The Purpose of Mission of Christ


The Purpose of Mission of Christ

January 24th, 1960 @ 10:50 AM

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 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; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
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Dr. W. A. Criswell

Hebrews 10:4-10

1-24-60    10:50 a.m.


To you who listen on the radio, you are sharing with us the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  The passage of Scripture that is read for this sermon is Hebrews 10, beginning at the fourth verse.  Hebrews 10:4:

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared for Me:  In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure.

Then said I, Lo, I come (in the roll of the book it is written of Me) to do Thy will, O God.

When He said, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not… .

And when He said, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God, He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second.

By which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

[Hebrews 10:4-10]

“In the roll of the book, it is written of Me, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God [Hebrews 10:7].  By which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” [Hebrews 10:10].  The title of the message this morning is The Purpose of the Mission of Christ.  Once in a while, I prepare a special study.  For example, a long time ago I did one on the subject of the use of the word baptizō in Greek literature.  I did another one a long time ago entitled The Curse of Modernism.

I did a long series of them at the eight-fifteen o’clock service on the creation of man—some of the titles being: God or Gorilla, The Record of the Rocks, The Hoaxes of Anthropology, The Mystery of Man.  Our young people took them down, and they were published in a book entitled Did Man Just Happen?   The last one that I did was entitled St. Patrick Was a Baptist Preacher.  That was one of the most interesting that I ever followed through.

These studies are things that have been born in my mind and in my heart through years and years and years.  Sometimes, they are things that intrigue me, such as St. Patrick was a Baptist preacher.  Sometimes, they are things that to me are indefensible, such as that all of the manhood and womanhood that you know and see came spasmodically, sporadically, adventitiously, haphazardly from a piece of green scum.

Those things interest me, and there are times when I follow them through and work them out and present them here in special addresses.  I have one this morning to present, one that has been forming in my mind for years and years and years.  And, I hope God will bless it as it is presented to you.

This study concerns why Jesus came into the world.  It is a very common persuasion about Jesus that He was a great ethical teacher.  For example, in any bookstore, on the racks of any bookstore, you will find books and on the jacket, you will find a picture of Buddha, and a picture of Mahavira, and a picture of Zoroaster, and a picture of Lao-tse, and a picture of Mohammed, and a picture of Nanak, and a picture of Socrates, and a picture of Jesus.  And the book will be entitled Great Moral Teachers or Great Ethical Leaders or Great Religious Founders.

It is a common persuasion that Jesus came into the world to inculcate and to instill a new ethic, and it is referred to as the great Sermon on the Mount [Matthew 5:107:29], or the Golden Rule [Luke 6:31].  And it is a common persuasion that Jesus’ death was the death of a martyr.  It was a great heroic example of devotion to duty and truth.  There are whole systems of theology that are built upon that persuasion; for example, the Socinian theory of the exemplary meaning of the atonement or the Bushnellian theory of the moral influence of the atonement.  And those great theological systems are built upon this idea that all that is needed in this world and in humanity—all that is needed is just to improve man’s moral nature, and that the example of Jesus exerts a moral influence upon us: His words, His deeds, and His death.

Now the thesis of this study is this: if the purpose of Christ coming into the world was to give us a new ethic, to inculcate a new morality, or to live and die before us, a new and marvelous and heroic example, my thesis is that He need not have come; that we were taught already by superlative teaching and by heroic example.   And it is my proposal to prove that this morning.

Now I restate it: if the purpose of Christ coming into the world was to give us a new ethic, to instill within us a new morality, or if His death was for us a magnificent example, my thesis is there was no point or reason in His coming.  We already had the superlative ethic, and we already had the marvelous example.  Now I shall propose to prove that.

First of all, we shall go back to Hinduism, one thousand five hundred years before Jesus.  The Rig-Veda begins, a daily morning prayer to the sun, “Let us meditate upon the adorable glory of the divine light-giver, and may he direct our thoughts.”  So with that exalted word of adoration, here is a word from the Bhagavad-Gita upon the immortality of the soul: “It slays not and is not slain.  It is never born and it never dies.  Weapons cleave it not, nor does the fire burn in it.  The waters wet it not, nor do the winds dry it up.  Wherefore, knowing it to be such, thou oughtest not to grieve for it.”

