind, it was the apostle Paul. Few men have ever exhibited the singleness of purpose that Paul displayed in preaching the gospel. Paul was not concerned about his own reputation. He cared little for his own comfort and safety. He was not interested in Christianity as a social movement or a political cause. The only thing that mattered to him was the person and work of Jesus Christ. So he said to the Corinthians, "I resolved to know nothing [while I was with] you except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2). Paul said this in reference to his first visit to Corinth, when he planted the Corinthian church. The first time he went to Corinth, the only thing he talked about was Jesus Christ. His message was Christ alone.
There were many things that Paul might have said about Jesus Christ. He might have said that Jesus was God as well as man, that He was God the Son incarnate. He might have said that Jesus was a perfect example, that He lived a life of sinless obedience. He might have said that Jesus was a moral teacher, that He spoke the true words of God. He might have said that Jesus was a miracle-worker, that He healed the sick and raised the dead. Paul could have spent an entire lifetime speaking about the deity, the perfection, the wisdom, and the power of Jesus Christ. And in fact, Paul did preach about all these things on many occasions.
But of all the things that he could have said about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, the one thing that he emphasized was His death on the cross: "For I resolved to know nothing [while I was with you] except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2). Paul's only purpose and sole ambition was to preach Christ alone--not as a Greek philosopher or as a Jewish miracle-worker--but as the Savior Who suffered and died for sinners.
The historical records show that Jesus of Nazareth was put to death in or around the year A.D. 30. He was executed in the Roman fashion. After He was stripped and beaten, He was led outside the city of Jerusalem to the Place of the Skull. There they nailed Him to a rough piece of wood and left Him to die a horrible bloody death. These are the facts of history.
But Paul also knew that what these facts meant. Jesus was the perfect Son of God. Therefore He was able to offer His body as a perfect sacrifice for sinners. He took all the sins of his people upon Himself, paying once and for all the penalty that their sins deserved: God's wrath and curse unto death. That is what Paul preached, he preached Jesus Christ and Him crucified. He preached that Jesus had paid the price of our sin. He preached that everyone who trusts in Christ and in His cross will be saved.
Tonight we are praising God for the great biblical truths that were recovered during the Protestant Reformation: Scripture Alone, Faith Alone, Grace Alone, and Christ Alone, all to the Glory of God Alone. What these doctrines share in common is that they all find their meaning in Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Start with Sola Scriptura, "Scripture alone." When the Reformers said "Scripture alone" they meant that the Bible is the only foundation for faith and practice. No person, no institution stands in judgment over God's Word. Our only ultimate authority is the Holy Spirit speaking in Scripture.
Once you accept the Bible's authority, and start to study it, one of the first things you notice is that it is all about Jesus Christ, that is true not only of the Gospels, which give biographical information about Jesus; and of the epistles, which provide theological interpretation of Jesus; but also of the entire Old Testament, which holds the messianic expectation of Jesus. After His resurrection Jesus, walked to Emmaus with two of His disciples. "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted [explained] to them what was said in all the Scriptures [the things] concerning himself" (Luke 24:27 NIV). Salvation in Jesus Christ is the message of the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. When we accept Scripture alone, the Scripture itself points us to Christ alone.
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