Sunday, April 15, 2018

THE MIND OF CHRIST
Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
    “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.” (Phil. 2: 5-11).
    Hanging on the Cross of Shame as a common criminal, hearing the jeers and taunts of His accusers, our Saviour prayed: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do. And they parted His raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood there beholding. And the rulers also with them derided Him, saying He saved others: let Him save Himself, if He be Christ, the Chosen of God.
     “And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, Father, into Thine hands I commend My spirit; and having said thus, He gave up the ghost.
                              IT IS FINISHED, FULFILLED AND PAID!
   “And when the Centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly, this was a righteous man.” (Luke 23: 34). St. John reports: “When Jesus had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished; and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.” (John 19: 30)
    Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'tet-el-estai'. That word is taken from the Greek verb, teleo, which has three essential meanings; 'to finish something, to bring something to an end; to fulfill something; to pay that which is owed.'
   Jesus had finished His work. He had brought to an end Satan's power over those who believe. He had fulfilled all the Scriptures concerning Himself. He had paid the ransom price for the salvation of the entire world; past, present and future!
    The Bible says: “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, But by His OWN BLOOD, He entered in once into the Holy Place, having obtained Eternal Redemption for us. How much more shall the Blood of Christ, Who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God purge your conscience from dead works to serve the Living God.
   “By the which will we are Sanctified through the offering of the BODY of Jesus Christ Once For All. But this Man after He had offered One Sacrifice for SINS forever, sat down on the right hand of God. For by one Offering He hath perfected FOR EVER them that are Sanctified.
   “Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a Witness to us: for after that He had said before, This is the Covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them: And their sins and their iniquities will I Remember No More. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
   “Having therefore, brethren, BOLDNESS to enter into the Holiest by the BLOOD of Jesus. By a new and Living Way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the VEIL, that is to say, His flesh; and having an High Priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full Assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled (Jesus' Blood) from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Heb.9: 12, 14; 10: 12:10,12, 14-22)
    The holy blood of Jesus that was shed on the Cross at Golgotha is ALIVE. It is so powerful that when a guilty person cries out for mercy and forgiveness, he is instantly pardoned by God and made perfect in Christ Jesus. The shed Blood of Jesus has cleansed and washed them away. They are gone forever, never to be remembered anymore!
                                 ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED!
   He had come down from Heaven to do His Father's will; to atone for the sins of His creation, which had gone astray. He had come to earth to bring us back to the Father; to die on that cursed TREE as God's Eternal paschal Lamb and to give us Eternal Life.
    By God's grace alone, all who trust in His shed blood are forgiven, cleansed and made partakers of His nature!
   St. Paul stated: “According as He hath Chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before Him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Eph. 1: 4-6)
    Jesus of Nazareth said to His disciples: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” (John 12: 24).
     Jesus was that corn of wheat and we are the FRUIT of that death – the Fruit of 'that corn of wheat'. And billions of blood washed souls across the world today, are the fruit of that historic death; when God became a man! When the Saviour died in the place of the sinner!
    St. Peter stated: “For as much as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold, from your vain conversation (empty lifestyle) received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious BLOOD of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1: 18, 19)
    The Bible says: “For ye know the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.” (2 Cor. 8:9); “For He hath made Him (Jesus Christ) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the Righteousness of God through Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21)
                       AS MOSES LIFTED UP THE SERPENT!
   Jesus of Nazareth stated: “And no man hath ascended up to Heaven, but He that came down from Heaven, even the Son of man which is in Heaven. (He was still in the Bosom of His Father). And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so MUST the Son of man be lifted up (on the Cross).
    Several Truths are here revealed: First, when Jesus was incarnated (God in human flesh) and took upon Himself the specially created body which the Holy Spirit placed in Mary's womb, He did not cease being God. Jesus emptied Himself, but He was still in the “Bosom of the Father.” (John 1: 18)
   The Bible says: “Wherefore when He (Christ) cometh into the world, He sayeth, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a BODY Thou hast prepared for Me.” (Heb.10: 5)
    “Christ’s existence as true God and true man, as well as the reality of the transcendent Lord of glory entering into history to save His people, are both profound mysteries. What we do know is that the Son did not give up any of the attributes that are essential to deity in the incarnation.” - anon
    His incarnation manifested the form of God in the likeness of sinful flesh, yet was absolutely pure and sinless. Augustine wrote, “He is said to have ‘emptied himself’ in no other way than by taking the form of a servant, not by losing the form of God. For that nature by which He is equal to the Father in the form of God remained immutable while He took our mutable nature.” (ACCNT 8, p. 231).
    John Calvin said: “Christ, indeed, could not divest himself of Godhead; but He kept it concealed for a time, that it might not be seen, under the weakness of the flesh. Hence He laid aside His glory in the view of men, not by lessening it, but by concealing it.”
    Our Lord Jesus used the incident of Moses in the wilderness bringing divine healing to the snake–bitten Israelites, in prophesying His own death on the cross. They sinned and murmured against the Lord and Moses, which brought His judgment against them. The Lord allowed dangerous snakes to bite them, after which they repented and cried out for forgiveness and healing.