Another from that sacred scripture: the deity Krishna declares that he became incarnate, quote, “for the protection of good men, for the destruction of evil doers, for the reestablishment of piety.”  And whoever worships Krishna with utter devotion, quote again, “dwells in me.  Whatever his course of life, they who worship me devoutly are in me, and I also am in them.  Be well assured that he who worships me does not perish.”

We turn now to Jainism, which was founded by Mahavira of India, who was born 600 years before Christ.  He is addressed by the gods of Hinduism in that sacred literature of the Jains with these words: “Blessed one”—talking to Mahavira—“Blessed one, propagate the religion which is a blessing to all creatures in the world.  Awake, reverend lord of the world”—Mahavira.  “Establish the religion of the law which benefits all living beings in the whole universe.  It will bring supreme benefits to all living beings in all the word.  Victory, victory to thee, gladdener of the world, O Mahavira, in the arena of the three worlds, gained the supreme best knowledge called absolute.”

Then Mahavira says: “Learn from me the noble law of the Jains”—that’s where you get Jainism. “Jaina” means victor, conqueror.  And it was a title, an epitaph, for Mahavira—“Learn from me the noble law of the Jains as it is.  Deceit, greed, anger, and pride, a wise man should abstain from these.  If beaten, he should not be angry.  If abused, he should not fly into a passion.  With a placid mind, he should bear everything.  A monk should not be angry, nor should he entertain sinful thoughts.  Knowing patience to be the highest good, a monk should meditate on the law.  Knowledge, faith, and right conduct are the true causes of final liberation.”  That’s from Jainism.

I now quote concerning Zoroastrianism.  Zoroaster lived—he was born six hundred sixty years before Christ.  He founded the religion of the Parsees.  The three magi were Persian priests.  They were Zoroastrian priests who came to worship Jesus when He was born [Matthew 2:1-2].

The sacred scriptures of Zoroaster are called Avesta.  They are written in Sanskrit.  In them, Zoroaster is described as “incomparable among mankind through his desire for righteousness and his understanding the means of defeating the destroyer and teaching creatures.”  The first verse of the Avesta begins like this: “Ahura Mazda—their god, the name of god—“Ahura Mazda , the creator, radiant, glorious, greatest and best, most beautiful, most wise, most perfect, the most bounteous spirit.”

The ideal Zoroastrian is pictured in the scriptures: “A faithful man, well knowing and bountiful, like thee, O Ahura Mazda.  He who relieves the poor makes Ahura Mazda king.  Whether one is lord of little or of much, he is to show love to the righteous.  Make thyself pure, O righteous man.  Anyone in the world here below can win purity for his own self; namely, when he cleanses his own self with good thoughts, words, and deeds.”

On the resurrection of the dead, Zoroaster says, in those sacred scriptures: “In that assembly, a wicked man becomes as conspicuous as a white sheep among those which are black.”  And, isn’t it strange, I would think he would say a black sheep among white.  He turns it around.  Again, he says: “One’s own actions will confront his soul after death in the form of a good or an evil conscience.”  Again, “Two angels record each person’s good and evil deeds.”  And again, “The soul will be weighed in a balance.”

Now, Taoism, founded by Lao-tse—he was born 604 BC.  Lao-tse was one of the noblest, finest characters in all this world and founded one of the noblest religions: Taoism.  Lao-tse was a contemporary of Confucius in China.  Lao-tse was about, oh, fifty years old when he taught Confucius.  He was a contemporary of Zoroaster in Persia, of Mahavira and Buddha in India, and of the great prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel and Daniel in Judah.

Lao-tse urged Confucius, who was then thirty-four years old, to search quietly and personally for the Tao, which is the mystic principle of the universe and which alone can furnish the key to religion in life.  When Confucius replied that he had been studying diligently in books for twenty years, Lao-tse said to him—now, I quote: “If the Tao”—that would be your name for god—“if the Tao could be offered to men, who would not wish to offer it to his prince?  If it could be presented to men, who would not wish to present it to his parents?  If it could be announced to men, who would not wish to announce it to his brethren?  If it could be transmitted to men, who would not wish to transmit it to his children?  Why do you not obtain it?  This is the reason: because you do not give it an asylum in your heart.”

After this interview, Confucius said:  “I know how the birds fly, how the fishes swim, how animals run.  But there is the supra-mundane mystery: this Tao, god.  I cannot tell how it mounts on the wind through the clouds and flies through heaven.  Today, I have seen Lao-tse, and I can only compare him to the great mystery.”