                                LOOK UNTO JESUS AND LIVE!
    God hears prayers of repentance and instructed Moses to construct a serpent of brass, attach it to a very high pole and lift it up for everyone to see. All who had been bitten were invited to look at the serpent of brass for healing. Anyone who had been bitten in that vast crowd of several millions would be healed if they followed Moses' instructions. If they ignored or refused his invitation they would die.
    The Bible says, “And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” (Num. 21: 9): “Christ Jesus hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on the tree.” (Gal.3: 13)
    This was a type of Jesus who would bear the curse because of our sins. As the serpent of brass spoke of God's judgment because of sin, it also spoke of His judgment against Satan who would be destroyed by the sacrificial death of His Son on our behalf. 
    The vicarious death of Jesus Christ would liberate those who by faith looked at Christ our Saviour. All they had to do was to look at the dead serpent which spoke of the Crucified Jesus who died to bring us life. A defeated Satan cannot harm anyone!
    “For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through DEATH He might DESTROY him that had the power of death, that is the DEVIL: And DELIVER them who through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb. 2:14, 15)
    Jesus said: “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me. This He said, signifying what death He should die.” (John 12:31-33)
    Salvation is the work of God alone. We cannot save ourselves. He alone has paid the penalty for our sins. All we have to do is to LOOK to Jesus!
   “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the SIN which doth so easily beset us , and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
    “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher (perfecter) of our faith: Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:1,2)
   The Bible says: “For by grace are ye SAVED through faith; and that not of yourselves: not is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:8-10)
                         JESUS' DEATH: A GREAT VICTORY!
   Some ignorant theologians have said that Jesus failed in His mission by being crucified before He could complete His ministry. How totally wrong they are and out of touch with Biblical reality!
    Speaking at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York on September 24, 2015, Pope Francis made this false statement: 
   The cross shows us a different way of measuring success. Ours is to plant the seeds. God sees to the fruits of our labors. And if at times our efforts and works seem to fail and not produce fruit, we need to remember that we are followers of Jesus Christ and his life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, the failure of the cross.”
   Does He not know the Holy Scriptures that prophesied His death and resurrection hundreds of years before his birth in Bethlehem? And that the death of Christ on Golgotha was a glorious Victory? Our Saviour had come to die! Did Jesus Christ fail? A thousand time NO!
    Jesus said: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so MUST the Son of God be lifted up.” (John 3: 14): “But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.” (Rom. 4: 24, 25)
    St. Paul stated: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Cor.15: 1-4)
    “Looking for that Blessed Hope, and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity... (Titus 2: 13, 14). 
   Jesus Christ's Death was a glorious Victory because He arose from the dead, having conqoured death, Hell (Hades) and the Jesus promised: “Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the very works' sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall ye do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto My Father.
    “And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of Truth;
    “Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not neither knoweth Him; but ye know Him for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless. I will come unto you. But the Comforter Which is the Holy Ghost, Whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
    “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:11-14; 16-18; 26,27)
                            HE PROMISED TO GIVE US POWER!
   Before Jesus could pour out His Holy Spirit upon the church, He had to pour out His precious blood on Golgotha to ransom and redeem us! He met the demands of Divine Justice in the Courts of Heaven to pay the sin debt of Adam's High Treason against Almighty God!
    JESUS said: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness and of judgment:
   “Howbeit, when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me, for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you.” (John 16: 7-11).
     “Of Sin, because they believe not on Me; of Righteousness because I go unto My Father, and ye see Me no more; of Judgment, because the prince of this world is Judged.”
   Rejecting Christ is the greatest Sin. Christ's Righteousness purchased our Redemption. Jesus the Righteous One gave Himself through His vicarious Death and Resurrection, so that we could be born again and become righteous through Him. The Holy Spirit was sent to Demonstrate Christ's Victory over the Devil!
    After His resurrection the glorified Christ appeared to His disciples. More than 500 men at one time saw Him and head Him speak of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God: “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which saith He, ye have heard of Me.
   “For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1: 4,5,8)
  Regarding the Holy Spirit, D.L.MOODY stated: “God has a good many children who just barely got life but no power for service. The Holy Spirit coming upon them in power is distinct and separate from conversion. I believe we should accomplish more in one week than we should in years if we had only His fresh Baptism.
      “A great many think that because they have been filled once, they are going to be full for all time after. But my friends, we are leaky vessels and have to be kept under the fountain all the time in order to keep full. Let us keep near Him.”
   J.B. PHILLPS said: “Every time we say, 'I believe in the Holy Spirit' we believe that there is a listening God able and willing to to enter human personality and change it.”
   ANDREW BONAR stated: “Let us put ourselves under the Spirit's teaching anew, to be taught the Word and how to preach the Word, not our own thoughts upon it. One spark of lightning is worth a thousand tame candle flames, so one sentence given by the Holy Spirit is worth volumes of any other.
     “I long more and more to be filled with the Spirit and to see my congregation moved and melted under the Word as in great revival times. The place was shaken where they were assembled because the Lord had come in power.”
                       JESUS GAVE US THE GREAT COMMISSION!
    “And He said unto them, GO YE into all the world, and Preach the Gospel unto every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 
     "And these SIGNS shall follow them that believe; In My Name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents (St. Paul in Malta); and if they drink any deadly thing (pastors in some Soviet Camps) it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the SICK, and they shall Recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)
     DID JESUS KEEP HIS WORD? He most certainly did! The Book of Acts gives attestation to that fact: “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into Heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word with signs following. Amen.” (Mark 16: 19, 20)
    St. Paul stated: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.
    “And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him on His own right hand in the Heavenly Places, far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and EVERY name that is named in this world, but also in that which is to come.
    “And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the HEAD over all things to the Church, which is His Body, the fullness of Him which filleth all in all.” (Eph. 1:17-22)
                                     AND THERE IS MUCH MORE!
    It is no wonder then, that MARTIN LUTHER who brought the church out of the Great Apostasy, stated: “It will take all eternity for us to understand such things as Grace and Gospel!” 
    Noted historian PHILIP SCHAFF, said of Martin Luther: “He lived and moved in the heart of the Scriptures and this was the secret of his strength.”
    There is nothing as profound, gracious and amazing as the love of God for us and His great Gift of Eternal Life wrought by the Sacrifice of His own dear Son to REDEEM us from sin, fear, sickness and eternal damnation! All glory to His Name for evermore!
   St. Paul, former persecutor of Christians, wrote: “For the love of God constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one judge, that if One died for all, then were all dead: and that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.
     “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: all things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. All things are of God, Who hath reconciled us to Himself by Christ Jesus, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.
That is, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
    “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you be reconciled to God. For He hath made Him (Jesus Christ) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor. 5: 17-21)
                                 TO CONSTRAIN MEANS TO PREVENT!
     To constrain means to prevent by force. It means to restrain. It implies that a power is exercised in our behalf. The love of God in Christ prevents us from falling, being overcome by Satan and the evil powers of this world and our own selves. The love of God constrains us, protects us from the devil, the world and our flesh. It retrains us from leaving the Ministry to greener fields of endeavor or opportunity!
    It was said about JOHNATHON EDWARDS: “When he found that his own soul needed Jesus Christ, it became a passion with him to take Jesus Christ to every soul.”
    And JOHN CALVIN testified: “I gave up all for Christ and what have I found? I have found everything in Christ.”
    HUDSON TAYLOR wrote in 'Go Forward on Your Knees': “We are asked to do an impossible task, lest we work with Him Who can do the impossible.”
    Here is a great truth often overlooked by many Christians: “That no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1 Cor. 1: 29, 30).
    Through the REDEMPTIVE work of Jesus Christ for us on the Cross, God the Father has made us ONE with Himself through Christ. This is made possible by the power of God alone and cannot be achieved otherwise. Only by the precious blood of the Crucified and Resurrected Jesus Christ are we accepted in the Beloved and adopted into the Family of God!
  Through His Holy Spirit, believers in Christ receive His wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. What does that mean? Through His mercy and grace ALONE we have become the Wisdom of God, the Righteousness of God, the Sanctification of God and Redemption of God in Christ. Praise God forever!
                                        FOR HIS GLORY ALONE!
    Not only are we born again by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, but we receive His nature, power, life, love and peace. We have heart fellowship with God. He imparts to us His very life. He gives us His nature. He is in us and we are in Him. (Col.1: 10-15).We receive the mind of Christ and think like He thinks, speak like He speaks and in His name we do the works of God. (John 14: 11-14)
      “Blessed be the God and Father of out Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Heavenly Places in Christ. According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:
    “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”
     The Bible declares: “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4: 4). The very righteousness, life and power that is in the Father has been given to us by the Holy Spirit! He transforms us and we are changed from glory to glory. His words are Spirit, light, life, hope and peace. God's Word declares: “For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily and ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power.” (Col.2: 9 10)
                            WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST!
    St. Paul declared: “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know things that are freely given to us of God. But the natural man recieveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him: neither can the know them, because they are spiritually concerned... For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 16: 12-16)
    He quotes Isaiah the prophet: “Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counsellor hath taught Him?” (Is. 40:13). Concerning the Messiah, the prophet declared: “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
    “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” (Is. 11: 1,2). This is a deep study, but we know that Jesus Christ exhibited all those gifts and fruits. And it humbles us immensely, that we can by His grace alone, be a partaker with Him!
    No one beside Jesus Christ has ever been or ever will be righteous, perfect, holy and sinless, good, kind, merciful, honest, powerful and compassionate! Only through His atoning blood, are we able to be joined to Him and be a partaker of His great love, mercy and grace!
      We can boldly confess: I am God's property, purchased by the shed BLOOD of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. By His sacrificial, vicarious death for me on the Cross, I am saved and healed. And by His glorious resurrection from the dead I am justified and made one with Go
    Hallelujah! My sins are all washed away in Calvary's Flow. All my sicknesses, pains, diseases and weaknesses have all been put on Jesus Christ, my Substitute, and I have been REDEEMED from the curse of the Law! (Gal.3:13; Ex.15: 26; Ex. 23:25; Ps. 103: 1-3). Amen.