Now listen to Lao-tse’s description of the good man—quote: “He will not tread in devious byways.  He will amass virtue and accumulate deeds of merit.  He will feel kindly towards all creatures.  He will be loyal, filial, loving to his younger brothers and submissive to his elder.  He will make himself correct and so transform others.  He will pity orphans and be compassionate to widows.  He will respect the old and cherish the young.  He ought to pity the malignant tendencies of others to rejoice over their excellencies, to help them in their straits, to rescue them from their perils, to regard their gains as if they were his own and their losses in the same way, not to punish their shortcomings, not to flaunt his own superiority—to put a stop to what is evil and exalt and display what is good, to yield much and talk little for himself, to receive insult without resenting it, to bestow favors without seeking a return, and to give to others without any subsequent regret.”

This is what is called a good man.  All other men respect him.  Heaven in its course protects him.  Happiness and emolument follow him.  All evil things keep far from him.  What he does is sure to succeed.  He may hope to become immaterial and immortal.”

Do you have any objection yet to what these great teachers are teaching?  As I go along, I just want you to see that, if the purpose of Christ coming into the world was to teach us an ethic, a morality, a standard of conduct, He need not to have come.  We already had it.

Again, from Lao tse: “The highest excellence, like that of water, appears and is benefiting all things and is occupying without striving the low place which all men dislike.”  Isn’t that a magnificent figure?  Like water, seeking the low place, yet benefiting all mankind.  And, again, from Lao-tse: “My secret is one whereby every man, woman, and child in the empire shall be inspired with the friendly desire to love and to do good to one another.”

We now turn to Confucianism.  Confucius, as I say, was a younger contemporary of Lao-tse.  Confucius was born in 551 BC, five hundred fifty-one years before Christ.  We know more of the details of the life of Confucius than are known about the founder of any other religion.  He was a marvelous character and venerated teacher.  Yet, he died a disappointed, apparently unsuccessful old man as he said to himself—these are his words when he died: “The great mountain must crumble.  The strong beam must break and the wise man wither away like a plant.  There is no one in the empire that will make me his master.  My time has come to die.”  Yet, his disciples mourned him for three years, and one of his disciples remained at his grave when he died for six solid years and never left it.

Now listen to the teaching of Confucius, one of the great, great moral, ethical leaders of the world.  I quote from Confucius: “Wisdom, benevolence, and fortitude, these are the universal virtues.”  Again: “Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness.  Again, man is born for uprightness.  The tendency of man’s nature is good.  There are none but have the tendency to good.”

Again: “The great and lofty one”—that’s his name for god—“sends down his favor and regard.  As a potter hath thou made all living things, what limit, what measure can there be while we celebrate his great name?  Forever he sitteth fast in the high heavens and shapeth the solid earth.  His government is everlasting.  All the ends of the earth look up to him.  All human beings, all things on the earth, rejoice together in the great name.”

And once again: “Virtue is more to man than even water or fire.  I have seen men die from treading on water and fire, but I have never seen a man die from treading the course of virtue.”

Now we turn to Buddhism.  Gautama, called the Buddha, the Enlightened One, was born 560 BC, five hundred sixty years before Christ.  He was the son and heir of a rich Hindu rajah.  He renounced it all in order to give himself to this faith.  His religion was the first in the world to become international.  He personally did not teach a personal deity.  He did not teach worship or prayer.  He taught morality, like Confucius did.  He taught standards of ethical conduct and magnificent ones, especially Gautama, the Buddha, taught peaceful, ethical self-culture.

The fundamental universal four noble truths of Buddhism are these—of Buddha are these: one, all existence involves suffering.  If you are born, you’re going to suffer.  Second, all suffering is caused by indulging inherently, insatiable desires.  You are hungry and you want to eat.  You’re thirsty and you want to drink.  You’re tired and you want to rest.  You’re weary, you want surcease.  You’re sorrowful, you want comfort.  All suffering is caused by those inherent desires.  Therefore, all suffering will cease upon the suppressing of all desire.  And, last, while still living, every person should live moderately; namely, in accordance with the noble eightfold path of right belief, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right endeavor, right thought, and right concentration.

Now in his commission to his first sixty disciples, Buddha said: “Go ye now out of compassion for the world, for the welfare of gods and men.  Let not two of you go the same way.  Preach the doctrine which is glorious.  Proclaim a consummate, perfect, and pure life of holiness.

Again, the Buddha—this is from the writings, now—the Buddha addressed the brethren and said: “Behold now, brethren.  Decay is inherent in all component things.  Work out your own salvation with diligence.”  This was the last word of the blessed one, the enlightened one, the Buddha.  All right, again, from him: “No fault in the perfectly enlightened, thoughtful Buddha, so unequaled in the world, so mild, so kind, and held before a name so high, an endeavor so grand, a king of universal kings, a conqueror.

And when Gautama was enlightened, when he had the experience of conversion, now listen: “Nor is there in the world with its gods anyone thy equal—the blind recovered their sight as from desire to see his glory.  The deaf recovered their hearing.  The dumb talked.  The hunchback became straight of body.  The lame recovered the power to walk.  The bonds and fetters of captors broke and fell off.”

Now again, from him: “A man does not become a Brahman”—that’s the highest caste, the noblest of man—“a man does not become a Brahman by his family or by birth.  In whom there is truth and righteousness, he is blessed.  He is a Brahman.  The man who is angry and bears hatred, who speaks falsely, who exalts himself and despises others, he is the outcast, no matter how he is born.”

Well, you wouldn’t find any nobler thing of that in this earth, in heaven or underneath it.  The five prohibitions enjoined by Buddha were these:  Do not kill, do not steal, do not commit adultery, do not lie, do not drink intoxicants.

There are three great religions that prohibit liquor: Buddhism, Hinduism, and Mohammedanism.  The sign of a Christian faith anywhere in the earth is a liquor store, anywhere in the world.  Isn’t that one of the travesties upon the name of God?

One of the terrible troubles that we have in Saudi Arabia, in all of that vast section that is so rich in oil, lies in the assistance of the depraved, debauched Americans to violate the laws of the nation and the laws and the religion of the people by bringing in stores and stores and stores of liquor.  And they do it in the name of Christian freedom.  In Hinduism, Buddhism, and Mohammedianism, it is a violation of the ethic of the religion to drink liquor.

Now we follow through on Buddhism: “If a disciple should desire to become converted, to be assured of final salvation, then let him fulfill all righteousness.  Let him devout himself to that quietude of heart which springs from within.  Let him not desire back the ecstasy—let him not drive back the ecstasy of contemplation.  Let him look through all things.”

Again: “First, banish every ground of self.  This thought of self shades every lofty good aim, even as the ashes that conceal the fire treading on which the foot is burned.  Cut out the love of self like an awesome lotus.

Again: “Not in the sky, not in the midst of the sea, not even if we enter into the cleft of the mountains is there known a spot where a man might be freed from his evil deed.  Surely, if living creatures saw the consequences of all their evil deeds self-visited, they would turn and leave them.”

Again: this is a magnificent thing from Buddha. “The wardens of hell dragged the wicked before the king of hell, Yama, and say to them: ‘Did ye not, when on earth, see the five messengers sent to warn you; the child, the old man, the sick, the criminal, and the dead corpse?’”

And the wicked man answers:  “I did see them.”

“And didst thou not think within thyself: ‘I also am subject to birth, old age, and death.  Let me be careful to do good works?’”

And the wicked man answers:  “I did not, sire.  I neglected in my folly to think on these things.”

Then king Yama, the king of hell, pronounces his doom: “These, thy evil deeds, are not the work of thy mother, father, relatives, friends, advisors.  Thou alone hath done them all, and thou alone must gather the fruit.”

All right, from Shinto; Shinto is the immemorial religion of Japan.  It started in power about six hundred sixty years before Christ.   Listen, from Shinto: “He who tells the truth will be uninjured.  He who is false will assuredly suffer harm.  Cease from gluttony and abandon covetous desires.  Chastise that which is evil and refrain from angry looks.  Be not envious.”

Then I have chosen two which are after Jesus.  I haven’t time to follow them or even mention them.  One is Mohammedanism, which was founded—he was born 570 years after Christ.  And the other is Nanak, who founded Sikhism.  Whenever you see an Indian with long hair and covered over those turbans, he’s a Sikh.  There are magnificent teachings in them.

Now I turn quickly—for our time goes away before I even begin—I turn quickly to the principle of “the Golden Rule.”  When you think of Jesus, you think of “the Golden Rule” [Matthew 7:12].

All right, let’s look at these other places: in Hinduism, one thousand five hundred years before Christ.  This is in the religion—the literature of the Hindus: “Do not to others which, if done to thee, would cause thee pain.  This is the sum of duty.”  Listen, from Buddha: “In five ways, should a clansman minister to his friends and family, by treating them as he treats himself.”  Listen, from Confucius: the silver rule of Confucius is to be found in six different places among the sacred scriptures of this religion.  But, uniformly, in the negative norm, the master replied—this is from Confucius: “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do unto others.”

Now, I said that Lao-tse was one of the finest, noblest, religious teachers in the world.  Listen to Lao-tse : “Recompense injury with kindness.  To those who are good to me, I am good.  And to those who are not good to me, I am also good.  And thus all get to be good.  To those who are sincere with me, I am sincere.  And to those who are now sincere, I am also sincere.  And thus all get to be sincere.”

You will not find a passage in the literature of any religion in the world finer than that: “To those who are good to me, I am good.  To those who are not good to me, I am good.  To those who are sincere with me, I am sincere.  To those who are not sincere with me, I am also sincere.”

From Zoroaster: “Whatever thou does not approve for thyself, do not approve for anyone else.  When thou hath acted in this manner, thou art righteous.  That nature only is good when it shall not do unto another what is not good for one’s own self.”

Now taking the religion of Judaism, from the Apocrypha, from Tobit: “Take heed to thyself my child in all thy works and be discreet in all thy behavior.  And what thou thyself hatest do to do no man.”  And from the Babylonian Talmud: “Whatsoever thou wouldest that men should not do unto thee, do not do that to them.”

And from the Greek philosopher, Socrates: “Do not do to others what you would not wish to suffer yourself.”  Aristotle said: “Treat your friends as you would want them to treat you.”  And Philo said: “Do not do what anyone is vexed to suffer.”

Now just as rapidly as I can—and I just barely touched the very hem of the garment—apart from religion, may I quote from Greek philosophy that you might see in the great Greek philosophers a marvelous, marvelous ethic?

Heraclitus, who was born in 535 BC, five hundred thirty-five years before Christ—Heraclitus said: “It is necessary for those who speak with intelligence to hold fast to the universal element in all things as the city holds fast to the law.  All human laws are nourished by the one which is divine.  To be ethical is to live a rational life, to obey the dictates of reason, which is the same for us all, the same for the whole world.”

Zenophanes, who was born 570 BC, on the unity and changeableness of God—Zenophanes said: “But mortals think that the gods are born as they are and have perceptions like theirs in voice and form.  Yes, and if oxen or lions had hands and could paint with their hands and produce works of art as men do, horses would paint the forms of the gods like horses and oxen like oxen.  Each would represent them with bodies according to the form of each.  So the Ethiopians make their gods black and stubbed-nosed.  And the Thracians give theirs red hair and blue eyes.”

The atomists said—the atomeō, what is uncut—you think you’ve got a modern atomic theory?  Way back yonder in 460 BC, four hundred sixty years before Christ, those Greek philosophers propounded the atomic theory of the universe.  And listen to their moral ethic: “To be good, one must not merely refrain from doing wrong, but not even desire it.  You can tell the man who ranks true from the man who ranks false not by his deeds alone, but also by his desires.  The right-minded man ever inclined to righteous and lawful deeds is joyous day and night and strong and free from care.”

If I had hours, I’d like to discourse on Socrates.  Two Athenians, conversing about Socrates, said: “That’s the atheist who said there’s only one god.”  Socrates said: “I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons and properties, but first and chiefly, to care about the greatest improvement of your soul.  I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes money and every other good of man, public as well as private”—ah, I haven’t time.

Plato who was the disciple of Aristotle, Plato who was the disciple of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle—I haven’t time.  Plato had some marvelous things to say.  Aristotle, who was the disciple of Plato,

If then the reason is divine in comparison with the rest of man’s nature, the life which accords with reason will be divine in comparison with human life in general.  Nor is it right to follow the advice of people who say that the thoughts of men should not be too high for humanity or the thoughts of humanity too high for mortality.   For a man as far as in him lies should seek immortality and do all in his power to live in accordance with the highest part of his nature.

And then Aristotle defines—I mean Aristotle defines the ideal man.

He does not expose himself needlessly to danger, but he is ready in great crises to give even his life.  He is of a disposition to do men service.  He talks and acts frankly.  He never feels malice and always forgets and passes over injuries.  He does not speak evil of others, even of his enemies.  He is not prone to vehemence.  He bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of his circumstances.

Xeno , the great Stoic, said, “Virtue is the only good and vice the only evil.”

In the little minute that remains, may I sum up?  Why the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ into the world?  There is not in the Christian faith any finer ethic than I have read to you.  If it is a matter of morality, you have the Old Testament, and you have Judaism that lives today.  You can go out to the synagogue and listen to the finest moral teaching that heart could imagine.

If the purpose of the coming of Christ in the world was to teach us a fine ethic, right modes of conduct, and to set for us a martyrdom, an example of heroic sacrifice in His death, He just might as well have stayed in heaven.  We had the ethic already.  We had the teaching already.  We had the moral code already.  We had the fine example of heroic martyrdom already.  He might as well not have come.

Then why did the Lord come into the world?  It is the preaching of Paul, and you read it in the passage of Scripture, and it is the tremendous flaming preaching of this author of the Hebrews, “Now once in the end of the world hath our Lord appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” [Hebrews 9:26].  “It is not possible that the blood of goats” [Hebrews 10:4]—and Paul would have said, and moral conduct to put away sins.  “Wherefore, He saith, in the roll of the book, it is written of Me”—in the Old Testament—“it is written of Me.  Lo, I come to Thy will, O God . . . in which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ once for all” [Hebrews 10:5-10].

The purpose of Christ’s coming into the world was to give His body a sacrifice for our sins.  And wherever the cross of Christ is preached, whether in Judaism in the days of the Levitical sacrifices, or whether in the pagan world that was covered with temples to the gods where sacrifices were offered, wherever the sacrifice of Christ was preached, all other sacrifices ceased.  They are not in the earth.  All those sacrifices had a great meaning in Eden [Genesis 3:21], in the Passover [Exodus 12:3-23], in the burnt offerings [Leviticus 1:3-7, 6:8-13].  They pointed to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world [John 1:29].

And the whole gospel of the New Testament is this; that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” [1 Corinthians 15:3].  “And God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” [Galatians 6:14].

The memorial of the Lord’s Supper is to bring to our hearts: this is the body that was sacrificed for us; this is the blood which was spilled out for us [Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 11:24-26].  And the great ordinance of baptism [Matthew 28:19-20], is to portray before us always the death, the burial, and the resurrection of our Lord [Romans 6:3-5].

The great longing of the human heart is not do good, do better, be saved by a reformation, for mankind finds itself helpless before the awful depravity found in our human hearts.  But the cry of the human soul is, “Is there a remission of sins that you know of?  Is there a way that a sinful man can be washed clean and pure?”

 Like the cry of Macbeth when Lady Macbeth, seeing the blood of murder on his hands said:  Go to the fountain and wash it clean, and on his way Macbeth looks at his hands and says, “Would all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?  No, rather this my hand will the multitudinous seas incarnadine making the green one red.”

The purpose of Christ coming into the world was to die for the remission of our sins, to give His life, His body, His blood, an atoning sacrifice, that the stain might be washed from our souls [Hebrews 10:4-14].  And when we’re preaching the gospel, incidentally, men are made righteous by it.  The great heart and purpose of it is that we might be redeemed from destruction into a life everlasting in the mercy and freedom and forgiveness of God, all made possible through the atoning death of the Lord our Savior [Ephesians 1:7].

You can’t be good and be saved.  If you could, all we needed was Lao-tse, Zoroaster, Mahavira, Confucius, Buddha.  There is no power in them to save a man from his sins.  That is the good news, the proclamation, the gospel of the Son of God.  Come, look, trust [John 3:14-17], believe, bow, and live [Acts 16:30-31].  That’s the message.  God help us as we sing it, and preach it, and testify of it.

While we make appeal this morning in the song that we sing, in this balcony round, on this lower floor, somebody you give his heart to Jesus; a family you come into the fellowship of the church.  However the Lord shall say the word and lead in the way, would you come?   Would you make it now?  Would you make it this morning?  “Pastor, I give you my hand.  I give my heart in trust to God, looking in faith to Jesus.”  Or, “Pastor, today we’re putting our lives in the fellowship of the church.”   While we sing, would you come?   While we stand and make this appeal.